While there is still debate about larger issues, like global warming, there is no question that supporting the trend of ‘going green’ is a good idea when it comes to HVAC systems. Why? Because the newer, more energy efficient systems not only help to conserve our vital resources – they also result in savings on your utility bills. General estimates put the expenses for total heating and cooling of your home at about 40% of your annual electricity bill. That’s a lot of margin for improvement. New, higher-efficiency systems deliver greater cooling capacity for less energy use and carry a heavy workload with ease.
See about SEER
So how do you assess and improve the efficiency your system? It comes down to a term you may have heard: that is its SEER rating. SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, rates how energy-efficient your AC System is when in use. A higher SEER rating means higher efficiency.
Efficiency standards change as new data becomes available to governmental agencies and heating and cooling manufacturers develop new technology. Minimum SEER ratings, as set by the U.S. Department of Energy (energy.gov), have been steadily rising, which indicates that bigger is better in this case. Prior to 2015, all units manufactured needed to meet at least 13 SEER. In 2015, for the first time, the Department of Energy set standards based on regions. Homeowners in the North can adhere to the older minimum efficiency standard (of 13 SEER), while homeowners in the South and the Southwest must meet at least 14 SEER. 14 SEER is very efficient and higher SEER ratings are available if you are striving for an extremely efficient AC Unit and understand the increased up front cost.
These newer systems are rugged, tough, and reliable. So consider this: many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 to 10. Qualified HVAC units (look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels) are about 15% more efficient than those older models. Also, utility companies will often compensate homeowners to the tune of hundreds of dollars to install high-efficiency systems. Local utilities, including Florida Power and Light, and many others, all offer some form of rebate to customers who improve the energy efficiency of their homes. For ‘going green’ and for savings upgrading to a system with a higher SEER rating than your older system is the way to go. The feel-good about reducing your environmental impact is the bonus!