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2008-06-11 / Columnists

Keep your cool, but save energy too this summer

(NAPS) Energy experts say that more than half of consumers' home energy dollars go toward home heating and cooling. Fortunately, there are some steps homeowners can take to keep their energy bills low, stay comfortable and contribute to a sustainable environment.

•Check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) value of your homeís air-conditioning equipment. The higher the SEER value, the more energy youíll conserve. The U.S. Department of Energy has mandated that all new air conditioners meet a minimum standard of SEER 13.

•Maintenance goes a long way toward keeping a system operating at peak efficiency. Change the air filter monthly and have your home's cooling system serviced annually.

•Insulation adds value. A high R-value insulation installed in the attic, walls and crawl space will provide year-round energy conservation, translating into lower utility bills.

•If you're considering a new home cooling system, make sure it uses an R410-A refrigerant. Beginning in 2010, all U.S. manufacturers will be required to use this refrigerant in newly manufactured air-conditioning units. R410-A is less depleting to the ozone than commonly used R-422 refrigerant.

•Finally, don't forget the role a technician plays in keeping your home's air-conditioning system running at maximum efficiency. Technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE) the industry-accepted standard for technician testing and certification have proven their knowledge of home heating and cooling. They can ensure that your home's cooling system is properly sized, installed and operating at maximum efficiency. More than 25,000 NATE-certified technicians are located throughout the U.S.

To find a contractor with NATE-certified technicians, visit www.natex.org and click on the Certified Technicians link.

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