Here in the greater Fresno area, our semi-arid climate – hot, dry summers with mild, moderately wet winters – typically demands more of A/C equipment than of heating appliances. That said, our coldest months (December and January) see average lows drop to the high 30s. Having an economic heating system, then, is an important consideration to many homeowners, and Energy Star certified appliances are your best bet for energy-efficient HVAC equipment.
Bottom Line. Energy Star is the standard by which consumer products are judged for fuel efficiency. Rigorous testing determines whether appliances qualify to wear the coveted blue sticker. An Energy Star-labeled furnace typically uses between 20 and 30 percent less fuel (to produce the same amount of heat) than is consumed by a standard appliance, while delivering as good or better performance.
Heating. Aside from traditional furnaces, an array of alternative home-heating options are available. These include condensing furnaces, which have a sealed combustion area and a secondary heat exchanger through which exhaust gases are routed. Another alternative is the heat pump, which employs the familiar refrigeration-type cycle used by A/Cs (and refrigerators), but can use it to provide both heating and cooling. Heat garnered from the air outside, or from the ground, is transferred indoors with refrigerant and released into the conditioned space.
AFUE. The acronym AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency, a measure of the thermal efficiency of combustion equipment (such as furnaces and boilers). While other measures of efficiency reference bench testing of equipment, AFUE attempts to represent the average real-world efficiency of an appliance over a season of use. Expressed as a percentage, the higher the AFUE value, the more efficient the machine. Any gas furnace higher than AFUE 90 percent is considered high efficiency.
HSPF. Another valuable tool in judging efficiency is HSPF; an appliance’s heating seasonal performance factor. The term is used exclusively with regard to air-source heat pumps, measuring transferred heat against the electricity consumed over an operational season. As with the AFUE percentage, the higher the HSPF value, the more efficient the machine is.
There’s a great deal to learn regarding energy-efficient HVAC equipment. At Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning, our technicians are expert in all aspects of furnace installation and service. To learn more, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy efficient equipment and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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