Are you scared of your monthly utility bills?
You shouldn’t have to be. There are things you can do, large and small, that can help you reduce that area of your budget. Big things, like investing in high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment, are going to have the largest impacts on your monthly statements. However, these bigger changes are not the only way you can save. Some smaller adjustments don’t require any expense on your part.
Here are some smaller things you can do to help lower/control your monthly expenses.
Turn off the lights when you aren’t in a room.
Lower or raise the temperature your thermostat is set at (depending on the season).
Keep all your vents and registers open.
Keep the windows and doors of your home closed.
Change your furnace filter.
Sign up for budget billing if your utility company offers it.
Switch to high-efficiency light bulbs.
Avoid using space heaters and other supplementary heating methods.
Operate your ceiling fans correctly for the best distribution of air – clockwise during the winter and counter-clockwise during the summer.
Seal your windows and doors.
Set your thermostat to “AUTO” instead of “ON.”
Wash your clothes in cold water.
Take shorter showers.
Open or close curtains depending on the season.
Unplug items like televisions, kitchen appliances and more when they aren’t in use.
Layer up instead of turning up the thermostat during the winter.
Have a timer for your lights.
Take cooler showers.
Want more energy-saving tips? Make sure you contact your local heating and air conditioning contractor. As spring gets closer and closer, make sure you start thinking about air conditioner preventative maintenance. This is the best way to ensure that your air conditioner is ready to tackle the summer heat.
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There’s more to a condensing furnace than just high efficiency.
Are you in the market for a new gas furnace? There are so many different models to consider! Make sure to keep in mind your high-efficiency, condensing furnace options. High efficiency does offer some pretty obvious perks, but there are other benefits to upgrading to a condensing model.
So, what about these efficiency perks? Furnaces have long lifespans. In fact, the average lifespan of a furnace hovers around 20 years! However, although your furnace may still be kicking after all these years, it could be operating poorly. If you have an older furnace in your home, it may have only been rated at 60% AFUE or 70% AFUE when it was first installed. As furnaces get older and older, they can lose some of their original efficiency through normal wear and tear. A condensing furnace upgrade can significantly cut your utility bill spending.
Here are some other perks of condensing furnaces.
- High-efficiency furnace qualify for better rebates. Not only are you going to be saving money on high-efficiency operation from month to month, but you could get some money shaved off of overhead costs by looking into manufacturer rebates and local utility rebates too.
- Better air distribution. Because a condensing furnace typically runs longer at a lower capacity than a traditional, non-condensing gas furnace, your home can experience more even temperatures and increased comfort.
- Variable-speed blowers for increased comfort at all times of the day. Some high-efficiency, condensing gas furnaces also contain variable-speed blower motors. These components can adjust airflow to meet the real-time heating needs of your home.
If you are in the replacement market, make sure you look into your condensing furnace options. You may be surprised at the amount of efficiency you can afford. Start your search for a high-efficiency furnace by scheduling a consultation with your local heating contractor.
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Do you have any resolutions for the New Year?
Are you ready to leave 2017 behind and ring in the New Year? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish over the past year? While you’re contemplating your personal resolutions for 2018, consider setting some home improvement goals.
Here are some examples of positive changes you can make around your home that can help make you happier, healthier and more content.
- Lower energy use. You can make little adjustments here and there to make sure that you are using the least amount of energy possible. Lowering energy use may be as simple as turning off the lights when you aren’t in the room, or unplugging things when you aren’t using them. There are also some big changes you can make that can have a major impact on how much energy you consume during the year. Here are a few:
- Replace older windows with new, energy-efficient windows.
- Invest in a high-SEER air conditioner or high-AFUE gas furnace.
- Lower utility bill spending. This resolution goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Your heating and air conditioning equipment makes up about 60% of your utility costs (on average). If you make some adjustments to how you operate your HVAC equipment, you could see major savings on your bills – like turning down your thermostat a few degrees during the winter and up during the summer, sealing windows and doors to prevent drafts and investing in a programmable thermostat for customized comfort. Here are some smaller changes you can make around your house to lower your utility bills.
- Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Invest in a timer for your Christmas lights.
- Avoid using space heaters for supplemental heating during the winter.
- Improve indoor air quality. You spend a lot of time indoors – especially during the peak cooling and heating seasons. You want to make sure that the air you breathe in is as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it may seem. Did you know that your indoor air is often more polluted than the outdoor air? here are some things you can do to make that fact not apply to your home.
- Invest in IAQ products like a whole-home air cleaner or UV light system.
- Set a reminder to change your furnace filter every month.
- Invest in a filter with higher filtration power – like a HEPA-grade filter.
Are you adding any of these to your home to-do list? You can start by calling your local contractor and scheduling a consultation for that new high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.
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What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
‘Tis the season for winter coats, holiday cheer and, hopefully, reasonable gas bills. Maytag HVAC wishes you a happy holiday season. With these well wishes in mind, here are some tips that can keep you warm and healthy this holiday season (and may even leave you with a little more cash for holiday festivities).
- Change your furnace filter.
- Invest/gift yourself a high efficiency HVAC system. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
- Keep vents unobstructed – no tree skirts blocking registers please.
- Invest in weather stripping or caulk to block air leaks around windows and doors. Don’t let a cold draft ruin your holiday party.
- Speaking of parties… Turn the thermostat down if you are having a group of people over. More bodies = more heat!
What are you looking forward to the most in 2018?
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How automated is your home?
Have you given much thought to your thermostat? There are many options out there, some of which you may not know about. Some thermostats only work with single-stage equipment, others only work with single-stage equipment, others only work with a dual-fuel configuration. There are non-programmable thermostats and programmable thermostats. There are also thermostats considered “smart” that can not only effectively control your home comfort, but learn too.
If you’re considering a new thermostat for your home, here are some things you should know about smart thermostats.
Smart thermostats have a lot of the same capabilities as your run-of-the-mill programmable thermostat. You can adjust temperature based on the time of day, whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, and more. You can make sure that when you arrive home, you are comfortable. Programmable operation can help you save money on utilities; you won’t waste heating and cooling dollars on an empty home.
However, smart thermostats are able to do much more than a programmable model. They can act as part of a complete home automation system. With a smart thermostat, you can control your thermostat from your tablet or smartphone – you don’t have to be near the box on the wall. For example, if you’re heading home from work during the winter and want your home to be toasty warm when you arrive, adjust your thermostat before you get there. When you walk in the door, it will already be the temperature you specified.
Some smart thermostats do even more. They can learn your schedule and preferences. They can judge when you’re most likely to be home or away – automatically adjusting temperature based on your schedule. Imagine your thermostat knowing that you like your home cooler while you sleep and being able to make that adjustment without any input from you.
The goal of a smart thermostat is to maximize comfort, give you complete control of your home’s temperature and save energy. If you are interested in installing one of these thermostats in your home, talk to your HVAC contractor during your fall preventative maintenance appointment.
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Are you ready for the holiday season?
Turkey dinners and gift exchanging season is fast approaching! Are you already planning this year’s festivities?
If so, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep your money in your wallet (instead of handing it over to the utility companies). You can still throw a great party without busting your budget on heating expenses.
Potluck the meal. Save a little on gas and/or electricity by having your guests bring a side dish. Not only will this save money when it comes to utility costs, but it could also save time and reduce stress the day-of.
Turn the thermostat down a degree or two. When there are more people in a home, it feels warmer. Home comfort wont’ be as affected by turning down the thermostat a degree or two.
Adjust the humidity. Did you know that homes that are drier feel colder than those at a higher humidity level? Make sure your home is at a comfortable setting. Just don’t overdo it. A home that is too humid can feel stuffy and suffer from mold growth.
It’s still fall; host a bonfire. Opt for an alternative to an indoor party and have a bonfire (weather-permitting). It’s something a little more out of the ordinary and can be a great change of pace.
Have a fireplace? Use it. You’d be surprised by how much heat even a tiny fireplace can produce. If you have a fireplace, don’t hesitate to use it. Just make sure that your damper is open when you’re using it, and closed when you don’t have a fire. Your fireplace acts like a vacuum when the damper is open – sucking up the warm air in your home.
Focus on family activities that don’t involved electronics/the TV. A puzzle or a board game may feel lame in 2017, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some nostalgic fun with a round of Monopoly or Clue (just don’t blame us when grandma flips the table because she landed on “Go to Jail” for the fifth time).
The little things, like turning off lights in unused rooms, can add up. Don’t forget the small things. Keep lights off in unused rooms, don’t forget to make sure your vents and registers are open, and don’t forget to make sure all windows and doors are shut.
The most important thing you can do this fall to save money during the holiday season is schedule an appointment with your local heating and air contractor. During this appointment, they will look over your furnace, heat pump or both to make sure they are in tip-top shape.
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Do you think it’s time to replace your old furnace?
Making the decision to replace your heating equipment isn’t an easy one. Heating equipment is essential to your home comfort during the winter, but it is also expensive. You don’t want to end up replacing your unit unnecessarily, but you don’t want to be without heat during the coldest parts of the year. After all, Murphy’s Law suggests that your furnace is most likely to quit when you need it most.
If you are faced with the decision to repair or replace your old unit, here are some things to ask yourself:
- How old is my unit? The average gas furnace lasts about 20 years. If your furnace is somewhere in the 15-20 year range, and you are faced with a repair, chances are you’re just delaying the inevitable if you decide not to replace. Plus, furnaces manufactured even 10 years ago don’t include some of the amazing features modern air conditioners include – like quiet operation, more even temperatures and high efficiency. In fact, even a standard-efficiency furnace purchased today may be significantly more efficient than your old system.
- How expensive is the repair? Think of your furnace like your car – if it costs more to fix the unit that it costs to replace it, opt for replacement. Look at the cost of making repairs and weight that against the cost of replacement (don’t forget about the money-saving benefit of added efficiency and potential rebates). If you are struggling to make a replacement fit within your budget, ask your contractor about the financing options they offer.
- How high are my utility bills? If you are experiencing high heating bills during the winter, or bills that are creeping up in cost each month, it is better to replace your system. As gas furnaces age, they may lose efficiency due to regular wear and tear. So, not only will your old unit most likely have started off at a lower efficiency rating brand new, it may have lost that rated efficiency over years of use.
- How loud is my gas furnace? Loud bangs and blanks coming from your unit when it kicks on or is in operation are not a good sign. This can indicate that it is time to call a contractor and discuss a repair. If it’s determined that those noises are coming from one of the main components of your furnace, it’s best to replace.
Whether you decide to repair or replace, the process needs to start with the search for a qualified local contractor. It isn’t going to matter if you replaced your old system with a new, high-efficiency model if the installation was not done correctly. Ask friends and family for recommendations, check online review sites and get several different quotes. The cost of the multiple service calls may seem unnecessary, but if it ends up saving you money or getting a better install, it is worth it.
If you need a jumping off point, check out the Maytag dealer locator.
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Are you considering a high-efficiency air conditioning upgrade?
How old is your air conditioner? Did you know that the average lifespan of an air conditioner is approximately 16 years? However, after a certain amount of time, the efficiency and performance of your unit could diminish due to regular wear and tear. There will come a time when it is no longer cost effective to continue making repairs. Instead, you should opt for a replacement.
When it comes to buying a new air conditioner, it always pays to invest in the most efficient air conditioner for your budget. Why is that? Well, here are some perks of a brand-new, efficient air conditioner.
Decreased utility bills. First and foremost, your new high-efficiency air conditioner can make a significant, positive impact on your utility bills. Higher SEER ratings translate to more dollars in your pocket.
Increased comfort. New air conditioners, high-efficiency models in particular, feature comfort-enhancing components that can improve your satisfaction with your cooling equipment. These features include variable-speed motors, swept-wing fan blades, multiple stages of operation and more.
Qualifies for local and manufacturer rebates (if available). To help offset some of those higher initial costs, high-efficiency air conditioners may qualify for local and manufacturer rebates. Make sure to talk to your contractor and see if your new unit qualifies.
Lower your ecological footprint. High-efficiency air conditioners are eco-friendly. Not only do they operate using less energy, but they are compatible with more eco-friendly refrigerant choice – R410A.
The upfront costs of a new high-efficiency air conditioner may be higher than the standard model, but money-saving operation could make up for those cost disparities over the life of the unit. Ask your local HVAC contractor about having a high-efficiency air conditioner installed in your home.
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Do you know the ideal temperature to set your thermostat at during the summer?
Let’s face it – we want to have a comfortable home during the summer, but we don’t want to rack up a big utility bill. Although it’s tempting to drop the thermostat down to 68°F on a 100°F day, this could make your utility bills skyrocket.
Summer may be ending, but that does not mean that Mother Nature does not still have some hot days in store for us. Here are some things you can do to lower the impact on your air conditioner on your utility bill AND make sure that you are experiencing premium home comfort.
The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you are home. Seem a little bit warm? Well, the important thing to remember is to set your ideal temperature and leave it be (unless you have a programmable thermostat).
If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust your settings so that your home is warmer when you are not home. This way you won’t waste precious cooling dollars on an empty home.
Try lowering the humidity. Not only will a lower humidity level help prevent mold growth, but it will make your home feel cooler as well. Just remember to not set it TOO low. You don’t wnat your home to suffer from dry air.
Don’t dramatically plunge your temperature settings when your air conditioner starts. A lower temperature setting will not cool your home any more quickly – your air conditioner will just run longer and rack up a higher bill.
If you feel like you are doing everything right, but your electric bill seems unreasonably high, get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor. They can look at your system and diagnose any issues, if they exist.
What do you set your thermostat at during the summer?
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Decide whether the statements are true or false.
True? False? You decide.
- Lowering your thermostat temperature cools your home down more quickly.
- Closing vents and registers in unused rooms is a great way to save money.
- It’s a good idea to briefly open a window during the winter to air your home out.
- If you want more cooling power, invest in a bigger air conditioner.
- You should change your furnace filter once a season, or more frequently, especially if you have pets.
- Schedule preventative maintenance once a year – before the summer.
- False. Lowering your temperature settings may ultimately result in a cooler home, but it does not result in quicker cooling. All it does is make your air conditioner or heat pump run longer – raising utility bills.
- False. Your air conditioner is designed to heat and cool a certain amount of space. Closing vents and registers can negatively impact home comfort and damage your cooling equipment.
- True. Opening your windows briefly during the winter can help alleviate stale, stagnant air during the winter. However, keep it brief. You don’t want your heating power escaping outdoors.
- False. Like number 2, your air conditioner is designed to cool a certain amount of space. Your contractor should perform a Manual J load calculation to determine the size of your new air conditioner.
- True. A dirty filter lowers indoor air quality and can restrict airflow. Restricted airflow results in decreased home comfort, potential system damage and higher utility bills.
- False. You should schedule preventative maintenance with your local HVAC contractor TWICE a year – once for your air conditioner during the spring and, again, for your furnace during the fall.