With inflation rising, many homeowners like you are looking for ways to save money. From the price of chicken at the grocery store to the price of gas at the pump, it’s getting more and more challenging to stay within the budget for simple necessities. One way Minnesota homeowners, like you, are looking at saving money is the cost of heating and cooling. As your current HVAC system begins to age, you may start to experience higher utility bills. So, is a high-efficiency HVAC system the answer? If you’ve got questions about whether installing high-efficiency equipment will save you money, then keep reading for everything you need to know about investing in high-efficiency.
What is a high-efficiency HVAC system?
For starters, you may have some questions about what qualifies a system as high efficiency. Efficiency is measured in your equipment’s ability to produce warm or cool areas respectively vs. how much is being exhausted as waste. For furnaces, efficiency is measured in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). It measures the efficiency of the furnace and uses percentages up to 100% to signify how much usable heat is produced by a furnace. For example, at 80% AFUE, a gas furnace puts out 80 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) of useful heat for every 100 BTUs of natural gas it burns. High efficiency is considered to be between 90% and 97% AFUE.
To make things a little more challenging, AC efficiency is measured differently in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). This measures how efficiently a system will operate over an entire season. Most systems in the U.S. have a SEER rating of at least 10, while units manufactured after 2005 comply with the federal minimum of 13. Upgrading to a higher-efficiency SEER can save you money. For example, if your old system’s SEER rating is at 9 and you upgrade to a SEER rating of 15, you would use 40% less power to get the same level of comfort – which translates into lower utility bills month after month.
Where can you find your current efficiency ratings?
As HVAC equipment ages, it becomes less and less efficient. If you’re noticing a consistent increase in your utility bills each month, it might be time to do a little investigating. You can typically find your AFUE and SEER ratings on the sticker on the faceplate of your equipment. If you can’t find it there, you can always look up your manufacturer and model number online to check your efficiency rating.
Is it worth the investment?
If you’ve done any investigating at all, you may have noticed that high-efficiency HVAC equipment is a bigger investment. While this is true, the investment pays off as you can save money over time. Your new high-efficiency HVAC system will use less energy to do the job of heating and cooling your home, and you should notice a difference from your first utility bill after installation.
How does it save you money?
Making the switch to a high-efficiency system can save you money in two ways. First, you’ll experience lower utility bills. Your HVAC system can account for up to 50% of your electric bill. When your system ages, it becomes less efficient and uses more energy. On the other hand, replacing your current system with a high-efficiency one (look for the energy star label and a SEER rating of 14 for your AC, and AFUE of 90%) can reduce your energy consumption by up to 20% or more.
Replacing your current system with an energy-efficient one can also reduce your repair costs. Aging HVAC systems will need replacement parts or even breakdown more often – which often leads to more service calls or an emergency HVAC technician appointment. Regular repairs add up and can increase costs. With a new energy-efficient system, you’ll need fewer repairs or replacement parts saving you money.
If you’re ready to make the jump into a high-efficiency or have questions on whether now the time is to replace, our team is ready to help. Simply call our office and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or make an appointment for an estimate.