Next Generation Air & Heat, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Energy Savings’

HVAC Guide: High Efficiency Home Comfort Equipment

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Don’t let high energy costs disrupt your comfort. Do your research, work out a budget, and invest in equipment with the highest efficiency levels that you can afford. It’s true that the higher the efficiency of a heating or cooling system the higher the initial costs generally are, but you can offset that purchasing price by saving money on utility costs down the road. Here is some information to help you heat and cool your Melbourne home more efficiently.

  • Efficiency Ratings– Heaters, air conditioners and air filters all have different efficiency ratings. It is important that you understand what each of them mean so that you can know what sort of performance you can expect from your home comfort systems.
    • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the efficiency of gas and oil-fired furnaces. It is a percentage that tells you how much of the fuel consumed actually goes towards heating your home and how much is wasted. Industry minimum AFUE requirement is 78%.
    • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps when cooling your home. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the machine. Regulations require a minimum of 13.0 SEER.
    • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of heat pumps when being used for heating. Again, the higher the number the more efficient the heat pump. Today’s heat pumps are required to have at least 6.8 HSPF.
  • Energy Management Systems – Modern technology lets you take more control than ever over how you use energy in your home. With a home energy management system you can control temperature settings and power use in your home remotely from a smartphone or laptop. Shut off small appliances, adjust temperatures and more no matter where you are. You can ensure that you’re always coming home to a comfortable environment while using less energy with greater control.
  • When to Purchase – It can be tempting to stick with your existing home comfort systems rather than investing in new, higher efficiency models. However, frequent maintenance and repair costs plus higher operational costs can actually wind up costing you more. Take into consideration the quality of your system, its age and, of course, your budget. High efficiency home comfort equipment may have a higher price tag, but the energy savings translate into financial savings. When you’re ready to replace your home comfort systems make sure that you get the most efficiency for your money.

This information should help you understand the benefits and points to consider when contemplating a new home comfort system. Get the most efficient performance you can afford from your Melbourne heating and air conditioning systems. For more information, give Next Generation Air & Heat Inc a call!

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Air Conditioning Question From Cocoa Beach: How Do EER and SEER Work?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

If you’ve looked for a new air conditioner in Cocoa Beach recently, you probably noticed each unit comes with an EER or SEER rating. The former is for room air conditioners and the latter for central air conditioning units. In both cases, the number is a measure of how efficiently the system uses electricity. Effectively, if you buy a system with a high rating, you spend less on electricity. Of course, there are tradeoffs. The higher rated machines tend to cost much more, so as a homeowner, you’ll have to evaluate how much you can spend now and how long it will take to save money from that investment.

How EER and SEER Are Measured

These numbers are required by the government to tell you, the consumer, how many BTUs per hour the device can use for every watt of electricity drawn. The more BTUs a system can use, the better for your bill.

Let’s say you want to buy a 10,000 BTU system to cool your living room and dining room. A pretty standard number for a single room unit is 11, meaning the 10,000 BTU system would use about 900 watts per hour to run at full capacity. We figure this out by dividing the BTUs (10,000) by the watts (900).

There is a lot of math to do here, so many people simply look for a higher number within their price range. But, at what point is the upgrade really worth your extra money?

Choosing the Right Energy Efficiency Rating

The easiest way to describe this is to compare two similar devices with different EERs:

Air Conditioner 1 Air Conditioner 2
BTUs 12,000 12,000
EER 9 11
Watts 1333 1091
Price $300 $450

In this particular case, we can spend more for a device that is the same size but uses less electricity. The question then is whether that increased expenditure will pay off in the short term. Let’s assume each device would be operated for 10 hours per day for 30 days in a typical summer month. That’s 300 hours of operation. If the average cost per kWh in you are is $0.09, it will take 4 hours for the first air conditioner to consume 1 extra kilowatt of electricity equal to an additional $0.09. If your air conditioner runs for four months out of the year, we know that it will operate for a total of 1200 hours. That means:

[(1200 hrs x 242 watts) / (1000 watts/kw) ] x $0.09/kWh = $26

So, you save roughly $26 per year from that high efficiency unit. With a $150 price difference, you will break even after 6 years (though probably sooner if the price of electricity goes up).

Don’t forget, however, that central systems are a much more efficient option in Cocoa Beach with SEERs of up to 16.5 and much larger BTU areas to cover. The savings there can add up very quickly. For more information, give Next Generation Air and Heat a call!

 

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Air Conditioning Guide: Save Energy and Save Money This Summer

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Though we hate to admit it, we all do it without thinking: turn our Cocoa Beach AC higher instead of turning on a fan, or forget about the thermostat settings which are set to full-blast when we are not at home.  Oftentimes it is the simple things which can have the most impact, and with saving energy this is true as well.

With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Replace HVAC filters regularly, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately. To learn more about how to use your Cocoa Beach air conditioning system more efficiently, give Next Generation Air & Heat a call!

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Orlando Air Conditioning Tip: Keep Your Home Cool and Save Energy

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As the season of hot days and long evenings draws near, it is normal for questions to arise on how to keep your home cool and save energy.  There are some things which are easy to do and can help keep your house cool without overuse of your Orlando air conditioner.

Easy Fixes Which Cool the House from the Heat of the Sun

  • Provide effective shade for east and west facing windows, including planting shade trees around the exterior of the house
  • Delay heat-generating activities until evening
  • Keep the house closed tight during the day so that unwanted heat and humidity do not enter the home
  • Ventilate at night with open windows and fans
  • Use ceiling fans or room fans to increase comfort levels with higher air conditioning thermostat settings
  • Seal and insulate all air conditioning ducts, and seal leaky windows with caulk or weather stripping
  • Install window shades, blinds, awnings, sunscreens, or apply low-e films to windows to block most solar rays which cause heat gain
  • Close south and west-facing curtains during the day on windows which get direct sunlight, and invest in reflective solar curtains
  • Upgrade the insulation in the attic
  • Service the air conditioning unit annually, and place it in the shade with proper air flow to ensure it runs efficiently
  • Install a house fan to cool the entire home at once as well as cool the attic above

Eliminate Internal Heat Sources

  • Lessen stove and oven use during hot days and enjoy a backyard barbeque or cookout, keeping the heat out of the kitchen and in the great outdoors.  When cooking inside do so in the evening and employ use of the microwave, toaster-oven or counter-top grill which produces far less heat than the stove or oven.
  • Switch to newer, compact fluorescent lights which use less energy and produce far less heat than incandescent lights
  • Pass on the hot-drying cycle of the dishwasher and let dishes air dry, or dry them by hand
  • Line-dry clothes rather than using the dryer, or use the lowest heat setting on the dryer
  • Take shorter showers that are cooler, and turn on exhaust fans and open windows to properly ventilate the area, allowing excess heat to escape
  • Turn computers and other electronics off when not in use, and use electronic devices such as TV’s less often throughout the day

Combining the various home fixes while eliminating internal heat sources can turn out to be the best ways to keep your home cool and save energy during hot summer months.  Just try some and see how that energy bill decreases! For more information about how to take care of your Orlando air conditioner or to schedule your annual maintenance visit, give Next Generation Air and Heat a call today!

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Grant Energy Saving Tip: Common Causes of Drafts in Your Home

Friday, February 24th, 2012

If you find your Grant home’s heating or cooling bill is routinely too high, there is a common reason. Most of the time it is due to air leaks and drafts in your home that allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter and vice versa. Here are some common causes of such leaks and what you can do about them.

Sources of Drafts in Your Home

There are obvious drafts and less obvious ones. Let’s start by looking at the drafts that are most obvious:

  • Outlets and Plates
  • Windows
  • Baseboards
  • Attic
  • Air Conditioners
  • Weather Stripping

You can probably do a quick inspection of your home by yourself to check for these potential air leaks and find whatever may be causing the problem. The easiest way to check for drafts is simply to hold your hand up to the space and check for a change in air flow. You can also get a portable thermometer and see if the air temperature is different in those areas than it is in the center of the room or by the thermostat.

Insulation Inspection

Insulation is probably already in your home, but with time it can thin, get leaks or tear. Look for gaps in insulation or drafts coming through. A professional can inspect your insulation as well and make sure that it is still holding as much heat in as it was originally rated for. If you know that your insulation values are too low or that the insulation is particularly old, it may be a good time to have it replaced.

Making Changes

If you notice easy to fix drafts in your home, fix them immediately and you’ll be shocked by how much energy you save. For larger leaks such as your insulation, loose windows or problems with your doors, consider calling someone who is an expert in closing up air drafts and keeping your home both comfortable and affordable to heat and cool.

To learn more ways to keep your home comfortable this year, give Next Generation a call today!

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Heating Guide: How a Ceiling Fan Can Help Heat Your Home

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Most people who have ceiling fans in Apopka never turn them on in the winter. They assume that the fan is designed solely to cool the house – after all, blowing air feels pretty nice doesn’t it? But, a ceiling fan can actually help to move heat around your home and lower your heating bill if used properly. Here are some tips to do just that.

Rotating Warm Air

Warm air naturally rises. So, when you turn on your furnace and the blower fan pushes warm air through your ductwork into the various rooms of your home, the warm air immediately rises to the ceiling. So, for the room to feel as comfortable as you want it, you must wait for enough heat to circulate into the room to displace the cold air that was already there.

However, instead of waiting for warm air to fill the room, you can circulate the warm air as it arrives with a ceiling fan. By turning on your ceiling fan and changing the direction so it blows down (which most people already have it set to), the warm air will be pushed toward the floor, mixing it smoothly into the room and keeping you more comfortable without having the furnace on constantly.

This does two things. First, it keeps the room comfortable regardless of when the furnace cycles on or off. Second, it keeps the thermostat reading stable so the furnace doesn’t cycle on and off so quickly. If the warm air regularly rises up and the lower levels begin to cool, your furnace will frequently turn on and off as it tries to maintain the same temperature.

A Low Cost Addition to Your Home

Ceiling fans are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. They move air throughout the room, keep warmth low where you need it and can help reduce your energy bill in multiple ways. If you’re not sure whether a ceiling fan is right for you, talk to a technician about just how much money one of these simple devices can save you. I bet you’ll be convinced.

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Easy Ways to Lower My Heat Pump’s Energy Bill? A Question from Cape Canaveral

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump in your Cape Canaveral home is that it is highly efficient for both heating and cooling. There is always room for improvement, though, so here some tips to lower your energy bill even more:

  • Get it checked. It’s been said many times before, but it’s always worth saying again: consistent maintenance is one of the biggest keys to keeping any appliance running efficiently. Get your heat pump inspected by a professional at least once a year. This will keep it in good shape and provide an opportunity to make small repairs, before they have a chance to turn into big problems.
  • Keep it clean. When it comes to HVAC equipment, a clean unit is an efficient unit. Check and replace the filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the coils and fan clean. This will also be part of the annual maintenance, but you can – and should — do touch up cleaning on your own.
  • Install a thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great energy efficiency tool for any home heating and cooling system, not just a heat pump. A thermostat will keep the temperatures lower during the day or any time no one is home, so that you are not wasting heat.
  • Let it run. It may seem counterintuitive, but turning off a heat pump to save energy may actually do more harm than good. Heat pumps operate most efficiently when they stay running on a regular basis. The components don’t need to take time to spin up, and the refrigerant stays warm so it can keep moving. Your best bet is to have your heat pump connected to a programmable thermostat, program it and then stop thinking about it. You’ll save a bundle over manual operation.
  • Protect the outdoor unit. The outdoor portion of your heat pump has to put up with a lot from the elements. Strong winds can damage them or negatively impact the efficient operation of the pump, so keep the outdoor unit protected from wind.

These simple measures, in combination with a highly efficient heat pump, will help slash your energy bills. In addition, check to see if your heat pump is eligible for a federal tax credit, which can save you even more money.

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home: Some Advice from Sebastion

Monday, October 10th, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around your Sebastion house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 8 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  5. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  6. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  7. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  8. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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Quick Tips From Satellite Beach: Save Money on Air Conditioning

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your Satellite Beach house. That means you’re spending hundreds and possibly even thousands of dollars each and every year to stay cool. It’s well worth the investment as the risk of not having air conditioning is much too high, but there must be ways to cut the costs, right? With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash those costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable thermostat and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use.

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