<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">Save money on energy by preparing your heating and cooling system for winter</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – Getting ready for winter often means changing to warmer clothes and taking stock of mittens and hats. But it’s also a good idea to prepare your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system for winter, too – especially if you want to keep energy bills down.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Heating can account for almost half of the average family’s winter energy bill, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Taking a few steps now will help your furnace and other heating components operate more efficiently throughout the winter, helping you save money. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning offers the following tips for winter home readiness:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Program your thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, this is the year to get one. Resetting the temperature from a constant 72 degrees to 65 degrees for eight hours a day (perhaps during the day while you and your family are less likely to be home) can cut your heating bill by up to 10 percent, according to energy.gov. Some models even allow you to pre-set different temperatures for every day of the week according to your family’s schedules.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="282"><param name="movie" value="../images/banners/8c.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="../images/banners/8c.swf" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="282"></embed></object></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Seal heating and cooling ducts. Leaks in the ducts that move air within your system can be big energy wasters. Sealing the ducts that run through attics, crawl spaces, unheated basements and garages can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent. Use duct sealant or metal-backed tape to seal the seams and connections, and then wrap the ducts in insulation.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Upgrade to newer technology. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. One furnace that exceeds the government’s energy standards is the Freedom (R) 95 Comfort-R Variable-Speed Modulating Communicating Furnace. Made by American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, it converts 95 percent or more of fuel you pay for into heat for your home. Instead of using on-again-off-again thermostat control, it uses temperature data from the thermostat to calculate its own heating cycle. It then adjusts the flame with a modulating valve for even, comfortable heat and precise fuel control. With the passage of the U.S. Economic Stimulus Bill, homeowners may be eligible for a <strong>tax credit</strong> if they purchase certain types of HVAC systems between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. More information about the tax credit is available at <a href="http://www.americanstandardair.com" target="_blank">www.americanstandardair.com</a>  and <a href="http://www.irs.gov" target="_blank">www.irs.gov</a> .</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Clean or replace filters. A dirty furnace filter can slow down the air flow in your heating system and make it work harder than necessary. Your furnace will work less hard, use less energy and last longer if you clean or replace filters monthly, or at minimum, every three months.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Schedule a winter checkup. As you schedule checkups to keep your family healthy, do the same for your home’s heating system. An HVAC professional can perform a routine maintenance checkup to ensure all components of your heating and cooling system are operating properly and safely, and advise you on ways to improve energy efficiency. To locate an independent American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning dealer, visit the American Standard Heating &amp; Air Conditioning online dealer locator at <a href="http://www.americanstandardair.com" target="_blank">www.americanstandardair.com</a> .</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>