Home Energy Efficiency – Energy Tips For Homeowners
Did you know? About ½ of the energy you use in your home goes to heating and cooling. We like to help our customers make smart decisions about their HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Following these tips can make a big difference in your home comfort and safety:
Change Your Air Filter Regularly – one of the most overlooked aspects of home heating and cooling is to forget to check the air filter. We recommend that you check your air filter every month, especially during heavy use months like winter and summer. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder. When you keep the filters clean you improve the efficiency and longevity of your home heating and cooling system.
Consider A Whole House Air Filtration System – The Aprilaire whole-home air filtration products were designed with energy efficiency in mind. Aprilaire programmable thermostat can save up to 30% on your heating and cooling bills a year. And whole-house air cleaners help maintain the efficiency of your central heating and cooling system by eliminating the build-up of dirt, dust & other pollutants thereby increasing your system’s efficiency by as much as 25%.
Schedule A Yearly Tune Up – regular maintenance on your gas furnace, heat pump and air conditioning unit is imperative. A yearly tune up can improve efficiency, home comfort, and allows us to identify a small problem before it becomes a large problem.
Install A Programmable Thermostat – A programmable thermostat can save about $180 every year in energy costs. Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer, and — depending on the season — raise or lower the set point when you’re sleeping or away from home.
Seal Your Heating and Cooling Ducts – forced air systems move air to and from areas via duct work. Ducts can be big energy wasters! Reports show that as much as 30% of your heating can be lost due to improperly sealed ductwork. Ductwork needs to be properly sealed an insulated to maximize heating efficiency.
Consider ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment – if your furnace or heat pump is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider a new energy efficiency furnace or heat pump. ENERGY STAR equipment can cut your annual energy bill by $200 or more and many ENERGY STAR furnaces and heat pumps qualify for rebates and incentives.
Understanding home energy efficiency is an important factor of how much power it takes to do a useful amount of work.
Let’s take a look at the universal standard ratings for home energy efficiency which makes it easy for you to compare performance of different systems.
SEER – Is the measurement used for your air conditioners cooling efficiency.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. To help determine if you’re getting your money’s worth out of your AC unit, determining the SEER of your unit will help. The higher a unit’s SEER, the higher your unit’s energy efficiency. Effective power use means you’re getting the best value for your energy dollar.
AFUE – Is the terminology used for gas furnaces.
It stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It measures the amount of heat actually delivered throughout your home against the amount of fuel your furnace actually uses. As an example; a furnace with an AFUE of 80 uses 80% of the fuel to heat your home while the remainder or 20% goes out your flue. The higher the number, the more efficient it is. The U.S. Department of Energy determined that all furnaces sold in the U.S. must have a minimum AFUE of 78%.
HSPF –Is the most commonly used measurement for heat pump efficiency.
It stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. New heat pumps manufactured after 2005 are required to have an HSPF of at least 6.8. The most efficient heat pumps have an HSPF rating of 10. The HSPF is a heat pump’s estimated seasonal heating output in BTUs divided by the amount of energy that it consumes in watt-hours. Typically, a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump pays for itself in savings in a few years. Heat pumps are also rated by SEER for cooling efficiency. Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, the HSPF is a more important consideration than SEER due to our longer heating season.
For more information on home efficiency, call on our knowledgeable heating and cooling experts. 503.626.7477.