How can homeowners and small businesses get the most out of their heating and cooling systems? This sounds like a simple enough goal, yet according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) many units fall well short of their target.
Comparing Heating and Cooling Systems
Why do top-of-the-line, energy-efficient products often fail to deliver the goods when it comes to keeping your home toasty in the winter and keeping the paint from melting in the summer. The answer has to do with matching up the unit to the space that it’s meant to treat as well as making sure that your ductwork doesn’t have hidden vulnerabilities.
Another factor that’s absolutely essential whether you’re in the market for a new unit or looking to touch up a standby is to get your HVAC properly installed. According to research from the Comfort Institute, both furnaces and air conditioners also underperform if the ductwork or installation isn’t exact.
Matching up your future unit with the present size of your home is one of the most important steps to take when comparing heating and cooling systems.
Bigger…Not Always Better
It’s tempting to go with a bigger unit thinking that bigger is usually better and you can always rein in the horsepower if need be, but it’s not always that clear-cut.
Having too big a heating or cooling unit for your particular home or office space can be problematic for reasons that you might not realize until it’s too late.
In some ways the problems are even paradoxical: an oversized air conditioner unit can do too quick a job of cooling down a room…but the room could still be extremely humid.
What’s the end result here? A room that’s superficially comfortable yet over time proves inhospitable and muggy. This is just one example of how an apparently good thing (an oversized unit) can lead to less comfort in your home.
The fact that a larger unit in a smaller space is frequently pinballing through on-off cycles also means more wear-and-tear on the unit, more maintenance over time and less comfort in the short term.
Check Your Home Ductwork
If you’re a homeowner you can also eke out more energy efficiency from your heating and cooling systems by checking that your duct work doesn’t have kinks or restrictions along its path. Ductwork that goes through unprotected areas like basements and attics is particularly vulnerable to underperformance.
Energy Star and SEER Ratings
Considering the energy efficiency is also crucial in your eventual buying decision, according to an Energy Saver report from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Units today with the best Energy Star ratings are approximately 50% more efficient than residential central air conditioning units from two generations ago. This means fewer carbon emissions and a much more manageable utility bill at the end of the month.
You’ll want to look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (i.e., SEER) of thirteen or greater when shopping around. A high SEER on residential heating and cooling systems is one of the most important factors, along with proper ductwork and getting the right size unit for your space, when it comes to eking the most out of your purchase.
The SEER rating system basically puts energy and cooling-heating output on the same continuum so that homeowners can make informed decisions when it comes to heating and cooling.
Getting older equipment – i.e., heating or cooling units more than ten years old – serviced or replaced by an HVAC professional, sealing your ductwork and checking to ensure that your new unit fits your home or office space are essential steps to take.