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GlossaryGlossaryHeating & A/C Glossary - What the heck did that mean? Look it up here.

Efficiency Ratings Explained

How ratings affect cost savings

In your mission to find the perfect Bryant comfort system for your family, you will come across several important industry-standard efficiency ratings. The higher efficiency your product, the lower your long-term energy costs will be. And as always, your experienced neighborhood Bryant dealer, Total Comfort Systems is just a call away to help you choose the heating and cooling products that are right for you.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)

AFUE is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Given in percentages, this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. Bryant offers a full line of furnaces with AFUE ratings ranging from the minimum industry requirement of 78% to more than 96%.

Energy Efficient Rating

Cost Savings: If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of approximately 60%), you could save up to 40% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high efficiency furnace! The cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)

SEER is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency–and therefore greater energy savings. Today, U.S. regulatory agencies require all new products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Bryant's full line of air conditioners offers SEER ratings of up to 20.

Air Conditioner 

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)

HSPF is the efficiency measurement used to gauge the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings. Today's models are required to have a 6.8 HSPF. Bryant offers heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.5.

Heat Pump

Cost Savings. : Higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher equipment cost but lower utility bills. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. Ask your experienced Total Comfort Systems consultant to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, long after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills.

Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency

One additional factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system is your indoor coil (also called an evaporator coil). If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. When you replace an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

Home Heating and Cooling 101

Heating and cooling are two of the most important concepts of home ownership. In fact, heating and cooling systems are major factors for those looking to purchase homes, and are a critical aspect of comfortable indoor living.

You may frequently hear the term "HVAC," which is used to describe home heating and cooling systems. The acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning—which are the 3 primary functions of a home system. They control air temperature and humidity, and maintain the quality of the air in the home.

Central Systems

A central heating and cooling system produces warm or cool air in one central area and then distributes it throughout the home. There are many types of systems that work as central systems, from traditional split systems to packaged product systems.

Products typically used in central heating and cooling systems include:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Gas and Oil Furnaces
  • Fan Coils
  • Evaporator Coils
  • Controls and Thermostats


Heating systems keep your home warm and comfortable. If you live in a particularly cold climate, the function of your heating system is a high priority.

Most central heating and cooling systems are classified as forced air systems, because they send air through ductwork for distribution. The ductwork can contain products that filter or clean the air.

Radiant systems create heat and deliver it via components such as radiators that radiate the heat into the home. Boilers are a traditional radiant heat source.

Typical heating products include:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Gas and Oil Furnaces
  • Fan Coils
  • Boilers


Whole-home air conditioning systems are central systems that rely on ducts to deliver cooled air throughout the home. An air-conditioning system provides cooling, ventilation, humidity control and even heating (if using a Heat Pump) for a home. Air conditioning units cool refrigerants like Puron® Refrigerant and Freon and deliver them to evaporator coils, over which air is then blown to be cooled and ultimately directed through the ducts throughout the home.

Typical air conditioning products include:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Central Air Conditioners
  • Evaporator Coils


The term "thermostat" commonly refers to any unit that controls the operation of a heating and cooling system. Thermostats are used to turn on heating or cooling systems to bring the home to a set temperature. In addition to basic temperature control, programmable thermostats can be used to manage the timing of the system’s functions, which can control overall energy use and costs.


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