HeatingA Complete Guide to Energy Efficiency Ratings for New Heating Systems

Because modern heating systems are complex devices, they come with an intricate and often lengthy list of statistics. This can be tricky for non-specialists to navigate, but knowing exactly what a heater can deliver, how much it can deliver, and how efficiently it delivers it is an important part of figuring out which type and size of heater will work best for your needs.

In this post, we will give you a concise guide to efficiency ratings for new heating systems. These ratings explain how efficiently a heater converts fuel into heat (and, in the case of heat pumps, cooling). There is more technical data behind what we’ll explain here, so if you want additional information to help with your North Seattle, WA heating installation service, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.


The initials AFUE stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” The percentage is the amount of fuel that the heater converts into heat. For example, if a furnace produced 80 units of heat (usually measured in BTUs, “British thermal units”) for every 100 units of energy put into it, it would have an AFUE rating of 80%. Most heating systems today score between 78% and 98%.


This is one of two ratings given to heat pumps, which work as both air conditioners and heaters. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency,” and is a ratio represented by a whole number that determines how effectively a heat pump cools. It is the amount of BTUs of cooling produced over a season, divided by the energy consumed in watt-hours. The higher the number, the better the efficiency. You should look for a heat pump with a SEER of 14 or higher.


HSPF stands for “heating seasonal performance factor,” and is the other rating given to a heat pump, this time to represent its heating efficiency. It’s the ratio of the total amount of heat needed over a season to the energy consumed in watt-hours—similar to SEER. Again, a higher number is better. Most heat pumps do not have an HSPF greater than 10.

Although getting a furnace or heat pump with high efficiency is important, it isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting a heater. Consult with professionals to help you make a decision that will get you the most effective heating power coupled with efficient energy performance. Turn to G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to help you start out your North Seattle, WA heating installation right—with expert selection of the right heater.


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