Replacing the HVAC system in your home is a major investment. To ensure you get the full benefit of a new equipment purchase in terms of increased comfort, energy efficiency and cost savings, you need a dependable source of information to help compare different models. One of the most accessible and reliable sources of comparison data available is the EnergyGuide label.
EnergyGuide Label Basics
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that the manufacturer places EnergyGuide labels on certain types of energy-consuming appliances and HVAC equipment. Since 2013, manufacturers also have to make their products’ EnergyGuide data available online as well. These bright yellow EnergyGuide stickers are quite noticeable on new major appliances like clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators. They’re also found on furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, water heaters, central air conditioner and window units.
Where Does EnergyGuide Label Information Come From?
In January, 2014, the FTC introduced a new EnergyGuide label design with yellow text on a black background that includes data from updated efficiency tests. The energy efficiency testing for EnergyGuide labeling is based on average national electricity costs and equipment run times, which are updated every five years. You’ll likely see a mixture of old and new labels until all the products on the market have been retested with the new efficiency metric.
How to Use the EnergyGuide Label
EnergyGuide labels offers a wealth of comparison data that can help you choose the right HVAC equipment for your needs. The exact details displayed on a label will vary depending on the type of equipment you’re looking at, but here’s a general overview of what’s included:
- Product details – The type and key features of the equipment are listed in the upper left corner of the label. In the upper right corner, you’ll find the specific product details, including the manufacturer, model number and size. These details can help you make an accurate side-by-side comparison of different units.
- Efficiency rating – Depending on the type of HVAC equipment you’re shopping for, you’ll see different information listed in the in the middle of the label. Air conditioners have the unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), while heat pumps list the equipment’s SEER for cooling, and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) for heating. Furnace and boiler labels display a unit’s annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE).
- Efficiency range scale – The linear scale just below the efficiency rating shows you how the unit’s efficiency ranks in comparison to other models with similar features.
- Kilowatt hours – EnergyGuide labels also include an estimate of a unit’s yearly electricity consumption in kilowatt hours. These figures make it easy for you to calculate the potential yearly operating costs of different models using the rates charged by your local energy supplier.
- Energy Star logo – HVAC equipment and appliances that have met the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program certification criteria have its logo displayed on the bottom right corner of the label. Seeing the Energy Star logo on a particular model’s label tells you the equipment will consume up to 15 percent less energy than a comparable standard unit.
When you’re comparing the EnergyGuide data on different makes and models of HVAC equipment, keep in mind that these energy ratings and expected consumption are simply estimates. Installation quality and the condition of your home’s ductwork will have a significant impact on the actual yearly operating costs and your comfort level.
Learn more about Sullivan Oil & Propane’s solutions for choosing an efficient new HVAC system using the EnergyGuide label, or contact us today at 610-365-1268.