Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Heating and cooling sytem efficiency and cost

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If you're like me you tend to view energy efficiency both in terms of monthly energy usage and cost; that is to say, the total amount of energy you use as well as the total amount of green stuff you fork out each year to heat and cool your home or office. So before rushing out to purchase the latest energy efficient appliance to heat or cool your home keep a few thoughts in mind:

The total amount you pay to heat or cool your home or office can be a lot more than just how much you pay for utilities. Consider other costs that are direct expenditures to you. These should be factored into estimates for your total yearly cost and may affect your year-end utility balance sheet.

Repair and maintenance costs should be high on the list of items you consider when purchasing that new HVAC system from a contractor. Sure that high efficiency unit has all the latest technology with its accompanying bells and whistles but has it been field proven yet? The literature states that there is a lifetime warranty for many components but will the heating contractor or manufacturer be around if something were to go wrong? Do they have a track record of honoring their labor warranties? One expensive repair out of warranty will cause the true efficiency, from a pocket book perspective, to go way down.

Initial installation cost factors large in pocket book efficiency. Today we have high efficiency boilers, wood burners, geothermal heat pumps, furnaces and more. Most of these boast efficiency ratings in the low 90's and up. So lets say you currently spend an average of 200 dollars per month for five months in the winter. If your current system performs at 60% efficient ratings you can anticipate a net energy gain of 30% if using a 90% efficient system. In terms of dollar savings, that comes out to approximately 300 dollars per year. Keep in mind energy costs are predicted to continue increasing so those savings would expand each year.

Now take a look at your initial installation investment. What will the payback time be? Are some heating solutions less expensive than others? Are some fuels less expensive than others? There are also many renewable energy sources available today. One such heat source, wood, has become very popular today and boasts some of the lowest installation as well as monthly costs. Since it is renewable it has the potential to be very eco-friendly as well, however, this form of heat requires more user involvement too.

There are a lot of trade-offs to consider when evaluating the different types of high efficiency heat but it is worth taking the time to choose the type that makes the most sense to you. There are bound to be perfect matches for your lifestyle. As in many areas of life, the least expensive choices usually require the most maintenance, but don't let this deter you from getting the most out of every btu and dollar used to heat or cool your home or office.

HVAC-R Community College Instructor
Owner Four Seasons Heating and Cooling

Others who read this post were interested also in these other topics: AC Contractor, AC Repair, AC Units, Air Conditioning Repair, Boiler Repair, Furnace Repair, Heating and Air Conditioning Repair, Heating and Cooling, Heating Contractor, HVAC Repair, Mechanical Contractor

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