ASHRAE Standards & You!
What exactly is ASHRAE?
ASHRAE is an acronym. Shocking, I know. It stands for the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
For the HVAC industry, ASHRAE is an important group. It's been around for over 100 years, has over 50,000 members, and focuses on energy efficiency, air quality, sustainability, and other top industry concerns. ASHRAE are typically used by engineers and architects when designing buildings or HVAC systems.
What ASHRAE Doesn't Do
Okay, ASHRAE is important, but they're aren't an official government body with the ability to regulate the HVAC industry. They can come up with all the building standards they want, and no one would have to follow them.
Now, that being said, many HVAC companies and construction companies carefully consider ASHRAE standards when they're designing HVAC systems or putting up office buildings.
Even though ASHRAE building guidelines and HVAC standards aren't a legal requirement, ASHRAE's numerous published manuals are pretty much considered gospel by a lot of government agencies, contractors, and engineers. If a particular HVAC unit can't meet ASHRAE standards, many groups won't even consider it for their needs.
No HVAC company wants that.
Not to mention that ASHRAE's handbooks are written by engineers and specialists who actually know what they're talking about.
How Much Should You Value ASHRAE Certification?
Should you choose an HVAC system based on whether or not it meets ASHRAE certifications?
Maybe, maybe not. Like a lot of tough questions, the answer is complicated.
It's always good when an HVAC system is built to meet ASHRAE standards. Basically, this means a nonprofit organization of HVAC industry experts said, “Hey, this particular HVAC system is built well enough not to be totally awful.“As a consumer, that's a little extra peace of mind. This doesn't mean HVAC units below ASHRAE standards are worthless. Depending on your needs, such an HVAC unit might be exactly what you've been looking for. And then there are some industry experts who criticize ASHRAE standards for not being as tough as they should be. Like any other highly technical field, people disagree on stuff and argue a lot of the time.
Bottom LineHVAC manufacturers want their units to meet ASHRAE standards, so they use 'ASHRAE certified' as a marketing blurb. As a consumer, don't ever pick a unit just because it is 'ASHRAE certified'. However, if you're stuck between two similar units for your home, one of which is ASHRAE certified, you should get the one that meets higher quality and operating standards.
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