When the star Sirius appears in the night sky, it officially kicks off the "dog days of summer," the hottest, stickiest days of the year -- from July 3rd to Aug. 15th.
Now is an excellent time to prepare to beat the heat -- and to beat high energy bills-- by purchasing a new air-conditioning system.
Today's high-efficiency models with a federal "energy-star" designation use half the energy a 20-year-old model uses.
During peak cooling periods, you can cut overall energy bills 20 percent to 40 percent.
Ten-year-old-or-older units have seasonal energy efficiency ratings (SEERs) of only 6 to 8.
New units are rated 12 or greater -- a big difference that leads to big savings.
Also, many utilities now offer rebates on these units.
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