Your comfort and the performance of your new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system depends on how well it is installed. Make informed decisions and increase the ef ciency of your heating and cooling system with the help of these simple suggestions:
Find the Right Contractor – Look for a contractor with several years of experience, who is licensed and insured (if required) to perform HVAC installation and repair work. Ask for a written contract of all work. The contractor should provide his/her certi cation for refrigerant handling. Expect the contractor to spend signi cant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. Both you and the contractor should sign a written proposal before the work begins.
Install a Programmable Thermostat – A programmable thermostat helps make it easy for you to save by offering four pre-programmed settings to regulate your home’s temperature in both summer and winter—when you are home, asleep, or away. The pre-programmed settings are intended to deliver savings without sacri cing comfort. Through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the four pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180* every year in energy costs. Save more energy and money by adjusting your thermostat when using your ceiling fan to let the fan take over some of the heating and cooling duties.
Seal and Insulate – Ducts circulate air from the furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump throughout the house. Often ducts have damage or poor connections that leak the hot or cold air and waste a lot of energy. Ask your contractor to seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces such as an attic or crawlspace. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the ef ciency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent.
Properly Size and Install Your System – Bigger is not always better. A system actually operates best when each component is properly sized. Oversized equipment may cycle on and off more frequently, making the home less comfortable and shortening the life of the equipment. Ask your contractor to take measurements of your home and calculate the appropriate size for your A/C, furnace, or heat pump. As part of a proper installation, a certi ed technician should:
COMMON TERMS YOU MIGHT HEAR
– The annual fuel utilization ef ciency (AFUE) is the percentage of the heat in the fuel your furnace or boiler uses that actually heats your home.
EER – The energy ef ciency ratio (EER) is how ef ciently your unit cools your home when its 95° F outside, or for geothermal, at any time.
SEER – The seasonal energy ef ciency ratio (SEER) is how ef ciently your unit cools your home at a variety of outside temperatures.
HSPF – The heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) is how ef ciently your heat pump heats your home at a variety of outdoor temperatures.
*The $180 savings assumes a typical, single-family home with a 10 hour daytime setback of 8° F in winter and setup of 7° F in summer, and an 8 hour nighttime setback of 8° F in winter and a setup of 4° F in summer.