Energy Star Ratings for Heating and Cooling Systems. Should you Care?

Trying to select a new air conditioner before the summer heat sets-in? There’s a lot of information on system labels, not the least of which is Energy Star. Like the ‘heart healthy’ logo on your daily cereal, you know the label is buzzworthy, but do Energy Star rated appliances really add up to the extra ticket price and hype?

Ensuring a Smart Investment
The average household forks out more than $2,200 annually on energy bills, half of which goes to heating and cooling costs, making energy efficiency in your chosen HVAC system a big deal. How does the Energy Star label play a part? Run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Star program was created to help people understand how they can save money and reduce their carbon footprint through improvements in energy efficiency. Enrollment by appliance manufacturers is voluntary, with certification and Energy Star labeling denoting a product that has met the program’s strict energy efficiency requirements. Ratings vary from product to product, with air conditioners required to meet different criteria than water heaters and other home appliances.

‘Getting’ the Digits
Alongside the Energy Star label, you’ll notice air conditioner labeling also include SEER ratings. This can help you determine between Energy Star models, with SEER ratings measuring system efficiency over the entire season. What SEER should you look for? The minimum SEER rating for Northern states, including Pennsylvania, is 13 SEER for split systems and 14 SEER for packaged units. To maximize savings and performance, you’ll want a higher efficiency, Energy Star rated system, which offers improved efficiency over standard models. What marks a high-efficiency air conditioner? High-efficiency systems generally start at 16 SEER, with ratings far beyond.

How Much Can I Save with Energy Star Equipment?
How much energy you save will vary based on your use and climate. To help narrow down your best option, and understand what an investment in an Energy Star appliance can save you, look at the Department of Energy’s cost savings calculator.

What Manufacturers Make the Energy Star Cut?

  • Amana AC Units
    These high-end systems feature all the bells and whistles, with massive efficiency ratings up to 24.5 SEER.
  • Bryant air conditioner
    These quality, affordably priced systems offer ratings up to 21 SEER.
  • Mitsubishi Home Air Conditioning Systems
    A slightly different air conditioning animal, Mitsubishi ductless systems use less than 40% of the energy of conventional air conditioning systems, and are extremely high SEER, with ratings up to 30.5.
  • Bradford White Water Heater
    Water heaters are the second largest consumer of energy in the home, behind heating and cooling, and offer Energy Star Savings as well. Bradford offers over 57 Energy Star models, from electric, gas, and oil, to solar and hybrid.

Looking for more ways to save energy on your summer air conditioning? From new installations to annual maintenance, H&H Heating & Air Conditioning has you covered. Contact us to schedule a complimentary and obligation free quote on a new Energy Star rated system today.