Benefits of Using a Heat Pump

The new generation of cold-climate heat pumps could cut energy costs drastically. The savings over oil heat are substantial — as much as 40 percent for residents of the Northeast, according to a 2013 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado think tank that focuses on energy. Are you considering whether you should buy a heat pump? what are the benefits to you and your home? Let’s find out. The following are simply a few of the benefits you can achieve by switching to a heat pump.

-Can be used for heating. With the simple touch of a button, either mounted on the wall or by using a remote, it extracts heat energy from outside and brings this into your home or business.heat pump system
-Can be used for cooling. The “reverse cycle” refers to its ability to work backwards. In fact, it works in exactly the same way as a fridge works. This means it can also extract heat from inside your building and transfers it outside.
-Safety. There are no flames or hot surfaces that children or pets can touch and burn themselves on.
-Climate control. The single most important feature of the heat pump is your comfort. You are able to control and maintain your climate to meet your own needs and desires.
-Safe for the environment. Heat pumps don’t create smoke, ashes, moisture, or any other waste material for you to remove.
-Reduces running costs. Because they move heat rather than creating it by burning oil or gas, they are much more efficient with average savings of over 60% for ground source heat Pumps and 40% for air source heat pumps.

According to the Department of Energy, for climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners.  In fact, if you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. Of course actual energy savings depend on the relative costs of the combustion fuel relative to electricity.

The above are simply a few of the benefits of utilizing heat pumps for your buildings. While heat pumps work best in colder climates, a backup source of heat will be required of the temperature drops below 30 degrees. You could use electric heat strips to supplement heat as well. Have you switched over to a heat pump systems and noticed the cost savings benefits? If so, share your comments below.

Furnace Repair or Replacement? What to Consider and Top Mainteance Tips

The colder seasons have arrived and so has the need to heat your place. Your current furnace still functions but just barely, so you’re wondering if it’s times to replace it. Here are a few signs to help make that decision.

  • You’ve been repairing your furnace a lot. Do you need to have this appliance repaired at the start of every heating season plus one or two times more before summer? Have you been doing this for a few year now? Add how much it’s been costing you for repairs all this time and see if that’s close to or less than the cost of a new furnace.
  • How old is your current furnace? The average life expectancy for a furnace is about 16-20 year. If your home was built more than 20 years ago, you should begin the process of shopping for a replacement furnace. It is recommended to start looking for a replacement well before your current furnace goes out as having to replace it in an emergency situation might not allow you to make the best decision. If you are unsure of the age of the furnace, start by checking if it has a pilot light, if so, it is almost certain that it is at least 25 years old.
  • Your furnace makes weird noises. A bit of sound when your heater starts up for the first time is normal and shouldn’t cause concern. But if you keep hearing banging, rattling, or other weird sounds, your appliance is in its death throes. Don’t wait until it finally dies before you take action or you’ll be stuck in a cold house.
  • Gas or electric bills keep rising. Look at the cost of your heating bills over time and see if you can spot a rising pattern. As your furnace ages, the efficiency of the furnace and its ability to heat your home dissipates slowly. This is especially true if the home was furnace was not being maintained properly. By proactively replacing your furnace, you could be putting the extra fund being spent on higher electric bills towards the cost of a new furnace instead.
  • The thermostat setting does nothing. You keep fiddling with the thermostat but your home doesn’t seem to get any warmer. That’s because your furnace is less able to distribute heat efficiently as it gets older. In addition, your appliance may be using up more electricity as its parts begin to wear out. A spike in your heating bill is another bad sign, especially considering that the energy efficiency of modern furnaces can reduce your heating expenses.

Infograph Courtesy of AAA Heating and Cooling Inc

Whether you are looking for a replacement air handler or gas furnace, your best line of defense is to be proactive in making a plan for replacement. Make sure to take your time and shop for the option that best suits your needs and budget. By carefully selecting the option that best suits your home ahead of time and not waiting until the last moment, you will be much happier with your decision in the long run.

How to Protect Your Central Air Conditioner From Theives

Even with the recent upturn in the economy, some people still have it quite hard out there. In fact, there has been a spike in the number of central air conditioners that have been stolen due to rising scrap metal prices.

Of course, your central air conditioner isn’t the only metal that thieves are stealing. There have been cases of cars being stripped of parts, and even manhole covers being lifted out of the street for the metal content. So this begs the question, what’s a homeowner to do?

You need to protect yourself from potential thieves. The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from having to spend several thousands of dollars to keep your home’s temperature conditioned:

-Hiding your unit with some shrubbery is the most obvious way to tackle this issue. The idea here, is that if the thieves can’t see your unit, they can’t steal it and will move on to the next house.

-Adding a motion sensor light can make thieves feel wary about stealing your unit. After all, it is a lot harder to steal something during the day because everyone can see what’s going on. A bright light is an awesome way of keeping your unit safe.

-One low tech option that is still effective is to have a guard dog. Guard dogs are a great at preventing a break in by being able to sound off their built in alarms that are sure to scare away any possible intruders.

-Boxing the unit in with a cage may be more expensive than the other tips, but could prove to be the most effective way to protect your unit. You can usually find items like this at your local HVAC supply house or maybe even a hardware store. Any potential thieves could see the cage, and not want to take the extra steps to get the copper and aluminum out.

Click the image to enlarge


copper-theft-infographic Image Courtesy of Super Circuits

These tips are costly. However, the last thing you want is to have your unit stolen. So it may be a better idea to be proactive now, instead of reactive later on down the road. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how to protect a central air conditioner system? Share your thoughts in comments section below.