Want to save money this winter? Smart Ways to Heat Your Home More Efficiently

Winter is quickly approaching, and that means colder temperatures outdoors as well as chillier temperatures indoors. Many homeowners would like to decrease their costs during the winter months, but it can be tricky when you want to stay warm! The good news is that there are plenty of ways to save money while staying comfortable this winter.

Smart Ways to Heat Your Home More Efficiently

These simple ideas will help you save on home heating costs during the winter, which will in turn save you money during these colder months.

Purchase a Programmable Thermostat

This simple switch can save you big on your winter heating bills. Programmable thermostats are available in a variety of styles and price-points, but generally fall within the range of $50 to $200. These thermostats are great because you can set them to a lower temperature during the hours when you are away from your home on a regular basis, such as at work, or while you’re sleeping soundly in your bed. Just a small decrease in your thermostats settings (for example, 72 degrees to 70 degrees) can save you money during the colder months. According to ConsumerEnergyCenter.org, for every degree you lower your thermostat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

Weather Proof Your Home

You don’t have to go all out on weatherproofing your home to make a big impact on your home’s heating efficiency. By caulking any open areas of your windows and doors, you can prevent cold drafts from coming in and warm air from escaping. Be sure to inspect the weather stripping in your home and replace any that seems worn out or ineffective. Also, consider door draft stoppers for exterior doors, which can go a long way in keeping sneaky drafts from bringing cold air into your home. And, don’t forget about your hot water heater! Just by wrapping an insulating blanket around your hot water heater, you can prevent heat loss through the sides of the water heater by 25 to 40%!

Add Layers of Warmth to Your Body

This seems too simple to be effective, but by layering in warm clothes while indoors, you can really help reduce your heating bills. Instead of trying to keep a constant warm temperature in your home, embrace a slight chill in the air and add a sweater, thick socks, and/or a fuzzy blanket to help combat the cold. This way, you’ll be able to maintain your thermostat at a lower temperature while still staying warm and toasty indoors.

Embrace the Sun

If you are lucky enough to have south facing windows in your home, you can use them to your advantage during the winter months. The sun that shines through these windows can add quite a bit of warmth to your home. During the daytime, lower the temperature on your thermostat and open curtains to allow the sun to shine directly into these rooms. The sun will provide enough heat to raise your indoor temperature a couple degrees, which means that your heating system will work less hard to warm your home.

Are you planning on purchasing a new energy efficient heating system to save money on heating bills in the new year? Contact the experts at Efficient Systems today for more information on how our heating and cooling systems can help you save more on energy costs throughout the year.

What Are the Ratings for Furnace Efficiency?

When you are buying a new furnace, energy efficiency is an important consideration. Furnaces with higher efficiency ratings will use less energy to heat your home, and cost you less money. Lower rated furnaces need more energy to produce the same amount of heat, which will result in higher utility bills.

Less Energy Lost Equals Higher Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is determined using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The AFUE refers to the percentage of the total energy a furnaces uses that actually becomes heat energy. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 transforms 90 percent of the energy it uses into heat energy for your home, while 10 percent of the energy is lost.

The less energy lost, the more efficient the furnace. The highest possible AFUE rating is 100, which would mean that a furnace converts every bit of the energy it uses into heat energy. Older, low-efficiency furnaces may have efficiency ratings than range between 56 and 70, while new furnaces rarely have AFUE ratings below 80. The mot efficient models currently in production may achieve 98.5 percent efficiency.

Minimum Efficiency Requirements

The Department of Energy now requires relatively high efficiency ratings for many styles of newly manufactured furnaces. Non-condensing furnaces—which tend to be less efficient than condensing furnaces—must now meet a minimum AFUE rating of 78. Non-weatherized gas furnaces must have an AFUE rating of 80 or higher, while weatherized furnaces must have ratings of 81 or higher.

Protect Your Home From Heat Loss

An extremely efficient furnace is not enough to ensure that you are heating your home efficiently. Heat preservation is also important for overall energy efficiency and lower energy bills. A large percentage of heat energy can be lost through duct work if vulnerable areas are not insulated effectively. Ducts that run through attics, basements and crawl spaces are often responsible for heat loss—sometimes as much as 35 percent of your total heat energy.

Such a large amount of heat loss in your home can completely offset the gains of an efficient furnace. Losing around 30 percent of the heat that reaches your home is equivalent of having and old and extremely inefficient furnace instead of a new, efficient model. Addressing exposed duct work and other areas of your home where heat may be lost is critical for improving your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Thank you for reading! To learn more about high-efficiency furnaces, or improving your home’s heating efficiency, please call today to speak to one of our experienced technicians.

Does Insulation Really Help Keep Your Home Cool?

Homeowners are always searching for new ways to reduce home energy costs. With home energy costs increasing each year, this search is becoming more important. However, what many people do not know is that insulation in the home plays a large role in heating and cooling costs.

 

Energy Exchange and Insulation

Most people utilize coasters because they know that if the temperature of the air is warmer than that of what is in the glass, the glass will sweat. This is a process of heat exchange, or simply put, the process of the water adapting to the temperature of the air in the room. The fluid is taking on, or gaining, the heat. On a warm day, this same process will happen to your home, as it takes on the heat from the outdoor conditions. Many people will turn on their air conditioner at this point in time.

Insulation is a barrier that helps stop or slow the exchange of the heat. When it is hot outside, it helps prevent the transfer of heat inside. When it is cold outside, it helps stop the transfer of heat from the inside of the home to the outside. Having the right amount of insulation in your home will limit energy transfer and improve your home’s energy efficiency, as well as lower your heating and cooling costs. Homebuilders insulate walls, ceilings, and attics. Additionally, HVAC ducts can be insulated to stop the transfer of energy transfer while hot or cold air is being delivered throughout the home.

A HVAC technician can help you to determine where your home might be losing energy or need more home insulation. The technician will check HVAC system effeciency, and to see if there are any sealing or structural problems that might be contributing to a rise your energy bills. Your HVAC system may need replaced or maintanenced, you may need to seal drafts, or you may need to repair some leaky ducts. Although it might sound like a big project, the end result will be worth it.

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How To Save Money On Your Cooling Costs This Summer

Overview

Summer is no time to take chances with your cooling units. The best way to save money on your cooling needs this summer is, among other ways, to service your unit once per year, program thermostat, clean filters, reduce indoor heating functions (such as oven use) and seal drafts. The above services ensure your cooling equipment functions optimally, sweltering hot temperatures from outside the house are blocked and the cool air (generated by your cooling units) stays inside.

Service your unit regularly

Regular maintenance of your unit, at least one year, detects potential problems with your unit, which, if ignored might develop into large problems that may cause your unit to fail abruptly. Early problem detection, performed by a professional HVAC service provider, can point to the necessary repairs or maintenance needed to keep the unit functioning efficiently. The repairs not only save potential huge cost repairs, later on, but also ensure the unit does not consume more energy, to keep the room cool, than it should. If you ignore your unit, waiting for the time it fails, you could be in for a rude shock if and when your unit breaks down in the middle of summer. Prevent such discomfort by having HVAC experts regularly check your equipment.

Program your thermostat

Most cooling units in the market, now, come with programmable thermostats, and most people have such units in their homes. A programmable thermostat enables you to set when your unit should reduce its functioning or stop altogether, such as when no one is at home, and allows the switch on of your cooling unit when your home is occupied. A programmable thermostat is of no use if you do not set it, for whatever reasons. Set your programmable thermostat so that you can reduce the hours your cooling unit runs, hence save your energy consumption. You can get information on how to set a programmable thermostat on www.energystar.gov, the government’s Energy Star website.

Clean filters

Dirty and clogged filters not only reduce the cooling efficiency of your unit, but also cause the unit to consume more energy than it usually does trying to keep up with your cooling needs. You should clean your filters regularly, like monthly or once every two months, or change them if they are changeable. In addition to cleaning your unit’s filter, you should ensure that your indoor air does not contain unnecessary pollutants/ debris; refrain from dusting or performing tasks that leave debris in your house.

Conclusion

You can save your energy on cooling needs this summer by having professional HVAC service providers check and repair your cooling unit accordingly. By having your unit checked, you can be guaranteed of energy-efficiency and desired cooling output. You can, also, clean your unit’s filters, program thermostat, seal air leakage points in your home, as well as block external heat sources such as sun from seeping into your home.