As the weather turns chilly, improve your home’s comfort, and save energy and money all while doing a good thing for the environment. By using energy efficiently at home, you not only lower your energy bills, but prevent air pollution too. Here are ways to save, offered by the ENERGY STAR program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
1. Know the Facts – The average family spends $1,500 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, installed alongside a well-sealed duct system, can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs.
2. Keep it Clean – A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system regularly. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
3. Bundle Up – Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. When heat escapes, your system must work harder and you use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope” – the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors — and
can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation, while paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
4. Tighten Your Ducts – If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent, causing your equipment to work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable. Ask your HVAC contractor about improving your ducts.
5. Don’t Oversize – When replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct sizing will ensure that your equipment works efficiently. Make sure your HVAC contractor uses Manual J or an equivalent sizing tool to determine what’s right for your home.
6. Consult a Professional – Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit http://www.natex.orq to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program.
7. Shop Smart – If your heating equipment has not been regularly maintained and is 15 years or older, it’s probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:
- Furnaces – Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
- Boilers – An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be seven percent more energy-efficient.
- Heat Pumps – When installed in a home with a well-sealed envelope, heat pumps provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $400 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient.
- Programmable Thermostats – Regulate your home’s temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.
Source: ENERGY STAR
Warranties give most of us peace of mind when making a big purchase like a car, a home – even on an air conditioner. Let’s face it, your HVAC system is no small investment. But – same as a warranty on your car – lack of maintenance could is one major factor that could jeopardize your warranty. If you don’t have documentation that your system has been maintained according to manufacturer’s requirements, your necessary repairs may not be covered. This is especially true regarding home and extended warranties.
Another factor are parts ordered from the internet. Don’t do it! Only order parts and have them installed through a licensed contractor. Saving a few dollars on a part may void the entire warranty.
Lastly – keep a proof of purchase near the owners manual and warranty information so you can’t misplace it. Proof of purchase may be required if your system needs a repair done under warranty, and your current service provider did not install the job. Keep in mind, new systems must be installed by a licensed HVAC contractor – or the warranty for the entire system could also be null and void.
We are always hear for any questions you have. Before altering anything on your system, give us a call at 770-253-2665 – we can help!
Preventive maintenance is critical to a well functioning HVAC units.
Preventative Maintenance offers many benefits such as:
- Increasing the life span of the HVAC unit.
- Lowering the cooling and heating bills.
- Cleaning the interior air creating a comfortable environment for the building occupants.
Replacing HVAC filters is critical to clean air because the air filters clean out air pollutants such as molds, skin cells, and allergens. It is important to visually inspect HVAC filters ever 1 to 6 months to make sure the filters are not blocked.
A little bit of techie talk made simple:
ASHRAE standard is used to rate HVAC filters capacity to filter out air borne pollutants, the ASHRAE standard assigns MERV rating to filters based on their efficiency. The higher the MERV rating the more efficient the filter is. Generally when you want to buy a filter, it is best to get a filter with a MERV rating of 11 +.
The most common indoor air pollutants include:
Biological pollutants [pet dander, mites, mold, etc.] are harmful because people can be allergic to just one or several of them – and being inside with them makes everything worse.
Dust can be easily prevented by a strong air filter.
Combustion gases [like those that come from a gas furnace or stove] are normally vented harmlessly outside but can be deadly if they leak into your home.
Tobacco smoke can get inside even if you smoke outside, mainly carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
Pesticides and chemicals can come from all over the place. Fumes from spray for bugs over the summer, air fresheners and cleaning products can contribute to your indoor air quality issues.
Some things you can do to improve your indoor air quality in the winter:
- Make sure your filters are fresh and clean. Air filters are designed to trap indoor air pollutants before they can escape into your air. They fill up much faster in the winter. Make sure to replace them monthly.
- If your air is pretty dry inside, check into a humidifier.
Call us at 770-253-2665 for more information, or visit out website at http://www.progressiveac.com.
Gas furnaces use natural gas to power the heat source for a building’s heater. A gas furnace has a higher running temperature than many other heating sources such as electric. The average running temperature of a gas furnace is around 125 to 140 degrees F. Gas furnaces can either be installed as a floor or wall unit. Usually the structure and ductwork in the house determine which system should be used. Gas furnaces are unique because they use external air for combustion and venting.
A higher running temperature ensures that houses are kept warmer and at a more consistent temperature. The ability to offer a consistent heat can also cut down on operation costs and heating bills. Gas furnaces also have a longer lifespan than most electric furnaces. This means that the yearly cost of owning a gas furnace is more economical than owning an electric furnace. Repairs and maintenance on a gas furnace are also less expensive than electric.
The cost of gas furnaces can vary by model, type and location. Additional factors such as the age of the unit, the installation costs, the price of natural gas and how cold your geographic location is can also affect the final cost of a gas furnace.
While there are many benefits to owning a gas furnace, there are also some drawbacks. The price of natural gas is not a steady price, and the fluctuation of gas prices can cause gas furnace operation costs to skyrocket during peak times of use. Natural gas can also leak causing fires or inhalation sickness.
Each gas furnace has many of the same components. Gas furnaces operate through the use of combustion air intakes. Gas furnaces use gas to fuel the small burner flame that heats the air. Each furnace also has an intake and exit vent to keep the fire lit and to provide ventilation for the system. A motor is included to push and pull the heated air to heat exchangers and into the air duct system to heat the entire house. Air filters are important to keep dust and other particles out of the system which can cause fires and blockage to the valves.
Having annual maintenance performed on your furnace is more about peace of mind than anything else. When done properly, maintaining your system will save you money on energy bills, prolong the life of your equipment and protect your overall investment. Heating and air conditioning systems are very expensive. With preventative maintenance, problems can be discovered before serious damage is done. Not only that, issues can be discovered and dealt with instead of your unit breaking down in the middle of winter. You take your car for regular oil changes and tune-ups so you won’t have a break-down when you need it…sound familiar? Your heater is similar to this.
Considering how we Georgian’s can’t STAND the cold weather – this maintenance should be right up there with your most important ‘to-dos’.
Our maintenance includes, but is not limited to the following points:
- Cleaning and adjusting the burner assembly
- Setting the burners for proper combustion and ignition
- Cleaning the ignition assembly
- Checking and cleaning heat exchanger or elements
- Monitor the flue draft
- Check gas pressure
- Cleaning furnace housing
- Change standard size air filter
Once the maintenance on your furnace is complete, the air quality in your home should improve. Since the furnace won’t have to struggle as hard, money will be saved on the energy bill.
We have been serving Coweta and Fayette counties since 1994!
Three Basic Strategies
Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs. Specific sources of indoor air pollution in your home are listed later in this section.
Another approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.
It is particularly important to take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants–for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding. You might also choose to do some of these activities outdoors, if you can and if weather permits.
Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers).
- For more information about air-to-air heat exchangers, contact the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy‘s Office (EERE) at www.eere.energy.gov/. You may contact the EERE Information Center with questions on EERE’s products, services, and 11 technology programs by calling 1-877-EERE-INF (1-877-337-3463).
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Table-top air cleaners, in particular, may not remove satisfactory amounts of pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with a sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.
Over the past few years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of some chemicals in laboratory experiments. There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices. Indoor houseplants should not be over-watered because overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms which can affect allergic individuals.
At present, EPA does not recommend using air cleaners to reduce levels of radon and its decay products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially remove the radon decay products and do not diminish the amount of radon entering the home. EPA plans to do additional research on whether air cleaners are, or could become, a reliable means of reducing the health risk from radon. EPA’s booklet, Residential Air Cleaners, provides further information on air-cleaning devices to reduce indoor air pollutants.
For most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution. This section takes a source-by-source look at the most common indoor air pollutants, their potential health effects, and ways to reduce levels in the home. (For a summary of the points made in this section, see the section entitled “Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home“).
- Ozone Generators That Are Sold As Air Cleaners (which is only available via this website) was prepared by EPA to provide accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available.
- “Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?” was prepared by EPA to assist consumers in answering this often confusing question. The document explains what air duct cleaning is, provides guidance to help consumers decide whether to have the service performed in their home, and provides helpful information for choosing a duct cleaner, determining if duct cleaning was done properly, and how to prevent contamination of air ducts.
This information is courtesy of the EPA