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If you’ve been shopping for a new HVAC system, you keep hearing all sorts of acronyms like “EER,” “SEER,” “AFUE,” or “HSPF” . If you don’t know what they mean, you should – all of these acronyms are rating systems that are used to score HVAC units on their efficiency.

These ratings can be very important to you. In addition to the fact that the higher the efficiency, the lower your utility bills, higher efficiency equipment may qualify for significant money back under the Energize Delaware program.


SEER ratings were introduced in 1978. SEER ratings are applied to central HVAC units, but are calculated the same way EER ratings are. Again, the higher the number rating, the more efficient the HVAC unit. Under current law, the minimum acceptable SEER rating for a new central air conditioner in Delaware is 14.


If you’re shopping for a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace, water heater, or boiler, you’ll see an AFUE (“average fuel utilization efficiency”) rating. This rating is calculated in percentages using the division of BTU output by how much energy the unit uses. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the unit is.


When it comes to air-source heat pumps, look for the “heating seasonal performance factor” rating, or HSPF rating. Like the other ratings, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by the ratio of BTU’s output per hour to the amount of electricity used. Higher numbers equals higher efficiency. In fact, heat pumps withvery high efficiency (usually rated an 8 or higher) may even be considered for an energy tax credit. The current minimum HSPF rating in Delaware is 8.2

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