Posted on May 29th, 2013
Summer is here and you probably have already cranked up your air conditioning to cope with unseasonably hot days. Soon you’ll notice a spike in your monthly electrical bill.
This got me thinking about various mistakes people make that result in needlessly high energy bills. Here are some of the things routinely reported by our highly trained team of professional service technicians.
- Dirty filters. HVAC filters should be changed four times a year. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and jacking up energy bills. Longer term, dirty filters contribute to equipment breakdown. Most filters are inexpensive and this is something most home owners are capable of doing themselves, but surveys have found that fewer than half of them bother to do so. If that sounds like you, contact us about a service agreement that will assure your system receives TLC at least twice a year.
- Our service technicians often spot open windows and screened doors while the air conditioning is on. Many people like to sleep with windows open during cool evenings, but forget to close the windows when they turn on the a/c during daytime. Or they fail to close them tightly. You can understand how this wastes money.
- Some homes feel like walking into a freezer. You are entitled to control your home’s climate to your personal comfort level. Just realize that each degree of temperature represents about 3% of energy consumption. Thus, if you raise the thermostat setting from 70 to 75, you will save about 15% on your energy bill.
- If you have to turn the thermostat down way low to feel comfortable, the problem may not be with your body but refrigerant slowly leaking out of the system. Our technicians know how to check for leaks and repair them in an environmentally safe manner.
- A simple energy saving tip is to keep shades and draperies drawn on the sunny side of the house. This can save 10-20% of the cost of cooling on a hot summer day.
- Our technicians will clear the area around your outdoor condenser of dirt, leaves and other debris that accumulates over time. This reduces system efficiency and life span. Periodically throughout the summer you ought to check for shrubbery growth around the outside condenser and keep it trimmed.
- Our technicians frequently discover leaks in ductwork that often aren’t readily apparent to the untrained eye. Leaky ducts exposed to attics or outside air can have the same effect as an open window.
- Our technicians routinely detect and eliminate inefficiencies that can reduce a home’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Saving that much energy by itself will pay for the service call and then some. Give us a call before summer turns on the heat!
Posted on May 14th, 2013
Take a cue from Mother Nature. Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal. Cold winter weather takes its toll on your vital HVAC equipment. Your heating system is coming off a vigorous workout, while your air conditioning needs to awake from hibernation. It makes sense to schedule a checkup in springtime before your a/c has to operate full time during the summer.
Here are some of the things our service technicians will focus on during a springtime checkup:
- We’ll change air filters. HVAC filters should be changed monthly, though some filters can last four to six months. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and jacking up energy bills. Longer term, dirty filters contribute to equipment breakdown. Most filters are inexpensive and this is something most home owners are capable of doing themselves, but surveys have found that fewer than half of home owners bother to do so. Two checkups leading into prime cooling and heating seasons will assure that it’s done at least twice a year. Our check up includes a free standard filter. Upgraded filters are also available.
- We’ll clear the area around your outdoor condenser of dirt, leaves and other debris that accumulated over winter. This is one of the most important tasks to get your air conditioner ready for a heavy summer workout.
- We’ll check closely for air leaks in ductwork, especially at connection points. If ductwork is exposed to outside or attic air, we may recommend insulation for additional protection against leakage.
- We’ll check thermostat settings, so that 70 degrees really is 70.
- We’ll inspect electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Poor motor performance often serves as a warning that your system is liable to break down when you need to crank it up on the hottest days.
- We’ll lubricate all moving parts.
- We’ll check and clean the condensate drain.
- We’ll make sure the system starts and shuts off correctly.
- We’ll clean air conditioning coils. A small amount of dirt on the coil can dramatically reduce efficiency and equipment life.
- We’ll check refrigerant levels. If refrigerant is low, it may be a sign of leakage. Our technicians will check for leaks and recommend needed repairs.
- We’ll clean blower parts.
- We’ll check all fuel connections.
Your HVAC system is vital to your family’s health, safety and comfort. It also represents one of your most expensive household investments, next only to your automobile. You wouldn’t think of going a year without an oil change and other routine maintenance on your car. Likewise, keeping your HVAC system in shape via routine maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in expensive repairs and operating costs.
Our heating professionals routinely detect and eliminate inefficiencies that can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Saving that much energy by itself will pay for the service call and then some.
Even more important, poorly maintained HVAC systems can lead to deadly carbon monoxide outbreaks once heating season comes around. Get in the habit of contacting us for springtime and fall system checkups that can save you money and bring you peace of mind.