Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling

No matter what season it is, your home is competing with the weather outside to make sure the inside temperature remains comfortable. As outside temperatures cool off in the winter and heat up in the summer, your heating and cooling equipment requires more energy to keep your home at the desired comfort level.

Home heating and cooling accounts for approximately 50 percent of the average customer's energy purchases. You can get control of your home's comfort level and your heating and cooling costs with a heat pump, properly installed duct insulation and a programmable thermostat.

The most economical way to keep your home comfortable year-round

A heat pump is the most advanced and efficient heating and cooling system available today. The technologically advanced heat pump keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer - with one amazing piece of equipment. It's also a wise energy investment that can result in major savings on monthly energy bills for many homeowners.

A good investment in durability

You can't beat a heat pump for durability. In fact, heat pumps last an average of 20 years in the Southeast United States.

Added flexibility when building a home

A heat pump gives you more design flexibility when building your home. Since there are no flames or fumes, you won't have to add flues or vent pipes that waste valuable closet and storage space. And because there are no flues, you'll have more choices in where to locate the indoor part of your heat pump system.

Choose the best heat pump for your home

Heat pumps come in a variety of types. We can help you determine the type of heat pump and size that fits your home so you'll be comfortable season after season.

  • The air source heat pump is the most common electric heat pump. It uses an outdoor unit and outside air to transfer the heat.
  • A geothermal heat pump uses the near-constant temperature of the earth for its heat source. It uses special water piping and the earth to transfer heat. Choose a geothermal heat pump and you won't have a unit sitting outside your home.
  • A dual-fuel (piggyback) heat pump may be a better choice than simply replacing an old air conditioner if you have a relatively new gas or propane furnace. The furnace provides the heat on the colder winter days. Or, a new dual-fuel heat pump and a new auxiliary furnace may fit your needs. To learn more, call 1-800-990-APCO (2726) or click here to view a brochure.
  • Whatever type heat pump you choose, the efficiency rating of the equipment is very important. Heat pumps are rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency and the less it costs you to cool your home. The rating is much like the MPG rating for an automobile. The minimum SEER rating on equipment manufactured today is 13 SEER. Higher SEER rated equipment is widely available and efficiency ratings will vary according to the BTUH size and brand selection. A unit with a high SEER rating may cost more initially but, because of its low operating cost, it will pay for itself over time. Heat pump heating efficiency ratings are expressed as the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Just like the SEER rating for cooling, the higher the HSPF rating, the greater the efficiency. HSPF ratings range from about 6.8 to greater than 8.

Making your home more energy efficient is easy with Alabama Power's heat pump and weatherization financing

We offer energy financing at low interest rates and with no down payment for qualified residential customers. Plus, the loan payment can be added to your monthly power bill.

  • Finance your new energy-efficient heat pump with Alabama Power's energy financing for residential customers. Our financing program includes heat pumps and associated water heating, and the wiring associated with their installation.
  • Combine new heat pump installation with home weatherization and include it in your financing package. Weatherization increases the energy efficiency and comfort of your home and can reduce your monthly power bills. Weatherization of your home includes insulation (and all infiltration barriers), storm windows and doors, and attic ventilation. Also included are double-pane windows (up to $300 each), low-E or tinted double-pane windows (up to $350 each) humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air cleaners and duct cleaning.

To find out more about Alabama Power's heat pump and weatherization financing, call 1-800-990-APCO (2726) or request more information.

A programmable thermostat could be a good idea if you're away from home on a regular basis, or want to automatically lower your energy use at night. It saves energy while you're away or asleep, and then brings your home's temperature back to the level you desire by the time you return or wake up in the morning.

If you're heating and cooling your home with an energy efficient heat pump and you change the temperature control, a programmable thermostat will help you get maximum energy efficiency. Ask your heating and cooling dealer to install a programmable thermostat, and make sure it's the type specially designed for your heat pump.

If it's time to replace or upgrade the thermostat in your home, consider a programmable unit that:

  • is compatible with your heating and cooling equipment.
  • can keep your home + or - 1 degree Fahrenheit of your preferred temperature.
  • adjusts temperatures to fit your lifestyle
  • can "learn" how to operate your heating/cooling system to compensate for periods of unusually hot or cold weather.

A properly installed duct system helps you live comfortably while using energy efficiently

The control and distribution of heated and cooled air in your home is carried out by the duct system. Significant amounts of heated and cooled air can be lost through leaks in ductwork. A properly installed duct system helps you live comfortably while using energy efficiently.

The facts

Locating ductwork during construction in conditioned versus unconditioned areas of the home can result in savings of more than 20% in heating and cooling costs.

Repairing duct leaks in existing homes can result in heating and cooling savings of as much as 30%.  That's a big savings for a problem that's inexpensive to locate and repair.

Installing a duct system

The duct system should be designed by an accredited professional using industry-recognized procedures.

We recommend the following insulation specifications to ensure high efficiency and low operating costs:

  • Check local codes for duct insulation R - Value. If construction design permits, install ducts inside the conditioned area.
  • Seal all joints with duct mastic, duct mastic tape or the equivalent.
  • Insulate and caulk/mastic all seams of insulating materials used to line the return-air plenum to avoid drawing air in from the attic or unconditioned areas.

Upgrading your home's duct system

Look for ductwork leaks in the air-handling unit and between the following components:

  • individual sections of ductwork
  • ductwork and boots
  • registers
  • ductwork and plenums
  • ductwork and return-air chamber
  • air-handling unit and plenums
  • support platform and return-air chamber

We recommend the following insulation specifications if you are upgrading your duct system.

  1. Supply and return ducts should be insulated according to local and state codes.
  2. Mastic or seal all joints between ducts, supply plenum and heat pump and insulate against heat transfer.
  3. Seal heater closet paying special attention to pipes and wires that pass through walls.
  4. Seal off heater closet from the attic, if using a totally electric heat pump, so the system can't draw unconditioned air from that area.
  5. Upgrade attic insulation to R-30 or R-38.

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