How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The Winter?

481723049-compressedWhen the days get shorter it is time to start thinking about ways you can minimize your winter energy costs. There is no escaping increasing heating costs as the outside temperature drops. Unpredictable weather patterns make it difficult to know exactly how high your heating costs will be. You have several ways you can save energy during the winter, even when your heater is running at full capacity.

The first thing you can do is turn your thermostat down two degrees. Put on a sweatshirt and throw another blanket on the bed and you will barely notice the difference. The savings you see on your first energy bill after turning your set temperature down will be worth it.

Insulating your water tank and turning the heater thermostat down two degrees is another effective way to lower your energy costs. You can consider swapping out your old shower heads for low-flow models. A low-flow shower head conserves water so there is less water to heat.

Winterizing the rest of your home will make it easier for your heater to do its job. A qualified HVAC technician can survey your home and let you know if you have enough insulation. Upgrading to double-pane windows is an effective way to prevent heat transfer. Apply caulk to any cracks in the seams around your door and window frames to keep out the drafts.

If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, swap them out for LED or CFL bulbs. These types of bulbs are more energy efficient. During the summer, they save on cooling costs because they do not give off heat the way incandescent bulbs do.

Energy companies charge higher rates for usage during peak hours. It will cost you less to run your major appliances if you do your chores between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm or 9 pm and 6 am.

Many of these habits will save you energy all year round, not just during the winter. Every little bit counts and when you add it all together, you should see a significant decrease in your yearly energy usage.

Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently through the seasons.

Measuring Your HVAC Efficiency

Homeowners today are increasingly more aware of our carbon footprints and want to help reduce the harm we do to the environment. Many of us drive fuel efficient cars. Another way you can help the environment and yourself at the same time is by making sure that your air conditioning and heating (HVAC) system runs efficiently also.

The more efficiently an HVAC system operates, the smaller the amount of energy it uses. This not only saves energy but money as well. The U. S. Department of Energy, working with the HVAC and utility industries, sets the government efficiency ratings that help consumers determine the best systems to use for their specific needs. An inspection of your home or business by a qualified HVAC technician will help you to determine the size of HVAC system that will perform best for your needs. Such an inspection can also determine if your current system is operating as efficiently as it should.

When purchasing a new HVAC system, there are five rating systems you should know and understand.

• EER: The Energy Efficiency Ratio is based on the hottest day of the year for the cooling season. The EER lets you know how much cooling to expect for each energy dollar you spend.

• Energy Star: is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designation only given to HVAC units and equipment that meets or exceeds high efficiency guidelines, such as how much it contributes to energy savings nationwide and enabling the purchase price to be recovered by the property owner through energy savings within a few years after purchase.

• HSPF: The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is a measurement of the heat pump’s heating component’s efficiency. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10. A rating of 7.5 or more is considered high-efficiency.

• MERV: The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rates HVAC filters’ efficiency by the size of the holes. A filter with smaller holes is more efficient at trapping contaminants. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, which is the highest available efficiency rating.

• SEER: The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio shows the cooling power you can expect from your HVAC system for every energy dollar spent based on the whole season’s average total. SEER ratings range from 13 to 22. The higher the number is, the higher the efficiency of the unit is.

When you are shopping for a new HVAC system, select yours with these efficiency ratings in mind to choose the best system for your space, based on the information your inspection provides you. If your system is running well but is ten or more years old, you might consider updating as there have been many improvements in the last decade. Follow this and other great information in our Blog to learn all about it.

What Would Be Most Effective In Controlling Home Comfort Costs?

If you are wondering if energy prices continue to escalate, what would be most effective in controlling home comfort costs, maybe this will help you. There are a variety of things that you can do to control your home comfort costs, here are some of them.

You can add insulation and weatherproofing to your home. These things can save you money and also help you to conserve energy. With insulation, you can add it to your water pipes to decrease the energy that would be lost when it delivers hot water to your home. For weatherproofing, you can weatherproof your windows and doors. Doing this will conserve energy so that your heating system doesn’t have to overwork itself. Insulate windows with felt, vinyl, or self adhesive foam. Insulate doors with weatherstrips and metal sweeps to seal gaps on the bottom of the door.

One of the best things that you can do is get a programmable thermostat. This thermostat can decrease and increase the temperature of your home. It will decrease when you are not home and increase when you are home.

Insulate your exterior and interior of your house. If your exterior walls don’t have interior insulation, see if you can have blown in insulation professionally installed. For you interior, insulate around electrical outlets, heating and ventilation ducts, and pipes. Look for small openings where cold air may be coming in. It is best to get the holes insulated so that air doesn’t come in or escape your home.

If you have a fireplace, use it. Wood burning fireplaces though are net heat losers. If you have one of those, install a wood burning insert. This will give you the efficiency that you need when using the fireplace.

As far as summer is concerned, you should help your house keep cold. Metal and white cement roofs help keep homes cooler during summer months. Attic fans and whole house fans also can help beat the summer weather.

For additional energy savings solutions, call us today. We can help you save money for your home during the summer and winter months.

The Raising Of Current Efficiency Standards Is Placed On Hold

Over the years there have been many amazing developments in the HVAC industry. Many of these developments concentrate on preserving energy and natural resources. In 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy partnered with several experts in the HVAC industry to improve on HVAC Efficiency.

As a result HVAC equipment manufacturers have been developing equipment that is far more efficient. Creating the annual fuel utilization efficiency, or the AFUE, rating system helped the DOE to measure the efficiency of fuel powered furnaces and boilers. HVAC manufacturers responded by creating the condensing furnace that has an AFUE rating of 90. A condensing furnace with this high rating is estimated at being the most efficient because it only wastes ten percent of the fuel it uses to heat homes.

Most of the existing combustion types of furnaces installed in homes located in the northern states have a meager AFUE rating of just 78. In fact, the current minimum required AFUE rating is set at 78 in states like New York. After the development of the efficient condensing furnace, the DOE made a move to raise the minimum HVAC Efficiency Standards to 90 in northern states.

In 2013 the DOE was ready to enforce the new efficiency standard of 90. Experts in the HVAC industry stood up for homeowners and their fear of this new efficiency standard and have stopped the enforcement of it, for now. They fear this enforcement because thousands of homeowners will have to make expensive modifications in order to add a condensing furnace into their HVAC system when their existing furnace wears out. The condensing furnace requires a different venting system than what most existing HVAC equipment uses.

The cost of purchasing the new furnace, a new venting system, as well as paying for the modifications and installation of the new furnace will far exceed what many homeowners can afford. However, for some homeowners, installing an AFUE 90 rated furnace was no issue financially and they are already enjoying the rewards of lower heating costs. The best way to learn more about efficient furnaces and to keep up with all that is transpiring in the court system about the raised efficiency standard is to contact a local HVAC company.