Energy Efficient Heating and Air Conditioning

The cost of electricity has become a hot topic of conversation recently along with the environmental impact of our contemporary lifestyles. Naturally we all want to do the right thing for the global climate while also keeping our essential home comforts like heating and air conditioning.

That’s where energy efficient appliances and practices come in – with these in mind we can all live comfortably with A/C while still saving money and energy. 

On a global scale the energy consumed by heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) in tropical climates can exceed 50% of the total energy consumption of all buildings and that’s set to increase. In the United States and Japan more than 90% of households already have air conditioning where in the hottest, poorer parts of the world just 8% of households have A/C. Therefore, as living standards improve in developing nations, more demand will be put on energy production. 

We can take the responsibility to educate ourselves and become more aware of the impact that our choices make.

To help ease this demand on global electricity supply most developed countries have mandatory minimum energy performance standards for A/C systems. However even with these measures consumers still have a wide choice of available systems, from the least expensive minimum standard efficiency unit (16 SEER) to the most efficient (38 SEER) which usually comes with a higher price tag. Despite the unit being more costly initially, choosing the more efficient option to replace a 10+ year old system will net energy savings anywhere from $75 to $300 per month.

Here in Bermuda, 90% of households are using air conditioning and it can account for an average of 30% to 40% of your household electricity bill. The right choice in A/C system will help lower your carbon footprint, save the planet and save more of your hard-earned money.

We asked Carl Roberts, founder of Cold Snap Services Ltd, winner of our 2018 Contractors Awards for HVAC, for some tips on choosing the right energy efficient HVAC system. If you’re renovating or considering a new HVAC system, look no further than Carl’s team.

Tip #1

Pay attention to the SEER or EER rating. It’s a measure of energy efficiency used by US regulators to help consumers determine an air conditioner’s efficiency. The higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER or EER) rating, the more efficient the heating/cooling equipment is. SEER is a guide similar to Miles Per Gallon (MPG) in a car; with correct use and habits, it can save you money.

The minimum SEER rating required in the U.S. market is 14 SEER and it progressively increases. A range of 16 – 24 is the average for most brands. Cold Snap Services Ltd has units at a whopping 38 SEER, or 16.5 EER.

TIP #2

Ensure correct unit selection and correct sizing for your room. Gather the information such as the size of the room, accounting for heat sources, activities that take place and the average temperature you want in the room. Too often people install units that are more powerful than they need which leads to inaccurate temperature control and wasting energy. Do the research before you buy.

TIP #3

Do your homework on the brands and educate yourself on equipment features such as anti-mold, schedule timers, Wi-Fi capability, warranty details and more. There’s more to it than SEER ratings alone.

TIP #4

How do I know when it’s time for a new air conditioning system? 

Life expectancy on an A/C system is anywhere from 8 to 12 years and there are indicators when your old unit is ready to be replaced. Look for corrosion on the condenser coil (these are the cooling fins on the back of an outdoor unit), poor temperature control or excessively higher electricity bills. 

TIP #5

What’s the most popular system and why?

One in every three air conditioners in the world is made by Gree, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for many name brand mini split systems. They’re AHRI Certified, Energy Star rated products with a wide range of features and use environmentally friendly refrigerant. The units come in sleek designs to blend in with interior décor. From simple sophistication to modern wireless control features, Gree will fit any room.

TIP #6

Once your system is up and running you can still conserve energy by maintaining its efficiency. Clean the air filter and wash off the outdoor condensing unit to kill infectious germs and remove salt deposits.

TIP #7

Schedule an annual ‘Gold Standard Maintenance Check’ to keep the indoor air quality at peak levels. Allergy sufferers should consider bi-annual Bronze Level servicing. 

Before installation, a qualified HVAC professional will inspect the existing equipment in your home and according to your requirements will recommend the right air conditioner for you and will explain the optional extras available. These include corrosion treatments and surge protectors.

TIP #8

Keep lamps and other heat producing appliances away from your thermostat. Having heat producing appliances near your thermostat will tell it that the air in your home needs to be cooled more, causing the system to run longer and work harder than it needs to.

TIP #9

Keep curtains and blinds closed in the heat of the day. When direct sun hits the windows in your home, keeping your curtains or blinds closed can keep some of the heat from warming the inside of your home. This also helps to keep the warm air in during winter.

TIP #10

Why use Cold Snap Services? 

Cold Snap opened its doors in 2005 and has grown from a solo enterprise to a company with 14 employees. The team loves what they do and prides themselves on their quality professional workmanship.

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