Owning an energy-efficient HVAC system is beneficial for several reasons: it will save you money on your electric bill, is better for the environment, will last longer, and will make your house more pleasant. But how can you know if the HVAC unit you have now, or the one you want to buy, is genuinely energy efficient?
Here are several techniques to determine whether or not your HVAC system is energy efficient:
- Examine the SEER Rating
Your air conditioner’s energy efficiency is measured using the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. It’s the ratio of your air conditioner’s cooling output divided by the amount of energy it consumes in Watt-Hours throughout a typical cooling season. The SEER rating can be found in the user handbook for your air conditioner or on the machine itself. SEER ratings for modern air conditioners range from 13 to 22. Your SEER rating may be as low as 8 or 9 if you have an older air conditioner. The system is more efficient if the rating is greater.
- Evaluate the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) Rating
The AFUE (Yearly Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating is the ratio of the furnace’s annual heat output to the total annual fossil fuel energy burnt. It is used to determine the efficiency of furnaces. An AFUE of 90%, for example, suggests that 90% of the fuel you use heats your home, while the other 10% is spent during the heating process. The minimum efficiency criteria for new furnaces is 78 percent. An AFUE rating of 90% or more is regarded as extremely energy efficient and will save you money in the long run.
- Always look for the “Energy star” label
The US Environmental Protection Agency designed the energy star program to assist consumers in identifying goods that save money and protect the environment via greater energy efficiency. To achieve ENERGY STAR requirements, your air conditioner must have a minimum SEER of 14.5; gas furnaces must have an AFUE of at least 90%, and oil furnaces must have an AFUE of at least 85%. HVAC systems with the ENERGY STAR designation might save you up to 20% on your energy costs.
- Check for signs of inefficiency
Another technique to determine whether or not your current HVAC unit is energy efficient is to use your judgment. Your HVAC system is less likely to be energy efficient as it gets older. Also, if you have high energy bills, need to have your system fixed regularly, notice increased humidity in your home, or have hot or cold patches, your HVAC unit is mostly not as energy efficient as it should be.
Maintaining your HVAC system regularly will help it work as efficiently as possible. If you have an outdated HVAC system and are wary of seeing your monthly energy bills skyrocket, upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system may be time.