Cost-Effective Ways to Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency

According to the Department of Energy, as much as half of an average home’s annual utility costs go toward heating and cooling. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to improve your air conditioner and make the most out of your central air conditioner cost. In today’s post, Countryside shares some things that you can do without spending a lot of money.

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An Overview of Heat Pump Types

A heat pump is an energy-efficient way to control your home’s indoor temperature. In fact, you can save up to 50% on your utility bills with the right size and type of heat pump compared to more traditional heating and cooling units. Its dual function is also a huge draw for most homeowners, working as either a heater and a cooler, depending on the season’s demands. Read more

How Do Gas Furnaces Work?

A gas furnace is a primary heating source for most homes, especially during winter. They use either propane or natural gas to accomplish their heating capacity. The system involves several steps; this guide will introduce you to the mechanics behind the inner workings of a gas furnace.

3 Ways to Reduce the Costs of HVAC Services in 2017

The fluctuations in temperature from the coldest days during the wintertime to the scorching heat in the summertime can certainly increase the numbers on your home’s energy bill. Luckily we’ve come up with 3 simple solutions that will help alleviate some of those costs associated with your home’s HVAC system.

  1. Don’t Shed Your Sweater!

Just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean that you should dress like it’s not winter outside. Layer up with a tee-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt, long pants and socks while lounging around your home. This will keep your body warm, meaning that you’ll be much less likely to crank up the heat on your thermostat. You can even go the extra mile and wear a comfy hat indoors as well. It may seem silly, but it’s an easy (and fashionable!) way to save on your heating bills during the colder months. Also, in the same vein, keep throw blankets around the house so you’ll be more likely to reach for one of those rather than turning up your thermostat.

During the summertime, do the opposite. Shed extra clothing, and let any natural breezes in from the outside, which will help keep you cool without the added stress on your AC unit.

  1. Your Thermostat Matters.

The settings on your thermostat play a big part of how much you’ll pay in energy costs during both the cooler and warmer months. Many people enjoy having their thermostats set at 72 ºF, as it’s a comfortable temperature for most everyone; however, by decreasing that number by just a couple of degrees you can save big. Experts estimate that homeowners can save from 3 to 5% in energy costs with each degree on the thermostat decreased during the wintertime and increased in the summertime.

Another great way to save more money over the long-term is to invest in a smart thermostat. These types of thermostats can actually learn your home’s heating and cooling preferences and will adjust overtime so that you don’t have to worry about whether it is set to the most efficient temperatures for your home. These enable you to effortlessly adjust your settings during different times of the day via an internet connected device. For example, during Winter you can set your thermostat to a lower temperature at night and while you’re away at work; soon, your smart thermostat will learn these settings so you don’t have to think about it. In the Summer, you can increase your settings to a slightly warmer temperature while you’re sleeping or away.

And, if you don’t want to go all out for a Smart thermostat, simply upgrading to a programmable one, which runs between $40 and $200 can be a great way to decrease the costs on your home’s energy bill. These can also be programmed to run at different temperatures during different times of the day, which is a much more convenient than maintaining energy efficient temperatures with a typical manual thermostat.

  1. Let the Sunshine in and Keep the Cold Air Out!

This is a very easy way to help control the temperature in your home. Cover your home’s windows with heavy drapes to keep the warm air from escaping at night. During the day, open the drapes on your windows to allow the sunshine in. The heat from the sun will add a lot of warmth to your home with no cost at all to you. This works especially well with south facing windows and glass front doors.

Want to discover even more ways to save on your HVAC services in 2017? Contact us today to find out what promotions we are currently offering.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Water Heater

When shopping for a water heater, there are many factors you must consider to ensure that you get a unit that can meet all of your needs. The following factors are crucial features to consider in your search for the right water heater.

Fuel Types

Before you purchase a heater, you must first identify the cheapest source of energy in your neighborhood. If there are natural gas lines in the area, a natural gas heater may be the best option. If the unit cost of electricity is low and natural gas lines do not exist in the area, you can opt for an electric water heater. However, it is also important that you also consider propane gas prices. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of using different types of fuels.

Water Heater Capacity

A water heater with a smaller heating capacity than your hot water needs will have a shorter lifespan because it will be forced to work harder. On the other hand, an oversized heater will heat more water that you can use. This will lead to unused hot water. It is therefore important that you buy a perfectly sized water heater for your home. If there are five or more people in the household, a heater with a 60-gallon capacity may be the perfect fit. On the other hand, a heater with a capacity of 30 gallons or fewer can serve up to two people comfortably. If the number of occupants exceeds two, but is less than five, you can either pick a 40- or 50-gallon water heater, depending on your needs.

Water Heater Dimensions

Water heaters come in a variety of sizes. Since these appliances often have a designated location, you must measure the dimensions of a unit before making a purchase. The heater should fit in place comfortably and leave enough space for the insulation. Be sure to carry the measurements of the designated space with you when going water heater shopping.

Energy Efficiency

Understandably, you want the most energy efficient water heater for your home. Therefore, it is important that you look at the EF (Energy Factor) rating of the device. The higher the number, the more inefficient the heater is, so you want a water heater with an EF rating that is as close to 1 as possible.

With these tips, hopefully you’re one step closer to the right water heater for you and your family. Keep following our blog for more great energy and HVAC information.

Energy Efficient Products Can Help Save Money In Winter

When winter temperatures fall well below freezing, many homeowners begin to worry about how high their heating bills will be. What most people don’t realize, however, is that little things can go a long way when trying to save a few extra dollars when it’s cold outside. Here are some valuable energy savings tips for winter that that will save money during colder weather, but can also result in energy savings when the weather is warmer.

Turn It Down
Heating systems typically account for about 40% of energy usage in winter. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, if possible. For every degree above 68°F, your furnace will use 3% to 5% more energy for each degree above that benchmark. Set the thermostat to 56°F when you’re out. By reducing home temperature 10°F to 15°F for an average of eight hours, you can save as much as 15% on heating costs.

Laundry Savings
When doing wash, put clothes in cold water to save about $30 per year in annual energy costs if you have a gas water heater. If your washer is over 10 years old, buy a more efficient ENERGY STAR® model that can save energy. Clean the lint trap every time you put a load in to dry. By doing so, you’ll save about the same amount in gas costs. Similarly, don’t over dry your clothes. Let your dryer’s moisture sensor detect when clothes are dry to determine shut off.

Replace Old Windows
Today’s ENERGY STAR®-rated windows keep out cold and keep in heat much more efficiently than windows made 20 years ago. Even if you can’t replace all at once, consider replacing those in your draftiest areas. New windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by 15%. At the same time, take a look at your home’s insulation. Properly sealed and insulated attics, walls, crawl spaces and basement rim joists can provide a 10% annual savings.

Check Your Heating System
Even if its running properly, considering replacing your furnace if it’s more than 10 years old to take advantage of more energy efficient models. At the same time, have an HVAC contractor look for leaks in ducts to minimize heat loss.

Check back with us often for more HVAC and energy savings tips.