September 19, 2020

When you’re new to hiring an HVAC company, you may experience a lot of confusion while researching your options because of the HVAC terms you’ll come across. If you’re buying a new heating or cooling system, you will come across different types of ratings, such as AFUE, EER, HSPF and SEER. Once you know what these HVAC terms mean, you’ll be ready to make a choice on companies or systems.


Furnace efficiency rating is expressed as AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). The higher a furnace’s AFUE rating, the more energy efficient it is. If a furnace has a 90 AFUE, it turns 90% of the energy it uses into heat. The remaining 10% is lost during the process. Over the years, furnaces have become more energy efficient. High-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE of 90%-97%. Medium-efficiency furnaces fall between 80% and 85% AFUE.


The energy efficiency ratio is used to measure the energy efficiency of geothermal heat pumps and window air conditioners. It’s calculated based on the assumption of an outdoor temperature of 95 degrees, an indoor temperature of 80 degrees and a humidity level of 50%. The more energy efficient a system is, the higher its EER. A system with an EER of 12 or higher is considered energy efficient.

Factory Authorized Dealer

While considering your options in HVAC companies, you’ll notice some say they are Carrier Factory Authorized. What this means is Carrier, a brand of heating and cooling systems, has recognized the company for meeting strict national standards in quality of repairs, installation and maintenance. A factory-authorized dealer is very likely to be a safe choice for quality service. Carrier Factory Authorized dealers also receive factory training and hire NATE-certified technicians. They must maintain high scores in customer satisfaction too.


The heating seasonal performance factor expresses how energy efficient the heating side of a heat pump is. Similar to AFUE and EER, a higher HSPF means better energy efficiency. National guidelines in the US require that all heat pumps have an HSPF of at least 8.2, which is good energy efficiency. You don’t need to choose a model with a higher rating; although, it will save you money on heating bills.

Member of the ACCA

Some HVAC companies say they’re a member of the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America). The ACCA is a non-profit organization that provides standards for the installation, maintenance, testing, and designing of heating and cooling systems. They offer education and networking services to their members. Both businesses and individuals can become a member of the ACCA.


MERV (Minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings are used for air filters. The higher the rating, the better the air filter is. MERV ratings of 13 and above are powerful enough to trap smoke and airborne bacteria. A filter with a MERV rating between 9 and 12 can trap automobile emissions, dust, and mold spores. Filters between 5 and 8 can also capture mold spores. We recommend choosing the most powerful available filter to keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Even if you don’t smoke, the smoke from others in the neighborhood can find its way into your HVAC system.

NATE Certified

Some companies, including ours, have NATE-certified technicians. The NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification is widely considered the most prestigious certification that heating and cooling technicians can earn in the US. Technicians need to work 6–12 months in the industry before they can take the exam. Every few years, they need to recertify. NATE-certified technicians also receive ongoing training to keep up with the latest technology and practices. When you see a company hires NATE-certified technicians, you can have more confidence that their repairs will be accurate and their installations will be done correctly and safely.

NCI Certified

The National Comfort Institute offers another reputable certification that heating and cooling technicians may have. To receive NCI certification, technicians need to receive training from NCI and pass the exam. Technicians also need to have basic HVAC certification and field experience to receive NCI training and certification. NCI-certified technicians must re-certify every two years.

SEER Rating

The SEER rating reflects how energy efficient a central air conditioning system is. Energy Star requires central ACs to have a SEER rating of 14.5 to qualify for certification. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the air conditioning system is.

Climate Control is a reputable company in Portland that’s fully licensed, bonded, and insured. We take quality seriously, which is why we have NATE-certified technicians and worked hard to become a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer. Our technicians are punctual and clean up after themselves.

Contact us to schedule service for an HVAC repair, tune-up, or installation in Portland. We hope you will call on us going forward with all of your home comfort needs.

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