Are Savings from High Efficiency Systems Worth the Cost?
Homeowners have been hearing a lot about high efficiency equipment. From dishwashers to light bulbs, everything in today’s home seems to be doing more on less electricity. Despite the savings in monthly costs, some still wonder whether the upfront cost of high efficiency equipment is worth the investment.Today, Schneller & Knochelmann Plumbing, Heating & Air explains the difference between your old, standard unit,
and today’s highly efficient air conditioners and furnaces, and what a new system could really do for your home. Keep reading to find out if your home is ready for a high efficiency heating and air conditioning system.
Related Read: 4 Helpful Tips to Keep Your Bills Down This Summer
What Are High Efficiency Units?
Clearly, a high efficiency system isn’t your standard furnace and air conditioner, or it wouldn’t be rated high efficiency. Furnaces are rated by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. Since the 1980s, about the most efficient furnaces were 80%, meaning they effectively converted 80% of fuel used to heat or cool, while the other 20% went out the exhaust. That was better than before the 80s, but technology progressed to where a high efficiency furnace can now run at up to 98% efficiency
Related Read: Should I Wait for My Furnace to Break Down?
Air conditioners are given a SEER rating, which is a measure of cooling efficiency. SEER ratings are calculated by dividing the air conditioner’s cooling output by the energy put into the unit. The higher the number, the more efficient the air conditioner. Similar to furnaces, air conditioners have become more efficient in recent years, making way for highly efficient units with SEER ratings of 20 or higher.
But, like everything else, the better it is, the more it costs.
Are the fuel and other savings from installing a high efficiency system worth the extra cost? In short, yes, but let’s look at the facts.
- Fuel savings: Going from a 70 AFUE old unit to a 90 will instantly give you a 14% savings on fuel usage. Go to 95 AFUE, and you’ll net a nice 18%.
- Programmable thermostats: With a thermostat set to reduce heating or cooling while you’re away and to resume normal levels shortly before your return, you save more fuel by heating or cooling less throughout the month. According to the Energy Star website, you can save about $180 every year in energy costs just by using your programmable thermostat properly.
- Superior airflow: High efficiency systems create better airflow which means more even temperatures throughout your home. You won’t have to bump the thermostat because you’re about to spend more time in a once-cooler or warmer room.
- Longer HVAC life: Because of fewer on/off cycles, the whole system lasts longer. Plus, with proper, regular maintenance, breakdowns are less of a money-eating problem.
- Higher resale value: When it’s time to move, your improved HVAC system will be quite attractive to potential buyers since they will see the advantages of the better indoor environment provided by your efficient system.
- Rebate offers: The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance partners with the City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy to offer rebates for energy saving programs. Also, the Energy Alliance offers information about federal tax credits on qualified expenditures for energy efficient systems.
While more costly up front, the savings from high efficiency systems can certainly pay for themselves in reduced energy bills and your home’s increased resale value long before the system’s service life comes to an end.