Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about the new breed of energy-efficient air conditioning and heating devices? And what is Energy Star, anyway? Can making the switch really (REALLY?) save you enough money to make it worth the initial investment?
These are great questions and worth taking a few minutes to investigate.
The Energy Star Program in Brief
Energy Star is a specific government-initiated and sponsored program that has two goals:
- To help consumers and companies save money on energy costs.
- To help save the planet (in a nutshell).
Basically, the more fossil fuels-based energy we consume, the more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. The now 23-year-old Energy Star program focuses on educating you at home and work so you can make better choices about energy use and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
How the Energy Star Certification is Earned
The EPA has developed a strict set of criteria that governs when a device or product is eligible to be certified as an Energy Star energy-efficient device.
Here is what an Energy Star certified product can offer you:
- measurable, testable, and significant reduction on energy use nationwide
- long-term cost savings through reduced utility use
- additional efficiency, performance, and convenience features (guided by consumers)
- use of non-proprietary technology that is broadly available to all consumers
What Devices and Products Can Be Energy Star Certified?
Unless you make a habit of brushing up on the latest EPA news, you’re probably curious about which products can be Energy Star certified.
The EPA maintains a comprehensive list of product categories, both current and in development. Here are the current certification categories:
- Appliances (fridge/freezer, washer/dryer, dishwashers, and more)
- HVAC (includes heating and cooling)
- Lighting (ceiling fans, fixtures, bulbs)
- Water heaters (gas, electric, solar, and tankless)
- Office equipment (computers, copiers, printers, VoIP, network, and more)
- Electronics (audio/video, televisions, telephones, and more)
- Building products (insulation, sealants, windows, doors)
10 Signs It’s Time You Made the Switch to Energy Star
So when exactly is it the right time to switch over from your current devices and products to those that bear an Energy Star certification seal? Another great question—and here are 10 signs you can count on to let you know when to make the switch!
1. Your HVAC (A/C or heat) system is more than a decade old.
You can look at manufacturer specifics for exact energy savings by appliance, but in general you can expect to save a minimum of 20 percent in energy usage over HVAC systems made a decade ago or longer.
2. Your furnace is more than 15 years old.
New Energy Star certified furnace products can reduce energy usage by 15 percent or more. If you have a boiler, an Energy Star certified new boiler can save 5 percent or more.
3. You notice your monthly utility costs are increasing.
If you are using the same products and appliances you have always used but your energy usage costs are increasing, it’s time to consider an Energy Star certified replacement.
4. If you are calling the repair company more frequently.
Equipment breakdowns can be a normal part of the product lifecycle—after all, you can’t always control for the effects of weather, natural disturbances, or pests. But if your HVAC system, for instance, is becoming a regular with your local repair company, you may want to have a conversation with your service provider about installing an Energy Star HVAC system instead.
5. Your home feels humid even when the A/C is running.
If you still feel the humidity of summer in the house, this is a sign your HVAC system may be ready for a more efficient Energy Star certified replacement.
6. Your space does not cool or heat evenly in each room.
Having some rooms in a home or office cooler or hotter than others can point to several possible culprits, one of which is an HVAC system thatmis no longer performing up to par (other possibilities include uneven insulation or the need for duct re-routing).
7. You have dust EVERYWHERE.
Are you constantly dusting? Does the area beneath your bed look like a dustball convention? If you’re finding more dust than usual, this could be an indication that your HVAC system or the ducts leading to and from it are leaky or otherwise ready for replacement. If this is the case and re-sealing the ducts doesn’t work, consider upgrading to an Energy Star certified system.
8. You always know when your HVAC kicks on—even when you are asleep!
If you have a HVAC system that roars, growls, grumbles, mumbles. or bangs, this can be an indication it is undersized for the job you want it to do. Here, an upgrade makes sense, and an upgrade to an Energy Efficient system makes even more sense.
9. Your house is largely unoccupied and your current HVAC system won’t support the installation of a programmable thermostat.
Here, you are wasting potentially tremendous amounts of cash heating and cooling a home that is empty. Best to upgrade to an Energy Star appliance with a programmable thermostat option.
10. Your home flunks the EPA’s Energy Star Yardstick test.
The EPA’s Energy Star Yardstick test is designed to tell you how efficiently your home uses the energy it draws. A score of 6 or above is passing. A score of less than 6 and you should consider upgrading to Energy Star certified products.
Shiptons Can Help
Navigating all these options can be confusing. Shiptons is here to help. Give us a call at 905-549-4616 or email us and one of our professionals will be happy to provide you with a free, no obiligation consultation to review your current equipment and determine what your best options going forward would be.