10 Tips to Keep Your Heating & Cooling Budget Energy Efficient!
1. Not all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is equal. 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 system can have a big effect on your utility bills - and your comfort.
2. Heating and cooling costs account for nearly half the home's total energy bill. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with a qualified, high-efficiency model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent.
3. ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) than standard models - which makes them about 14% more efficient than standard models. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency. Since sizing and proper installation of a central air conditioning system are critical to energy efficiency and home comfort, it is important to hire a qualified technician.
4. Heat pumps qualified for the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) than standard models, which makes them about 8% percent more efficient than standard new models and 20% more efficient than what you may already have in your home.
5. Natural gas furnaces qualified for the BGE rebates have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 92%, or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. One in four furnaces in U.S. homes today is more than 20 years old. BGE qualified natural gas furnaces use advanced technology to deliver higher efficiency than standard new furnaces available today.
7. When is it time to replace your central heating and cooling system?
- When your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are increasing.
- When your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient equipment that meets the BGE rebate efficiency levels
- When your furnace is more than 15 years old. Consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient furnace that meets the BGE rebate efficiency levels.
8. Although these products can be more expensive to purchase up front, the cost difference will be paid back over time through lower energy bills. Be sure to ask your contractor about BGE Heating & Cooling Rebates which can significantly help reduce the difference in price between standard and high efficiency products.
9. Before buying a new qualifying natural gas furnace, make sure to tell your contractor that you want to participate in BGE's Gas Furnace with Quality Installation Rebate. Make sure to choose an approved participating contractor who can do the right job. For a list of contractors participating in the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®, click here.
10. Proper maintenance can go a long way in preventing future heating and cooling system problems. Ask your contractor about annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors often get very busy during summer and winter months, so it's a good idea to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall.