We rely on our HVAC systems to keep us comfortable all year round, and it’s fair to say that many of us take them for granted. But, there are many aspects of HVAC systems that most people don’t know, and these facts can be both useful and interesting. In this article, we will look at eight lesser known HVAC facts, and some of these are useful tips and tricks that can save you money on your energy bills.
- Taming Your Thermostat Pays Off
Making tiny adjustments to your thermostat may seem like a waste of time, but in reality, this could save you a significant amount of money. For every degree that you lower on the unit, you could be saving 1% on your energy bills for home heating. This doesn’t have to impact your indoor comfort; an effective heating strategy is to set the thermostat back by 10% when the home is empty and then turn it back up when you return. This will give your HVAC system a rest and reduce your energy bills at the same time.
- A Furnace Has a 20 Year Lifespan
A new energy efficient furnace is a great investment to reduce your heating bills. If you have a furnace that’s approaching or even past at 20 year lifespan, it’s time to consider a change. A furnace works hard, and even the best models will be less energy efficient and more prone to failure as they age. A modern energy efficient furnace will cost more, but this is a worthwhile investment, and it’s easy to recoup the costs in the medium to long term with lower energy bills.
- The U.S. Has a Lot of Furnaces
In 2012 alone, we received, in the U.S, approximately 2.2 million shipments of various types of furnaces from a number of different manufacturers. There is no clear data on how many of these were installed in homes, but it’s estimated that there are 1.9-2.0 million furnaces installed in the U.S. each year. Around 98% of installed furnaces are gas, and the remaining 2% are typically oil furnaces.
- An AC System Has a 20 Year Lifespan
If you have an air conditioner system that was a good quality unit when installed, it could have a useful lifespan of around 20 years. If the unit was a cheaper unit or the equipment hasn’t been regularly maintained, it’s likely that the lifespan could be shorter. Over time, even the best heating and cooling system loses energy efficiency and become more prone to failure. The best time to evaluate your AC system is before the hot weather arrives, and regular servicing will help to identify issues before they become more expensive to fix. Investing in a new air conditioner can be expensive, but modern systems are far more energy efficient, and you can save a lot of money on your energy bills over a typical summer.
- Heating and Energy Consumption
In the U.S, it’s estimated that around 41.4% of all energy consumed goes to heating our homes. These figures are based on the latest data from 2009, and a rise in our population may have increased this figure significantly. The heating systems in our homes work harder than the air conditioning systems. For this reason, it’s important to get your HVAC system checked before the start of each cooling and heating season. This will improve the energy efficiency and reduce the chance of the equipment failing when you need it most.
- A Quadrillion is a High Number
In 2010 the U.S. consumed around 99 Quadrillion BTUs in energy. This is a very high number; a quadrillion is the number after a trillion, and a single quadrillion is 1,000,000,000,000,000; that’s 15 zero’s in total! A British Thermal Unit or BTU is a measurement of heat. It takes 1 BTU to raise the temperature of water by 1ºF in a pound of water. As you can see, we still have a long way to go in improving our energy efficiency, and switching to modern equipment can help. For those that want to calculate their own home energy consumption 1 BTU = 0.2930711 watts per hour.
- The Latest Improvements in Energy Efficiency
According to the Energy Star data, the latest 2019 gas furnaces offer 21-22% in energy savings over a standard model of furnace. Depending on the exact furnace model, this could lead to an annual saving of $705-$1,237 during a typical year of heating. Purchasing a gas furnace with the best energy efficiency ratings is more expensive, but the costs can be recouped quickly in the medium to long term. A well maintained furnace could have useful lifespan of 20 years, making this a worthwhile investment. If you want to know more about installing a more energy efficient furnace, contact your local HVAC specialist for expert help and advice.
- An Energy Efficient Boiler is a Sound Investment
An energy efficient boiler can save you as much as 19% on your energy costs per year. This type of boiler may only cost $865 to run annually, and this makes an energy efficient boiler a sound investment. The average lifespan for a well maintained boiler is approximately 15 years. A boiler is a cheaper option compared to a gas furnace, but they typically fail earlier, and a furnace is usually the better choice if you have the budget. If you have a boiler that’s approaching or past the 15 year point, it’s a great idea to switch to a furnace or replace it with a new energy efficient unit.
Hopefully, these lesser known facts about HVAC systems will inspire you to seek out even more detailed information. With a little thought and planning, it’s easy to make big savings on energy costs in a typical home. If you want to know more, contact your local HVAC specialist, and they will be happy to offer you expert help and advice on your options.