Category Archives: HVAC

8 New Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Sacrifice Needed greater comfort blog

8 New Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Sacrifice Needed

As we dive into colder weather, we’re overwhelmed with lots of yummy baked treats, holiday decorations, and of course, the oh-so beautiful snow!

As beautiful as the winter season is, it does tend to bring freezing temperatures along with it. Cold temps mean that our heating systems have to work a little harder, which also means we usually have to dish out a little extra cash on our energy bills.

So, ‘tis the season to cut back on energy bills! We’ve got some new tips and tricks to help you save this year.

Let’s Get Started

  1. Use your fans. If you have fans, use them! Whether it be spring, summer, fall, or winter, promoting better airflow throughout your home will help you save a few extra bucks. Fans will help circulate your air to keep you more comfortable without tampering with the thermostat. But remember, they don’t alter the temperature, so be sure to turn them off when you’re not home (1).
  1. Do your laundry and dishes at night. Did you know that many power companies offer discounts for non-peak energy use? In other words, you could save a good chunk of change if you simply do your chores past 8pm! Call your utility company and inquire about off-peak discounts. If they offer one, ask about the details and what hours they’re offered—each company is usually different (1).
  1. Be sure that your HVAC vents are squeaky clean. In order for your HVAC system to run to its best ability, it needs to be clean! Make sure that you regularly clean vents and ducts, and replace air filters often. You’ll thank us later. (And we know you are keeping up with your tune-ups with us, too!) (3).
  1. Swap out all your light bulbs for LEDS. Fluorescent bulbs are so last year. In addition to providing better quality light, LED bulbs require 90% less energy than normal bulbs—AND they last longer. This one’s a no brainer (2, 3).
  1. Turn things off at night. This one might sound simple, but it can actually be a huge culprit for high energy bills! Don’t waste money while you sleep. Before you catch some Z’s, be sure to do a sweep-through of your home, turning off appliances, lights, fans, and electric devices (4).
  1. Strategically load your dishwasher. Unlike your washer and dryer where you can usually get away with throwing whatever you can inside, your dishwasher should be loaded efficiently. While you should place your plates facing inward on the bottom row of your dishwasher, it’s best to stack bowls and cups downward on the top row. This way, you can fit more dishes in each load and ensure that they get a good wash (1).
  1. Bump down the temp on your water heater. Did you know that 13% of the typical energy bill is attributed to heating water? That’s quite a bit. Most heaters are set to about 140 degrees (which is scalding!) Try setting your water heater to 120-130 degrees, it’ll still be plenty hot, and you’ll save a few extra bucks (2).
  1. Schedule regular HVAC maintenance. This one, we can help you with. Routine maintenance to your HVAC system will not only keep it squeaky clean, but also improve its efficiency (2).

Greater Comfort: Helping You Find Energy Savings

The other way to achieve energy savings is through upgrades to your heating and cooling system. Exploring adding green technology, such as solar heating or electricity, is a great place to start. We also offer green–friendly options including ductless mini split heat pumps with SEER ratings well over 20. These systems not only reduce the use of energy to cool your home, but also eliminate the need for fuel–based heating on all but the coldest nights of the winter.

When you work with an expert in energy saving, you will find that there are dozens of ways to reduce your energy bill, improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and keep your family comfortable without spending a fortune.

If you are ready to take action and discuss your heating and cooling needs with a tri–state area expert, now is the time to call. Contact the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your HVAC system is working as efficiently as possible this winter: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://lifehacker.com/5953039/how-to-reduce-your-energy-bill-with-no-cost-or-sacrifice
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/lower-your-electric-bill-1388743
  3. https://www.trulia.com/blog/6-places-in-your-home-you-arent-saving-energy-but-could/
  4. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/smart-spending/10-ways-to-save-money-on-your-utility-bill-1.aspx#slide=3
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What Do HVAC Energy Ratings Mean heres what to know

What Do HVAC Energy Ratings Mean?

It’s important to make smart choices when you’re looking to purchase a a new heating and cooling system for your home (or business).

You’ll see various different energy efficiency ratings when you’re browsing among units, and you shouldn’t bypass them. Because they help indicate how much the system will cost to buy and operate, they’re worth reviewing. You may want to consider higher-rated systems, as they will be more efficient in the long run (1).

Confused? We’ll Explain.

If you’re clueless about what these ratings mean, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered!

Let’s talk heat. What’s HSPF? This indicates the ‘Heating Seasonal Performance Factor’ for heat pumps, which is expressed through a ratio. HSPF simply compares the amount of heat produced to the electricity consumed. In simpler terms, it rates the unit’s efficiency over an entire season.

To put these terms into perspective, the minimum required HSPF for heat pumps manufactured after 2015 is 8, while the highest possible HSPF is 10 (1). The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.

Gas furnace? You’ll want to know about AFUE. The ratings for gas furnaces differ slightly from heat pumps. The AFUE, or ‘Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency’ ratio measures the percentage of heat generated for every dollar of fuel used. This is similar to the miles-per-gallon standard on your car—the higher your AFUE, the less you’ll dish out for heating costs (1, 4).

Efficiency Ratings: The Basics

First, what does SEER mean? This rating stands for ‘Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio’ and is the most widely used efficiency measurement among air conditioners.  Similar to HSPF, it compares the amount of electrical input needed to run the A/C over an entire season to how much cooling the unit provides (1,2). To put it simply, a higher SEER rating means higher efficiency. A 16-SEER unit is typically a viable choice for those looking for higher efficiency without breaking the bank (3).

Next up: EER. EER means ‘Energy Efficiency Ratio.” Unlike SEER, which assigns ratings based upon a lower operating temperature of 82 degrees, EER measures performance based on higher temperatures, typically above 95 degrees. This rating tests the unit based on how well it can perform under maximum cooling capacity, and also considers humidity removal (2).

So, which one should you keep an eye out for when it comes to A/C shopping? Well, both! It’s important not to bypass one efficiency rating for the other. Just because a particular unit has a high SEER rating, doesn’t mean that it will have a high EER rating—and vice versa.

Since most people will need an air conditioner than performs well in both circumstances (warm days, and hot, humid days), it will be helpful to investigate both ratings (2).

We’ll Help You Make the Best Choice

If you had to try to take away one thing from this article, remember that your system’s performance is measured by a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (your SEER) and energy efficiency ratio (your EER). Higher ratings usually translate to lower operating costs, but they also are going to be more to purchase (1).

Making the switch to a new HVAC system is an important decision—and we want to make sure that you’re making the right one! Have a question about which system might be best for you? Give us a call!

If you are ready to take action and discuss your heating and cooling needs with a Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky expert, now is the time to call. Contact the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your HVAC systems are in excellent shape this winter: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-do-hvac-energy-efficiency-ratings-mean.htm
  2. https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/publications/pubdocs/HeatingCoolingGuide%20FINAL_9-4-09.pdf
  3. https://asm-air.com/airconditioning/what-is-a-good-seer-rating/
  4. https://www.lennox.com/buyers-guide/guide-to-hvac/energy-ratings
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greater comfort hvac cincinnati

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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Humidity Problem? How to Regulate Humidity Levels in Your Home

nky humidity

Did you know that the muggiest period of the year in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area lasts 4 months? More specifically, it typically lasts from May 24 to September 23. The comfort level during these months can be described as muggy, oppressive, or even miserable at least 16% of the time (1). Yikes!   Continue reading

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Indoor Comfort: Is it Time for HVAC Zoning?

hvac zoning

Do different people in your home seem to want entirely different temperatures in order to be comfortable? Or maybe it’s just specific rooms in your house seem to always be much warmer than the others this time of year and into summer.

Whether you want to call it a “thermostat war” or a “comfort war,” the battles don’t have to continue. If you are craving greater comfort in your home, here are 5 things to know. Continue reading

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