Most homeowners prefer that their HVAC system is as energy efficient as possible. That’s why people may decide to replace an old system with a newer model. The upfront cost may be higher, but a more energy efficient HVAC system will save you money on utility bills for years while also making your home a lot more comfortable.
How do you know if your current HVAC system is energy efficient? Are there more efficient options out there? Read on to find out more.
Why Does Energy Efficiency Matter?
In the average U.S. household, approximately $2,200 is spent every year on energy costs. Heating and cooling bills make up about half of this expense. The older an HVAC system is, the less efficiently it is likely to operate. This can mean that the annual cost of heating and cooling the home increases year after year.
Plus, it’s worth considering that the HVAC system in the average home emits twice as much greenhouse gases than does the average car. This means that energy efficiency also is critical from an environmental standpoint.
Your HVAC system may not be as energy efficient as possible if you are experiencing one or more of these problems:
- Room to room temperature fluctuations
- Humidity is an issue even with the AC running
- The HVAC system runs constantly
- The system doesn’t use zoning
- Your energy bills are going up
- The system is a decade old
Each of these issues is discussed in greater detail below.
You Notice Temperature Fluctuations Between Rooms
The indoor portion of most HVAC systems includes an air-handling unit while ductwork is responsible for the proper distribution of warm or cool air throughout the house.
If the overall system is not well designed, is undersized or is not properly maintained, then this can be responsible for causing unpredictable cold or hot spots within the home.
When an HVAC unit is not properly maintained, dirt can build up in the system, reducing its capacity. While this may allow some rooms to reach their desired temperature, others will not.
Scheduling routine maintenance services that are performed by a certified HVAC technician can fix this problem. During a maintenance visit, the indoor unit is cleaned and the ductwork is reviewed to see if it also needs to be cleaned.
If uneven temperature problems persist, then it may be time to revamp the HVAC system with some new zoning. This technique employs shorter ductwork, which means better efficiency.
The Air Conditioner Is Running, but the House Is Still Humid
The only thing that’s more oppressive than the heat on a summer day is the humidity. A properly functioning HVAC system solves both heat issues and excessive humidity.
That’s because excess moisture condenses as it passes over the air conditioner’s cold evaporator coils. This efficiently removes that dampness from the interior of the house.
However, this process doesn’t work so well when the evaporator coils can’t get cold enough. What keeps the coils from achieving the right level of cold? Usually, it’s a problem with a maintenance issue or having too little refrigerant.
When humidity levels indoors are too high, homeowners may find themselves turning the thermostat down even lower. This makes the HVAC system work harder and use more energy while still not producing the desired results.
When the coils are clean and the refrigerant is properly charged, indoor humidity generally isn’t an issue, and the HVAC system operates far more efficiently.
The HVAC System Never Stops Running
Do you ever feel like your heating and cooling system never turns off? When in proper working order, an HVAC system runs in cycles. It turns on and then off again, probably many times throughout the day, so that it can keep the temperature at the level to which it’s been set at the thermostat.
However, if your heat pump or other heating and cooling system is undersized for the square footage of your home, then it doesn’t have a chance to ever turn off. It just keeps running and running, trying to keep up with demand.
You may run into a similar problem if your HVAC system isn’t really up to dealing with all of the extreme temperatures that may be encountered in Delaware. An undersized unit means that your house won’t be cool enough in the summer or warm enough in the winter.
If you feel like your heat pump or other heating and cooling system isn’t really keeping up with the load at your house, then it’s time to consult with a reliable technician. They can diagnose a size issue and help you to find a new unit that’s bigger and powerful enough to handle the load that your household puts on it. That translates to greatly improved energy efficiency.
The Unit Manages the Temperature for the Whole House
Not so long ago, most HVAC systems were installed with the idea of heating or cooling the whole house to the same temperature. This means that if someone liked to have a certain room cooler or warmer than the rest of the house, they were out of luck. Every room had to be set to the same temperature.
This can actually be a huge drain on energy efficiency. It takes a lot of work for your HVAC system to keep an entire house at one set temperature. Imagine if you could lower the temperature setting in certain rooms that don’t see use during the day. This would mean that during the winter, your heat pump wouldn’t have to work so hard, and you would save money. While the temperature is brought lower in unoccupied rooms, you could still keep things toasty in rooms that are being used.
This is a concept known as zoning, and it can make almost anyone’s home far more energy efficient. It puts you in control by allowing you to set different temperature zones throughout the house. With hardly lifting a finger, you’re taking a more environmentally friendly approach that also saves you money.
Your Utility Bills Are Rising
Do you feel like your energy bills have increased over the last year or so? If so, then it may be because your HVAC system isn’t as efficient as it used to be. Normal wear and tear may be responsible for slight increases in cost from year to year.
However, if you’re seeing a sizable fluctuation with regard to how much you’re paying this year compared to last year, then it’s time to have your system evaluated. It’s possible that it may be compensating for underperforming parts.
Your System Is a Decade Old
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, it’s sensible to consider replacing an HVAC system approximately every 10 years. Similarly, the EPA advises consumers to invest in a new boiler or furnace approximately every 15 years. This ensures that you are taking advantage of the latest, most efficient technology.
As an example, consider that a heat pump that was installed prior to 2006 might have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, of somewhere between four and ten. A brand-new heat pump is likely to have a SEER of between 13 and 26. Clearly, opting for a new heat pump is going to make a serious difference in your energy efficiency and your utility bills.
Let Delaware Heating and Cooling Assess Your System
If you think that your heating and cooling system isn’t operating in tip-top form, then give Delaware Heating and Cooling a call. We can help you with things like:
- Choosing an ENERGY STAR program unit
- Weighing your SEER options
- Choosing the right size unit
- Ensuring that your entire HVAC system is as energy efficient as possible
If you have any questions or would like to have a technician come out to your house, just let us know. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff members are here to serve you.