Understanding HVAC Efficiency

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HVAC Efficiency

HVAC efficiency is a topic you've probably heard about before, and if you're in the market for new HVAC equipment it's definitely a subject you'll be visiting over and over again with your HVAC contractor as you work together to determine the best option for your budget when installing or upgrading any type of heating or cooling equipment in your own home.

The problem is, efficiency ratings can often seem confusing, and the term "efficiency" can downright seem misleading if you're not careful enough to read between the lines. In your quest to understand exactly how efficient or inefficient your own HVAC equipment (or future HVAC equipment) is, you've probably discovered a host new terms that you may have never heard of before such as: AFUE, SEER, EER, HSPF, COP and kWH.

HVAC Efficiency Ratings and Terms

Rating Meaning
AFUE Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency
EER Energy Efficiency Rating
SEER Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating
HSPF Heating Seasonal Performance Factor
COP Coefficient Of Performance
BTU British Thermal Unit
Amperage Current Rate
Wattage Power
Voltage Electrical Potential
kWH Kilowatts Hours
"With all these different efficiency ratings, terms, acronyms, and abbreviations it's no wonder this subject can seem so confusing!"

There's definitely a lot involved when it comes to HVAC efficiency, and pretty much every little thing seems to be a factor when it comes to the subject of efficiency, including everything from your home's location and the type of HVAC equipment you have installed within it, to the amount of voltage supplied to your home from the electric company and the amount of people living within your home and how frequently they shower or cook food - It's all a factor! And, it all plays and important role in determining just how much energy your HVAC equipment uses each month.

So today we're going to shed some light on the matter of HVAC efficiency, and we're going to cover all the bases so we can get the whole picture of how every little detail matters when it comes to energy consumption.

We're going to discuss history, heat, electricity, energy, types of HVAC equipment, and explore exactly what each of the efficiency ratings and terms listed above represents when it comes to energy efficiency. Finally, in the end we're going to compare 3 actual energy cost calculation's using 3 separate methods for calculating the cost of energy for a single air conditioner so we can compare our results and see just how close each method is to the air conditioners actual energy consumption and just how useful or reliable these efficiency ratings really are.

So grab your calculator, suit up, strap in, and hold on! We have a lot to cover in this episode and the results may surprise you!

Feel free to bookmark this article if you want, so you can easily come back later and catch up where you left off, or reference the steps you'll learn here as you perform your own energy cost calculations with your own HVAC equipment at home.

Before we dive into things, let's go ahead and lay out our agenda and a few hints on navigating this article.

Here's the up coming forecast of everything we're going to be covering:

Step 1 - HVAC & Efficiency History & Current Standards

To start things off, we're going to dive back into the history of air conditioning and discuss why energy efficiency has become so important in the field of HVAC. We're going to discuss what an efficiency rating is, and why there are so many different efficiency labels. Then we're going to cover the current efficiency laws in the United States and discuss how and why they came to be.

Step 2 - Covering the Basics

After we have developed a good understanding how HVAC efficiency came to be, we'll then talk about energy, heat, electricity, power and how air conditioners and heaters actually work when you turn them on and why these machines consume so much energy.

Step 3 - Energy Efficiency Ratings

Once we have a solid understanding of how air conditioners work and how energy can come in many different forms, we will then begin to discuss each of the efficiency ratings we see in the field of HVAC, and demonstrate how to use these efficiency ratings.

Step 4 - Cost Analysis Comparison

Finally, we're going to take all we have learned and do some actual energy calculations ourselves, and determine how much energy a real air conditioner is actually using and compare some real world energy savings to the theoretical ones calculated from efficiency labels.

Navigating this HVAC Efficiency Article

For your viewing pleasure, and also to ensure this article load's inside of your browser as quickly as possible, this article is separated into a series of pages, which you can navigate using the and buttons, or by selecting the page you want to visit with the drop down box below.

Alright! So without further ado, let's get to it and go ahead and explore the importance of completely understanding an efficiency label with a quick quiz and a brief warning about efficiency labels on the next page, and demonstrate why it's so important that we understand exactly what each efficiency label is referring to in terms of efficiency, and how that if we don't, we often make costly mistakes.