Here are 10 tips homeowners can use to avoid getting duped about energy efficiency because of dubious sales representatives. Avoid products that do nothing to enhance energy-efficiency, such as R-60, which is no more effective than the recommended R-38. Be wary of ads that offer unnecessarily thick insulation in the attic, which affects only about 15 percent of the AC bill. When reps claim their insulation has a high R-value — the measure of how effectively insulation resists heat flow — be sure to ask how thick the insulation must be layered to achieve this. Before purchasing insulation, be sure the R-value claim pertains to the product by itself — not in combination with a number of other products. Instead of buying an expensive package of multiple new systems, slash energy bills by first going after “low-hanging fruit” — small, low-cost improvements. Ask the sales rep to corroborate claims about the product with research, which should be readily available if the product has passed tests to ensure its quality. Find an AC sales rep who will take into account the age of the home — new homes are much more airtight — and use a computer to calculate the size of the new air-conditioner. Choose an energy plan that will pay for itself with cost savings within three to five years. Steer clear of products that refer to potential savings in terms like “nominal” and “approximately” instead of hard numbers. And finally, if possible, repair a leaky air conditioner first instead of buying something new and expensive. | Read More