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
Progressive Heating and Air offers Preventive Maintenance Service Agreements for all brands of rooftops units, compressors, air-handlers, cooling towers, heat pumps, variable speed drives, controls and accessories.
Each agreement is tailored to meet the budget and operating needs of your facility and can include both preventive maintenance to keep your equipment running in peak condition and predictive maintenance services to identify potential problems before costly breakdowns occur.
It will help you:
- Maintain the efficiency and reliability of all equipment
- Minimize downtime, repair bills, and loss of use
- Ensure continuous care with our after hours call center staffed with trusted employees
Our planned maintenance options include:
- Inspection and reports
- Inspection with seasonal adjustments and preventive maintenance
- Full maintenance, including preventive maintenance plus service calls
- Predictive maintenance, including eddy current test, combustion analysis, and vibration analysis
- 24/7 monitoring
- Maintenance of cooling towers, compressors, air handlers, rooftop units, air-side distribution equipment, and controls.
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!
Air duct leakage can increase heating and cooling costs over 30%. The Duct Blaster is a device that uses pressure testing to find the amount and location of air leakage in a duct system. In order to perform the test, the Duct Blaster fan is connected to the duct system at the air handler, or a return grille. After temporarily sealing all remaining registers and grilles, the Duct Blaster fan is turned on to force air through all holes and cracks in the ductwork. After the entire process is complete, estimates of efficiency losses from duct leakage can be made from the leakage measurements. This will include air that is leaking outside of the building [could be the attic or crawl space for example]. Most of us would not intentionally condition our attic or crawl space, right? We will pressurize the house to the same level as the ducts with the Blower Door. At that point, the Duct Blaster brings the ducts up to the required pressure. None of the air will leak out of the house since it’s at the same pressure as the ducts. In a tight air distribution system, the leakage to the outside will be five percent or less of the square footage of the house. Most new installations start at about fifteen to twenty percent, and go downhill from there. If this is true for your home, a third of your heating and cooling bills could be a direct result of duct leakage. As you can see, when the recommended repairs are made, the result is tremendous energy and financial savings.
BLOWER DOOR TESTING
The Blower Door is a whole house testing system which indirectly measures duct leakage by pressurizing the entire house to a standard testing pressure. This is done with all of the home’s doors and windows closed. By comparing the whole house test before and after all registers are temporarily sealed, the Blower Door provides you with an estimate of duct leakage to the outside, estimate natural infiltration rates and gauge efficiency losses due to home air leakage by certifying construction integrity. With the Blower Door running, duct leaks can be pinpointed by using a hand-held smoke puffer, or a leak detection tool called a pressure pan. In addition to diagnosing duct leakage problems, the Blower Door can identify building improvements that will reduce energy use and increase comfort.
Thermal imaging is one of the most effective procedures to diagnose a structure’s thermal performance and capabilities. Thermal imaging identifies temperature variations of a building’s surface. This reveals many problems with the energy conservation that are directly related to the structure of your home. Problems in your home’s structure [which includes air leakage and moisture content, which leads to mold growth] can be found through thermal imaging. This will also show areas of missing, non-existent insulation in walls and ceilings.
IN-HOME ENERGY AUDIT
Knowing the energy use of one’s home can save money and give you peace of mind. An audit consists of a visual inspection of the home and appliances – blower door testing, duct blaster, and thermal imaging are included. We will analyze the energy efficiency and make recommendations to improve energy consumption. After analyzing the energy audit, we make recommendations on how to put as many of our suggestions into practice as possible. Schedule an appointment online today – or call us with any questions at 770-253-2665
- If your unit is not turning on, check your circuit breaker. Test them and reset – see if that makes a difference
- • Make sure your thermostat is set to the proper setting [cool in summer, heat in winter]. Check to see what temperature you have set your thermostat to kick on. Some thermostats will not kick on unless the temperature is outside of a two degree differential.
- If your thermostat screen is blank – check the batteries, change them out.
- Check your filter – if the filter is clogged, you are restricting air flow which will damage your system. Standard filters should be changed monthly, other filters – ask your HVAC company [that’s us!].
- Make sure your air is not escaping through doors, windows, fireplace – even your attic…make sure all openings are tightly sealed. •
- Preventative maintenance is the key to your unit running more efficiently. Make sure you have your thermostat checked and calibrated at that time.
- Keep your doors and registers open as much as possible. A properly installed and balanced HVAC system is designed to deliver and return hot or cold air evenly to and from all rooms in your home. Closing doors and shutting vents can cause certain rooms to become hotter and colder than others and decreases the units efficiency.
- Programmable thermostats can match your lifestyle while running your unit efficiently, if used correctly. You can program the temperature you want for up to seven days. This allows you to get the temperature you want, when you want at maximum efficiency.
- AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs.
We’re ALMOST there – summer is sooo close to being over. In these last couple of weeks, here are some pointers to remember:
- Block the sun – make sure you have curtains drawn during the heat of the day, blinds closed when possible.
- Clean your replace your filters! You’ll definitely notice a difference in the temp of the AC
- Make sure all of your windows and doors are shut tight – including your fireplace damper! We don’t want that AC escaping.
- Drink water! Always keep water within reach to stay hydrated.
- Run ceiling fans – these help distribute the air more evenly in the rooms of your home.
- Turn things off that cause heat – use stove and dryer dishwasher at night or not at all – make sure your computer sleeps within 15 minutes of not using it, etc. Why not just grill out? Your energy bill will love you for it.
- Dress for the weather!
- Wear sandals – a little known face, as you sweat and it evaporates, it cools your body.
- Turn off the lights! Watts = heat
- Just chill – let your mind wander – and chillax…as my daughter would say 😉
Below is a video featuring our lead service tech, Chuck McConnell. He has been with Progressive for 13 years – he knows more than most….and has more NATE Certifications than any other technician in our company.