Answers to Your Air Conditioning and Heating Concerns
Q: Can I reduce energy cost by replacing an older commercial HVAC system?
A: Updating an HVAC System Offers Future Savings. Replacing an old, inefficient HVAC system does not need to be a financial burden. It can be a company’s chance to cut energy costs. Engineers have a much better understanding of the heating and cooling demands on commercial buildings. New HVAC designs waste less energy and less money.
Here are some strategies to consider when investing in a new HVAC system:
- Invest in the highest-efficiency boiler, furnace, chiller, air handler, and rooftop units that your company can afford. High-efficiency systems use less energy and cost less in utility bills.
- Recalculate the energy load on your building. Chances are the building and its use has changed since the previous system was installed.
- With better efficiency, you may be able to install a smaller and less costly HVAC system. Simple measures like reducing the lighting level, insulating windows and sealing duct leaks may decrease HVAC demands.
- Appliances and other equipment also can emit heat and strain your HVAC system. Evaluate their use and energy costs.
- Consider automating energy management. Various new computerized systems adjust air and treatment based on occupancy, building use and other factors.
Q: How can I reduce the costs associated with my commercial HVAC system?
A: Easing Energy Costs for Commercial HVAC Systems. Operating commercial HVAC systems are a big business expense, accounting for 40 to 60 percent of a building’s energy use.
Here are ways to ease costs and get high-efficiency comfort with HVAC systems:
- Do routine maintenance. Check motors, belts and system traps; replace filters, and clean coils and boiler heat transfer surfaces.
- Adjust the HVAC systems to match the hours when the building is in use. It may be possible to reduce heating temperatures at 10 to 15 degrees in unoccupied buildings overnight.
- Consider an automated energy management system that will alter indoor airflow and temperature based on the outside climate and building use.
- Conduct an energy audit. Study the use and traffic in your building. Identify the peak hours of heavy use and when the building is unoccupied.
Q: What basic steps can I take to cut energy costs in my building?
A: Set a Goal to Reduce Energy Use by Ten Percent. Your commercial HVAC system is probably your biggest energy consumer. But regular tune-ups may cut your energy bill by 5 percent. If a major problem is found, your savings can be more. Take simple maintenance steps like inspecting cooling and heating equipment monthly, and perform routine maintenance.
- In the summer, set the thermostat at a higher level, or turn off the cooling system when your building is not in use.
- Do not let small repairs pile up and items go unchecked. Clean outdoor condensing units, which can get clogged with dirt and dust that block airflow. When the compressor works harder to discharge hot air, it increases energy cost.
- Inspect heating and cooling ducts for leaks, which can waste a lot of energy. Clean or replace air filters. Calibrate thermostats.
- Get the EPA’s free online tool for tracking the energy use in your building. The National Energy Performance Rating System scores building on a scale of 1 to 100.
Q: How do central air conditioners work?
A: Central Air Conditioners Cool, Clean and Circulate Air. It makes sense to know how a cooling system works. Understanding the basic functions of central air conditioners help you make better choices when purchasing and maintaining them. They cool, clean and circulate the air.
Central air conditioners remove heat and dehumidify, or take away moisture from the air. They also have air filters for removing dust and other particles. Warm indoor air pressure over a very cold coil that removes the heat and moisture, lowering the humidity lever makes the air temperature more comfortable. Moisture removed from the air collects in a pan underneath the indoor coil and is sent to a house drain. The unit’s blower circulates the air, while refrigerant inside the coil cools it, and the outdoor compressor transfers the heat inside the home to the outside.
Q: What is a SEER rating on an air conditioner?
A: Look for the SEER Rating on Air Conditioners. Before you buy a new air conditioner, you need to learn some of the industry language. It will help you find an efficient model that does not waste energy and saves money on monthly utility bills. Look for the SEER rating on new air conditioners. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the rating, the more efficiently the air conditioner operates.
The federal government requires a minimum SEER of 13 out of a maximum rating of 20. Why does the government set standards? Higher-efficiency air conditioners save energy and cause less pollution.
Consumers also save money on electric bills. Well-designed new air conditioners are up to 70 percent more efficient than the current average. This can yield significant savings for consumers over the service life of their air conditioners.
ENERGY STAR Label: Symbol of Efficiency
Buying ENERGY STAR product save money on utility bills and protects the environment. ENERGY STAR is a government-backed guarantee that the appliance you buy meets strict efficiency standards. That is a big plus for households with heating and cooling systems, which are big energy users.
EPA says that if one in 10 households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.
ENERGY STAR products include thermostats, boilers, heat pumps and air conditioners, among other items. You pay a little more upfront but can save thousands of dollars in utility bills over the service life of the product.
Homeowners can do their part to keep ENERGY STAR products running efficiently. Hire qualified professionals to size and install heating and cooling systems.