You have probably heard that it's important to keep your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system efficient, but do you know what makes such a system efficient or not? Here are the major factors that determine an HVAC's efficiency.
Your HVAC's size, in relation to your home, is one of the most important determinants of the system's efficiency. In this content, size is not the physical dimensions of the HVAC unit, but rather the amount of air it can handle. Installing a bigger HVAC than you need is bad because it will be using more energy than you need to cool the house. Installing a smaller HVAC than you need is also bad because the unit will be running constantly, thereby wasting energy.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration (SEER) is the ratio of the cooling output of an AC versus its energy consumption. Think of it like the fuel consumption or mpg of a car; the SEER rating indicates the amount of cooling you can get from an AC per unit of consumed energy. The higher the ratio, the more efficient the system is since it means the AC can produce a lot of cooling under light energy consumption.
A well-maintained HVAC will be more efficient than a poorly maintained one. This is because breakdowns waste energy by not allowing the HVAC to run at full efficiency. Something as simple as clogged filters, for example, affect energy efficiency by making it difficult for air to pass through the system. A refrigerant leak is another example of a maintenance issue that may lead to energy inefficiency; in this case, the effect is there because the energy transfer capacity of the unit is reduced.
The difference between the outside temperature and the temperature setting on the thermostat also affects HVAC efficiency. A high temperature difference reduces the system's efficiency because it has to work extra hard to reach the desired temperature.
Air Leak Issues
It is not just the condition of your HVAC that determines the system's air efficiency, even the condition of the house also has an influence. For example, air leaks in the house lead to energy inefficiency by bringing in too much unconditioned air and also leaking unconditioned air outside the house.
As you can see, some of the HVAC efficiency issues are determined during installation, while others depend on how well you maintain the system. Commission a good HVAC maintenance schedule with your technician to help you keep your system efficient.