Home heating and cooling has been revolutionized in the past 10-15 years. If you don’t have an Energy Star-approved appliance, the money you think you are saving by not making a purchase could be getting burned up in your inefficient unit.


Let’s talk about your furnace. Most of the homes in America have a gas-, propane- or oil- burning furnace that delivers hot air through a forced air duct system. The units produced 10-15 years ago have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of around 70 percent or lower. That means that for every dollar you spend on heating, you’re getting about 70 cents of actual heat. The other 30 cents is going up your chimney. New Energy Star approved furnaces have AFUE ratings in the 90 percent range. They also utilize Electronically Commutated Motors (ECMs) to reduce the electricity used by the blower motor.


The other, much less common heating method is the boiler system. These units use the same fuel sources as standard furnaces but deliver heat through water-filled radiator pipes. Energy Star-approved models have higher AFUE ratings than those that do not, and many of them use electronic ignition systems that eliminate the need for a consistently burning pilot light.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioner units are the most common choice for today’s households. Energy Star-approved models have a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) than non-approved models (saving you up to 15 percent on your cooling bill). Central air uses the same blower motor as the furnace. If there isn’t an ECM present, the new unit won’t reach its rated efficiency level.

Heat Pumps

Energy Star-approved Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) have higher SEER and EER ratings than their non-approved counterparts and are a good choice for existing homes. New homes can benefit from a Geothermal Heat Pump, the most efficient heating and cooling system on the market.

For more on how Energy Star-approved appliances can save you cash in your Wichita home, contact Comfort Systems today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Energy Star appliances and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.