Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems

Published on: March 22, 2013

Energy use is a primary concern for most home and business owners these days. Energy costs are sure to rise in the coming years, so how can the average person make a dent in these expenses? One of the best ways to save money is by replacing your old Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment with energy efficient heating and cooling systems. In some parts of the country, as much as 70 percent of utility costs are consumed by heating and air conditioning. Obviously, you can save significant energy and money by upgrading to more energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

Efficiency Ratings

It is helpful when discussing these issues to have some knowledge of the terminology used in assessing energy efficiency. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the method used to rate the efficiency of cooling equipment. By law, the minimum allowable SEER is 13 for newly manufactured equipment. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is the rating used to indicate the heating efficiency of heat pumps; the current minimum is 7.7 HSPF. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is how furnace efficiencies are measured; the lowest AFUE offered by most manufacturers is 80.

Choosing the Correct Equipment

It is crucial that you choose equipment that is correctly sized for your cooling and heating installation. HVAC industry research has shown that most equipment is oversized for the majority of conditions. For instance, you may need a 3.0-ton air conditioner when it is 100 degrees, but this is too much equipment when it is 10 degrees lower. HVAC technology has become more advanced in the last several years, and now it is possible to purchase systems that have dual capacities and can operate at more than one output for both heating and cooling. This is a major accomplishment and allows you to select equipment that has the ability to match the conditions more exactly. The result is greater comfort and better energy efficiency.

Heat Load Calculation

The industry standard for determining the equipment size needed is the Manual J Heat Load Calculation. A professionally trained HVAC contractor is capable of performing this procedure. It is done by creating a digitized version of your home using sophisticated software which provides the information required to determine the proper equipment size.

When choosing which equipment to install, it is always advisable to have a variety of options on your proposal so that you can compare pricing, efficiency and features. With reliable information, you can make a decision that can save you money for years to come.