As a homeowner, you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. But did you know that your HVAC system can account for up to 50% of your home’s energy use? That’s why it’s important to pay attention to HVAC efficiency standards and why they matter for homeowners.
HVAC efficiency standards are regulations that set minimum energy efficiency requirements for heating and cooling equipment. These standards are set by government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For example, the DOE sets minimum efficiency standards for furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, and heat pumps. The standards are based on the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) for furnaces and boilers and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the AFUE or SEER rating, the more efficient the equipment is.
When selling and installing new equipment to homeowners, contractors are required to sell systems that are in compliance with new regulations for that region. There are still many options to choose from for equipment; however, the new minimum SEER2 rating is 14 in Northern parts of the United States, and 15 SEER in more southern regions of the U.S. Additionally, there are benefits to installing an efficient system.
Lower energy bills: When you have an efficient air conditioner or furnace system, it uses less energy to heat or cool your home. This means that you’ll save money on your energy bills each month.
Environmental impact: Heating and cooling your home accounts for a significant portion of your home’s carbon footprint. An efficient HVAC system can help reduce your environmental impact by using less energy and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Comfort: An efficient HVAC system can also provide better comfort for your home. When your furnace system or air conditioner is working properly, it can maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home and reduce humidity levels.
Longer equipment lifespan: Efficient HVAC systems also tend to have longer lifespans than less efficient systems. This means that you’ll have to replace your equipment less frequently, saving you money in the long run.
Regular maintenance: Regular HVAC maintenance is key to keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. This includes changing air filters, cleaning coils, and checking for leaks or other issues.
Upgrading equipment: If your HVAC system is old or inefficient, upgrading to a newer, more efficient model can make a big difference in your energy bills and comfort.
Programmable and smart thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to set your HVAC system to run only when you need it. This can help reduce energy use and save money on your bills. Smart Thermostats take it up a notch by automating the temperature adjustments based on your schedule.
Insulation and air sealing: Proper insulation and air sealing can help keep your home more comfortable and reduce the workload on your HVAC system.
HVAC efficiency standards are an important consideration for homeowners. By paying attention to these standards and taking steps to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system, you can save money on your energy bills, reduce your environmental impact, and enjoy better comfort in your home.