Posts Tagged ‘HVAC tips’

In following with our last post about saving money, we found a few more tips for you and some are even Christmas related!

Let’s face it: We all have a ton of demands during the winter months. Visiting relatives, holiday rituals, and icy cold weather to deal with.
Likewise, your electrical bill may soar during this time. As you strive to maintain an awesome Christmas lights display and start adjusting your HVAC systems, you may quickly run up your home’s energy usage.

However, you can cut down your electrical consumption here-and-there using a few easy techniques, preventing an unwelcome surprise in your power bill.

Tip 1: Use a Timer for Your Christmas Lights: I love an old-fashioned Christmas light display as much as the next person. But while these setups can be amazing in their extravagance, they can also burn a lot of power during the Christmas season. A few years ago, some folks advocated an end to this tradition in order to save energy.
However, you can enjoy Christmas lights responsibly by only using them a few hours per evening. A timer makes the entire process super easy, preventing the possibility you’ll accidentally leave your lights running overnight.

Bonus Tip: Use LED Christmas lights to save even more more money, as their bulbs are energy efficient.

Tip 2: Lower Your Climate Control Usage: If you Live in the South, you may still be running your air conditioning. Be sure to set it at a higher temperature for the holiday months. If it’s icy cold where you live, go ahead and keep your heater just a notch below the perfect temperature. Simply wear a sweater inside, and you’ll save a tremendous amount of money.

Tip 3: Wash Your Clothes with Cold Water: This tip applies to any time of the year, really. By washing all your clothes with cold water, you’ll reduce water heating costs and lower your energy use.

If you’re looking for a long-term savings plan, you can always consider a home energy audit. This way, you’ll learn about all the little things that are costing you big bucks over time. Even so, a few simple measure may be enough to keep your spirits a bit warmer during this time.

Remember, Casteel Heating and Cooling can perform an energy audit for you. Just call us at 770-565-5884

Article cited: http://ezinearticles.com/?3-Easy-Ways-to-Reduce-Your-Electric-Bill-This-Winter-Season&id=5485980

…and save A LOT of money later!Casteel Heating and Cooling

What am I talking about…filters! It’s pretty simple to change a filter once a month. It will cost you between $25-75 per case of 12 usually and depending on the size of the filter. That is a year’s worth of filters. Not expensive at all, is it? What is expensive? Dirty air filters!

Dirty air filters are a source of increased operating costs and poor cooling system operation.

Dirty air filters can:

  1. reduce air flow in the building
  2. cause dirt to accumulate on the fan blades, wasting your energy dollars
  3. cause excessive dirt build-up inside the duct system, leading to mold or allergen problems in a building and to the need for more costly duct cleaning or replacement
  4. block the cooling coil itself with dirt, reducing system effectiveness and possibly leading to costly repairs
  5. lead to frost build-up on the cooling coil and reduced or totally blocked air flow in the system
  6. eventually permit dirt to bypass the filter where it soils and blocks the blower fan itself, leading to more costly repairs.

Some of these issues can cause upwards of $500 to repair. Sounds like a good trade to me…$25 now and save $100’s later.

The filters on an air conditioning or hot air heating system should be changed monthly when the system is in use. Discuss with us the possible need to clean the blower fan and duct work.

Source cited: http://www.inspectapedia.com/aircond/AirFilterClog.htm

A basic thermostat works by tripping a switch that sends power to a furnace or air compressor to begin the combustion process. Find out about the mercury switch inside of a thermostat with help from a home remodeling specialist in this free video on thermostats.


How Does a Thermostat Work? — powered by eHow.com

William Perkinson is a partner with Perkinson Building Corporation, based in Birmingham, Ala. He has over 20 years of experience specializing in remodeling, additions, and home repair. Perkinson is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and is licensed, bonded and insured.

Read more: William Perkinson | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/members/ev_ebff42ad-97a9-4fc0-9598-9e759e115379.html#ixzz10NxdVzsG

When it’s cold, we walk over and turn up the thermostat, and when it is hot, we walk over and turn on the air conditioner to cool us down. But, how does that little box on the wall actually control the temperature of our homes or offices?

A mechanical thermostat is actually a very simple device. It is basically a thermometer attached to a switch that turns on your heater, whether your heat source is natural gas or electricity. If you remove the cover of your thermostat, you will see the inner workings and get a better idea of how a thermostat works.

The top layer holds a mercury switch and a thermometer coil. The mercury switch is just a small vial filled with the liquid metal, mercury. Within this vial are three wires: one at the bottom of the vial; one at the left of the vial; and one at the right of the vial. As the temperature rises or cools, the vial of mercury gets tipped to the right or the left making the corresponding wire come into contact with the wire that runs along the bottom. If the mercury gets tipped to the left, a connection is made that creates a current that energizes a relay, which starts the heater and circulation fan. As the room heats up, the vial levels off and once that is in balance, the connection is broken causing the heater to turn off. If the mercury switch is tilted to the right, another relay causes the air conditioner to turn on.

Casteel Heating and CoolingWhat tips the vial in either direction is the thermometer coil that rests against the vial of mercury. The thermometer coil is constructed of a bi-metallic strip made of two different types of metal, usually copper and iron, which are bonded together. Because the different metals respond to heat at different levels, this strip contracts and expands causing the coil to curl up or uncurl as the temperature changes. This curling or uncurling motion tilts the mercury vial, which then signals the heating source to kick off or on. When you adjust the temperature knob on your thermostat, you are actually adjusting the tightness of the coil.

Beneath the top layer of your thermostat, you will see the circuit board, which houses the wires that actually lead to the circulation fan and heat source. The circuit board is connected to the mercury switch via a metal screw and wire, which “reads” the switch and turns on the appropriate heating or cooling device.

Newer on the market are digital thermostats. These thermostats differ from the mechanical thermostats in that they use a thermistor, a resistor whose electrical resistance changes with temperature. The microcontroller in a digital thermostat measures the resistance and converts that number to a temperature reading. Digital thermostats can save energy because they can be programmed to turn the heat or air conditioning off or on at preset times throughout the day. For example, you can set the air conditioning to come on an hour before you come home from work, or have the heater remain off during the hours while you work and then turn on an hour before you get back so your home is warm and cozy when you open the door.

Article cited: http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-a-thermostat-work.htm

Sealing and insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.

To Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR:

  • Seal air leaks throughout the home to stop drafts,
  • Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer,
  • Choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows when replacing windows.

If your attic is accessible and you like home improvement projects, you can Do-It-Yourself with help from our DIY Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR. The Guide offers step-by-step instructions for sealing common air leaks and adding insulation to the attic.

You can also hire a contractor who will use special diagnostic tools to pinpoint and seal the hidden air leaks in your home. A Home Energy Rater can help you find contractors that offer air sealing services in your area.

Sealing Leaks

Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. Click on the house diagram to see common air leak locations that you should aim to seal.

Homeowners are often concerned about sealing their house too tightly; however, this is very unlikely in most older homes. A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. If you are concerned about how tight your home is, hire a contractor, such as a Home Energy Rater, who can use diagnostic tools to measure your home’s actual leakage. If your home is too tight, a fresh air ventilation system may be recommended.

After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) are venting properly. For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.

Adding Insulation

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are several common types of insulation — fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), cellulose, rigid foam board, and spray foam. Reflective insulation (or radiant barrier) is another insulating product which can help save energy in hot, sunny climates.

When correctly installed with air sealing, each type of insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.

Insulation performance is measured by R-value — its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country. Insulation works best when air is not moving through or around it. So it is very important to seal air leaks before installing insulation to ensure that you get the best performance from the insulation.

To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-38 (or about 12–15 inches, depending on the insulation type). In the coldest climates, insulating up to R-49 is recommended.

Sealing Ducts

In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.

Because some ducts are concealed in walls and between floors, repairing them can be difficult. However, exposed ducts in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and garages can be repaired by sealing the leaks with duct sealant (also called duct mastic). In addition, insulating ducts that run through spaces that get hot in summer or cold in winter (like attics, garages, or crawlspaces) can save significant energy.

Additionally, if you are replacing your forced-air heating and cooling equipment, make sure your contractor installs the new system according to ENERGY STAR quality installation guidelines. A quality installation will include a thorough inspection of your duct system, including proper sealing and balancing of ductwork, to help ensure that your new system delivers the most comfort and efficiency.

Learn more about improving your ducts.

Windows and doors are just as important to your HVAC as the system itself. If you don’t have sealed or proper fitting windows and doors, dollars could be flying out of them every day and forcing your HVAC to work harder and less efficiently.

Windows in particular can allow a huge amount of heat energy to escape. Depending on the type of construction and fittings, windows can make up 27 percent of a home’s overall energy consumption. But it is not only window glazing that is important. Major heat loss also occurs especially around window frames. Here’s a simple test you can perform to see if your windows are sealed tightly:

Tip: It’s easy to check your windows

Close the window on a piece of paper, clamping it between the window and the frame. If the paper is easy to remove, the seal is not tight. Repeat this test in various locations. Now you can use a lighted candle to easily find the spots that are letting air through. These checks are even easier when it is windy or cold outside.

The cold air that enters the home through gaps in windows and doors that do not seal properly must later be heated to room temperature. This costs energy, and with it, money. But help is at hand, in an easy-to-install form that does not even necessitate replacing the windows. Windows and doors can be sealed with elastic sealing strips, gaps beneath doors with sealing brushes or moldings.

Following these tips will help you reduce your energy costs:

Air Conditioner

  • Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean cooler when it comes to room air conditioners. In fact, a unit
    that is too large for the room operates less efficiently than one that is properly sized.
  • Don’t switch the unit off and on. Window units work best when left to run for long periods.
  • Don’t keep the unit running at the coldest setting. Set the thermostat as high as is comfortable.
  • Don’t put lamps or TVs near the air conditioner thermostat.
  • Use interior fans to circulate cooled air more effectively through the house.

Our handy Usage Calculator will help you estimate the cost of using various household appliances.

For more tips about other household appliances see the Full Story

Thermo here and I’ll be visiting every now and then to give you helpful tips, hints and just to make sure you’re “cool!” Feel free to stop by and say hi from time to time!

My pals and I at Casteel Heating and Cooling Inc are more than happy to make sure to keep you comfortable no matter what the temperature! See you again soon!