Energy Star HVAC: A Short Guide
Every Bay Area house is looking for the most energy efficient HVAC system. This goes a long way in helping you save energy as well as lower your monthly utility bills. But not all HVAC system installations are energy efficient.
Often times, you may renew your HVAC contract but that does not mean that you are getting accurate advice from the technicians.
Technological advancements have led to more compact and quiet HVAC systems that consume less energy and give you better performance with low maintenance.
What is Energy Star rating?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the Energy STAR rating program to rate individual HVAC systems based on their energy efficiency.
But recently, they have also turned it into a certification process known as ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation program (ESVI) which provides clients with a list of certified HVAC system installers that can design and fit a system appropriate for your house.
What to look out for?
It is not enough to purchase an energy efficient HVAC system. Even the most energy efficient system will be of no use if it is not the right size for your home and does not fulfill your requirements. Certified HVAC contractors will suggest you the right sized system and also focus on ductwork, which plays a major role in HVAC efficiency and performance.
Need for ENERGY STAR verification
Many people might just swap their old system for a new one that is similar to the earlier model. But keep in mind that the factors that affect HVAC efficiency are not always constant. These include the local climate, the condition of your house and its construction over the years, status of the ductwork or addition of rooms.
ENERGY STAR verification ensures smooth airflow throughout the house, hence adding to efficient performance of the system.
What does the ENERGY STAR verification include?
The ENERGY STAR verification focuses on different aspects:
a) Size of the unit
An HVAC system needs to be of a size proportionate to the size of the house. In case of HVAC unit sizes, bigger is not always better. A big unit will cool quickly but will keep shutting down and switching on. A big unit will also not dehumidify your house.
A smaller unit on the other hand will have to run longer than necessary to cool the whole area. This will put pressure on the unit and the components will see more wear and tear sending your energy bills soaring.
Many contractors install a size bigger if they cannot find a system suitable for your home size. The ENERGY STAR verification ensures that each home is inspected for size.
b) Ductwork sealing
Leaky ducts are probably the main cause of inefficient HVAC system performance. Faulty ductwork and leaks cause the conditioned air to get lost to the atmosphere, resulting in a significant wastage of resources. According to ENERGY STAR, leaky ducts can increase your energy bills by almost 20 percent.
c) Checking of refrigerant levels
ENERGY STAR HVAC system inspections include regular refrigerant level checks to ensure that the evaporator coil can function properly.