Mar 062017

Learning about HVAC begins with a few simple tips. Follow th tips presented in this article to improve your knowledge. Read over it carefully, and you will find some valuable information.

Before you choose someone to do HVAC work, figure out what they need to do for you. If you can’t describe the problem, you may not get an accurate quote. It will be way more hard if you can’t figure out what they need to do. You need to know this before you begin.

Clean the fan blades and coils on the condenser fan every spring. Start by turning off the power to avoid having anything move when you work on it. After you have turned the power off, you simply remove the grill and the blades to perform a gentle cleansing.

If you are having issues with your HVAC, do a tour of your house before you call in help. Make a list of the rooms which are comfortable and which just aren’t. This can help the contractor determine the problem areas quickly and fix the problem easily.

Grass Clippings

Make sure that you do not cover your outdoor components with grass clippings when you are trimming the grass. Make certain the debris goes away from it. This includes grass clippings and leaves.

If the condenser fan has oil parts, then you need to lubricate it at least once per year. These ports are typically covered with caps made of metal or rubber. You should select an SAE 20 oil since it is lightweight and does not contain detergent. Be sure to use just 10 drops or so, or your system may overfill.

Think about what improvements you want made before picking an HVAC contractor. A contractor will be hard pressed to provide you with an over-the-phone estimate if unfamiliar with your system. Being unable to explain what has been already done will make it even harder. Understand this information beforehand.

Be sure to place your outdoor unit in a shady spot to maximize efficiency. It will help you save on your energy bill when you do this.

As the temperature outside drops, remember to turn off your outdoor condenser unit. This means that you should turn it off to prevent damage if the weather falls under 60 degrees Farenheit. This can ensure your unit is working well throughout the years without the cost of repairs.

It is a good idea to replace single-paned windows with ones that have double panes. To keep your home cool, investing in double pane windows is a must. This also works during the cold months to keep the warm air inside.

If your unit is outdoors, clean them regularly. Leaves and debris can accumulate quickly, particularly following storms, and that can cause problems for your system. It can cause your system to malfunction by overheating.

Programmable Thermostats

A good way to save money with your air conditioning is by installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can automatically dial back settings, saving you money. Additionally, some models of programmable thermostats actually allow you to control them remotely from your office computer or cell phone.

Don’t ever let your home temperature get dangerously high. An AC unit will reduce the internal temperature of your home approximately twenty degrees in a fair time. If your house’s interior temperature hits 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you would only be able to cool it down just above 80 degrees. This isn’t a very safe condition for a homeowner to sleep in, especially when the humidity levels are considered.

When you cut the grass, don’t cover the outdoor units with their clippings. Try shooting the clippings away from it. When blowing leaves, do the same. Always take care when passing your HVAC units while moving leaves, grass or other debris.

To choose a reliable HVAC contractor, the best thing to do is to do your homework on a number of possible firms and check out their reputations. It is a good idea to check with the BBB and look for reviews from prior clients. When done in advance you can be sure of making a sound decision.

Figure out how long the HVAC company you choose has been in business. Someone that has been in the business for a while probably isn’t going to scam you. It’s a risk to hire a new one.

Speak with family and friends to get a recommendation for a reputable HVAC contractor. People who have been happy with work they have had done in the past are normally more than happy to recommend their contractors. You are likely to also hear about negative experiences.

If you have oil ports as part of the fan condenser, annual lubrication is key. You’ll see that the ports here are closed with a rubber or metal cap. Use SAE 20 oil that is non-detergent and lightweight, and put 10 drops or fewer in each port, but make sure to avoid overfilling them.

Online reviews are a great source of information about HVAC contractors. A simple search should yield a number of sites with informative reviews. This will tell you who is great and who isn’t.

Do you need a new HVAC unit? You will need to take a few things into account. Learn about the size systems need to be for optimal efficiency. If your home falls in size between two units, select the one that is larger.

If your system isn’t working as it should, test its ducts for leaks. Often your utility company is willing to test this for you, and it may be free or lower in cost than you would get with a contractor. You’ll see the test pays for itself once all leaks are fixed.

When colder weather arrives, switch off all outdoor condenser units. When the temperature drops beneath 60 degrees, it’s time to cut off the unit to prevent damage. This can keep your HVAC running and can save you money on repairs.

Determine which way your home faces in order to establish efficient HVAC operation. If you have trees placed in strategic areas, you can block the sunlight in the morning. That will take some of the pressure off your HVAC unit.

The windows and doors in your home must be efficient in order for your HVAC to perform as efficiently as possible. Be sure that they’re sealed well so that air from the outside or inside doesn’t come in or escape. Call a professional to come over to check how good you home is sealed up.

When considering what size AC unit your home needs, be sure to measure the immediate area you need to cool. The calculation to determine the size of the unit is typically 20 BTU for every square foot of area. If the unit will be cooling several rooms, combine their square footage in your calculations.

To help lower cooling costs when not at home, make sure the air conditioner is turned off. With the system off, the house will only heat up to a certain temperature. If it’s left on all day, it will fight the heat all day, which uses quite a bit of electricity.

The best HVAC company will be able to arrive quickly and work quickly and effectively. The most reliable companies make sure their technicians stay on schedule and keep appointments. Good technicians are also able to diagnose issues quickly. After they see what the problem is, they should be able to get the work done quickly for your sake.

Before you hire a HVAC contractor, you should find out what their experience is. Have they done this type of job before? Less experienced workers could work out just fine, but you really shouldn’t take any chances.

Getting into HVAC isn’t tough using the tips from the article. Don’t start breaking things on purpose just to fix them though! Good luck with your HVAC and feeling comfortable in your home.

AC units will tend to get ice on them due to the cold. The drain line can freeze, making you think it’s a plumbing leak. When you see ice, turn the unit to fan. This problem will need to be handled by a professional, even though the fan will probably help with the ice situation.

Nov 082016

The comfort of one’s home depends on a properly functioning HVAC system. It cools off your home in the summer and keeps it warm in the winter. If an HVAC system should fail, it will become a nightmare for those without experience. You need to understand the basics of HVAC repair and maintenance, and this article can help.

Check out the system that you have before you call a professional. Find out the brand and model and, if possible, dig out the maintenance history. This information will be helpful to any contractor you hire to repair it.

When you call an HVAC system for help, you need to be aware of what you need them to do before calling. Discussing the problem is simplified if you understand what has happened with the unit. It’s even harder if you’re not able to explain what you’ve done. Learn this information to start with.

Before contacting a repair service, do a short tour of the entire home. Make a list of the temperatures in each room and whether they are hot or cold. This will help your contractor quickly determine where the issue lies and how to get it fixed quickly and easily.

Each spring, clean the fan blades and coils on your condenser. Before you do anything, however, turn the power off. Take the grill off and pull the blades out to clean them.

Don’t let grass clippings pile up against your outdoor condenser. When you work with your lawn mower, make sure it spits the grass to the side opposite of your unit. Do the same when blowing snow or leaves.

You can boost the efficiency of your HVAC unit by replacing it with a new energy efficient one or moving your old one to a shady outside location. As it brings in cool air to cool, you will save a lot of money.

When you call an HVAC system for help, you need to be aware of what you need them to do before calling. A contractor will be hard pressed to provide you with an over-the-phone estimate if unfamiliar with your system. If you can’t explain anything to them, this will be even more difficult. Understand this information beforehand.

Programmable Thermostats

Getting a programmable thermostats can be a terrific way to realize savings. Programmable thermostats can automatically dial back settings, saving you money. In addition, some models make things really easy on you, allowing you to adjust them from the computer.

If you want your energy costs to go down, have the heating an cooling system you own serviced every year at least. During a maintenance visit, professionals can help by inspecting the system’s motor, oil the different moving parts as well as check the system’s freon levels. This will help keep your system performing at maximum efficiency.

Fall is a hard time on HVAC units. Make sure the unit’s fan grill is cleaned frequently when the leaves begin to fall. The fan must not have anything in the way so that air can flow into it, and if it is clogged, you’ll have a lot of headaches eventually.

Don’t allow your home to overheat. An air conditioner can only cool your home by 20ºF quickly. If you have your home at above 100 degrees then you can only get it to about 80 or above. Depending on the levels of humidity, that is not a safe temperature when it comes to sleeping or escaping from the heat of summer.

Each contractor will have their own fee schedule, so make sure you get several different quotes before you hire anybody. Save yourself some money by calling around before you make your final decision. To get the best picture and get an idea of what rates are reasonable, call five or six different contractors.

Are you thinking about having a new HVAC system installed? Many considerations must be scrutinized. Those systems get rated by the area amount they are able to cool and heat effectively. You are wise to err on the side of a bigger unit rather than a smaller one.

Lubricate your fan condenser at least once a year. Most of these ports have some sort of protective cap covering them. Use a lightweight oil and do not overfill them.

To increase the efficiency of your HVAC unit, determine the direction that your home faces. When you determine the parts of your home that get the most sunlight, you can consider strategic landscaping that includes shade trees to somewhat reduce your home’s exposure to heat from direct sunlight. If there’s less heat inside your home, your AC will work less.

If your HVAC system is producing any type of clicking sounds, there may be something obstructing it. The issue may be debris hitting the fans of the cooling system. Removal of the debris should solve the issue. Always check for yourself before getting someone out to repair the unit.

It’s important to have doors and windows that are efficient for the most efficiency for your HVAC unit. Seal them tightly to prevent air from coming in. You can get these tested at little to no charge by a professional.

Make sure your HVAC unit is in the shade. As you get your air conditioner to suck in cool air it won’t have to do too much work to cool it which saves you some money.

Square Footage

Measure the area that needs cooling before buying a unit. You can easily calculate this by using the formula: 20 BTUs per square footage of space. If you have a lot of rooms to keep cool, get their square footage added together.

Each month, you need to get a new air filter and install it in your unit. It is an easy thing to do yourself in order to have your system running well. Filters only cost a couple of dollars, which is not that much.

If you can, install double-paned windows throughout your home. Good double pane windows keep cool air in during the summer and minimize your utility expenses. They help in the winter, too, keeping the heat in.

An experienced HVAC company should be chosen to help you out. Reliable companies keep a close eye on their technicians and ensure they honor their appointments. A professional can also perform a quick diagnosis on a faulty machine to locate the problem. Once the technician figures out what’s wrong, they can help resolve the problems in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Consider which direction the air flows out of your air conditioner when you decide where to place it. If all you have is a corner spot, ensure that the air is not directed towards a wall.

Does your contractor provide you with an all-day emergency hotline? The professional should also be able to promptly arrive at your home whenever the need arises.

Have a smart thermostat installed. Programmable thermostats can automatically dial back settings, saving you money. There are also some programmable thermostats that can be controlled with a computer or other web-connected advice.

Know what’s included in any repair work you contract. There are contractors out there that will make you pay for extra things like charges for fuel or materials. Ensure your contract is solid to avoid any problems.

Use a fully-enclosing cover to protect your condenser unit in the winter. That ensures it isn’t damaged by the cold and snow. However, if the temperature manages to drop beneath 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should cease use of the condenser all together. You should use the fan instead since this will stop your unit from getting strained.

Now that you have read this article, you understand that it is imperative that you keep your HVAC unit working well. If it isn’t maintained properly, it could break. Thankfully, you came across this article, and you now have great tips to follow to help ensure that your HVAC system has the right kind of air coming out.

Spend some time on researching for reliable HVAC companies to ensure that they have a good reputation. A good start would be the BBB to see if there are any complaints, then search online for review sites where you can see what actual customers had to say about their experience. Doing this can help you make a better decision.

Jan 292015

HVAC is made easier when you know certain things. If you want to learn more, use the tips here to help you. If you’re interested, keep reading.

Prior to putting in a service call on your HVAC, be able to identify it. Look for the model and brand number. This will ensure that you can give your new contractor all the information they need.

TIP! Before you hire an HVAC contractor, have some sort of idea of the work that needs to be done. Providing you with an accurate estimate over the telephone may be difficult to impossible is they can’t see the system you have.

Keep outside condenser fans running smoothly by cleaning fan blades and coils before the summer begins. Be safe and turn off the power supply before working on your HVAC unit. Clean the outside of your condenser unit regularly.

If you have outside condenser units, make sure to regularly clean the debris that builds up. After a wind or rain storm things may pile up, causing problems with your system. This can lead to overheating.

To make sure your condenser fan works properly, keep the fan blades and the coils clean. Always turn the unit off before you do anything to it, including leaning. Additionally, it’s important to clear out leaves and other debris from the outside condenser unit.

TIP! Clean the debris on your condenser units. Wind can pile up all sorts of debris against its grill.

If you have a fan condenser with oil ports, it needs to be lubricated every year. You’ll find these ports are covered with a metal or rubber cap. Buy an SAE 20 product that is lightweight, and then put no more than ten drops into the ports.

If you want to know where you should put an outdoor compressor, you should place it somewhere where there is a lot of shade. When your unit takes in cool air, it takes less energy to tool the air, thus boosting efficiency.

Be sure to clean the fan blades and coils of the condenser fan. Don’t forget to disconnect the power first. Then take off the grill, take the blades out, and gently clean them.

TIP! Leaves and debris can damage your system. Make sure the unit’s fan grill is cleaned frequently when the leaves begin to fall.

Have your heating and cooling system inspected twice a year. Your system should be inspected in Spring and Fall. Even if everything seems fine, check things out to find potential problems.

If you can, install double-paned windows throughout your home. Double pane windows can help minimize how much you use your air conditioner in the summer, because they keep cool air inside the home. When it is cold in the winter months, these same windows will keep the warm air inside as well.

Boost energy efficiency by putting your condenser unit in the shade. This will help you save on your energy bill.

Programmable Thermostats

Have a smart thermostat installed. Programmable thermostats can reduce your power HVAC energy costs by as much as ten percent, just by dialing back your thermostat ten or fifteen percent up to eight daily hours. Furthermore, there are a few programmable thermostats that you can control from your computer or any other web-connected device.

Spend some time on researching for reliable HVAC companies to ensure that they have a good reputation. Check reputations at the BBB, and read online reviews to gauge customer satisfaction. It would be wise of you to take these steps.

TIP! Consider how long a given HVAC company has been in existence before giving them your business. The older they are, the more likely it will be for you to find out their history, which will help you gauge their quality.

With the right knowledge, anyone can learn about HVAC systems. Be sure you pay close attention to everything as you learn. Use all the guidelines that have been provided as you get to work.

Jan 262015

An HVAC system is present in many homes. They serve to maintain comfortable temperatures year round. You will generally need a contractor to install and maintain your unit. Read on for solid tips that will help you with your HVAC unit.

Before choosing a HVAC company find out what the company offers. It will be hard for a contractor to give you a price estimate over the phone if they have not seen your current system. In addition, you need to be able to tell the contractor what you have already tried. Understand this information beforehand.

TIP! Clean the coils and blades in your condenser at the beginning of summer. Except when cleaning the outside, turn the unit off when performing any type of maintenance.

Before selecting a HVAC repairman, know what you need done. It’s hard for these contractors to give phone estimates without seeing the current system you have. They also won’t be able to offer you a quote if they don’t have a detailed idea of what you want done. You need to know this before you begin.

Clean the coils and blades in your condenser at the beginning of summer. Be safe and turn off the power supply before working on your HVAC unit. The outside condenser unit should be kept free of leaves and other debris.

Make certain that you clean your condenser when the weather begins to warm. First, the power should be turned off so things don’t move as you work. Take the grill off and pull the blades out to clean them.

TIP! When you mow your lawn, take care that you don’t get grass clippings all over your outdoor unit. Make certain the debris goes away from it.

When you’re trying to cut your grass, don’t cover a unit outside with the clippings. Make sure you shoot the clippings in the other direction from the unit. Do the same when blowing snow or leaves.

Lubricate your fan condenser at least once a year. A rubber or metal cap is typically placed over such ports. Choose a SAE 20 oil whch is lightweight and non-detergent and place 10 drops or less into each port, ensuring it doesn’t overfill.

If the fan condenser on your unit has ports for oil, make sure you lubricate it once a year. You can easily find the ports as they have a rubber or metal cap. Look for an oil that is lightweight and then put about 10 drops inside the port. You don’t want to put in too much.

TIP! To boost the efficiency of your HVAC system, you should put your unit in a shady place. This will ensure cool air is sucked in, meaning less cooling must be done by the unit.

It is very important that your HVAC system is serviced two times a year. The best times to have the system checked is spring and fall, so you are sure everything is running at peak performance before the heating and cooling seasons. Check it out just to be safe even if there is nothing broken.

Programmable Thermostats

Be sure to have twice annual HVAC system checks. It’s best to have it checked before you turn it on for the summer and again for the winter. Even if you don’t notice anything wrong, you can check it out to figure out what the potential issues are.

TIP! Putting in a programmable thermostat is a smart way to cut back on air-conditioning costs. In fact, you can save as much as 10 percent on both heating and cooling when you turn your thermostat by by 10-15 percent for at least 8 hours daily.

One great way to save some cash when you’re working on keeping a home cool is to install a thermostat that’s programmable. Programmable thermostats can reduce your power HVAC energy costs by as much as ten percent, just by dialing back your thermostat ten or fifteen percent up to eight daily hours. Some newer programmable thermostats have computerized controls you can access from your personal computer, laptop or mobile media device.

These tips should be of use when you have to tackle contractors or HVAC units. It is important that the unit is properly installed and correctly maintained. Put this advice to good use so that you have minimal issues in the future.

If you want your energy costs to go down, have the heating an cooling system you own serviced every year at least. During the visit, the contractor will oil parts, inspect the motor and the freon levels. These simple things will keep your system running at peak performance.

Dec 032014

As Americans experience the start of winter — in some cases, an extreme winter — it’s time to get out the sidewalk salt and clean the furnace. And, of course, to turn up the heat.

However, too few of us realize just how much energy and money we’re wasting by using that terrifying and confusing device on the wall — the programmable thermostat — in a just plain incorrect or flawed way.

Residential thermostats account for a staggering nine percent of all U.S. energy use. No wonder that according to the Department of Energy, leaving your thermostat set too high can lead to a much higher power bill — and conversely, setting it back when you’re away or asleep can lead to major savings. “You can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long,” reports the agency.

Given figures like these, energy gurus have long offered some seemingly simple advice: Get yourself a programmable thermostat, which lets you enter multiple timed heat settings, and so ought to make lowering your thermostat at the right time a cinch. It sounds like an energy saving dream — right?

Wrong! Much research suggests that many people just don’t understand how to use their thermostats — programmable or otherwise. Indeed, it has been estimated that only about 30 percent of homes actually have thermostats that can be programmed, despite the fact that this technology has been around for more than three decades. “Residential energy use (and savings) still depend largely on the settings of manual thermostats by the owners,” notes a recent study.

And even among the programmable thermostat owners, there’s reason to think that many or even most people aren’t using them correctly. A 2003 study conducted by thermostat-maker Carrier found that just 47 percent of programmable thermostats have been actually in the “program” mode — in which, you know, they can actually be programmed.

Fifty three percent were in “hold” mode, which “functionally transforms the programmable thermostat into a manual thermostat.” The situation is so bad that in 2009, the EPA’s EnergyStar program suspended its program for programmable thermostats, noting that “while EPA recognizes the potential for programmable thermostats to save significant amounts of energy, there continue to be questions concerning the net energy savings and environmental benefits” that consumers were achieving with them.

So why can’t we do better in a realm that promises vast energy savings if we get it right? The question is particularly pointed now as new smart thermostat technologies are abounding and utility companies seek to communicate with these advanced devices  to regulate energy use at times of peak demand.

There are three key overlapping problems here — some of which involve thermostats and some of which involve humans.

1) There are problems with some thermostats themselves. One ergonomic study found that for the tough-to-use programmable thermostat sampled, more than half of people could not figure out how to even put it in “heat” mode. Actually programming these devices was, obviously, a much higher bar — and here, thermostat jargon posed a large problem. “In general, subjects were confused regarding the terms/functions, temporary override, timed hold, permanent hold, permanent override, away and vacation,” noted the study.

“I’ve been studying thermostats for 10 years, or more, and there are still thermostats that floor me,” says Therese Peffer, one of the study authors and a researcher at the California Institute for Energy and Environment at the University of California Berkeley. “It still takes me time to figure out ‘What the heck does that mean?'”

So the lesson is: Learn how to use your programmable thermostat. Don’t throw away the user guide/user manual. For sure, you will need it next winter, or later – when your life style changes!

2) We didn’t choose them. Many people don’t go out and choose their thermostats because they actually like the product — it’s grand fathered into their lives when they move into an apartment, condo, or a home where one already exists. They don’t really know how to use it or program it, or even that they can. The manual may have been lost years ago. Thermostats may also be located in odd or incorrect places in the home — in a dark hallway where you can’t see the buttons or the temperature very well, or close to a window, where they’re reading a cooler temperature than what actually exists throughout the home.

Lesson: If you cannot program your thermostat, get a new one – preferable one of the latest models. Their usage is much easier, and some of them can actually learn your lifestyle by themselves!

3) We’re the problem, too. There are also numerous myths and misconceptions about how thermostats work and don’t work, which may dissuade energy friendly operation. Take, for instance, the idea that if you set the thermostat to a lower temperature at night or when you’re out, it takes more energy to warm the home back up again. Here’s DOE’s debunking of this falsehood:

In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.

Lesson: Learn the facts about the energy savings, instead of just believing what everyone says. 

So if you’ve ever been afraid to mess with your thermostat, or completely mystified by a bizarre thermostat in a hotel room, suffice it to say that you are definitely not alone.

The future may be better

So, what’s being done to make the world’s thermostats better? There’s a clear trend toward linking up thermostats with smartphones and the Internet, and including features that move them beyond the realm of merely “programmable” into something “smart” and able to automatically adjust to or even learn from its user.

Thermostat maker Honeywell, for instance — which built the famous thermostat known as “The Round” (we’ve all seen one) in the 1950s — now offers Lyric, a smart thermostat that you can operate remotely from your phone. Lyric uses a technology called “geofencing” that “automatically sets back the thermostat when the home is empty and makes it comfortable when someone is home,” says Brad Paine, general manager of the Lyric Platform at Honeywell Connected Home. You enable the feature in the Lyric app on your smartphone, and the thermostat then knows (from the smartphone’s location) how close you are to home, and can switch your home temperature to a preferred setting when you are in close proximity.

For thermostat researcher Peffer, remote programmability represents a pretty important breakthrough. “If people are going to go spend two weeks on a vacation and it’s in the dead of winter, they don’t want to come back to a house that’s 48 degrees,” she says. “But if you can turn on your system when you’re at the airport on your phone, I think that’s a huge difference.

And then there’s Nest, another smart thermostat whose maker, Nest Labs, is now owned by Google. Nest actually “learns” your behavioral patterns — and self-programs to save you energy.

“Most people don’t actually program their thermostat,” says Nest spokeswoman Zoz Cuccias, “so it puts more ask on the user.” So Nest in effect self-programs after learning your habits during the first week of use. Nest can also be controlled remotely, and it shows an encouraging little green leaf on the display when energy savings occur.

Granted, these tend to be the products bought by the wired and energy conscious. They’re spreading, but there’s some thermostat inertia in the population overall — old thermostats that are inherited by new homebuyers may not be changed until they actually break down. (for your own benefit, please don’t wait this long…)

The EPA says it wants to get back in on the action, too. “EPA is working with industry to gather information about how smart thermostats can most effectively be used,” said Jennifer Colaizzi, a press officer with the agency, who said an automatic thermostat can save $180 a year. “The first step is to establish a way to evaluate energy savings with data from the field.”

For a lot of us, though, in order to save energy we may need to seize control of our climatic and energy fates. This winter, maybe a smart thermostat first requires a smart human, like you.

Don’t you think it is time to change your programmable thermostat? Take a look to our latest updated list. (From

To read more:

Oct 212014

3 Mistakes that you probably doing while using your programmable thermostat

Unfortunately for most of us, the dark and cold days of winter are coming. Before long we’ll be turning on our furnaces for heat, if you haven’t already turned it on yet (I have!). And many of us will waste money by fiddling with the thermostat. Here is a handy list of our typical mistakes:

1. Turning the thermostat up when it’s cold outside. Find the correct and comfortable temperature for you and leave the thermostat there – no matter how cold it is outside!! That’s the whole point of a thermostat — it turns on and off as needed to give you the temperature you want. It doesn’t care what the temperature is outside. It measures the temperature inside. So, please STOP playing with the thermostat.

2. Turning up the thermostat when you want to heat the room quickly. Let me tell you this; turning up the thermostat up won’t do anything to heat the room more quickly. It just sets the final temperature – that’s it!. If you turn it up higher, you will likely zoom past comfortable before you realize it. And then you’ll have wasted energy — and money.

3. Leaving the furnace on when you are away, so it won’t have to work so hard when you return. Your furnace doesn’t use more energy when it turns on and off. In fact, giving it time off is the best strategy for saving money. Buy a programmable thermostat that will lower the temperature when you’re not in your home and turn on your furnace just before you get home; or better a smart thermostat which will do all these settings by itself. You waste money heating a home when no one is in it (but don’t let the pipes freeze!)

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat yet; it’s perfect time to buy one – right before the real cold weather hits. Check our programmable thermostat list

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Sep 222014
concept of expensive energy bill

If your electricity bills have been creeping up, the extra hours of AC, or your forgetful kids leaving on their bedroom lights, may not be to blame. The year-over-year cost of electricity rose 3.2 percent during the first half of 2014—the biggest annual increase in five years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unlucky residents in New England saw their bills surge nearly 12 percent, following a sharp uptick in wholesale power prices. No matter where you live, here are five steps you can take to offset the inflation.

Look for cheap LEDs. If you haven’t made the switch yet to energy-efficient LEDs, the steep upfront cost is probably why. But prices are plummeting on these bulbs, even as their performance and light quality improves. Consider the LED Light Bulb- 13W BrightBulb LED LightBulbs A19, High Efficiency, Lifetime Guarantee, Warm White (13W= 75-100W Incandescent, Dimmable), a $13.99 LED that delivered superb brightness, warm-up time, and efficiency.

Switch out your thermostat. Especially if you’re one of nearly 50 million U.S. households that heats with electricity, upgrading to a programmable thermostat could save you hundreds this year. Our latest programmable thermostat ratings found several intuitive and innovative winners, including the top-rated Honeywell THX9321R5030, industry leader programmable thermostat.

Change the way you do laundry. Still think washing in warm or hot water is the best way to get clothes clean? Think again. Many top-rated laundry detergents offer excellent cold water cleanability, which means your water heater won’t have to work. When drying, always separate towels and heavy cottons from lighter-weight garments and linens.

Install ceiling fans. This step is really important in homes that use a lot of air conditioning. A ceiling fan will let you raise the temperature by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without any noticeable change in comfort. That alone could cut your home’s annual energy costs by about 10 percent.

Pull some plugs. You’ve probably heard the term vampire power, referring to energy that’s drawn from many electronic devices when they’re not in use. But did you know that it can add up to 10 percent of your electricity bill? Unplugging video game consoles, digital set-top boxes on seldom-used TVs (say in a guest room), and cordless power tool chargers could help you pocket $100 dollars over the course of a year.

Jun 042014
Programmable and Smart Thermostats

Considering the weather conditions change and the nature goes from warm to cold, and back again, it is essential to modify your thermostat settings accordingly. By properly modifying the thermostat programs for the season and the current climate conditions, you’ll save dollars and make sure that your air conditioning and heating systems aren’t totally wasting energy. Additionally, you will help extend the life span of the furnace as well as your air conditioning unit by not forcing them to operate any harder than they completely need to throughout every season.


Ideal thermostat configurations for summer time:

During the warm summer season, I suggest you set your programmable thermostat to 78 degrees while you’re in the home. It’s not too hot, as well as not very cold. It really is good enough which keeps you from getting cold and does not make you break a sweat. In the nights you may want to increase the setting to around 82 degrees. This will assist you sleep much better and will not lead you to wake with freezing feet.

Needless to say, lots of people go on vacation during the summer time. Which means there will probably be complete several weeks when you will not be at your home. For all those periods you will be away from home, I suggest you to set your thermostat at 85 degrees. This makes your air conditioning unit to switch on if only the temperature goes up to ranges that could damage home electronics or foods in the pantry.

Very best programmable thermostat configurations for winter season: Continue reading »

Apr 302014
Carrier ComfortChoice Touch

An extensive study by Nest Labs Inc. on how customers use thermostats has found that the one — the sleek unit that is supposed to be drop-dead simple to make use of — fell in the middle of the pack on numerous criteria and features a design and style flaw that gave it a near-bottom rating for usability.

An additional important conclusion within the study of “smart” thermostats is that none was all that intuitive or helped users easily adjust settings in methods that save power.

The study was carried out by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in California, where the thermostat plays an particularly important role in energy use. Residential thermostats manage one-quarter of all power consumption, far more than any California utility. On a hot summer season day in SMUD’s service area in the Central Valley, home air conditioning accounts for about a third from the utility’s 300-gigawatt peak demand.

“What we discovered is that clients actually do possess a challenge utilizing thermostats. They are not in a position to use them really well, they discover the interface nonintuitive,” said Lupe Jimenez, a senior project manager at SMUD who managed the study. “You’d think by now the industry would have gotten about to it.”

A brand new generation of “smart” thermostats wirelessly connect to other devices inside the house. They may be being sold by alarm organizations, big-box shops and cable providers with the promise of managing energy use without having significantly input from the occupant (EnergyWire, April 14). Nevertheless, the study makes clear that the new connected thermostats aren’t a great deal easier to manually system than the old “dumb” thermostats.

The results for Nest had been surprising, especially offered that the company’s founder and CEO, Tony Fadell, led the design in the original iPod and brought Apple’s design aesthetic to Nest. In February, Google acquired Nest for $3.two billion.

The survey was absolutely nothing if not extensive. A total of 163 folks in SMUD’s service area participated, selected to represent a balanced sampling of gender, age, race, earnings, education and house ownership. Participants were videotaped to measure how long it took to execute tasks having a thermostat, filled out questionnaires and participated in follow-up interviews.

The study looked at the “walk-up usability” of a thermostat — in other words, with out any guidance or even a manual. Ten “smart” thermostats had been inside the study, together with two “dumb” thermostats. Every participant compared two thermostats side by side, and each and every thermostat was evaluated by a minimum of 26 folks.

The all round winner was the Carrier ComfortChoice Touch, which came in initial in each overall ease of use and general really feel and sound. Ninety-one percent of those that tried it known as it their favorite thermostat. Runners-up were the Ecobee Smart  Si and Emerson Smart Energy. (I will test both of them very soon, and will publish the review in here. Please be around :-) ).

Pitfalls for the Nest

In general ease of use, Nest came in 11th, second in the bottom, behind even the two “dumb” thermostats within the competitors. In all round feel and sound, it came in seventh. In all round look, Nest came in fourth. On the rating of “task efficiency” — how extended it takes to complete a specific function — Nest came in second from last.

The study found that most of the dissatisfaction with Nest came down to a single function: the dial. As opposed to all other thermostats tested which can be boxes controlled by buttons, the Nest is essentially a circle which is manipulated by pushing and twisting the entire unit.

“More than half from the participants that tested the Nest — 16 of 28 — had been unable to figure out the input mechanism at all or till the really end. Because of this, the Nest garnered a really low 38% Activity Efficiency score,” the study noted.

It added, “Removing those frustrated users who couldn’t determine the dial, the efficiency score changed to put Nest in first for efficiency and fourth for preference.”

The capability to utilize a thermostat without having a manual is vital in managing the energy use of the numerous properties where the thermostat is currently on the wall when a brand new renter or homeowner moves in.

“A customer who buys a Nest and brings it home is probably not going to possess the problem. But if somebody moves into that residence, that client might not have the ability to figure it out,” Jimenez stated.

Participants in the study stated they liked that the Nest was sleek and modern-looking and thought the dial and also the app had been easy to utilize. On the other hand, they thought that the screen was as well little, that the menu was hard to decipher and that it was hard to get started.

Jimenez stated that SMUD would base its future acquisitions of thermostats around the final results of this study. Moreover, she hoped that it would nudge the whole thermostat market to produce user encounter a priority.

“The question remains … regardless of whether the new thermostats will be utilized in a way that actually aids consumers use less energy,” the study said. “While it’s also soon [to] pass judgment on the far finish of the communications path, we are able to say with some certainty that these new requirements is not going to impact power savings if clients don’t like or can not determine how you can make use of the new thermostats.”


Feb 072014

Graph of presence of thermostats on central equipment, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey 2009
Note: The ‘no central equipment’ group includes households whose main heating equipment is a portable heater, fireplace, or stove, or main cooling equipment is a room air conditioner.

Thermostats are used to control central heating equipment in 85% of households, and less than half of those thermostats are programmable. For households with central cooling equipment, 60% have a central thermostat and about half of those are programmable.

Because they automatically respond to temperature changes, thermostats play a key role in weather-related changes in energy demand. Programmable thermostats can be used to help households set temperatures back at night or when occupants are away. Of course, humans can also accomplish these tasks, and the mere presence of a programmable thermostat does not in itself save energy—most of them must be appropriately programmed. The ENERGY STAR® website provides guidelines for programmable thermostat usage. Continue reading »