How to Use the EnergyGuide Label to Purchase an Efficient System

Are you shopping for new heating and cooling equipment? Your checklist for finding the perfect new system is probably pretty extensive. Along with finding the right size, brand and performance features, efficient operation probably tops your list of requirements. The EnergyGuide label is here to address your efficiency concerns.

Why Reference the EnergyGuide Label?

The bright yellow tag found on all new HVAC equipment and other home appliances is the easiest way to help you choose a more efficient upgrade. While high-efficiency performance usually costs more upfront, the EnergyGuide label reveals that long-term costs are lower. You can use this yellow label to:

  • Compare efficiency ratings between similar models
  • Find out approximately how much it will cost to operate the equipment
  • Determine the payback period of investing in a more efficient system

How to Read the EnergyGuide Label

Look in the upper right corner first. This is where the manufacturer, model number and size are listed. Make sure the label you’re reading matches the equipment it’s attached to.

The upper left corner lists key features shared by similar models. For example, a refrigerator might list side-mounted freezer, automatic defrost and built-in ice maker. This means the ‘Cost Range of Similar Models’ below is based on other refrigerators with these same features.

Take a look at the Cost Range of Similar Models now. This helps you see how this specific equipment falls in line. The lower it is on the scale, the more efficient it is compared to similar models.

The largest component on the EnergyGuide label is the Estimated Yearly Operating Cost. This dollar amount, which falls somewhere along the Cost Range of Similar Models, is based on the unit’s energy consumption and the national average cost of energy. The purpose is to make it quick and easy to compare this figure with other models the same way you easily compare purchase price.

If you want a more accurate estimate of how much you’ll actually spend to operate the appliance, look farther down the EnergyGuide label to the Estimated Yearly Electricity Use. Assuming typical use, you can expect the equipment to consume the given amount of energy per year. (Electricity is shown in kilowatt-hours, or kWh.) Multiply this number by the current energy rate in Highland Park to get a personalized operating cost estimate.

Finally, look in the bottom right corner of the EnergyGuide label. If you spot the Energy Star logo, this product has been certified as a high-efficiency model with lower operating costs and a smaller environmental impact than standard models. The recently rolled out Most Efficient distinction sets the best apart from the rest. Only a handful of top performing equipment qualify, so if you’re looking to maximize energy savings, keep an eye out for this attribute.

It’s important to note that not all EnergyGuide labels are set up the same way. For example, furnaces don’t list energy costs, and dishwasher labels show two costs to depict operation expenses with either a gas or electric water heater. Clothes dryers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ranges and ovens don’t have EnergyGuide labels.

Get the Most From New HVAC Equipment

Comparing EnergyGuide labels to determine efficiency and operational cost is beneficial, but you can combine this with other shopping techniques to ensure your satisfaction:

  • Check physical dimensions. Make sure there’s enough space and ample room for ventilation if needed.
  • Research other characteristics, such as noise level and safety features. Compare user reviews.
  • Ask about local rebates and incentives for purchasing high-efficiency equipment.
  • Make improvements to tighten your home’s envelope and reduce air leakage. This helps new HVAC equipment perform more efficiently.
  • Have a technician perform formal load calculations to size your equipment. If you add insulation and seal up air leaks, you may qualify for smaller, less expensive and more efficient HVAC equipment.

For more information on using the EnergyGuide label to purchase efficient equipment, please check out the Bryant HVAC systems available from Carefree Comfort, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning, or call us at 847-388-0115. We’ve served Highland Park and surrounding areas since 1984.

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