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  • Save Energy with an Energy Star Certified Thermostat

    Although Energy Star has been a marker for efficient televisions and other appliances for years, it has not been applied to thermostats until this year. This is interesting because setting the thermostat properly may be the biggest energy saver in a home. Commonwealth Edison estimated that 30-35% of cooling energy use could be reduced by choosing efficient thermostat set points. Consumer Reports notes that a thermostat has the most potential of any energy-saving device to save homeowners money. So, why wasn't there a certified thermostat until this year?

    Programmable thermostats have had a learning curve in recent years. Many homeowners didn't use them properly. This made it difficult to develop a standard for the thermostat itself because it was not used according to the specifications. Manufacturers have responded by making recent models more intuitive and easier to program. Based on these improvements, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency was able to issue a new standard for wifi-enabled thermostats at the end of 2016.

    The Nest thermostat was the first Energy Star certified thermostat under the new rules. Like other wifi-connected thermostats, the Nest offers the ability to access the thermostat from your smartphone. The system "learns" your preferred temperatures and starts to adapt the system for maximum efficiency. It also tracks energy usage, so homeowners can adjust preferences to save money and energy.

    The EPA estimates that using a certified thermostat, like Nest, can save homeowners up to 8% in energy costs per year. This amounts to at least a $50 savings per year. While that doesn't seem like a lot, the energy savings add up as more people embrace the Energy Star certified thermostats. If every thermostat worked as efficiently, the savings could reach 56 trillion BTU and offset 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. That's the equivalent of taking 1.2 million motor vehicles off of the road. Although it may take some time to pay off the cost of a new thermostat, the increased efficiency eventually benefits home and business owners.

    As part of a heating, air conditioning and ventilation remodel or new purchase, homeowners should consider an Energy Star certified thermostat. Even using the new thermostat with old equipment will lead to savings. Combining the new thermostat with a properly sized HVAC system is even better. That 8% savings will likely increase with the purchase of an appropriate HVAC system because older equipment is sometimes the wrong size or less efficient than newer models. For those not ready to purchase a new HVAC, buying an Energy Star certified thermostat is a good step in the direction of greater efficiency and cost savings.

  • Top Reasons to Pay Attention to your Heating System During the Summer?

    Heating System Heating System

    In every season, you should expect to have HVAC maintenance carried out in order to have your cooling and heating system working efficiently. Bear in mind, though, it does not mean that you have to focus your attention on your air conditioner unit in the summer months and the heating system in the winter. It is important to take the appropriate care of your HVAC system throughout the whole year so that it will always operate to its full capacity.

    Summer Preparation

    Yes, you may be hanging out on the beach during the summer and a heater is the farthest thing from your mind. Yet, you cannot wait until the winter is upon you before taking care of your furnace or other heating system. The season may arrive and that is when you discover problems with your heating system. It is better to approach a season, being confident that everything inside your home is working properly. Below are some of the top reasons why you cannot afford to neglect your heater during the summer.

    Don’t Regret Your Decision

    If you need to have a heater repair done as the winter comes to a close or if the heater is providing warning signals of malfunction, you may need a new heater. For this reason, you should not ignore the signs. If you don’t take immediate action, you may regret your decision. You should not wait to schedule a repair at the last minute. If so, you may be put on a waiting list and who wants to go through winter without a functional heating system? The HVAC technician needs time to inspect the situation and conduct the necessary repairs so that you can be comfortable during the winter months.

    Advanced Maintenance

    One of the things to prevent being an uncomfortable situation is putting your HVAC maintenance on a schedule with a HVAC contractor. Therefore, try to have a healthy heating system at all times by frequent maintenance. There are various tasks that are involved with furnace maintenance and some of these include cleaning dirt and dust, inspecting the air flow, lubrication of moving parts, and thermostat testing. Doing this in the summer makes you prepared for the winter.

    Heat Pump

    Heat pumps are generally used both in the winter and in the summertime. If you do not have your heat pump repaired, then the choice will also affect your air conditioner unit. You will be switching your system to cooling during the summer, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore any heating issues until the winter.

    Proper Ventilation

    Both heating system and cooling system utilize the same ventilation to function, especially when your system uses forced air. For this reason, you have to keep the air ducts clean, not only to improve air quality, but also to prevent this from negatively impacting your HVAC system’s efficiency. When you have problems with your heating system, it can also result in an increase in your summer’s energy bill.

    Conclusion

    Be sure that you change your air filters on a frequent basis, even during the summer. Contact a HVAC contractor or HVAC technician today to schedule an overall check on your heating system and cooling system.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/46669634@N06/13118275535/

  • Home Heating Pump: Determining the Heating Capacity

    Home Heating Pump

    There are many factors to consider when thinking about purchasing a new heating pump for heating and cooling the home. Because the system works by moving air from a warm area to a cool one like a refrigerator instead of generating the heat, the operating cost is approximately a quarter the cost of other heating and cooling systems. With the way the heat pump is built to operate in a highly efficient manner, it allows 4x the energy it uses. They’re an excellent choice for climates that don’t have sub-zero temperatures. A properly sized heating pump can trim electric usage by 30-40%. It’ll also dehumidify better than other types, resulting in less energy usage and cooler comfort during the summer. They do require larger duct work than other heating systems and should be sealed for efficient operation.

    Sizing of a heat pump unit should start by figuring the required cooling capacity, and then figure the heating capacity of the selected heat pump. It’s rated by a standard outside temperature of 47 degrees because the unit is placed outdoors and exposed to different temperatures. The design and size must meet the temperature levels of the locality of the pump placement. Heat loss must be factored in the equation for sizing capacity because the unit must produce enough heat to make up for the loss through windows, walls, and ceilings to keep the home comfortable during the winter months. As the temperature gets colder, a supplemental heating element takes the heating capacity back to where it maintains sufficient heat output for warmth comfort.

    Once the decision is made to purchase a heating pump heating and cooling system, the consumer should calculate the size necessary to heat and cool the home efficiently before contacting various companies for pricing. For example, a 2400 square foot home would need approximately a five ton system. A ton is equal to 12,000 BTU, and one ton is recommended for 500 square feet of heating. These are rough estimates only but proper sizing techniques are recommended. Knowing some basic facts will be an asset when talking to dealers.

    To assist in determining the right size, the most recent version of the ACCA Manuals J and S should be used for the calculations of the unit. There are built-in safety factors to accommodate most needs. When the window dressing is unknown, they should be factored in place or the calculation will be overestimated. The temperatures of the area shouldn’t be altered because it would lead to over-sizing. Many companies estimate up when figuring the calculation capacity of the unit because they believe more is better. The recommended temperature for cooling is 70 degrees and 75 degrees for heating. Right-sizing of a heat pump provides a 10% bonus energy savings.

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