Looking to save some energy? Most homeowners don’t realize that creating an energy efficient home actually begins with your home heating system. Across the United States, homeowners tend to spend about 30% of their utility costs on heating their homes, and that can add up to some fairly big bills. It’s why many are looking into energy efficient home heating as a way to lower costs and create a greener home.
What Is Energy Efficient Home Heating?
A system’s efficiency is defined by how well it uses fuel. It’s important to note that the heating system working to keep your home warm on cool days is directly affected by the weather itself. There are three main types of heating systems – furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers, and they all rely on a closer look at the annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, or AFUE, to get a better overall picture of efficiency. This number tells you how much of that energy it’s using (which typically comes from electricity or natural gas) is actually going toward heating your home and how much of it is wasted.
If your system has an AFUE of 90%, your system uses 90% of that energy to heat your home, and 10% of it is lost. Today, the Department of Energy requires all new heating systems to have a minimum AFUE of 80%, but you can find those that function as high as 98.5% if you’re looking for something with maximum efficiency.
How Does Energy Efficient Home Heating Contribute to Overall Efficiency?
New heating systems have a fairly high AFUE. Older systems simply don’t. AFUE standards didn’t exist before 1992, so older homes tend to be less efficient when it comes to heating systems. In fact, most older homes are only averaging a 50 – 60% efficiency rating, which means a higher rate of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Overall, that means your home isn’t as efficient as it should be, and since your heating system accounts for much of the energy your home uses, upgrading is a must.
Choosing the Most Efficient Heating System
The key to selecting the most efficient heating system is to choose one with a high AFUE, but there are three types of systems out there.
- Furnace: Many Florida homes use a furnace for heat, particularly if they have easy access to natural gas. A furnace uses a heat exchanger to heat the air, then push it through the ductwork in the home. Often they employ a blower to ensure the house is evenly heated. A furnace can be the most efficient type of heating system available depending on whether you have natural gas access. They can, though, be fairly loud.
- Heat Pump: In the moderate Florida climate, heat pumps are more efficient than traditional furnaces. These are air conditioning and heating units all in one. In the Florida heat, the unit will take air from the outside, remove the heat with refrigerant, and pump the cool air through your home. In cooler weather, the heat pump takes the air from the inside, adds heat, and sends it inside. With better filtration and less noise than a furnace, these are one of the more efficient types of systems.
- Boiler: While this may sound like an outdated system, there are still homes that use boilers for warmth. These systems heat water in a tank, then use that water to heat the home, pumping it through a series of pipes to small radiators in each room. Natural gas boilers can be fairly efficient. In fact, some are more efficient than furnaces, but because they take up so much space and they are quite expensive in terms of repairs, many homeowners avoid them.
To choose the heating system that is right for your home, look to what has been used in the past. Talk to an HVAC specialist about what’s working well and what may not be working for your home, then take a closer look at what could change to improve your overall efficiency.
At Synergy Homes, we develop energy efficient homes from the ground up. Each South Florida home we design means a healthier choice for your family and the environment. To learn more about how to purchase a beautiful, efficient home, contact us today.