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

Furnace or Heat Pump – How to Decide

If you are building a new home or replacing your heat source in your existing home, you may be considering your options. Both heat pumps and furnaces are popular heat sources, each with their own benefits. But, there are differences and advantages, depending on what your needs are for your home. Here is a quick comparison of the two to outline the differences.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use the outdoor air to keep the home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. They do not use fuel for heat, but pull in heat from the air to heat the home, or pulls in cold air to cool it. Heat pumps warm the home like an air conditioner in reverse, and they can also cool a house during the summer. Heat pumps are energy efficient for climates that do not have extreme winter weather, offering a substantial energy savings.


Furnaces can offer a wonderful heat source, using oil, gas or electricity for fuel. Furnaces have one purpose – to heat the home. Furnaces burn fuel to make heat and distribute through the home, usually with a duct system. They are wonderful for cold weather, especially regions that often fall below freezing during the winter. However, they only heat and do need to be paired with an air conditioner for cooling during the summer for complete year-round climate control.

In a nut shell, heat pumps are an efficient option for regions that do not have severe winters, while a furnace can offer better heat for below freezing temperatures. Talk to your local HVAC service company to learn more about your heating options for your home.

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

Use An HVAC Contractor For Duct Cleaning

Have you seen those commercials for duct cleaning?  The ones that suggest that your ducts are lined with a mat of dust, dirt, pet dander, mold, mildew, and dust mites?  After seeing those commercials, just the thought of turning on the central air conditioning can make some homeowners start sneezing.

Fortunately, the air ducts in most homes are not like the ones in those scary commercials.  Regularly changing your furnace filter and using a high efficiency pleated filter will prevent most dust accumulations inside your ductwork.  Duct cleaning is probably unnecessary under these circumstances.

However, if your home is more than a few years old and you haven’t exactly been diligent with changing your furnace filter, your ducts are probably lined with a layer of dust.  If moisture has found its way into your duct system, mold and mildew may also be growing inside your ducts.

To prevent mold spores from being spread throughout your home via your air conditioning system and to improve indoor air quality, have your ducts cleaned by an HVAC contractor. There are companies that specialize in air duct cleaning, but the better option is to have your ductwork inspected and cleaned by an experienced HVAC contractor.

HVAC technicians can not only clean your ducts, but they can also spot and correct other air duct issues like poorly sealed ducts, improperly sized ductwork, or a poorly designed and installed duct system.  They can seal leaky ductwork which will not only improve the efficiency of your system, but also reduce the amount of airborne contaminants the enter the ducts and contribute to the dust buildup.

Saving Energy on Heating and Cooling Costs With a New HVAC System

Managing your home heating and cooling costs is a great way to put a few more dollars back in your pocket each month while doing your part to cut down on greenhouse gasses and our dependence on foreign oil.  Energy prices have been on the rise for years and there does not seem to be any relief in sight.

One of the best ways to reduce energy consumption and costs is to replace your older heating and air conditioning system with a new, energy efficient furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.  Today’s heating and cooling systems are far more efficient than systems installed only five to ten years ago.

If your existing system is ten years old or more, you will likely see a dramatic decrease in your heating and cooling costs by having a new energy efficient HVAC system installed by a good local HVAC contractor, especially if your existing system is the original “builder’s grade” system installed in most new homes.

Even if your existing system is still working well, you may be surprised to find out how little time it can take to recoup the cost of a new energy efficient system.  In many cases it only takes five to ten years for your savings in energy costs to pay for the cost of the new system. Once you have recovered the cost of installing a new system, you will enjoy year after year of inexpensive heating and cooling.

When you have your new HVAC system installed, be sure to ask your HVAC contractor to do an HVAC system efficiency analysis including an inspection of your duct system to make sure it is properly sealed.  According to EPA estimates, duct leaks account for energy losses of up to 20% to 30%, especially if your ducts are located in the attic, crawlspace or other unheated area.

Sealing Your HVAC Ducts

Your central heating and cooling system uses a network of ducts to distribute heated or cooled air throughout your home.  The EPA estimates that on average, about 20 percent of the air moving through these ducts leaks out before reaching your vents.  All this lost conditioned air means that your HVAC system must work that much harder to keep your home comfortable.

In addition, if your ducts run through areas that get cold or hot like a basement or attic, insulating the ducts can improve the performance of your HVAC system.  Insulating and sealing your ducts can help with uneven heating and cooling problems.  The rooms farthest from your air handler are usually the most affected by this problem.

Some ducts are inaccessible because they are concealed behind walls or in ceilings or floors, but if your ducts are accessible in your crawlspace, basement or attic, sealing them properly can save you money on your heating and cooling bills and keep your home more comfortable.

If you choose to tackle the project yourself, use mastic or metal tape to seal any leaking joints in the duct system.  Be sure to check around where the ducts connect to the vents and make sure these connections are well sealed.  Insulate any ducts you have access to.

A better alternative is to let a reputable local HVAC contractor with experience in air duct fabrication handle the job.  They will do a professional job of sealing and insulating your ducts and can identify any other problems with your ductwork such as improper installation and design.