Everyone wants to have an efficient home when it comes to heating and cooling, especially during the extreme summer and winter months in Minnesota. That’s why it’s important to give your thermostat the most help you can, making the job of heating and cooling your home easier and more efficient.
Let’s look at a few ways you can help your thermostat out this winter.
Lower Your Thermostat
One of the best ways you can get some good mileage out of your thermostat this winter is to lower it. Each degree you lower the thermostat decreases your fuel bill by about 3%! Going from 72°F to 68°F might not make much of a difference when it comes to comfort, but could easily shave 12% off your heating bill.
If your home still utilizes a coil thermostat, those do need to be cleaned occasionally. We offer thermostat cleaning and repair services, so just give us a call.
Change Your Furnace Filter
With a forced air system, regularly changing your furnace filter can save you up to 5% on your heating bill and reduce dust and other irritants in the air. The system as a whole will last longer and be less likely to break down with regular cleaning and maintenance.
A good rule of thumb is to change your furnace filter monthly during the heating season. Be sure to measure your filter before shopping, or set yourself up with our maintenance plan and we’ll take care of your furnace for you.
Send Heat Down With Ceiling Fans
While not everyone agrees that ceiling fans help reduce energy costs, some believe they can help move warm air from the top of the room to the bottom, better circulating the heat. Make sure your fan is in the “winter” – or clockwise – position to send air down to the floor. During the summer, it should run counter-clockwise.
Also, run the fan at the lowest speed so the breeze isn’t too strong. If you feel the fan is doing more cooling than assisting with circulating the heat, turn it off.
Get A New Programmable Thermostat
With a programmable thermostat, you can preset temperatures for different times of the day. This can be a real money-saver all year long.
Choose lower-energy settings when you’re sleeping or away from home, and use higher-energy settings when you are awake at home – for example, set it at:
- 70°F from 5 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
- 60°F from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
- 70°F from 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
- 60°F from 11 p.m.-5 a.m.
Depending on your usage, you could save 10-20% on your energy bill.
Energy efficiency is an end goal for many businesses and homeowners. Energy efficiency is a great way to save money, maintain a clean and healthy environment as well as reduce your carbon footprint.
What Is A Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit is performed by a licensed HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) contractor or energy auditor. The audit identifies all of the factors which are contributing to your HVAC system being inefficient, as well as potentially unhealthy.
A home energy audit starts by reviewing your energy bills over the past year or two, as well as asking you questions about how you use energy. This helps the auditor understand how energy is used in your home.
When many people think of energy audits, they think about the blower test. This is when the auditor places a large fan at one door of the house and turns it on while the rest of the doors and windows are closed, sucking air out of the building.
If air pressure falls quickly, it tells the auditor your home is sealed well. If the air pressure falls slowly, it means there are many leaks in your home where air is coming in. An infrared camera is used to pinpoint where the leaks are, as well as where insulation may be underperforming
An audit will also inspect the ductwork of your home, looking for leaks in the HVAC system itself.
Once these steps are completed, you’ll have the information you need to decide how to fix issues or make improvements to maximize your energy efficiency.
Why You Should Maximize Energy Efficiency With A Home Energy Audit
Identifies Problems Early
A home energy audit will help you identify problem areas of your home quickly and before any more energy (and money) is lost.
Whether you need additional insulation, patchwork on walls or around windows, duct repair or replacement, new doors or some general maintenance, catching it early can save you lots of money over the long run.
May Be Eligible For Rebates/Discounts
Once an audit is done and you’ve identified the work you might like to do, it’s time to investigate what rebates or discounts might be available.
If you’re part of an energy cooperative (a utility may offer this as well,) you may be eligible for rebates on the work you do to become more energy efficient. Caulking or weatherstripping windows, upgrading HVAC appliances, replacing windows/doors and more may be eligible.
The utility or cooperative may send someone to your home to inspect the work after it is done, and then issue the rebate, which can be up to 50% of your costs depending on the company and product.
As always, becoming more energy efficient could save you from 5-30% off of your energy bill after fixing and upgrading the areas identified in the home energy audit.
Ductwork is not something you probably think about often. It’s usually hidden in crawlspaces, attics, inside walls, floors and ceilings. But it’s important to think of ductwork just like you would water pipes; you want to spot the small leaks before they become a big problem.
If there are leaks in your ductwork, it means you’re not getting the efficiency out of your HVAC system you thought you were and it might be time for repair or replacement of the ductwork. At H&S Heating and Air Conditioning, we actually fabricate ductwork in our own shop, so we can customize it to fit your specific system; we don’t believe in “one size fits all.”
Contact us today to learn more about repairing or replacing your ductwork!
3 Tricks For Figuring Out If Your Ductwork Needs To Be Replaced
1. Determine The Age Of Your Ducts
Did you have the ductwork installed yourself? If not, it may be difficult to know what year it was installed, unless you are in communication with the previous owner.
If the ducts were installed with the construction of the home, they may need to be replaced within as few as 10 years. If they were replaced at one point, they typically last 15-20 years, with regular maintenance.
2. Visually Inspect Ducts
It’s vital to inspect your ducts on occasion, if they are visible to you. Many ducts are hidden in walls, floors, ceilings and other spaces. If you can find them though, you may be able to spot cracks as well as places where the ducts are separating from each other. Another dead giveaway is streaks of dust along the duct, which indicates an airflow.
Obviously, this is only part of an inspection process, but it is part of the inspection process you can do on your own.
3. Have Airflow/Efficiency Evaluated
The other part of the inspection process is to have a HVAC technician evaluate the airflow and efficiency of your ductwork. They will conduct a duct blower test to pressurize the system, then use sensors to figure out where and what size any leaks are.
Leaking ducts can have a number of negative effects: uneven cooling and heating; higher levels of dust and particles; higher energy bills; and, higher incidence of allergy and breathing difficulty symptoms.
A H&S Heating and Air Conditioning, we have nearly 30 years of experience in HVAC in central Minnesota, as well as our own ductwork fabrication shop. Contact us anytime to help with your duct replacement or repair!