When shopping around for a new HVAC unit, furnace or heat pump, efficiency is often one of a buyers’ top considerations. But finding the right unit for your home and your needs can be challenging. If efficiency is of utmost importance in your new purchase, it is crucial to understand what the different rating systems are for these units. As Maryland HAVC contractors, we are familiar with several different rating scales used in the HVAC industry. Let’s take a few minutes to examine each one up close.


An HVAC unit’s SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measurement of the difference between the amount of cool air put out by an HVAC unit and the amount of energy expended to produce that cool air. Basically, it is a rating that lets you know how much energy your HVAC unit will use to cool your home. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient your AC system is.

If you are looking to replace your existing HVAC unit, you are in luck because new HVAC units are required to have a SEER rating of at least 13 or 14. If you live in a particularly warm climate, however, you may want to get a unit that goes as high as a SEER-23, which will help you get the best AC performance for your money.


AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which is used to measure a furnace’s overall efficiency. The AFUE rating of a furnace is largely impacted by the fuel used to run the furnace, with electric heating and natural gas receiving the highest ratings. A typical furnace will usually rate somewhere around 80%, while very high-efficiency models may rate at 95% or higher. Not sure what kind of furnace you need? At Cool Breeze, we will spend time to discuss your heating needs, so that we can recommend the best furnace with the right AFUE depending on your lifestyle.


The HSPF rating, which is an abbreviation for Heating and Seasonal Performance Factor, is what is used to determine the efficiency of a heat pump. Heat pumps are very efficient at both heating and cooling your home, but are more suitable for moderate climates. When looking for a new heat pump for your home, it is important to understand that a higher HSPF rating equals higher efficiency. In Maryland, where the temperatures range from very hot in the summer to freezing cold in the winter, a heat pump may not be enough to heat or cool your home during those extremes. However, an additional heat source such as a wood stove may provide the little heating boost your home needs.

Replacing your home’s HVAC unit, furnace or heat pump can be a stressful and confusing task. At Cool Breeze, we are experts in helping customers select the unit that will best serve their needs, keeping them comfortable and saving them money in the long run. If you are ready to replace your home’s heating or cooling unit and would like some guidance in terms of energy efficiency or capacity, give us a call so we can start discussing your options!