Energy Star

Energy Star

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding what the Energy Star label means and how the program works helps you chose appliances that stand up to rigorous use and cut energy consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started the program in the 1990s, and it makes it easy to make product choices based on performance and efficiency.The DOE requires EnergyGuide labels on some major appliances like HVAC systems, water heaters, washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers because they have engineering differences that can improve their efficiency. Those labels tell you how much energy the appliance uses over the course of a year along with its cost based on average use and energy prices.

The products that exceed the standards for energy efficiency in each appliance group receive the Energy Star’s distinctive label found on the EnergyGuide label or the product itself. The DOE’s guidelines for the Energy Star include:

  • The product must demonstrate it performs well under a wide variety of operating conditions.

  • Consumers need to recoup the extra costs that high efficiency products carry over a reasonable time period.

  • The energy consumption of a product can be accurately measured and verified.

  • Labeling the product would help consumers differentiate that product from other less efficient models.

Besides major home appliances, you’ll find the Energy Star label on computers and peripherals, light bulbs and televisions. While every bit of energy saved is important, it’s especially important to look for the label on major appliances, especially heating and cooling equipment, because they use the bulk of energy consumed in homes.

The DOE also uses the product’s durability and versatility under varying conditions to award it the designation, another good reason to look for the label on major home appliances. Better quality often translates to increased dependability and a longer lifetime for high-ticket appliances, and those characteristics also save money over the long term.

HVAC systems that earn the Energy Star label pay for themselves in lower operating costs and many have features that enhance comfort. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing top-notch HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Energy Star guidelines and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomain/Wikipedia”

Energy Star

Energy Star's 'Most Efficient' Label: What Does It Mean?

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We'll just assume that in the past twenty years, you've purchased an appliance or two adorned with the Energy Star logo. We'll also assume that, unless you've been in the market for a new piece of heating or cooling equipment in the past couple of years, you've never heard of Energy Star's 'Most Efficient' label. Whether you're in the market for new HVAC equipment now or later, it's a good idea to learn about this exciting new program.Redefining energy-efficiency standardsFor two decades, the Energy Star logo has stood for energy efficiency, helping millions of consumers with purchasing equipment that met high standards. As time has passed, however, better technology linked to energy efficiency has allowed more appliances to carry the Energy Star logo than ever before. In fact, this is exactly why the new Most Efficient program began.Lower energy costsEven though the initial cost of a unit backed by Energy Star's 'Most Efficient' label may be higher, you can enjoy years of savings due to the higher efficiency ratings. To illustrate what this means, consider the fact that a furnace's AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating must be a minimum of 97 percent to qualify. Plus, air-source heat pumps must now exceed 65,000 Btu/h (British Thermal Unit per hour) in order to be considered Most Efficient. And when it comes to being awarded the new label, third-party testing must now take place, whereas manufacturers could previously test and certify their own products.Easy to findEnergy Star doesn't want to make it confusing when you shop for new equipment, which is why you can access a list of the 2013 Most Efficient on their website. Not only will you be given a run-down of each unit's capacity, you'll also find details including the estimated annual energy usage, estimated annual cost of operation, and overall capacity of the appliance.For more expert advice about Energy Star's Most Efficient label, or for questions relating to home comfort, please contact the professionals at Air Assurance. We have been serving the HVAC needs of the Greater Tulsa Metropolitan area since 1985.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Air Conditioning, Air filters, Ceiling, Duct Sealing, Ductwork, Energy Star, Fans, High Efficiency, Insulation, Sealing Air Leaks, Thermostats

Innovative Tips That Make Home Comfort And Savings A Priority

Home comfort and energy savings should be a priority in every Tulsa area household. To help you get optimal performance from your cooling system this summer, we’ve compiled this list of innovative energy-saving tips.

  • Raising temperature settings at the thermostat is a surefire way to reduce monthly cooling bills. To maximize savings without sacrificing home comfort, try keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees when you’re in the home and raising thermostat settings as high as 85 degrees while you’re away. But don't do this when it's over 95 degrees outside. That can actually cause energy bills to rise while the unit tries to catch up.

  • One way to take advantage of higher temperature settings without sacrificing home comfort is to utilize household ceiling fans. While ceiling fans don’t actually cool your home, running them while you're in the room can create a wind chill effect that will help you remain comfortable, even when thermostat settings are increased by as little as four degrees. Just remember to turn ceiling fans off when you’re not in the room.

  • Clogged air filters are notorious for restricting airflow and putting unnecessary strain on your air conditioner. Inspect filters monthly, cleaning and replacing as necessary.

  • Another cost-effective means of improving household energy efficiency is to address air leaks using caulking, seal and weather stripping. Common leakage points include areas around doors and windows, and gaps around lights, wiring, ductwork and plumbing.

  • Inadequate attic insulation can be a major drain on monthly energy costs. For an additional 10 percent savings, try boosting attic insulation to a minimum R-value of 30. If you can see your attic rafters, you are wasting lots of money on energy.

  • It also pays to properly seal ductwork. If your ducts leak, you could be losing as much as 20 percent of the air you pay to condition. While accessible ductwork can be addressed using metal tape or duct mastic, a professional can ensure that your entire duct system is sealed properly.

  • If your air conditioner is over ten years old, upgrading to a high-efficiency Energy Star-qualified model could save you as much as 10 percent.

  • In fact, Energy Star-qualified products are an ideal means of long-term energy savings. Look for products ranging from water heaters to light bulbs.

For a more customized assessment of your household energy efficiency, consult our NATE-certified technicians. Contact Air Assurance today!Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here.Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Duct Sealing, Energy Star, Insulation, Programmable, Sealing Air Leaks, Thermostats

Home Advisor's Tips For Oklahoma Homeowners Leads To Energy Savings

How would you like to increase your annual energy savings? By following these tips from Energy Star’s Home Advisor, Oklahoma homeowners in theTulsa area may be able to save an estimated 33 percent in annual energy costs.Suggestions include:

  • Sealing air leaks – One of the most cost-effective ways to increase household energy savings is to seal off major air leaks commonly found in attics, basements or crawl spaces. Focus on leaks around wiring, plumbing, and ductwork. For optimal results, consult a professional.

  • Duct sealing – With duct leaks responsible for an estimated 20 percent of conditioned air loss, duct sealing should be a priority. While you may be able to seal accessible ducts using mastic or metal tape and use at least R-6 insulation to shield exposed ductwork in unconditioned areas of the home, a professional can access those hard-to-reach areas and ensure that your entire system is properly sealed.

  • Insulation – To prevent the unwanted exchange of heat and moisture, adequate insulation should be installed. Generally, residents of theTulsaarea should use R-30 to R-49 insulation for the attic, R-13 to R-19 for the exterior wall frame, and somewhere between R-5 and R-13 for crawlspaces.

  • HVAC upgrades – Older heating and cooling components just aren’t as efficient as today’s high-efficiency options. If your HVAC system is nearing ten years old, it may be time for a replacement. To maximize long-term energy savings, look for a minimum 14.5 SEER on air conditioners and a minimum 80 percent AFUE on gas furnaces.

  • Programmable thermostats – Take full control of your HVAC energy consumption by pre-programming household temperatures according to your family routine. Conserve energy without sacrificing household comfort.

  • Energy Star – Products carrying the Energy Star label are designed to improve household energy savings. Consider over 60 types of Energy Star-qualified products, including water heaters, windows and light bulbs.

Depending on the unique needs of your household, you may be able to significantly increase your annual energy savings by implementing some of the strategies outlined by Energy Star’s Home Advisor. For a more personalized energy assessment, consult one of our trained technicians. Contact Air Assurance today.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here.Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Energy Star, Furnaces

Think You Need To Replace Your Furnace? Now's The Right Time To Go Shopping

Summer is upon us, and thinking about the best way to keep your home warm is probably one of the last things on your mind.  However, just like getting your holiday shopping done early, summer is the perfect time to look into purchasing a new furnace.  Be prepared when winter returns, and don't be caught in a chilly home.Most furnaces have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. However, older models with lower efficiency may be worth replacing before they have reached the end of their operational lifespan.  Ultimately, investing in a new, high-efficiency furnace can save you as much as 40 percent on your energy bills.Many older furnaces can have efficiencies as low as 55percent.  Modern furnaces, on the other hand, reach efficiencies of over 98 percent.  What this means for you is that if you decide to upgrade your current furnace to a new model, less energy will be expended in heating your home.Retrofitting your current furnace is another way of improving the efficiency of your heating system and reducing your energy bill.  This option is ideal for furnaces which haven't reached the end of their lifespan, but are not yet old enough to justify the purchase and installation of an entirely new unit.Air Assurance is committed to helping you make the right choice when making a decision about your furnace purchase. If you're considering purchasing a new furnace, don't hesitate to schedule a visit from one of our technicians, who can give you a free estimate on the price of the unit and installation.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Duct Sealing, Ductwork, Energy Star, Geothermal, Heat Pumps, High Efficiency, Insulation, Planned Maintenance, Service & Maintenance, Tax Credits

Take Advantage Of Two Rebate Programs To Drive Down The Final Cost Of Your High-Efficiency Air Conditioning

Over the past few years, the media has made a pretty big deal about government tax credits that have made upgrading to energy-efficient equipment a reality with increased savings. However, you may not have heard as much about other rebates from manufacturers and utility companies that you can access when upgrading to high-efficiency air-conditioning systems. For many homeowners, these combined rebates can often mean the difference between upgrading and maintaining the status quo.The Public Service Company of Oklahoma offers rebates of $100 to $600, depending on the size and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of your high-efficiency air conditioner or heat pump. Larger systems and higher SEER ratings get bigger incentives and rebates. The guidelines restrict the incentive to a replacement system that uses the same (current) energy source for residential (single or multi-family) homes and small commercial buildings.  They also offer incentives of up to $1500 for an entire home performance upgrades which include duct sealing, insulation, radiant barriers, home envelope sealing, etc.Lennox, a manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment, indoor air quality products, and comfort controls, also offers savings on energy-efficient products. High-efficiency air-conditioning or heat-pump systems qualify for up to $1,400 when combined with a thermostat and indoor air quality system.High-efficiency air conditioners make energy savings possible for Oklahoma homeowners. While they often cost more up-front, incentives make them more affordable. High-efficiency systems are rated SEER 16 to 23 and have a low lifetime cost. Lifetime cost takes into account the spending a system requires over the course of its life. This takes into account regular preventive maintenance costs, fuel costs, and repairs. With the energy savings that high-efficiency systems get, you get a relatively quick return on your investment and save on monthly utility bills long after you’ve paid for the system.Why not take advantage of combined rebates from every avenue possible, to drive down the cost and make your new system replacement happen? The experts at Air Assurance can assess your home’s needs, assist you in selecting an A/C, and help you take advantage of manufacturer and utility company incentives to get you the maximum savings possible. Call us today.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Energy Star, Geothermal, Heat Pumps, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Tax Credits

Realize Big Savings With A Geothermal System

If you live in Broken Arrow, you know that the summer months can get extremely hot and the winters can produce some pretty cold weather. These varying temperatures put your heating and cooling systems to the test, and can often leave you spending too much on your utility bills. Geothermal heat pumps provide a much more effective method of heating and cooling than do standard systems, and can also help you save money.Geothermal heating and cooling units are unlike most heat pumps in that they use the ground to provide your home's heating, air conditioning and hot water. These systems are considered to be 45-75 percent more energy-efficient than standard options. And because of their efficiency, the Federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit to consumers who add new geothermal heat pumps to their homes.The 30 percent tax credit currently being given by the government takes into account the price of the unit, in addition to the price of all of the installation and labor required. This credit is also uncapped, so no matter how large the project, the credit remains 30 percent.  Also, the credit can be rolled over into other years up to 2016.  A geothermal heating and cooling system must meet the Energy Star requirements that are in effect at the time of purchase.While geothermal systems cost more upfront, they will make up for that cost by saving you money in the long run. The experts at Air Assurance are well-trained to provide you with the assistance you need in choosing the correct heat pump for your home. Please contact us today for more information.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.