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5 Ways to Teach Kids How to Keep Energy Costs Down

Energy efficiency has become a huge priority in household management, and for good reason — not only does it keep heating and cooling costs low, but it’s a green way of living that can help the planet as well. While the adults of the house may take energy conservation to heart without needing to be convinced, it can sometimes be a little trickier to get kids to consider the costs — both financial and environmental — of blasting the air conditioning or leaving lights on in empty rooms.

As the HVAC world strives to become more energy-efficient in order to contribute to a greener home, it’s important that you teach energy conservation lessons to your children as well. Here are five ways you can teach your kids to save energy at home and hopefully impart environmentally-friendly lessons that they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives.

Make Learning Simple

Kids benefit from simple, concrete examples and explanations to help them understand how energy powers their home and why it’s important to save energy as much as possible. Have a sit-down with your children to describe where energy comes from and how it helps your family.

HomeSelfe recommends using easy, fun websites like Physics4Kids or Energy Star Kids to make the information accessible to kids of all ages, or even checking books out of the library (which is its own lesson in saving energy and resources!). Once kids understand how energy is made and where it comes from, they’ll be able to better understand the importance of conserving it throughout the house.

Play “Spot the Outlets”

Now that your kids know a bit more about energy, take them around the house and get them to point out all the places where there’s a power outlet. (This is also a great time to teach them about the dangers of electricity and how to use caution around outlets.)

Take a look at what devices and appliances are plugged into the outlets, and see if they can identify how necessary these devices are. If it’s the fridge, then of course it should be using energy. If it’s a lamp, then it should only be turned on when it’s needed. Reward your kids with a sticker every time they correctly identify a non-vital device that can be turned off to save energy.

Find Creative Ways to Keep Warm

Growing up, did your parents tell you to put a sweater on when you were cold? Annoyingly enough, your parents were right all along. Now that you’re a parent, you can even go one step further with your own kids in the winter months and make a game out of finding ways to warm up after turning down the thermostat.

Lemon Lime Adventures suggests making cozy forts out of blankets, cuddling up as a family for a movie night, or simply bundling up (just like your parents told you to do). You could even have a “winter fashion show” with your kids to see what kind of fun, layered outfits they can come up with from their closets.

Have a Night Off the Grid

Here’s a challenge for the warmer months: Have a night where your family doesn’t use any power whatsoever. Use candles to light your home, get your kids to help make dinner without using the stove (think big salads, sandwiches, or cheese and meat boards), read books together with flashlights, or take turns telling stories. As an added bonus, Toms of Maine notes that a power-free night can really demonstrate to your kids how much they rely on household energy, as well as how easy it can be to use less of it.

Put Kids in Charge

Whether it’s heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer, having windows open or closed can make a huge difference. Your heating and cooling systems will be working extra hard to make up for the air escaping, so appoint your kids as the household “window guardians” and get them to ensure that windows are keeping heat (and air conditioning) inside, without any cracks or leaks.

If they do happen to find drafty leaks, you can engage kids with a fun craft: Make a “Draft Snake” out of old socks to stop up the cracks in windows or doors. (However, if you consistently have cold or hot spots in your home, that is a different issue.)

Save Energy, Save Money, Help the Planet

Teaching your kids to save energy isn’t just about turning out the lights after leaving the room. It’s also about showing them how their small actions can add up to a big difference. Not only are you going to be saving money on your heating and cooling bills, but you’ll also be teaching your kids lifelong lessons in how helping the environment can truly start at home. Keep things simple and fun, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly kids will be willing to help out.

If you’ve got bigger energy concerns as it relates to your heating or cooling system, contact Bob Jenson to discuss potential solutions. Since the late 1970s, we’ve been a trusted San Diego HVAC provider.

Can I Heat & Cool My Home With Solar Energy?

The Pros and Cons of Solar Powered HVAC

As we move toward a more sustainable future, countless industries are beginning to harness the possibilities of renewable energy, and the HVAC sector is no exception.

A solar-powered air conditioner is simply an HVAC device that uses the photovoltaic cells on a solar panel to convert the power of the sun into a usable alternating current. It can be a solar-only unit or part of a home electrical system that derives its power from the sun. When sun exposure is significant, an internal battery can store a charge that can be used on cloudier days.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of a solar-powered HVAC system, as well as the considerations you should bear in mind before installing one.

Why Choose Solar HVAC?

From reducing your carbon footprint to potentially increasing your home’s value, solar panels are a great way to invest in your future. Some of the most obvious benefits to consider are:

You’ll save money: Though the initial cost of panel installation is high, most experts believe that these investments pay for themselves over time, particularly if you use them for more than just heating and cooling. Remember: you can use your solar energy for a range of utilities, too, and you may be able to sell energy that you don’t use back to the power company.

You’ll protect the environment: Solar power is a sustainable energy source that doesn’t create pollution or greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment. Installing panels could be your way of giving back to the planet.

They’re durable: Most solar HVAC systems are more reliable than traditional units. Not only that, but many come with warranties that can last between 10 and 25 years.

Are There Any Downsides?

Because solar-powered systems rely on sunlight to create energy, a lack of sun exposure could cause your power supply to suffer. Solar panels can also deteriorate, particularly if you don’t care for them correctly. Everything from adverse weather conditions to improper maintenance could be enough to impair your solar power system.

It’s also worth noting that, while there may be long-term savings, installing solar panels can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Although the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is a great way to save money, it will only pay for 30% of your system. That means you need to be sure that they’re the right option for you before you install them.

What to Consider Before Installation

Before you make an investment in solar power, you should carefully assess the following factors:

Your Roof Condition: Though solar panels themselves can be extremely durable with plenty of care and maintenance, it’s important to ensure that your roof is just as dependable if you want to make the most of your system.

Consider the layout and materials used on your roof. If your roof is angled so that it can’t get the right amount of sunlight throughout the day, an effective panel system might require amending the roof or placing the panels somewhere more unsightly.

Your Panel Options: Although roof-mounted panels are the most popular choice for most homeowners, they’re not your only option. If you suffer from a problematic roof, you might decide to install your solar panels on the ground instead. This is also a better solution for individuals who might have trouble getting access to a lot of sun with standard installation.

However, ground-mounted panels are often more expensive and they use up more of your outdoor space. Instead, you could consider using high-tech panel systems that track the movement of the sun automatically. While effective, these unique options will make a particularly large dent in your bank account.

Your Home Location: The more sun there is, the more benefits you’ll gain from having solar power. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hot day for you to start generating energy, you do need to make sure you’ve considered your home’s orientation. The orientation of your home, combined with the daily trajectory of the sun, will determine the best place to place the panels.

If you’re not sure whether a solar-powered HVAC system is right for you, talk to a professional about it. Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating today so our team can discuss your options with you.

6 Energy-Efficient HVAC Trends

Where is the HVAC Industry Headed?

Every year, we see new developments in the world of technology and home comfort. In the HVAC industry, the most prominent focus has been on finding solutions that deliver more efficient heating and cooling, with the goal of cutting costs and protecting the environment. Smart, green technologies are earning worldwide respect, and the industry should continue seeing significant growth all the way through to 2020.

As consumers search for more efficient homes, the trend for greener HVAC solutions continues onward. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular trends, from radiant heat to smart systems.

1. Ductless Air Conditioning

Ductless air conditioning units are not new, but mini-splits are only just beginning to become popular in the U.S. These unique AC units can provide everything from zoned heating solutions to whole-house temperature control. A ductless system is energy efficient because it can deliver 30% savings or more in heating and cooling bills. What’s more, thanks to the ability to have one condensing unit outside but four or more wall units inside, these systems offer extensive flexibility when it comes to customizing the indoor temperature of different parts of your home.

2. Geothermal Temperature Control

An old-fashioned option that’s beginning to gather momentum, geothermal HVAC products have been around since the 1940s. However, the use of these products has only begun to grow in popularity recently as a result of the green movement. A geothermal pump uses heat from the Earth via looped piping fitted into the ground. During the colder months, the fluid in the pipes moves underground and absorbs heat from the ground, before bringing that heat back into the home or property.

3. Radiant Heat Solutions

Radiant heat simply refers to a heating process that requires no ductwork. As we’ve learned with ductless air conditioning solutions, without the ductwork, it’s possible to eliminate huge sources of energy loss almost immediately. Radiant heat solutions can also deliver a more balanced comfort level indoors. According to ASHRAE, even at lower temperatures, radiant heat is often more comfortable than a forced-air solution.

4. Green Construction

Solutions for energy efficient heating and cooling don’t have to begin only after a property is built. Across the world, the construction industry has begun to invest in energy-efficient solutions that allow AC systems and heating solutions to work more efficiently within a property.

These green buildings make the most of designs intended to carefully absorb and distribute heat so that electrical devices don’t have to work as hard. Additionally, they often come with plenty of air filters that help to provide clean air, protecting the HVAC and reducing energy use.

5. Smart Homes

In recent years, we’ve begun to discover new and exciting applications for technology throughout the home. Devices that can communicate with each other are making our lives simpler, more convenient, and energy-efficient. The smart home market is expected to reach a value of $80 billion by 2022, and a smart thermostat can allow you to control the temperature in your property from an app.

This means that homeowners can control the temperature of their house when they’re at work, and they’ll never have to worry about forgetting to turn the heating off. Many systems even allow you to print out energy reports each month to show you where you’re using the most energy.

6. Variable Speed Air Conditioning

Finally, the technology used in variable speed solutions for air conditioning provide homeowners and property owners with a chance to adapt their heating and cooling preferences according to their needs with the highest level of efficiency. Unlike standard systems, variable speed options allow you to handle your heating and cooling cycles more precisely, because the system automatically changes to adapt to the needs of your home. According to research, simply switching to a variable speed solution could save homeowners as much as 40% on energy costs each year.

Adapting With the Times

As the world progresses towards greater convenience and comfort, and with new technologies always on the horizon, it makes sense that the HVAC industry would continue to evolve. From thermostat solutions that learn your preferences and adapt to your home, to greener homes designed to support your HVAC systems, there are plenty of ways to make your home more environmentally friendly.

Combined with other green-living solutions, the HVAC systems of tomorrow should deliver greater efficiency and comfort without damaging the earth.

Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating services HVAC systems made by all brands. We can ensure that your unit is performing efficiently to the best of its ability. Get in touch with us today.

Simple Tricks To Lower Your Company’s Energy Bill

Shut Down at Night

Between air conditioning, lighting, and electronics, energy bills can start to skyrocket, especially in the summer. But with the right tricks up your sleeve, your company can actually reduce its energy costs during the hottest months of the year. Read on to discover our top tips for a smaller energy bill this season.

Think about all the things that get properly shut down when your employees head home. Are you just turning off the lights? What about the computers? And how about the air conditioning?

Depending on your climate, you may be able to drastically reduce your air conditioning bill by turning the air conditioner off at night. Simply designate someone to come in early in the mornings to turn the air on, or invest in a programmable thermostat.

Raise the Thermostat

It may seem smart to turn the air conditioning on full-blast during office hours, but you may be working it too hard. Chances are employees won’t notice a degree or two difference in the thermostat settings. Raising the thermostat by a couple of degrees can make a big difference to your energy expenditure and power bill. How much you change it depends on the temperature difference between the inside air and the outside air. The greater the temperature difference, the more work your air conditioner has to do.

Be sure that you don’t keep heat-producing equipment, such as computers, directly next to the thermostat. It will sense the heat from the device and cause the air conditioner to run longer and cooler than is needed.

Install and Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to reduce your air conditioner’s energy expenditure without using much electricity themselves. Ceiling fans create a wind chilling effect to help people cool off. That means you can raise the temperature in the office considerably — about 4 degrees Fahrenheit — without compromising comfort. Not only that, but the fans help improve air circulation. In the summer, the fan blades should be spinning in a counterclockwise direction.

Shade Your Office

There are many factors at play when it comes to your office temperature. If people are always coming and going, the constant opening of doors means cool air is escaping while the warm outside air is coming in. People, lighting, and electronics all contribute heat that raises the temperature in the office. However, one of the big factors at play is the sun. If you can block out some of it, your air conditioning unit won’t have to work as hard to cool the space. Some ideas include installing blinds on your office windows or planting trees on the sides of the building where the sun shines most.

Service Your HVAC

As long as you’re aiming to reduce the work your air conditioner has to do, make it a point to service your HVAC system. Something as simple as changing the filters can help boost the air conditioner’s efficiency so it uses less energy to reach the same temperature in the office. The drain on the unit should also be cleaned and serviced since dirt and moisture can build up in it and leave it clogged. Not only that, but an uncleaned drain can grow mold, which can be hazardous to your employees, partners, and customers. Talk to an experienced HVAC professional to see what you can do this summer to boost your air conditioner’s efficiency.

The vast majority of your summer energy bill comes from your air conditioner. By trying our solutions, you can keep your air conditioner from overworking so you don’t have to pay as much to cool your office.

Replace vs. Repair: When Is It Time to Replace Your AC?

Important Factors To Consider

If your air conditioning system suddenly fails, you have an important decision to make. Do you look for a dependable company to repair your existing unit, or do you invest in a new, upgraded solution?

Many of the small issues that arise with AC units can be quickly, and inexpensively repaired — enabling you to get a longer life out of your current unit. If your system has had a significant breakdown, or simply isn’t performing as well as it used to, you might benefit more from replacing it. Updating to a system that uses new refrigerant substances will lessen your negative footprint on the ozone layer; and innovative units allow you to use half of the energy you might use with an older model.

When you’re debating whether to repair or replace, there are three important factors to consider: life expectancy, energy efficiency, and the unit condition.

Evaluate the Life Expectancy of Your Current Unit

Perhaps the most common reason to choose replacement over AC repair is that the current unit is old, and no longer functioning at its best. While regular maintenance can keep an air conditioner running for 15 to 20 years, you may start finding problems with ongoing maintenance when the unit hits the ten-year mark. As a unit ages, it becomes more complicated — and expensive — to repair, because older parts are more difficult to find, and long-term problems require a great deal of ongoing maintenance.

Making the decision to replace an old, worn air conditioner not only saves you money on repairs; a newer model can also provide increased energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, and improved indoor air quality. Carefully consider how long you can reasonably expect your current AC unit to perform at its best — if your unit is over ten years old, and requiring increasingly more maintenance, it may be time for your system to retire.

Consider Your Energy Efficiency Levels

Upgrading to a new AC unit offers the opportunity to access a more energy-efficient temperature-control solution. After all, even if you pay the price to completely restore an aging unit, at best you can only achieve the same efficiency the machine produced when it was manufactured. Thanks to increasing energy standards imposed by the government, newer air conditioning units are much more efficient — benefitting both your wallet, and the environment.

AC units are rated according to a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER value. The more your AC equipment can do with a single unit of energy, the higher its SEER rating will be. In other words, a high SEER rating suggests that you can consume less energy for the same level of cooling. Energy star recommends upgrading any AC unit that is more than ten years old, as the government imposed a new requirement in 2006, demanding all units to be at least SEER-13.

If you need help assessing the efficiency of your current model, you can take the EPA home assessment test to determine whether your AC unit is using energy efficiently, or hiking up your energy bills.

Recognize When Your Unit is Approaching Failure

Once you’ve assessed the energy-efficiency and life-expectancy of your AC model, your last step is to evaluate the current condition of your unit. Think about the number of breakdowns you’ve experienced in the last year, and how much time you devote to maintenance. There are a number of important warning signs that can indicate your air conditioner is on its last legs:

Inconsistent Temperatures
If the AC unit cannot maintain consistent temperatures, it’s not doing its job. This may just mean you need to inspect the valves, filters, condensation drains, and coils for obstructions — but, it could also be a sign that your unit can no longer perform at optimal level.

Noisy Operation
Most fully-functional AC units can operate almost silently. If your machine is ticking, buzzing, or rattling, this could indicate serious problems with the internal mechanisms.

Excessive Dust
If dust seems to settle across your home, despite your efforts to clean regularly, it may be a sign that your AC has malfunctioning ducts.

Humidity
If your home is plagued by constant humidity problems, this could indicate that the AC unit is no longer working properly — a good model should control air quality, as well as temperature.

Health Concerns
If people in the property complain of nausea, headaches, or burning sensations in their eyes, this could be a sign that something is wrong with the AC unit.

Know When to Replace your AC

It’s often tempting to call the repairman, rather than spend the time and effort to replace your entire air conditioning system — if the issues are small, and the unit is young, this is usually a good call. When the issues are costly, the model is outdated, or you’re facing constant repairs, it’s ultimately going to be more cost-efficient — and more beneficial in the long run — to replace your AC unit. Pro tip: you may want to consider replacing your heating system at the same time as your AC unit; as connecting an older furnace to a new, efficient AC may prevent it from performing at optimum level.

Why Proper Attic Ventilation Is Key In Warm Climates

The Hidden Potential of Your Attic

For many homeowners, the attic is a place to store unwanted furniture, old clothes, and bulky luggage. But for people who want to reduce their energy expenditure, extend the longevity of their roof, and cultivate a more comfortable home, the attic has a lot to offer. In fact, many new building codes now call for increased attic insulation and ventilation – emphasizing that a well-ventilated attic is essential in both cold and warm climates.

Ventilation is all about temperature control and consistency. In cold climates, attic ventilation is necessary for maintaining a warmer roof temperature – which is essential for venting condensation and preventing ice dams. In hot climates, ventilation is just as important for the opposite reason; keeping the attic space cool. If you live in a warmer climate, the best way to avoid problems like wasted energy, mold, and peeling paint is to install better attic insulation and ventilation.

Insulation Alone Is Not Enough

In warm climates, cooling a home to make it more comfortable uses a lot of energy. Proper insulation and sealing keeps the heat and humidity surrounding the property from entering the home. After all, in a hot climate, there’s a greater natural force driving warmth into your cool, dry home.

While proper insulation is important, without ventilation, the system is critically lacking. No matter how much extra insulation you add to an attic, heat can still seep into the adjacent rooms of your home. Proper attic ventilation cools temperatures by controlling the rise of heat through (and out of) your roof. Not only can proper ventilation remove excess heat build-up, but it also reduces the workload of your air conditioning system, saving you money on energy costs.

How Does Ventilation Work in Warm Climates?

Ventilation is a system of exhaust and intake mechanisms that create a steady flow of air around a property. In hot climates, ventilation expels hot air from the attic space – meaning it takes less work to keep the area cool. Proper attic ventilation is the solution for year-round benefits in all kinds of roofing systems – cooling attics in hotter weather, protecting against damage to structures and materials, and aiding in the reduction of energy consumption.

Many climate experts and handymen recommend that homeowners seek out proper ventilation to combat high levels of humidity and extreme heat. Without good ventilation, hot and humid climates can lead to a massive buildup of moisture and heat in the attic space, leading to various problems – including damage to roofing shingles and roof decking. Too much heat over time can actually warm or deteriorate the roofing materials prematurely, damaging your home.

The Benefits of Ventilation

The importance of proper attic ventilation can be summed up in two simple words: heat rises. If you live in a warm climate and go into your attic on even a mild day, you’ll likely find that it’s incredibly hot inside – more like a sauna than a room. That’s why roofing industry experts agree that maintaining a consistently cool temperature in your attic not only saves on energy costs, but can also extend the life of major components in your home.

A well-ventilated attic:

Reduces your energy costs – Air circulation removes hot air, preventing it from seeping into other rooms, and saving your AC units, refrigerators and other appliances from having to work harder. The reduced temperature in the attic will also assist the air conditioner by keeping internal air and ductwork cooler.

Extends the life of your roof and other components – When your attic heats up, the underlayment beneath the roof shingles warm up as well, and over time this will cause them to become brittle and ineffective. Lowering attic temperatures can save on the expense of premature replacement and repairs.

Removes harmful moisture – A hot climate with any level of humidity can result in a buildup of moisture within your attic space; and if the temperature begins to drop, that moisture will condense, which can cause a number of issues. Ventilation removes moisture, preventing dangerous mold and mildew in your home.

Proper attic ventilation facilitates the continual flow of air at a manageable temperature within a home, making a huge difference to the comfort level of the property and the people who live there.

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Don’t Let Winter Cost You More

Detecting the cause behind increased energy costs during the winter months can be frustrating. After all, if you have an A/C unit, you were likely using you’re A/C as frequently as you are your heating system. Still, the truth remains that various factors contribute to higher energy bills; factors that (individually, may be overlooked) have the totalizing effect of crippling your bank account.

Coming up with an energy saving strategy can have the immediate effect of reducing your bill and help you with your savings in the long run. This article will give you a few tips and tricks on how to lessen the amount of energy consumed daily in your household.

Setting the Furnace Thermostat:

Adjust your home heating system to a comfortable temperature when indoors and readjust down to a cooler temperature when out. For example, if using a furnace thermostat, set it to 68 degrees or below. 5% more energy is used for every degree above 68°C that your furnace thermostat is set to. Likewise, setting your furnace thermostat down to 56° F while it is not in use can save you five to 15% annually on your energy bill. If possible, invest in a programmable thermostat to remotely control temperature adjustments in your home.

Don’t Forget to Clean the Lint Trap:

Repetitive laundry cycles is reason enough to forget to clean the lint trap. But performing this quick and simple task can save you up to $34 dollars annually and can prevent fires.

Clean all Furnace Filters:

Cleaning your furnace filter not only encourages air flow and improves air quality, but can also save you up to 5% annually. Filters clogged with dirt and grime degrades the quality of circulating air and increases energy use.

Seal up Leaks:

Leaks and cracks through which heat can escape may cause your heater to work harder as it overcompensates. Seals can leak around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and any other small spaces around the house. Seal up all gaps between the pipes / vents and the walls. A double-paned glass window is an important investment for use to contain circulating warm air with in your home. Also, make sure to always close your windows and doors to trap in heat and, consequently, trap out cold.

Adjust Water Temperature:

Your hot water temperature should be set to the “normal” setting or 120° F. This could save you 7% to 11% on hot water heating costs. You can also save another $30 annually if you wash your clothes in cold water.

Efficient Use of Your Dryer:

Avoid over drying your clothes. If possible, invest in an energy-saving dryer with moist-sensor recognition capabilities. This enables your machine to automatically turn off when the clothes dry, and could possibly cut down your energy use and save you money in the long run. Inefficiently running your dryer may cost you $34 annually.

Cut Down on Use of Water Heating Appliances:

If heating a small volume of water, opt for the use of a microwave as opposed to an electric kettle or an electric stove top. More energy is applied to heat the kettle and the water inside it when using an electric kettle. In contrast, microwaves are designed to heat only the contents inside your bowls. Utilizing a microwave as opposed to a burner or an oven may save you up to 80% on cooking energy.

Additionally, cut your shower time in half to avoid extended use of your hot water heater. This could save you up to 33% on your hot water heating costs. Consider investing in high-efficiency shower heads and faucet aerators to cut back 16% on water heating cost.

A Few Keys Things to Remember:

1. Allow in sunlight to heat up your home
2. Turn off all lights when not in use
3. Keep your computers and electronic devices unplugged
4. Keep your windows and doors locked
5. Service your furnace once every six months

All in all, maintain good energy-saving practices, such as the few mentioned above, to cut back on energy costs.

Thermostat Efficiency: Small Adjustment, Big Savings

How to Save Money by Adjusting Your Thermostat Settings

It’s a rare day when we are not interested in finding additional ways to save money. From clipping coupons and buying generic home goods to curbing shopping sprees and holding off on that luxurious vacation, there is always a way that we can cinch up our belts and squeeze a little more savings out of our daily lives. But, not all attempts to save money and pinch pennies have to be so difficult. With a little bit of finagling we can curb the exodus of our cash just by making a few adjustments around the house.

A household’s heating and cooling charges are often the largest portion of your monthly utility bill. By making small adjustments to lower your usage while you are asleep, at work, or away on vacation, you can keep all the benefits of a comfortable home while saving some cash in the process.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats are a great way to automatically adjust your home’s heating and air-conditioning throughout the day. By implementing a schedule that lowers the heat or air conditioning during specific hours, you can remain comfortable and still preserve the bulk of your paycheck.

There are many types of programmable thermostats on the market. Some are digital, some are eletromechanical, and others are a combination of both. Digital thermostats often provide the broadest array of options, but can be complicated to operate. For best results, find a thermostat that is straightforward in its operation and allows you the opportunity to get the most out of your home climate management.

In addition, be sure to locate your thermostat in an open area. Install your thermostat in a location where it is away from direct sunlight, drafts, windows, large obstructive furniture, or any other impositions that might throw off the reading.

Utility Bill Savings

Doing a self-check is also a great means by which to manage your utility bill. During the winter, are you ripping off your sweater the second you walk in the door? Alternatively, are you keeping your home as chilly as a supermarket frozen section during the summer?

For the most efficient energy-savings, the recommended setting for a thermostat is 78 degrees. You can achieve even greater savings by making further adjustments depending on the time of day or season of the year. For example, by simply dialing down your thermostat ten degrees for the eight hours you are asleep at night, you can save up to 15% on your heating bill. During the summer, you can save approximately six to eight percent off your home energy bill for every degree you raise your temperature above this recommended set point. This rule of thumb can be inversely applied to those colder months. In the winter, lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours a day can help you reduce your energy bill by five to 15 percent. If the cold is too much to bear, consider increasing the humidity of your home’s environment to assist in providing a sense of warmth. Or don extra clothes, pull out those blankets, and check all your windows and doors for drafts.
By simply lowering your air conditioning during hours you are not at home or not awake, you can cash in big on savings.

With just a few changes to your home’s thermostat, you can shave a significant amount of money off of your utility bill, all without having to sacrifice your comfort. Saving money can be as simple as switching out your thermostat and programming your home’s climate to keep you perfectly comfortable.

9 Energy Saving Myths Busted!

As we learn to care and maintain our homes we pick up tips and tricks along the way from family, friends and the internet to implement in our way of doing things. We are all looking to be more efficient, make our lives just a little bit easier, but we may have fallen prey to a myth. It’s easy to do when the idea really seems to make sense. Today we bust 9 energy saving myths for you to break free from! Enjoy our latest infographic:

Infographic showing 9 energy myths that people may mistakenly believe

How Does A Smart HVAC System Work?

Technology meets HVAC

With energy prices constantly on the rise and more homeowners looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints, the efficiency of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems is a paramount concern. Fine tuning systems and temperature settings are at the core of HVAC energy conservation, and technology is making more convenient than ever.

In coming years, the term “smart” will be applied to a lot more than phones and watches; efficient everyday home appliances—like HVAC systems—are part of this evolving area of smart technology. Smart HVAC systems conserve energy and save consumers money, all while tapping into the technology that consumers have already adopted on a mass scale.

In this article we will look at practical ways that smart HVAC systems are improving the lives of users and what average consumers can expect from the technology in coming years.

What Is a “Smart” HVAC System?

This term is actually broad and can refer to any number of emerging technologies and products that make HVAC management more efficient and consumer friendly—not necessarily the whole system itself. Manufacturers sell HVAC system controls that allow consumers to adjust their home temperatures from a smartphone app and also to be alerted about upcoming maintenance or repair tasks. Other manufacturers have wall-mounted units that detect motion in specific rooms and adjust temperatures accordingly. If a room has no motion for 20 minutes, the system readjusts.

There are many ways that HVAC systems are getting smarter and more energy-efficient. In short, a smart HVAC system adjusts intuitively or remotely—it “knows” more about the homeowner’s preferences and needs, and the homeowner also has more control, even remotely, via mobile apps. A homeowner doesn’t have to physically adjust it the thermostat, and in some cases doesn’t need to do any adjusting anyway. Convenience is part of the equation, but cost savings through conservation is another benefit.

How Do Smart HVAC Systems Operate?

This is dependent on the specific product you use, but most make use of a thermostat, smart meter, and web or smartphone-enabled app. The main component of smart HVAC systems is climate control automation. Intuitive factors like occupation of a room and time of day play a role in telling the HVAC system what to do and when—all with little or no input from consumers.

Smart HVAC systems also better inform you regarding usage, maintenance tasks, and repairs. This means they help you make smarter consumption choices based on data, can help you lower utility costs, and can even extend the lifespan of HVAC systems by helping you stay up to date on maintenance tasks.

How Efficient are Smart HVAC Systems?

Some industry experts claim that smart HVAC systems will lead to a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, with real-time information management leading to an increase in efficiency closer to 30 percent or 40 percent. The bottom line is that smart HVAC systems are a product of the information/digital age. Information and increasingly precise technology help these systems work smarter and help users to think smarter about energy consumption, too. This translates to cost and energy conservation.

Smart HVAC technology is innovating the way we consume energy for cooling and heating. As smart HVAC systems see wider mainstream adoption, the costs to use them will drop. This will in turn mean a larger population of homeowners who are able to save money on their HVAC use and a decrease in the amount of energy required for use.

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