Understanding Efficiency and Operating Costs
Like many other appliances, the cost of your indoor comfort system includes not only its initial price, but also the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance. This means that the cooling and heating equipment and controls that you select today will continue to impact your finances for as long as you live in your home. That’s why investing in a high efficiency comfort system makes sense.
A Wise Investment:
Your heating and air conditioning typically account for more than 40% of your home’s annual energy costs. In effect, your indoor comfort system is the only part of your home that can actually pay for itself while also providing the added benefits of increased comfort and quieter operation.
Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings:
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) indicates the cooling efficiency of air conditioner and heat pump systems. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency and the greater the energy savings. All new products have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Carrier offers air conditioner and heat pump systems that can achieve SEER ratings of over 20.
Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) measures cooling efficiency and is calculated by dividing a product’s BTU output by the watts of power it uses. Generally, higher is better.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) tells you how much of the fuel consumed by your furnace is used to heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE number, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% rating means that 90% of the heat a furnace creates is used directly by the home while 10% is lost (usually through venting).
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the heating efficiency of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and the greater the cost savings. Today’s heat pumps must have a minimum rating of 7.7 HSPF.
The Coefficient of Performance (COP) is used to measure certain heat pumps’ efficiencies while in heating mode. You’ll commonly see this measure applied to geothermal products. Like other efficiency ratings, higher is better.
Other Energy Efficiency Factors:
Although the efficiency of your cooling and heating equipment will have the greatest impact on your energy usage, other factors will also help reduce energy costs.
- Maintain Proper Humidity
When cooling during the warm humid months, you will feel more comfortable at a higher temperature if the humidity level in your home is kept between 40 and 60%. This will reduce the load on your equipment and can save 10 to 15% in cooling costs.
- Condition Only Occupied Rooms
Zoning or Programmable Thermostats can control your equipment according to your family’s lifestyle and daily occupancy schedule. This allows you to eliminate the wasted energy of conditioning areas in your home that are unused or unoccupied.
- Keep Equipment Clean
Regularly scheduled professional maintenance is also crucial to maintaining your system’s maximum efficiency. Keeping your equipment clean by using an Electronic or Mechanical Air Cleaner will help maintain your system’s optimum performance too.