In 2019, 38% of the energy consumed by average Americans went toward running the heater. Experts say that air conditioning energy use will likewise rise over the next 30 years. This is due to climate change and people moving to warmer parts of the country.
Now is the perfect time to find ways to cut back on your HVAC energy use.
New HVAC technologies can save hundreds of dollars each year. Not only that, but they also maintain temperature better than old systems. No more sweating through the summer trying to save a few bucks.
Need more proof that an energy efficient HVAC system is worth the money and effort? Here are four reasons why you should update your HVAC system.
Out With the Old
The lifespan of older HVAC systems is around 15-20 years. They require annual maintenance and cleaning to last that long. Often you'll need to replace a major part within 10 years of installation due to the constant wear and tear.
The older your HVAC unit, the more likely it is to harbor harmful organisms. Mold flourishes inside damp HVAC units. If your unit hasn't been cleaned in a while, that mold blows into your home every time the AC runs.
Mold spores lurk within the duct system, as well. Rats and mice leave droppings in your ducts on their search for warm, dry places. Old, unkempt HVAC ducts are a health hazard.
As the ducts expand and contract from temperature changes, the joints develop leaks. These leaks make the HVAC unit work harder. About 20% of the air pushed through leaky ducts is lost.
It can cost up to 20% more annually to run an inefficient, leaky HVAC system.
The average American household spends around $1100 a year on heating and cooling. If you live in a hot, humid area, that cost goes up quite a bit. Add in the additional 20% from your old HVAC unit and your energy bills become a nightmare.
Installing an energy-efficient HVAC system saves an average of $115 per year. Your savings depends on a few variables.
- Where you live
- What temperature you set on the thermostat
- The SEER rating on your new system
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating is based on how much energy the system uses. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system.
For example, let's say your old HVAC unit only had a SEER rating of 9. Your new system has a SEER rating of 19. In 10 years, you'll save around $4000 on your energy bill.
That means that within a decade, you'll save almost as much money as you spent on your new HVAC system. It's a great investment for homeowners who plan to stay put for a long time.
Protect the Environment
63% of America's energy comes from fossil fuels. 20% comes from nuclear power plants.
Burning fossil fuels for energy adds more carbon dioxide to America's air pollution problems. To make matters worse, even the act of harvesting these fuel sources adds to global pollution.
Methane is the main part of the natural gas we use to heat our homes. During the drilling process, methane leaks into the air. This gas traps heat in our atmosphere 86 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide.
Our air and climate aren't the only things harmed by fossil fuels.
Some companies use fracking to draw gas and oil from underground. It requires up to 6 million gallons of water per well to operate. These companies also use 780 million gallons of chemicals during the fracking process.
In 2011, researchers identified 353 previously undisclosed chemicals used for fracking. A shocking 25% of these chemicals damage the immune system and cause cancer.
18 billion gallons of radium-infused wastewater are produced each year. Water run-off from drilling sites is supposed to be disposed of safely.
With no way to store so much wastewater, most of it is placed in deep wells. These wells spring leaks, polluting nearby residential water wells.
Some states had over 10,000 abandoned oil and gas wells. Many of them leaked or contained contaminated equipment.
When you decide to use an energy efficient HVAC system, you're doing your part to protect the planet. Some units use almost half as much energy as your old HVAC system.
Embrace New HVAC Technology
The last decade saw drastic changes in the way we heat and cool our homes. Digital thermostats were just the beginning of making HVAC systems more efficient.
There are quite a few benefits to embracing new technology, such as:
- Safer refrigerants - The EPA is phasing out old air conditioners that use ozone-harming Freon
- Variable speed fans - These fans run slower on cooler days and faster on hot days to use less energy
- Updated compressors - Dual-stage air compressors allow the compressor to run on high or low, depending on the weather
- Better ductwork - Fiberglass insulated ducts cut back on energy use
- Whisper quiet - New technology cuts an HVAC unit's decibel levels in half
HVAC technology is ever-evolving. Two of the newer systems are solar-powered HVAC units and geothermal HVAC systems.
An Australian company designed a thermally driven chiller system that runs primarily on solar energy. The system uses gas as a backup energy source. Natural gas is cheaper than electric, making the system cost-effective.
Geothermal HVAC systems rely on the ground temperature to heat and cool your home. Some systems come with devices that will also heat your home's water.
Installing a geothermal HVAC system is complicated. Pipes are buried outside your home in either a horizontal or vertical pit. These pipes use water to collect or disperse heat, depending on the season.
An Energy Efficient HVAC System is Worth the Investment
Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable year-round. But it's hard to relax when you're concerned about your old HVAC unit doubling the cost of your power bill.
Before the summer heat hits, contact a professional HVAC installer to discuss your options. They'll tell you if your old unit needs to be replaced with an energy efficient HVAC system.
Broussard Mechanical has a team of knowledgeable professionals ready to help you update your HVAC system. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.