Understanding HVAC efficiency

Understanding HVAC efficiency

Updated: 7/18/2018

HVAC Systems Are Great to Own

Owning a great HVAC system is an essential item for many households. Whether you live somewhere hot or cold, if you are living somewhere where the climate can get quite extreme at times, then you are likely to need an HVAC system. These systems have heating, ventilation and air-conditioning functions with the sole aim of keeping the environment comfortable for people. Not only do they give you comfort and keep you happy in your home or workplace, they also keep the air quality at an acceptable level, which is really important for people with allergies in particular. It isn’t easy buying or replacing an existing HVAC system since there are lots of different factors to consider. These include size, cost, design and efficiency. It is the last point on efficiency that we are going to discuss in more detail in this post.

It Is Really Important That Your HVAC System Works Efficiently

The real benefits of an efficiently working HVAC system are numerous. Not only will you ultimately be conserving energy and lowering your energy costs, you will be keeping your home warm or cool much more efficiently. You can easily find out the energy rating of an HVAC system by using some well-known efficiency measures.

SEER is probably the most well-known rating measure, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and there is also the EER rating which stands for energy efficiency ratio. SEER measures the cooling ability of an HVAC system over an entire season. What it measures is the amount of BTUs (British Thermal Units - the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water by one degree), that it produces in relation to the amount of electricity it uses. Therefore, a high SEER HVAC unit uses less electricity. 15-18 SEER seems to be the most common these days.

EER measures the ratio of the cooling capacity to the power input at a single point. So, like SEER, the higher the EER the more efficient the HVAC is. The difference between the two measures is that SEER measures usage over a period of time, whereas EER is looking at one moment in time only. Therefore, SEER is more often than not the more preferred and realizable measure. HVAC units that have these higher ratings will mean cost savings when it comes to ongoing running costs, but you should expect to pay more for them outright in the first place.

What Can Affect Efficiency?

The older your HVAC unit gets the less efficient it will become, as they generally lose their efficiency over time. Having a single-stage unit that only provides one level of heating or cooling is also less efficient compared to a multiple-stage unit which can alternate power settings and save energy when it is not needed. Heat pumps are the most energy-efficient as they don’t rely on fuel, but run on electricity alone. Also remember that the size of your HVAC can affect its efficiency. If it’s too small it will struggle or if it’s too big, it won’t cool or heat evenly. Although more efficient HVAC units are costly, they are worth it in the long-term.

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