Choosing a System with Optimum Efficiency
Another important factor to consider when determining the efficiency of your heat pump or air conditioning is the indoor coil that is used with your equipment. It is important to replace your indoor coil when you replace your system to ensure that your condensing unit will operate as efficiently as possible. When your indoor coil and condensing unit are not compatible, you may experience performance issues, leaving you with efficiency ratings that are less than optimal.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
This efficiency rating measures the proficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump during the cooling process. SEER is mathematically calculated as the systems cooling capacity during normal use, divided by the total electric energy input for the same period of time, not to exceed one year. In 2006, the U.S. government established that new systems should have a SEER ratio of no less than 13.0. Carrier strives to over achieve these standards with ratings ranging from 13.0 to 21 for all of their air conditioners. The higher the SEER rating that the equipment offers, the less energy that is required to operate the system. This means lower long-term energy costs.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
To measure the efficiency of gas fired furnaces and boilers, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is calculated. The AFUE measures how efficiently the furnace can convert gas into heat energy, and is expressed as a percentage. The measure can also indicate how much fuel is used to heat your home, as well as how much of it is being wasted. Of course, the higher the percentage expressed for the AFUE of your system, the lower your energy costs will be because less fuel is being used. The minimum AFUE that is allowed by federal law for new systems today is 78%.
Is it time to replace your old furnace?
Older furnaces with an AFUE rating of approximately 60% are not producing at a rate that is as efficient as a newer model is capable of producing. By replacing your furnace with a more efficient model, you could save up to 40% on your heating bills. While more efficient models may be more costly, you will recover the expense from the money you will save in energy costs.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
Similar to the SEER rating, this ratio measures the efficiency of the heating process as produced by a heat pump. Of course, a higher ratio will result in a more efficient system and lower energy costs. Federal law has set the minimum HSPF for new heat pumps to 6.8. Carrier heat pumps have an HSPF ranging from 6.8 to 9.5. Depending on the climate where you live, the importance of the SEER versus the HSPF may vary. Your Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer can help you determine which system is the best fit for your space.
Save money with HSPF and optimized heat pumps
High efficiency heat pumps may be more costly upfront, but will save you significantly in long-term energy costs. In areas with a warm or humid climate, the cost of high efficiency air conditioning systems may be higher, but will be more than paid back in a few short years of reduced energy bills. Once you have made up for the initial equipment cost, you will continue to save money in utility expenses. Your sales consultant can help you establish how long it might take for this benefit to payoff.