Energy efficiency refers to consuming less energy but mainly, getting the most out of the energy being used. Efficient use of energy helps your devices last longer and greatly lowers your monthly energy bills which helps any Bay Area resident live a better life.
But it is not enough to just purchase an HVAC system which is said to be energy efficient or on that has a high ENERGY STAR rating. There are many wrong habits that contribute to less energy efficiency or wear and tear of your HVAC system. Avoiding these can largely help in achieving energy efficiency.
Here are some of the common terms that explain energy efficiency levels
a) Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
SEER indicates the ratio of cooling output in BTU (British Thermal Units) divided by electricity usage (in kilowatt hours). Actual seasonal cooling is used for this ratio as opposed to laboratory conditions. A higher SEER rating on an HVAC system indicates higher energy efficiency.
b) Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
Unlike the SEER, the EER strictly uses laboratory conditions to calculate energy efficiency ratio. But a high EER rating indicates high energy efficiency of a system, just like the SEER.
c) Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
The HSPF is an efficiency ratio for heat pumps. These provide heating as well as cooling and hence can be used in different seasons. The HSPF calculates the total heating needed in BTU, over the total electricity consumed by the pump in kilowatt hours. Like the SEER and the EER, a higher HSPF rating indicates high efficiency.
Follow these tips to ensure increased energy efficiency
a) Add a programmable thermostat
Forgetting to switch off your HVAC system or change temperature depending on the weather outside often leads to a lot of energy wastage. Investing in a programmable thermostat will help save energy by regulating indoor temperature in various rooms, at various times without manual intervention.
b) Invest in insulation
A lot of conditioned air is lost to the environment if your house is not properly insulated or if there are leaks in the ductwork. As a result, you do not receive adequate cooling and your system has to run over time to compensate for the loss, thus consuming way more energy than required.
c) Ensure smooth airflow
You must make sure that there is uninterrupted airflow around the house by unblocking all air vents. No furniture, cupboards or curtains must be placed in front of or over air vents. Outdoor units should be regularly cleaned and kept free of debris.
d) Ensure regular maintenance
Regular maintenance allows technicians to detect any potential problems in time and avoid large repairs later, that can hamper your system’s efficiency.
e) Switch to VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) HVAC
The VRF technology allows your system to only run the compressor as and when needed and at variable speeds, conserving a lot of energy.
f) Turn off electronic appliances
Switch off all appliances when not in use. This not only reduces your energy costs but also generates less heat. Your AC will thus use less energy to cool the house.