If you’re in search of a new HVAC system or if your current system is no longer working as well as it used to, you might wonder if a unit with better efficiency in heating and air cooling is a wise investment. Newer, high-efficiency HVAC models may have higher price tags, but they deliver an excellent return on investment (ROI) in terms of energy savings.
Other advantages of energy-efficient HVAC systems include quiet operation and their ability to increase home value. Read on to learn more about energy-efficient systems, their benefits and tips on determining when to upgrade your system.
What Is an Energy-Efficient HVAC System?
An energy-efficient HVAC unit is a system that offers more efficiency in heating and air cooling compared to older models. They can keep indoor temperatures at a consistently comfortable level while consuming less power.
You can tell whether an HVAC system is energy-efficient by looking at the Energy Guide sticker located on the unit. An ENERGY STAR logo on the sticker means your HVAC system has features that deliver significant energy savings. It also indicates that the energy consumption and performance of your system can be verified through testing.
You can also find the SEER or SEER2 rating on the Energy Guide logo. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and SEER2 is the updated version of the original SEER rating system.
The SEER/SEER2 rating refers to the cooling output of an air conditioner or heat pump. Generally, the less energy the HVAC system needs to cool adequately, the higher the SEER or SEER2 rating.
Top Three Benefits of High-Efficiency HVAC Systems
Since its invention, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system has played an essential role in home comfort. This is especially true now that frequent heat waves are driving increased use of air-conditioning, and severe weather phenomena – like the infamous Texas blizzard of 2021 – have emphasized the need for a reliable heating solution.
Beyond reliability, modern, energy-efficient HVAC systems offer more benefits than their older counterparts. The following are just three examples.
1. Year-Round Energy Savings
While the upfront costs of purchasing and installing a new high-efficiency HVAC unit might seem daunting, it’s a more cost-effective option than keeping an older, less efficient system.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heating and cooling accounts for 53% of the total energy usage of a typical home. If you want to reduce your overall energy consumption, the easiest way is by upgrading to a high-efficiency heating and cooling system.
Upgrading to a high-efficiency heating and cooling system can minimize your energy consumption and lower your energy bills by as much as 80%. Additionally, most modern HVAC systems come with programmable smart thermostats.
Also called setback thermostats, these devices can be programmed to automatically adjust indoor temperatures based on usage. For instance, you can set it to turn down the heat (in winter) or reduce the cooling (in summer) during the hours you’re not home. This reduces unnecessary energy consumption while ensuring you come home to a comfortable house.
What’s more, since an efficient HVAC system uses less energy, it contributes fewer CO2 emissions, helping you reduce your carbon footprint. Simply put, an energy-efficient HVAC system is better for both your pocketbook and the environment.
2. Increased Home Value
If you plan on selling your home in the future, consider upgrading to a high-efficiency heating and cooling system now. By doing so, you get to enjoy the benefits of a modern HVAC system now while increasing the value of your property for future sale.
A high-efficiency HVAC system delivers an excellent return on investment (ROI). What’s more, it’s attractive to potential homebuyers.
Homebuyers today are interested in “green” features, and they are typically willing to pay more for them. According to experts, an energy-efficient HVAC system can raise a property’s value by 5% to 7%.
3. Tax Credits
Homeowners who install new, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems may be able to shave thousands of dollars from their tax bill thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit is worth 30% of the costs of eligible home improvements made during the year, including labor expenses. According to the IRS, you can qualify for a tax credit of up to $3,200 for improvements made through 2023.
- Central air conditioners
- Electric or natural gas heat pumps
- Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
What’s more, several states have rebate programs for efficiency upgrades. Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to save money on HVAC purchases and installation using rebates and incentives.
When Is the Best Time to Upgrade to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System?
If you already have an HVAC system, you might be wondering if you have to wait until it completely stops working before it’s practical to upgrade. The answer is: Not necessarily.
The parts that make up an HVAC system have different lifespans. However, you don’t have to wait until they’ve reached the end of their useful life before it’s a good idea to replace them.
Consider replacement if:
- Your Air Conditioner is 10 Years Old: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a 10-year-old AC can help you save 20% to 40% off your cooling costs.
- Your Heating Equipment is Over 15 Years Old: An ENERGY STAR boiler is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace, while an ENERGY STAR boiler is 5% more efficient than a standard model.
Other signs that indicate it’s time to get a new and more energy-efficient HVAC system include the following:
Your HVAC System Is Making Odd Noises
A loud or unusual noise coming from your heating or cooling equipment could indicate a wide range of problems. Clanging and banging noises could be due to a loose or damaged part. A constant rumbling sound may mean your furnace is breaking down, while high-pitched whistling may mean a refrigerant leak or high internal pressure.
While some of these issues may be repaired, in many cases, it’s better to upgrade to a newer and more efficient model. A qualified HVAC technician can inspect your HVAC system and help you determine whether repair or replacement is the best route.
Your Energy Bills Keep Going Up
If your energy bills are increasing without any changes in usage may indicate a problem with your HVAC system. Poor energy efficiency may be due to your system’s age but could also be caused by issues such as dirt and dust on your air conditioner’s evaporator coils.
Your HVAC Needs Constant Repairs
Does it seem like you have to call an HVAC technician for repairs every other week? Then it might be time to upgrade to a new system. An HVAC in constant need of repairs is likely on the verge of breaking down. It’s better to have a new one installed now than to be caught without heat in the winter or suffer through a sweltering summer day without AC.
Consult the HVAC Experts here at HomeFront
HomeFront is a trusted provider of heating and cooling solutions to homeowners and business owners in New Braunfels and surrounding areas. We aim to ensure our customers’ comfort through a full suite of HVAC maintenance, repair, installation and replacement services.
If you’re considering replacing your HVAC system with a high-efficiency model, reach out to us. We can be trusted for expert, unbiased advice and guidance, as well as top-notch HVAC services.