While red, white and blue may reflect fall's election season, it's the color green that's on the minds of homeowners across America — homeowners who are concerned about spending more money on energy bills and the negative effects of climate change. With average heating costs expected to increase by nearly 20 percent from last year, homeowners are looking for ways to put money back in their wallets while promoting a cleaner planet.
To help address these challenges, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), in collaboration with the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the Edison Electric Institute, the U.S. Energy Association and North American Technician Excellence, has launched the 2 Degree Pledge initiative. The Pledge offers simple steps — installing a programmable thermostat, ensuring proper maintenance and a quality installation of heating and air conditioning equipment, and adjusting thermostats — all of which can help homeowners achieve lower energy bills through greater energy efficiency.
"The 2 Degree Pledge urges consumers to think about their heating system efficiency now, before the winter heating season," says AHRI President Stephen Yurek. "With just a couple degrees of change, such as installing a programmable thermostat and setting the thermostat a few degrees higher when they leave the house for the day, homeowners can simply and significantly reduce their energy costs, without compromising their comfort."
Because residential heating and cooling can account for up to 50 percent of total energy bills during the winter months, the 2 Degree Pledge calls on homeowners to contact a heating professional today to have their heating system serviced and optimized for efficiency and comfort.
According to AHRI sources, central, forced-air systems that are improperly installed or maintained can be up to 50% less efficient than they should be. In fact, more than half of all heating systems in U.S. homes do not perform to their rated efficiency as a result of improper installation, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"It is time that we as a nation address the efficiency loss that occurs when heating and cooling equipment is not installed correctly, maintained properly, or used wisely," says Yurek. "The nation will never reap the energy savings more efficient equipment can deliver if we don't address these three issues as soon as possible."
To further save energy, the campaign encourages consumers to change filters, seal ducts and windows, and insulate walls. These steps can result in savings of up to 20 percent on energy bills.
Consumers can learn more about the 2 Degree Pledge and make their commitment official by signing up at www.2degreepledge.org.