ENERGY STAR has all the resources you need to stay cool and save money this summer. Explore the tips below to learn how you can keep the heat out, level up your cooling system, and invest in low-cost upgrades that are better for your budget and the planet.
With heating and cooling costs counting for nearly half the home’s total energy bill - more than $900 a year— ensuring your HVAC system is operating at peak performance is the key to keeping cool this summer. Be sure to:
Check your air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
Get an HVAC maintenance check-up. While changing filters is a must, there may be other things wrong with your HVAC system that would not be obvious to a non-professional. Schedule an HVAC contractor to inspect your heating and cooling equipment and make sure it is running at optimum efficiency. A typical maintenance check-up consists of inspecting system controls and components, and making sure connections are tightened and in safe working condition. Specific to cooling equipment, the contractor will inspect refrigerant levels and adjust them if necessary. They will also clean and adjust blower components and clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR certified heating and cooling equipment. If your heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old or it needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up, it may be time to consider a replacement. ENERGY STAR certified equipment could provide dramatic savings compared to a unit installed 10 or even 5 years ago.
Use the ENERGY STAR Heating and Cooling Guide to help you navigate an HVAC equipment upgrade, including symptoms for replacement, ENERGY STAR certified equipment options and installation guidance, and savings calculator.
Replace traditional HVAC equipment with an ENERGY STAR certified air source heat pump (ASHP). If you are planning a replacement, ASHPs are not only more efficient than furnaces or boilers, but they serve double duty with heating and cooling, making this summertime investment usable year-round. An ENERGY STAR certified ASHP provides highly efficient cooling by pulling the heat out of your home in the summer, and extracting heat from the outside air in the winter. An ASHP can be easily installed and connected to the conventional forced-air ductwork system that is typical of most American homes. (For homes without ductwork, learn more about mini split heat pumps.
A smart thermostat that’s earned the ENERGY STAR is Wi-Fi enabled and can automatically adjust temperature settings in your home for optimal performance. ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats have been independently certified, based on actual field data, to deliver energy savings. They allow you to control your home’s cooling remotely through your smartphone and quickly enter a low-power standby mode when inactive.
Households without central air conditioning can save money using an ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioner. ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners use about 10% less energy and, on average, cost less than $70 per year to run.
Certified room air conditioners with innovative variable speed technology save even more energy and quietly regulate the temperature, providing the innovation and energy savings you're looking for in a state-of-the-art room AC.
Stay connected! ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners with connected functionality offer additional convenience, comfort and energy savings by allowing you to turn off the unit remotely using your phone or computer, schedule changes to settings based on your needs and receive feedback on how much energy your product is using.
Be sure to properly size your room AC for comfort and savings. An oversized unit will cool the room but only remove some of the humidity, leaving the room with a damp, clammy feeling. Learn how to choose the right size from the experts at ENERGY STAR by watching the video below.
Seal your ducts. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and help you save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs. Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.
If your home experiences hot ceilings and walls, uneven temperatures between rooms or high energy bills, consider adding insulation in your attic. This will help maintain desired temperatures throughout your home and help lower energy bills.
Replacing your windows? ENERGY STAR certified windows reduce the "heat gain" into your home more than typical windows, without reducing the visible light. So, you can enjoy the sunlight, without the heat!
Close window shades and drapes in warm weather to keep out the sun's heat
Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower your air conditioning costs by up to 14%. Remember, ceiling fans cool you, not the room. So, turn it off when you leave the room. Need a new fan? ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fans with lights are 60% more efficient than standard fans with lights.
Replace those old, hot incandescent light bulbs with much cooler ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs. ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs produce about 70-90% less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.