Going Green with Upgrades

Lennox rebatesIf you’re considering home renovations and improvements this spring, pay attention to how newer, more advanced “green” appliances can reduce your energy use.  You’ll not only enjoy greater comfort, convenience and reliability from technologically-enhanced features, but you’ll also shell out less “green” from your wallet in energy costs.

Replacing aging refrigerators, dishwashers, freezers, washers, and dryers with more energy-efficient models is part of a sound strategy for controlling energy costs.  But, of course, your air conditioning and heating takes the biggest bite out of your energy funds – as much as half or more in some cases.

According to the Department of Energy, switching to high-efficiency air conditioners as part of your energy conservation efforts can help you reduce your energy use for cooling by 20-50%.  That’s a huge savings that adds up quickly.

Over the years, air conditioning technology has made great improvements.  If you compared one of today’s best models with an air conditioner made in the mid-1970s, you’d find that it uses 30-50% less energy to produce the same amount of cool air.  But even if your air conditioning system is just 10 years old, you could save 20-40% in cooling energy by replacing it with a newer model.

Remember – it’s not just the unit itself that saves energy.  You also need equipment that is properly sized for your home and professionally installed.  Units that are too large won’t adequately remove humidity.  Units that are too small won’t be able to maintain comfortable cooling on really hot days.  To talk about upgrading your air conditioning system, or other energy-saving options, give us a call at 402-362-5702.

Low-Cost Home Workouts

Looking for an alternative to a pricey gym membership?

Start by turning ordinary household items into equipment.  Chairs can be used for push-ups and dips.  Jump ropes are great for aerobic exercise.  Old milk jugs and laundry jugs can be filled with water and converted  into dumbbells. You can also use cat litter containers and cat/dog food.  Got stairs?  Go up and down for 30 minutes

Don’t invest in clothes racks.  Avoid buying equipment that only sees strength training exercises when you remove the clothes that pile up.  Before you make the purchase, make sure you’re going to use the equipment.  This will save you from buyer’s remorse, and keep you from wasting valuable storage space.

Buy smart.  When you know what you want to purchase, save money by checking out online classifieds for used equipment.  Just make sure it’s in good working order before you shell out the cash.  Also, for a great workout, you can buy or stream exercise videos for low to nothing cost classes right in the privacy and convenience of your own home.

What’s the Right Smart Thermostat For You?

iComfort S30IMG_1873

The iComfort S30, Lennox’s top-of-the-line model, is the smart thermostat that expertly adheres to your customers’ busy schedules.  Creative features like Smart Away mode and Schedule IQ technology will adapt to their routines and automatically change the temperature settings when a person leaves or arrives in the home, while advanced alerts and performance reports use smart diagnostics to monitor all system components.  In addition, the iComfort S30 has remote diagnostic capabilities that can potentially allow your local HVAC company to solve your heating or cooling problems without them having to make a house call.

iComfort Wi-Fi

The iComfort Wi-Fi smart thermostat, where technology meets accessibility, features an efficient touchscreen interface that puts comfort control right at your fingertips.  Similarly to the iComfort S30, this smart thermostat can be controlled from anywhere. For example, smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices can program the thermostat from afar and change settings.  This thermostat is only compatible with premium Lennox equipment and it offers complete control over the humidity levels and temperature in a home.  The Precise Comfort Plus feature keeps the indoor temperature within 0.5° or better, so what is seen on the screen should be the same as what you’re feeling at home.

iComfort Wi-Fi Flex

This thermostat was created to work with Lennox non-communicating equipment along with most other brands of cooling and heating equipment.  The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex has almost all the same comfort, convenience, energy-savings, and performance features, which makes it possible to have complete control over standard HVAC equipment.  For people who still want the control and convenience of a smart thermostat, but aren’t quite ready to replace their existing systems, this is a great option.

Easy Shmeezy Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

The name easy shmeezy quick and delicious clam chowder explains this recipe perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) minced clams, drained
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.

Yield: 5 Servings

These Fumes Could Be Deadly

Making the switch from cooling to heating creates cozy environments inside for chilly temps outside.  This change could also create a very serious problem that you can’t hear, see smell or taste.  And it answers to the description “invisible killer.”

No, this is not a crime drama to stream for entertainment.  It’s a poisonous and deadly gas that can stream into your home through faulty heating equipment.

Carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas – is the cause of hundreds of deaths each year in the United States.  It’s found in fumes whenever fuel is burned in cars or trucks, generators, stoves, gas ranges or furnaces.  If the equipment is incorrectly vented, improperly used or in need of repair, CO can build up indoors and poison people and pets.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers several recommendations in order to keep your home safe from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.  These directions included:

  • Have your home heating systems inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.  Ask us about our Maintenance Agreement program to save time, money and peace of mind.
  • Never use portable generators inside home or garages, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Don’t use a charcoal grill inside the house or in the garage.
  • Install CO alarms near sleeping areas in your home.
  • If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, then call 911.  Symptoms include: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion.CO Detector

Have You Checked Your Duct Performance?

No need to duck this question as if it’s only something the pros know.  As a homeowner, you’ve got a clear view of how your ducts are doing.

Heating and cooling systems rely on ducts to move heated or cooled air among the rooms in your home.  When everything’s working, you’ll be nice and comfortable wherever you are.  But if your ducts are falling down on the job, it’ll create comfort inconsistencies that no amount of thermostat fiddling can fix.

In a typical home, leaks, holes or poorly connected ducts are trouble spots that waste about 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through duct systems.  Though you might not spot the holes on your own, you’ll sure notice when all that air-loss adds up to higher energy costs.

The first signs you see will look something like the following:

  • High winter and summer utility bills
  • Rooms that are difficult to heat and cool
  • Rooms that are stuffy and never feel comfortable
  • Ducts located in an attic, crawlspace or garage
  • Flexible ducts that are tangled or kinked

A well-designed and properly sealed duct system resolves these issues, improving comfort and energy efficiency, as well as indoor air quality and safety.  If dust, insulation particles and chemical fumes enter leaky ducts and recirculate through your home, allergies and asthma symptoms may worsen.  Similarly, leaky ducts could enable “back drafting” from gas appliances, drawing gases like carbon monoxide back into the living space instead of ventilating outdoors.

Duct work that hasn't been sealed yet.

Duct work that hasn’t been sealed yet.