What are the Best Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems?
Homeowners who want to maximize the energy efficiency of their home can begin with one major energy-guzzling culprit: the HVAC unit. Heating and cooling dominates the energy use of the home; in fact, heating and cooling the home accounts for about 40 percent of the home’s energy consumption.
Choosing an energy-efficient HVAC system can help homeowners save money on heating and cooling and stop wasting so much energy, too. What are the best energy-efficient HVAC systems? There really isn’t one best option; in fact, homeowners can choose from many different brands and models.
Energy-efficient HVAC systems can include:
- Dual units (both heating and cooling in one system)
- A separate heating system (i.e. an energy-efficient furnace)
- An energy-efficient air conditioning unit
Space Heaters Are Not Energy-Efficient Choices
Some older homes might need space heaters to keep a particular area of the home comfortable during cold winters. Maybe the central heating and cooling doesn’t extend to this part of the home or perhaps poor insulation makes it cooler.
Unfortunately, space heaters or portable heaters aren’t offered as energy-efficient options. Homeowners might only use them as needed, and they also need to be cautious when using them, too.
Instead of using portable heaters, homeowners might focus on the issue that causes the temperature issues of the room. Can the central heating and cooling be extended to the room? Can the homeowner afford to update insulation? These are more permanent solutions to the problem.
Types of Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems
Homeowners who are in need of a new HVAC system can consider all their energy-efficient options. ENERGY STAR has a breakdown of different types of the most energy-efficient heat pumps and air conditioners. The options and different models are extensive.
Homeowners can research which models work best for their home size and their budget. In addition, many options include smart thermostats. These can often be controlled remotely via an app installed on a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats also let homeowners set their temperature and even program different temperatures for times they are away at work or maybe on vacation. Since these thermostats can connect to phones, they allow for homeowners to adjust their home’s temperature quickly and from anywhere.
How Much Money Can Homeowners Save with an Energy-Efficient HVAC System?
Heating and cooling can easily zap away money each month from the homeowner’s budget. When temperatures get extreme, the HVAC works harder. How much can homeowners save if they replace an older unit?
The Department of Energy explains that even if the current unit is just a decade old, homeowners might be able to save 20 to 40 percent related to the cost to cool the home.
Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems are Another Energy-Efficient Option
Some homeowners don’t want to install standard HVAC units, even those that are energy-efficient. Radiant heating and cooling systems are another energy-saving option.
These systems include the installation of underground pipe systems. The pipes allow the temperature of the ground to aid in the heating and cooling of the home, thus saving money and energy.
Radiant heating and cooling systems are a more expensive investment, though. HomeAdvisor explains that the average cost of radiant heating is $3,834. However, installation could soar to more than $6,000.
These Tips Also Can Help the HVAC Work More Efficiently
Some homeowners are not ready to upgrade their HVAC unit. Unfortunately, replacing the entire system could be a large investment; not many homeowners are willing to spend the money unless it’s absolutely necessary.
There are a few ways to increase the efficiency of the current HVAC system and, hopefully, decrease energy waste.
Adjust the Thermostat
While a balmy cool home during a really hot summer can feel wonderful, homeowners who nudge their thermostat too low might go even colder when they see their energy bill. Opt for a temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. In cold winter months, nudge the heat down to just 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature dips to freezing, 68 degrees will still feel wonderful.
Schedule Maintenance Appointments
Homeowners should have their furnace and air conditioner serviced once a year. This can help homeowners spot any issues and make any necessary repairs so that the system doesn’t fail during horrible weather. Plus, emergency services are typically more expensive.
Change the Air Filter
A dirty air filter will cause the HVAC system to run less efficiently. Change the air filter out regularly. Most experts recommend swapping out filters every three months. However, some individuals might need to change filters sooner (for example, those with allergies). Some filters even state that they only last 30 days.
Don’t Heat or Cool the Outside
One final tip for homeowners: don’t heat or cool the outdoors. If it’s nice enough to open windows or the screen porch, make sure the HVAC is off. Running the heat or the air conditioner with the windows open will waste energy and money.
Homeowners in need of a new HVAC system can review all their energy-efficient options via the ENERGY STAR website. Homeowners can find systems that work with their budget and heating and cooling needs. In addition, some systems might qualify for rebates, which can help offset the cost of the investment.