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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Have you checked your floor vents recently?
Are you beginning to feel a chill in the air? We’re diving deeper and deeper into fall, and the weather is only going to get colder. Are you ready for chillier weather?
While we’re preparing for winter weather, it’s important to keep our pets in mind. Anyone who has a pet knows how much of a mess they can make. Messes can lead to poor indoor air quality and fuzzy furnace filters. If you have pets, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your heating and air conditioning equipment.
Pets lay on vents. There’s nothing like the feeling of warm air on a cold fall or winter evening. Your pets feel the same way, often lying down on vents and registers to feel that warm breeze. If this is a habit of your pet, make sure they have not accidentally closed any of them. Closing vents and registers is bad for your heating and cooling system. Your equipment is designed to heat or cool a certain amount of space. When you start closing registers and vents, you mess with that calculated load. This can reduce efficiency and system life.
Pet hair means more frequent filter changes. Pet hair can quickly block your furnace filter. Plus, the things they track indoors, along with the cleaners you use to clean up any mess, can lower indoor air quality. If you have pets, it’s a better idea to change your furnace filter as frequently as once a month (just to be safe).
Don’t leave the door open when letting your pets outside. It’s not your job to heat the neighborhood. Make sure you keep the door open briefly while letting your pets outdoors. However, make sure you have a good view of your door. You want to be able to let your pet back indoors when they are ready. chances are if you feel cold, your pet does as well.
Want to up the quality of your indoor air? Talk to your heating and air contractor about indoor air quality products – like whole-home air cleaners, humidifiers and UV lights.
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What do you set your thermostat to during the spring and fall?
Deciding when to switch from heating mode to cooling mode, and vice versa, may not be easy. It’s important to keep air circulating during the spring and fall, but you may not need the power of your gas furnace or air conditioner to keep your home comfortable. So, what should you do?
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your heating and air conditioning equipment during the mild seasons.
Don’t turn off your equipment. It’s important to keep the air flowing during the spring and fall, especially if you are an allergy sufferer. If you notice that your equipment is not kicking on as often, and the air is getting stale, try setting your fan to the “ON” position on your thermostat.
Commit to your thermostat settings. It can be hard to determine when it is time to change your thermostat from one mode to the other. The important thing to keep in mind is to not keep switching between the two. On and off cycles are the most energy-consuming portions of a heating or cooling system’s run cycle. Minimizing these cycles is key.
Don’t simply rely on open windows. This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. It is important to keep your air clean during the fall and spring. The weather may be mild, but the allergies can be brutal. If you have to open the windows, do so sparingly.
If mild weather is common in your area, consider investing in a heat pump. A heat pump paired with a gas furnace can be the ideal, year-round heating and cooling setup. This way, you are always using the most efficient heat source for the season. Heat transfer (the heating method used by a heat pump) is a more energy-efficient heating method than heat creation (the heating method used by heat strips and space heaters). During milder nights, when you don’t need the power of the gas furnace, your heat pump can kick on and keep you cozy.
Want to know more about best practices for operating your heating and cooling equipment during the mild seasons? Get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor.