Home heating is an important consideration during the winter months, especially in Colorado where temperatures often dip below freezing. Heating expenses make up nearly half of an average household’s energy budget, which makes energy efficiency an important priority for those who want to reduce utility expenses and their impact on the environment. If you need a new home heating system, you have several options for achieving highly efficient, low-cost heating that will keep your home warm and comfortable for many years.
Our team is very knowledgeable in regard to energy efficient home heating from our experience providing top-rated HVAC services to the Denver, CO area. If you need help choosing the best home heating system for you, just give us a call at 720-805-1717 today!
Why is Energy Efficiency Important?
The simplest reason to choose a high-efficiency heating system is that it will cost much less to operate and maintain over the lifetime of the unit than a lower-efficiency model. High-efficiency systems can reduce ongoing expenses by half or more, and the most efficient heating systems can slash heating bills by up to 70 percent! Even though energy efficient heating systems may be more expensive up-front, a more efficient heating system will provide major savings over time. Furthermore, using a system that is less wasteful reduces the negative impact on the environment, making energy efficient heating systems both better for the environment and your wallet!
Remember that whatever type of heating system you choose, it must be properly sized to produce the level of heat you need for your home. This means that the system’s size presents its functional capacity to generate heat. Our team of HVAC professionals can conduct a heating load calculation on your home to determine how much heating is needed and help you find a system that is appropriately sized for your home.
Energy Efficient Heat Pumps
For homeowners seeking the most energy-efficient heating system available, heat pumps provide the best option. They work by capturing heat and moving it from place to place to meet the desired temperature inside the home across the changing seasons— removing heat to provide a cooler environment in the summer, and scavenging heat from the outdoors to warm the inside during cold winter months. Heat pumps can be amazingly efficient, sometimes producing four times as much energy as the electricity that powers them! An air conditioning system would require much more gas and electricity to generate a similar amount of heat, especially for Colorado residents during winter months.
Heat pumps also have far less impact on the environment than systems that burn fossil fuels. They are generally considered high efficiency because they use less electricity to provide effective heating. They do not burn fossil fuels to generate heat like gas or oil-burning furnaces, which means they do not generate exhaust gases that could negatively affect the environment. Plus they are very safe to operate as they do not produce the potentially harmful gases other systems may include, such as carbon monoxide.
There are two main types of heat pumps available: air-source and geothermal. Air-source heat pumps warm spaces by extracting heat from the surrounding air, whereas geothermal heat pumps use soil outside your home or a nearby body of water to capture heat. Geothermal systems provide the most efficient type of heating, but may require a larger initial investment to purchase and install the system. A geothermal heat pump can usually pay for itself within about five years due to the incredible monthly savings (slashing energy bills up to 70 percent!). Federal and state tax credits may also be available for these systems—contact us for more information!
Energy Efficient Furnaces
The second most efficient heating system is a residential furnace. Furnaces are the most common type of home heating system in use today, with industry estimates placing gas furnaces in about 60 percent of American households. There are three main types of furnaces that are categorized by their fuel source: gas-burning, oil-burning, and electric.
While a majority of Colorado residents rely on furnaces to heat their homes, 75% of Coloradans also rely on natural gas to fuel their furnaces because it has become exceedingly cheaper in recent years. However, gas and oil furnaces are much less efficient and more harmful to the environment than an electric furnace. So, while furnaces present a lower up-front cost than heat pumps, in order to ensure energy efficiency you must consider the fuel source you will use with the furnace to ensure efficiency and cost-savings over time. And the age of furnace matters, too. Older furnaces are not very efficient and can have efficiency ratings as low as 56% in the state of Colorado, while new units that contain state of the art heating technology can achieve efficiencies of almost 99%.
When choosing a furnace, check the system’s AFUE rating. AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is the standard indicator of furnace efficiency. AFUE is a measure of how much of the energy in the fuel is turned into usable heat and how much is likely to be wasted. For example, a gas furnace with an AFUE of 80 percent will convert 80 percent of the energy in the gas to heat while the other 20 percent is lost through the exhaust or leakage. Higher AFUE numbers translate to higher furnace efficiency, with AFUE 90 percent and above indicating a high-efficiency system. Our team can conduct a free AFUE assessment of your heating system to help you identify how efficiently you are heating your home and if there is an opportunity for you to save money on your heating bill.
Energy Efficient Broilers
The third most efficient heating systems for homes are residential boilers. Boilers are less common in residential settings than heat pumps or furnaces, but can still provide a good option for home heating. Boiler systems work by burning natural gas or propane to heat water, and then distributing it throughout the home via two primary systems: to radiators that can be opened or closed for zoned heating, and to radiant floor piping which allows heat to radiate up and into living space. Boilers are also rated by AFUE numbers to measure efficiency. Today, high-efficiency boilers with AFUE ratings of 90 percent or higher are available.
Condensing boilers are even higher-efficiency models that can reach AFUE ratings of up to 95 percent. These boilers use a second heat exchanger to extract heat from the exhaust gases before the gases are vented outdoors. With this additional process, they recover some of the heat that has already been paid for before it’s lost to the exhaust and ventilation processes.
About Mercury Heat and Air Conditioning
Mercury Heat and Air Conditioning is proud to serve as one of the most trusted and highly rated HVAC companies in Denver. That’s because we understand the meaning of family and keeping yours safe. As a fourth-generation family owned business run by Colorado native Patrick Guiry of Guiry’s Paints, the importance of protecting family is core to our business and guides everything we do. Mercury Heat and Air Conditioning was created to meet the demand for the same level of high quality service in home and light commercial heating and air conditioning in the Denver metro area. Our friendly team of HVAC experts goes above and beyond to ensure you receive the solutions you need at the prices that fit your budget, because that’s what we’d do for our own family.