The Top 10 Most Energy Efficient Home HVAC Systems for 2021 (updated for ’22)

Energy Efficient Home HVAC Systems


Your HVAC system is essential to keep your home comfortable, but it is also one of the most expensive, energy utilizing appliances in your home. To lower the strain on both your wallet and the environment, it is important to consider efficiency when shopping for a new HVAC system.

How to Choose the Most Energy-Efficient HVAC System

To choose the most energy efficient HVAC system for your home, you have to first understand your options. For heating your home, the most energy efficient HVAC systems currently available are heat pumps (both geothermal and air source) and furnaces. 

Heat pumps are also a very efficient way to cool your home. For the summer, your most efficient cooling system will be either a heat pump or an air conditioner. 

The specific HVAC system you need will vary widely depending on both your climate and the age and layout of your home. The best way to choose the most efficient system for your home is to consult an HVAC technician. Call AirPlus today to find the system that will work most efficiently for you.

Lenox Heating and Air Mother and daughter sitting in front of fan on a hot day.

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Differences Between Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

Not only will different HVAC systems be more efficient for different homes—they also each have a different rating system for efficiency. 

Air-Source Heat Pumps 

Heat pumps move air in and out of the home to both heat and cool it. In heating mode, they use refrigerant to cool air and move heat in from outside. Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient heating systems around, but do not work as well in colder climates.

Best Heat Pumps for 2021

The efficiency for heat pumps in heating mode is measured in HSPF, which represents total heat output. SEER rating is used to measure the efficiency of heat pumps in cooling mode.

Click to learn more about What is SEER Rating?

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps use the earth as a source of heat. While they are much more efficient and stable than air-source heat pumps, the high cost of installation means that they are not most homeowners' first choice of HVAC system.

Learn more about Best Heat Pump Brands For 2021


Furnaces are the most common heating system used in residential homes. Furnaces can run on gas, oil, or electricity and vary widely in their efficiency, with older units being much less efficient than newer ones. 

Furnace efficiency is rated by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), which is a measure of the percentage of energy use that actually goes into heating the home. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 95% means that 95% of the energy you are paying for is actually being used to heat your home.

Learn More About the Heating Efficiency of a Gas Furnace vs Electric Heat.

Air Conditioners 

While a heat pump can heat and cool, an air conditioner is used only for cooling your home. Because of this, air conditioners are typically paired with a furnace to provide heat during the cold months. SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is used to measure air conditioner efficiency.  Click here for the most efficient air conditioners.

Mitsubishi Quad Zone H2i Hyper Heat Pump System Lennox XP 21 Heat Pump M Series City Multi Inoor Commercial Ceiling Cassette & Outdoor Unit, MMUZFH09NA1

What kind of HVAC system is most efficient?

While there are several types of HVAC systems, it is likely that your home either uses an air conditioner and furnace or a heat pump as its HVAC system.

For cooling your home, the most energy efficient HVAC system is a heat pump or an air conditioner.

What does SEER mean for my home’s cooling system?

Your AC or heat pump SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measurement of its efficiency. Generally, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your appliance is, though there are other factors that affect efficiency. 

Currently, the lowest SEER a new appliance can have is 14, so you shouldn’t find anything lower than that if you are buying a new system. A good SEER rating to shoot for if you want a highly efficient system is 20.

Other Factors That Affect Your AC’s Efficiency

While SEER rating will help you choose an efficient cooling system for your home, there are other factors that affect the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Modulating Units

A modulating or variable speed HVAC system is able to work at different speeds. For example, if you have your AC set at 70 degrees and it turns to 71, instead of turning itself on full-blast, a modulating system is able to cool your air more slowly, which improves its efficiency beyond the SEER rating. Variable speed systems will turn on less, which will save energy. Plus, they’re quieter and spend more time pulling humidity from your air since they work more slowly.

Installation and Ductwork

Even the most efficient HVAC system will not work up to its SEER rating if it is installed poorly or your ductwork is too small or designed badly. To have your new HVAC system installed professionally and in the most efficient way possible, call AirPlus.

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Top 10 HVAC Systems for Cooling Your Home in 2021

If you are looking for the most efficient HVAC system; including traditional style systems and ductless mini-split options, to cool your home, an air conditioner or heat pump will be the most cost-effective. Here are the top ten most efficient air-source heat pumps and air conditioners to cool your home in 2021:

1. Mitsubishi FH Series models with Kumo Cloud Controller

Mini-split, ductless system: This unit includes wall-mounted indoor high-efficiency heat pumps with 3D i-see Sensor™ technology and the kumo cloud™ smartphone app for ultimate control anywhere. AirPlus is Northern VA's expert on Ductless and an Elite Diamond Dealer for Mitsubishi Electric Ductless & Mini Split products.

SEER Rating: 33.1

2. Fujitsu LZAH1 Series with FGLair® App

Mini-split ductless system: Fujitsu Halcyon Heat Pump Model LZAH1 features low outdoor operating temperature down to -15 degrees. Included are advanced diagnostics with system monitoring, error code display, and filter alert. Outdoor unit quiet operation noise levels are as low as 46dB.

SEER Rating: 33.1

3. Lennox SL28XCV Series

Featuring a variable-capacity compressor, this is one of the most precise and efficient air conditioners on the market.

SEER Rating: 28

4.  LG LAU/LAN Series with LG Wired Remote

With an energy saving inverter compressor, quiet operation, cooling/heating/fan mode, dehumidifying mode, 4-way auto swing vain for wider air flow and reduced temperature stratification, 24 hour on/off timer, and a handheld remote control, Jet Cool operation quickly brings the room down to the set temperature.

SEER Rating: 27.5

5. Quaternity

Quaternity is designed to maximize comfort even under the most challenging weather conditions. Equipped with built-in intelligence and extensive features in a highly efficient system, it provides a comfortable and refreshing indoor environment with advanced filtration and climate control.

SEER Rating: 26.1

6. Bryant 186CNV Evolution™ Extreme Series

This variable-speed air conditioner can deliver extreme humidity control, ultra-quiet operation and even receive over-the-air updates providing you with our latest software for enhanced performance.

SEER Rating: 25

7. Carrier 24VNA6 Infinity® Series with Greenspeed® intelligence

The Infinity 26 air conditioner with Greenspeed intelligence takes Carrier’s most advanced technology to the next level. This energy-efficient AC unit offers enhanced cooling, extra energy efficiency and ultra-quiet comfort.

SEER Rating: 25

8. LV Series Wall-Mount Systems

LV Series is a feature-packed, intelligent wall mounted system. The indoor unit includes an intelligent eye for energy savings and horizontal auto swing outlet fins for 3-D airflow comfort.

SEER Rating: 24.5

9.  Amana AVXC20 with ComfortNet™ Control

The Amana AVXC20 is a high-efficiency home air conditioner. It is powered by variable-speed scroll and swing compressors. Its exclusive technology allows for sophisticated diagnostics and the best performance routines.

SEER Rating: 23

10. Daikin DX20VC Series

With variable-speed scroll and swing compressors, this unit’s Daikin Inside™ technology allows for sophisticated diagnostics and the best performance routines.

SEER Rating: 23

Lenox Heating and Air Mitsubishi Ducktless

How to have an energy-efficient HVAC system installed

Purchasing a new HVAC system can be confusing, and there is a lot to consider. Our team of HVAC experts can answer any question you have and help you select the most energy efficient and cost-effective HVAC system for your home. Whether you want a brand new system or simply to replace a few parts of your existing system, we can help you raise your efficiency and lower your costs.

For more information, see our specs & pricing information for furnace replacement, air conditioner replacement, thermostat replacement, or ductless mini-split systems.

For help selecting an energy efficient HVAC system for your home, call AirPlus today.

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