Energy Efficiency Archives

What are EER and SEER?

EER and SEER are two more factors to consider when purchasing your new air conditioner or HVAC appliance. Unfortunately, knowing which unit to buy can depend on more factors than most people want to deal with. The purchase of an incorrect air conditioner can be an expensive and hazardous mistake.

Both EER and SEER offer a way of describing the energy efficiency of a given air conditioning appliance. The higher the number, the more energy efficiency and thus the less it will cost you to run it for a year. Smaller air conditioners usually have a top EER of about 11, and bigger air conditioning units can top out with an EER of about 13. A larger HVAC system will display an SEER rating – these are always higher numbers – but they should not be confused.

What does EER and SEER Stand for?

EER is generally used for smaller air conditioners and window mounted units. SEER is almost the same measure but more commonly used on central HVAC systems and larger central air conditioners. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio while SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Both of them are based on the total BTU (Britsh Thermal Unit) output per hour divided by the watts of electricity consumed.

The important difference is that EER is calculated for a smaller controlled environment such as a room or apartment. SEER, on the other hand, is calculated by including numbers for the cycling of the unit on and off and seasonal temperature variations where the unit is likely to be installed. Temperature and humidity can therefore be important to the the relationship between the two measures.

eer and seer enery guide labelEER is calculated assuming a 95 degrees outside temperature and an inside temp of 80 degrees at 50% relative humidity. SEER is calculated at the same indoor temperature, but at between 65 and 104 degrees outside temperature to simulate seasonal variations.

A really good consumer guide will calculate annual costs for running air conditioning based on the cost of electricity in your area and the EER or SEER ratings of the air conditioning appliances being reviewed or sold. If you’ve ever gotten knocked out by an electricity bill, you’ll know why this is important.

Usually the yellow Energy Guide label  in the store estimate costs based on a national average of 8.4 cents per kilowatt-hour which makes for very low cost estimates, if not for bad air conditioning unit sales.

One of the mistakes consumers commonly make is in determining exactly how much cooling capacity you need. As opposed to EER, cooling capacity is written in the store as BTU/hour units; the higher the number the higher the cooling capacity.

Getting an air conditioner as close to the correct cooling capacity as possible is important. Energy efficiency and correct cooling capacity go hand in hand when it comes to saving on electricity and still being comfortable. If you’re thinking or replacing your air conditioning or your HVAC system, give us a call. We’ll be happy to discuss a machine rated appropriately for New York City and for the size and use of the building or apartment you’re hoping to cool.

Energy Efficiency Air Conditioning Tips

energy efficiency air conditioning tipsEnergy efficiency is possible during the New York City summer heat. These tips are designed to keep your place cool, while minimizing the energy consumption of your air conditioner. Efficient air conditioning doesn’t always require that you keep the temperature up, but it will help to take some simple steps to maximize the cool air.

Get a new air conditioner – This might seem the easiest thing of all to do, but the cost savings on energy consumption that you can realize with newer, more efficient air conditioning unit can be outstanding. You could actually make up for all the money you’re losing on an outdated, less efficient air conditioning machine.

Get it serviced – Regular air conditioning service should include a complete inspection once a year and air filter changes as the manufacturer recommends. That alone will keep the energy consumption to a minimum and keep the newly energy efficient unit running for years to come.

Keep the sun out – Draw the blinds. Pull the curtains. Energy efficiency really will grow in the cool interior. Every time you leave your home, or during the hottest days at the hottest hours, keep it dark. Efficient air conditioning is as easy as giving the air conditioner a break.

Use fans – A few well positioned oscillating fans or energy efficient ceiling fans will go a long way toward reducing the load on your air conditioning.

Automate the thermostat –  Newer air conditioners can be programmed so that your home may be a little warmer while you’re out and so that the unit comes back on just before you get home. That’s in addition to the energy efficiency built into a newer machine.

Change your bulbs – Energy efficient light bulbs will not just reduce the energy consumption used for lighting. They also burn a lot cooler, and reduce the heat produced by lighting your home.

Turn down your water heater –  Cooler, shorter showers will keep hot, humid air out of your living space and make your entire home more energy efficient.

Check for leaks – Your air conditioning, and your energy efficiency, depends on controlled air flow. Make sure gaps around any pipes, vents or wiring are sealed and check the vents and airflow vents that flow to or away from the air conditioning appliance.

Get the kids out of the house –  Spending more time outside will reduce the heat, energy consumption and load on the air conditioning. It might seem like a long way to go to make your home more energy efficient, but it’s a healthy and cost saving way to increase your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding energy efficiency, or air conditioning maintenance. 646-783-2475.

The Energy Star Qualified Contractor: Tips for Picking One

Installing a new air conditioner, furnace, heat pump, humidifier, or air cleaner can present the New York City homeowner with a dilemma, but an energy star qualified contractor can help! It’s often the next most expensive improvement or upgrade after the purchase of your home. An Energy Star air conditioner or furnace is already an expensive piece of equipment and using an Energy Star qualified contractor to install an air conditioner or a furnace can be just as expensive.

Do your homework.

A reputable Energy Star qualified contractor will have no problem with you visiting their place of business. It doesn’t have to be tidy, but it should look like they’ve been in business for more than a few years. Energy Starenergy star qualified contractor qualified contractors will also be more up to date with the latest equipment. Take a tour and get all your questions answered.

If you’re really shopping around for prices, don’t just go with the lowest bid. You want to see where your Energy Star qualified contractor is cutting costs. It could be by employing only unskilled workers. You’ll get better value from well trained and experienced workers who understand Energy Star equipment, the labeling and the concerns of consumers. Bigger and more costly mistakes tend to come with jobs that were underbid because of unforeseen situations or conditions.

Make sure your HVAC contractor is properly insured and current with their Workers’ Compensation policy. Your contractors Energy Star qualified status is another important thing to check.

Don’t accept any estimates over the phone. Any estimate requires a home visit and a full structural inspection. A heat-load or cooling-load calculation is also an indication of an experienced Energy Star qualified contractor.

A good contractor will also consult with you on every stage of choosing the equipment being purchased or installed. You should expect a well written and understandable, itemized estimate that details the equipment to be purchased and installed, and the time estimates along with pricing.

Energy Star labeled equipment is preferred and will give you a good idea of what you’re purchasing. You want a contractor who is knowledgeable about Energy Star labeling and equipment, and not simply the basics of heating and cooling. You should also question any HVAC contractor about employees’ familiarity with newer equipment, and Energy Star provides a wealth of resources for anyone purchasing an air conditioner or furnace.

A good contractor will also want to learn from you. Especially if you’re installing in an existing home or building, or replacing an air conditioner or furnace. Pay attention to the questions they ask and the experience they display through the wording of any questions.

Of course, we’ll be happy to discuss your own air conditioning or heating installation needs, along with our qualifications, call now 646-782-2475.

Energy Efficiency Air Conditioner

Many air conditioner users don’t think of energy efficiency until that first summer electricity bill arrives. But energy efficiency, when practiced year round, could save you a couple of hundred dollars every month and that quickly adds up to significant savings on running your air conditioning any time.

Air conditioning will also, importantly, lower your home’s indoor humidity level, making it more comfortable no matter the outdoor or room temperature. Still, it’s probably not cost effective unless you live in a year round hot climate.

energy efficiency and your air conditionerWindow mounted air conditioning is far less costly than a central HVAC system but a smaller window mounted air conditioning system also won’t cool your entire home. An oversized air conditioner, one that’s simply too big for the room will probably bring the room temperature down too quickly, and severely reduce energy efficiency as the unit is turning on and off too frequently. It also won’t effectively reduce humidity so it’s not likely the room temperature will ever be consistently comfortable. Both of these factors add up to more expensive operating costs and decreased efficiency.

The dimensions of whatever area you want to cool are, therefore, as important as any consideration when choosing an air conditioning system. As a rule of thumb an air conditioner needs about 20 BTU per square foot being cooled. Check out this BTU calculator to help you determine the correct BTU for your home.You also need to consider the use of the room being cooled. Other heat producing appliances will require more cooling capacity and shady, plant friendly or basement environments require far less.

Ultimately the energy efficiency of the air conditioning unit needs to be the most important  factor whenever you’re selecting an air conditioner. High efficiency, and more expensive Energy Star appliances almost always cost less to operate than a cheaper unit. They’ll also provide a comfortable room temperature at the desired efficiency when installed correctly.

Energy Star

The Energy Star label provides information on the energy efficiency and the higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. The Energy Star label also provides a chart to calculate the cost of running the air conditioning based on local rates and expected hours of use at an average room temperature.

Other than the real bargain basement models, nearly every new air conditioner from a reputable dealer will bear the Energy Star label. It’s recommended that you read it carefully before any purchase.

If you’d like to discuss a new air conditioning system or optimizing the system you’ve got, we’ll be happy to take your call and schedule a fast, information packed visit.

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