Finding the most efficient HVAC system requires some research into the latest products and knowing what is best suited for your home. Energy efficiency is achieved on many levels. We will cover how to determine HVAC system efficiency, the types of systems that deliver the best performance vs. energy savings, and how they are rated.
Picking the Most Efficient HVAC System
About ENERGY STAR
The most efficient air conditioners are rated by ENERGY STAR, a government program focused on energy efficiency. Efficient solutions are delivered in partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state, local, utility, commercial, and industrial organizations. The program has been in place since 1992, achieving 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saving over $450 billion in energy costs as of 2021.
ENERGY STAR has certified everything from light bulbs to entire buildings and facilities. Even homes and apartments can be certified if they meet specific requirements. There are millions of certified homes in the U.S. and 120,000 were built just in 2020. Among the many aspects of the program are ENERGY STAR certified products, which were valued at more than $100 billion in 2019. Purchasing these can result in not only energy savings, but also rebates and tax credits.1
The Most Energy Efficient HVAC Systems
You can find the latest high efficiency-rated systems on the ENERGY STAR website. The most efficient models are rated on an annual basis. Energy efficient systems are ranked on many websites, while your local HVAC contractor can guide you as well. As for the most efficient types of systems, these include:
- Split System Heat Pumps: In addition to being affordable, a split heat pump system is efficient because it provides heat control for one area. The heat is then transferred to the desired location using a blower and ducts. Cooled or heated air can be moved to different zones, so only the most used areas get the conditioned air they need.
- Mini Split Heat Pumps: These ductless systems pull heat from outside air and can produce cool air as well. Up to eight indoor units can be connected to an outdoor appliance. Heat is delivered to the indoor components via a blower. Mini splits are unique in that no energy is wasted to create heat; heat is instead obtained from existing sources. Newer units apply inverter technology for automatic temperature adjustments.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps: Use heat from the ground or a water source, which is present during any season. The temperature below ground is fairly constant throughout the year. In a geothermal heat pump, refrigerant condenses the heat and transfers it into your home. This works even in the summer. The pump can take heat from inside your home and reverse the process by transferring it into the ground. It requires no fuel or electricity.
What Is SEER/EER?
Air conditioners are rated by their seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER, which ranks efficiency based on changes throughout the cooling season. To be considered “Most Efficient” by ENERGY STAR, an HVAC unit must have at least an 18 SEER rating. A 20 SEER or higher unit isn’t advisable unless summers at your location are extremely hot, you live there full time, and plan to stay for more than five years (only then can you get a return on the extra costs).
Energy Efficiency Rating, or EER, rates a unit’s peak efficiency. It is a more important factor than SEER if the climate where you live is consistently hot and dry through the spring and fall. The highest efficiency systems are ranked at 13 EER or above.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
We can help find the most efficient HVAC system for your home. By assessing your needs and factors such as room size, sun angle, shade, and geographical location, our team can assist in picking from the best suited ACs and heaters. Schedule a visit by contacting us on the web or calling 541-275-2918 today.