Why You Need a High-Efficiency Furnace or Air Conditioner
When you need a new furnace or air conditioning system, opting for a high-efficiency model pays off handsomely, with a variety of benefits. While keeping your family comfortable, high-efficiency units will reduce your energy consumption and, subsequently, your energy bills.
Much like more energy-efficient cars, more energy-efficient HVAC appliances tend to be more costly than the alternatives. Fortunately, there are now government programs available to help subsidize the cost of new, energy-efficient equipment. Keep reading to learn more about how to upgrade and how to save money in the process.
How is Energy Efficiency Measured?
Energy efficiency in furnaces is measured by a metric called AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This measurement makes it easy to understand how much fuel a specific furnace requires to run. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit is. In a modern, energy-efficient furnace, you can expect to find AFUE ratings of between 90- and 98%. This means that these units lose only 2- 10% of their energy during the heating process. In contrast, older models are often only 56- to 70% efficient, wasting 30- 44% of their energy. It should be noted that this measurement only takes into account the fuel used in heating and not the electricity that is required to operate the unit’s fans, pumps or controls.
In air conditioning systems, energy efficiency is measured by a metric called EER (energy efficiency ratio). Often, you will see it identified as SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), which measures the unit’s efficiency over the entire cooling season. EER identifies how much of a cooling effect is provided for each unit of energy consumed via steady-state operation. The greater the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the air conditioning unit is.
Choosing a High-Efficiency Furnace or Air Conditioner
While more energy-efficient HVAC equipment may cost more upfront, it will save you over the long run. You’ll not only lower your heating and cooling bills, but you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint through lower energy consumption. Well-maintained, efficient units run better too, and for longer, meaning fewer maintenance expenses and more life from your unit.
Saving Money on a New Air Conditioner or Furnace
Both governments and utility providers offer programs to incentivize homeowners to upgrade to more energy-efficient HVAC equipment and save money.
Canada Greener Homes Grant – To help make it easier to make the leap to greener home heating systems, the Government of Canada is offering up to $5,600 in rebates. This grant covers the cost of an EnerGuide home energy evaluation and energy-efficient upgrades, including HVAC systems.
Home Efficiency Rebate – Enbridge Gas is offering up to $5,000 to improve your home’s energy efficiency. While this rebate requires at least two upgrades, a new energy-efficient furnace is eligible.
Another way to save money on your heating and cooling bills in Ontario is the Ontario Energy Support Program. For those struggling to make ends meet, the Ontario Energy Board has a program for lower-income households to help with the high cost of electricity bills. It’s easy to apply, and your rebates will appear on your monthly bills. Visit the OESP website to learn more.
If you need help navigating these programs or determining which furnaces and air conditioners qualify, we can help. Reach out to us anytime to learn more about choosing energy-efficient HVAC equipment and saving money on your heating and cooling bills.