Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Gibsonia’

Energy Performance Ratings for Windows, Doors, Skylights

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

When you are picking out windows, doors or skylights for your home, you will have a lot of factors to take into consideration. Not the least of these is how well or poorly the product in question will transfer heat into your home or help to block it out. Luckily, there are actually energy performance ratings listed on most windows, doors and skylights so that you can make the most informed decision possible about which product is best for you.

But what do these ratings actually measure? There are actually several categories that are reflected on the energy performance label, and understanding what these various statistics mean will help you pick out the best product for you.

For instance, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is something that reflects how well the window transfers heat from the sun into your home. A low SHGC means that the window lets in very little heat, while a high SHGC indicates a product that allows a great deal of heat to pass through into your home. The right one for you, however, depends on your own particular needs.

If you live in an area with a mild summer but a harsh winter, you may be interested in allowing the sunlight to help heating your home in the winter. And if the summers are not that extreme, you might not mind the heat coming in at that time of year.

The opposite would be true if you live somewhere that has very hot summers, though. In that case you might want to keep out as much heat from the sun as possible and be content to heat the house all on your own in the winter. So the ideal SHGC for you can vary depending on your own particular circumstances.

Other elements taken into account when the energy performance of windows, doors and skylights is measured are the amount of visible light the product lets in, how well it insulates your house, how much air is allowed to leak out through joints in the structure of the product and how resistant it is to allowing condensation to develop.

All of these elements will impact how well you are able to maintain a comfortable indoor environment all year round and how much it costs you to do so. Because of this, it can be worth paying a bit more for a door, window or skylight if it means that you will save on your heating or cooling bills every month because of that product.

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What Do the Energy Stars Indicate?

Friday, July 1st, 2011

If you’re in the market for any type of appliance for your home, you’ve probably come across some that boast an Energy Star certification. But what does this really mean? After all, there are all types of special labels that manufacturers put on their products to make them look better, so how can you know which ones are really worth paying attention to?

Why Energy Star Matters

The truth is that no matter what type of appliance you’re looking for, from a coffee maker to a new furnace, buying one with the Energy Star label is definitely a good investment. This certification is conferred by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and it can only be used on products that pass the EPA’s stringent tests for energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Energy Star products create fewer pollutants like greenhouse gasses because they use less energy to get the job done than their inefficient counterparts. This is great for our planet, but it also translates to savings for you as a consumer. Because Energy Star appliances use less energy to heat or cool your home or do whatever else you need them to do, your monthly bills will be significantly reduced.

Quality and Performance Measured

And you don’t have to worry about inferior performance as a result of increased energy efficiency either. Energy Star products can only receive the label if they provide all of the features you’ve come to expect from comparable products across the board. They need to maintain high energy efficiency ratings while still maintaining a superior level of performance.

While it’s true that you may wind up paying a bit more for an Energy Star product, that is only a one-time cost. If you compare the monthly savings you’ll receive by using your Energy Star appliance on a regular basis to what you would pay out over time with a less efficient model, it’s easy to see how the Energy Star product costs you less.

For all of these reasons, the Energy Star rating is definitely worth looking out for when shopping for home appliances and equipment. These products are made to be reliably energy efficient and can save you a ton over the years as long as they’re properly cared for.

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The Energy Efficiency Rating of Central Air Conditioners: What Is it and Why Is it Important?

Friday, June 10th, 2011

When you are shopping for a central air conditioning system, you will have to evaluate your options based on a number of different factors. For instance, you will need to decide which type of system is the best match for your home and for your particular cooling needs. It is also important to make sure that the central air conditioner you choose is the right size for the cooling load it will have to take on.

However, it is also very important to evaluate your central air conditioning options based on how energy efficient they are. This will have a great deal to do with how much you pay in terms of cooling costs each month, which makes it easy to see why you should take it into account before you make a purchase.

The energy efficiency of a central air conditioner is generally expressed as a seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER. The SEER numbers you will typically find on the latest air conditioning systems range from eight to 19.5 with the higher numbers signifying a more energy efficient model.

So it is pretty easy to figure out that a central air conditioner with a higher SEER will save you some money monthly because it will use less energy to get the same job done. But central air conditioners with high SEERs also typically have high price tags. So to determine how high of a SEER you need, you will need to know more exactly how much more money you will save as you move up in the rankings.

You can do this by comparing the SEER of the system you currently use with the new system you are considering and compare how much your current energy usage would cost you with each model. Basically, you want to pick a central air conditioner that will save you enough to offset the purchase price of the unit.

Often, this means that you will be best off with a SEER 14 or SEER 16 because these units save you a considerable amount over older models without carrying too high a purchase price. However, the amount you save will be directly related to how much you use your central air conditioning system, so if you live someplace that is extremely hot for a large chunk of the year, it may be worth it for you to buy a very high efficiency air conditioning system.

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Old Equipment You Really Shouldn’t Keep

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

When you move into an existing home, there are many pieces of equipment that you may not want to keep. Some of them are just old and poor quality, while others cost you a lot of money and others still may be dangerous to you or your children. Before you settle into your space, make sure you have every one of your systems checked thoroughly for potential problems including inefficient heating, dangerous parts or environmentally unfriendly components.

Energy Cost

Number one on your list should be the cost of the energy needed to run your HVAC equipment. Furnaces and air conditioners in particular have become much more energy efficient in the last 10 years so older systems routinely cost much more money to operate than new ones. That doesn’t mean you should immediately rush out to replace your old furnace, but if it isn’t working properly or it’s costing you more money than you’d like, the cost benefit of a new system is often worth checking into.

Other things to check include your insulation, your air quality system, your ventilation system and anything used to heat or cool food in the kitchen – all of which may be less efficient than you might like.

Ozone Depleting Refrigerants

Older appliances like air conditioners may still use ozone depleting refrigerants that are no longer considered safe (or in some cases legal) for home use. If this is the case, not only does your system probably have a very low SEER rating, it likely isn’t good for the environment or your own health. So, have your system replaced as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative side effects.

Dangerous Equipment

Finally, there are those pieces of equipment that are dangerous. If you find that your furnace has rust around the edges, your gas lines are kinked, or you have a dangerously out of date heat pump in your backyard, it may be time for some replacements. In general, these systems will last for years longer than they are considered safe and while you probably cannot buy a house without a working and safe furnace and air conditioner, you should still have them inspected carefully and replaced as soon as possible if you suspect problems.

Good HVAC equipment is hard to come by – if your home has it already, you’re in luck, but if you happen to move into a place with poor quality materials and equipment, have it replaced as soon as possible. Your health and wallet will both benefit greatly.

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