If you’re considering purchasing a new HVAC system then your primary fear is spending too much money and not getting enough value in return. Purchasing and installing a new HVAC system is a highly expensive endeavor. But there are other factors to consider besides price.
As you research various units, the efficiency ratings should be a very important factor in helping you arrive at a decision. In the end, your goals are simple: don’t spend more than necessary, finding a unit that will handle both your heating and cooling needs and choosing an energy efficient system.
In order to choose the proper system, you will need to understand the energy efficiency ratings that you will encounter while you’re shopping around. Here is a quick and simple guide to making sense of HVAC energy efficiency ratings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 to identify and promote energy efficient devices and appliances. Since then, other countries including the European Union and Canada have adopted the practice as well.
The program tests and certifies various products that require less energy to operate without sacrificing functionality or features. For HVAC systems, to qualify as an ENERGY STAR-approved unit it has to be at least 10% more energy efficient than current federal guidelines.
SEER & EER
The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings for HVAC units measure a system’s efficiency rating — the higher the rating, the less energy the unit consumes.
What’s the difference between the two? Consider city and highway fuel economy figures for automobiles. An automobile may be rated as 22mpg in the city and 32mpg on the highway. The SEER rating focuses the cooling cycle of HVAC systems while the EER focuses on higher temperatures.
And much like the fuel economy example mentioned above, using both of these ratings combined can help you determine how efficient an HVAC system operates on a year-round basis.
EnergyGuide Labels by the FTC
If you’ve ever purchased a major appliance before, you’ve probably noticed the EnergyGuide label attached to it on the showroom floor. These labels provide two important values: Estimated Yearly Operating Cost and Estimated Yearly Electrical Use.
These two values should give you a clear comparison and understanding of how much energy and individual device will use in a single year.
Shopping for a new HVAC system can be as intimidating as buying a new car. The last thing you want to do is purchase an expensive unit that won’t save you money on a monthly and yearly basis. You want to purchase a system that is energy efficient while not sacrificing features or functionality.
The goal is to purchase a system that works smarter, not harder. By understanding the various ratings for new systems, you will be able to narrow down your choices and ultimately purchase the perfect system for your budget. Don’t just look at price when making a decision. By simply purchasing the cheapest model, it may cost you more on your energy bills in the long run.