Why Are SEER Ratings Important for HVAC Equipment?

Do you know the SEER ratings for your furnace or AC equipment? If you recently bought a new furnace or AC unit, this number was one of the specifications listed and should have been a consideration on which unit you purchased. Seasonal energy efficiency ratio or SEER is a rating on how well heating or cooling equipment can perform under optimal conditions. Here are some reasons why this rating is important and how it can impact your heating and cooling costs.

What is SEER?

Basically, the SEER number listed for your HVAC equipment is a calculation of the output of the unit versus the energy used during a set period. The higher the number, the more efficient the equipment. The newer units have SEER ratings of 13/14 or above, while units made decades ago started life at much lower efficiency.

Does SEER Change with Time?

The older your HVAC equipment gets, the less efficient it can become. The SEER rating is the optimal efficiency level. As components wear out, your HVAC system can perform less efficiently. You may notice your energy bills rising and believe it is just a change in energy costs. That may or may not be true; it could be that your HVAC system is no longer performing as efficiently.

Energy Savings with High SEER Equipment

Upgrading from a 10-14 SEER AC unit to a 16+ SEER can make a big difference in both energy efficiency and comfort. Your AC unit will have to work less to achieve the same level of climate control. While a SEER of 13 is the minimum, anything above 16 is considered high-efficiency.

If it is time to replace any of your HVAC equipment, make sure you talk to your HVAC pros about SEER ratings and what level is best for your home. It can help reduce energy costs and improve the overall performance of your HVAC system.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
3870 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 340-129
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 475-9555

5 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill

Climate control in your home is one of the biggest factors on your energy costs. Staying cool in the summer is expensive, but so is staying warm during the winter. If you are tired of paying big utility bills during the colder months of the year, there are ways to reduce your heating costs. Here are five tips to stay warm without paying a fortune on your heating bills each month.

  1. Use your programmable thermostat. Maximize when you heat your home and when you can lower the temperature with a programmable thermostat. Utilize the program features to set a lower temperature during hours no one is at home to reduce heating costs.
  2. Minimize heat loss. Insulating your home and reducing heat loss can save money. Shut doors to rooms not in use; close vents or shut off these zones to stop heating unused rooms. Using window treatments or updating to insulated windows can also help reduce heat loss.
  3. Keep your temperatures moderate. Set your thermostat for 68 degrees when you are home to manage your heating costs. Add couch blankets and warm slippers to stay cozy instead of raising the indoor temperature.
  4. Keep up with furnace maintenance. Servicing your furnace or heat pump can ensure it is working properly and efficiently. Make sure to have annual tune-ups for your system.
  5. Get an efficiency analysis. Not sure if your furnace or heat pump is working efficiently? Have your HVAC pro complete an efficiency analysis on your system. There may be ways to improve your efficiency and lower your heating bills.

Stay warm without paying big heating bills. Maintain your HVAC system and use smart methods to manage your heating to keep your energy costs low during the winter.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Insulate to Conserve Energy

Even the most efficient HVAC system can ultimately cost you higher energy bills if the air it conditions doesn’t stay in the building. Leaks, drafts and poorly insulated walls will allow your money to literally go right out the window. Instead of investing in a larger HVAC unit, consider insulating your building to increase your energy efficiency.

Blown-in insulation can prevent air loss and excessive energy consumption with minimal disruption to your commercial or residential space. Keep the external temperatures outside and your conditioned air inside with a professional blow-in insulation.

With blow-in insulation, there’s no need to tear out drywall or wood finish. Insulation is blown directly into wall voids through attic or drop ceiling spaces. Problem areas around door jambs and window frames are sealed up to prevent energy loss. Blown insulation makes older existing buildings more efficient without having to remove walls, wall coverings and fixtures to access voids.

When your building is improperly insulated, the HVAC system must work harder to maintain the comfort level you want for your interior spaces. That ultimately reduces the effective life expectancy of system components, as well as increasing maintenance costs.

Blown insulation will help you get more out of your HVAC system, at a lower strain on the system and with a lower electric bill. If your air conditioning seems to be running non-stop to maintain an adequate interior temperature for your home or business, contact your local HVAC service provider and ask for an inspection. A professional HVAC service technician can identify potential energy problem areas, and recommend a solution that will optimize your system’s efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Alpharetta, GA
(770) 475-9555

Is Your HVAC System Costing You a Small Fortune?

Summer can be a tough time when it comes to energy costs. Hot days lead to large air conditioning energy bills that can be painfully expensive. If this summer seemed to cost you even more than usual when it came to keeping your home cool, it may be time to invest in a new HVAC system. But before you invest in a new system, it may be worth your while to have an energy analysis performed on your HVAC.

What to Expect in an Energy Analysis

Many quality HVAC service contractors offer an energy analysis to help gauge the performance of your HVAC system. This evaluation is especially valuable on older systems that may be costing you a small fortune extra in energy costs over newer, more efficient models. Some of the factors that many contractors will check in an analysis include:

  • Energy output and consumption
  • Air quality in the home
  • Air and temperature distribution
  • Inspection of equipment
  • Inspection for safety issues

Once the analysis is done, the contractor can recommend solutions for decreasing energy use and increasing efficiency. In many cases the HVAC system is still in good condition but just needs maintenance or maybe the addition of an automated thermostat to improve efficiency. In other cases, it may be worth the investment into a newer model that offers a much higher level of energy efficiency, paying for the new system in a matter of a year or two.

If you are tired of paying too much for your energy bill to cool and heat your home, call your local HVAC contractor to schedule an energy analysis and inspection of your HVAC system. It could make a big difference in your monthly energy bills.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
Buford, GA
(770) 475-9528

Is Your HVAC System Efficient?

Efficient HVAC systems save commercial and residential property owners money thru reduced operational costs.  Saving money is extremely important to both business owners and homeowners alike in today’s economic environment.  The best way to determine the efficiency of any system is to perform a thorough energy efficiency analysis, which will examine energy consumption, energy costs and identify any potential cost savings opportunities.  The goal of the analysis is to make specific recommendations to improve system performance, while minimizing costs and maximizing comfort. 

Typically an energy efficiency analysis will consist of a physical examination of the existing HVAC system, as well as a quantitative analysis of the system.  During the physical examination, the technician will examine the individual components of the system, while performing an inventory of the system.  The condition of the individual components will be noted, as well as any existing safety hazards.  The system’s air distribution and temperature systems will be checks as well.  In some cases, an indoor air quality test may also be performed.  

As one would expect, the quantitative analysis on the system is all about the numbers and data.  Past historical data showing the ownership and operating costs of the HVAC system are examined to determine the total cost of ownership.  An analysis of energy consumption will also be performed to determine how much energy is being consumed.   Based upon the physical inspection of the system, as well as the quantitative analysis of the data, a written report is provided to the property owner with specific recommendations, estimated costs for improvements, as well as an implementation plan for the proposed improvements.

Posted on behalf of Find Local HVAC

HVAC System Fan Setting

You may not have given it much thought, but if you take a look at your thermostat, you’ll probably see that it has two settings for the fan:  auto and on.  On the auto setting the fan only runs when the system is either heating or cooling.  With the fan set to on, the fan runs continuously.

There are pros and cons of each setting.  The choice of whether to set your fan to on or auto depends on your situation.  Leaving the fan in the on position uses more electricity than setting it to auto.  If you have an older traditional furnace and air conditioner system, the fan uses quite a lot more electricity when it runs constantly.  Depending on energy costs in your area, continuously running the fan on these systems could cost $300 to $400 more than leaving the fan on auto.

If you have a new, energy efficient HVAC system with a variable speed fan, the cost difference is somewhat less; about $50 to $100.  In addition, running the fan continuously will reduce the system’s ability to dehumidify the air in your home.  Some of the moisture that condenses on the coils and would ordinarily drip into the drip pan and be drained will instead be blown back into your home.

The advantages of running the fan all the time include improved indoor air quality and more even heating and cooling.  By continuously circulating the air, hot and cold spots in your home will be less of a problem.  Also, your furnace filter will capture more dust and other airborne contaminates if the fan is always on.

Choosing a Programmable Thermostat For Your Heat Pump

A programmable thermostat is an excellent energy saving piece of equipment.  According to EPA estimates, by automatically adjusting the temperature of your home to match your work and sleep schedule, a programmable thermostat can save up to $180 per year in energy costs.

In the winter, a programmable thermostat lowers the temperature setting while you are sleeping or at work, and automatically raises the temperature so that your home is comfortable when you wake up or get home from work.  It works the opposite in the summer.

If you have a standard gas or oil furnace, most universal programmable thermostats will work fine.  Your HVAC technician can install one for you or you can choose one of the many programmable thermostats available at your local home improvement center if you are the do-it-yourself type.

If you have a heat pump, you should talk to a reputable HVAC contractor who has heat pump experience and carries HVAC accessories and optional components.  Until recently, most programmable thermostats worked fine when the heat pump was used in cooling mode, but they were not very effective at saving energy for heat pumps in heating mode.

When the temperature setting is increased more than a couple degrees, most heat pumps rely on auxiliary electric heating strips to help bring the temperature up to the desired setting.  Using the auxiliary heat cancels out the energy savings from lowering the temperature at night.

There are now some thermostats specifically designed to work with heat pumps.  Your HVAC professional can help you choose the right thermostat for your heat pump and make sure it is installed and set up to work properly with your equipment.

Save Heating and Cooling Costs With Ceiling Fans

Homeowners looking for a way to save money on their heating and cooling costs should consider installing ceiling fans.  Properly used, a ceiling fan can work in conjunction with your heating and air conditioning system to help you stay comfortable at temperatures a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter.  A few degrees may not sound like much, but the energy savings can add up quickly.

If you are installing a ceiling fan, be sure to get a fan that is reversible.  You will want to reverse the direction of the fan in the winter.  A competent handyman can install a typical ceiling fan, but if you have any doubt about your ability you should hire a home improvement contractor or electrician to do the installation.  Ceiling fans are heavy and can fall if improperly installed.  Further, the electrical connections are not completed properly there is a risk of fire.

Using the fan properly is the key to energy savings.  In the summer, the fan should be set so that you feel a breeze standing underneath it.  This breeze makes you feel cooler and allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher.

In the winter, turn the fan on low and reverse the direction.  This will create a flow of warm air from the ceiling where it accumulates down to the lower area of the room where it will help keep temperatures a few degrees warmer.

If you are considering a ceiling fan because your air conditioner or heating system can’t keep you and your family comfortable, you may need residential HVAC maintenance.  Have your HVAC system serviced by a reputable HVAC contractor.