An A/C. Like New. Like Now

It’s hard to argue with a simple principle: If you take care of something, it lasts longer.  That’s true whether you’re exercising to tone your body, driving your car to a service appointment or updating the exterior paint on your house.  And it’s certainly true for taking care of your home’s air conditioning system.

Any piece of equipment can show signs of deterioration as it ages year after year.  Yet routine maintenance can substantially slow the aging process – while neglect can lead to a system a failure long before its time.Lennox rebates

To turn back the hands of time, schedule a routine tune-up every year on your air conditioner.  With this check by a professional tech, you’ll get a clear picture of how your system is holding up as it performs its duties of keeping you cool and comfortable. Filters

By tightening connections, lubricating parts, cleaning coils and blower components, checking drains, clearing debris, adjusting settings, checking refrigerant levels and checking controls, your system can be restored to its top condition, and you’ve got a much better chance of avoiding inconvenient repairs.

It’s always a good idea to take care of your large investments, and your air conditioning system plays heavily into your home’s value.  Plus, reliable, energy-efficient operation is well worth the time it takes for a friendly visit from a technician.

To keep your cooling comfort at peak performance, call us to request a tune-up on your air conditioning system. We’re here to keep things running smoothly all season long.

NOTE: Act fast to save!  Lennox rebates expire June 9th, 2017.

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.

5 Common Energy Myths

Some ideas are so widely believed they don’t even cause a second thought. Although often true, such common wisdom may be based on outdated or false information. Popular misconceptions about energy use can reduce home comfort and raise utility bills. Listed below are five energy myths that may be costing you.

  1. If you set the thermostat higher or lower it will heat or cool a room faster.

    No matter what the thermostat setting, air conditioners and furnaces work at the same speed. As a matter of fact, more energy may be wasted as the system continues to run to reach the further set point.IMG_1696

  2. If you leaving the lights on it uses less energy than turning them on and off.

    In most instances, the small surge of power needed to turn a light on is much less than the power that is wasted by leaving it on when it’s not needed.  In fact, MythBusters busted this myth in one of their episodes years ago.IMG_1697

  3. If you close off vents you will reduce heating and cooling costs.

    Closing vents is a terrible way to save on energy costs. Cooling and heating systems are designed to distribute air evenly; closing vents causes pressure to build up. This pressure build up often results in duct leaks that waste energy.

  4. If you leaving a ceiling fan on it will cool a room.

    Ceiling fans circulate air which makes you feel cooler.  This allows you to save energy by raising the temperature on the thermostat. However, they don’t cool the air. Leaving fans on in empty rooms wastes energy.IMG_1698

  5. Hand washing dishes is cheaper than using a dishwasher.

    It’s a widely believed misconception that dishwashers are convenient, but use more water and energy than hand washing. When in fact, washing a typical load of dishes in a dishwasher uses 37% less water.  Likewise, using a dishwasher, rather than hand washing, may cut your annual energy costs by more than $40, according to ENERGY STAR.IMG_1699

    Valentine

    Happy Valentines Day!

50 Ways your Home can Save the Earth – A Good to be Home Infographic

Reduce your negative impact on the environment and improve your well being with 50 ways your home can save the earth.

Just a note: I apologize for the metric system measurements.  The source is from the United Kingdom.50-ways-your-home-could-save-the-earth

Source: 50 Ways your Home can Save the Earth – A Good to be Home Infographic

DIY Energy Saving Checklist

Listed below are some simple things you can check to better control your electrical usage throughout the year.

  • Install flow reducing shower heads
  • Insulate your water heater, unless it’s a newer insulated model
  • Insulate pipes in unheated spaces
  • Vacuum the vents and coils for the refrigerator/freezer twice a year because dust makes them work longer to cool.
  • Don’t block air circulation around the refrigerator
  • Replace gaskets that don’t seal tightly on the refrigerator/freezer
  • The higher the air temperatures are in a garage in the summer, the higher the operating costs of refrigerator/freezer will be.
  • Use lower wattage lamps in fixtures where you don’t need as much light, such as hallways and bedrooms.
  • Use florescent fixtures and lamps whenever possible.  They use a quarter of an incandescent lamp, and provide the same amount of light, and last at least 7 times as long.
halloween snoopy

Happy Halloween!!!

Fill the Gaps to Save Energy

Air leaks

Caulking is an awesome thing to do, assuming you like to stay warm in winter.  That toasty air flowing from your heater or furnace has a better chance of keeping you comfortable if you keep it indoors.

Your heating and cooling take up about half of the total energy costs in your home – and with proper sealing and insulation, you can save up to about 20 percent of those heating and cooling costs.

Air leaks aren’t hard to find.  As a matter of fact, they fell like “leaking air.”  You can find leaks by moving your hand around the frames of windows and doors.  If you feel air coming through, there’s an opening ready for sealing.

Air leaksGaps can occur where different materials meet – such as between brick and wood siding or between the foundation and walls.  Potential trouble spots include: mail chutes, electrical and gas service entrances, cable and phone lines, outdoor water faucets and vents/fans.  Caulking is used to fill many gaps; weather stripping is for the movable joints of your doors and windows.

Sealing your heating and cooling ducts can also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent.  The performance of your system, however, is perhaps the most significant factor affecting energy use.

If your system is more than 10 years old or isn’t keeping you comfortable, have it evaluated.  If it’s time for a replacement, consider replacing your system with a unit that has a higher efficiency rating.  These systems reduce energy spending and increase comfort.  We can help you find the system that’s right for you.  Call us for details at 402-362-5702.

Product Selector tool

Home Efficiency Checklist

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Weather stripping around doors.

Here are a number of simple and inexpensive DIY projects that will reduce your heating cost this winter and cooling costs next summer.  These projects will also make your home a healthier and more comfortable place to live.

  • Weather-strip the attic access door.
  • Seal the holes between the heated space and the attic.
  • Check weather-stripping on windows and doors inside and outside of the house.
  • Caulk along baseboards with a clear sealant.
  • Replace your old leaky windows.  When unable to replace an inefficient window, install plastic over the inside of the window.  If you desire something more permanent than plastic, install an interior storm window.
  • Replace broken glass and any loose caulking.
  • Replace an old warped entry door with a new insulated door.
  • Keep dryer vent screens lint free.
  • Seal any holes in the foundation wall with caulk for foam sealant.
  • If you have a crawl space, place a layer of plastic on the dirt floor.
Window

Make sure your windows are sealed.

How to Understand Energy Ratings

If you’ve ever shopped for a new air conditioner, furnace, or even a window unit, you’ve probably seen energy rating data listed somewhere on the product. Knowing what those numbers mean, and how to compare them, can save you a lot of money over the life of your equipment.

Making sense of the numbers

Ratings help you make smart choices 

Energy ratings were established to provide a baseline for comparing heating and air conditioning equipment based on the energy it uses to keep you comfortable. In a sense, you can think of energy ratings like miles-per-gallon in a car.

The more gasoline it takes you to go one mile, the more you’ll spend for every mile you need to travel. So if you’re looking at a large SUV that gets 15 miles per gallon, you know you’ll need to plan a larger fuel budget every month than if you’d chosen a subcompact or hybrid car that gets 38 miles to the gallon.

What the ratings mean for your home

With home heating and cooling equipment, the efficiency numbers tell you how much energy you’ll have to spend to get the same performance out of similar products.

Ratings are different for each type of heating and cooling equipment, simply because of the energy source used to power it. In other words, you can’t use the same rating to compare a gas furnace to an electric heat pump, because they don’t use the same type of fuel.

However, when you understand the numbers behind the ratings, you can get a good idea of how much money you’ll spend to run your equipment, whether it uses gas, electricity, or both.

SEER, for rating electric cooling

SEER ratingsSEER is one of the most common rating systems for home cooling equipment. It stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it gives a pretty good indication of your energy costs because it measures performance over an entire cooling season.

To calculate SEER, you simply take the total cooling output that the equipment will generate over the summer, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU), and divide it by the total amount of energy you’ll have to expend (and pay for) during the same time period.

What you’re really measuring here is how much cooling power the unit will provide, and how much it will cost you to enjoy that cool comfort. The Lennox® XC25 is currently the most precise and efficient air conditioner you can buy*, offering a SEER of up to 26.

Federal law currently mandates a minimum SEER of between 13 and 14, depending upon where in the country you live, and any air conditioner over 14.5 SEER can be eligible for ENERGY STAR® qualification, meaning it’s a smart choice for energy-efficient cooling.

XC21

AFUE, for rating fossil-fuel furnaces

AFUE is a different way to measure efficiency, because it deals with a different type of fuel. The AFUE of a furnace, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a measure of how much heat is generated over the course of the heating season, compared with how much fuel is burned.

AFUE is a fairly straightforward number. The higher the number, the more heat you will actually feel for a given amount of natural gas or oil burned. A furnace with an AFUE of 80 will turn 80% of its fuel into useable heat, while wasting about 20% of its fuel through either air leaks, inefficient burners or a less-advanced design.

On the other hand, a furnace with an AFUE of 95 will convert 95% of the gas or oil it consumes into useable warmth. Any furnace with an efficiency of 90% or higher is considered high-efficiency.

The Lennox SLP98V furnace currently offers an AFUE of 98.7, meaning it converts 98.7% of its fuel into useful heat for your home. With less than 2% fuel waste, it’s a very efficient way to weather the winter.

*The most precise and efficient air conditioner and heat pump you can buy (XC25/XP25)
Efficiency claim based on comparison of air conditioning and heat pump products’ SEER as published in AHRI (January 2013). Actual system combination efficientcy may vary; consult with us (J & R Heating) or AHRI for exact system efficiencies. Precision claim based on the cooling capacity range of the XC/XP25-036 units as compared to equivalent-sized competitive variable capacity compressor units.

HSPF, for rating electric heating and cooling

In the simplest terms, an electric heat pump is an air conditioner that can run in reverse. During the summer, it moves heat out of your home into the atmosphere. Then, during colder weather, it reverses the process and draws latent heat from the outside air into your home.

Since it doesn’t use fossil fuel, AFUE really doesn’t apply. So heat pumps actually have their own comparative efficiency rating, known as HSPF, or Heating Season Performance Factor. This is a measure of how efficiently an electric heat pump can warm your home when it’s in heating mode, over the course of an entire heating season.

HSPF is calculated by dividing the unit’s heat output over the course of the season by the amount of electricity required to produce that heat. Anything over 8 is considered high-efficiency, and may be eligible for utility rebates or tax credits.

When shopping for a heat pump, it’s important to remember that since it uses electricity to heat and cool, it will have both a SEER and an HSPF rating since it runs during multiple seasons.

This article was taken from the Comfort Matters Blog.  You can also read more comfort tips here.

Energy Saving Tips

  1. Curb your cooling costs: Close your closet doors. By reducing the amount of square footage that has to be cooled, you can save on your energy bill.closed closet door
  2. Consumer electronics continue to draw power even when they are switched off, adding up to about $200 in yearly energy costs. Advanced power strips can significantly reduce these costs.Outlet
  3. A dirty AC filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. Be sure to change or clean your filter every 60-90 days to avoid your system failing and to save energy.filters
  4. A house that is 30% more energy efficient can save up to $20,000 in utilities over the life of a mortgage. A home energy audit is the first step to improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  5. Highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45% when closed.

Energy Quizzes

How much do you know about the energy we use today?  Here are a few quizzes to test your energy knowledge.

What is your energy IQ?

Energy Quizzes from Exxon Mobile

Eco Kids: Energy Quiz

What you don’t know about energy?

Energy Quiz

 

I took these and learned that I don’t know as much as I though I did about energy so give one, or even a few of these quizzes a try, and test your energy smarts.

 

Because of these quizzes you now know that heating and cooling your house accounts for the majority of energy that your home uses, try an Energy Savings Calculator to see how much money new high efficiency equipment could save you.

 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!