A big advantage of "going green" is being able to keep more "green" in your wallet!  Here are 3 things you can do to make your home more energy efficient - without having to sacrifice those comfy temperatures you love:

1.Take advantage of Energy Star products

 

Just like you always wanted a gold star when you were in school, your appliances should come with gold stars of their own!  Energy Star products meet certain standards set by the EPA and the Department of Energy.  As a result, they use less energy, create fewer harmful emissions, and save you a ton of money on your utility bills!

If you want to get the most out of Energy Star products, you'll need to learn about SEER - or, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating - that's on all air conditioners, heat pumps, and HVAC units.  The higher an appliance's SEER is, the more efficient it is.  All Energy Star products have a SEER over 14, but you can find air conditioning units that have a SEER as high as 26.  A higher SEER will cost you more, but you'll wind up saving more money in the end.

2.Make the most out of heat pumps

Here in Florida, traditional furnaces aren't necessary - and they wind up using a whole lot more energy than you need to heat your home!  Heat pumps, on the other hand, are perfect for our area. 

Why?

Heat pumps pull heat out of the cold air outside (yes, even cold air has SOME heat in it!).  Then, they pump that hot air into your home.  Heat pumps have electric coils on them that can heat up very cold air, but they only need to turn on when the temperature drops below 40 degrees - making them perfect for Florida winters!

Since heat pumps rarely have to turn on their coils here in the Sunshine state, they're way more energy efficient than traditional heaters that use a ton of energy to turn water or fuel into heat.

3.Take a look at new air handlers

Luckily, you can replace your air handler without having to buy a whole new air conditioning system.  Air handlers are basically the "guts" of your air conditioning unit.  Inside, you'll find an evaporator coil - which sucks hot, humid air out of your house and shoots it outside.  You'll also find a fan that circulates all of the cool air sitting in your ducts.

New air handlers are called "variable speed air handlers" because they give you more choices than just "on" or "off".  Because they run at a variety of speeds, you can get the exact thermostat reading you want, without making your air conditioner run TOO much.  Since they don't always run on "high"(like the old ones do), new air handlers are way more energy efficient!