When upgrading your HVAC system we highly recommend choosing an ENERGY STAR®-rated heating and air conditioning unit. Products that have passed ENERGY STAR certification have demonstrated exceptional energy performance. This means that you can expect the HVAC unit to use energy more smartly instead of being an outright drain on your consumption.
Want to save money this coming year? When it comes to saving on HVAC costs, we’ve got you covered. These helpful tips and tricks will help you spend less in 2017.
Check for air leaks.
Make sure your home’s weather stripping is in good shape. If it’s worn out or not blocking outside air from coming into your home, then you should replace it. Be sure to also check around electrical outlet boxes on exterior walls, and if there are any air leaks there, use caulking to fill the gaps.
Only heat or cool occupied rooms.
When heating or cooling your home, close off any vents in rooms that are unused so that you are not heating or cooling spaces that are unoccupied, such as guest rooms or storage rooms. It also helps to keep the doors to these rooms closed off from the rest of the house, so that your heating or cooling system can focus on the areas where people spend the most time.
Use natural light as heat.
South facing windows have the ability to warm your home at no extra cost to you. During the daytime, when the sun shines the brightest, open the drapes or blinds on your windows and allow the sun to shine in and warm the room. By doing this, your heating system won’t have to work as hard to sustain a comfortable temperature.
Change your filter!
Check your HVAC system’s air filter for excess dirt, dust and debris at least once per month and change the filter whenever it gets dirty. This will help ensure that your HVAC system can run efficiently, and you will have cleaner air quality as well. If you have pets, consider purchasing a special air filter that will help trap dander and other pet debris effectively.
Turn down (or up) your thermostat.
During the colder months, reduce the costs of your heating bills by setting your thermostat to a lower temperature during the nighttime while you are sleeping. The best temperature for sleeping is said to be between 60 and 67ºF, so if you normally run your thermostat at 72ºF during the night, dial it down several notches. In the summer, turn the thermostat up a few degrees and sleep with lightweight blankets. During those 8 or so hours of rest, you’ll barely notice the change in temperature, but you could save 3% for each degree your thermostat doesn’t have to maintain. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save on your energy bills by simply making this switch.
Make time for maintenance.
Finally, have Air Conditioning and Heating maintenance performed on your HVAC system regularly, at least twice per year. A trained HVAC technician can help ensure that your HVAC system is in proper working order. And, if your system isn’t working at its best, a professional HVAC technician can help take care of any small repairs before they become large problems for your system. If your HVAC system is in need of a service call, or you’re considering upgrading your current system, contact us today at: 707-416-0845.
When comparing air conditioners, SEER ratings are often compared to identify the most efficient device. SEER is an acronym for seasonal energy efficient ratio. It is an important metric to consider because it shows how the efficiency of a machine will vary from one season to another.
SEER and EER ratings (Energy Efficiency Ratio) are related. The latter takes into account the efficiency of an AC device at a single set of condition. To get the SEER, the efficiency of an AC machine is calculated using different sets of conditions. Energy efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing the power consumption, or input, of a machine by the cooling power of the machine (in BTU’s) under a certain set of conditions. To determine the SEER, the performance of the device under different outside temperatures, ranging from 65 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit is considered. The average of these energy efficiency ratios is usually the figure that is put on AC machines. The government requires manufacturers to indicate the SEER ratings on the units they manufacture. While manufacturers are not required to put the EER ratings, many units still have this rating.
Which is More Important?
Air conditioners are more of a necessity than a luxury during summer, when temperatures are uncomfortably high. This is when air conditioners give their best performance to cool down the internal temperature of a room. In such cases, the EER rating of a machine should be considered. This is because EER’s are normally calculated based on peak temperatures experienced in the country during the hot summer months. Therefore, devices that have high EER ratings are more likely to perform better during summer than those with lower EER ratings. Since SEER ratings are simply average EER ratings over different environmental conditions, they cannot inform the user about the performance of the machine when peak temperatures are experienced.
When comparing the ratings of different AC machines, consumers should always make sure that the EER of one device is compared to the EER of another, and not EER to SEER, or vice versa. This will help to ensure that they get the most energy efficient device. Feel free to call us for more information on energy efficient heating and air conditioning solutions.
Increasing the efficiency of HVAC equipment is definitely something that could have a significant impact on energy use; however, there are also other factors that must be taken into consideration. For example, even though the Department of Energy worked with various utility experts and HVAC professionals back in 2009 in order to establish higher HVAC efficiency ratings for gas boilers and furnaces, at this time the HVAC efficiency requirement has not yet been implemented.
The primary reason why these higher HVAC efficiency standards have not taken effect is because of the financial impact it could have on homeowners. The plan was to raise Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) from its current standard of 78 to 90, starting in 2013. While in theory, this could be very beneficial, in actuality, the cumbersome and costly process of retrofitting a home to meet these higher HVAC efficiency standards could be a huge burden for some homeowners.
In order to meet the higher standard of 90 AFUE a condensing furnace would need to be installed. These furnaces require special venting that is difficult to achieve in an existing home, especially for those living in attached homes. Condensing furnaces make use of two separate heat exchangers. While one is utilized in the process of burning gas for heating, the other extracts heat that would otherwise be wasted and uses it as an additional heating source. This heat comes from the hot water vapor that results during the burning of gas fuel.
Unfortunately, while a condensing furnace is certainly more efficient, the financial costs of retrofitting a home to accommodate this type of system can be cost-prohibitive for some homeowners. Opposition within the HVAC industry was able to successfully argue against implementation and the higher HVAC efficiency standards are now sitting with the courts. When or if these higher standards are ever implemented is anyone’s guess; however, for homeowners who are contemplating the installation of new HVAC equipment, it certainly makes sense to choose high efficiency equipment.
If you are interested in learning more about high efficiency HVAC equipment, how you can increase the energy efficiency of your current HVAC system or even if you need repairs or service, contact your local HVAC contractor.