Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

HVAC Ratings to Understand

HVAC Ratings to UnderstandHVAC ratings have a direct impact on the cost of operating a heating or cooling system as well as how effectively it maintains the comfort level inside your house. Most ratings are derived from laboratory testing and are required by the federal government to be clearly displayed on the yellow Energy Guide label affixed to every new furnace or air conditioner.

Knowing a bit about three HVAC ratings allows you to effectively comparison shop for the most efficient unit as well as estimate monthly operating costs.


It stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and is used to express furnace energy efficiency. AFUE is a percentage figure the represents the amount of energy such as natural gas that actually contributes to heat versus the amount which is lost in the combustion process, usually in the form of hot gases exhausted up the furnace vent. A higher AFUE rating means a more energy-efficient furnace and lower heating costs. Today, the standard federal minimum AFUE is 80%.


The standard metric to express central air conditioner efficiency, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The figure represents the amount of BTUs of heat the system can remove from the house to keep it cool versus the amount of electricity in kilowatt hours it consumes, averaged over a specific time period. A higher SEER rating indicates a more energy-efficient unit and predicts lower operating costs. Today’s required standard SEER ratings are based on region. Here in the southwest, the federally mandated minimum SEER for a new central air conditioner is 14.


Short for Heating System Performance Factor, this rating applies to heat pumps only. Because these units both cool and heat, this separate rating is utilized to express heating efficiency. The figure is a calculation that represents the amount of BTUs of heat compared to the electricity consumed. The higher the system’s HSPF, the more efficient it is in heating mode. Here in Arizona, the federal minimum HSPF is 8.0.

For more about HVAC ratings and how they help make informed consumer purchases, contact the professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.