An HVAC system is responsible for circulating air through a home to improve temperature regulation. Seasonal weather is not always comfortable, so using an HVAC system to bring the temperature to a desired level helps maintain a comfortable temperature within your home. However, in order to maintain a preferred temperature within a home, the thermostat must be set to a specific range. This can come at a cost as the system is always trying to maintain that preset temperature.
For the most part, an HVAC system relies on electricity to operate. When running an AC or a furnace, homeowners must accept there will be a price to pay on their electric bill. Most expect to see HVAC use reflected on their utility bills, but they might feel surprised to discover how high the bill is. Yet, how does this compare to alternative heating or cooling systems, such as window units, fans, space heaters, or radiant heaters?
While some homeowners may wonder if purchasing a new HVAC system would cut down the costs, there are many factors that come into play when determining just how efficient new HVAC systems are. Each home has specific spatial layouts that affect what type of HVAC system and what HVAC system size would work best, which is reflected in the overall cost of the unit and installation.
Gas vs. Electricity
Again, HVAC systems utilize different components to heat and cool homes. A furnace or air handler is used for heating while a heat pump or A/C unit outside the home is responsible for cooling. There are two types of setups to consider: one which utilizes electricity and one that utilizes gas. However, a gas furnace does not rely on natural gas exclusively. True, it uses natural gas to ignite burners that heat the air that is then circulated throughout a home. However, the furnace uses electricity to power numerous components, such as the thermostat and other parts. Compressors and fans are two examples of parts powered by electricity.
Ironically, many people with electric furnaces could have lower electricity bills than individuals with gas furnaces. Many electric furnaces are installed in locations with milder temperatures or in smaller homes. A gas furnace, especially in areas known for harsh winters, might significantly drive up the gas and electric bill.
Air conditioners do not rely on natural gas. They utilize electricity to power the parts to cool air. So, an air conditioner might run up electric bills significantly during the hot summer months, especially if you have a unit that is too small for the space you’re trying to cool.
Newer HVAC Systems and Electric Bills
In general, a newer HVAC system could cut down electricity bills significantly. These models are far more efficient than older options. In fact, the United States Department of Energy suggests that a newer HVAC system could cut electric bills by as much as 40%. For those who rely on their furnace and air conditioning systems throughout the year, the impact of the savings could be immediate. Over time, the monthly savings could help offset the costs associated with purchasing and installing the new HVAC system. Not to mention, some HVAC units may qualify homeowners for a tax credit.
The goals of HVAC manufacturers have long focused on reducing energy waste and improving efficiency. Concerns over the environment combined with consumer desire for a less expensive unit helped drive research into ways to reduce waste.
When a homeowner relies on an HVAC system that’s 20 or more years old, they rely on a system with outdated technology. So, they are not taking advantage of newer parts designed to consume less power and run more efficiently. The electric bill may then reflect the costs inherent in inefficient systems.
Advanced technology is not the only element that contributes to energy efficiency. Improved construction, design, and manufacturing help, too. Such improvements are evident in the modern ducts connected to the HVAC unit. As many know, air that is heated or cooled inside the HVAC system travels through the ducts and out the vents inside a home. The heated or cooled air escapes if any broken seals are inside the ducts. Now, the HVAC unit has to work harder to replace the lost air, which drives up costs. Modern ducts with enhanced seals and insulation could be far more effective at keeping air from escaping. Electric and gas bills would likely be lower when the ducts have more effective insulation and seals.
Homeowners and business owners in Farmington Hills can contact AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical about installing a new heating or cooling system. Our team could also assist with repairs, maintenance, and indoor air quality requests.
Government-based consumer product ratings could help customers purchase the most efficient HVAC system. Those wondering how efficient a furnace or an air conditioning system is could look at the ratings and certifications associated with a particular model. Older models might not measure up to the efficiency of newer models, which may be evident in the associated product rating.
Roughly three decades ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created the SEER rating through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The SEER rating came to fruition through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1992, providing critical information about the energy efficiency of specific heat pumps and air conditioning systems.
With an air conditioner, the SEER rating comes from dividing the British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heat taken out of the air by the watts-hours of energy utilized by the AC. A higher ratio result indicates a higher degree of energy efficiency. A model with a 22 SEER rating would be much more energy efficient than one with a 14 rating.
ENERGY STAR Ratings
An HVAC system may display an ENERGY STAR rating, too. This voluntary program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the ENERGY STAR rating applies to many products, including HVAC systems. Its purpose is to help consumers determine which products are more efficient. Anyone interested in saving money on their electric bill would likely find an ENERGY STAR rating worth reviewing. Currently, an air conditioner must have a minimum SEER rating of 14 to receive an ENERGY STAR certification. The Department of Energy stresses that upgrading to a newer unit with a higher SEER rating could save homeowners significant money.
Saving Money on Electric Bills
Other factors can also affect the electrical bill when heating or cooling a home. Poor insulation and cracks in a window that allow air to escape are examples of factors that contribute to a home’s electric utilization. So, performing an energy audit to discover how to conserve electricity better might be a valuable investment.
Requesting biannual maintenance on an HVAC system could also address problems that undermine efficiency. Perhaps there’s a part that requires replacing that would make your system more efficient. Even a thorough cleaning or something as simple as a filter change could do wonders to reduce energy waste.
A smart thermostat can also aid in regulating your electric bill. These modern thermostats could help a homeowner regulate the interior temperature better and can even automate variances. Of course, the homeowner may wish to alter their routine temperature settings. Perhaps 65 degrees is appropriate in the summer rather than a more costly 62-degree setting.
It also may help to assess the HVAC system’s age, too, to determine its efficiency. If the unit is aging, it may be wiser to upgrade to a newer model sooner rather than later. An older model is more likely to break down, and it can drain more energy as a result.
Anyone interested in purchasing a new HVAC system can ask for assistance and a quote from AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. We also assist with boilers and provide plumbing and electrical work. Our company’s doors have been open since 1925, and we are ENERGY STAR-accredited. Call our office today to see how we may help.