Reducing utility bills

Turn Your Home into an Energy Star

courtesy of Lennox Industries

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1) Climate Control: Out With the Old

Heating and cooling a home accounts for more than 44 percent of the average home's utility bill and is typically the largest energy expense. To cut down on climate control costs, homeowners should consider replacing older, less efficient furnaces or air conditioners with new, state-of-the-art equipment that surpasses minimum government standards for energy efficiency. For example, Lennox recently introduced the Dave Lennox Signature Collection G61V variable speed gas furnace and the XC21 air conditioner, both of which run at a low speed 80 percent of the time for maximum efficiency and can reduce annual energy bills by hundreds of dollars. Programmable thermostats are another way to maximize energy efficiency. These devices automatically control the temperature to use less energy at certain hours of the day, such as nighttime or when homeowners are away from home.

2) Appliances: Design Matters

Household appliances are responsible for about 20 percent of a home's energy bill. When shopping for appliances, it's important to look for Energy Star-labeled products, which significantly exceed minimum efficiency standards. It's also important to take design into consideration. For example, refrigerators with freezers on top use 10 to 15 percent less energy than side-by-side models. And doing a single, large load of laundry in a large capacity clothes washer may consume less energy than multiple loads in a smaller washer. Finally, when shopping for a clothes dryer, look for one that features a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry.

3) Water Heating: How Low Can You Go

Heating water is another major energy expenditure and accounts for approximately 17 percent of a household's energy bill. Consider insulating the water heater with a water heater jacket that can be purchased at most hardware stores. Homeowners also can lower the temperature setting on the water heater to save energy. Some water heaters come from the factory already set at 140 degrees or higher, but a setting of 115 degrees can provide comfortable hot water for most uses. Finally, consider replacing a water heater if the existing one is more than 10 years old, as it probably is operating at an efficiency level of 50 percent or lower.

4) Windows: No Pane, No Gain

The energy lost through windows can account for as much as 10 to 25 percent of a home's heating bill. And during the summer, sunlight streaming through windows can make an air conditioner work two to three times harder. To maximize a home's energy efficiency, single-pane windows should be replaced with double-pane windows. In addition, look for windows that feature energy efficient high-performance glass. For example, windows with low-emittance (low-e) coatings can reduce heat loss, while spectrally selective coatings can reduce heat gain.

5) Lighting: The 25-50 Rule

Switching out traditional incandescent lights with more efficient fluorescent lighting is a quick and easy way to save on the electric bill. In fact, by replacing 25 percent of lights in high-use areas with fluorescents, homeowners can save about 50 percent on lighting-related energy expenses. Energy Star-labeled fluorescent lamps also last six to 10 times longer. For exterior lighting, be sure to use compact fluorescent or high-pressure sodium fixtures, which are more efficient, and consider motion sensors that operate lights automatically.

Lennox Industries' home comfort, indoor air quality and fireplace products are designed to deliver maximum comfort, efficiency and functionality, with the most innovative and reliable features available. In 2005, Lennox Industries was named Energy Star Manufacturer of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the third consecutive year. Lennox is the only heating, ventilation and air conditioning manufacturer to ever be chosen to receive the award. For more information about Lennox home comfort products, please visit

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