How Does Energy Star Rate HVAC Equipment for your Home?
If you have been researching HVAC equipment for your Charlotte area home, you’ve noticed that some of it bears the Energy Star seal and some doesn’t. Many consumers want to choose Energy Star products to be sure they are getting energy-efficient HVAC equipment that will lower their energy bills. Others may also be looking for products that will earn a rebate from Duke Energy, Piedmont Gas or maybe just a Tax Credit.
Many Charlotte NC homeowners also want heating and air conditioning equipment that is better for the environment because it uses less energy and creates fewer greenhouse gases.
Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
The efficiency levels in central air conditioners and heat pumps has risen dramatically in the last 10-15 years. Current requirements (as of January 1, 2009) for a central air conditioner or a heat pump to be classified as an Energy Star product include the following:
- Split system air conditioners and heat pumps: 14.5 SEER, 11.5 EER and 8.2 HSPF (HSPF for heat pumps only)
- Packaged system air conditioners and heat pumps: 14.0 SEER, 11.0 EER and 8.0 HSPF (HSPF for heat pumps only)
- SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating – a measurement of how efficiently the unit converts electricity into air conditioning over an entire cooling season. It represents an average cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit is.
- EER: Energy Efficiency Rating – the measurement of how efficient the unit is at any single point in time. It represents a minimum cooling capacity.
- HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor – the measurement of how efficiently the unit converts electricity into heat over an entire heating season. It also takes into account supplemental heat strips in the air handler, if they are present.
The current criteria for gas furnaces is that they need to achieve 90% AFUE, or Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This means that 90% of the heat they generate goes directly to heat your home, and only 10% of the heat is wasted through the exhaust.
Energy Star and Your Charlotte Home
Many homeowners are becoming more energy conscious. Volatile, rising energy costs have made Energy Star-rated HVAC equipment more attractive. Since the heating and air conditioning system can account for up to 50% of the home’s energy use, choosing energy-efficient products is an essential part of controlling energy costs. Many Charlotte homeowners are starting to learn more about installing Hybrid HVAC systems to maximize their choices in energy usage, as well as realizing a new way to increase a homes value by updating the HVAC system!
These Energy Star specifications represent a minimum standard for high-efficiency. There are many gas furnaces, central air conditioners and heat pumps that exceed Energy Star standards for efficiency. They provide an excellent range of products that allow consumers to choose the level of energy efficiency that is right for them.
As always, when you are getting prices for a new HVAC system, do your best to get at least 3 competitive quotes.