In order to guide your selection of new HVAC equipment, you’ll want to utilize efficiency ratings. By doing so, you can calculate the expected energy savings from any one particular piece of equipment and compare your findings to other systems. As a result, you can select the highest-performing system possible to meet your needs and your budget, too.
Each type of heating and cooling equipment will have an efficiency rating, but all of the ratings indicate how well a system will utilize energy to produce conditioned air. Once you have calculated expected energy savings, you can work with your contractor to estimate installation costs and overall lifetime costs associated with owning the equipment, and then make your selection.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Air conditioners carry an efficiency rating called Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), and the government requires a minimum standard of 13. But you can increase monthly energy savings by choosing a higher-performing system, which generally begin with a SEER rating of 16.
- Furnaces also have a minimum efficiency rating standard developed by the government, which is 90 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). These are high-efficiency systems, but you can select a furnace that reaches 98 percent AFUE as well to maximize savings over the long heating season.
- Geothermal heating and cooling systems use free, renewable energy from the ground, and their heating efficiency rating is called a coefficient of performance, or COP, beginning at 3.3 for a closed-loop system and 3.6 for an open-loop system. Because geothermal systems also cool, you’ll want to look for the energy efficiency ratio (EER) for both types of systems, which is 14.1 and 16.2, respectively.
You can also use efficiency ratings to evaluate water-heating systems. Storage-tank models use the energy factor (EF) efficiency rating. Minimum performance requirements for gas-powered water heaters are set at 0.75. Tankless heaters have a minimum efficiency, 0.80, set to be enacted in 2016.
When you’re ready to upgrade, contact the experts at Arpi’s Industries, and we’ll help you wade through your options and select the right efficiency rating. We’ve been serving greater Calgary-area homeowners for almost 50 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about efficiency ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.