Central Air Conditioning
As far as central air conditioners go, bigger isn’t better! An air conditioner that’s too big for your home costs more to buy, uses more energy, and will cycle on and off more frequently, thus shortening its life span. It will be noisier than an appropriately sized model, and won’t de-humidify the air as well. But if you’re still tempted to go with bigger, get a model with a larger energy efficiency rating, or SEER value. To size your air conditioner appropriately, your contractor should spend about an hour in your home measuring the walls, floors and windows, checking the insulation in the attic, walls and crawl spaces, and testing the ductwork for leaks. Beware of any contractor who will size your unit based only on the square footage of your house.
Remember to change (or clean) the filter on your furnace each month. A dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace, making it work harder and use more energy. A dirty filter also lowers your indoor air quality, which can cause health issues and increases the accumulation of dust in your home.
When having your ducts cleaned, it’s also a good time to get the components of your furnace and air conditioning system cleaned as well (such as the furnace fan blower and heat exchanger, humidifier, air conditioning coil, etc.). Doing so can improve air flow through the ducts. Duct cleaning can uncover blockages in ductwork, which can also improve airflow.
An inefficient furnace can lead to high heating costs, so make sure that your furnace is always well maintained. Consider replacing older models (15 years or more) with newer ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
For several decades, geothermal technology has been used to extract energy from the earth's surface to heat and air condition buildings. Known by a variety of names, including ground source heat pump, ground water assisted and ground-water-source energy, it is an energy efficient technology that is quickly increasing in popularity for residential use.
Instead of paying for energy, why not look into harnessing the power from the earth to heat your home, create electricity and reduce your carbon footprint? With the proper planning and system in place, geothermal power can be a great source of alternative energy of any homeowner.
Heat pumps are an energy efficient way to heat your home in winter and cool it during summer. Some types can also heat water. A heat pump system is most often used in conjunction with another heating solution such as a gas, oil or electric furnace.
Radiant heating is a dependable heating source that has been around for centuries, and with advances in technology is now even more effective and energy efficient. Unlike conventional forced air heating systems, radiant heating doesn’t carry dust, allergens or any other particles from room to room. Moreover, with radiant floor heating, there are no "hot spots" or varying room temperatures, thereby adding to home comfort.
Replace, Repair or Seal Ducts
Almost half of your total energy costs are due to heating and cooling. To avoid putting any unnecessary strain on your furnace and central air conditioning system, seal any air leaks in your ductwork and insulate the portions that run through areas of your home that are not insulated. This will help retain the heat (or cold) in the conditioned air until it reaches its destination, thereby reducing the demand on the heating or cooling unit and increasing the energy efficiency of your home.