HVAC Acronyms and What They Mean

There are many things to consider when thinking about a change or improvement in your air conditioning unit. Energy efficiency is one of the top priorities when making a decision about a new cooling unit. While the professionals at Climate Control experts are happy to make recommendations, and provide information, it’s always good to have a little background knowledge. Knowing what some of the HVAC terminology means and having an understanding of it can help you make the right decision for your home. Listed below are three very common acronyms relating to efficiency and cooling units and their meanings.

 

SEER:

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER indicates the seasonal energy efficiency for air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient your air conditioner is. SEER applies to a very specific set of test parameters that covers a pre-set temperature range. When SEER is calculated, it is calculated across the same, universal range. This can become misleading, especially if you live in a very hot climate (like Las Vegas or Arizona). As Las Vegas summers go well into the 100+ degree range, the SEER rating of your AC unit actually changes, because the universal range used to calculate the rating does not depict the typical temperatures in our area. The minimum SEER rating in Nevada and Arizona is 14.

EER:

Energy Efficiency Ratio. This measured your air conditioner’s cooling capacity. The higher the EER, the more efficient your unit is. The EER of your air conditioner remains constant no matter the climate, unlike the SEER rating. No seasonal temperature changes are taken into account when calculating the EER of a unit.  This can be used to directly compare the efficiency of two units without taking into consideration climate changes. The minimum EER rating in both Nevada and Arizona is 12.2 EER is your unit is less than or equal to 3.5 tons, or 11.7 if your system is equal to or more than 4 tons.

MERV:

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This measures how effectively a filter removes large and small particles from your home’s air. The higher the MERV rating is, the more efficient it is. Ideally, you would want an air filter with a high MERV rating, as this improves air quality in your home. But you also want to stay efficient; using an air filter that is too restrictive can limit air flow in your home, and may cause your unit to malfunction. Typically, filters with a MERV rating of between 6 and 12 work well for homes. Filters with MERV ratings of 13-16 are used in places like hospitals, operating rooms, and electronics and pharmaceutical manufacturing cleanrooms. Doing some research and finding a filter with the highest MERV rating that still allows maximum air flow for your system will keep your system running efficiently.

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