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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

How Is Heating Efficiency Measured?

These days, everyone is looking for more efficient ways in which to heat their homes during the coldest times of the year. Cutting down on fuel consumption is good for the planet and good for the wallet. Whatever your inspiration may be, the first step in improving efficiency when heating your home is to understand how the efficiency of heaters is measured to begin with.

We’ll give you the information that you need to gain a bit more understanding of the topic. If you have any questions, or if you are ready to schedule professional heating services in Capitol Hill, we’re the company to call. Let us help you to heat your home more efficiently.

Two Heating Efficiency Ratings

First of all, we have to note that different heating systems use different efficiency ratings, and that it is important for you to be aware of both when searching for a new heater. Furnace and boiler efficiency is rated with an AFUE rating, while heat pumps use and HSPF rating. In both cases, the higher the rating, the more efficient the system.

  • AFUE: Standing for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, the AFUE rating of a furnace or boiler informs the customer of the total annual heat output of the system as compared to the amount of fossil fuel energy used. For instance, a gas furnace with a 90% AFUE rating will successfully convert 90% of its fuel into usable heat. The other 10% will be lost to chimney gasses.
  • It is worth noting that electric systems do not lose heat to chimney gasses, as there is no gas to vent because there is no combustion taking place. That is why electric furnaces or boilers have such high AFUE ratings, typically between 95–100%.
  • HSPF: HSPF stands for Heating Season Performance Factor, and is the heating efficiency rating given to heat pumps. Heat pumps have two ratings, with their cooling efficiency being measured with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). If you are looking for heating efficiency specifically, the HSPF is the one to look at.
  • Remember, the higher the efficiency, the higher the initial cost is likely to be. Over time you can recoup that investment in the form of energy savings, however.

Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. can answer any questions that you may have about heating efficiency.

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