What Does SEER Rating Mean?

Are you looking at new AC units and noticing SEER ratings listed? This is one of the factors that is often listed as a benefit on AC units, but if you do not know what it means, it doesn’t help you decide on which model is right for you. Here is some basic information on this measurement and what it means in terms of energy efficiency and cooling your home.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating

Although it is often referred to as a SEER rating, the acronym SEER already uses the word “rating” as it stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Although the term SEER rating is redundant, it is one of the factors what you want to look for when choosing a new AC unit for your home.

Most older AC units that are currently installed in homes have SEER ratings of less than 10. New models have at least 13-14, which is a big difference in energy savings. SEER ratings can go up to 21 or higher, with improved efficiency at each level. However, the higher the rating, the more expensive the AC unit is likely to be. While you want a new AC unit that will save you money on energy costs, you need to calculate whether it is worth the extra initial investment. In warmer regions it may be – but keep in mind that SEER ratings are the maximum a unit will get, not the minimum.

When it comes time to buy a new HVAC unit for your home, talk to an HVAC professional about the importance of SEER ratings. Having an energy analysis done in your home can give you a better idea of what level of SEER would be best for your use and help you get the right model for your needs.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
1925 Lena Carter Road
Buford, GA 30519
(770) 475-9528

Old Furnace Plus New Air Conditioning Equals Lower Efficiency

Most air conditioning systems work in tandem with a furnace, with the blower motor of the furnace doing dual duty in both the summer and the winter. However, it’s not uncommon for a homeowner may replace their air conditioning system with a new, more efficient model while leaving the old furnace in place. What they may not realize is that their new air conditioning system, even one with a high SEER rating, cannot provide optimal energy savings while attached to an older, inefficient furnace. 

Understanding The SEER Rating

When purchasing a new central air conditioning unit, one of the most important factors is the SEER rating. SEER stands for seasonal efficiency energy ratio. This rating is based on the cooling output and the energy input, with the higher the number representing larger energy savings. Newer models, especially those manufactured after 2006, have higher SEER ratings along with substantially increased efficiency. However, to realize this efficiency, it must be attached to an efficient blower motor. 

Anyone who is replacing their air conditioning system should also be ensuring that their furnace can meet the efficiency needs of their new unit. Most furnaces that are 15 years or older are less likely to be able to perform at peak efficiency. A new air conditioner connected to an older furnace will not necessarily be able to perform at the SEER rating advertised. 

In many cases, the furnace and air conditioning should be replaced at the same time to ensure the maximum amount of efficiency. Having one system which is older can detract from the energy efficiency of the other. Before replacing only the air conditioning system, make sure to have your HVAC professional inspect your furnace to ensure that it can meet the efficiency requirements of your new system.

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Saving Money on Heating and Cooling

Keeping your home comfortable throughout the year without breaking the bank is a common goal for most homeowners. After all, you want to be warm in winter and cool during the summer, and you don’t want to spend a fortune to keep up with the energy bills. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce energy waste, saving money each month while reducing the impact that your home has on the greater environment.

First, consider having the efficiency of your HVAC system analyzed by a licensed professional. An experienced contractor will be able to inspect your system, looking for any areas where a bit of HVAC maintenance or minor repairs will increase efficiency. Remember that less waste means lower bills, but it also means that you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your home.

After a full audit of your HVAC system, it’s time to start making a series of small changes that will, collectively, have a big impact. Make sure that your filters are changed or cleaned regularly. Dirty or clogged filters force your system to work harder, thus costing you more in terms of energy usage. Adjust thermostat settings when you’re away from home, or invest in a programmable thermostat that will do the work for you. Repair any damaged or worn weather stripping to prevent air leakage.

Working closely with a seasoned HVAC professional will help you to find myriad ways in which you can reduce both your usage and your bills without sacrificing comfort. Call an HVAC contractor in your area to discuss your options and find solutions that will work for your unique household.

Posted on behalf James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC

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Is My Single Zone System Inferior To A Two Zone System?

Most homes in the Unites States will have either one or two HVAC systems, while some very large homes will have three or systems.  A system includes an indoor air unit as well as a condenser, which is located on the exterior of the home.  The number of systems depends upon several factors including the size of the home and the layout.  

A qualified HVAC contractor will make a series of calculations to determine the heating and cooling load on the home, while looking at the insulation, windows and doors, which factor into the heat gain and loss.  The results of these calculations, as well as the requirements of the building and mechanical code, will determine the size of the system.  Once the size is determined, the HVAC contractor will then determine if a one or two zone system will be required, based upon the load and the layout of the home.  Often, while it is possible to use a single system based upon the heating and cooling load, the layout of the home, as well as the structural design, prevents the HVAC contractor from providing heating and cooling to all parts of the house. 

The HVAC contractor will install the most efficient system in your home to meet the heating and cooling needs.  This design will be the most economical to install as well as the most economically to operate.  As a homeowner, there is not need to worry that a single zone system is inferior to a two zone system!

What Does HVAC Stand For and How Are They Related?

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning is a system design of technology based on the mechanical engineering discipline and principles far beyond the understanding of us typical homeowner consumers. So let’s skip the technical mumbo-jumbo; this is not an engineering or physics classroom.

What is important to know is that it is all about developing an adequate system for your particular space (home, office, car) that will provide the most effective indoor environmental comfort. A product of the industrial revolution, HVAC systems are continuously reviewed and reworked, ever striving for greater effectiveness and energy efficiency.

The design of the HVAC system is critical because building conditions are regulated to provide us with fresh outdoor air that is safe and healthy. Simply put, it is a means of providing and removing air delivery from enclosed spaces.

While the terms “heating” and “air conditioning” appear to be self-explanatory in their definitions, primary health concerns can result from their operation without the coexistence of proper ventilation. It is easy to see that these three functions are interrelated. Ventilation is the process of circulating air within a building and exchanging it with outside air. An acceptable HVAC system should be designed to “maintain” indoor air quality, control temperature and humidity, and limit exposure to the health threats of airborne bacteria or carbon dioxide, while oxygen is replenished. Furthermore, potential air contaminants (such as smoke or dust) should be removed.

With continuous changes in technology, energy efficiency and government regulation, it is always best to contact your local HVAC expert when contemplating changing, replacing or installing a new heating and air conditioning system; your health and comfort may depend on them.

R-22 Phase-Out and What it Means for You

If you’re not an HVAC professional, the news that one of the most common and popular air conditioner refrigerants on the market is being phased out may have passed you by. R-22, the refrigerant used in many air conditioners, is in the process of being phased out and replaced by a more environmentally sound choice, R-410a. While this may seem like unimportant news on the surface, this change could actually affect you and your home. 

Starting in 2020, any air conditioner or heating systems relying on R-22 refrigerant will be restricted in terms of what they can use, with all R-22 being exclusively reclaimed or recycled. This will almost certainly cause services requiring refrigerant to become much more expensive. 

While the Environmental Protection Agency does not currently require homeowners to convert or change R-22 refrigerant-reliant systems, you may still want to consider upgrading to an EPA-compliant system. Whether you’re looking to do your part in terms of taking care of the environment or simply looking for a more cost-effective way to control the temperature of your home, an air conditioner replacement may be the best solution. As the availability of R-22 drops, the price will undoubtedly skyrocket. 

A licensed HVAC professional in your area will still be able to service an air conditioner that uses R-22, even as the price of the substance rises. Speaking with your HVAC professional to discuss your options regarding upgrades and how the phaseout of R-22 will affect you can give you the details you need to make an informed, wise decision.

Heating and Cooling Your Vacation Home

Because you only spend a portion of the year in your vacation home or recreational vehicle, you may not give much thought to the heating and cooling options available to you. In fact, saving money on the operation and maintenance of a second home or RV can be as simple as reviewing your climate-control options with an eye on efficiency. 

The appeal of a vacation home is, for many, the idea of escaping to a climate entirely different that that of your primary residence. While this does introduce an exotic element to your vacations, it also means that the requirements of an HVAC system will almost certainly be quite different from those of the home where you spend most of your time. In these cases, you’ll need to discuss the matter with a licensed and experienced HVAC contractor in that area so that you can determine the best possible solution for boosting both comfort and efficiency. In addition to the HVAC system installation, you’ll also need to discuss the necessary winterizing steps and climate control for harsh temperatures when you won’t be in the home, especially if the vacation home is situated in a particularly cold climate. 

For recreational vehicles and travel trailers, HVAC needs will often be quite different. Some residential heating and cooling companies offer their services to owners of mobile vacation homes, and will be well-versed in the best HVAC solutions for them. In order to enjoy your vacation or second home to the fullest, you’ll need to make sure that it’s as comfortable as possible. Your HVAC technician will be able to help you make the necessary changes to ensure that your vacation home is an efficient and comfortable place to spend leisure time.

Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

The most reliable sign of an air conditioning unit that needs replacing is one that no longer works. Still, there are a variety of reasons along the way to your AC’s last gasp that may indicate that it’s time to consider installing a new air conditioner

Before your air conditioner completely gives up, you may be faced with a series of expensive repairs. If you’re calling an HVAC technician on a fairly regular basis to diagnose and repair yet another problem with the AC unit, it’s wise to start looking into replacement options. By beginning your search while the existing unit is still marginally functional, you’ll be afforded a bit of time to do some research regarding this large purchase. When you’re not under the time constraints introduced by high temperatures and air conditioning that isn’t working, you’re able to more thoroughly examine your options. 

Another sign of a faltering AC unit is the constant need to adjust the thermostat. If you’re never quite comfortable, your air conditioner could be struggling to keep up with the distribution of air throughout your home. 

Even if your AC is still in good working condition, you may find that upgrading to a newer, more energy efficient model saves so much on your monthly cooling bills that the new unit effectively pays for itself over just a few years. Discussing the age, condition and level of functionality of your AC unit with an experienced HVAC contractor is the best way to determine what, if any, action should be taken in regard to your air conditioning system.

Replacing your HVAC Equipment

When is the right time to replace your heating, ventilation or air conditioning unit? You should keep your eye out for signs that indicate it’s time for an HVAC system replacement. If some particular signs occur, it’s best to call an HVAC professional to help you decide about upgrading your system. 

If your heat pump or air conditioning unit is over 10 years old, and your furnace or boiler is over 15 years old, consider replacing it with a system that is certified with an ENERGY STAR label. These high-efficiency units can save you up to 20 percent on energy costs for cooling or heating your home. 

You should also weigh your options and consider replacing any units based on the following criteria: 

  • Rooms in your home become excessively cold or hot — this likely can be blamed on poor circulation or your system running inefficiently.
  • Your cooling or heating equipment is inefficient, needs regular repairs or the cost of using them steadily increases — older equipment will continue to need more maintenance as they increase in age.
  • No one is at home for extended periods and your system does not have a programmable thermostat — consider purchasing or using a programmable thermostat to maintain an equal temperature.
  • Your home has humidity problems — this could be a sign of poor or failing equipment, or leaks in your home’s ducts that allows the air to become too humid or dry, depending on the season.
  • Your home regularly becomes very dusty or dirty — loose or leaking ducts allow dust and dirt particles in the air, as well as air from attics, basements and crawl spaces, and allow them to spread through your house.

 

Invest Your Tax Refund In Lower Energy Costs

Many families receive a sizable tax refund each year that they can use to invest in improving their homes. One great investment to make with that extra money is to update your heating and cooling system to save you money all year round on your energy bill. What better way to get the most out of your refund then to use it to make your home more efficient and comfortable for years to come? 

Energy efficient heating and cooling systems can make a large difference in your utility bills each month. As much as 50% of energy bills go toward keeping your home at an even, comfortable temperature. If your system is 10 years old or older, you could save up to 30% on your annual heating and cooling costs by replacing your HVAC system with a new energy efficient system. Over the years, the new system can almost pay for itself! In addition to ongoing savings, there are several other reasons to look at upgrading your HVAC system:

  • If you struggle to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, a new energy efficient system can solve many of these problems. Having a trained professional evaluate your home and recommend the best system for your needs can make a huge difference in how comfortable your home stays in both the winter and summer months.
  • New efficient HVAC systems can lower your carbon footprint. New technology has made many of the newer models healthier for the environment and can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted.
  • A new system can also add to the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Many people are looking for homes that have energy efficiency when they are in the market to buy. 

What better way to use your tax refund then to invest it back into your home and see a return on that investment for years to come!