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How To Tell If My Heating Unit Is Energy Efficient

February 17, 2023
Outdoor HVAC system

Having an efficient heating system is important for a variety of reasons, but mainly to keep energy usage to a minimum. The more energy your heating unit uses to heat your home, the more it will reflect on factors such as monthly utility bills. At Anchor Heating & Air, we strive to make home comfort affordable and accessible to everyone in our community. Staying cozy should not come at a cost, which is why our technicians can help keep your unit running efficiently. In this blog, we list ways to identify if your heating unit in Charleston is energy efficient and efficiency benefits.

Why Is Energy Efficiency Important?

If an appliance in your home is energy efficient, it means it uses less energy to operate. Many appliances in your home use more energy than necessary, which drives up utility costs. Heating and cooling units are nearly half of all homeowner’s energy bills, which is why it is important to invest and maintain an efficient heating system. Along with being expensive, less efficient heating and cooling units can be harmful to the environment. Together, we can fight against global issues such as climate change and pollution by minimizing energy usage.

Is My Heating Unit Running Efficiently?

An efficient heating system uses low amounts of energy to operate and has no underlying malfunctions. Below are ways to tell if your heating unit is energy efficient.

  • Check Efficiency Rating
  • Consider The Unit’s Age
  • Compare Utility Bills
  • Check Components Of The Unit

Check Efficiency Rating

Each heating unit has an efficiency rating, which can vary depending on the type your home utilizes. Furnace systems operate by Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings, while heat pumps operate by Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) in the winter. Both can be found in the user manual or on the unit itself.

AFUE ratings measure how efficiently furnace systems convert fuel to heat. Energy can be lost in the process, and the AFUE rating simply identifies how much fuel is actually turning into heat for your home. Due to many furnaces burning natural gas, it is important to utilize and maintain an efficient unit to lower carbon emissions released into the environment. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, high AFUE ratings range between 90% to 98.5%, mid-efficiency is between 80%-83%, and low efficiency is anything under 82%. If your heating system has an 80% efficiency rating, that means 20% of energy is lost in the heating process.

HSPF measures how efficiently a heat pump transfers heat in the winter months. To more accurately measure efficiency, the Department of Energy adjusted the testing procedure and created HSPF2. The HSPF scale ranges from a low 6.8 to a high 13.5. A heat pump rated above 10 is considered a highly efficient heat pump, while 8 to 10 ratings are considered average efficiency. Anything below 8 has low efficiency. In simple terms, the higher the rating, the more efficient and the less energy used.

Consider The Unit’s Age

As heating units age, the system becomes less efficient. Heating systems work all winter long to provide a comfortable environment for your home, which means components will naturally deteriorate over time. Proper maintenance can help keep the unit running efficiently, but eventually the time will come when the system needs to be replaced. Annual heating maintenance is vital to ensuring your will last for many years to come, because the service helps avoid wear and tear of components. Depending on the type of heating system and maintenance given, units can last anywhere between 10-20 years. An Anchor Heating & Air technician can help identify how efficiently your heating system is operating in West Ashley, SC and surrounding areas.

Compare Utility Bills

Have you noticed your utility bills have increased this winter and you aren’t sure why? If this is the case for your home, it could be due to the efficiency of your heating unit. Internal malfunctions and unit obstructions can make the unit use more energy to meet the thermostat setting in your home. We recommend comparing utility bills from previous heating seasons to determine if your system is decreasing in efficiency. Heating maintenance is the best way to increase unit efficiency, because our experienced technicians can identify underlying issues and prevent future problems from arising.

Check Components Of The Unit

While heating maintenance is the best way to ensure an efficient heating unit in Charleston, we recommend homeowners keep up with certain components of their heating system. To personally increase your heating unit’s efficiency, we recommend performing the following maintenance tasks:

  • Seal Air Leaks. Air can easily be lost through cracks in windows and doors, so we recommend caulking or weather stripping to seal air leaks.
  • Insulate Your Home. Due to warm air rising, air can escape through your attic and increase energy loss. We recommend adding insulation to attics, basements, crawlspaces, and other unheated areas.
  • Change Air Filters Every 90 Days. Maintaining a clean air filter is vital to heating unit efficiency. A dirty air filter causes the unit to use more energy to push air through filter pores.
  • Have Ductwork Inspected. As heat is distributed into ductwork, it can be lost through air leaks and quickly lose energy.
  • Install A Smart Thermostat. The lower your thermostat in the winter, the more you will save. Smart thermostats can lower thermostat settings when your home is vacant or when residents are sleeping to save energy.

All of these maintenance tasks help your heating unit run efficiently. If the unit is obstructed, it uses more energy to operate and increases heating costs.

Benefits Of An Efficient Heating Unit

An efficient heating unit can present many benefits for your home in Charleston. Below are 5 of the many advantages of prioritizing heating system efficiency.

  • Low Heating Costs
  • Improved Home Comfort
  • Environmental Benefits
  • Longer Unit Lifespan
  • Less Maintenance

While we await warmer weather, we are here to keep your home cozy and comfortable this winter. It is never too late to lower energy usage and schedule heating maintenance in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina! Give us a call to have an Anchor Heating & Air technician perform a thorough maintenance check on your heating unit and benefit your home!

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Written By Stephanie Postell

Stephanie is the Co-Owner and COO of Anchor Heating and Air and is a lifelong resident of Charleston, South Carolina. Stephanie and her husband David have over 30 years experience in heating and air conditioning.

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