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

The Preventative Maintenance That Will Save You the Most

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Having a high performance, energy efficient HVAC system will save you a good deal of money in terms of your monthly heating and cooling bills. But that efficiency will not last unless you also take the necessary steps to keep your equipment in good working order. While regular maintenance visits from a professional HVAC technician are an important part of this, there are also several things you can do on your own to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency.

  1. Keep it Clear – The first thing you should do is to make sure that there is plenty of space cleared around your outdoor unit. Whether it is the condenser and compressor for your air conditioning system or part of your heat pump, that outdoor equipment needs to have plenty of space to vent hot air. Also, the space will mean that debris is less likely to develop inside the unit.
  2. Clean the Condensing Coil – While your technician will do this when they make their annual visit, it is best to clean your coil more than just once a year. Just make sure that the power is turned off to your unit before you begin. This will help the unit cool air more efficiently and can prevent a whole host of other problems from developing.
  3. Check on the Blower – If your blower is not working right or the blade is clogged, your HVAC unit will not work properly. Make sure your blower fan is free of all debris and that is turns freely once you have cleaned it. If you are still having a problem with it, you may have to call a technician for repairs. Cleaning the blower out on a regular basis, however, should keep this from becoming a problem you need a professional for.
  4. Air Filters – You should also make sure you change your air filters regularly. This can help to keep your indoor air clean and healthy and it will also enable your HVAC system to run more efficiently.
  5. Clean it Out – Clean out any debris that you can reach from any part of your system. Just make sure any time you work inside your HVAC system that you have all of the power turned off. Anything from leaves to dust can get in there and cause a problem if it is allowed to build up over time. As long as you are on top of things and keep to a regular schedule of maintenance, none of this should take you very long.

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around the house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system. Maybe it is even a good idea to switch to solar or geothermal power.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 10 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Water Heater Temperature – Most hot water heaters are set to about 140°F. However, you really only need your water to be at 120°F. So turn down the hot water heater and you will save a lot.
  5. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  6. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  7. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  8. Insulation – Proper insulation will go a long way towards keeping in the temperature controlled air that you want and keeping out the outdoor air that you do not.
  9. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  10. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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How Much Can I Save with New Equipment?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

There is certainly something to be said for upgrading your current HVAC equipment to newer, more energy efficient equipment. Doing so can save you a ton of money in heating and cooling costs and it can make your home a more comfortable place in general. Of course, upgrading your equipment is a big investment, but ideally you will save enough on your monthly energy bills that it will more than make up for the initial cost of the installation.

But before you can decide whether or not it makes sense for you to upgrade, you need to know exactly how much you stand to save every month by upgrading. And that will vary considerably depending on several particulars of your situation.

For instance, you will have to take the age of your current system into account. No matter how energy efficient your system was when you first bought it, that energy efficiency has almost certainly deteriorated over time. Plus, the older your system is, the less energy efficient it probably was to start with. And the less energy efficient your current system is, the more you will save when you upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient system.

But that is not the only variable you will have to be on top of. The amount you will save monthly and annually will also have to do with how much you use your HVAC system. If you live in a rather temperate climate, you may use your HVAC much less, both in the summer and the winter.

In a case like this, the percentage you will save with an equipment upgrade will be the same as it would for someone who lived in an area with a harsher climate, but the actual dollar value will be much lower. All that really means is that it will take you longer to recoup your investment, but it may still be worth it to invest in a new system now.

You will also need to be aware of other factors that could impact the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. For instance, if your house is not well insulated, it will not matter how good your HVAC system is. You will still be paying more than you should to keep the indoors comfortable, and while investing in a new system may save you money, you will save more by taking care of your insulation problem first.

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New Thermostats – Are they Worth the Investment?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

When you are trying to save money around the house, a new thermostat is definitely worth looking into. Sure, your old thermostat works fine. But there are a lot of features available on newer models that can help you save money on your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

And you do not need to wait until it is time to replace your home comfort system to upgrade your thermostat. Most thermostats can work with many different types of heating and cooling systems. So no matter what type of HVAC system you have or how old it is, you should be able to integrate some type of new thermostat into it.

But how can a new thermostat save you money? Well, they simply offer a lot of features that you can use to your advantage. For instance, even the most basic programmable thermostat can let you set different temperatures for different times of day. You can program the thermostat to turn the heat down during the day when no one is home and then you can have the heat switch back on just before you get home.

That way, you can come home to a nice, warm house without having to pay to heat it all day long when it is empty. Many newer thermostats also are more accurate and can provide more pinpoint control of your heating and cooling system. That means that you will not be wasting money because your heating system gets the actual temperature in your house up to 75°F when you only really need it to hit 72°F.

Newer thermostats help you to save money in a variety of ways, and that savings will more than pay for the cost of having a new thermostat installed. That is because thermostats are actually quite cheap and easy to install. A relatively basic programmable thermostat should not run you more than $100, and even if you opt for one of the more advanced systems out there, you will not pay more than a few hundred dollars.

That is a small price to pay considering the increased comfort possible with a state of the art thermostat and the potential for savings every month on your heating or cooling bills. Plus, you likely paid a considerable amount to have that state of the art HVAC system put in. It is worth paying just a bit more so that you can get the most possible out of it.

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Save by Buying Low, Buying at the Right Time

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Buying a new HVAC system is a big step and a big investment. You know you will be spending a considerable amount of money, but it is worth it to get the right system for your home. However, that does not mean you should not shop around and compare prices before you buy. Prices in this industry are far from static, and you could get a great deal if you do some research and know what you are looking for.

Of course, you first have to have the luxury of being able to shop around. If your HVAC system has broken down completely, you will be much more limited on what options you can explore and how much you will pay for the system that you want.

But if you know that you are going to be replacing your existing HVAC system sometime soon, the best thing you can do is to start looking around at what is on the market now. Get a feel for the type of system that you want, the features that are important to you and what it will cost you to get all of that in one package deal.

You can also compare the prices for the same system offered by various retailers and installation companies. While it may seem like the same system should cost the same everywhere, this is often not the case. Also, different places may be offering special discounts or installation specials at different times, and you want to put yourself in the best position to take advantage of that.

The time of year can also affect the price of the system you are looking at. Buying a heating system in the middle of the summer, for instance, is often a good way to get a great deal. So if you plan ahead a little bit, you can make out big when you see the deal you were looking for.

Staying on top of the market is the best way for you to see how the prices on different systems change over time and you will be in a great position to grab a good deal when it comes up. You can also often get good deals on HVAC systems that are close to being replaced by a newer model. Just make sure that the newer model does not offer too much more than the previous year’s and you will likely come out ahead.

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Save with Maintenance on HVAC

Monday, July 18th, 2011

You can never save too much money by making improvements and taking steps around the house. Of course, it is hard sometimes to see exactly where the money saving opportunities are. That’s because you expect to spend a certain amount on various types of services when you own a home. You know you are always going to have heating and cooling bills, for instance. But are they higher than they need to be?

For many people, the answer to that question is “yes.” And it is not because they use their home heating and cooling systems inappropriately or because they have the wrong equipment. It is simply because they neglect to get their HVAC systems the regular care and maintenance that would keep them running at peak effectiveness and energy efficiency.

When your HVAC system is new, it runs well and can be remarkably energy efficient. However, over time that energy efficiency will gradually deteriorate. This drop off in efficiency is often not obvious at first, but if you compare your energy bills from the year you got your system to bills for the same time of year and same usage five years later, you will probably notice that the bill has gone up quite a bit, and not just because energy prices have gone up.

You can do a lot to prevent this loss of energy efficiency, though, if you simply have a professional HVAC technician come out once a year and give your system a tune up. During this type of maintenance service, the technician will check over your entire system looking for worn out parts and buildup that could be interfering with your system’s performance.

They can clean out any areas of your HVAC equipment that require it and they will be able to make any necessary repairs at that time. Often, a technician performing this type of maintenance will be able to catch minor issues before they are able to develop into bigger problems. And while you still have to pay for the maintenance visit, the cost is much less than what you would pay for an emergency repair.

It also represents a substantial savings over what you would be paying on your energy bills every month without it. Regular HVAC maintenance can preserve the vast majority of your system’s energy efficiency loss over time, and it is never too late to start. Even if it has been several years since you had your system installed, you will still be able to get back the vast majority of your original energy efficiency by starting with regular maintenance now.

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