AHRI is short for The Air conditioning, heating and refrigeration institute.  AHRI is recognized industry wide as the authority for Air conditioning & heating efficiency ratings. 

AHRI numbers are assigned to air conditioning and heating systems in order to show the TRUE efficiency of different combinations of air conditioning and heating equipment. These combinations are also known as system match ups. A system match up is a combination of an outdoor A/C or heat pump, a furnace or air handler, and / or an indoor evaporator coil. 

Each match up of equipment has an AHRI reference number that will state a systems True efficiency in the way of SEER, EER AFUE and / or HSPF as well as the model numbers of the equipment that coincides with that AHRI reference number.  AHRI reference numbers can be provided in the form of a certificate as proof of a systems’ efficiency levels and are often times required when trying to recoup incentives such as tax credits or other various rebate programs that may be available when purchasing high efficiency equipment.

It is important to know that the SEER rating of an outdoor unit alone is not an accurate representation of a systems actual efficiency. This is often times very misleading as manufacturers will imply a SEER rating in the title or model number of their product.  As a matter of fact, a SEER rating has less to do with an outdoor unit and instead, represents the true efficiency of a complete system match up.  The match up of the components of a complete system is the only dictating factor in determining what efficiency levels a system can truly achieve. The AHRI reference number will also provide the model numbers associated with a system match up that will correspond with the listed efficiency ratings of that complete system.         

AHRI numbers are important in understanding the efficiency of a system you may be considering for purchase.  For example, in today’s world of high efficiency systems and complicated equipment match ups, you could potentially have a “16 SEER” outdoor unit matched up with a standard efficiency indoor air handler or furnace. In most cases, that match up will only provide 14 to 15 SEER of true system efficiency.  On the other hand, many standard “14 or 15 SEER “units can be matched up with high efficiency indoor units and this may actually raise that “14 or 15 SEER” unit to a true, high efficiency 16 SEER system.  The system match up possibilities using different combinations of equipment is virtually endless which can make matters extremely confusing when purchasing a new system. To keep things simple, be sure to insist on an AHRI number representing any system you may be considering. Without that number, you may end up purchasing a system that you think is a 20 SEER but in actuality may only truly perform as a 16 SEER system. 

AHRI numbers are only given to new complete systems, not individual pieces of equipment or outdoor units with coil combinations. All components of a system must be replaced with new equipment to be given an AHRI number.


 EXAMPLE OF A 14.5 SEER SYSTEM THAT CAN ACTUALLY ACHIEVE 16 SEER

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