How to Inspect Your Furnace or Air Conditioning Ducts

Do you have uneven heating or cooling in your home? If you have central air and heat with a duct system, you may have a blockage in your duct system. Many items can find their way into the ducts and cause a blockage. This can cut off air to one or more rooms in your home, causing uneven temperatures. It can also cost you more on your energy bill and put extra stress on your HVAC system. Here are some tips on how to inspect your ducts to find blockages.

  • Check air flow. Turn on your heat or air and check all the vents in your home for air flow. If any do not have air coming out, there may be a blockage in that duct. If low air is coming from all ducts, check your air filter – it could be clogged and need replacement.
  • Remove vents. If there are vents with low to no air, remove the vent cover. This is often where debris gets caught, pushed up against the vent cover. Clean away any debris and check the duct for any blockages as far as you can see using a flashlight.
  • Make sure valves are open. If the vent and filter are clean, but there still is no air going to certain rooms, make sure the valves for the duct are open. Most systems have valves in the ducts to close air flow to certain rooms.

If after your inspection, you are still having air flow issues, call your local HVAC service team for a system efficiency analysis. There is possibly a blockage in your ducts that may need to be cleared by a professional.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

What is An HVAC Energy Efficiency Audit?

Does your energy bill seem to keep growing? The biggest drain on your electric and gas bill comes from your heating and cooling source: your HVAC unit. While higher energy bills are to be expected during the hottest and coldest months of the year, if you flinch every time you see a monthly invoice, it may be time to see if your HVAC system is working as efficiently as possible with an energy efficiency audit.

During an energy efficiency audit or a system efficiency analysis, your HVAC specialist will do a complete evaluation of your system. This comprehensive audit can identify issues in your system that are causing a strain that draws more energy. Some of the components that are often evaluated include:

  • Air quality, including testing and distribution
  • Analysis of energy consumption
  • Thermostat and temperature control
  • Complete system check
  • Safety features

Once the audit is completed, the next step is determining the options for energy use improvements. The audit may reveal services that need to be performed to improve the efficiency of the system. The HVAC technician can also provide tips for better system operation to cut down on energy costs and extend the life of your HVAC system. Following through with the suggestions revealed during the energy efficiency audit can help lower monthly energy costs plus add years of service to your HVAC system. In some cases, it may be suggested that it is time to replace your HVAC system, especially if it is over ten years old and has a poor efficiency rating.

You shouldn’t need to live with enormous energy bills. Call your local HVAC service company to schedule an energy efficiency audit to find out how to lower your monthly heating and cooling costs.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

How Routine HVAC Maintenance Can Save You Money

One of the highest costs of maintaining your home is climate control. Whether it is warming your house on a cold, winter day or trying to beat the heat with cool air in the summer, keeping a comfy home temperature can become expensive. Not only do you need to pay for the energy costs, you must consider the cost of your HVAC unit. To reduce the overall cost of climate control, consider the benefits of routine HVAC maintenance. Here are some of the ways investing in regular maintenance can reduce your climate control expenses.

  • Efficiency. When your HVAC unit is regularly maintained, it can perform more efficiently. Simple maintenance like changing the air filter and cleaning the coils can improve energy efficiency by 30% of more.
  • Performance. You will get more bang for your buck when your HVAC is well-maintained. It will take less time to heat or cool your home when it is kept at peak performance.
  • Fewer repairs. Preventive maintenance can reduce expensive HVAC emergencies and repairs. It is far less expensive to maintain your unit than constantly pay for repair service.
  • Extend the life of your HVAC system. The long-term savings of HVAC maintenance is the longevity of your unit. If maintenance can extend the life of your unit by one, two or more years, you can save hundreds of dollars off replacement costs.

Regular tune-ups on your HVAC system and other maintenance do cost money, but the return on the investment is worth it. You can realize monthly savings on your energy costs and year-round savings on repairs and replacement expenses. Talk to your local HVAC service company about scheduling your next HVAC service.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
3870 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 340-129
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 475-9555

5 Ways to Lower your AC Costs This Summer

You want to stay cool and comfortable during the summer – but you also don’t want to pay high energy bills. While air conditioning does increase your energy costs, there are many ways to reduce the financial pain of staying cool during the summer. Here are five tips you can do now to lower your AC costs this summer.

  1. Seal doors and windows. Make sure the weather stripping around doors and windows is not cracked or worn. Sealing around these entrances can help keep cool air in and hot air out.
  2. Invest in drapes/shades for windows and glass doors. Give your AC unit a helping hand by reducing the sunlight that comes in the home on hot days. Invest in drapes, shades or blinds for windows and glass doors to keep sunlight out.
  3. Run large appliances during cooler hours. Wash dishes and clothes during the morning or evening hours when it is cooler outside. This reduces heat from these large appliances during the peak temperature times during the day.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one and use it. This allows you to set the temperature on your AC to reduce use during times when you are not home or asleep.
  5. Get a spring tune-up. Did you know dirty coils and filters can cost you up to an extra $1,000 per season in AC costs? Get a spring tune-up for your unit to ensure it is ready for summer.
  6. System Efficiency Analysis – Have a system efficiency analysis performed by a qualified HVAC contractor.

Now is the time to start preparing your home to keep AC costs low this summer. With a little prep and maintenance, you can save hundreds of dollars and still stay cool during the dog days of summer.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Are Your Ducts Drafty?

One of the biggest drains on heating bills is drafty ductwork. Poorly sealed ducts can lead to high energy bills, both during the summer and the winter. If your heated or cooled air is being lost as it travels throughout your home, you are paying way too much in energy bills. Before the colder winter weather hits, now is the time to have your ducts inspected to ensure you’re getting the most out of your heating system. 

Benefits Of Duct Inspections

It’s not uncommon for leaks and other efficiency issues through the ductwork of a home to go unnoticed. Since you can’t see inside them, it’s easy to assume they’re doing their job. However, if you have noticed an increase in your utility bills or members of your family are suffering from increased allergy symptoms, your ducts may be to blame. Having an annual duct inspection can provide many benefits, including: 

  • Detecting leaks. If there are small holes or cracks in your ducts, they may be leaking air. This can cause your utility bills to go up 20% or more, depending on the extent of the leaks. Sealing these problems can have a drastic impact on your monthly utility bills.
  • Dirty ducts. Dust, pests and mold can accumulate within your ducts, spreading allergens throughout your home. An inspection may uncover the hidden cause of increased allergy problems.
  • Back drafting. One of the most dangerous aspects of poorly sealed ducts is back drafting. Ducts often transport dangerous gases, such as carbon monoxide, out of your home. Leaky ducts can cause these harmful gases to be pulled back into your home, endangering your family. 

If it’s been more than a year since your ducts have been checked, call your local HVAC contractor to schedule an inspection. It’s worth the investment to ensure your HVAC system has ducts which are working efficiently and safely for your family’s comfort and health.

Posted on behalf of Find Local HVAC

Is Your HVAC System Efficient?

Efficient HVAC systems save commercial and residential property owners money thru reduced operational costs.  Saving money is extremely important to both business owners and homeowners alike in today’s economic environment.  The best way to determine the efficiency of any system is to perform a thorough energy efficiency analysis, which will examine energy consumption, energy costs and identify any potential cost savings opportunities.  The goal of the analysis is to make specific recommendations to improve system performance, while minimizing costs and maximizing comfort. 

Typically an energy efficiency analysis will consist of a physical examination of the existing HVAC system, as well as a quantitative analysis of the system.  During the physical examination, the technician will examine the individual components of the system, while performing an inventory of the system.  The condition of the individual components will be noted, as well as any existing safety hazards.  The system’s air distribution and temperature systems will be checks as well.  In some cases, an indoor air quality test may also be performed.  

As one would expect, the quantitative analysis on the system is all about the numbers and data.  Past historical data showing the ownership and operating costs of the HVAC system are examined to determine the total cost of ownership.  An analysis of energy consumption will also be performed to determine how much energy is being consumed.   Based upon the physical inspection of the system, as well as the quantitative analysis of the data, a written report is provided to the property owner with specific recommendations, estimated costs for improvements, as well as an implementation plan for the proposed improvements.

Posted on behalf of Find Local HVAC

Save Energy With an HVAC System Efficiency Analysis

If you are looking for ways to save money on your heating and cooling costs, a professional HVAC system efficiency analysis is an excellent first step.  Central air conditioning and heating systems are notorious energy wasters, especially in homes build more than ten to fifteen years ago.  When energy prices were lower, there was not as much of a concern about wasting energy.  Most homeowners were happy to install heating and cooling equipment that was less efficient, but also much less expensive.

The same mindset applied to the construction of the home and installation of the duct system.  Homeowners were less inclined to spend money on additional insulation, insulated windows, and eliminating air leaks around doors, windows, plumbing, and other areas where heated or cooled air could escape from the home.

With energy costs rising and record setting heat scorching the country, replacing an older less efficient furnace, heat pump, or central air conditioning system with a new energy efficient system can make good economic sense, but before you spend the money on a new system, it pays to have a system efficiency analysis done by a qualified HVAC technician.

You may find more cost effective ways to lower your energy bill, or to maximize the benefit obtained from the new equipment.  The analysis will identify where you are wasting energy and make recommendations for improvement.  Leaky ducts, poor weather stripping, and inadequate insulation are just a few of the relatively inexpensive improvements that can save you a lot of energy and money.

In addition, if you are going to purchase a new heating and air conditioning system, correcting the deficiencies found during the system efficiency analysis might allow you to install a smaller, more efficient heating and air conditioning system.

Use Energy Efficiency to Sell Your Home

Selling a home in today’s housing market can be a challenge, to say the least.  With so many homes on the market at rock bottom prices, it can take a long time to get an offer on your home and it will probably be thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars less than your asking price even if your home is competitively priced.  The problem is that houses have almost become a commodity. If your home is just like half a dozen other homes for sale in your area, buyers have no incentive to make you a better offer.  The buyer can just keep making low ball offers on homes like yours until some desperate homeowner takes it.

What you need to do is to make your home stand out from the others so that the buyer wants your home, not a home like yours.  One way to make your home stand out is by improving the energy efficiency of your home and the most fertile ground for energy efficiency improvements is your home’s heating and cooling system.

Studies have shown that homes with third party energy efficiency certifications sell significantly faster and for more money than conventional homes.  Even if your home doesn’t have a third party energy efficiency certification, buyers are clearly interested in energy efficiency.  Use that to your advantage by having an system efficiency analysis done by a good HVAC contractor and have them install the recommended package of energy efficiency improvements. 

If your heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old, consider installing a new energy efficient HVAC system.  You probably won’t recover the full cost of the system when you sell, but it will make your home more attractive to potential buyers and reduce the amount of time your home sits on the market.  Be sure that your real estate agent highlights your home’s energy efficiency and provides potential buyers with information about the improvements to your heating and cooling system.

Are Fireplaces and Woodstoves Good Home Heating Alternatives

Almost every homeowner would like to reduce their home heating costs.  One option that often sounds appealing is heating or supplemental heating with wood.  This sounds like a great idea, but the reality is that it’s really only an effective alternative in a few limited circumstances.

First, heating with an open fireplace is very inefficient. Most of the heat generated in a fireplace is lost up the chimney.  In addition, in order to burn properly and to exhaust smoke, carbon monoxide and other combustion gasses up and out the chimney, a fireplace has to draw air in from the room.  That air is replaced by cold outside air that makes your way into your home.  A fireplace can actually make the rest of the rooms in your house colder. 

A modern woodstove is much more energy efficient than a fireplace and in some cases can supplement your home heating system, but there are a few caveats.  First, energy efficient woodstoves are expensive and for safe operation, they need to be installed by a professional adding further to the cost. 

Next, take into consideration the cost of the wood or pellets you will be burning.  If you plan to cut, split, and stack the wood yourself, consider the amount of time and the cost of the tools such as a chain saw, axe, and wood splitter.  Don’t forget to factor in the cost of a back injury or worse, an accident involving a chainsaw or axe.  It could take a very long time to make up the cost of a wood stove in energy savings.

The reality is that for the vast majority of homeowners, a fireplace or woodstove can add ambiance and charm to your home, but they are not very practical for home heating.  More effective alternatives include having a system efficiency analysis done by a reputable HVAC contractor or replacing an old furnace with a new energy efficient furnace.