June 14, 2022

What Are the Factors that Determine the Energy Use of an HVAC System?

Do you have an air conditioning system in your facility and have been wondering about its energy consumption rate? This post will help you take a closer look at heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to establish what determines the energy they use. If you already have an HVAC system installed in your facility, this post will also solve the big dilemma, “do you buy a new unit or repair the current one?

Brice Degeyter
Brice Degeyter
Bizsu founder
HVAC System

How Does an HVAC System Operate? 

Before you can establish the factors that determine the energy use of an HVAC system, it is important to start by understanding how it works. So, here are the basic mechanics of an air conditioning system.

Air conditioning systems follow the old principle of heat transfer, where heat is removed from the area of high concentration and replaced with cool air to create a cooling effect. In a house, hotel, or office, the hot air is removed from inside the house and transferred outdoors. This heat exchange is done using a coolant/ refrigerant, which absorbs the unwanted heat as air is run through a network of coils. 

A fan located outside the HVAC unit helps to blow outside the room/house, helping to transfer the heat from coolant to the air outdoors. Most of the air conditioners out there are made of the following five components: 

  • Compressor 
  • Condenser
  • Blower 
  • Evaporator coil
  • Thermo refrigerant

Apart from cooling or heating your space, air conditioners might also be fitted with filters to help remove impurities in the air getting into the room. In such cases, the HVAC system comes in handy in helping to improve the air quality of the room. 

What Determines the Energy Consumption of an Air Conditioning System?

The following five factors play a huge impact in determining the energy consumption of your air conditioning system.

Fan Settings 

There are two main types of fan settings used in air conditioning systems: manual and automatic models. If you are using a manual HVAC, it means that the system continues to circulate air even when the house does not need heating or cooling. For example, if you forget to switch off the system when a guest checks out from a hotel room, the air conditioning system will continue running. Therefore, you should expect a higher energy bill, and the filters will also get clogged, requiring a replacement.

To cut down the electricity bill, you should consider shifting to an HVAC that uses automatic fans. This means that the fan only turns on when it is needed to cool or warm the rooms. If it is integrated with a climate control system, the system will be able to detect when rooms are unoccupied and turn off. With an automated fan and HVAC, you are cutting down the energy bill and avoiding the need to regularly replace the filters, making the whole system more sustainable and profitable.

Indoor Air Quality Requirements 

As we indicated earlier when demonstrating the mechanics of an air conditioning system, the system draws hot air from the guest rooms, cools it down, and then recirculates it back to the rooms. If the air quality of your rooms or space is poor, perhaps laden with debris and dust, they are likely to clog the HVAC system. This will result in reduced efficiency and higher electricity bills.

Continewm’s technology is proven to improve air quality through purification and elimination of odor. Installing this ceramic net does not require any modifications to the existing AC unit as it is compatible with any type of AC unit. The AC compressor functions more effectively, resulting in a reduction in energy consumption.

It is important to review the air quality of your facility and take corrective measures to improve it. If you run a facility such as a hospital, hotel, school, or office, high levels of air quality will be required for a better guest experience. 

Outdoor Air Temperature

The hotter the outside temperatures, the system needs to work harder to achieve your desired indoor temperature, since the AC cycle requires the outside temperature to be lower than the heat being released from the unit.

The Age of Your HVAC System 

When you install a new system, it delivers high efficiency because all the components are running optimally. However, this efficiency drops with time, and the air conditioning system is likely to contribute to high power bills. If your air conditioning system is older than ten years, the chances are that it is already old enough and, therefore, using a lot of energy. This means that you are paying more than necessary to keep the house/hotel cool or warm.

Another reason why an old HVAC system is likely to push the energy bill high is that most manufacturers design them to last 10 to 15 years. When they surpass the recommended lifespan, the efficiency goes down significantly. At this point, you should consider a replacement. 

System Size 

When buying an air conditioning system, you have to factor in its size. If the size is too small to heat or cool the space under consideration, it has to work extra hard to reach the targeted temperature for the office or room. The extra work will result in increased energy consumption and higher electricity bills. Apart from high utility bills, the overworked HVAC is likely to damage different parts faster and require replacement within a very short time. 

We must indicate that if the HVAC system is too large, it is likely to be ineffective. This means that it will be using too much energy unnecessarily. Therefore, it is important to work with a professional in HVAC to determine the perfect model for your home or size. If you plan to scale, perhaps add more rooms to your hotel, make sure to install an HVAC model that is large enough to avoid overworking. 

Preventive Maintenance 

Your system works extra hard to meet the temperature demands that are set for your building all year long. Therefore, you can expect different parts to get broken or damaged over time. If they are not repaired correctly and on time, the energy consumption is likely to go up. Therefore, do not delay in ensuring that the system is maintained in top condition all the time. 

We suggest that you do two major maintenance works on the facility: one in spring and another in fall. Note that this does not mean you should not repair the HVAC when issues are noted other times. So, make sure to check the performance of the facility regularly to note anomalies. If you realize that the energy consumption for the HVAC has gone up significantly, it is an indication that something might be wrong. 

To Repair or Replace an HVAC System

Now that we have seen the main factors that determine the energy consumption of an HVAC system, there are two main options for a damaged model: repairing or replacing. So, which option is better? When should you repair/ replace an HVAC system? 

When to Repair an HVAC system

  • Consider repairing your air conditioning system when it is nearing the end of its economic life. However, this means that you should immediately start preparing for a replacement not so long into the coming months or years. 
  • When the new system that is perfect or recommended for your house or facility is not readily available. Here, you can repair the damaged part while waiting to get the preferred HVAC model. 
  • If you are planning to move your hotel, home or office to a new building, it will not make sense to spend a lot of money repairing something that will be left behind. Consider repairing it so that it can serve you for the remaining period. 
  • Are you preparing for an upcoming new HVAC model or incentive? In such a situation, it is advisable to repair and continue using the current model until the new one is available. 

When to Replace an Air Condition System 

  • When the energy consumption of the old or current air conditioning system goes very high. If you do not replace the HVAC system in such a situation, it is likely to become uneconomical to run. 
  • Has your HVAC become old and is no longer effective? This is the perfect time to replace it. 
  • If you are scaling up operations, perhaps adding new hotel rooms, and the current system cannot effectively serve them, it is time to go for a new model. 
  • When you move to a new building and find it has an installed HVAC system, but it is ineffective, go for a new one. 
  • Has a new, more effective, durable, and affordable model hit the market? In such a case, consider reviewing the current HVAC’s efficiency and go for the new system if it will deliver greater value. For example, it will be an excellent option to take the offer if the current system is only a few months to reach the recommended lifespan. 
  • If the current air conditioning system keeps breaking down even after comprehensive repairs, this is an indication that you need a replacement. Ask your technician or expert what the best new model would be for your facility or house. 

This post has demonstrated that an HVAC system is vital for every house, office, hotel, or hospital, among other facilities. The best air conditioning system should be durable, effective, and have low energy consumption to keep electricity bills low. Remember that whether you are replacing a single part or installing a new HVAC system, only the highest quality models from top-rated brands should be selected.