Energy Star air conditioners can save energy, help lower your energy bill, and keep your home cool in summer and comfortable all year-round.  By following these simple steps recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, homeowners can save energy, stay comfortable, and help protect our environment from the risks of global warming by keeping cool with Energy Star air conditioners.

Step One:  Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of cooling system failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system according to the filter's instructions, generally once a month. Keep it clean to keep it efficient.  Schedule an annual maintenance check-up now with a licensed contractor to ensure your system is operating efficiently and safely. System check-ups can identify problems early.

Alt=energy efficient air conditionersEnergy Star Air Conditioners: Saving Energy and MoneyStep Two:  Save energy by taking advantage of periods in the day when your home doesn't need to be kept as cool. A programmable thermostat, set and used properly, can save about $100 in energy costs each year. Energy Star models have options and settings that keep you comfortable, without wasting energy.

Ceiling fans, when used right, can also cut home energy use while keeping you cool. Turn the thermostat up several degrees while using the fans to deliver the extra cooling comfort.  If you're adding or replacing a ceiling fan this summer, keep cool with Energy Star models; they move air more efficiently, and ceiling fans with lighting use half the energy of standard fans with lighting. Remember, a ceiling fan doesn't cool the room, it cools you, so turn the fan off when you leave the room.

Step Three: Certain home improvement projects can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient, year-round. Find and seal air leaks that cause drafts and make your cooling system work overtime. You or a licensed contractor can follow Energy Star Home Sealing recommendations to tighten your home "envelope" -- outer walls, ceiling, windows, and floors. 

If you experience uneven temperatures in parts of your home, even when your central air is on, call in a contractor to inspect your ducts.  They may need to be sealed and insulated to better deliver air throughout your living space and prevent loss of cooled air to areas between walls, ceilings, and floors.  Either project could save you up to 10 percent on energy bills each year.  Energy-efficient windows also save energy, and protect your furniture and home from sun and heat gain.

Step Four: If your cooling system is more than 12 years old and needs replacing, consider an energy efficient model.  High efficiency levels begin with Energy Star, so be sure to specify it when replacing a central air conditioner or heat pump.  It is very important to get the right sized cooling system for your home and have it installed properly, so your new investment will deliver on its full energy-performance promise.

To find a professional who knows how, look for technicians with NATE certification, or find one at www.natex.org. Properly sized, installed, and regularly maintained energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, along with properly sealed ducts, can save homeowners as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs. 

Have an old room air conditioner in need of replacement? Those that have earned the Energy Star are at least 10 percent more energy efficient than standard models, adding up to real energy bill savings over time.

Step Five: You can find more information including checklists and maintenance schedules in the Energy Star Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling.  Hold on to the Guide for year-round guidance.  Find the Energy Star Guide online, or call 1-888-STAR-YES for a free copy. 

Because most electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels which releases greenhouse gas emissions into our air, using less energy at home is one way to reduce the risks of global warming.  By choosing Energy Star cooling systems, we can all help cool our world by making energy efficient choices at home.  For more steps to help protect the environment from home, please visit www.energystar.gov

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