3 Simple Ways to Make Your HVAC More Energy-Efficient
Have you ever stopped to wonder just how much energy you use heating and cooling your Seattle home every month? In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy , nearly half of all of the energy you pay for in your household goes toward running your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning . This means that making your heating and cooling systems run more efficiently can help you both reduce your household’s environmental impact and keep your energy expenses down. Here are some simple steps you can take for a more energy-efficient HVAC system:
Buy a programmable thermostat.
Purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to rein in your energy usage at home. Programmable thermostats let you schedule different settings throughout the day, ensuring that you aren’t needlessly running your HVAC system late at night, or when nobody is home. The latest programmable thermostats even allow you to adjust them remotely using Wi-Fi.
Change out your air filter.
When your air filter gets clogged up with a lot of dirt and debris, it means that your HVAC system won’t be running as efficiently. Fortunately, you can forestall that problem by making sure to change out your old air filter for a new one once every month or so. The more heavily you’re relying on your air conditioning or furnace, the more frequently you will want to change your filter.
Upgrade your entire HVAC system.
The older your air conditioner or furnace is, the more inefficient it is likely to be. As time goes on, this can turn into an expensive problem. One of the best ways to reduce your energy usage is to replace your old HVAC system with a newer, more energy-efficient one. Make sure that any new HVAC equipment you buy has been certified by Energy Star, which signifies that they are among the most energy-efficient products available.
Top Benefits of Fireplace Insert Installation
If you’d like to rely less on your HVAC, heat pump, or boiler this winter, then consider taking advantage of a fireplace insert near Seattle . If your home already features a masonry fireplace, then there are several ways in which you could benefit from having an insert installed.
Ease of Use
Fireplace inserts can be fueled by either electricity, gas, or wood. Gas and electric are ready to go at the flip of the switch, and there’s also no need to worry about making sure the fire is out before you head to bed or leave the house for the day. Also, wood-burning fireplace inserts enjoy less maintenance and repairs than traditional fireplaces.
Improved Fireplace Appearance
With the number of insert designs and installation options available, there are countless ways in which getting a fireplace insert can update the appearance of your home. The insert itself can make your masonry fireplace appear cleaner and more modern. Also, if you choose to upgrade the outer hearth, then there is a wealth of design options to choose from that can be used to match your fireplace with your interior design. As an added benefit, many types of fireplace inserts are easy to install, meaning that you shouldn’t anticipate a drawn-out or messy home remodeling project when you select this kind of upgrade.
Because of their design, fireplace inserts can benefit homeowners by reducing the amount of heat lost from fireplace use. Also, they can make your masonry fireplace better insulated as well, preventing heat gain or loss throughout the year.
More Effective Heating
Due to their high level of energy-efficiency, fireplace inserts can prove to be a cost-saving measure for many homes. Wood-burning fireplace inserts, for example, can generate far more heat for your house from one load of wood than a traditional fireplace can. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your utility bills this fall and winter, then a fireplace insert could be the answer that you need.
When to Replace Your HVAC System
Your home’s HVAC near Seattle plays a significant role in keeping your family comfortable while indoors. If you’re wondering if you should replace your current system, then there are a few warning signs to keep in mind:
It’s getting old.
On average, heating and air conditioning units are designed to last about 10 to 15 years. As your HVAC system nears the end of its lifespan, it may have decreased efficiency and require more frequent repairs. If your system has reached the 10-year mark, then it may be time to pay more attention to its function to determine if it’s running as well as it once did.
It doesn’t work efficiently.
Have you noticed an increase in your monthly utility bills? If so, then your HVAC system could be at fault. Sometimes, maintenance and repair are all that’s needed to get a unit working well again but, in other cases, replacement is the better option. Also, if your boiler, furnace, or air conditioner are running for longer periods than they once did, then this can be a sign that it is time to consider replacement. When your HVAC system is running for long periods, this means that it is not cooling or warming your home as quickly as it once did. In turn, the longer that it runs, the more energy it requires, which can result in higher energy bills. If you’re ready to enjoy an HVAC system that runs efficiently, then think about replacing your old one.
It doesn’t keep you comfortable.
As HVAC systems begin to fail, they usually struggle to keep the entire home at the right temperature and humidity level. A few signs that could mean that you might benefit from a new HVAC unit include increased or decreased humidity levels, odors or noises while the system runs, and uneven cooling or heating throughout your home. Also, if the unit runs continuously and still fails to reach the set temperature, or if you frequently adjust the thermostat to try to feel more comfortable, then it may be time for a new HVAC system.
Could Your Home Benefit from HVAC Zones?
Your home’s air conditioner and heat pump play a major role in keeping your family comfortable, but their function can account for a significant amount of your household’s energy usage. Are you looking for ways to get more out of your HVAC near Seattle ? If so, then you may benefit from HVAC zones.
Watch this video to understand the role of zones when it comes to cooling and warming your home. Some rooms in the home are naturally warmer or cooler than others. However, employing an HVAC zoning system can allow the unit to heat and cool your home more evenly. Also, a zoning system can be used to send conditioned air to specific areas of the home when others aren’t in use.
The Benefits of a New Air Conditioner
The function and efficiency of your home’s HVAC unit can significantly affect your family’s comfort, as well as the cost of your monthly energy bill. If you’re not completely satisfied with your AC’s performance, then you may benefit from investing in a new air conditioner serving Seattle.
New air conditioners can increase the comfort that you enjoy while indoors by cooling properly and contributing to ideal humidity levels. Also, the technology used in newer units can improve your home’s energy efficiency, even if your current AC hasn’t reached the end of its 10 to 15-year lifespan.
Some homeowners hesitate to invest in a new air conditioner when they aren’t sure how long they will be staying in their home. If you move, it’s true that you won’t be around to enjoy your long-term return on investment, but you will benefit from the increased value that it provides for your property. Additionally, you will be able to take advantage of better AC performance for the time that you remain in your home.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they need to lower the temperature in their home is to turn on the AC. Many households use air conditioners to stay cool during the summer, but heat pumps near Seattle can provide the same effect while using less energy.
Heat pumps are energy-efficient heating and cooling units.
Because of their name, the average person wouldn’t expect a heat pump to have anything to do with cooling. These units can have the dual purpose of heating your home in the winter, and keeping it cool during the summer. Heat pumps are units that use a small amount of energy to move heat to a different location. These devices are ideal for use in climates that enjoy moderate temperatures without hot or cold extremes. When installed in less temperate zones, supplemental heating or air conditioning may be necessary.
Heat pumps rely on heat transfer to warm or cool your home.
A heat pump’s purpose is to pull heat from the air or the ground, and then move it to another location. These units use mechanical-compression style refrigeration and typically consist of two components. The indoor part, which is called the air handler, contains the blower, which moves air into your home. The outside section, which is the heat pump, resembles an air conditioning unit and is responsible for heat transfer. Heat pumps come in a variety of styles, but their basic principle for operation is heat transfer. In the case of cooling your home, the machine works by pulling warmth from inside the home and moving it outside.
Heat pumps may offer you several advantages.
Heat pumps are single unit devices that are used for both heating and cooling, often making them more convenient to install than an HVAC system. Also, because they run on electricity and do not require fuel to heat or cool a space, they are energy-efficient and can save you significantly energy costs.
Get the Most Out of Your Air Conditioner
A lack of proper maintenance is the primary reason that HVAC units fail. If your air conditioning near Seattle hasn’t been inspected for over a year, it may not be functioning at maximum efficiency. Watch this video for tips on getting the most out of your air conditioner.
If your A/C sounds noisy, keeps turning on and off, or seems to be running all day, then you may benefit by scheduling air conditioner maintenance. Also, a rise in the cost of your monthly energy bill or a higher humidity level in your home are both indicators that the unit may be functioning poorly and can benefit from a tune-up. Your air conditioner loses an estimated 5% of its efficiency each year that it isn’t inspected and cleaned.
Choosing the Right Size Air Conditioner
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner and live in the Seattle area, selecting the right sized unit for your space is essential. When an HVAC unit’s cooling capacity is too small, it will fail to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. When your A/C is too big for your home, it will use more electricity than is necessary and will make your home’s interior unpleasantly humid. Figuring out the right size air conditioner for your needs is vital for maximizing the unit’s efficiency and performance.
Measure your home’s square footage.
Determining the size air conditioner that you need will require some measurements and a bit of math. First, measure the square footage of each of the rooms that you intend to cool. Use a tape measure to learn the length and width of one room, and write these measurements down. Next, multiply these two numbers to figure out the square footage. Complete this process for each room of the house, writing down the measurements and totals as you work. Be sure to include only areas that your central ducts reach, excluding basements, garages, and attics.
Determine your cooling capacity needs.
The next step toward finding out what size air conditioner you need is to use your measurements to determine the cooling capacity required for your home. The cooling capacity of central air systems and room air conditioners is measured using British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. The United States Department of Energy’s Energy Star website provides guidelines for determining the BTUs needed for your home or room’s square footage .
Consider your home’s additional factors.
Choosing the right size air conditioner can depend on a few things besides your home’s square footage. If your house receives significant sunlight or has many windows, it may need more cooling capacity than one that is shaded or allows less sunlight into the interior. Your home’s insulation will also contribute to its need for cooling capacity. Experts recommend having multiple HVAC contractors perform an estimate on your home before you make a decision about purchasing your new air conditioner.
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