Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for the ‘Energy Savings’ Category

Is Your Home Properly Insulated from Top to Bottom?

Monday, December 21st, 2015

At first passing, most homeowners feel their homes are well-insulated. This is because when we think about insulation, we usually refer to the rooms in which we do our living. If your home has an unfinished basement, attic, or both, you may actually find that these spaces are not well-insulated, and this lack of insulation in these areas could be costing you a lot in terms of comfort and energy efficiency. The home energy specialists at Boehmer Heating & Cooling have seen this many times, and can help determine if you do need additional and/or better insulation in these spaces of your home.

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Tips to Save Money This Winter

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The cold weather isn’t here yet, but there’s a definite chill in the air. Winter can be a very expensive season between heating costs and other winter-related expenses. While you can’t heat your home for free, you can reduce your costs by taking some simple steps ahead of the heating season. Here are some tips from the heating and cooling experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

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What Does Our Home Energy Solutions Involve?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Think of your house as a large energy system, where each smaller system—such as the heater, air conditioner, ventilation, lighting, insulation, washer, dryer, refrigeration—form individual components.

Now…how efficient a system is your house? Is it losing excess energy and costing you money? What repairs can be done to this system to increase its energy efficiency?

Answering these three questions is the purpose of a home energy audit. At Boehmer Heating & Cooling we provide home energy solutions that evaluate energy efficiency and locate where homeowners can improve them to save money and better protect their health and the quality of their homes. Contact our team today to find out more about our home energy solutions and arrange for an energy audit in North Hills, PA.

What Actually Happens During an Energy Audit

An audit will not take up too much of your time or disrupt regular routines; the auditors will usually complete the job in approximately two hours.

After the auditors arrive at your home, they run a series of tests to find places where your home is losing energy. One of the key tests is to use a blower door, which fits over the aperture of your front door, to lower the pressure inside the house. This will cause outside air to infiltrate the home through any available air leaks, and the auditors can locate these spots using smoke pencils. This will show where your home has insufficient insulation and places that will create drafts in cold weather and permit heat to enter during hot weather.

The auditors will perform an infrared scan that will pinpoint spaces within your house, such as leaks in ductwork, that waste energy. The scan will also pick up moisture issues that could be causing damage to building material and raising indoor humidity.

A large part of the audit consists of the technicians doing visual checks on all the important household systems, such as looking over attic insulation, the air conditioner, furnace/boiler, hot water heater, and large appliances like refrigerators and washing machine.

A check over your utility bills will spot places where you can maximize your energy use, as well as identify where poorly operating equipment is causing an unnecessary rise in costs.

The end result of the audit is a report that details what the auditors have discovered, and what steps you can take to reduce the energy waste and consumption in your home, as well as anything that can improve indoor air quality or prevent damage from moisture. You make the choices about which improvements you want.

At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we offer a comprehensive four-step home energy audit that will move you through the testing stage through the improvements that will help you live more economically and comfortably. Call our certified auditors today and schedule your energy audit in North Hills, PA.

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3 Advantages of Energy Audits

Friday, April 25th, 2014

What is an energy audit? It’s a professional service that determines where your house is losing energy and wasting money, and suggests solutions to decrease this energy loss. During an energy audit, a trained technician—an energy auditor—comes to your home and performs tests that take into account your HVAC system, appliances, insulation, ventilation, and more. Through blower door tests and infrared cameras, an auditor can pinpoint the many hidden places where your home leaks energy.

An energy audit can benefit you in many ways, and we strongly suggest you have one done. Scheduling a session with an auditor is easy: call Boehmer Heating & Cooling and speak to our specialists in energy audits in Pittsburgh, PA.

3 Advantages You Can Receive From An Energy Audit

  1. Lower utility bills: One of the main reasons to schedule a home energy assessment is to find out how your house makes you waste money on your energy bills. Losing heat means you must spend more time running your heating system to replace what is lost; during a Pittsburgh winter, this can be significant. The problem occurs in summer as well, when heat enters through air and insulation leaks and raises the humidity, which puts pressure on the air conditioner. An audit will show you where you can create better heat sealing against the outside and lower the amount of your HVAC system usage.
  2. Better comfort: Leaking air can make your home miserable during summer and especially winter. If you suffer from drafts in your house, you should have an energy audit done to find out where you can seal the leaks to improve your comfort.
  3. Improved indoor air quality: A home with good ventilation and a supply of fresh air will have better indoor air quality. However, leaks in a home do not lead to better indoor air, but usually make it worse since they will draw in excess outside air that contains pollutants like pollen, dirt, and dust mites. Higher humidity levels will also damage indoor air quality. An energy audit will show you how to seal off your home from unwanted outside contamination.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends homes have an energy audit. The DOE’s studies show that homeowners who follow through on the recommendations of an audit save 5%-30% off their annual energy bills. Homeowners may also qualify for state, local, or utility incentives to assist you with an audit.

At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we are pleased to offer energy audits and indoor air quality services in Pittsburgh, PA to help people have healthier, more comfortable, and more economical lives. Contact us today to get started making your house more energy-friendly.

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Chose ENERGY STAR For Your Air Conditioning Installation

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Energy Star | Pittsburgh | Boehmer Heating and CoolingLooking to replace your air conditioning system? You should think about buying an ENERGY STAR labeled model. A high efficiency air conditioner can make a huge difference in your energy bills if you are replacing an older model. Central air conditioners need a SEER rating of at least 13 get the ENERGY STAR label, and many older systems have a SEER that is 6 or less! You can get models with a SEER of 20 or higher, so talk to professionals at Boehmer Heating and Cooling to find out what the best AC system for your home is.

Looking for more ways to save with your air conditioning system? Call Boehmer today to learn about zone control, programmable thermostats, and more advice on energy saving practices. Boehmer Heating and Cooling provides services in Pittsburgh, and the Greater Pittsburgh area.

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West Mifflin Heating Tip: Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Friday, February 24th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your West Mifflin house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the HVAC system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your West Mifflin home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort. For more information on how to improve your home’s heating, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Upper St Clair HVAC Contractor Tip: The Energy Star Label

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Energy Star program is a joint program of the US environmental protection agency and the US department of Energy. The program’s goal is to help consumers, including Upper St Clair homeowners, save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

The best-known aspect of the Energy Star program is the Energy Star label, which is awarded to appliances and other items that are significantly more efficient than average. Energy Star efficiency guidelines vary depending on product category, but in general, Energy Star products use 20%-30% less energy than minimum federal standards.

The Energy Star guidelines were designed both with energy efficiency and performance in mind. While low energy use is one of the most important criteria for selecting Energy Star appliances, product performance, features, warranty, safety, and durability are also taken into account. Price is also a factor: if a product costs significantly more than other products in its category, it will only receive the Energy Star label if the up-front cost will be recovered through savings in operating costs within a reasonable amount of time.

The first Energy Star labels were given to computers and monitors in 1992. Now labels can be found on many other products, including:

Energy Star products can be found wherever appliances and electronics are sold. Look for the blue and white Energy Star label. You can also look for the yellow EnergyGuide label that is affixed to most heating and cooling systems and household appliances. This label is created by the Department of Energy and shows a product’s annual cost of operation compared to similar models. It will often indicate whether a product is Energy Star.

It’s important to note that while an Energy Star label indicates that a heater, air conditioner, or household appliance is more efficient than the minimum guidelines, it does not always mean that you are getting the most energy efficient option on the market. If you are making a major appliance purchase, use the Energy Star label to be sure every model on your “short list” is energy efficient. Then, look carefully at the EnergyGuide label to compare the efficiency of the models you are considering.

The EPA has also extended the Energy Star label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. To qualify for the Energy Star rating, a new home must use at least 15% less energy than standard homes (built to the 2004 International Residential Code). Energy Star homes usually include insulation, high-performance windows, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, appliances, lighting, and water heaters.

The Energy Star standards and label have been recognized in many other countries, including Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union.

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Top 9 Mistakes People Make When They Buy HVAC Equipment: Guide From Castle Shannon

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Every year millions of homeowners buy a new HVAC system for their home, some of them in Castle Shannon. And whether for heating, cooling or air quality, they make a huge investment in a new system that will be with them for years to come. Unfortunately, many of those people make big mistakes when buying their next system, so to help you avoid doing so, here are some simple things you should not do.

  1. Ignoring Air Quality – Air quality is about more than comfort. It affects the health of everyone in your home equally. Consider it carefully when installing a new system.
  2. Not Upgrading Your AFUE or SEER – New systems are highly efficient. Take advantage of that by buying one with a higher AFUE or SEER rating.
  3. Not Vetting Your Contractor – Always spend time checking up on your contractor, reading reviews and asking other customers how their experience was.
  4. Skipping the Service Agreement – Service agreements save money and help your system last longer. Don’t skip them.
  5. Buying the Cheapest Option Available – It may be tempting, but a cheap HVAC system is a bad idea if you want it to last and save you money in heating and cooling. Even a midrange system will save you money in only a few years with higher efficiency ratings.
  6. Picking the Same Model You Already Had – New models are stronger and more efficient. When possible, get an upgrade and your bills will reflect the difference.
  7. Waiting too Long to Buy – The longer you wait, the more you pay in heating and cooling bills for an old, worn down system. If you know you’re going to buy a new system, act fast to save the most possible money.
  8. Not Asking Questions – If you have a question, ask it. There is no such thing as a stupid question when looking for a new HVAC system.
  9. Ignoring Maintenance Recommendations – Maintenance recommendations are optional but almost always to your benefit. Research on your own before committing to anything, but don’t ignore the necessity either.

If you do things just right, your new HVAC system will last for years to come and provide steady, comfortable heating or cooling throughout that time. But, if you rush through things, make a hasty decision and neglect to do any research, you may have issues with your system in far less time than you’d like. Be smart and you’ll be rewarded.

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Is Your Home More Valuable with Energy Efficient Appliances? A Question From Sewickley

Friday, September 16th, 2011

It’s impressive the things people do to improve the value of their Sewickley home. We’re talking about crown molding, new floors, new siding, upgrades to the landscaping and much more. The cost of upgrading these things can grow out of hand quickly and if the boost to your home’s value isn’t equally exponential, it’s hard to justify the expense.

So, it’s always nice to find a simple upgrade that can be performed for a few hundred dollars that will save you money immediately and improve the value of your home in the future. Your appliances are one such upgrade.

The Value of Energy Efficiency

An energy efficient washing machine can save upwards of $150 per year on water costs. An energy efficient toilet cuts consumption by as much as 150%. Low flow shower heads cut water costs by one third to one half and your heating and air conditioning systems can be improved by 10-35% depending on the upgrades available to you.

When you add up all those savings, the result is a tremendous amount of money that can be saved each year on everything from your water bill to your cooling needs. Imagine what happens when someone looks to buy your home. They see that there are all new appliances with energy efficient ratings that will save them money.

It’s not just lower bills; it’s a decrease in upfront investment. On the surface, it’s unlikely that your energy efficient appliances will directly increase the value of your home, but they can increase the likelihood of someone paying what you’re asking for the home. They add value to the livability of the home, if not the property itself and in today’s housing market, that’s a major plus.

Best Upgrades

The best upgrades to your home’s appliances are the ones that save money without additional work. Major upgrades to your heating and cooling are good if you need an upgrade anyway or you plan on staying in your home for a few years.

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Home Energy Myths: A Tip From Cranberry

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Measuring and controlling your Cranberry home’s energy consumption is a little tricky. There are plenty of talking heads and information resources on the Internet that tell you how it’s supposed to work, but in most cases you’ll find that so called common knowledge about your home’s energy use isn’t always true. Here are some of the most common myths and how to differentiate from the truth.

  1. Conservation and Efficiency Are Different – Many people think that by getting an energy efficient appliance, like an Energy Star air conditioner, they are conserving energy and helping the environment. To some degree this is true. However, in reality, you are merely reducing how much energy it takes to complete a task. Conservation is finding ways to actually stop using energy for common tasks. Taking baths instead of showers, not watering your lawn, and turning off lights completely are all examples of conservation.
  2. Turning Off an Appliance Saves a Lot of Energy – Regardless of whether an appliance is physically on or not, it still consumes power as long as it is plugged in. The only way to completely stop your energy consumption is to unplug an item completely or use a power strip that blocks access to electricity when the switch is turned to off.
  3. Turning on Items Creates a Power Surge – While turning a computer on and off uses a bit more electricity than simply leaving it on all the time, it isn’t a significant difference. In fact, the longer you leave an appliance on, the more it wears down and the faster it starts to use extra power to remain effective.
  4. One Energy Source is Cheaper than Another – This depends largely on the type of energy source you have for heating and cooling, the cost of that source and how much heating and cooling you need. A single portable electric heater is cheaper than running your entire oil heating system. But, electric heaters are rarely cheaper if you use them to heat your entire home.

Myths abound when it comes to energy use around your home. But there are some easy ways to conserve energy and if you need more information, contact your local HVAC professional.

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