Homeowners across Minnesota are experiencing higher prices on everything from filling up their car with gas, everyday groceries, and their utility costs each month. If you can relate, you’re probably starting to feel the pain when it comes to your budget. One area of savings homeowners, like you, are starting to look into is their energy costs. And one great way to save each month on energy can be using less energy to heat and cool your home. Enter high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners. If you’ve got questions on whether a high-efficiency HVAC system can really save you money, we’ve got answers in this blog post.
What is a high-efficiency HVAC system?
Let’s start with first things first. Since central air and heating came on the scene in the 1970s, energy efficiency has improved and evolved. Efficiency is measured in the furnace or ACs ability to produce warm or cool air respectively in your home vs. the amount of energy being exhausted as waste. In an effort to help consumers, the US government assigns efficiency ratings to both furnaces and air conditioners.
Furnace efficiency & AFUE
Furnace efficiency is measured in AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This measures furnace efficiency and uses percentages up to 100% that indicate how much usable heat is produced by your furnace. For example, if your furnace is rated at 80%, it means that your furnace puts out 80 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) of useful heat for every 100 BTUs of natural gas it burns. British Thermal Unit refers to the amount of energy that’s required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. No gas furnace is rated at 100% efficiency, but the higher the percentage the more efficient your furnace is. High efficiency furnaces typically range between 90 and 97%.
Air Conditioners & SEER Ratings
Your air conditioner on the other hand rates efficiency through its SEER rating which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is calculated by comparing the cooling output of a system over a typical cooling season to the amount of energy the unit consumes over time. Most AC units manufactured after 2005 comply with the federal minimum SEER rating of 13. The higher your SEER rating, the higher the efficiency rating – which leads to saving money each month. For example, if your current AC was manufactured before 2005 and has a SEER rating of 9 and you upgrade to a SEER rating of 15, you would use 40% less power to get the same level of comfort in your home.
Finding your efficiency rating
Typically, your efficiency rating can be found on the sticker on the face plate of your equipment. If you can’t find it there, you could always look up your manufacturer and model online to check your efficiency rating.
How higher efficiency saves you money
If you’ve been thinking about replacing your current equipment with a high-efficiency HVAC system, you may be wondering if it’s really worth the investment. Replacing your system will come with significant upfront costs, but most consumers report saving money right away when it comes to their utility bills. Replacing your current system will create savings in the following ways:
- Lower utility bills. We’ve already mentioned this, but you’ll save on your utility bills. Aging HVAC systems become less efficient, so replacing with a new energy efficient system can reduce your energy by 20% or even higher putting more money back in your wallet each month. Look for the Energy Star Label and a SEER rating of 14 or higher for your AC, and an AFUE rating of 90%.
- Reduce repair costs. If it’s been a while since you’ve replaced your system, you may have noticed an increased need for an HVAC service technician to visit your home. These service calls and the subsequent replacement parts needed to get your unit up and running can start to add up. A new and energy efficient system lowers your need for frequent repairs saving you money in the long run.
- Receive utility company rebates. Most electric and gas companies offer rebates when you purchase new, energy efficient equipment. Your HVAC company typically applies for these on your behalf after purchase, but is a nice money saving perk when you invest in your new energy efficient system.
Most homeowners report that replacing your units with an energy efficient system will pay for itself in 3-5 years. If your current equipment is starting to age, then it might be time to think about replacing your equipment with a new energy efficient HVAC system. When you’re ready to get started, our team is ready to help. Simply contact us and we’ll answer all your questions and walk you through the next steps to getting your home energy efficient all year long.