Everyone is interested in having quality materials and appliances in their house. We recommend ENERGY STAR products because they allow homes to perform better. This is the first of 3 part series dealing with the benefits of services such as 1) HVAC quality installation and maintenance, 2) air sealing, duct sealing, and 3) adding insulation.
Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR®
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help you make smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system that can help save on energy costs, improve your overall comfort at home, and help fight global warming.
Why Read this Guide?
Use this guide to help you:
- Learn how best to maintain your heating and cooling equipment.
- Take steps around your home to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.
- Decide when it’s time to replace your old heating and cooling equipment with more energy-efficient equipment that has earned EPA's ENERGY STAR.
Consider Making a Change if Any of the Following Statements Apply
- Some of your rooms are too hot or cold. Inadequate air sealing or insufficient insulation could be the cause. No matter how efficient your heating and cooling system is, if your home is not properly sealed and insulated, you will not be as comfortable and your system will have to work harder.
- Your home has humidity problems, excessive dust, or rooms that never seem to get comfortable. Leaky or poorly insulated ductwork might be the cause.
- Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up. In addition to the rise in energy costs, the age and condition of your heating and cooling equipment may have caused it to become less efficient.
- Your heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old. Consider replacing it with newer, more efficient equipment. And remember, high efficiency levels begin with ENERGY STAR.
- You leave your thermostat set at one constant temperature. You could be missing a great energy-saving opportunity. You can set a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature at times when you’re regularly away or sleeping.
- You used EPA’s ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick (www.energystar. gov/yardstick) to compare your household’s energy use to others across the country and your score is below five. That means you’re using and paying for more energy at home than most Americans. Visit the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor (www.energystar.gov/homeadvisor) to get recommendations for home improvement projects that will increase your score by improving your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
Maintain Your Equipment
Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. To ensure efficient system operation, it’s important to perform routine maintenance.
Change your air filter regularly.
A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure. Check your filter every month, especially during winter and summer months, when use tends to be heavier. Change your filter if it's dirty— or at least every three months.
Tune up your HVAC equipment.
Proper maintenance by a qualified technician is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems. Contractors get busy during summer and winter months, so it is best to check the cooling system in spring and the heating system in the fall. Plan the checkups around the beginning and end of daylight-saving time each spring and fall.
Use a Programmable Thermostat.
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
How Do You Choose the Right One for You?
To decide which model is best for you, think about your schedule and how often you are away from home for regular periods of time—work, school, other activities—and then decide which of the three different models best fits your schedule:
- 7-day models are best if your daily schedule tends to change; for example, if children are at home earlier on some days. These models give you the most flexibility and let you set different programs for different days—usually with four possible temperature periods per day.
- 5+2-day models use the same schedule every weekday, and another for weekends.
- 5-1-1 models are best if you tend to keep one schedule Monday through Friday and another schedule on Saturdays and Sundays.