Heating & Cooling Costs
Understanding efficiency & operating costs for your comfort system
Like many other appliances, the cost of your indoor comfort system includes not only its initial price, but also the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance. This means that the cooling and heating equipment and controls that you select today will continue to impact your finances for as long as you live in your home. That's why investing in a high efficiency comfort system makes sense.
A Wise Investment
Your heating and air conditioning typically accounts for more than 40% of
your home's annual energy costs. In effect, your indoor comfort system
is the only part of your home that can actually pay for itself while also providing the added benefits of increased comfort and quieter operation.
The Impact of SEER Rating on Energy Costs
For every $100 you spend to cool your home using a 10 SEER system, you would spend considerably less using a system of 12 SEER or higher. For example, if your annual cooling costs were $1,000 with a 10 SEER system, they could be reduced to $710 with a 14 SEER system.
Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings, indicated as a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). In general, the higher the HSPF rating, the less electricity the unit will use to do its job.
In 1992, the federal government established the minimum heating efficiency standard for new heat pumps at 6.8 HSPF. (Most heat pumps manufactured before 1992 had HSPF ratings below 5.) The minimum HSPF standard changed again on January 23, 2006 to an HSPF of 7.7. Today, an HSPF of 8.2 or higher is considered "high-efficiency"; the maximum available is 9.35.
Other Energy Efficiency Factors
Although the efficiency of your cooling and heating equipment will have the greatest impact on your energy usage, other factors will also help reduce energy costs.
Maintain Proper Humidity
When cooling during the warm humid months, you will feel more comfortable at a higher temperature if the humidity level in your home is kept between 40 to 60%. This will reduce the load on your equipment and can save 10 to 15% in cooling costs.
Condition Only Occupied Rooms
Zoning or Programmable Thermostats can control your equipment according to your family's lifestyle and daily occupancy schedule. This allows you to eliminate the wasted energy of conditioning areas in your home that are unused or unoccupied.
Keep Equipment Clean
Regularly scheduled professional maintenance is also crucial to maintaining your system's maximum efficiency. Keeping your equipment clean by using an Electronic or Mechanical Air Cleaner will help maintain your system's optimum performance too.