Choosing an Efficient HVAC System
If your HVAC system is more than ten years old, replacing it with a newer, more efficient model will lower the utility bills for your Tallahassee, Florida, home, saving you money over time. Choosing a new system before your current heater and air conditioner fails also keeps you from having to deal with an inconvenient, unexpected breakdown. To find the most efficient HVAC system for your home, consider its size, energy ratings, type, and features.
If your HVAC unit is older, then it may be oversized, especially if you made improvements to increase your home’s efficiency since it was installed. This means you may be able to replace it with a smaller, less expensive unit. If your HVAC system is too large, not only will the installation cost more; you could also feel hot and sweaty in summer because the system won’t run long enough to dehumidify your home. It could leave rooms far away from your indoor unit too warm or cold as well. But, you’ll have a similar problem with a system that’s too small.
If it’s not the right size, your heater or air conditioner will have to work harder, which shortens its life and increases your utility bills. An experienced contractor will use Manual J load calculations to find the best size for your HVAC system. Many professionals have specialized Manual J software that considers the amount of shade outside, local temperatures, the insulation in your home, window sizes, the number of people in your family, and more.
You can use energy ratings to find the most efficient HVAC system. If you need a new furnace, look for the AFUE or Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s the ratio of heat created to fuel needed. A furnace with 90 percent AFUE produces 90 BTUs of heat for every 100 BTUs of fuel. A BTU, or British thermal unit, is the amount of energy required to change the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
The SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures the performance of heat pumps and air conditioners. It’s the output of a unit in BTUs divided by its energy consumption in watt-hours over a season. The Heating Season Performance Factor or HSPF is similar to the SEER, but it measures heat pumps in winter.
Types of HVAC Systems
Many different HVAC systems can offer efficient, reliable performance. Heat pumps transfer heat from your home to the outside in summer. In winter, this process is reversed, and they transfer heat to your home, heating instead of cooling. Since they move heat instead of producing it, they’re more efficient than furnaces. A geothermal heat pump is even more efficient. It transfers heat to and from the ground or a nearby water source, and the temperature underground and underwater stays constant all year.
Ductless mini-split HVAC systems have an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, similar to central HVAC systems. A small conduit connects them instead of ductwork, so there’s no energy loss from leaky ducts. Without ductwork, you’ll also have more closet, basement, or attic space. Packaged HVAC systems come from the factory in a compact casing for easy installation. You can choose a packaged heat pump or an air conditioner and a furnace.
Choosing the right features or accessories can make your HVAC system more efficient. A heater or air conditioner with a multi-stage or variable-speed fan can use different levels of heating or cooling. That way, it can stay on longer instead of turning on and off. This saves energy and dehumidifies your home better than other systems.
You can set a programmable thermostat to raise or lower the temperature in your home when you leave or go to sleep and then go back to the original setting when you come home or wake up. This saves energy while keeping your home comfortable. Many programmable thermostats can also control ductless or packaged systems with more than one unit. You can set different temperatures for different areas or zones so that you can avoid conditioning empty rooms.
Advanced Air Care Heating and Cooling can help you choose an efficient HVAC system for your home. Call us anytime at 850-688-9265 for expert service.
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