Award-Winning Products

The fact that York® products are built right has been recognized by many prestigious industry awards. That's because our innovative design and user friendly features help save energy, ensure sustainability and simplify maintenance.

Good Housekeeping Seal

Good Housekeeping Seal Since 2005
Most York® Residential Products
This recognized emblem of assurance is given to York® products backed by Good Housekeeping magazine's Consumer Policy. The policy promises a refund or replacement for defective products within two years of being sold by an authorized dealer. It's the kind of recognition you expect from a product that delivers the quality you deserve.

Best Buy Award

A Consumers Digest Best Buy
Affinity™ YP9C Gas Furnace
For 50 years, people have trusted Consumers Digest magazine to identify outstanding values in a complex marketplace. That's why we're proud that a Consumers Digest Award was awarded to the York® Affinity™ YP9C 33-inch modulating gas furnace. It's the kind of recognition that shows that our high quality means high value for you.

AHR Expo Innovation Award

2009 AHR Expo Innovation Award
Affinity™ YP9C Gas Furnace
We took the top award among critical heating and cooling professionals: The 98% AFUE performance and modulating design of the Affinity™ YP9C gas furnace won the heating category of the prestigious 2009 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Competition.

ACH&R News Dealer Design Gold Award

2009 ACH&R News Dealer Design - Gold Award
Affinity™ 33-inch Modulating Gas Furnaces
This award is given by leading dealers to products that provide all the features contractors desire in a gas furnace — in this case, including 33-inch height for installation in tight spaces and a variable-speed fan in non-condensing 80% AFUE models.

ACH&R News Dealer Design - Silver Award

2009 ACH&R News Dealer Design - Silver Award
Affinity™ Horizontal Discharge Condensing Unit
York® quality and innovation win again in our slim 2.5- to 5-ton horizontal discharge models. This design features compact MicroChannel Coil technology to create a narrow profile that fits practically anywhere.

How to measure attic insulation

In this vine style video learn how to measure your attic insulation; having the right amount of attic insulation in your home will save money, save energy, make your home more comfortable, and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change.

Adding insulation to the attic is generally a moderately difficult do it yourself (DIY) project, but the benefits can be substantial. The first step is to determine if you attic has enough insulation for where you live; start by measuring your attic insulation levels – in general, if you can see your joists, you need more insulation. With the right information and a quick look around your attic you’ll be able to make energy efficient improvements that help improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Here are the steps for measuring your attic insulation level:
1. Insert a ruler or a yardstick into your insulation, record the depth
2. If the insulation is uneven across the attic, take multiple measurements and average them
3. Take a photo of your attic insulation levels for your records and we’d love for you to share them with us at on social media (see below for links)
4. Determine how much R-value and insulation you need for where you live: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...
5. Still want to know more on how to measure your attic insulation and want some personal instruction, learn more from ENERGY STAR’s Doug Anderson in this video: https://youtu.be/1i1vEkPz27E?list=PLM...

Have the right levels of insulation? Way to go! Now be sure to check for air leaks, watch the other videos in our Rule Your Attic series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

Not enough insulation in your attic? Time to install more. Not sure if you can handle the job yourself? Watch this video to find out if you should DIY or hire a contractor: https://youtu.be/EAviffw4SFk?list=PLM...

And be sure to check for any ENERGY STAR partner rebates offered in your area: http://www.energystar.gov/rebate-finder

Take the ENERGY STAR pledge and track your energy efficient improvements at My ENERGY STAR: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/m...

Subscribe to the ENERGY STAR channel for more ideas to save energy: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_...

Visit us on social media…
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/energystar
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/energystar
Get ideas on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/energystar
Visit The Energy Source: http://www.energystar.gov/about/newsr...

For more about EPA: http://www.epa.gov/
We accept comments according to our comment policy: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/comment-policy/

NOTE: This video only contains music. There are no captions available.

Federal Tax Credits: Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but use the ground instead of outside air to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water.  Because they use the earth's natural heat, they are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available.

Requirements

Must meet the requirements of the ENERGY STAR program which are in effect at the time of the expenditure.  Tax credits includes installation costs.

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Definitions: 

  • COP (Coefficient Of Performance) - of a heat pump is the ratio of the change in heat at the "output" (the water reservoir of interest) to the supplied work.
  • EER (Energy Efficient Ratio) - The higher the EER rating, the more energy efficient the equipment is. This can result in lower energy costs. This DOE site can show how to calculate potential energy costs savings of a more efficient unit.

More Information

Is there a tax credit for geothermal heat pumps?

Yes, geothermal heat pumps can qualify for a tax credit

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When is it time to replace?

Certain telltale signs indicate it's time to consider replacing heating and cooling equipment, or improving the performance of your overall system. It may be time to call a professional contractor to help you make a change if:

Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.

Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.

Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.

Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up.

Your cooling or heating equipment my have become less efficient.

Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.

Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.

No one is home for long periods of the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.

Install a programmable thermostat or have a good contractor install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while they're away or sleeping.

Your home has humidity problems.

Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Your home has excessive dust.

Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.

Your heating or cooling system is noisy.

You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

Your score on the Home Energy Yardstick is below five.

That means your energy use at home is above average and you're probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.

Information about Furnaces, Boilers, Heat Pumps, and Air Conditioners that have earned the ENERGY STAR.

YORK® LX Series: Advanced engineering comes home

There’s a fine line between attention to detail and obsession. The new YORK® LX Series residential split systems cross that line to bring you the most efficient, compact and reliable product range in our history. We’ve invested more than 125,000 hours of research, design and testing to make the LX series fit perfectly in your home while delivering higher levels of efficiency. Check out the extreme engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes that went into creating our most innovative product line yet.

Why Seal and Insulate?

Save Energy and Money.

Air that leaks through your home's envelope − the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings − wastes a lot of energy and increases your utility costs. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can make a real difference on your utility bills.

Increase Comfort.

Sealing leaks and adding insulation can improve the overall comfort of your home and help to fix many of these common problems:

  • Reduced noise from outside
  • Less pollen, dust and insects (or pests) entering your home
  • Better humidity control
  • Lower chance for ice dams on the roof/eves in snowy climates

Most Homes Will Benefit.

Most homes in the United States don't have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!

Why Should You Insulate Your Home’s Attic?

The ENERGY STAR program estimates that homeowners can save up to 10% on their total annual energy bills by sealing and insulating their attic floor and other areas of their home. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation in your home’s attic improves the barrier, or envelope, that keeps the conditioned air inside and the outside air out.

YORK® HVAC: Introducing Simplicity® Smart Equipment Systems

Maximizing the performance of YORK® rooftop HVAC systems has just been made a lot easier. HVAC contractors want equipment that they know will excel every day, and Simplicity® Smart Equipment is the key to unlocking the full potential of YORK® HVAC units. Watch how Simplicity® Smart Equipment controls-equipped units are providing even more efficient, longer-lasting systems.

Energy Department Announces Largest Energy Efficiency Standard in History

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.

“Just days after the Paris agreement to cut global emissions and create a new era of affordable energy, today’s announcement marks the largest energy-saving standard in history and demonstrates that America is leading the effort to reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This rule also shows that strong public-private partnerships can reap environmental and economic dividends and drive technology breakthroughs. These standards are a direct result of the Energy Department’s negotiated rulemaking process which brings diverse stakeholders to the negotiating table and supports industry innovation, demonstrating how government and business can work together to meet U.S. carbon reduction goals.”

During the Obama administration, the Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 40 household and commercial products, including commercial refrigeration equipment, electric motors, and fluorescent lamps, which will save consumers nearly $535 billion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 billion metric tons through 2030. Today’s announcement brings the Energy Department more than two-thirds of the way to achieving the goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons through standards set in the President’s first and second terms. This is equivalent to cutting more than a year’s carbon pollution from the entire U.S. electricity system.

These new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards will occur in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2018 and will deliver a 13 percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, an additional 15 percent increase in efficiency is required for new commercial units.

Commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units, are commonly used in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores and small office buildings. They cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the United States.

To finalize this standard, the Department convened 17 stakeholders, including major industry organizations, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and Air Conditioning Contractors of America, along with some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations. Manufacturing new products will provide skilled jobs for American workers, garnering the support of labor leaders. These standards also come after years of industry innovation.

The Energy Department’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge catalyzed several manufacturers to develop more efficient, cost-effective rooftop air conditioners. With these new units commercialized, the Department’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign has spurred businesses to upgrade over 40,000 rooftop units by providing them with technical assistance throughout the process. The new standards will ensure all businesses have access to energy-saving air conditioners that lower their utility bills for years to come.

Find more information on the energy efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and warm air furnaces established today at Energy.gov

Ventilation Systems for Cooling

Ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some cases, natural ventilation will suffice for cooling, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, and window fans. For large homes, homeowners might want to investigate whole house fans.

Interior ventilation is ineffective in hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small. In these climates, natural ventilation of your attic (often required by building codes) will help to reduce your use of air conditioning, and attic fans may also prove beneficial. However, an alternate approach is to seal the attic and make it part of the conditioned space in your house, putting the insulation on the inside of the roof rather than on the floor of the attic. Sealed attics are more feasible in new home construction, but can be retrofitted on an existing house.

Principles of Heating and Cooling

Understanding the roles of conduction, convection, radiation, and perspiration.

Avoiding Heat Buildup

Keeping the outside heat outside, avoiding heat-generating activities, and using spot ventilation can help keep your home cool during hot days.

To avoid heat buildup in your home, plan ahead by landscaping your lot to shade your house. If you replace your roof, use a light-colored material to help it reflect heat. Insulate your house to at least the recommended levels to help keep out the heat, and consider using a radiant barrier.

On hot days, whenever outdoor temperatures are higher than the temperature inside your house, close tightly all the windows and exterior doors. Also install window shades or other window treatments and close the shades. Shades will help block out not only direct sunlight, but also radiated heat from the outdoors, and insulated shades will reduce the conduction of heat into your home through your windows.

Cooking can be a major source of heat within a home. On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stovetop, or better yet, use only a microwave oven. For stovetop or oven cooking, use the spot ventilation of your oven hood to help remove the heat from the house (this will suck some hot outside air into your home, so don't overdo it). Outdoor grilling is a great way to avoid cooking indoors, and of course, going out to eat or ordering take-out work as well.

Bathing, washing laundry, and other activities can also pump heat into your home. When you shower or take a bath, use the spot ventilation of a bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. If you use an electric dryer, be sure it's vented to the outside (for safety, gas dryers should ALWAYS be vented to the outside). If you live in an older home with a sump that your laundry drains to, drain the sump after running any loads in hot water (or better yet, avoid using hot water for your laundry).

Finally, avoid any activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.

Natural Ventilation

In some parts of the United States, natural convection and cool breezes are sufficient to keep homes cool.

Ceiling Fans, Window Fans, and Other Circulating Fans

Fans that circulate air within your home can improve your comfort level. Window fans use relatively little electricity and provide sufficient cooling for homes in many parts of the country.

Whole House Fans

For larger homes, a whole house fan provides excellent ventilation to achieve lower indoor temperatures. For homes with ducts, an alternative approach uses those ducts to supply ventilation air throughout the home.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Check out our Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling for more ways to help improve your comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Filters

The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct's length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.

Air Conditioner Coils

The air conditioner's evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.

You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.

Coil Fins

The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a "fin comb" that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.

Condensate Drains

Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit's drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.

Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners

At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit's metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.

Preparing for Winter

In the winter, either cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.

Hiring a Professional

When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional service technician. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.

The technician should:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.

Tips: Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home -- typically making up about 48% of your utility bill.

No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can save about 30% on your energy bill while reducing environmental emissions.

Heating and Cooling Tips

  • 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 setpoint when you're sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun's heat.

Long-Term Savings Tips

  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage.
  • For furnaces, look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE, but there are ENERGY STAR® models on the market that exceed 90% AFUE. For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. ENERGY STAR models are 14.5 SEER or more.

Living Comfortably: A Consumer’s Guide to Home Energy Upgrades

A comfortable home is an energy-efficient home. The steps below outline the process for making your home more comfortable through energy upgrades and highlight the importance of choosing certified home energy professionals to do the work.

Step 1: Start with the Right Contractor

Not all contractors are the same. Some concentrate on kitchens, some on bathrooms. Some concentrate on home energy upgrades -- focusing on ways to make your home comfortable, energy efficient and healthy. Look for companies that employ workers who carry the national Home Energy Professional Certifications. A home performance contractor will have a certified auditor either on staff or under contract to evaluate your home.

Step 2: Get a Thorough Home Energy Audit

A home performance evaluation, or energy audit, requires specialized equipment and trained individuals -- called energy auditors -- to operate that equipment. Energy auditors who carry a Home Energy Professional Certification have met the required professional and educational prerequisites and are certified to the highest standard in the industry, proving they are qualified to conduct a home performance evaluation.

The most important piece of equipment an energy auditor operates is called a blower door, which is used to determine where air is leaking out of your home. If you followed the auditor around while the blower door is running, you might be surprised at what you’d find. Air leaking through face plates on switches and outlets, and escaping around doors, windows, pipes, and under sinks … and all of these places add up. Put them all together and you could have a space the size of a bathroom window -- maybe even bigger -- that’s constantly open. The blower door test is a good way to learn why your house isn’t comfortable.

In addition to the blower door, certified energy auditors use tools -- such as gas leak detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, kill-a-watt meters and lead-safe testing kits -- to give your home a thorough evaluation.

Be sure to ask if your auditor is certified and what equipment will be used for the evaluation. If your auditor is just going to walk through your house and estimate what work needs to be done, you don’t have an experienced home performance contractor. Ask if you can shadow the auditor during the evaluation -- most will welcome the chance to teach you about your home.

Step 3: Ask the Right Questions

While all homes are different and need to be evaluated based on their own unique characteristics, most dwellings can benefit from similar types of improvements. Before your energy audit begins, be sure to ask your home energy upgrade contractor about the following things. Some of the upgrades you could do yourself, like replacing a refrigerator or installing a programmable thermostat, provided you know those are significant sources of energy loss.

Air Sealing

Remember that space in your house that’s the size of a bathroom window and constantly open? Using the reading from the blower door, an auditor can figure out just how much air is moving through that gap at any given time. This is usually the biggest source of energy loss in a home, and sealing those gaps is one of the quickest ways to make your home more comfortable and efficient. Reducing air flow can pay off in as little as five years. It is also the baseline by which all other energy efficiency upgrades are measured (the absolute energy savings will vary by your climate). Read more about air sealing.

Reset Water Heater Thermostat

Most water heaters heat water to a set temperature and then hold it there. This means that all day and night, the water heater cycles on and off, just maintaining that set temperature. Lowering the setting a few degrees can often save half as much energy as air sealing would. And chances are turning down the temperature won’t even be noticeable. Read more tips for efficient water heating.

Programmable Thermostat for Heating System

It seems obvious but just like the water heater maintains a set temperature even when it isn’t being used, a thermostat does the same thing for the entire house. Just letting it cool off (or warm up) when there isn’t anyone awake can save energy and money as well. Without sacrificing comfort, it can also be close to half of what air sealing would save you. This change usually pays for itself in about three years.

Attic and Wall Insulation

The greater the difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperatures, the more energy it will take to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Adding insulation between the indoors and the outdoors reduces that energy demand. Depending on where you live, the savings from insulating your walls and the attic could be almost double the savings of air sealing. This procedure also pays back in 3 1/2 to 12 years. Learn how to estimate the payback period of insulation.

Replace Refrigerator

Much like a water heater, a refrigerator holds a set temperature that is very different from the air outside of it. It makes sense that a better sealed, better insulated refrigerator with better mechanical systems would save more energy. Depending on your previous model, a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator can save up to $150 per year. One way to test the seal on your refrigerator is to close a dollar bill in the door. If the bill drops when you close the door, you may want to consider fixing the seal or getting a new one. Depending on the refrigerator and the savings, this can pay for itself in 10 years -- well under the average lifespan of the appliance.

Water Heaters and Furnaces

The savings from water heaters and furnaces depend a lot on where the house is and what the fuel is. Generally, natural gas is going to be much cheaper than electricity, provided it’s available. The newer high efficiency gas furnaces will often be worth installing, even if the gas furnace in your home is relatively new. Depending on if you live in a cold climate or a warmer one, a new high efficiency furnace will rival or exceed air sealing for its potential savings. In warmer areas, a high efficiency heat pump may replace a gas furnace as the best choice for the home.

Step 4: Enjoy

In the end, your home is as unique as you are. It will take a certified home energy professional to evaluate your home and your family’s specific needs. It will also take a certified specialist to make those upgrades to your home. It’s not rocket science, but it is building science. Ask for certified home energy professionals because they have the ability to educate you on all of the cost-saving alternatives for your home. Then, you can begin living comfortably.

The U.S. Department of Energy, with support from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Building Performance Institute, Inc., recently concluded its pilot testing period for the new Home Energy Professional Certifications. The purpose of the pilot testing period is to scrutinize and evaluate the proposed exam questions, practical/field components, and overall exam processes prior to achieving American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation. ANSI accreditation indicates high quality and diligence. After the accreditation process is completed, the new Home Energy Professional Certification exams will be available at a national level. Interested individuals should visit the Building Performance Institute, Inc. website for more details.

Energy audit tools

  • An infrared camera can display temperature differences between surfaces and help determine if a wall is insulated. It can show drafts and moisture, which can lead to mold problems.
  • A carbon monoxide meter is used to determine if your combustion appliances are properly vented so the air is safe for your family to breathe.
  • A blower door is used to measure leakage in air ducts, which affects heating and cooling efficiency.

What does this mean for me?

An energy audit conducted by a certified home energy professional auditor can ensure that your home is as comfortable and energy efficient as possible.

Heat & Cool Efficiently

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. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. For more information, see our Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling (708KB).

Change your air filter regularly

Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, 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 to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly

Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Learn more:

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

Seal your heating and cooling ducts

Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more.

Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house. See our See our Duct Sealing brochure (1.13MB) for more information. for more information.

Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment

If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.

Ask about Proper Installation of your new equipment

Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent - costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment's life. Learn more.

How to Read Residential Electric and Natural Gas Meters

You can read your own meters to help monitor your electric or gas energy use. During the heating season, your energy use should be compared to the number of heating degree days for the same time period; during the cooling season, compare your energy use to the number of cooling degree days.

Heating and cooling degree days are a simple measure of the effect of weather on your energy needs: using the average temperature for each day, each degree Fahrenheit below 65°F is counted as one heating degree day, and each degree Fahrenheit above 65°F is counted as one cooling degree day. Your heating and cooling use should be proportional to the number of heating and cooling degree days for the time period in question.

You may also wish to contact your local utility companies for more information about reading your meter. If monthly information is good enough, your utility bills could have all the information you need. Just be sure the bills are based on actual, not estimated, meter readings, and be aware of when the meter was read, because the time period between readings can vary. Contact your local utility if you are uncertain about this.

Electric Meters

The basic unit of measure of electric power is the watt. One thousand watts are called a kilowatt. If you use one thousand watts of power in one hour you have used a kilowatt-hour (kWh). Your electric utility bills you by the kWh.

The standard electric power meter is a clock-like device driven by the electricity moving through it. As the home draws current from the power lines, a set of small gears inside the meter move. The number of revolutions is recorded by the dials that you can see on the face of the meter. The speed of the revolutions depends on the amount of current drawn -- the more power consumed at any one instant, the faster the gears will rotate.

When reading an electric meter, read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from right to left. When the pointer is directly on a number, look at the dial to the right. If it has passed zero, use the next higher number. If it has not passed zero, use the lower number. Record the numbers shown by writing down the value of the dial to your extreme right first and the rest as you come to them. Should the hand of a dial fall between two numbers, use the smaller of the two numbers.

Natural Gas Meters

Natural gas is commonly measured by the cubic foot, and you are billed by the thousands of cubic feet (MCF) or hundreds of cubic feet (CCF). You may also be billed by the therm, which is about the same as a CCF or 100 cubic feet. To measure the amount of electricity or gas that you use, the utility installs a meter between the incoming electric power or gas lines and the point of distribution at the house.

A gas meter is driven by the force of the moving gas in the pipe, and also turns faster as the flow increases. Each time the dial with the lower value makes one complete revolution, the pointer on the next higher value dial moves ahead one digit.

When reading a gas meter, read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from left to right (opposite of an electric meter). It is important to note that on both types of meters, the hands of adjacent dials turn in opposite directions to each other.

Digital Meters

Note that some newer electric and gas meters use digital displays instead of dials. The difference between one month's reading and the next is the amount of energy units that have been used for that billing period.

Thermostats

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

General Thermostat Operation

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill -- a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer -- a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. Check out our home heating infographic to learn more about how heating systems and thermostats interact.

Limitations for Homes With Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, and Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

The slow response time -- up to several hours -- of steam heating and radiant floor heating systems leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions to prevent "ghost readings" or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

Why Seal and Insulate?

Save Energy and Money.

Air that leaks through your home's envelope − the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings − wastes a lot of energy and increases your utility costs. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can make a real difference on your utility bills.

Increase Comfort.

Sealing leaks and adding insulation can improve the overall comfort of your home and help to fix many of these common problems:

  • Reduced noise from outside
  • Less pollen, dust and insects (or pests) entering your home
  • Better humidity control
  • Lower chance for ice dams on the roof/eves in snowy climates

Most Homes Will Benefit.

Most homes in the United States don't have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!

Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling

As summer starts to heat up and temperatures rise, many of us are cranking up the air conditioners to stay cool. It should come as no surprise then that air conditioners use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S., costing homeowners more than $11 billion a year in energy costs.

This summer, instead of blasting the air conditioner (and blowing your electricity bills through the roof), you can take simple actions that will help you beat the heat. For example, replacing a dirty, clogged air filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent, while using a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort.

Whether you’re looking to save on cooling costs with your current air conditioner or you want to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, our new Energy Saver 101 infographic has you covered. From how air conditioners work to the different types of systems on the market to proper maintenance, the infographic lays out everything you need to know about home cooling. Plus, throughout the infographic you’ll find energy-saving tips and advice on common air conditioner problems.

With just a few small changes, you can relax in comfort this summer while saving some cold, hard cash.