Seasonal Tips to Reduce Your HVAC Costs in the New Year

The New Year is upon us! Here are a few favorite energy saving strategies that will make your home eco-friendlier and help you save money, no matter what the weather.

Reduce HVAC Costs During Cooler Months

Close up all Air Leaks in Your Home

When the temperatures drop outdoors, it’s good to keep cold air from entering into your home so you’ll stay warm indoors. This can be an uphill battle if your home has leaks around the perimeter, such as around doorways or windows. Check for leaks by running a small candle around where you suspect drafts (think of cold spots in your home). The candle’s flame will flicker if it’s drafty. If you find a draft, be sure to seal it up using either weather stripping or caulking.

Adjust Your Thermostat for Savings

During the winter, it’s tempting to want to crank up the heat to stay cozy. This year, instead of turning up the thermostat, try turning it down (at night, that is). Sleep experts agree that your body actually responds better to lower temperatures when falling asleep, with the ideal temperature near 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you go to bed, set your thermostat to 68 degrees and layer on the blankets. You’ll sleep better and save money during the winter months.

Toss On Extra Layers

Even though we’re pretty used to rooms being at a temperature that suits wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, it’s totally possible to stay comfortable at a cooler indoor temperature. Just put on a sweater or wrap up with a throw blanket. If you reduce your thermostat’s temperature from 72 degrees to 70 degrees, you could save around 5% in energy costs. So, slip on a sweater and enjoy the cozy savings!

Reduce HVAC Costs During Warmer Months

Add Shade to Your AC Unit

Keep your AC unit running at its best by providing it a shaded area to do its job. You can either build a structure near the unit to provide shade, or plant a compatible bush nearby that will help dim the direct sunlight. Shade will help keep your unit from getting too hot from the sunshine, and this will allow it to work more efficiently in cooling your home.

Keep The Air Circulating to Keep Cool

Warm air rises, so an easy way to keep the rooms in your home cool is to add a fan or two to help distribute the cool air throughout your home. The fans will not only circulate air, but help alleviate a little of the work that your AC unit would have to do.

Turn Down Your AC When Not at Home

When away from our home, such as during the day at work or when out for extended day-trips, set your thermostat a little warmer. Every degree counts when it comes to how hard your AC unit has to work to keep your home cool, so use it most when you’re home to enjoy it.

For some more tips on energy savings, check out our article on conserving water at home.

Facts about Water Heaters, Plumbing and Energy Savings

Facts about Water Heaters, Plumbing and Energy Savings

Let us come to your home and show you how much you can save on energy everyday, give us a call and we give you affordable prices. We service Mountain View, Stanford and Sunnyvale area’s.

How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The Winter?

87833483As cooler months approach, the time comes to begin thinking about keeping energy costs under control. Many people approach this task with apprehension, but reducing energy consumption and controlling the costs can be easier than you think. Some changes are easy to make a matter of routine all year round, and some tips battle issues that are particularly relevant in the winter.

Weatherproofing the home for winter is a common task, and it should never be ignored. Begin by checking for insufficient insulation to bolster and cracks that require caulking. This will prevent drafts in the home and keep heat from escaping. To reap the most savings, see to these tasks before the colder weather fully arrives.

When temperatures turn colder, also take another look at your thermostat setting. Lowering it just two degrees can knock approximately $180 per year from your power bill. Lowering the thermostat on your water heater can also save energy, particularly when the tank is insulated. Additionally, be sure to clean the furnace filter every couple of months to increase efficiency and use less energy.

Installing a timer that turns the water heater and furnace off during overnight hours is another savings option. Limiting activities that consume electricity during peak hours will also save on energy consumption. Laundry, for example, is an activity to save for later in the evening or early in the morning. Showering during off-peak hours is another energy saver.

Unplugging electronics and gadgets when not in use will reduce energy consumption and costs any time of year. These devices draw power even when not being used, often driving up costs without users being aware of it. A switch that turns power on and off to the outlet can make this power saver an easier habit to form. These switches can also be used for small kitchen counter appliances that have no need for power at all times.

Smart power strips are an option to consider for larger electronics such as televisions and computers. These power strips can automatically turn off power to an outlet when devices enter standby mode. By combining this type of technology with traditional tips, you can significantly reduce your winter energy costs. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Water Heater

Water heaters are one of the larger and more expensive appliances in a home. They are typically placed in an inconspicuous location within the home, such as a corner in the basement. The location can be the root of an “out of sight, out of mind,” attitude that often results in neglecting the ongoing condition of a water heater.

Homeowners typically get a wake-up call when a shower turns cold due to an irreparable water heater that needs to be replaced. The silver lining will generally be the purchase of a much more energy efficient model that will, in the long run, save money to the homeowner. There are other elements to consider before making a water heater shopping trip.

Tank Or Tankless

Tank or tankless water heaters can operate with gas or electric, and both are available in sizes that are dependent on the water capacity that is needed for a particular home. Conventional tank water heaters should coincide with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms within a home. Tankless models are purchased on the basis of a predetermined flow rate measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The flow rates for fixtures or appliances that are primarily used in a home are combined with the expected water temperatures for each function to determine the necessary size of a tankless unit. Hybrid water heaters operate with electric and are more expensive at the time of purchase, but save money over the course of a year. Modern technology allows a heat pump to draw in surrounding air and use extracted heat to provide water at warmer temperatures.

Energy factor

Energy efficiency should be a primary concern to save on cost and overall energy use. Water heaters with an energy factor (EF) closest to 1 will be the most efficient.

Other Desired Features

Once a water heater is chosen, its dimensions should be taken into consideration for an ideal fit. Larger units might need additional plumbing. Remember to pay close attention to other options such as self cleaning, which will promote the longevity of a water heater. A quick recovery speed indicates how quickly a tank of water will be heated and an auto shutoff valve can prevent a catastrophic fire when using a gas-operated water heater. Take time to thoroughly research available water heaters while contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

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Complying With Efficiency Standards Requires A Substantial Investment

Each year the U.S Department of Energy, also called the DOE, works with professionals in the HVAC industry to reduce the amount of energy and fuel wasted during the operation of HVAC equipment. This endeavor is one that benefits the environment, and homeowners benefit with deep savings on energy costs. The DOE has created HVAC Efficiency Standards to ensure that manufacturers of HVAC equipment comply by creating more energy efficient equipment.

An AFUE rating is the rating that determines how efficient a furnace is. Condensing furnaces are the only furnaces with an AFUE rating of 90. These furnaces are considered to be extremely efficient because this rating means a furnace only wastes 10 percent of the fuel required to operate it. The DOE has segmented northern states and has created a rule that enforces homeowners in states like New York to heat their homes with furnaces that have an AFUE rating of 90. This rule overrides the current minimum AFUE rating of 78 for combustion furnaces and was supposed to be enforced in the year 2013.

Though most homeowners jump on the opportunity to save money and to preserve the environment and natural resources, complying with this new HVAC Efficiency rating is a financial burden for homeowners. Many homes currently have combustion furnaces and the switch to a condensing furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 means making major modifications. A condensing furnace requires a different type of vent system, and many homes lack the appropriate architectural design and space to accommodate this new system. Making the necessary modifications means homeowners have to invest far more than just purchasing new equipment.

For some homeowners this money is just not in the budget, which will make it hard for them to comply with new efficiency standards. Due to the financial burden that many homeowners are unprepared to take on, experts in the HVAC industry have the new efficiency standard currently held up in court until a feasible plan can be established. Since the enforcement of this new rating is inevitable, many homeowners have decided to have their homes compliant before the rating is enforced. To discover the latest news on the raising of efficiency standards or to learn more about efficiency compliant furnaces contact a local HVAC contractor today.