Do you know what affects airflow?
As we head into the hotter months, it’s important to keep things in mind that can help you get the most out of your air conditioner in the most efficient way possible. There’s nothing worse than getting a massive utility bill during the summer.
A major component of efficiency and performance is airflow. And, there are a lot of different things that can affect airflow. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Don’t close registers and vents.
Your HVAC system is designed to provide warm or cool air to a designated amount of space. That’s why it is so important for your contractor to properly size your equipment. Closing registers and vents affects the amount of space your unit is conditioning. The same principle applies to doors. Keep doors open, even when there isn’t someone in the room. If you want customized airflow, talk to your contractor about a zoning system.
Aim grass clippings away from your air conditioner or heat pump.
It’s grass cutting season! While you’re taking the time to make your lawn look trimmed and healthy, make sure you keep your HVAC system in mind. Grass clippings can get stuck on the exterior of your system and block airflow.
Plant far enough from your air conditioner or heat pump.
You want to make sure that your outdoor equipment has adequate room to pull air from the outdoors. It is a good idea to plant at least two feet away from your condenser.
Have a contractor check your ductwork once a year.
Your ductwork can become scary without proper attention. You never know what may be hiding in your ducts. A good duct cleaning is not just a good idea to improve airflow, it is also a good way to find out if there are any unseen problems with your home – like rodents, mold or other pests.
Regularly change your furnace filter.
Disposable filters need to be replaced at the very least once per season. It is actually a better idea to change them more frequently than that. For example, households with pets may want to consider changing the furnace filter once a month.
Clean your permanent filter frequently.
Whether temporary or permanent, your system needs a clean filter for proper airflow. Make sure you follow proper cleaning procedures for your permanent filter. Make sure you take it outside to clean it off. You don’t want to reintroduce the particles that the filter took out of your indoor air back into it!
Ductwork design is important.
There is a lot of work that goes into installing new HVAC equipment – especially if a new duct system must be installed as well. Make sure your contractor takes the time to properly design your duct system. This can be the difference between having a comfortable home and having a home that experiences uneven temperatures.
Have a contractor come out and clean your condenser.
It’s never too late to have your contractor come out and clean your air conditioner before the peak cooling season. A lot of gunk can accumulate on your air conditioner – restricting airflow and forcing your air conditioner to work harder to draw air in.
Any maintenance, repair or installation starts with the search for a qualified local contractor. Do some research and find the professional in your area that is going to get the job done right the first time.
Do you do these things to assure proper airflow? What is something you are going to start doing?
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Are you ready to reduce your utility bill spending?
What do you do to spend less on utilities during the cooling season? During the summer, your air conditioner has to work hard to keep your home as cool as possible. And this year, if the temperatures stay the course, your air conditioner will have to work extra hard to keep your home comfortable. We have become accustomed to temperature controlled homes, but that doesn’t mean we are happy with the number on the electric bill at the end of the month.
The best way to reduce spending and improve efficiency is upgrading your old equipment. But, if that is just not in the cards, there are other things that you can do to your old equipment that can help you shave some dollars off that electric bill.
Try turning up the thermostat a few degrees. Small adjustments on your thermostat will have a negligible impact on comfort, but can make a difference on your cooling bill. The optimal thermostat setting during the summer is 78F, according to the Department of Energy.
Keep your filter fresh. Nothing kills efficiency quite like a dirty air filter. Make sure you are changing your filter AT LEAST once a season. For some homes, (like the homes of allergy sufferers and pet owners), it may be necessary to change your furnace filter once a month.
Invest in a programmable thermostat. You may not be able to invest in an entirely new HVAC system, but you can have a contractor come out and upgrade your thermostat. Programmable thermostats are just that – programmable. They give you the ability to set temperatures based on your schedule so you aren’t wasting cooling dollars on an empty home.
Variable-speed air distribution equipment. Next time you do go to replace either your air handler or furnace, consider your variable-speed options. Variable-speed equipment improves home comfort (through consistent, variable-speed air distribution) more efficiently than having your thermostat set to the “on” fan setting.
Keeping your windows and doors closed, and investing in weather stripping. Air leaks can negatively impact home comfort and increase the amount you spend cooling your home. Your air conditioner must work harder to keep your home cool if that cool air is constantly escaping outdoors. If you have to open the window, make sure you do it briefly.
Shading the south side of your home. The sun shining into your south-facing rooms can heat things up and make it harder for your air conditioner to keep up. Consider planting a tree that blocks sunlight, or invest in blinds and curtains that you can use for hot, sunny days.
Scheduling a clean and check during the spring. This is the single most important efficiency lifesaver. During a clean and check, your contractor will make sure that everything in your cooling system functioning properly in addition to cleaning the unit to ensure premium performance and maximum airflow.
Have you scheduled your spring clean and check yet? Don’t worry! There’s still time. Just make sure you take some time to find the right contractor for the job. Make sure they have all the proper licenses and permits, and they come out to your home before they give you a quote.
Have you tried some of these tricks before? Have you noticed a reduction in your cooling expenses?
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Are your utility bills climbing higher and higher?
Did you know that heating and cooling equipment makes up more than HALF of your utility bill expenses? When it comes to HVAC, investing in high-efficiency means nothing if you aren’t taking steps to ensure your system is working at peak performance levels.
Here are some things that can kill the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Planting too close to your outdoor equipment. Airflow. Airflow. Airflow. You want to make sure that your outdoor equipment experiences proper airflow. Plants placed too close to your outdoor unit interfere with airflow, and their roots can cause damage.
Not changing your furnace filter frequently enough. Most efficiency killers involve blocked airflow. Not only is a dirty furnace bad for your health, but it can be bad for efficiency as well. Make sure you are changing your furnace filter once a season, or (even better) once a month!
Constantly adjusting your non-programmable thermostat. Customized temperature is something that can help improve home comfort. However, if you have a non-programmable thermostat, constant thermostat adjustments may result in more on/off cycles. Your cooling equipment consumes the most energy when its ramping on. If you want customized home comfort, invest in a programmable thermostat that does the adjusting for you.
Opening and closing registers. Your air conditioner is designed to cool a certain amount of air. When you open and close registers, this affects the amount of space your air conditioner is cooling. A better plan is to invest in a zoning system. A zoning system groups your home by rooms (or groups of rooms) each controlled by their OWN thermostat. This way different areas of your home can receive just the right amount of air.
Collapsed or blocked ductwork. Collapsed or blocked ductwork results in many of the same problems of a blocked filter, or an open or closed register. If a portion of your ductwork has collapsed, cool air distribution is prohibited. This can result in longer run times and a higher utility bill (not to mention decreased comfort). Make sure you get your ductwork inspected once a year. Not only will this help check for collapsed or blocked portions, but your contractor can also alert you to unseen problems your home may be having – like rodents or insects.
Opening windows and doors. Opening a window or door during the spring may seem like a good idea. Temperatures are warmer, but still cool enough to be comfortable. However, opening windows and doors is essentially letting your money fly out the window. Remember, it’s not your job to cool the entire neighborhood.
Not scheduling routine maintenance. The best way to keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency levels is to schedule a clean and check with your contractor every spring. During a maintenance appointment, your contractor inspects the electrical system, cleans the unit and makes sure everything is running properly. Some contractors even have the option of maintenance contracts. That way you never forget to schedule an appointment.
Unfortunately, the age of a system also effects its efficiency. Even the most efficient units must work harder to cool as they get older. If your air conditioner is around 16 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it with a higher efficiency model. Even standard-efficiency units today are significantly more efficient than models manufactured ten years ago. Talk to your local HVAC contractor during your spring preventative maintenance appointment about your high-efficiency cooling options.
Are there things that you do to help improve efficiency?
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Do you have any questions about your heating and cooling system?
Let’s face it, heating and cooling is not something that people think about daily. In fact, since HVAC equipment has a long lifespan, you may only have to think about it every 10 to 15 years! It’s no surprise that you may have a few questions when it does come time to replace your old heating and cooling equipment. Everything from system type to efficiency ratings will affect your bills and comfort.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
What is refrigerant?
If you’ve had your air conditioner or heat pump serviced before, you may have heard about refrigerant. Essentially, refrigerant is a liquid/gas component of your equipment that facilitates heat transfer.
Should I buy an air conditioner or heat pump?
The answer to this question depends on where you live, and what you use to heat your home. If you only have electricity at your disposal, a heat pump is a great solution. It can cool and heat your home using electricity. Heat pumps are also a great idea for climates that don’t see extreme winters – like the South. However, a heat pump can be used in any climate. Like an air conditioner, it can be paired with a gas furnace for powerful heating during the winter.
What is HVAC?
“HVAC” stands for “heating, ventilation and air conditioning.” It’s a generic term used to describe the technology and products that heat or cool your home. It some places, you may see it as “HVACR.” The “R” stands for refrigeration.
How much does an air conditioner cost?
There are so many different variables that go into the cost of an air conditioner. These variables include efficiency, size, labor costs, refrigerant costs and more! The best way to get an estimate of how much your new HVAC system is going to cost is by talking to a local contractor. However, don’t just get a quote over the phone or on the back of a business card. Make sure the contractor you get your quote from comes out to your home, inspects your current system and asks you questions about what you expect from your new cooling unit.
What is SEER?
SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration” and is a measure of cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, you want to invest in the most efficiency you can afford. Although costs may be higher upfront, you may enjoy lower utility bills over the course of the systems’ life that will more than make up for the initial investment.
Am I in charge of registering my warranty?
After you buy any new HVAC system, it is important that the equipment is registered for full warranty protection. The person in charge of registering the equipment will vary. Make sure you ask your contractor whether you register your equipment, or whether they will take care of it.
Should I schedule spring HVAC maintenance?
Spring HVAC maintenance is one of the most important things you can do for your air conditioner – whether it is a year old or 10 years old. This is the best way to make sure that your equipment is up for the peak cooling season.
Don’t see the answer to one of your questions? Either ask us in the comments, or talk to a local contractor. Take some time to hire a contractor today to either install your new cooling system or maintain your current one.
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Do you know the best way to run your cooling equipment?
Let’s face it…no one likes to spend money on bills. Unfortunately, one of the biggest contributors to your monthly utility bill expenses is your heating and cooling equipment. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine getting through a hot summer without the comfort provided by an indoor air conditioner. So, turning your equipment off doesn’t feel like an option.
There are two big things you can attempt to control during the cooling season – airflow and on/off cycles. Restricted airflow and frequent on/off cycles can raise your utility bills. Here are some best practices to ensure you are cooling your home effectively.
Avoid on/off cycles.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat for customized comfort.
- If you have a non-programmable thermostat, keep it at one temperature.
- Don’t switch between heating and cooling mode too frequently. This is important to remember during the spring when temperatures can vary day to day.
Ensure proper airflow.
- Plant things at least two feet away from your condenser.
- Regularly change your furnace filter.
- Schedule a duct cleaning appointment.
- Keep all vents and registers open at all times.
Of course, none of these adjustments are going to make much of an impact if your cooling equipment isn’t working properly. If you don’t think your cooling system is working at peak performance levels, make sure to get in touch with a local contractor. In fact, spring is the perfect time for preventative air conditioner maintenance. Don’t forget to schedule your appointment!
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What do you do to get ready for summer?
Who is ready for warmer weather, sunny skies and overall summer fun? Luckily, we’re all one step closer to summer. This week marks the first week of spring! This is the time of year that you should give your cooling system some attention. Not only will your air conditioner be in full swing in a few months, but you also want to make sure that your indoor air quality is as high as it can be.
Here are some things you should do around your home to improve the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system, and improve indoor air quality.
Change your furnace filter.
If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust your schedule.
Hang blinds and curtains on south-facing windows to block out sunlight.
Plant a tree to shade areas of your home that receive direct sunlight.
Have your ductwork cleaned.
Schedule air conditioner maintenance with your local heating and cooling contractor.
In fact, scheduling air conditioner maintenance with a reputable local contractor is the most important thing you can do for your heating and cooling equipment.
Have you scheduled an appointment yet? If not, you can start here.
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Properly operating your heating equipment during the winter.
There’s nothing better than walking into a warm home on a cold winter day, especially if you get to cozy up in front of a warm fireplace. Your furnace is so important during the colder months – if it’s not working, no one is happy.
Whether it is a gas furnace, radiator or fireplace, you want to make sure that you follow proper safety precautions when heating your home. According to the United States Fire Administration, heating is the SECOND leading cause of house fires (cooking takes first place). Here are some tips to keep you, your home and your family safe during the heating season.
Create a 3-feet safety circle around any heat source. Make sure you keep anything that may burn out of this circle and make it a “kid-free zone.” This may be a no-brainer for something like a fireplace, but equipment, such as space heaters, can get just as hot and cause serious burns.
NEVER use your oven to heat your home.
Make sure you always turn portable heating equipment off when you leave a room or go to sleep at night.
If you have a portable space heater that runs on fuel, make sure you always use the correct fuel.
Make sure you have a safety screen in front of your fireplace and be sure to check your smoke alarms at least once a month.
You should have a contractor come out to clean and inspect your furnace yearly – preferably in the fall. Winter may be in full swing now, but it is never too late to make sure your equipment is running efficiently and safely. While you’re at it, make sure you have someone come and clean out your chimney as well.
If you want to schedule a furnace inspection with a local contractor, remember it’s never too late. You may even want to pencil in a reminder for next fall. Not only can a clean and check during the fall ensure your gas furnace is running safely, but it can also make sure your equipment is running efficiently – saving you money during the peak heating season.
Do you do all of these safety checks during the winter? What else would you add to this list?
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Are you looking for some simple ways to improve efficiency and comfort?
Make sure you start by improving the airflow of your heating and cooling equipment. Obstructed airflow can signal the death of efficiency and system performance. It makes your equipment work harder to heat or cool your home, putting a strain on critical components, reducing lifespan, raising bills and hindering home comfort.
Improving airflow is not a hard thing to do. The trickiest part is remembering to do all of the things on this list. Here are our suggestions for improving airflow.
Keep registers and vents open at all times. Do you think it’s important to close registers and vents in rooms that don’t necessarily need heating and cooling power? Don’t! Your equipment is designed to heat or cool a certain amount of space. Closing vents and registers alters this load.
Have a contractor come and clean your equipment. You may be able to get away with using a hose to get some debris off of your outdoor equipment. However, you should always have a contractor come out to clean your indoor equipment. A not for outdoor equipment: NEVER use a power washer! This can damage components of your unit, your coil in particular.
Regularly change your furnace filter. Not changing your furnace filter often enough can kill airflow, especially if you have pets. A dirty filter decreases indoor air quality and may affect the health of your family. Make sure you are changing your furnace filter once a season, at the VERY minimum. Under certain conditions, it may be prudent to change your furnace filter once a month.
Have a contractor come out and inspect your ductwork. Once a year, you should have a contractor come out and inspect your ductwork to look for any collapses or blockages. This can not only improve airflow, but indoor air quality as well. Plus, it is a good place to look for any problems that you may not be able to see, like rodents or mold.
Always plant two feet away from your outdoor equipment. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind during the spring planting season! It’s important that you give you outdoor air conditioner or heat pump proper clearance. Plants can invade your unit, affect performance and damage equipment.
Of course, the bets way to improve efficiency and performance is upgrading to a new high-efficiency unit. Make sure you get in touch with a local heating and cooling contractor if you want a new system or are looking to improve airflow.
What do you do to improve airflow?
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Need to replace your heating equipment? Look into your heat pump options.
Don’t let where you live stop you from looking into all of your heating options. Efficient heat pumps can more than meet your comfort demands year round – whether you live in the North or the South.
However, there are still some things that you should take into consideration. Your situation is going to be unique when compared to another homeowner’s situation. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself if you are considering a heat pump and not a gas furnace.
– Is gas more expensive than electricity in your area?
– Do you want fuel flexibility?
– Do you find yourself using emergency electric-powered heating methods (space heaters, heat strips, etc.)?
– Do you live in an area with mild/cold springs and falls?
– Does the weather around you fluctuate frequently?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, a heat pump may be the right option for your home. Remember, heat pumps are preferable to other electric heating methods because they operate through the principles of heat transfer and not heat creation – a more cost-effective method of electric heat. Ultimately, you should seek out a recommendation from your local heating and air conditioning contractor.
Do you operate with a heat pump only?
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What do you know about home heating?
Do you want to know more about your home heating system? The more you know, the better you are going to be at improving energy efficiency and comfort, and reducing the amount you spend heating your home each winter.
Here are some things you should know about home heating that can improve efficiency, system lifespan and keep you safe.
- Turning up the thermostat just raises your utility bills and won’t make your equipment heat any faster.
- It’s important to make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is working.
- Natural gas is actually odorless. What you smell is actually added so that people can detect leaks.
- If you have pets, you should change your furnace filter more often. Even as often as once a month.
- Opening the blinds or curtains or south-facing windows during sunny days can make your home feel warmer.
- Rearranging your furniture can be a simple way to improve comfort.
- Turning down the thermostat, even a degree or two, can help you save money.
- When you are changing your furnace filter, you have to make sure to turn off the equipment.
- Holiday parties can make you feel warmer because of the oven and the amount of people in your home.
- Fall preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid an emergency “no heat” call during the winter.
Did you schedule fall preventative maintenance? If not, you’ll want to keep an eye on your utility bill spending so you can rest assured your furnace is running properly.