If you want to live in a green home, the efficiency of your heat and air conditioning system is the most important factor. That's because heat and air conditioning accounts for nearly half of the energy consumption of the average American home. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your HVAC system so you cut back on both your fossil fuel consumption and your utility bills.

The Most Efficient Heat and Air Conditioning System

A recent article on the Mother Nature Networkexplored the different options for home heating and debated which is the greenest. Every type of heat delivery system has its pros and cons:

Forced-Air Furnaces:

  • Pros: The system responds quickly to thermostats, it works to distribute both heat and air conditioning and integrates easily with smart thermostat controls.
  • Cons: Long duct systems can be inefficient and prone to leaks. They also help distribute dust and allergens throughout your rooms.

Boilers and Radiators:

  • Pros: Radiator pipes are easier to install and make less noise than forced-air duct systems. They don't distribute dust and are effective at heating rooms evenly and efficiently.
  • Cons: The radiators can get hot, creating a burn hazard for children. They also take up space in a room and can clash with your home decor.

Radiant Floor Heat:

  • Pros: Many people enjoy the feeling of warm floors and heat emanating from the ground up.
  • Cons: The cost savings don't always live up to claims. Heat elements are expensive to install and can take a long time to warm up a room. They are also prone to overheating homes due to the lag time.

Notice that most of the pros and cons are more about the utility of the systems rather than their efficiency. That's because the efficiency of all three heating systems ultimately depends more on how you use them than the nature of the system itself. The biggest factor when it comes to energy savings, regardless of how you heat your home, is the temperature to which you set the thermostat.

The Real Key to Efficient Heat and Air Conditioning

In the end, debating the greenest way to deliver heat through your home is, in effect, a trick question. That's because the most efficient way to stay warm in your home is to avoid having to heat it in the first place. That means beefing up your insulation, tracking down leaks in your home envelope and taking advantage of the heat of the sun to passively warm your rooms. The better your home is at collecting and retaining heat, the lower you can set the thermostat and the more you save.

If you need help identifying ways to cut down on the energy consumption of your heat and air conditioning system, get in touch with a qualified HVAC technician right away.

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