Conserve Heat this Winter and Save

Colder days are here! Taking steps now to conserve and redirect heat will help you save on your energy bill  throughout the winter months. It can also prevent costly repairs to overworked systems.

Most of the tips below are free, and any costs are minimal compared to the amount of money you can save.

Bring in the warmth of sunlight

  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows and doors during the day to allow the sun’s light heat your home.
  • At night, close them to cut the chill from cold windows.

Cover drafty windows

  • Use window treatments such as a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on drafty windows after weatherizing, to conserve heat and save energy.

Adjust the temperature

  • Set your thermostat as low as comfortable when you are home and awake.
  • When you are away from the house or asleep, turn your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for eight hours to save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Keep a moderate setting on your heat pump or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

Locate and seal leaks

  • Seal air leaks. Some places to check are around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.

Insulate the attic door

  • Even if your attic is insulated, don’t forget to check your attic door.
  • Add insulation to the inside of the door to prevent heated air from rising into the attic.

Maintain your heating systems

  • Schedule maintenance for your heating system.
  • Replace your furnaces and heat pump filters once a month or as needed.
  • Clean the flue vent regularly on your wood- and pellet-burning heaters. Clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.

Reduce heat loss from the fireplace

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed when there is no fire is burning. Keeping it open allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window about an inch. Close doors to the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50 degrees and 55 degrees.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

Lower your water heating costs

  • Turn down the water heater temperature to the warm setting (12o degrees).

Use ceiling fans correctly

  • Most ceiling fans have a switch so you can set the blades to rotate in reverse during the winter. This pushes the warm air near the ceiling down toward the floor to keep you warmer.
  • Locate this switch on the body of the fan and set the blades to turn counter-clockwise. In summer, reverse the direction so the blades rotate in a clockwise direction.

Install door sweeps

  • Prevent cold air from blowing in by installing a door sweep at the bottom of exterior doors. Some utility companies offer them free to customers, so call to inquire before you buy one.

Seal electric outlets

  • Did you know electric outlets and switches can be sources of air leaks? Insulate them.
  • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker box. Insulate with pre-made foam gaskets. Measure the outlet to be sure you get the correct size.
  • Also, insert child-safety plugs in unused wall outlets to plug potential leaks.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning can help with your home efficiency and maintenance needs.  Request an appointment online or call us at 1.800.461.3010.

Can A Smart Thermostat Save You Money?

Smart home technology is becoming more and more mainstream for tech-savvy homeowners. If you’re not a gadget guru, you might wonder if a smart thermostat is worth the investment and learning curve. And, can a smart thermostat save you money?  Programmable thermostats have been around, but here are some things that might surprise you about smart thermostat technology.

What is a smart thermostat? 

Smart thermostats connect to your home WiFi – typically, they have a WiFi chip, but some communicate through a separate hub. (Eyes glazing over? Don’t worry professionals set this up). You simply control your thermostat through an app on your phone. The newest technology allows the thermostat to not only set up schedules, but also read your daily patterns and adjust accordingly.  This can lead to improved efficiency and opportunities for savings.

You don’t have to have a “smart home” to use a smart thermostat.

If you don’t have a smart home system, you can still use a smart thermostat and phone app. If you have Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit, you can control your thermostat the same way you control other things like lights, appliances, and entertainment.

They report to you.

Home with smart thermostat

Some smart thermostats can translate temperature trends and usage data into energy efficiency reports. If you have electric HVAC and appliances, it might be hard to decipher how much of your electric bill is directly from heating and cooling. Getting a separate report from your smart thermostat shows you how your energy usage breaks down and allows you to make changes or improvements to maximize efficiency and save money.

They know your home.

Whether it be your HVAC unit itself, drafts from windows, insulation issues, or blocked vents, if your home is not maintaining temperature in an efficient way, your smart thermostat knows. It alerts you to changes in the amount of time it takes to get your home to a desired temperature. This gives you the opportunity to identify potential problems with your home or system.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning can help with your home efficiency needs.  Request an appointment online or call us at 1.800.461.3010.

How to Pick a Ceiling Fan

In a previous post, we talked about using ceiling fans to circulate cool air in the summer. Fans are multi-functional and offer lots of benefits, so be sure and pick a ceiling fan with the features you need. You’ll enjoy energy savings, cooler spaces, and extra light (if you choose one with a light fixture).  They make your home more comfortable to the point that your thermostat can be adjusted 4-7 degrees lower!

How to pick a ceiling fan

Pick a ceiling fan that will provide aesthetic and practical benefits!

Here are some points to keep in mind as you pick a ceiling fan to meet your needs:

  • When it comes to the size of the fan, it’s best to choose the size that best matches with the square footage of the room.  Rooms that are less than 144 square feet should have a 42-inch fan. Rooms up to 225 square feet should have a 44-inch fan. If you are picking a fan for a room that’s up to 400 square feet, go with a 52-inch fan.
  • It’s important to choose the right blade size that doesn’t disrupt the purpose of the room that the fan is in. If you want to install a fan in your office, for instance, choose a fan with larger blades so the papers don’t get ruffled. They create a lower velocity and still keep the room cool. The number of blades will not make a difference in cooling the room.
  • Each fan should be carefully installed and follow basic guidelines. They should hang down 10-12 inches from the ceiling and 7-9 feet above the floor. Ceiling fans should always be 18-24 inches away from any walls.
  • Fans now come with many options and features.  If you want to use your fan on a frequent basis and save on your energy bills, then consider a fan that is easy to operate. Fans come with remote controls, noise level control, fan speed control, and the ability to dim or brighten the light.

Whether you have a fan that needs updating or want to install a new fan, it’s always best to have a professional take care of it.  Having a professional install your new fan will ensure that you get the manufacturer’s warranty and ensure the safety of your family. The mounting process is specific and includes precise mounting to a ceiling joist. Sometimes a mounting bracket is used instead of a ceiling joist, but both require proper alignment.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 1-800-461-3010 to install your ceiling fans.

Is your AC about to go out? Know the signs!

Air conditioning is one of modern life’s greatest privileges. We often don’t think about the comfort it provides, until our unit stops working. When the AC goes out, it always seems to happen suddenly (and on the hottest day of the year).  But there are usually signs and symptoms before a unit goes kaput – you just have to know what to look for. Staying on top of your air conditioning unit’s health will save you from discomfort and unexpected expenses down the road!

Signs your air conditioning unit may be about to go out

It’s full of hot air

The number one sign that something is wrong with your unit is that the air doesn’t seem cold. There could be a few reasons why this is happening. It’s possible that your compressor is broken or your unit may have low levels of Freon.

It’s leaky

If you check your unit and there is moisture or leakage, this could be a sign that something is not right. Slight condensation is normal, but a significant amount of moisture is not. A refrigerant leak around your unit can cause a risk to your family. Water leaks can cause damage to your floors and furniture, and they can sometimes even cause mold. It’s best to call a professional to fix the problem sooner rather than later.

It’s thumping, bumping, clicking, or banging

If you hear a strange sound coming from your unit, it may be time to have an inspection done to find the cause of the noise. If you hear rattling, banging or grinding sounds coming from your unit, turn it off immediately and call a professional.

It’s ready to retire

Is your unit 10-15 years old? If so, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer energy efficient model. Air conditioning units typically last 10-15 years, so if yours is within this time frame, then you should be anticipating a unit replacement soon.

It’s a money pit

Are you constantly paying for repairs on your unit? If so, replacing the unit may save you money in the long run. Repair costs can really add up over time.

It’s hogging energy

What is your system’s SEER rating? Every Air Conditioning system has a SEER rating, and the higher the rating, the better. If your SEER rating is low, then it may be time to replace your unit. Any units that have been made since 2006 are made with a minimum SEER rating of 13. It’s best to have a rating higher than the minimum if you want to reap the most energy savings from your unit.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to visit and perform a tune-up on your AC unit! Our service professionals will inspect your condenser and evaporator coils to ensure that your system is running efficiently. We will also come out and check your insulation for any small holes or non-insulated walls.  This will also help reduce the cost of your energy bills since your system will be running properly after our inspection and tune-up!

Call to schedule your appointment now with Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 800-461-3010

 

Go Green to Save Green 

 


Even if you don’t care much about the environment, going “green” can save you quite a bit of money! Here are a few ways you can save by making changes around your home.

Low-flow showerheads save on energy usage AND water. They can reduce your water usage by up to 60 percent.

Use a power strip with a switch to eliminate extra spending on powering up idle equipment. These little items add up and the cost is on average $100 each year!

Install a programmable thermostat. This will let you adjust the temperature automatically while you are sleeping or out of the house.

Insulating your walls, ceiling and floors will save you about 10 percent on your energy bills each year. Even if you already have insulation, look to see if you should add more in the attic or other areas you might forget about.

Install new energy-efficient windows. If you’re losing air out of the old leaky windows, you’re losing cash. In the winter the heat will escape and in the summer the cool air will escape. Changing the windows can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Fix leaky faucets. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you have a faucet that has one drip per second, that equals about 1600 gallons of wasted water, which is 35 dollars a year.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, washing machine or other appliance, look for Energy Star models.

To go green, you usually have to spend some money up front and put in some work. In the end though, you’ll pay off by saving thousands of dollars! Think about 5 or 10 years from now!

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!