By Jason McGlone
Gas and electric costs are rising, and they’re not showing any signs of slowing down. This has many consumers looking for a way to save. Numerous home improvement businesses promise increased efficiency and ultimately huge savings on your energy bills for anything from doors to furnaces to windows. Thing is, the savings they advertise isn’t usually the amount that you or most others will come close to saving.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently settled with several replacement window businesses over ads claiming more savings than they could deliver. For the record, the ads claimed anywhere from a 35%-50% savings. The FTC found that the window companies couldn’t show this kind of savings—the ultimate result of this were significant fines, as well as being prohibited from making similar claims in future advertisements.
BBB urges consumers to exercise caution when shopping for home improvement products and services. Specifically, if a business is claiming energy bill savings, it’s a very good idea to examine how much they’re claiming and to think about whether or not that amount is feasible. Can you expect to save some cash if you’re getting new windows or a new furnace? Sure. How much? Putting an exact figure on it can be difficult to nail down.
There can be many aspects involved in ensuring your home is energy efficient. Are your doors drafty? How old is your furnace? Moreover, what kind of heating and cooling system do you have? Do you keep electronic items plugged in? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the point remains: no single upgrade will save you “half” on your energy bills.
So, when you’re in the market for any home improvement upgrade, it’s worth paying attention to energy efficient products—they can save you money. But when you see claims that seem too good to be true, it’s time to start asking questions.
For more information on energy efficiency labels, visitwww.bbb.org/blog/2012/04/energy-efficient-windows-are-clearly-better-but-how-do-you-compare.
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