What energy efficiency ratings mean and why theyre important

January 10, 2017

More than half of your utility bills in Rapid City consist of cost to heat and cool your home. To save as much money as you can, you need a system that can deliver home comfort as efficiently as possible. The better your system’s energy efficiency, the more your system is doing while using less energy. If you’re looking to upgrade or replace your HVAC equipment, you should understand certain terms and ratings to be fully informed and get the best energy efficiency possible.

SEER (used to measure cooling efficiency)
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, rating assesses the cooling efficiency of your equipment at different temperatures. Higher SEER ratings denote better energy efficiency, and therefore, smaller utility bills. For colder northern states, The Department of Energy requires a minimum 13 SEER rating. Warmer, southern states must have a 14 SEER-rating minimum. If your unit has a lower SEER-rating, an upgrade could bring you a helpful spike in energy savings.

AFUE or HSPF (used to measure heating efficiency: gas or electric)
Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio identifies the percentage of heat produced for every dollar of fuel expended—kind of like the miles per gallon you get from your car. Higher AFUE ratings equate to lower energy costs. So, an AFUE rating of 80 means that 80% of the heat generated by your furnace is heating your home, and 20% of the heat is escaping through venting.

The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the heating efficiency of heat pumps. It is fundamentally the SEER rating for winter since it measures only heating efficiency. Like the other ratings, higher numbers indicate better energy efficiency.

At Precision Mechanical, you’ll find equipment with the highest energy efficiency ratings. We can help you verify the energy efficiency of your existing equipment and help you find ways to improve on it and save money—whether with regular maintenance or with new, more efficient equipment. Just call us at 605-206-2564 to schedule an appointment with us.