If you are shopping for a new heating and cooling system, you probably already know about the differences in energy efficiency among the options on the market. Ratings such as SEER (for air conditioners) and AFUE (for furnaces) are similar to the mpg ratings on cars; choose a higher rating, and the HVAC system will consume less energy.
What many people don’t realize is just how big a difference those ratings can have on their finances, when you consider the total lifetime costs of owning an HVAC system.
“Lifetime cost” refers to everything you spend on an HVAC system from the day you buy it until the day it is finally replaced. Lifetime costs include the price of the system on day one, but they also include every dollar spent on electricity or heating fuel used to run the system every day after that. Though the initial price tag might seem like the larger expense, over the years those energy bills often have a bigger impact on your wallet.
To see how energy savings impacts lifetime costs of an HVAC system, you can download Energy Star’s lifetime cost estimate worksheet for furnaces or its similar worksheet for air conditioners. Using the furnace worksheet as an example, you can enter details about your own South Bend home and compare the lifetime costs of a standard furnace (with an AFUE rating of around 80 percent) to a high-efficiency model (with an AFUE rating of 95 percent or higher).
The worksheet will calculate how much you would likely save on your energy bills each year and over the entire life of the system. Even though the high-efficiency furnace may have a higher purchase price, it will most likely have a lower lifetime cost once you consider the energy savings.
Of course, those Energy Star worksheets provide just averages. At Home Comfort Experts, we can evaluate your unique Northern Indiana or Southwest Michigan home and help you determine which HVAC options would give you the lowest lifetime costs. Contact us today.