Category Archives: Furnace

landscape for shade

How to Landscape for Shade (And Lower Your Energy Bills)

Is your yard looking a little…well, boring? You might want to consider adding some shady dimension. In addition to jazzing up the look of your area, it will also keep you cool on those hot, sunny days.

However, landscaping a few shady spots outside your home can do more than just add beauty to your yard and cool you off. It’s also a sneaky way to save some money by fighting off sunlight and thus lowering your energy bill.

Here are a couple different landscaping tricks that can save you a few bucks. (Thank us later!)

1. Shade Your Outdoor AC Unit

If you place your AC unit directly out in the sun, it will heat up quickly. This constant heat will cause your system to work harder.

Luckily, some landscaping can help alleviate some heat from the sunlight. Because your unit needs sufficient room for airflow, you don’t want to suffocate your unit with bedding plants. However, it is a good idea to plant a tree or shrub nearby to add some shade (1).

2. Make the Breeze Come to You

Did you know that you can redirect outdoor airflow to cool down your home? Trees and plants can provide shade and usher in cool breezes. Shrubs planted underneath windows can bring air upward with the help of a nearby tree. Rows of trees and shrubs on each side of your home can allow cool air to enter your home as well (1, 4).

3. Add Some Greenery to Cover Your Roof and Walls

As you might guess, your roof absorbs the most solar heat because it takes in the most direct sunlight. But did you know that tall shady trees that block this sunlight can cut your energy bill by nearly 20% in the summer? That’s quite a bit!

The best way to do this is by planting tall trees on the south and west sides of your home. Deciduous trees with broad leaves and high, spreading crowns are an excellent pick if you’re looking to improve your energy bill for two reasons: they’ll shade your home in the summer, and they’ll allow sunlight to heat your home in the winter once the leaves fall. Win, win.

If you’re too impatient to wait for trees to grow, a great alternative is to opt for a pergola or trellis, draping it with fast-growing vines. Although this won’t provide as much shade for your roof, it will certainly provide ample shade for the walls of your home (and it will look nice!) (1,2).

4. Cool Off with a Splash

Okay, so this one doesn’t add any shade to your yard, but it does help cool down your area. Adding a water feature adds some fun dimension and can help lower your energy bill. If you have room for a fountain or pond, the evaporation from the water can actually help cool your yard (1).

5. Play Around with Bushes and Shrubs

In addition to adding a little style to your yard, bushes and shrubs strategically placed around your walls and windows can reduce some of the solar heat that creeps into your home. Try planting some alongside the walls of your house, switching up the heights and type each plant for lots of shade. Get creative with this! (3)

Give us a Call for Your HVAC Needs

We’re pretty well versed in the world of HVACs; that’s why there’s more where this article came from. In addition to helping you save on your energy bill through some neat landscaping tricks, we can help you save in lots of other ways.

If you have questions about your HVAC, or would like to schedule a regular maintenance visit, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Call the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your home is as comfortable as possible this summer: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. http://www.improvenet.com/a/top-5-ways-landscaping-can-lower-your-energy-bill-in-the-summer
  2. https://energy.gov/energysaver/landscaping-shade
  3. https://colmanair.com/landscaping-tricks-for-lower-electricity-bills/
  4. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/351-cool-your-house-with-smart-landscaping/#.WZEAejOZP6Y
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Have A Pet? How Pets Can Impact Your Heating and Cooling System

Of course we all love our furry little friends, but sometimes they make it harder to keep our homes nice and tidy. Their hair gets all over the furniture, they track mud onto the carpet, and sometimes, they have accidents. But hey, at least they’re cute!

You probably didn’t know that your animal can not only put a strain on the cleanliness of your home, but also affect your HVAC system. We’ll fill you in on what happens to your HVAC system, and how to take proper care of it if you do have a pet. Continue reading

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are you using your thermostat the right way

Are You Using Your Thermostat the Right Way?

It wasn’t always as easy as it is today to regulate the temperature within our homes!

Although the first thermostat was invented in 1886, most people didn’t have one until much later. In the beginning of the 20th century, most homes were equipped with manual furnaces.

This meant that each morning, you had to truck down to the basement (where the furnace was typically located) and stoke coal, adjust valves, and situate dampers (1, 2).

It was no walk in the park, to say the least! Continue reading

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Keep Your Home Warm Without Blasting Your Heat

how to keep your warm home without blasting the furnace

So you want to keep your house as warm as possible this winter, but you also aren’t looking to make any huge investments?

Check out these 8, proven ways to make your house as warm as possible, without breaking the bank. Continue reading

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6 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

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When you’ve maintained your furnace well, you’ve set yourself up to get the approval of a would-be buyer.

What’s more is that realtors will tell you that the absence of proof that you’ve been maintaining your furnace can reduce the value of your home.

In theory, if you upgrade your furnace, the value of your home also increases by the full amount of the upgrade cost. But in reality, purchasing a new furnace doesn’t always increase the amount someone will pay when it comes to buying your home. Realtors tell you, however, that is does contribute to your home’s level of attractiveness to buyers. Continue reading

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10 Surprising Furnace Facts

furnace-facts-that-you-need-to-know

As the temperatures drop, most of us are ready to spend less time outdoors and more time inside where it’s cozy and warm. Thanks to our furnaces, we’re able to do just that.

Here are 10 facts you might not know about furnaces, including where the name “furnace” comes from. Continue reading

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7 Home Heating Myths That Could Be Costing You Money

myths-that-may-be-costing-you-moneyUse these tips to sort fact from fiction during the upcoming winter season to save money on your energy bill.

Myth #1: Cranking the thermostat up higher will make your house warm up faster.

When all you want is to be warm – and FAST – it’s tempting to turn the thermostat up much higher than normal. The thought is that this will warm the house up more quickly. But this is a myth. Your furnace doesn’t – and can’t – pump out more heat just because you set the temperature higher. Continue reading

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The Basics: What to Know About Your Furnace

greater comfort heating and cooling

Any homeowner knows that you want your heating system to be working properly. In the winter months it can become a complete emergency if we have to go without heat due to a problem or breakdown with our furnace.

If you’ve been avoiding thinking about your furnace, or if you wish you knew more about the inner working of the heating component of your system, the time to learn more is now. Here we break down what you should know about your furnace.

How Your Heating System Works: Efficiency and Comfort in Your Home

Although every unique furnace model will vary, your HVAC system typically is made of 4 components: the indoor part of the system such as the furnace or air handler; the outdoor unit such as the air conditioner or heat pump; the thermostat; and the air quality component such as humidity control components or your air filtration.

Other factors to be aware of include:

  • Heating capacity: depending on your home’s unique needs, this refers to the overall capacity that your furnace has.
  • Ventilation: how your air is passed through the home and ventilated is
  • Exhaust: if it were to build-up without ever being cleaned, exhaust that is a byproduct of your furnace can pose a risk to your health and safety.
  • Electrical: not to be forgotten is the key that your electrical plays in keeping things running.

A single-stage furnace is one with one speed—meaning you have full heat (maximum speed) that provides you with warm air. In simple terms, your system will then “wait” for the air to cool down, which then triggers your furnace to turn on again. This is how conventional furnaces work to heat your home in the winter. You can see how this “off or on” furnace setup is not as efficient as furnaces that have adjustable and adaptable furnace capacity.

With a two stage furnace, you have greater control and consistency as you heat your home, versus an “off or on” setup. Having the ability to be more precise means you can control the heat output of your furnace on an ongoing basis, even as the temperature outside changes throughout the day.

With a variable speed furnace, the fan moves at various speeds in order to control the amount of heat that is dispersed throughout your home. An increase in airflow means you have a more comfortable home, including improved air quality.

In the end, single-stage furnaces will inevitably result in constant variation of temperature. Those homes with two stage or a variable speed furnace are more adaptable in real-time, and in most cases, they allow you to keep a more constant temperature in the home.

What Else Should I Know About My Furnace? 

As much as we try to keep things simple here, it is true that your heating system is a complex, complicated system—but also one of the most important parts of any home! Here is what else we can help you better understand:

Humidity in your home: you can benefit from a humidifier and dehumidifier in the home, as they help control your humidity level. Some systems are built into your system, but also we can help if you want to add a separate dehumidification or humidity system to your current setup.

The benefit of flexible solutions: conventional heat pumps would force heated air through ducts. Compare this to ductless systems, which work to deliver air directly into various zones of the home.

The reason ductless systems are popular today is because they can deliver this heat on a room-by-room basis. This is why you will hear people talking about the idea of zone-based heating—in this case, they are speaking of ductless systems. Many people choose this as an option for heating and cooling because of overall cost savings.

You have more, efficient options than ever: Ultimately, your HVAC deals with heating, cooling and ventilation. The US Department of Energy reports that modern heating systems can achieve efficiencies as high as 97 percent. That means higher efficiency, increased savings and greater comfort with a modern furnace that has the potential to covert nearly all that fuel to useful heat (1). In this post, we have covered the heating component. Stay tuned for more on what you should know about the rest of your system.

Call The Experts at Greater Comfort

Now that you know a bit more about your furnace, you are better equipped to make future decisions about your home’s air quality and heating/cooling. Give us a call today to learn more—especially if your furnace is not heating right, is louder than normal, only runs for a few minutes, or if the furnace blower is showing signs of not working consistently. Other signs you should give us a call can include excessive dust in the home or humidity-related issues.

If you’re doing research or considering new heating and cooling equipment, give us a call at 859-491-4915 to learn about your energy-efficient options that are best suited for your home.

Sources/References

  1. http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/mechanical-systems/types-of-hvac-systems
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