High-Efficiency HVAC: Your Questions Answered

Each spring, while the weather is mild here in Central Connecticut, presents the perfect opportunity to assess your complete home energy equipment. If you’re in the market for a new heating or air conditioning system, make sure to choose equipment that is energy efficient for maximum savings, comfort, and safety.

High-Efficiency EquipmentQ: How can I benefit from high-efficiency equipment?

A: When your heating and cooling systems are rated as energy efficient, you’ll notice an immediate difference from older, outdated appliances. More effective energy output translates to savings on your energy bills and more.

  • Lower annual heating and cooling costs
  • Improved home comfort throughout the seasons
  • Reduced risk of equipment breakdowns
  • More environmentally friendly operation

Q: What makes a system energy efficient?

A: Both heating and cooling systems are measured and rated in a similar fashion when it comes to efficiency. A furnace or boiler’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), whereas a central air conditioning system’s efficiency is measured using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Simply put, these grades represent how much hot or cold air the system gives off­, taking into account the energy consumed by its operation. High-efficiency systems most commonly share these features:

Boilers & Furnaces

  • Upwards of 85% AFUE
  • Sealed combustion
  • ENERGY STAR® approval

Central Air Conditioning Systems

  • Upwards of 20 SEER
  • Compatible with programmable thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® approval

Q: How can I tell if it’s time to upgrade?

A: Your home heating and cooling equipment works hard in the peak winter and summer months year after year to keep you comfortable. But after a while, it takes much more energy—and money—for that same system to provide the same level of comfort. If your current heating or cooling system is more than 15 years old, you can drastically lower your energy bills for years to come by upgrading to new, high-efficiency appliances. Installing new equipment is especially important if your heating system’s stack temperature over 500° or if your air conditioning system still uses R22 refrigerant. 


Not sure about your current HVAC equipment’s age or operating efficiency? Let your local home energy specialists help determine if and when an upgrade is right for you.