Energy Saving Tips
With rising utility costs, we’re all concerned with energy savings. There are quite a few, easy steps you can take as a homeowner to reduce your energy consumption. One of the simplest is regular maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment. On your own, you can clean or replace filters monthly, clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators, and make sure your furnace and air conditioner are not blocked by drapes, furniture, or carpets. Leave the rest to the trained professionals. By calling Brown's Plumbing & Heating for annual maintenance, you’ll keep your system clean, operating more efficiently, and lasting longer. Not only does serviced equipment utilize less energy, but it also runs quieter, safer and provides improved air quality.
If you’re looking to install a new furnace, be sure to research Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. This rating represents the seasonal average efficiency. While the national minimum is 78%, there are ENERGY STAR labeled models with AFUE ratings of 90%. A 90% AFUE for a gas furnace means it outputs 90 BTUs of useful heat for 100 BTUs of Natural Gas input. For air conditioning, SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the cooling output during an average cooling season divided by the total electric energy input. The acceptable minimum is 13 for central air, but 15 SEER models are available.
Most newer heating and cooling systems come with programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are not only convenient but a great way to conserve energy. By adjusting your thermostat seven to ten degrees Fahrenheit from its usual temperature for eight hours a day, you’ll save as much as 10% per year on your utility bill. And with a programmable thermostat, it’s simple to adjust your indoor temperature for those times when you’re normally asleep or away from home.
To protect your home from severe weather conditions, insulate walls, attics, and crawl spaces. Make certain windows and doors close tightly, and seal cracks around ducts and even light fixtures. To allow fresh air during the warmer seasons, install screens in windows and doors. Close draperies to prevent sunlight from heating your home in summer and open draperies in the winter to take advantage of the sun’s heat. Make sure to remove air conditioners from windows during winter to prevent drafts. Run your ceiling fans in reverse during winter to push warm air from the ceiling downward. Utilize fans in the summer to assist your A/C, but take the time to turn them off before leaving the room.
Take a walk around both the inside and outside of your home and take the top to bottom approach. Start at the roof and work your way down, considering possible areas where you may be losing air or taking in drafts. Sometimes an energy solution is as simple as a bit of insulation or caulk. For bigger savings, you might want to consider replacing windows or a new heating and cooling system. Call Brown's Plumbing & Heating and we’ll be happy to discuss your many options for improving home energy consumption and comfort levels.