HVAC systems combine heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to make your home comfortable. An energy-efficient HVAC system delivers many benefits, from lower energy costs to helping the environment. Here is how to determine heating and cooling efficiency and a breakdown of the benefits of an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings are one of the main ways to determine if an HVAC system is energy efficient. An AFUE rating applies to gas furnaces and boilers. It indicates how much energy is being wasted when heating your house. These types of systems lose heat through gasses vented through the flue.
Modern heating systems come with a minimum 80% AFUE rating, meaning that 80% of the unit’s gas is converted into heat for your home while 20% is wasted. High-efficiency furnaces and boilers have between a 90% and 98.5% AFUE rating. These higher ratings translate to wasting only between 10% to 1.5% of energy usage. In comparison, older heaters may have only a 70% AFUE rating, losing 30% of the heat that is generated.
Electric furnaces do not have these energy loss issues and come with a 100% AFUE rating. Hence, they are more energy-efficient than gas models. Yet, electric systems are usually more expensive to run because of higher energy costs for electricity. Electric units also tend to be less effective in heating a home, especially in colder areas.
If you use a heat pump in your home, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is another way to determine energy efficiency. Modern heat pumps need to have an 8.2 HSPF rating, which also qualifies the unit as an ENERGY STAR system that meets high environmental standards. As with AFUE, a higher HSPF rating (up to 13.5) equates with energy efficiency.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency (SEER) is a third common measure of HVAC energy efficiency. SEER reflects how much energy is used to cool a home during the course of a year or cooling season. The lower the amount of energy used to effectively cool a home, the higher the SEER rating will be. Units must meet a minimum SEER rating to be sold. This minimum varies by region. The Department of Energy requires a SEER rating of at least 14 in Nebraska.
Lower Energy Bills
According to Energy.gov, cooling and heating a home makes up about 50% of energy use. Using an energy-efficient system allows you to lower your energy bills. As the rating systems indicate, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems waste less energy, which means you do not spend as much to keep your home comfortable. Replacing an older HVAC system with an energy-efficient one can provide 10% to 30% savings off your energy bill, depending on the difference between the new and old model.
Based on the AFUE rating, high-efficiency gas furnaces can provide a 10% to 20% energy cost savings, compared with a standard-efficiency furnace with an 80% AFUE rating. Many air-source heat pumps provide energy savings in the range of 20% to 40% of heating and cooling bills. Heat pumps do not need to burn fuel like gas or oil but instead transfer heat from the outside into your home, providing a substantial cost reduction. Geothermal systems provide even greater energy and cost savings.
Modern high-efficiency boilers are about 96% efficient, with only about 4% of energy being lost to a vent pipe or chimney. In comparison, a standard boiler is about 80% to 85% efficient. Replacing an older boiler with a high-efficiency one can deliver 15% to 20% energy savings. With an aging boiler, you can also expect your energy bill to keep going up.
Tax credits on an energy-efficient system also allow you to save money. This past year’s Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit provides federal tax credits on installations of energy-efficient HVACs. From day-to-day energy savings to these tax credits, a new high-efficiency HVAC can provide you with solid savings.
Comfort and Smart Thermostats
Energy-efficient heaters and air conditioners provide more even and consistent temperature levels throughout your house. This benefit reduces or eliminates under-heated and overheated rooms to make your home more comfortable. So too does the improved airflow of high-efficiency systems that creates more comfortable conditions. Energy-efficient systems use variable speed motors that likewise make airflow consistent.
In addition, new high-efficiency models have improved filtration and air purifying technology to remove dust and allergens. Energy-efficient HVACs circulate clean air better than older models that usually have accumulated debris, pet dander, and mold over time. Newer models also remove indoor pollutants and operate more quietly than standard models.
With a high-efficiency HVAC, you can also take advantage of a smart thermostat. Most new models can be operated by a smart thermostat controlled through your phone or other mobile device. Smart thermostats enable you to change the temperature on-demand through Wi-Fi and set a tailored schedule. These thermostats can also make adjustments to temperature on their own.
In addition, smart thermostats monitor your system for efficiency, humidity levels, and energy usage. When combined with a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, smart thermostats make your home more comfortable. Smart thermostats used with efficient systems also contribute to reducing energy consumption.
Longer Lifespan and Home Investment
Energy-efficient HVAC systems usually have a longer lifespan, too. These models do not have to work as hard to heat or cool your home and thus do not experience as much strain and wear and tear as traditional systems. This benefit also adds to long-term savings by not needing to arrange for repairs as frequently and being able to wait longer to replace your unit.
By their longevity, energy-efficient HVACs also provide a great investment to your home. These models provide a long-term investment in a superior heating and cooling system and boost the value of your property. The equity in your home can increase, and the property will be more appealing to potential buyers. An up-to-date HVAC can increase the resale value of your home and provide a selling point, including how it is environmentally friendly.
Helps the Environment
An energy-efficient HVAC can also help the environment. When you use less energy, you reduce emissions and your carbon footprint.
With standard HVACs, you use more fuel to run your heating and cooling system, which amounts to more carbon dioxide being released into the air. It also means higher fossil fuel consumption that has contributed to present-day climate issues. Energy-efficient systems provide a means to contribute to a better environment by conserving resources like natural gas or oil.
Installing a new HVAC with high energy efficiency provides a pathway to minimizing your environmental impact and improving sustainability.
Trustworthy HVAC Services
At John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical, we provide heating, cooling, plumbing, drain, and electrical services to Lincoln and Omaha, NE and surrounding areas. We are a dedicated team of professionals who can take care of all your HVAC needs. Please contact us at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical for more information about high-efficiency HVAC systems and our heating installation services.