Homes Needing Better Efficiency

Homes Needing Better Efficiency

The investments you make into your living environment should work for you, and an important component is your home’s energy efficiency. Predictable energy bills are not only beneficial for your wallet, but ensure your residential systems are working optimally, as intended.

Whether you’re building a new home or looking into renovations, to maximize your home’s efficiency, a great first step is to evaluate your HVAC system. For a traditional build, heating and air conditioning can actually account for up to 40 percent of your home’s energy usage. The system you choose can largely affect your monthly utility statements.

An optimal choice: Mitsubishi Electric’s mini-split air-conditioning and heat pump systems. These all-electric systems are an energy-conscious option thanks to their high-performance operation.

 

Traditional HVAC versus mini-split heat pump systems

You’re most likely familiar with a traditional, centralized HVAC system, but may not be aware of their potential for energy loss. With a centralized system, a main air handling unit is located within the home, typically within a basement, attic or utility closet. From here, long runs of ductwork extend to each room within the home. A conventional system's cooling and heating is managed by the outdoor condensing unit with a compressor that turns on and off as it meets the temperature set point.

Two main issues arise with the conventional system: First, long-run ductwork is a huge efficiency killer. With air having to travel a long pathway to each end of the home, air leakage is bound to happen. Along with the air's energy losing its temperature while traveling through the ducting, comfort issues are frequent in rooms far away from the air handler. Secondly, the start/stop cycle of the traditional outdoor compressor creates huge energy spikes for your system. Essentially, when turned on, the compressor jumps to full speed to reach set point. In the summertime, this can significantly increase your energy bills as the system has to work extra hard to keep temperatures comfortable.

Alternatively, mini-split air-conditioning and heat pump systems are zoned, meaning air handling units are located throughout the home. Their placement is determined by your contractor and typically aligns with your room usage and predicted energy loads. The indoor units are then connected to the outdoor compressor via small refrigerant lines. The compressor actually runs constantly, using only the precise amount of energy required and fine-tuning fan speed to meet the set point temperature. This method of operation cuts back on surplus energy use and allows you to have a better handle on your utility expenses and overall comfort.

 

The mini-split difference

Another major benefit that increases your home’s efficiency: mini-split system design allows you to have full control over each zone of your home. Indoor units can be set back or completely turned off according to your family’s preferred usage. For example, if you spend most of your time during the summer months in the backyard versus the basement, you can turn off the basement zone or set it back ensuring you pay only for the conditioning you’re using.

In addition, mini-split air-conditioning and heat pump systems have a variety of unit styles including both ductless and ducted models. Ductless styles include our wall- and floor-mounted units as well as ceiling cassette models. Ducted styles, including the horizontal-ducted indoor unit and multi-position air handler, are completely hidden and use short-run ductwork for maximized energy efficiency. Both types are installed near the zone, allowing for maximum air distribution and comfort.

But what does this saved efficiency look like practically? Father/son building team Connor and Kyle Fagin set to find out. After developing several neighborhoods in Dallas, Texas, the duo set their sights are creating a new development, one that prioritized energy efficiency for the homeowners.

For their first home, they selected two Mitsubishi Electric SEZ Horizontal-ducted Air Handlers and one PEAD Horizontal-ducted Indoor Unit to condition a 2-story, high-performance 3,230-square-foot-home. Upon start-up of the home and real estate showings, the duo was pleasantly surprised at the dwelling’s energy efficiency, particularly in the Texas heat. Using the residential energy monitor Sense, a product that can tell you down to the single watt any devices using electricity in the home, the HVAC system performed optimally.

“HVAC units are typically one of the first things recognized because of the surplus energy they use. With Mitsubishi Electric equipment it’s so energy efficient that it’s actually below the threshold of being picked up as a ‘device’ by the monitor. One of the SEZ units only uses around 20 watts,” explained Connor. “The home averages a $25 to $30 electric bill per month.”

 

If you’re looking to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency, look no further than Mitsubishi Electric.