How is HVAC Energy Efficiency Measured?

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, it might be hard to navigate all the confusing terminology and acronyms to find out which system is right for you. Most homeowners are concerned about energy efficiency as they want to keep their monthly energy bills low. However, it can be hard to understand energy efficiency ratings if you don’t know the terminology or how these ratings are determined. In this post, we’ll talk more about how HVAC energy efficiency is measured and what you should look for when buying a new HVAC system.

What is SEER and EER?

SEER indicates the electrical input that is required to run your air conditioner over an average cooling season as compared to how much cooling the system generates. This rating is based on an average temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. EER is tested based on higher operating temperatures of about 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. EER takes humidity removal into account and basically measures a snapshot of a moment in time, which can be useful for showing how the unit performs at maximum capacity.

Both efficiency ratings are important to note during the buying process. The higher the rating, the less energy that the system uses. However, a high SEER rating does not necessarily mean a high EER rating. Often, a homeowner will need to install an air conditioning unit that can function efficiently in a range of conditions. The SEER and EER ratings help you determine how your system will function both over time and at maximum capacity.

What is HSPF?

HSPF is the heating seasonal performance factor. Much like SEER, this rating helps measure efficiency of the unit. HSPF measures efficiency over a heating season, and it is determined based on the ratio of heat generated to electricity consumed. The most efficient heat pumps produced today have a maximum HSPF rating of 10. This rating is important to look at when purchasing a split-system heat pump or single package as it gives you a better idea of how your heating system will perform over time in regard to efficiency.

Get Help Finding New Lake Elsinore HVAC System

If you’re ready to buy a new HVAC system, it’s important that you look at all your options for heating and cooling equipment. In addition to energy efficiency, there are many other factors that you should consider including brand, size, and cost.

The home comfort experts at Amber Air Conditioning, Inc. are here to help you find the perfect new HVAC system for your home. Not only do we help homeowners like you choose an affordable and energy-efficient new HVAC model, but we also provide expert installation services. We also have financing options available upon approval. Call us today for more information: (951) 579-4523.

The Most Common HVAC Myths: Debunked

Everyone wants to get the most out of their HVAC system. In order to do this, you need to properly run and regularly maintain the unit. However, there are many misconceptions out there that can keep you from prolonging the life of your air conditioning or heating system.

Common HVAC Myths: Debunked

Below, we bust some of the most common HVAC myths so that you can educate yourself on the best ways to prolong the life of your HVAC unit.

Myth: Closing air vents will help you use save energy and lower your electric bills.

Debunked: Many people think that if they just close the air vents in rooms where the AC is not being used, it will help save energy, and thus lower their electricity costs. The truth is that closing your air vents does not reduce the amount of air being pushed throughout the room. Instead, the pressure load will be balanced throughout the remaining rooms. Closing vents can actually throw the HVAC system out of balance, causing it to work harder and actually use more energy.

Myth: Setting the thermostat all the way up or all the way down will help heat or cool down your home faster.

Debunked: Your HVAC system will work at the same power level no matter what temperature you set the thermostat to. Many people think that if they set the thermostat to a temperature a few degrees warmer or cooler than they actually want it, this will speed the process up. It does not, and it can in fact waste energy.

Myth: Maintenance is only necessary if your HVAC unit is broken or malfunctioning.

Debunked: You may have heard the phrase, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Though this may apply to some things in life, your HVAC unit is not one of them. Just like your car requires regular oil changes and maintenance to perform its best, so does your HVAC system. Scheduling an appointment with an experienced HVAC technician can help you find issues before they occur, which can save you time and money in the long run.

Myth: Buying an energy-efficient HVAC unit will lower your electric bills instantly.

Debunked: Though it is true that energy-efficient HVAC units can help you significantly decrease your energy use and lower your electricity bills, this is only the case if you purchase the right size model for your home. Additionally, you need to continue practicing other energy saving tactics like adjusting the thermostat when you are not home and making sure that your home is well-insulated for optimal savings.

Myth: A fan works just as well as your AC to cool down a room.

Debunked: The AC works to cool down the temperature of the room, while a fan just circulates the air. Many people think that fans and air conditioners work the same because they can both help you cool off. However, a fan cools you off by increasing air circulation and allowing the sweat to evaporate off the skin faster. This means that a fan will not make the room cooler on its own. In fact, if you are leaving fans on when no one is in the room, you are actually wasting energy.

Do you have any other questions about your HVAC system and how to keep it running efficiently? We would be happy to confirm or debunk any information you’ve heard about your heating or cooling system. Contact us today.

Are Higher HVAC Efficiency Standards Going To Be Implemented Soon?

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy’s plan for increasing HVAC efficiency was to go into effect. After working with leaders in both the HVAC and utilities industries, the DOE’s plan to increase HVAC efficiency standards from a minimum of 78 AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to a new minimum of 90 AFUE seemed destined to make a significant impact in reducing energy consumption. Unfortunately, these standards came at a high price. It became evident that many homeowners would struggle financially trying to comply with the proposed higher HVAC efficiency standards.

The major problem presented with these higher AFUE ratings is that only a condensing furnace would be able to meet the new minimum requirement. While there is little doubt that a condensing furnace can offer increased energy efficiency and meet the 90 AFUE proposed by the DOE, implementing this plan would require homeowners to undertake costly and extremely difficult retrofitting measures before this new type of heating system could be installed.

Condensing furnaces offer a great way to increase HVAC efficiency, but because their design is different than traditional furnaces and boilers found in most homes today, retrofitting an existing home to accommodate this new system would put a financial strain on some homeowners. This is especially true in attached homes, condominiums and townhomes where accessing external walls could be problematic.

A condensing furnace requires a very different type of venting from other heating systems. While they do have a primary heat exchanger that is used in converting the heat generated from burning gas into usable heat to keep your home warm, these furnaces also utilize a secondary heat exchanger designed to capture and use the heat that typically is wasted in a combustible heating system.

With the high cost homeowners would face in retrofitting their existing homes to accommodate a new condensing furnace, individuals in the HVAC industry argued against implementation of the higher minimum AFUE requirements. At this time the courts have delayed implementation, but as this case works its way through the system it is hard to say what the end result might be.

When you want to increase HVAC efficiency or if you need other types of HVAC service, be sure to contact a local HVAC contractor.