Energy Efficiency Ratings: AFUE vs. SEER

The energy efficiency of your system directly relates to your monthly energy expenses, but how exactly do you know how efficient a specific system is?

While you may not give it much thought, your heating and cooling system uses a significant amount of energy to operate. In order to heat or cool your space, it uses energy created at a power plant to function, and therefore provides you with the comfort that you desire. You must then pay for this energy use, in the form of energy expenses on your monthly utility bill.

The HVAC industry uses a few industry-standard efficiency ratings to help you determine the efficiency of one system type, as compared to another. The more efficient that is a system is found to be, the less energy that is used and the less costly it will be to operate. The most common of efficiency measures are detailed below.

GDM_AC_sceneHeating Efficiency: AFUE

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is used to measure the efficiency of oil and gas fueled furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. Measured as a percentage, the AFUE tells us how much of the fuel is converted into heat and how much is lost as exhaust. The higher the percentage, the more efficient your system is. Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mandates that a furnace must have an AFUE of at least 78%, but more efficient systems are available from Carrier with AFUE as great as 98.5%.

Cooling Efficiency: SEER

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is used to measure the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps during the cooling process. In other words, it measures how much energy is needed to cool your space to the temperature you have selected on your thermostat. Similar to AFUE, the higher the rating, the more efficient the system is deemed to be. Also governed by the U.S. DOE, air conditioners and heat pumps are required to have a SEER of 13 or higher. Carrier offers a number of high efficiency systems with SEER ratings of up to 21.

Your local ServAssure dealer can help you evaluate your many system options in greater detail, and explain how energy efficiency can equate to long-term energy savings. Find a dealer near you to learn more.