Air Conditioning & Heat Pumps (AC & HP)
- For central air conditioning units, an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of 10 is ok, and anything over 12 is much better, with 16 being recommended;
- For room air conditioners, an EER of 8 is good, and anything over 10 is much better;
- Heat Pumps are rated by Co-efficient of Performance (COP), the higher the better. The ratings are essentially the ratio of the amount of electric energy used to the energy output. At low temperatures, COP drops. As the COP approaches 1, it is wise to use backup electric, gas or oil heat. This will save wear on the heat pump components.
- Maintenance consists of keeping the coils clean by vacuuming the outside and inside coils as needed, and changing or cleaning the air filters every month. Some filters are electrostatic, and some are large HEPA filters, which are checked or replaced as needed at the annual system cleaning.
Choosing a New Appliance
Be an informed consumer when it comes to purchasing large appliances for the home.
Take note of the Energy Guide Labels found on all new refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers and room air conditioners, etc. These appliances are being rated because they consume the largest amounts of electricity.
The labels are bright yellow with black print and show the estimated cost of energy used per year. The line below the number has a pointer indicating where this model falls relative to other models on the market.
For example, a refrigerator is expected to last about 20 years. If the more efficient model is an additional $90 to purchase and $30 less per year to operate, then over the 20 years your additional investment of $90 will save you $600 by buying the more efficient model.
Sealing the House
Do not over-seal a house. Certain house air leakages which appear to lose energy are intended to rid the house of moisture. Attic ventilation is a good example.
NEVER COVER ATTIC VENTS. The resulting heat build-up can create major, costly roof covering damage. Weep holes in storm windows (usually small slits or notches at the base of storm windows) are another example, and certain unsealed thermo-pane windows. If you are sealing for air filtration, do not cover storm window weep holes.