Replacing Equipment with Efficiency in Mind
If you think it’s time to replace the heating, cooling, or hot water system in your home, choose higher-efficiency equipment along with weatherization improvements. This will help you get top performance from your new equipment, save money, and improve the overall comfort of your home.
Benefits for Homeowners
Keeping efficiency in mind when replacing equipment in your home offers many benefits:
- Save money on future energy bills
- Reduce maintenance time and costs
- Enjoy year-round comfort with consistent temperatures and better air quality
- Improve the health and safety of your home with a reduced risk of allergens
Follow the equipment efficiency steps below when replacing equipment in your home.
Get a professional energy audit or home energy rating
If you think it may be time to replace your heating, cooling, or hot water system, get a professional home energy audit or rating. Audits and ratings will help you better understand a home’s energy performance. This can include where your home is efficient and where it is wasting energy, which systems are working properly and which are not, and which upgrades may be needed. Before the audit or rating, make sure the auditor knows if you are experiencing any issues with your systems. This can include the equipment cycling on and off more frequently than usual, unusual noise, excessive dust, or noticeable leaks, for example.
The auditor will identify the systems’ age, expected life span, and efficiency ratings. If a system is 15-20 years old, it may need to be replaced. You can also view NYSERDA’s Heating and Cooling Guide [PDF] to determine whether any of your systems need to be replaced.
Consider insulation and sealing upgrades
If any of your heating and cooling systems need to be replaced, it is a good idea to seal air leaks in your home and ductwork before investing in a new system. Taking these measures can help ensure equipment will function properly and at peak efficiency. For example, sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent. In some cases, air sealing and insulating the house will make it possible to purchase a smaller heating and cooling system, saving you money on equipment costs from the start.
Ask the auditor to help you determine and prioritize which insulation and sealing upgrades will help you get the best return on investment from a new system.
Consider clean heating and cooling technologies and smart thermostats
If your heating or cooling technology needs to be replaced, it’s a great time to consider pairing clean heating and cooling technologies, such as heat pumps, with smart thermostats. Heat pumps are a safer choice for your home with no combustion of fossil fuels, fuel storage, or carbon monoxide emissions. Heat pump water heaters are also available to provide a clean energy option to meet your home’s hot water needs. Work with a professional contractor to determine what kind of heat pump is right for your home.
Smart thermostats help you make the most of your systems. They allow you to create automatic and programmable temperature settings based on daily schedules, weather conditions, and heating and cooling needs. Some even learn from your behaviors and automatically adjust their settings to optimize both comfort and efficiency.
Replace your equipment with new, energy-efficient models
If you are investing in a new system, purchase high-efficiency equipment. ENERGY STAR certified models will be the most efficient—helping you save money and improve the comfort of your home. Once you have selected a new model, learn about ways to properly operate and maintain the system to ensure it works as efficiently as possible. This could include replacing air filters and having it serviced annually by a professional contractor. Because a new system may function differently than your existing equipment, ask your contractor how to manage your thermostat settings to optimize its performance and efficiency.
Take advantage of available financial incentives and rebates
Many incentives and rebates are available across New York State for purchasing and installing high-efficiency heating, cooling, and hot water equipment. Whether through NYSERDA or your utility, there are opportunities to get money back by switching to a better system.
Take the first step—sign up for a professional energy audit or rating to ensure you are buying the best equipment for your home and to learn whether you should make any additional energy upgrades.