Falling leaves and chilly winds are indicative of the changing seasons, which may bring to mind the occasional cold snap that requires a competent heat pump. If your home’s equipped with an old, energy-draining heat pump currently, now might be the time to consider an upgrade, before the federal tax credits expire at the end of 2013. And if you’re shopping for a new heat pump, you’ll want to understand what those heat pump efficiency ratings are really telling you.
What Do Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings Really Mean?
Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is the industry term used for heat pump efficiency ratings. The ratings were designed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to give consumers the opportunity to compare different models. (These ratings must now be clearly displayed on new appliances.) The labeling makes it easy to know how adept a heat pump will be at creating heat to warm your home versus how much energy it will need to create the heat.
The AFUE rating reflects a percentage. For example, if a heat pump has an AFUE rating of 75, it means that 75 percent of the fuel’s energy is turned into heat to make your home nice and toasty, while the remaining 25 percent goes to waste through various escape routes.
Though the efficiency rating is useful in your attempt to make an energy efficient heat pump purchase, it doesn’t reveal how much heat may be lost by other means, such as through inefficient ductwork. If you have ducts in unconditioned or partially conditioned areas of your home, like your garage, up to 35 percent of the energy output of the furnace may be wasted.
If you’re in the market for a new heat pump or have questions about efficiency ratings, contact the pros at Cox Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re proud to serve homeowners throughout Palm Harbor and surrounding areas.