Tips to Achieve Increased Energy Efficiency For Your HVAC System
Having an energy efficient HVAC system certainly helps in more ways than one. The most important advantage is that it will reduce your monthly energy costs. And it will also keep your system functioning well for a longer period of time and certainly during those cool Bay Area winters.
But just installing energy efficient systems is not enough. You must understand and take certain measures to ensure that you are actually making the most of the energy that you are consuming.
How to Determine Energy Efficiency Levels?
It is first necessary to understand how energy efficiency is gauged and to take a look at common HVAC terms or ratings.
- SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
The ratio of cooling output in BTU (British thermal units) divided by electricity usage (in kilowatt hours) is what the SEER indicates. This ratio makes use of actual seasonal cooling as opposed to laboratory conditions. If your HVAC system has a higher SEER rating, it indicates that it is more energy efficient.
2. EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)
The difference between SEER and EER is that unlike the SEER, EER strictly uses laboratory conditions to calculate the efficiency ratio. Similar to the SEER, a high EER number shows higher efficiency of the HVAC system.
3. HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
The HSPF is an efficiency ratio for heat pumps. Heat pumps are beneficial as they heat and cool as well. The HSPF calculates the total heating needed in BTU, over the total electricity consumed by the pump in kilowatt hours. Again, a higher number indicates a more efficient heat pump.
How can you achieve increased energy efficiency?
- Get an energy efficient system installed
This is the first step to ensure energy efficiency. If your HVAC system is old, it makes more sense to upgrade to a system with a high SEER rating and Energy Star rated models.
- Undertake retrofitting
Retrofitting refers to replacing certain damaged or malfunctioning components of the HVAC system rather than replacing the whole system. Replacing condenser fans or adding fan controls will increase the efficiency of the system and buy you time until you decide to undertake a complete overhaul of the system.
- Add a programmable thermostat
Programmable controls greatly help in preventing your system from overworking and in using energy consumed wisely.
Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically control the temperature and zoning in the house and maintain a heating or cooling schedule depending on the season and movement inside the house.
- Invest in insulation
No matter how well your AC cools and how energy efficient your system is, you will still experience energy wastage if your house is not properly insulated.
If walls, windows and ducts are leaky, you will lose a lot of hot or cool air and never have the required indoor temperature. Use insulation material with a high r value (the amount of insulation a particular material provides).
- Ensure uninterrupted airflow
Keep both indoor and outdoor units clean and free of dirt, dust, and debris, so that there are no blockages to airflow. Ensure vents and ducts are not blocked by any furniture or drapes.