Energy Star Appliances Are a Good Bet Any Time of Year

December 26, 2013
Ross and Witmer

There are numerous energy appliances in the market today, but what differentiates one from the other? The easiest way to narrow the field is to look for the Energy Star label. No matter the time of year, the Energy Star can guide you to the best home heating and cooling equipment available. Here are just a few products that you can compare with the help of Energy Star.


A boiler that carries the Energy Star label has a higher Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) than the typical boiler system. That means that a higher percentage of fuel is turned into actual heat for your home (85 AFUE means 85 percent of fuel becomes useful heat). This is due to features such as electronic ignition, which allows operation without the constant burning of the pilot light.


Energy Star qualified furnaces also carry higher AFUE ratings. Most furnaces that earn this designation are condensing furnaces. A condensing furnace is beneficial because it uses a second heat exchanger to capture heat energy from condensation and vapors that would typically be vented out of the home. This allows efficiencies of 90 percent or more. Another common feature of furnaces carrying the Energy Star is the electronically commuted motor (ECM), which allows the system to adjust capacity as needed to satisfy your comfort needs.

Central Air Conditioners

With an Energy Star qualified air conditioner, you automatically know you’re getting a higher level of efficiency. Air conditioners carry two ratings. The first is called a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which measures the level of cooling efficiency over the course of the entire cooling season. The second, Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), indicates efficiency at extreme temperatures (95 degrees). Energy Star qualified systems are up to 15 percent more efficient than their conventional counterparts.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, so you’re dealing with two sets of efficiency ratings. Like an A/C, cooling efficiency is measured by SEER and EER. However, heating efficiency is measured using Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), which rates heating efficiency over the course of the entire season.

For more on Energy Star, or for advice on heating and cooling your Charlotte area home, contact us at Ross & Witmer.

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