Over the past decade, ENERGY STAR has been a driving force behind the more widespread use of technological innovations, such as efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.
Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, energy saved in 2007 reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the output from 27 million cars — all while saving $16 billion on their utility bills.
ENERGY STAR In The Home
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills — and your comfort.
Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
- When you purchase new household appliances, look for products that have earned the ENERGY STAR. They meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines as set by the EPA and US
Department of Energy.
- If you look for a new home, a house that has earned the ENERGY STAR will save you money for years to come.
- If looking to make larger improvements to your home, the EPA offers tools and resources to help you plan and undertake projects designed to reduce your energy bills and improve your home’s comfort level.
For more information, read the ENERGY STAR Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling (PDF, 708KB opens in new window).
Maintain Your System Regularly To Keep It Performing At Peak Efficiency
According to ENERGY STAR, dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of heating and cooling system failure.
One of the most important steps you can take is to prevent future problems and unwanted costs with proper scheduled maintenance. Keep your heating and cooling systems at peak performance by
- Cleaning or replacing the air filter about once a month, and
- Having a contractor perform annual pre-season check-ups.
- Thiele “Rewards” Program members receive these check-ups twice yearly.
We get busy during summer and winter months, so it’s best to check the cooling
system in the spring and the heating system in the fall.
To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.
Home Maintenance Checklist From ENERGY STAR
Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups.
- Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to:
- Check the cooling system in the spring
- Check the heating system in the fall.
To remember, plan the check-ups around the time changesin the spring and fall.
A typical maintenance check-up should include the following:
- Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
- Tighten all electrical connections and easure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
- Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
- Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
- Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
- Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
- Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger.
- Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems.
- A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation.
- Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions To Do Yourself
- Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this.
- A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early system failure.