There are a number of good reasons to compare energy costs for your HVAC unit. If you are considering replacing an air conditioner or furnace, it’s important to determine the most efficient model of each type, whether it be a gas unit or an electric one. Taking steps to compare energy costs for your HVAC unit may ultimately determine the type that best suits your budget. For example, with furnaces, you may wish to compare gas-fired versus electric units, depending on the anticipated monthly costs of each.
Here are some ways to compare energy costs when it comes to your HVAC unit and make informed buying decisions:
- Air conditioners. Though all AC units are electrical, monthly costs vary according to the energy efficiency of a particular unit. High-efficiency air conditioners with SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings above 14 typically use less electricity than standard-efficiency SEER 13 units and result in lower energy costs.
- Gas vs. electric furnaces. Technically, electric furnaces are more energy-efficient than gas models because there is less heat loss from electric heating elements than in the gas-combustion process that generates heat. However, the apparent advantage of electric efficiency is outweighed by this fact: In most of the United States where natural gas is available, the cost of gas is two to three times less than the cost of electricity to produce the same amount of heat. Despite the higher efficiency of electric furnaces, if you compare energy costs, a gas model provides more warmth with lower monthly bills.
- Standard-efficiency versus high-efficiency gas furnaces. To accurately compare the energy costs of gas furnaces, efficiency is a major factor. Standard-efficiency furnaces have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 78%. This means 78% of the gas used by the furnace produces useable heat, while the balance of 22% is lost in the heating process. High-efficiency gas furnaces, conversely, with an AFUE above 90%, extract additional heat from exhaust gases with only 10% or less heat loss. Less heat loss equals lower costs.
For experienced advice to compare energy costs in HVAC units, ask the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.