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Make your home more energy efficient, too. Seal and insulate ducts in attics and crawlspaces. Rooms will be less drafty and monthly energy costs will go down. Updating old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR products can save consumers up to 20 percent in energy costs yearly.
Buying ENERGY STAR products saves money on utility bills and protects the environment. ENERGY STAR is a government-backed guarantee that the appliance you buy meets strict efficiency standards. That's a big plus for households with heating and cooling systems, which are big energy users.
The EPA says that if one in 10 households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.
ENERGY STAR products include thermostats, boilers, heat pumps and air conditioners, among other items. You pay a little more upfront, but can save thousands of dollars in utility bills over the service life of the product.
Homeowners can do their part to keep ENERGY STAR products running efficiently. Hire qualified professionals to size and install heating and cooling systems.
When buying a new air conditioner, consider an ENERGY STAR unit. It will be more efficient and lower energy costs.
Replacing a 10-year-old room air conditioner with a new ENERGY STAR air conditioner can save an average of $14 a month on your electric bill. ENERGY STAR air conditioners use at least 10 percent less energy than conventional models. They often have timers for temperature control. Air conditioners that use less energy produce less pollution and save money on energy costs.
ENERGY STAR air conditioners must meet specific standards on SEER ratings, an industry measure of efficiency. Look for SEER ratings in the high teens. The maximum SEER rating is 20.
ENERGY STAR is not just another empty advertising label, like "All Natural" or "Doctor Recommended." ENERGY STAR is not a brand or product model either. So what is ENERGY STAR?
It is a voluntary labeling system devised by the EPA and backed by the Department of Energy. ENERGY STAR products undergo extensive testing to ensure they meet high-efficiency standards. ENERGY STAR products offer easy-to-understand consumer information. You can get estimates on energy savings for such products as air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, washers and dryers, and lighting. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on 40 categories of home appliances.
Programmable ENERGY STAR thermostats serve homeowners on the go. Just program the thermostat to fit your schedule. The thermostat keeps rooms comfortable when you are home and adjusts to energy-saving levels when you are away. Increase the efficiency of your ENERGY STAR thermostat by setting it at energy-saving temperatures for long periods of time. This may be when you are at work or asleep at night. Do not override the pre-programmed settings. This reduces your energy savings. Make sure you have your new thermostat installed on an interior wall that is away from drafts, heat sources and direct sunlight.
Boilers with the ENERGY STAR label use about 10 percent less energy than standard boilers, a big savings for homeowners. Look for these features on ENERGY STAR boilers:
* An electric ignition, which replaces a pilot light that burns constantly;
* New technology that enables the boiler to get more heat from less fuel;
* Sealed combustion that uses outside air to fuel the burner.
Expect to pay a little more for a new boiler and other ENERGY STAR heating and cooling appliances. But they pollute less, save energy, and lower monthly utility bills.
Your ENERGY STAR heating and cooling system must be sized and installed correctly to run efficiently. Many consumers will buy extra-large central air conditioners because they assume the bigger the unit, the better it will operate. However, that is faulty logic and it's actually the opposite that is true.
An over-sized unit will cycle on and off continuously, which increases your electric bill and burns out the condenser. You do not want a heating and cooling unit that is too small either. Smaller units cost less, but will not be able to heat and cool sufficiently. The best advice is to call a service contractor who knows ENERGY STAR products. The contractor will calculate the cooling and heating needs of your home and help you choose the right system.
You've heard neighbors and colleagues marvel at the high efficiency and money savings of their ENERGY STAR appliances. But you may know little about them. The ENERGY STAR label is important to consumers and to the environment.
The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to identify non-polluting, energy-efficient products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers usually shop for ENERGY STAR appliances when they want to lower monthly utility bills.
The EPA publishes ENERGY STAR booklets on the performance of specific products and the ENERGY STAR label is on most major appliances that meet efficiency standards. They include heating and cooling systems, office equipment, lighting, and home electronics. The EPA recently extended the label to cover commercial and industrial buildings. The cost savings for using ENERGY STAR products is enormous -- an estimated $12 billion in 2005.