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Reduce home air pollution and save energy

(ARA) - Your home may be your castle, but the average household can be responsible for nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the average car, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Since the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions is energy production, it makes sense to ensure that your home is as energy efficient as possible.

Here are some simple steps you can take in your home to create a better environment for everyone, both inside and outside:


Make smarter HVAC choices


Heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of a home's energy use, so a good place to start is with your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Make sure it is in tip-top shape by scheduling a maintenance checkup with a certified dealer. He or she can inspect your system and make any necessary repairs to ensure the system is not wasting energy. 


If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model, as manufacturers now offer furnaces that can save up to 40 percent on energy consumption versus older models. One model that meets and exceeds U.S. Department of Energy standards is the new American Standard Freedom (R) 95 Modulating Communicating Furnace. The furnace converts up to 95 percent or more of its fuel into heat. Rather than using an on-again-off-again thermostat control found in less sophisticated furnaces, it uses temperature data from the thermostat to calculate its own heating cycle. It then adjusts the heat output with a fully modulating gas valve for consistent, comfortable heat and precise fuel control, significantly saving energy and keeping utility costs down. 


Most models in this furnace family are among the many energy saving models that qualify for a tax credit. Thanks to the passage of the Economic Stimulus Bill, homeowners may be eligible for a tax credit if they purchase certain types of HVAC systems between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010. Depending on the system you purchase, you could receive a tax credit of up to $1,500 on your 2009 or 2010 income tax return. For information on any tax credits you could claim, contact a tax professional.


Properly seal your home and ductwork


The EPA recommends that you seal air leaks in your home to reduce drafts and get the full performance out of your home's insulation. Sealing the ducts is also a good idea, since poorly performing ducts can leak conditioned air and reduce your system's efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Sealing leaks and insulating the ducts in attics and crawl spaces can improve energy efficiency and keep your home comfortable as well. 

Take advantage of ENERGY STAR-qualified products


The EPA developed the ENERGY STAR program to reduce the nation's energy consumption. Choosing products for your home that bear the ENERGY STAR logo is an important step to consuming less energy. Qualified products are available in multiple categories including heating and cooling equipment, appliances, home electronics and lighting. Be sure to ask your dealer about local incentives that are offered by many utility companies and financial institutions for the purchase of ENERGY STAR products.


For more information on how to save energy at home or to locate a qualified independent American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning dealer, visit www.AmericanStandardAir.com . 


Courtesy of ARAcontent

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