Top HVAC New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

The new year is just around the corner, and this means it’s time to start thinking about how you can improve different aspects of your life. Whether you are resolving to eat healthier, exercise more, or save more money throughout the year, there is one thing that you may not have included in your New Year’s resolutions – your HVAC system!

Though your air conditioner and furnace may be the last things on your mind as the new year approaches, you can resolve to take better care of your HVAC system in 2017. Not only will this help ensure consistent home comfort, but it can also prolong the life of your equipment and help you save more money on energy costs.

Adopt These 2017 HVAC New Year’s Resolutions

So how can you resolve to take better care of your HVAC system in the new year? Below, we have put together just a few HVAC New Year’s resolutions that homeowners can make in 2017:

Inspect and improve your home insulation.

Homeowners need to inspect their home insulation for any cracks or leaks. These cracks and leaks can let warm or cool air escape from your home. This causes your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home at an optimal temperature, which wastes energy and can drive up your heating and cooling costs. It’s important to seal any cracks or leaks in your insulation to keep your system running efficiently throughout the year.

Check and replace your air filters regularly.

Most homeowners know that they need to replace their air filters regularly. However, many forget to do this on a regular basis. It is important to check your air filters at least once a month and change them when they get dirty. Dirty or clogged filters can restrict airflow, causing your heater or air conditioner to work harder than it should to keep your home comfortable. This not only wastes energy but can also increase heating and cooling costs. Write down a reminder in your calendar or set a reminder in your phone so that you remember to check and replace your air filters once a month.

Get to know repair warning signs, and call your HVAC tech.

This year, resolve to learn a little bit more about your HVAC system so that you can know when it needs attention. By learning the warning signs, you can identify when your system needs repair, and call an HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the issue immediately. By knowing the signs, you may be able to save yourself time and money as the HVAC technician can often fix small issues before they cause more damage to your system that leads to more expensive repair needs.

Are you ready to start treating your HVAC system right? Efficient Systems knows just what it takes to keep Indianapolis HVAC systems up and running year-round. If you have any questions about our heating and cooling products or want to schedule an appointment for HVAC service or repair, contact us today.

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.

Energy Saving Tips For Winter

As the weather gets colder, utility bills tend to rise. When it comes to energy costs in the winter season, following a few easy energy savings tips for winter can add up to significant savings. Reductions of some type can be found in nearly every room of the house.

The laundry room is a good place to start. For savings throughout the year, clean the lint trap in the dryer before every load. Also try not to get your clothes overly dry. Shaving a little time off of every load will make a difference in the long run. If you plan to buy a new dryer, look for an energy-efficient model. To save on costs when using a gas water heater, also consider washing clothes in cold water.

The kitchen is another area in which to look for savings. A warm oven feels nice in winter, but consider microwaving small portions of food at a time when appropriate. The oven uses much more energy, and it runs for longer periods of time. Also look to your dishwasher for potential savings. Check for settings that save energy, and see if your model has a booster heater. If it does, you might be able to lower the setting on your hot water heater.

When it comes to the water heater, also consider energy savings that might be found in the bathroom. Showers, for example, generate a large amount of water heating costs. Spending less time in the shower can reduce those costs. Low-flow shower heads can also create a reduction in water heating costs.

Thermostat settings present a significant opportunity for energy savings in winter weather. If health and reasonable comfort permit it, try setting your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. For each degree above 68 degrees, up to 5% more energy is used. When away from home for approximately 8 hours, try a setting of 56 degrees. This could create savings of up to 15% per year on heating costs.

Some of these tips might more practical for you than others, but many are applicable for everyone. Every little bit helps, and some of the tips are easy to turn into a habit. Be sure to check back here soon for more tips on savings.

What Does Energy Factor Mean?

What does energy factor mean? This is a metric that the United States uses to compare the energy conversion’s efficiency in regards to appliances and equipment that are used within your home. Currently, the energy factor rating is used to rate how efficient things like clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers and water heaters really are. The U.S. Department of Energy develops and enforces minimal energy conservation standards as part of their Energy Conservation Program.

Even though the term “energy factor” is used when comparing appliances’ relative efficiency, the metric is actually defined differently for each of these appliances. Ultimately, it is defined in terms of site energy though. This excludes the loss of energy via the conversion process. According to federal standards this is defined by fuel, type and storage volume. The Department of Energy also defines all of these metrics.

Some of the energy conversion efficiency standards that you should know about are as follows:
1. Dishwashers’ energy factor is defined as how many cycles per kWh of input power they have.
2. Clothes washers’ energy factor is defined as the capacity in cubic feet for each kWh of input power that each cycle takes.
3. Clothes dryers’ energy factor is defined as how many pounds of laundry can be dried per kWh of power that is consumed. Unfortunately, this definition is currently stifling the innovation and competitiveness of dryers. As such, manufacturers aren’t able to do much about this second biggest energy consumer within your home today.
4. Water heaters’ energy factor is defined by using the results from a 24-hour stimulated test run. This test run is done via a hot water use pattern whereby the water is drawn in 6 equal draws for a total of 64.3 gallon, which is followed by an 18 hour standby period.

Now that you are more knowledgeable about what the energy factor rating is you will be better able to decide upon which appliances will better suit your household’s needs. However, if you’re still in need of some help with this, then call us for all your air conditioning and heating system needs.

New HVAC Efficiency Standards Are Potentially Great And Costly

During this time the annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, also known as an AFUE rating was developed to classify the fuel efficiency of furnace combustion systems. Currently, the minimum HVAC Efficiency rating standard is set at 78. In 2013 the rating for all furnace systems in the northern states segmented by the DOE was supposed to be raised to an AFUE rating of 90.

A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 is rated as wasting only 10 percent of the fuel it requires to operate. This is rather impressive, and beneficial to homeowners as well as the environment. However, there are several drawbacks to this new rating standard. The only furnace that has this impressive rating is the condensing furnace. Beyond the initial cost of new equipment, many homeowners face other challenges when installing this efficient furnace.

The venting system often needs to be changed and other implements must be made to successfully retrofit this system into a home. The additional cost burdens are what caused many professionals in the HVAC industry to press the courts to hold off on enforcing the efficiency standards to be raised. Currently, the enforcement is put on hold and the court system is trying to determine the right move to make.

Homeowners that want to get their home up to date with a fuel efficient furnace can take the opportunity to do so before the standard efficiency ratings are actually enforced. In fact, for some homeowners, getting their system updated is a priority. It never hurts to be a step ahead when possible, and considering the benefits of a more efficient furnace, acting now can boost the return of the initial investment. Homeowners are urged to contact a local HVAC contractor to learn more about the latest news and developments pertaining to fuel efficient HVAC equipment and new efficiency standards.