Winters in North Texas may not get as cold as winters in the Midwest, but they’re not exactly comfortable — especially if you don’t have a high-functioning heater. As the daily lows start dipping into the 30s, it’s important to have a heating system that can keep your home at a comfortable temperature, both for you and your plumbing system. However, if you’re like many homeowners, you may worry that running the heat will drive up your utility bills.
If your utility bills skyrocket during the summer and winter, your HVAC system may be inefficient and out-of-date, or you may need HVAC repairs. Top residential air conditioners and heaters aren’t supposed to break the bank, so if your utility bills are high, you may want to consider buying a more efficient system. Keep reading to learn why efficiency matters, how it’s measured and how to find the most efficient heating system for your home.
At Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling & Heating, we know that inefficient residential heating and cooling systems mean higher utility bills for Red Oak homeowners. That’s why we’re committed to helping you find the most efficient HVAC system for your home.
Why Does Efficiency Matter?
It seems like everything has an efficiency rating these days, and higher efficiency products come with a higher price tag. Although energy efficiency ratings may seem like just another marketing ploy, the fact of the matter is that energy consumption affects us all.
If your HVAC system were cheap to operate but wasted tons of energy in the process, would you be totally comfortable with that? Probably not, because you know that energy from non-renewable sources isn’t free; it’s harvested from somewhere. In 2020, about 61% of electricity in the U.S. was generated by fossil fuels, a non-renewable resource. An energy-efficient HVAC system can go a long way in helping with energy conservation.
Although it’s not all about the money, the money is certainly important. When utility bills are high, Texas homeowners can really start to feel the strain on their wallets. This can put a lot of pressure on people who don’t have much wiggle room in their budgets to begin with. Although buying a more energy-efficient HVAC system is a large upfront investment, it can provide homeowners with significant savings in the long run.
How Is Energy Efficiency Measured?
In the world of HVAC, energy efficiency is measured through rating systems. The rating system a particular heating system uses will depend on what type of energy it uses. The following are the most commonly used rating systems:
- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE rating system measures how efficiently a furnace uses fuel. A furnaces’s AFUE number indicates the percentage of fuel that the furnace converts into heat (in contrast to how much it wastes in the heating process). The minimum AFUE for new systems is 78, but energy efficient furnaces can have an AFUE rating that’s close to 100.
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The HSPF number is a heat pump’s total heat output divided by its energy consumption. Higher numbers indicate higher efficiency. Heat pumps manufactured after 2005 should have a HSPF of 7.7, but newer models have HSPF numbers closer to 10.
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). A SEER rating indicates an air conditioner or heat pump’s cooling efficiency (yes, heat pumps can cool as well as heat). Specifically, SEER measures how much energy a system requires to extract hot air. New ACs and heat pumps must meet the minimum standard SEER 13, but newer models have a SEER of around 20.
Although it’s a lot to learn, understanding rating systems can help you make an informed purchase. Top residential air conditioners and heating systems generally have higher ratings that correspond to energy efficiency and utility savings.
Least Efficient Heating Systems
When you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, it can be helpful to know what not to buy. That way you can mark those options off your list and move on to better ones. Even if you’re not shopping for a new heating system, it may be helpful to know what the least efficient options are.
Electric furnaces are some of the least efficient heating systems on the market, yet 34% of U.S. homes use them. Electric heating systems include forced-air furnaces, radiant cable heating and baseboard heaters. One of the reasons electric furnaces are more expensive to operate has to do with how the energy is produced. Electricity comes primarily from gas, so heating with electric instead of gas requires the additional steps of conversion and transport.
Wood and Pellet Stoves
Few people still use wood and pellet stoves for heating, and for good reasons. They are inefficient, require a ton of wood to produce relatively little heat and can worsen indoor air quality. However, they are capable of heating small spaces. Pellet stoves are generally more efficient than wood stoves but shouldn’t really be in the running unless it’s your only option.
Most Efficient Heating Systems
If you want the most efficient heating system in your home, you may want to consider a gas furnace or a heat pump. They may require a larger upfront investment, but they’ll save you tons in utility costs over time.
Gas furnaces are cheaper to operate than electric furnaces because they don’t require the extra steps of conversion and transport. Additionally, modern gas furnaces have several design features that improve efficiency, including sealed combustion chambers, direct spark ignition and improved filtration systems. Gas furnaces with high AFUE ratings will be the most energy efficient.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air, and they can function as both a heater and air conditioner. During the summer, they extract heat from indoors and move it outside; in the winter, they do the opposite. In moderate climates, heat pumps can heat a home in a short amount of time, but they lose efficiency in extremely cold climates.
Red Oak HVAC Installation
Ready to move toward a more energy-efficient heating system? Request heating service from the most trusted HVAC company in Red Oak: Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling & Heating. We’ll offer suggestions to improve the efficiency of your current heating system or help you pick out the best new HVAC for your home. Whether you’re shopping for top residential air conditioners or heating systems, we’ve got you covered. Visit us online to schedule service or give us a call at (972) 291-0740 today.