Carolina Climate Control Blog: Posts Tagged ‘SEER’

Can A Heat Pump HVAC System Save You Money In The Lowcountry?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

How efficient is your current HVAC system? Could you be wasting valuable energy and worse—money without even realizing it? Are you looking for a more energy-efficient, cost-effective, sustainable heating and cooling solution for your home?

If so, you may be interested in learning more about heat pumps. These smart heating and cooling systems could potentially save you hundreds in utility bills each year.

Not only that, but they are also far better for the environment than traditional HVAC systems. So, how can an energy system help to save you money while helping save the environment?

This article will take you through everything you need to know, from how a heat pump works to how much installing one could save you money.



What Is a Heat Pump?


Traditional furnace or HVAC systems generate their heating and cooling powers from oil, gas, or electricity. These are typically nonrenewable energy sources, and ones that cost money to consume.

On the other hand, a heat pump is a type of HVAC system that harnesses naturally occurring energy to heat and cool your home. There are three main types of heat pumps. They can generate energy either from the air, water or ground.

Geothermal heat pumps harness heat from the ground. That heat is then transferred throughout your home through collector pipework. These types of pumps are normally integrated into the earth.

A water source heat pump uses large bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or streams as their energy source.

The most common type of heat pump is the air source heat pump. This type of heat pump is normally situated outside the home and requires no underground piping to source its energy. For this reason, it is easier and less expensive to install than many other energy sources.

Air source heat pumps also take up relatively little space and make a minimal amount of noise when operating. This makes them perfect for placing somewhere along your home’s exterior.

If this sounds like a novel concept, it shouldn’t. In fact, you most likely already have an air source heat pump of sorts in your home. The mechanism on which air source heat pumps operate is actually exactly the same as the premise on which most refrigerators work.

Refrigerators take in warm air from the atmosphere and then expand it in order to make it cool. Air source heat pumps work in a similar manner.

Now that you know a little bit about how exactly heat pumps work, let’s take a look at how efficient they really can be.



Heat Pump Efficiency


Heat pumps are actually over 100% efficient, having the capability to transfer 300% more energy than they consume. In contrast, a gas furnace with very high-efficiency is about 95% efficient.

Compared to traditional heating systems like furnaces or boilers, heat pumps can reduce energy use by up to 50%. They can also cut your home or office heating costs by as much as 25%.

The answer as to how much a heat pump can save you will vary, depending on a few factors. This is because certain types of homes are better suited to the use of heat pumps than others.

Heat pumps work best in areas that don’t experience weather extremes and require only moderate heating and cooling needs. However, many types of heat pumps have a superior ability to dehumidify the air, compared to traditional air conditioning units. This is an added benefit they have in warmer, more humid climates.

Another factor that can affect how well your heat pump works is the type of home you have. If your home is not well insulated, it will not work as efficiently as it is designed to. If the wrong size heat pump for a home is installed, this can also lead to performance issues.



Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio


The seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, is the system by which cooling efficiency is rated in the US. It is calculated by dividing the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season by the total electrical energy consumed by the heat pump during the same season. Though this may sound like a complex mathematical equation, it is actually a simple and effective method of determining the efficiency of an energy source.

Since this method of calculating cooling efficiency came into common usage, millions of homeowners across the US have managed to save untold amounts of money on their utilities, while making their homes more environmentally friendly.

Different SEER standards apply to different climate regions. In South Carolina, which is part of the Southeast region, a minimum SEER rating of 14 is required for cooling units.

The older your HVAC is, the lower a SEER rating it is likely to have, as standards for these types of systems tended to be much lower before the SEER system was introduced in 1992.

Because of the way in which they work, heat pumps are far more efficient, and thus far more likely to have a superior SEER rating than traditional heating and cooling systems such as boilers and furnaces.



Make the Switch Today


For Lowcountry homeowners, heat pumps offer a smarter and more efficient way of heating and cooling homes. Whether you’re looking for relief from the heat in summer, or a little extra warmth in winter, a heat pump is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution. If you’d like to learn more about heat pump efficiency for your home, we would be happy to help.

Get in touch with us today to take your first steps toward a more affordable and sustainable HVAC system.

Continue Reading

How SEER Ratings Work And How To Check Your HVAC System’s Rating

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

That blazing Lowcountry summer will be here before you know it, bringing the steady hum of air conditioning systems with it.

Because we run our AC a lot around here, energy efficiency helps keep us cool without burning up our wallets.

A SEER rating helps you compare systems to see that you’re getting an efficient one. It’s one of the primary factors in choosing your HVAC, along with picking the correct size.

But just what is a SEER rating? What does it mean, and how can you tell what you have? Let’s take a look at this important number.


What is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a number comparing the cooling output of a system over a typical season to how much energy it uses. Since these ratings were adopted and standards set, energy consumers have saved trillions of dollars.

You calculate the SEER rating over an entire cooling season – spring, summer, and sometimes the cooler fall and winter seasons around here – using a constant indoor temperature and outdoor temperatures from 60 degrees to over 100 degrees.

A SEER rating is a maximum efficiency rating. It works a little like your car’s gas mileage. You might get 24 mpg on the highway, but only 18 mpg if you’re stuck in city traffic.

The same goes for your AC. If you’ve seen the ENERGY STAR stickers and wondered what a 13 seer rating is, that’s the minimum SEER a unit can be manufactured with today and the numbers to up to 25. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.


Recommended SEER

In recent years, HVAC efficiency standards have been changed to account for the different climates nationwide. This sets a minimum SEER rating that can be sold in a region. South Carolina is part of the Southeast region. Since we use our AC a lot more than other regions, we have a higher minimum SEER at 14.


Energy Start SEER Rating Sticker Placement On HVAC Unit

Where To Find Your Rating

So just what is the rating of your current unit? Along with age, this can tell you if it’s worth it to consider upgrading to a new system now that you know what a high SEER rating is and what is considered low.

Look for the yellow and black energy guide sticker on the side of the condenser. If the sticker is still there, you should see the SEER rating in large numbers.

If you don’t find it there, it might be recorded on the air handler or indicated at the beginning of the model number. For example, XC21 followed by other numbers would mean a SEER of 21.


Time to Upgrade?

Now that you know what is a SEER rating, also know there is no magic number to tell you what a good SEER rating is for your home. If your unit is more than 10 years old, you’re likely to benefit from a new system as the standards have been raised quite a bit since your system was installed. Also, there are numerous tax credits and other incentives that can reduce the cost if you upgrade to a higher SEER system.

Continue Reading