Now that you’re spending more time at home, you might be trying to find ways to conserve energy. Your utility bills have risen; is there a way to lower them?
You might also be pondering how to be more efficient for the earth as well. Every time you flip a switch and turn your air conditioner or furnace on, what is it releasing into the environment? Is there a way to conserve where you can?
According to the US Department of Energy, 55 percent of energy used for a home goes to the furnace and air conditioner, to help keep your home comfortable year-round.
Want to make a difference both in your monthly utility costs, and in the way your HVAC impacts the environment? Consider these facts.
Before 2010, air conditioners installed in homes throughout the US used a refrigerant called R22. It’s also commonly referred to as Freon. The problem with R22 is it’s classified as a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which has been identified as a chemical most responsible for depleting the ozone.
As we learned about the damage HCFCs were doing to the environment, the US government banned the production and installation of new units using R22 as we moved forward. It was phased out over time, allowing new units to be developed and installed as old equipment wore out. That makes today’s air conditioners far more efficient than their counterparts that used R22.
Another way of reducing the impacts HVAC has on the environment is to focus on how much energy a unit uses. For an air conditioner, every time it runs, it reduces energy. The industry rates all units using a SEER rating, which compares the amount of energy needed to produce a certain amount of cooling.
The US Department of Energy has released guidelines for how efficient new equipment should be for consumers to install inside their homes. Pay attention to the guidelines – in the Rocky Mountain region, SEER ratings will be 13 to 21. The higher the rating, the more efficient the equipment will be.
Of course, the short answer is not every home needs a top of the line HVAC unit. It depends on a variety of things – the age of your home, the condition of your home, which direction it faces, how well it’s protected from the elements, among other things.
If you’re wondering how your HVAC impacts the environment, and are looking for easy changes to make, start with an energy audit. We can evaluate your home and make suggestions on where you’ll increase efficiency in the fastest, easiest ways.