When you’re selecting a new heating and cooling system, you’ll find that each product you consider has an Energy Guide label. The FTC requires all home-comfort systems to have this label, either on the packaging or the equipment itself. The label indicates how effectively the system heats and cools, so you have an idea of how much it may cost you to use.
The Department of Energy reports that heating and cooling uses nearly half of the energy dollars that people spend in their homes. The Energy Guide label helps you balance the cost of new HVAC equipment with the annual cost of running it. As a rule of thumb, higher-efficiency heating and cooling equipment costs more to purchase, but over its lifetime will save you money because of lower energy consumption.
The label ratings are different, depending on the type of heating and cooling appliance. Gas furnaces carry labels that indicate their AFUE, which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. This rating is expressed as a percentage. The current minimum for AFUE is currently 78 percent, which means that 22 percent of the heat created is lost up the chimney or elsewhere. The highest AFUE currently for gas furnaces is 98 percent.
Air conditioners and heat pumps carry Energy Guide labels that indicate their SEER, short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Heat pumps have an additional rating that notes the heating season performance factor (HSPF). The minimum SEER is 13 and the HSPF is 7.7. Equipment that has higher SEER and HSPF ratings uses less electricity because of energy-saving components like variable-speed motors in the air handler or dual-speed compressors.
Home-comfort systems that carry the Energy Star label use technological components that lower fuel usage more than current minimum standards. A fuel-burning furnace must have an AFUE of 90 percent and an air conditioner has to have a SEER of 14 to qualify for this label.
If you would like more information about Energy Guide labels and efficiency, please contact Air-Tro. Our experts have been providing energy-efficient HVAC solutions for the greater LA area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about the energy guide label and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
Air-Tro Inc. services the greater Los Angeles area as well as the metro areas of Riverside and San Bernardino County.