Energy Efficiency Ratio, Energy Saving Tips and Tax Credits for the Home

Energy Efficiency Ratio

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measure of the cooling output of an air conditioner in Btu/hr, to the electrical input of an air conditioner in watts, and is calculated at standard conditions with an outside temperature of 95 °F.  The EER will tell you how much electricity your air conditioner will consume per cooling capacity.  An EER of 10 or above is usually good.

SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of a unit, and it is calculated during a typical cooling season.  The SEER has the same units as the EER and it represents the performance of an air conditioner for typical weather in a given location, rather than at a single standard condition.  An SEER of 13 or above is usually good.

Tax Credits

The US government offers federal tax credits for making home improvements that include the installation of energy-efficient products or improvements to your home’s envelope.  The improvements to your home envelope include buying include seals to prevent air infiltration to your home, weather stripping, foam sealants and insulation.  For mechanical equipment, there are tax credits available for geothermal heat pumps, solar photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters and biomass stoves.  In order to know which products qualify for tax credits, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy Efficiency (DSIRE).  DSIRE  has information on state, local, and federal tax incentives to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficient products.

Rebates for the Home

Home improvements in energy efficiency can also get you rebates from your utility company.  Check with your local utility company to see if they have a program in place.  You can get rebates for adding insulation, energy efficient furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, recycling old appliances, energy efficient filtration systems, and getting Energy Star approved electronic appliances.

Energy Efficient Tips for The Home

The following are some easy energy saving tips for your home that will save you money on your utility bills

  • Purchase compact fluorescent bulbs to replace all incandescent bulbs in your house
  • Use the air-dry option in your dishwasher
  • Lower your thermostat by 10 degrees when you are not at home
  • Use cold water to do your laundry and do a full load
  • Apply a sealant caulk around window sills and doors
  • During winter months, open up your curtains on the eastern side of your home to let the natural heat from the sun warm up your rooms

Making energy efficient improvements in your home is a very smart decision since you will get federal tax credits and utility incentives for applying them, and at the same time you will lower your gas and electric bills.

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