When it comes time for you to upgrade your old heating and cooling system it is oftentimes very easy to become overwhelmed with all of the HVAC contractor jargon. What is SEER? What is AFUE? What is HSPF? Many clients trying to compare model numbers and efficiency ratings can end up feeling like they are looking at the contents of a bowl of alphabet soup! We know it’s overwhelming and thats why we wanted to put this post together for you so that you can feel more confident in knowing what you are buying.

SEER, AFUE and HSPF are government ratings and measurements which are used to gauge the capabilities and energy efficiency of different types of heating and cooling equipment. Efficiency standards for all heating and cooling units in the U.S. are governed by U.S. law and regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Every furnace, heat pump and air conditioner that is sold in the U.S. is assigned one of these efficiency ratings.

If you’re in the market to purchase a furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, it would behoove you to become familiar with these numerical ratings… as well as what they mean for your comfort and your bottom line.

  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
    SEER is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The highertrane_16_seer_air_conditioner_sioux_falls your SEER number, the greater the efficiency, which translates to greater energy savings. The SEER is defined as the total cooling output (in British Thermal Units or BTU) provided by the unit during its normal annual usage period divided by its total energy input (in watt-hours) during the same period. For cooling products sold on the market today, the government requires a minimum SEER rating of 13.0. but if you have an older piece of cooling equipment, you may be operating with a SEER rating as low as 8.0…which means that you’re wasting a lot of energy and money. Did you know that for every $100 you pay to cool your home this summer at an 8.0 SEER, you would get the same amount of cooling AND save $42 if you were operating at 14.0 SEER? Our Trane XV20i operates at up to 21 SEER and is our most energy efficient air conditioner.


  • AFUE (Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
    Your furnace’s AFUE is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired equipment. This measurement is recorded in percentages and this number shows you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted though the flue vent pipe. trane_xc95m_furnaceThe higher your AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. If a furnace has a rating of 80% AFUE rating, the furnace converts 80% of the fuel that you supply to heat — the other 20% is lost out of the chimney. The most efficient furnaces in the industry have AFUE ratings of up to 97.3%. If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of approximately 60%), you could save up to 40% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high efficiency furnace! The cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills. Our Trane XC95m gas furnace operates at up to 97.3% AFUE and is an excellent choice for the ultimate in energy efficiency and comfort.


  • HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
    HSPF is the measurement used to gauge the heating efficiency of heat pumps. A heat pump’s cooling efficiency is measured by its SEER, which we covered first. trane_xv20i_heat_pump_sioux_fallsThe higher the HSPF number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings of the heat pump. HSPF can be thought of as the “averaged factor” for an entire heating season. HSPF is calculated by taking the total annual heating requirements, including all energy inputs (defrost and back-up heating energy included) divided by the total electric power used. The industry standard rating system compares BTUs of heat output to watts of electrical energy consumed. The minimum requirement for a new heat pump in Sioux Falls, SD and the surrounding areas is 8.0 HPSF. The lowest rated heat pump that we install is the Trane XR14, which carries an HSPF rating of 8.2. Our most efficient heat pump is the Trane XV20i which operates at 20 SEER and 10 HSPF.

Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency

Installing a new heating or cooling system with a higher SEER, AFUE or HSPF rating will start saving you money in energy costs as soon as we turn it on. A Golden Rule Home Services, LLC Comfort Specialist can recommend a heating and cooling solution with the perfect SEER, AFUE or HSPF rating to provide maximum energy savings and comfort for your family.

Golden Rule Home Services, LLC serves homeowners in Sioux Falls, SD and the surrounding areas.