Home heating and cooling equipment

Unless you have discovered a magic heat source, well over half of your annual energy bills go toward keeping your home warm and comfortable in winter. That is not to mention the money you may be spending to cool your home in summer.

Installing one of today’s energy-efficient furnaces can reduce your home-heating costs by up to 25 percent per year. Depending on the efficiency of your old furnace, you could recover the higher initial cost of your new high-efficiency system in about seven years.

Save additional energy and money by installing a programmable thermostat. Setting your home’s temperature back a few degrees when you are at work or asleep overnight provides optimal savings.

But do not despair – help is available! Heating and cooling systems that display the ENERGY STAR symbol use less energy than new non-qualified equipment – and they will use a lot less energy than old equipment that may be installed in your home now.

furnace

What is the bottom line? ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling systems work just as well as conventional products (or better) and will begin saving you money as soon as they are installed. Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol to make sure you are getting the best return for your heating and cooling dollars.

A new high-efficiency oil or gas furnace uses less energy – so why not start saving today?

If your heating system is nearing the end of its expected life, why wait for it to fail and leave you out in the cold? Replacing it now with an ENERGY STAR qualified model will save you money and give you peace of mind.

To qualify for ENERGY STAR:

  • The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) requirement for oil furnaces is 85 percent.
  • Oil- and gas-fired boilers must have an AFUE of 85 percent or higher (many units are also used to heat domestic water as an integrated system).
  • For gas and propane furnaces, the regulated minimum energy performance levels are currently the same as ENERGY STAR levels in Canada. This category is suspended until February 1, 2012, when the revised ENERGY STAR specification for gas and propane furnaces comes into effect. The revised specification requires qualifying furnaces to have an AFUE of 95 percent or higher. The energy consumption of the furnace fan must be no more than 2 percent of the total energy consumption of the furnace.
A sample EnerGuide label for forced air furnaces.

A sample EnerGuide label for forced air furnaces. The black and white EnerGuide label indicates the annual fuel consumption of a forced air furnace as a percentage. The manufacturer indicates what the percent number is for each model. The efficiency ranges from 78 percent to 82 percent for oil furnaces.

A sample EnerGuide label for forced air furnaces.

A sample EnerGuide label for forced air furnaces. The black and white EnerGuide label indicates the annual fuel consumption of a forced air furnace as a percentage. The manufacturer indicates what the percent number is for each model. The efficiency ranges from 90 percent to 98 percent for gas and propane furnaces.

Before replacing your furnace, make sure your home is properly sealed against air leaks. By sealing the home first, you will be able to reduce its heat load requirement and purchase a more accurately sized furnace or boiler. The right-size equipment will run at peak efficiency, saving you even more money.

Keep your furnace well maintained, and change or clean furnace filters every few months. Dirty air filters block airflow and can damage the heat exchanger.

Not all air conditioners are created equally – some models use far more energy than others to get the job done.

room air conditioner

Significant improvements have been made in air-conditioning technology over the past 15 years. Although many Canadians consider this equipment to be a necessity, it does not have to be a drain on your budget.

You can achieve affordable, efficient and effective home cooling on hot summer days by purchasing an air-conditioning system bearing the ENERGY STAR symbol.

The ENERGY STAR symbol is your assurance that a room air conditioner is at least 10 percent more energy-efficient than conventional models.

An ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioner is about 8 percent more energy-efficient than a non-qualified system. With either option, choosing ENERGY STAR ensures you will come out ahead.

A heat pump can provide year-round climate control in some regions of Canada, heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer.

A sample EnerGuide label for heat pumps.

A sample EnerGuide label for heat pumps. The black and white EnerGuide label indicates the annual fuel consumption of a heat pump. Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measure of the cooling efficiency of a heat pump over the entire cooling season. It is determined by dividing the total cooling provided over the cooling season (in Btu) by the total energy used by the heat pump during that time (in watt hours). The efficiency ranges from 13 to 21.

A heat pump can provide year-round climate control in some regions of Canada, heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer.

Installing an ENERGY STAR qualified heat pump that is sized correctly for your home can deliver substantial energy savings, increase household comfort and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

An air-source heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air in winter and transfers it to your home; in summer, the cycle is reversed. ENERGY STAR qualified air-source heat pumps are about 6 percent more energy-efficient for heating and about 8 percent more efficient for cooling than standard models.

When replacing an air conditioner or a heat pump, make sure you dispose of the old one properly so chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are recycled and reused. Never send an old air conditioner to a landfill site.

A properly installed unit will ensure that your new air conditioner or heat pump performs at ENERGY STAR stated levels. Ask your installer to check your new unit for the proper refri-gerant level and airflow. For split systems, ENERGY STAR qualified units must have matched indoor and outdoor units. Set your air conditioner at 25°C (77°F) when you are home, and set it higher when you go out (a programmable thermostat makes this easy to do). For each degree you operate an air conditioner below 25°C (77°F), you use from 3 to 5 percent more energy.

Ground-source heat pumps use the thermal energy of the ground or groundwater to provide a source of heating or cooling for a home. ENERGY STAR qualified systems, depending on the category, are typically 10 to 50 percent more energy-efficient than non-qualified equipment.

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