Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings
Purchasing a home is an investment, and any additions you make should be improvements on its market value. Replacing your HVAC has the ability to improve value and reduce your carbon footprint. Purchasing a system with an excellent energy efficiency rating will lower the monthly costs of utilities and use a lot less electricity.
The search for a new unit can be a little confusing. There is a lot of information attached to energy efficient HVAC systems, so it might be hard to choose which one is best. Knowing the benefits and the different ways they are rated will help you make a better purchase decision.
Benefits of Energy Efficiency
Lower Your Utility Costs
The cost of using energy within the home can be pretty high. Having energy efficient appliances can help lower monthly bills by sometimes 30%. They don’t require much electricity to run and are very helpful in reducing the size of your statements.
Increase Home Value
Swapping to an energy efficient HVAC system will help you increase property value. A home with these kinds of appliances usually can sell for a higher price than a home without one.
Better Quality of Life
An HVAC with a high rating will keep your home dry and ventilated. This will reduce the chances of mold or mildew growth that could, in turn, lead to illness. You also have the added benefit of a reduction in pollutants.
Homes were accountable for almost 20% of greenhouse emissions in the United States. If this sounds like a lot, it is. But, you can reduce your carbon footprint by switching HVAC systems with an excellent rating and effectively bring your contribution down by around 25%.
Protect Yourself from Electricity Prices
The rates for electricity have been on a steady increase for the past ten years. There hasn’t been a sharp turn yet, but having an energy efficient unit will protect you from feeling those rate hikes.
What are the Different Ratings?
When you are weighing up your options for a new unit, there are energy ratings you will come across. These ratings are designed to help consumers understand the capacity of the system and what they can expect regarding performance. They can be tricky to navigate, so we’ve outlined the most popular.
An acronym, SEER, stands for “seasonal energy efficiency Ratio.” It was created by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. They wanted a way to measure the performance of the unit. During a cooling season, the total energy is divided by the amount of cooling the system actually completed. Basically, it measures the electrical input of the machine. You want to find one with a higher number, so you know it’s not consuming a lot of energy.
EER stands for Energy Efficient Ratio. The SEER rating directly correlated to the machine and energy use. The EER is a little more complicated and takes in many factors such as energy, humidity, and the temperatures inside and outside. Paying attention to the EER will tell you how well it will perform under the max load. Tennessee residents will appreciate this rating because we get all four seasons and experience a lot of humidity.
Understanding the Minimum Rating
Some organizations have helped develop a rating system to make it easier for consumers, but the government established minimums for all air conditioning units over two decades ago. These federal regulations were established in 1992, but have been changing ever since. In 2006, manufacturers were required to produce units that achieved a minimum SEER rating of ten. Over the past decade, the number has increased to a minimum of 14 unless it’s a split-system which needs a score of 13. EER ratings usually hit around a 10. The weather in Tennessee fluctuates, so you want to pay close attention to these numbers. It might not be advisable to purchase something that meets the minimum requirements. An excellent rating would have a 13 EER and a 16 SEER.
Is SEER or EER more Important?
Heating and air conditioning contractors often agree that the EER is more of a quick glimpse at the unit’s capabilities. The SEER will address usage throughout the year and therefore might warrant a little more consideration. However, if you can get a system with high ratings on both, then you’re getting an exceptional piece of equipment.
Energy rating will have a lot of benefits, but don’t let that overshadow the importance of a properly installed unit. Besides being better for the environment, most people purchase energy efficient appliances because it helps reduce costs in the long run. But, if your unit isn’t installed correctly, it’s not going to use electricity well anyways. A maintenance inspection from a Nashville HVAC contractor will help you identify weaknesses in your system and confirm that you don’t have air leaks. They can check the ductwork and provide useful information that will limit poor consumption.