If you are still recovering from last summer’s high energy costs, it might be time to take a good hard look at your air conditioning unit before next summer’s cooling season rolls back around. Likewise, as we head into the frigid months, is your furnace up to the task? How can you evaluate the energy efficiency of your HVAC system?
AC Efficiency Is Spelled SEER
Air conditioning units, as well as heat pumps, carry a number called a SEER rating. The SEER acronym stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Think of it like the MPG rating on your automobile, only the SEER tells you how efficient your AC or heat pump is. The SEER is a numerical value attached to how well a particular AC cools the home for each unit of energy it uses. The higher your SEER rating is, the better the cooling efficiency of the unit. Since 2006, the federal government has mandated that each new unit sold carry a SEER rating of at least SEER-3. Today, units on the market go all the way up to SEER-18 and SEER-23 as manufacturers have integrated new technology into their units.
Using AFUE to Gauge A Furnace’s Efficiency
Like AC units, furnaces also have a rating that measures their energy efficiency. Furnaces carry an AFUE rating — Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This rating informs the consumer how much heat will be produced for each unit of energy used. For example, a furnace rated with an AFUE of 90 percent indicates that within that unit, 90 percent of the energy used will be turned into heat and 10 percent is lost.
Why Should You Care About SEER and AFUE?
Your old HVAC unit may work just fine in your opinion. But is it really time to replace it?
Newer units will save you money over the lifetime of the system. Higher rated SEER and AFUE units cost more initially but are far less costly to operate over the long haul. Over the lifetime of an HVAC unit, energy costs can rack up quickly even though the AC and the furnace units are used only a few months per year. If your energy costs are extremely high for your area, it might be more cost efficient to replace the unit now.
Keep in mind that even if your energy efficiency ratings are lower than you would like, you can keep your system running at its best by ensuring your HVAC contractor conducts yearly service checks.
Many homeowners want to know if they should replace their older unit with a newer, more efficient unit. The answer depends on your current situation. If you have a decade of life left in your unit, then it might be more economical to wait. If you find that you are in need of frequent heating repair or AC service calls, then it is time to consider a new HVAC unit that will save you money.
In need of an experienced HVAC contractor for your winter heating repair needs? Contact Classic Air at 614-476-1732.