Like any industry, the HVAC field has its own jargon to describe various terms. Some of these terms may be confusing, especially if you’ve never heard of them before. Uncover several basic HVAC terms that every homeowner in Fairview, NC, should know.

SEER Rating

A Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating measures a heat pump and air conditioner’s cooling efficiency. Modern systems have ratings ranging from 13 to 21, while older systems have ratings as low as 8. Systems with a higher rating offer more energy efficiency.

However, there are circumstances when it may deliver lower efficiency. The rating works like miles per gallon in a car. If the vehicle uses 30 miles per gallon when driving on the highway, the fuel efficiency will drop when you’re stuck in traffic.

The US Department of Energy has put in place regulations for minimum SEER ratings for different regions. Systems sold in the southern regions should have a minimum rating of 14, while those sold in the north should have a minimum rating of 13. As of January 2023, the ratings will go up to 15 for the southeast and southwest regions and 14 in the north.

Manual J Calculations

Manual J calculations help to determine your home’s heating and cooling needs. The calculations consider factors such as your home’s insulation, square footage, window and door sizes, the direction the windows face, the ceiling height, and more. They also assist with determining the appropriate sized system.

Your home’s heating and cooling needs will overwhelm an undersized system. Consequently, your HVAC will run without stopping trying to reach the ideal temperature. As a result, the chances of wear and tear will increase, as will the likelihood for repairs or even a complete replacement.

An oversized system’s temperature regulation capacity will exceed your home’s cooling needs. The system will shut down before completing a cooling or heating cycle and turn on again, a phenomenon called short cycling. Short cycling increases your system’s wear and tear.

AFUE Rating

AFUE is the short form for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The rating measures your furnace’s ability to keep you warm. It compares the total heat output produced in a year against the energy input. You may have seen it expressed as a percentage.

A higher rating translates to more efficiency. The US Department of Energy(DOE) categorizes furnaces with ratings of 90% to 98.5% as highly efficient. In a nutshell, it means that your system converts 90% or 98.5% of the energy you pay for into warmth.

The DOE considers systems with ratings of 80% to 83% as mid-efficient, while those lower than 80% have lower efficiency. In some cases, heating systems with an increased rating will have a higher upfront cost than lower-efficiency models.

MERV Rating

Air filters help to maintain optimal indoor air quality by trapping pollutants. These pollutants may cause watery eyes, sore throats, and running noses, as well as trigger allergies and asthma attacks. Changing your filters often is essential, as these contaminants will clog them over time.

It may be confusing to know the right filter for your home. That’s where MERV ratings come in. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values. It shows a filter’s ability to clean the air inside your home.

Filters with a MERV rating of one to four can capture less than 20% of particles with a size of 3.0 microns to 10.0 microns. Filters with a rating of 16 can capture 95% of particles with a size of 3.0-10.0 microns. HEPA filters trap 99.97% of particles smaller than 0.3 microns, as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes.

If your mind is still spinning or your HVAC system is close to retirement, reach out to Gentry Service Group. There’s not a cooling or heating challenge that we have yet to see or resolve. Since 1963, we’ve continued to put the needs of our customers ahead of our own, one comfort system at a time. Don’t believe us? Schedule a complimentary estimate and see for yourself!

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