1. Not all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is equal. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So, making smart decisions about your home’s HVAC system can have a big effect on your utility bills—and your comfort. 2. Heating and cooling costs account for nearly 50% of your home’s total energy bill. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® certified, high-efficiency model could cut your cooling costs by 30%. 3. ENERGY STAR certified central air conditioners have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) than standard models, which makes them about 14% more efficient than standard models. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency. Since sizing and proper installation of a central air conditioning system are critical to energy efficiency and home comfort, it is important to hire a qualified technician. 4. Heat pumps qualified for the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) than standard models, which makes them about 8% percent more efficient than standard new models and 20% more efficient than what you may already have in your home. 5. Natural gas furnaces have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 92% or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. On average, 1 in 4 furnaces in U.S. homes today are more than 20 years old. Natural gas furnaces use advanced technology to deliver higher efficiency than standard new furnaces available today. 6. High-efficiency heating and cooling equipment should meet or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR requirements for product efficiency. 7. When is it time to replace your central heating and cooling system with newer, more energy-efficient equipment? When your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are increasing When your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old When your furnace is more than 15 years old 8. Proper maintenance can go a long way in preventing future heating and cooling system problems. Ask your contractor about annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors often get very busy during summer and winter, so it’s a good idea to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall.