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RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeA new HVAC system can be a major investment, but this is one upgrade worth considering. Depending on the local climate and age of your current system, a new system could potentially pay for itself in just four or five years. Here is a closer look at just a few of the benefits of modern HVAC systems. They Maintain Consistent Pressure Just because newer units are more powerful doesn’t mean that they draw extra energy. The ducts inside your home are designed to handle a certain amount of pressure, and any changes to that pressure will reduce the overall efficiency of the system. A modern HVAC system, like those available from Derek Sawyers Smart Energy Heating & Air, is going to keep the pressure inside your ducts extremely consistent. That means every room in your home will stay close to the same temperature. Older units tend to create pressure fluctuations that wreak havoc on energy consumption. More Accurate Thermostats Studies are now showing us that smart thermostats can save you up to $180 a year. In addition to being more accurate, they can also be controlled remotely. If you accidentally leave the system on during the day, you can quickly turn it off with a mobile app or web portal. Some of these thermostats also link to multiple sensors throughout the home to get a more accurate reading of the indoor temperature. Higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) Ratings Within the last decade, the SEER ratings of many HVAC systems have skyrocketed. A higher SEER rating basically means that the HVAC system produces more cool air and uses less electricity. HVAC systems that are more than 15 years usually have a SEER rating below six. Some of the leading HVAC systems that have come out in the last few years have a SEER rating of 14 or higher. Newer systems also produce more heat with less electricity during the coldest months of the year. Improved Fittings Older air conditioners, condensers, blowers, and furnaces can pull away from their fittings, and that will result in an incredible amount of heat transfer. When modern energy-efficient units are installed, all of the fittings will perfectly mate with one another. The HVAC contractor can also use products such as all-purpose caulking and weather-stripping to further insulate the system. Reducing the amount of air that escapes will result in lower energy bills. If you would like to save even more money, then you might want to consider improving your home’s insulation. Blow-in insulation, weather strips, and window dressings will all reduce the amount of heat transfer that takes place inside your home, and that could save you quite a bit every month.
RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeYou do not have to be a diehard environmentalist to want to do your part in preserving resources for future generations and leaving less of a carbon footprint behind. You may be like many homeowners who have a desire to have your home be more environmentally friendly, but you just do not know how to go about it without it costing a fortune or being inconvenient. Here are some easy ways you and your family can make your home more environmentally friendly. LED Bulbs Incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dinosaur. Except for some specific applications, such as oven bulbs, incandescent bulbs are being phased out. California plans to have them phased out, with exceptions, by 2018. You may have noticed how hard it is to find incandescent bulbs in some hardware departments nowadays. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LED bulbs only use a fraction of the energy needed to power the hot incandescent bulbs. LED lights use the least amount of electricity. You may have had mixed results using CFL bulbs in the past, but new types are available to provide instant full light and will work in the cold for outdoor fixtures. However, LED bulbs are the best at using less electricity. Swapping all the bulbs you can to LEDs can save money on your electric bill, eliminate the need to change a bulb for many years, and be quite earth friendly in the process. HVAC Upkeep Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system use the most energy in your home. Furnaces often use natural gas or another fossil fuel along with electricity to run a blower or pump, making the furnace the costliest appliance in your home to run. Your AC system is second. Dirty filters, grime on condenser and evaporator coils, corroded burners, and more can cause electricity to be wasted for air conditioning and fuels used for heating. Some companies, like Classic Air and Heating, know that it is important to at least get an annual inspection service and cleaning performed to keep your furnace and central air conditioning system operating at peak efficiency. You save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint, which is helpful to the environment. Recycle There are some areas of the country that do not yet have a weekly pickup day for recyclable materials. Many neighborhoods collect recyclables separately, but some people do not participate in the program and throw away recyclables in the regular trash instead. Many people start by recycling aluminum cans and newspapers. A single recycled aluminum soda can saves the amount of energy required to operate a television for three hours. Even if you start small with just recycling aluminum cans or newspapers, you are making your home more earth friendly. Unplug Chargers and Turn off Lights Those power pack chargers that regenerate the batteries in your tablets, cell phones, and laptops use electricity even when they are not connected to the device they are intended to charge. The amount is small, but there are millions of them plugged in all over the country. Connecting them to a power strip that can be physically shut off with a switch can save energy. Turning off the lights when you leave a room is another easy way to save energy. You should also turn off televisions and other appliances that are not being used. Televisions and monitors still use a little bit of electricity in standby mode, but not as much as when they are operating. Imagine the energy savings if every home in the country participated in even casual energy saving protocols and minimal recycling. You may not be able to get all of your neighbors on the bandwagon of becoming more earth friendly, but you can at least motivate your family to take a personal concern for the natural resources we share in this finite world.