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Ideas to Help the Homeowner Traverse the High Efficiency Jungle and Save Bucks!


Our homes are our "Shelter from the Storm", our "Oasis", the place we all come to at the end of the day, to relax, to enjoy our families, feel secure and forget the trials of the day!

The "Home" is the place just mentioned.

The "House" is the structure within which many elements must come together to be a comfortable "Home".

The "House" must keep the elements at bay; rain, snow, wind and the scorching heat of the sun. The "House" must be sturdy, durable and capable of dealing with these elements year-after-year. All components of the "House" must work together to complete the "Home".

One of the last considered, most overlooked, and cheaply budgeted components of the home are the heating and air conditioning systems. And yet without a well functioning Hvac system in the "House", a comfortable "Home" is hard to achieve. The comfort systems are not the place to scrimp on quality or cost. When the Hvac systems do not perform well, the comfort of the "Home" is lost. Some rooms become miserable to occupy. When the utility bills come due, the "House" can be a burden, and a source of great frustration.

Too often, this is where a builder or a homeowner chooses to bring his project in on budget! The homeowner pays the price in the end; in higher utility bills and in comfort in his "House".


  • The envelope of the house shields us from the elements
    • Choose high U-value windows. Windows are one of the highest heat loss/gain areas in a house.
    • Older houses; upgrade your single pane windows to better double pane high U-value windows. Caulk, seal well around all existing windows. Every dollar spent here will be returned 10-fold.
    • Choose solid-core doors
    • Older houses; upgrade to solid-core doors. Use weather strip and door sweeps around all doors. If you can see daylight, it is costing you money.
    • Insulate those basement walls, or crawlspace walls with an R-19 insulation w/vapor barrier. Every Dollar spent here will come back to you.
    • Add more insulation in the attic. This area is one of the greatest heat loss/gain areas of a house. Your attic insulation should be an R-38 or better. Heat rises; the less heating your attic, heats your living space. During the hot months, less heat radiates down into the living space, which your air conditioner must overcome.

  • Invest in higher efficiency Hvac equipment
    • An 80% efficient furnace, water heater, or boiler provides 80 cents on the dollar heating for your house. 20 cents goes out to heat the outdoors. A 95% efficient appliance provides 95 cents on the dollar benefit for the home, only 5 cents is wasted to the outside.
    • Higher efficiency appliances tend to be higher quality; fewer breakdowns, less money spent on service.
    • Higher efficiency conventional air conditioners save approximately 10% power consumption per point jump in SEER rating. A 16-SEER unit will cost 30% less to operate than a 13-SEER unit.
    • Change your filters often. Maintain your equipment regularly. This actually saves an amazing amount of energy, and keeps the serviceman away.

  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Unplug chargers, tools, refrigerators, freezers that are seldom used.
  • Replace worn out window screens, and open windows for ventilation as late in the cooling season as possible, before starting up the AC.
  • Invest in other energy efficient appliances for your home, such as washers and dryers, light fixtures, refrigerators, and even light bulbs.

Site Build It!

Remember: There are tax credits from Uncle Sam, rebates from Utility companies, and rebates from Equipment manufacturers available to you to GO GREEN!


Question: Do high efficiency appliances cost more money?

Answer: Yes and No. Initial purchase price is usually higher, but the homeowner can recoup that cost quickly with lowered operating costs. Then there are rebates and tax credits to consider. Theoretically, it can be less expensive to install a high efficiency appliance, actual outlay!

Question: Where do I find high efficiency appliances and how will I recognize them?

Answer: Most reputable HVAC companies can walk you through the high efficiency jungle and make recommendations best for your "Home". Other good sources are the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star , which are government programs. Energy Star rates efficiencies of such equipment.

Question: Will a high efficiency furnace keep my home warm enough?

Answer: Absolutely! Energy efficiency is better management of wastage! A 90,000 btu high efficiency furnace is still a 90,000 btu furnace with the same heating output and delivery, it just burns more cleanly, and makes better use of the fuel. Actually performance is enhanced, because the equipment tends to be higher quality equipment. The same is true for air conditioners, as well.

Question: How do I find the right hvac contractor for my installation?

Answer: Visit our "Choose a Contractor" page Question: Is there assistance to help pay for the initial cost of a higher efficiency heating and air conditioning system for my home?

Answer: Yes, there are many programs! There are currently Federal tax credits, and most areas of the US have rebates being offered by their local utility companies. Most equipment manufacturers are offering rebates for full system installations, as well. With all the offers out there, it is only smart to take advantage of the many programs available to the homeowner! It can actually be cheaper to go GREEN!

REMEMBER: Any system must be properly sized for your "Home". Bigger is not Better. It will cost you in operating costs and in comfort.

Call Perfect-Home-Hvac-Design to ensure that you get the right system for your "HOME".

Other Related Pages

Visit Other Perfect Home Green pages

Read about High Efficiency Furnaces

Return to Air Conditioning page

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