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Energy Savings at Home

Advice, tools, resources and inspiration to help you save energy

Get the Most Out of Your Installation

Install indoor units in conditioned space when possible.

If the unit must go in unconditioned space, ensure that the space is well insulated. Outdoor units should be placed out of the sun and kept free of debris. Also:

  • Make sure your unit is installed in an accessible area for easy maintenance.
  • Allow plenty of room for free airflow on all sides of the equipment.
  • The contractor should be able to verify that equipment placement is in accordance with manufacturer's installation instructions and local codes.

Get your ducts sealed and insulated.

Your system efficiency can be increased as much as 20% by properly sizing, sealing, and insulating ducts. This can also provide more uniform heating and cooling of all of the rooms in your home.

Your contractor should be able to test your duct system to identify leaks and fix them with quality duct sealant. Ensure that the duct system is not only sealed, but within conditioned space. If the ducts must be in unconditioned space (basement, attic, crawlspace) they should also be insulated.

  • Duct sealing should be done by a professional using mastic, metal-backed tape or aerosol-based sealing.
  • In some instances, your contractor may advise you that it is necessary to replace or add ducts. If there are insufficient supply registers or return air grilles in your home, it may be necessary to install additional ductwork to accommodate the need for registers or grilles. Sizing for the system if additional ductwork is required to supply optimal comfort for you and should be based on analysis using Manual D.

More information on duct installation; determine whether your home is a good candidate for duct sealing.

Have your contractor test and verify airflow.

The test consists of measuring the airflow at the indoor coil, a component that is installed in the ductwork at or near the furnace or air handler that heats or cools the room air. System testing and any necessary adjustments should be done after duct leakage repairs have been completed.

If airflow is too high, duct leakage increases and the temperature at the register is not sufficient for optimal home comfort.

If airflow is too low, distribution efficiency drops ands accelerates the wear on system components leading to premature failure.

Verify that the cooling system has been properly charged with refrigerant in accordance with the equipment manufacturer's guidelines.

Recent field studies suggest that approximately 75% of installed cooling equipment may be improperly charged. Improper refrigerant charge can lower efficiency by 5 to 20% and can ultimately cause premature component failure, resulting in costly repairs that could have been prevented. Recent field studies suggest that approximately 75% of installed cooling equipment may be improperly charged.

Verify that your contractor has a certificate for refrigerant handling.

Since 1992, in order to protect the ozone layer, all technicians who work with refrigerant in cooling equipment must be certified to handle refrigerant. Ask for their certification for refrigerant handling.

Place thermostats away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows for optimal performance.

The contractor should always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to prevent unnecessary furnace or air conditioner on/off cycling.

Ask prospective contractors if they use such a quality checklist, how they verify completion of checklist items, and if you will receive a copy of this checklist upon completion of the installation.