AFUE, SEER, and HSPF are Important Acronyms: Learn What They MeanWhen you are shopping for a new heating or cooling system for your home in the Los Angeles area, it can be difficult to choose the most efficient system simply by comparing manufacturer’s specifications. Fortunately, there are now several systems in place, the AFUE, SEER and HSPF ratings, that help you to compare the efficiency a heating or cooling system at a glance.


AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and it applies to furnaces, boilers and water heaters that use natural gas, propane or fuel oil as the heat source. The rating is a simple ratio of the amount of fuel used to the amount of heat that is produced for your home. Older furnaces have an AFUE rating as low as 60 percent, meaning that for every 100 units of fuel, 60 units are converted to heat and 40 units are wasted through inefficient combustion and heat loss. Today the minimum AFUE rating is 78 percent and some systems, such as condensing gas furnaces, have an AFUE of 98 percent, or nearly-perfect efficiency.


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and it applies to air conditioners and heat pumps used in the cooling mode. It is a ratio of the total cooling output for the season to the amount of electricity used to provide that cooling. Today, the minimum SEER rating for new air conditioners is 13 and it is common to see values of up to 18, with the most efficient models having ratings of 23.


HSPF is short for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and it is used to gauge the efficiency of heat pumps when they are used for heating. It is a ratio of the heating output for the entire heating season to the amount of electricity used to produce it. The minimum HSPF for new heat pumps is 6.8 and the highest rating is a 10.

To learn more about the importance of the AFUE, SEER and HSPF ratings, contact our team at Around the Clock Air Conditioning and Heating. We serve Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Los Angeles, North Hollywood and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about AFUE, SEER, and HSPF and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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