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  • Purchase a Higher SEER to Reduce Cooling Costs

    SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a specification that homeowners should take into account when purchasing a new air conditioner. This number, which ranges from 10 to 30 in newer units, indicates the amount of energy required to meet a specific cooling output. Higher numbers indicate greater efficiency. Homeowners with older air conditioning units may have a SEER of 6 or less, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Upgrading to a higher efficiency unit will save many homeowners money in the long term.

    What level of SEER efficiency is cost-effective for a homeowner though? Our 2.0 ton air conditioners have 14, 15 or 16 SEER ratings available. A customer that wants to purchase a Rheem air conditioner may spend up to $600 more for a SEER 16 as opposed to a SEER 14. Is it worth the extra cost? That depends on the temperature fluctuations in each homeowner's area. Let's look at some examples using the SEER Savings Calculator.

    Our first example customer lives in Phoenix, AZ. His current air conditioner has a SEER rating of 10 and he wants to upgrade. With an upgrade to a SEER 14, he will save 29% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. However, by upgrading to a SEER 16, the same homeowner can save 38% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. With the typical energy rates in Phoenix, Arizona, after five years, the SEER 14 will save $932 and the SEER 16 will save $1224. At this point, it doesn't seem like upgrading to the SEER 16 is worth the extra $600. However, air conditioning units are intended to last for 10 to 15 years. After 10 years, the increased cost of the SEER 16 will be offset by the savings in efficiency.

    It makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency SEER in hot areas that require regular use of the air conditioner. No matter if the homeowner decides between the SEER 14 or the SEER 16, the reduced energy cost will offset the cost of the new air conditioning unit in about 10 years. That's also assuming that the current air conditioning unit is decent with a SEER of 10. Many people have much less efficient units, which means that upgrading saves even more money.

    Homeowners that live in cooler regions may not be as impacted by the SEER ratings. For example, in Seattle WA, there is little need for cooling except for one week a month. Upgrading from a SEER of 10 to a SEER of 14 will still save 29% of the cost, but the cost is much less. Many Seattlites spend only $65/year on cooling. Upgrading will not have such a large impact on the energy cost because the air conditioner is not used that often.

    To determine the right SEER for their needs, homeowners should evaluate how often they cool their homes. The more cooling that is required, the more it makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency air conditioner.

  • Home Heating Pump: Determining the Heating Capacity

    Home Heating Pump

    There are many factors to consider when thinking about purchasing a new heating pump for heating and cooling the home. Because the system works by moving air from a warm area to a cool one like a refrigerator instead of generating the heat, the operating cost is approximately a quarter the cost of other heating and cooling systems. With the way the heat pump is built to operate in a highly efficient manner, it allows 4x the energy it uses. They’re an excellent choice for climates that don’t have sub-zero temperatures. A properly sized heating pump can trim electric usage by 30-40%. It’ll also dehumidify better than other types, resulting in less energy usage and cooler comfort during the summer. They do require larger duct work than other heating systems and should be sealed for efficient operation.

    Sizing of a heat pump unit should start by figuring the required cooling capacity, and then figure the heating capacity of the selected heat pump. It’s rated by a standard outside temperature of 47 degrees because the unit is placed outdoors and exposed to different temperatures. The design and size must meet the temperature levels of the locality of the pump placement. Heat loss must be factored in the equation for sizing capacity because the unit must produce enough heat to make up for the loss through windows, walls, and ceilings to keep the home comfortable during the winter months. As the temperature gets colder, a supplemental heating element takes the heating capacity back to where it maintains sufficient heat output for warmth comfort.

    Once the decision is made to purchase a heating pump heating and cooling system, the consumer should calculate the size necessary to heat and cool the home efficiently before contacting various companies for pricing. For example, a 2400 square foot home would need approximately a five ton system. A ton is equal to 12,000 BTU, and one ton is recommended for 500 square feet of heating. These are rough estimates only but proper sizing techniques are recommended. Knowing some basic facts will be an asset when talking to dealers.

    To assist in determining the right size, the most recent version of the ACCA Manuals J and S should be used for the calculations of the unit. There are built-in safety factors to accommodate most needs. When the window dressing is unknown, they should be factored in place or the calculation will be overestimated. The temperatures of the area shouldn’t be altered because it would lead to over-sizing. Many companies estimate up when figuring the calculation capacity of the unit because they believe more is better. The recommended temperature for cooling is 70 degrees and 75 degrees for heating. Right-sizing of a heat pump provides a 10% bonus energy savings.

  • 3 Major Systems of the Home That Take Up the Most Energy

    Home Energy

    If you’re a homeowner or live in any type of housing complex, you know the feeling of receiving your utility bills each month and feeling your stomach drop at the numbers. Whether you want to lower your home expenses, be more environmentally conscious, or both, having knowledge of which systems of your home are consuming the most energy and how to reduce their consumption will be instrumental.

    Heating
    It’s tempting to turn the heating as far up as it can go when winter rolls around each year. However, this convenient household system is responsible for the largest percentage of the energy consumed by most houses. This is especially true for those who live in colder regions or who have particularly cold winters. Fortunately, it is easy to reduce the amount of energy used by your heater: Simply reduce the heat setting on your thermostat. Doing this might warrant donning a few more layers inside the home, but it is much easier to put on more layers or even use alternative sources of heat like a fireplace than it is to remove layers of clothing when the temperature gets swelteringly hot. Speaking of which, this brings us to a perfect segue into the next household appliance that is vacuuming the money from your wallet.

    Air Conditioning
    Unfortunately, one of the things we rely on the most to keep us cool during the warm months is also adding more and more digits to our electricity bills and consuming masses of energy. With 87 percent of U.S. households equipped with air conditioning systems as reported in 2009, it is easy to see why such a large portion of energy is spent on this luxury. The solution to minimizing this consumption, however, follows the same principle as the heating system: Adjust the thermostat. Opt for methods of cooling that don't utilize electricity in any way, such as ice buckets, cold drinks, and staying closing the shutters to keep sunlight from warming up your home. Ideally, utilize a combination of both natural methods and a low setting on your air conditioning to reach a comfortable temperature without your electricity bills going through the roof.

    Water Heater
    There's nothing better than the feeling of taking a hot shower after a long day. But sadly, yes, your water heater is responsible for a big portion of your home's energy consumption. In fact, it takes up about 18 percent of your utility bill on average. To combat this, you can do things as simple as taking shorter showers and turning the temperature of your water down a little bit. But if you want to implement a longer-lasting solution consider installing an on-demand water heater. This way, you can control when your water heater is on or off, thus saving you money and conserving energy.

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