Carrier Heating & Cooling

Willis Carrier, the founder of Carrier Heating & Cooling, invented the first modern air conditioner in 1902. Today, Carrier is the world’s largest HVAC manufacturer. They’re an industry leader in environmentally-friendly practices, building the world’s most energy-efficient air-conditioning and heating systems and phasing out ozone-depleting refrigerants.

HVAC unit outside of home

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Carrier AC and Carrier Furnace Products

The company offers several different products, including Carrier AC systems, Carrier furnace and HVAC systems. Here are some of the most popular Carrier product lines.

Carrier AC

Infinity® Series

This Carrier AC series is the top-of-the-line Carrier AC system. It’s the quietest, most efficient line of AC units they make thanks to the Silencer System II™.

These units would work well in any home, especially one with infants or light sleepers where a unit’s noise would disturb their sleep. The system is equipped with a dehumidifier, making it perfect for humid zones.

Performance™ Series 

The Performance™ Series is perfect for homeowners with a mid-range budget. Five capacity sizes are available including a compact AC unit for smaller homes with limited installation space.

Choose the Performance™ Series if you’re living in a smaller home or apartment. The compact unit is smaller, yet still quiet and efficient.

Comfort™ Series

The Comfort™ Series is the most economical Carrier system. You’ll save on both the system and your utility bill costs because of their impressive SEER efficiency ratings, which range up to 16.

The Comfort™ Series is perfect for a starter home or in situations where your budget may be limited. 

Carrier Furnace

Infinity® Series Gas Furnace

This Carrier furnace series features both variable speed and two speed gas furnaces. There is also an Infinity® gas furnace with Greenspeed® Intelligence technology that monitors temperature and humidity both indoors and outdoors to automatically adjust the furnace operation for maximum comfort and energy efficiency.

Great for homes in regions where day-to-night temperatures vary dramatically.

Performance™ Series Oil Furnace

An efficient and quiet furnace with a high-efficiency (86.6% AFUE) rate. Best for very cold climates where a powerful furnace that can heat a home in the coldest weather is important. 

Carrier HVAC

Infinity® Series

A smart system designed for superior comfort and efficiency in either heating or cooling mode. Homes in areas that experience four-season weather extremes would benefit from this series.

Comfort™ Series

The most economical way to get a more energy-efficient HVAC system. This series includes summer dehumidification. Perfect for homes in humid, temperate regions where both heating and cooling are needed.

Why Choose Carrier?

Carrier is the leader in energy-efficient systems and earth-friendly practices, like eliminating refrigerants that destroy our ozone layer. Plus, some of the world’s most famous historic sites and landmarks trust and use Carrier AC and heating, including:

  • The Sistine Chapel in Italy
  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Virginia
  • Galleria Degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy

The company also has a rebate center to help you save money through state and local rebates. They offer flexible financing with many payment options and have a unique Lease-to-Own program.

Carrier HVAC Warranty

Carrier offers a 10-year Carrier parts limited warranty for Infinity, Performance and Comfort series units for residential installation as long as the homeowner registers the unit within 90 days of installation. 

The warranty can be transferred to a home’s new owner as long as the new owner registers the Carrier AC within 90 days.

Who Is Carrier Best For?

Homeowners looking to upgrade their current HVAC system to something more energy efficient can choose from wide product range with Carrier. Homeowners that are bothered by the noise levels of standard systems would also appreciate how many Carrier AC systems incorporate quiet technology like the Silencer System II™.

Frequently asked questions

How much does a Carrier HVAC system cost?

Pricing for a Carrier HVAC system depends on both the type of system you choose and the size of the unit. For the most accurate pricing information, it’s best to contact a Carrier dealer to request an estimate for your home.

How long do Carrier furnace systems last?

According to Carrier: “A gas furnace can last 20-25 years. There are many variables that affect the life expectancy of your specific equipment, including the frequency of routine maintenance.”

Where can I buy a Carrier HVAC system?

Visit carrier.com and enter your zip code to find a dealer near you.

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Lennox Heating & Cooling

In business since 1895, Lennox Heating and Cooling offers furnaces, air conditioners, thermostats, air purification systems, filters and more for homes and businesses. Based in Texas, they have manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and dealers all across the U.S.

HVAC maintenance

Christian Delbert / Shuttershock

Lennox products

Lennox offers a range of HVAC products, including air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, packaged units and boilers. Their AC units, furnaces and heat pumps are organized into three different lines of products:

  • Dave Lennox Signature Collection
  • ELITE® Series
  • MERIT® Series

Lennox air conditioners are known for their top-of-the-line technology such as SilentComfort™, which is 50% quieter than standard air conditioners, and Humiditrol®, a whole-home dehumidification system which cuts down on humidity levels. Lower humidity levels can make a home feel cooler.

Many of their furnaces have very high efficiency ratings that can add up to big savings every year. Some also have ultra-low emissions as well as variable speed motors, which ensure a consistent temperature while using as little fuel as possible, thus reducing utility costs.  

Lennox smart technology thermostats allow you to control temperatures even when away from the house or from the comfort of your couch. Depending on the model, they can interact with Amazon Alexa and with any Google Assistant device.

Lennox reviews, ratings and customer satisfaction

Consumer Reports gives Lennox air conditioners a rating of Excellent. This rating is based on owner satisfaction and the percentage of members who are extremely likely to recommend their central air conditioning brand to others. 

The average rating on the Lennox website for furnaces is 4.7 out of 5.

Reasons why Lennox is a great option

Lennox products may cost more up front, but their energy saving technology can mean lower utility bills in the future. They have also won multiple green product awards, including one for introducing the industry’s first ultra-low emissions furnace to the market.

Another advantage is the multitude of products with various price points and options. This allows consumers to work within their budgets and needs.

Lennox also offers long warranties. Air conditioners have a 10-year limited warranty on covered components, including the compressor, and their furnaces have a lifetime limited warranty on the heat exchanger and a 5-year limited warranty on all remaining covered components. Their thermostats have a 5-year limited warranty.

 Frequently asked questions

How much does a Lennox HVAC system cost?

Prices vary depending on the products chosen, the size of the home, and the area in which you live. Lennox offers an overview of all the factors that can go into the price of an HVAC system.

 How long do Lennox furnace systems last?

A Lennox furnace should last about 15 to 20 years.

 Where can I buy a Lennox HVAC system?

You can go to their website and enter your zip code to find a dealer near you.

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Heat Pumps — See Reviews of Top Systems

Best Heat Pumps: Reviews and Comparisons

Heat pumps are incredibly efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that can both heat and cool your home. They work by taking heat out of the air in one space and moving it into the air in another space. During warmer months, the heat pump will remove heat from within your home and transfer it outside; in the cooler season, it will take heat from the outdoors and bring it inside.

Heat Pump and AC on side of house

GSPhotography / Shuttershock

What makes the best heat pump?

In this list of the best heat pumps, there are a few important factors we’ll be evaluating. These qualities are some of the top areas of concerns for most customers who are shopping for heat pumps.

  • Type of heat pump: Not all types of heat pumps are created equal. We’ll explain the differences between each type of pump we reviewed.
  • Price: Price is important when purchasing heat pumps. We know you probably have a budget in mind for your heat pump, so we took that into account.
  • Efficiency: Heat pumps aren’t a one-time cost; it also takes money to keep them running. We assessed the efficiency of each system to make sure your energy bills won’t skyrocket. This is measured via SEER rating; the higher the rating, the better.
  • Customer reviews: The best source of information is past customers who have already purchased a heat pump. Their reviews held the highest weight in our evaluation of the best heat pumps.

A note: One limitation of most of these systems is the heat pump temperature limits, which include limited effectiveness when outside temperatures drop below freezing. It’s hard to find heat pumps that work below freezing. The best plan is to have a backup furnace system for colder weather. For more information, refer to the heat pump efficiency outside temperature graph. The important thing to know is that just because you live in a climate that gets cold doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a heat pump. In fact, a heat pump could still save you a significant amount of money on your heating bill. With a correct setup, your supplemental furnace simply won’t kick on until the outside temperature falls below the heat pump effective temperature range.

Best heat pumps

Trane XR15 Heat Pump

Trane is well-known as one of the top heat pump brands, and the XR15 is the manufacturer’s best value model. The unit starting price of $2,850 may seem hefty, but Trane claims that with a SEER rating of 16 this model’s energy efficiency will generate an average of 50% energy savings. Just don’t forget to factor in the cost of installation.

MRCOOL SMART Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump

Priced around $1,368, this MRCOOL ductless heat pump with a 17.5 SEER rating certainly packs a punch. What is a ductless heat pump? It’s a compact unit designed as a single room heat pump, without the need for ducts and vents. Keep in mind that although the low price sticker seems attractive at first glance, you’ll need multiple units to keep the temperature controlled in a large house.

But this MRCOOL unit is more than just a ductless heat pump. It’s also WiFi compatible, smartphone controlled, and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Plus, it’s easy to set up on your own without special tools or training – no expensive installation necessary.

PIONEER Mini Split Heat Pump

The PIONEER ductless heat pump is easy to install and runs very quietly, which is hard to achieve with some ductless systems. Starting at around $738 with a SEER rating of 17.5, you can’t argue with the price of this heat pump that comes out as the most affordable on the list.

Trane XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump

With a SEER rating of up to 20, you’ll understand why this is the second Trane heat pump to make our list. The unit on its own is reported to save an average of 60% on energy. Plus, it’s covered by Trane’s extensive Registered Limited Warranty, which is included with the unit as long as you register it within 60 days of installation.

American Standard AccuComfortTM Platinum 20 Heat Pump

American Standard is another crowd favorite among HVAC professionals, and the AccuComfortTM Platinum 20 is the brand’s top rated heat pump. It’s currently eligible for a $500 rebate due to its energy efficiency with a SEER rating of up to 20. This unit is also backed by American Standard’s limited warranties of up to 12 years, some of the highest in the industry.

These are five of the top heat pumps currently on the market. Some require installation by an HVAC professional, while the ductless heat pumps can either be professionally or DIY installed. If you’re in doubt of what type of heat pump to purchase for your home, don’t be afraid to contact a licensed professional. It’s better to spend money on a seasoned pro than make an expensive mistake that will cost you later.

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How Your HVAC Unit Affects Your Power Bill

Once a month, you’ll be faced with an unpleasant surprise in your mailbox: the power bill! No matter how careful you are about turning off the lights or how much you budget for the bill, it can still catch you off guard. 

Besides being an unwelcome note from the electric or gas company, your bill can also give you a heads up about your HVAC system and what may be causing the continual price hikes. Read on to learn more about what your HVAC system is trying to tell you. 

Give Your HVAC Some Love 

If you notice that your power bill is slowly increasing every month when nothing else is changing in your home, it’s time to go straight to the source. HVAC systems need regular, annual maintenance to ensure that they are functioning properly. We can’t expect our HVAC systems to do all the work in maintaining comfortable temperatures without giving them anything back in return! Schedule a little TLC for your system to make sure it’s not overworking or burning out while trying to heat or cool your home. 

Think About Personal Enhancements 

We do all we can to look and feel our best, so we should be returning the favor to our HVAC systems. You can add a programmable thermostat that makes your system run more efficiently and on a better schedule to keep your home comfortable while saving your money. You could also consider new fans, compressors, or heat exchanges and your HVAC will thank you for the upgrades by running better. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Consider Retirement 

Just like us, HVAC systems want to quit working the daily grind at some point. As they age, they slow down and have to work harder to maintain comfort in your home, causing an increase in your power bill. Instead of waiting until your HVAC system quits working, consider retiring it and replacing it with a new energy-efficient model. Another thing to consider is whether your systems uses HCFC-22, or freon, as a refrigerant. On January 1, 2020, freon will be banned from being used for AC units. So, speak with an HVAC specialist to see if the system uses freon and, if it does, you’ll need to upgrade to a new system. 

Make Individual Changes

If you’ve upgraded or replaced your HVAC system and notice that your power bill is still higher than normal, it’s time for some personal reflection. Maybe everyone in your home could be better about turning off the lights or unplugging unused electronics. Perhaps it’s time to lower the thermostat and start wearing layers in the winter instead of blasting the heat. During nicer weather, you can open the windows for a cooling breeze instead of running the AC.  We can’t blame our HVAC for raising the bills if we aren’t willing to do our part to bring the power bill down as well. 

What to Do Next 

If you’re feeling down about the rise of your power bill, just remember that your HVAC system might be crying out for help. Whether its asking for a little maintenance love, some performance upgrades, or needs to be upgraded to a new system, your HVAC will tell you what it needs through your power bill. 

Do you need an HVAC professional to help you understand your system’s needs? Reach out to a local professional to find out how to make your HVAC, your power bill, and your wallet happier. 

 

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Trane Heating & Cooling

air conditioner - hvac

Make sure your Trane HVAC can sit unobstructed. Image: John Royal/Shutterstock

Trane Heating & Cooling

Trane is a highly regarded brand in the heating and cooling industry. From design and assembly to testing and installation, Trane utilizes more than 100 years of expertise to deliver high-quality products that are built to last. Celebrated for reliability, Trane parts and systems can withstand intense temperatures and weather situations while keeping your home comfortable season after season.

Trane products

Trane offers a range of HVAC products, including air conditioners, furnaces, air handlers, heat pumps, packaged systems, and even thermostats. Here are some of the most popular Trane AC units:

XV20i TruComfort™ Variable Speed 

Like other TruComfort™ models, this AC unit features precise, automatic temperature adjustments, with 750 stages of comfort. This Trane AC unit is ENERGY STAR® qualified and considered the company’s most energy-efficient model with up to 22 SEER.

XV18 TruComfort™ Variable Speed

This is the quietest Trane AC unit, as it delivers impressively discreet performance that measures 4 decibels below competitor’s minimum. Like the previous model, this one is energy efficient, with up to 18 SEER.

XR14

Considered the best value among Trane AC units, the XR14 combines efficiency and affordability, delivering a SEER score of 16 and rating as ENERGY STAR® certified.

Trane HVAC prices

The price of your Trane AC, heat pump or HVAC unit will depend on the type of unit you choose and the size of the unit. Here are estimated prices for certain Trane products, plus installation, and the estimated energy savings they can provide to your home.

table, th, td {border: 2px solid green;text-align:center;}th,td {padding: 10px; background-color:none;}h1{color:green;}

Name

Product

Energy Savings

Installation Price

XL16Air Conditioner54%

$6,000-8,400

XL18

Air Conditioner56%

$7,200-10,000

XR14

Air Conditioner50%

$4,800-6,800

XL18i

Heat Pump56%

$7,200-10,000

XR17Heat Pump55%

$6,000-8,400

XR14

Heat Pump42%

$4,800-6,800

Heat Pump Package System

HVAC SystemNA

Call local dealer for price

Trane reviews, Ratings, and Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Trane is one of the best in the industry. Owner satisfaction is measured by the number of customers who recommend a product or service to others. In 2019, Trane was one of just a few companies that received a rating of Excellent for owner satisfaction. Customers report high levels of satisfaction with Trane’s quality, long-lasting products, skilled installation professionals, and warranty options.

Why Choose Trane?

Trane is highly regarded for its reliable products and trained installation specialists. The company prides itself on handling the design, testing and production of all parts included in their systems. Each Trane HVAC product then goes through a rigorous testing period to ensure its durability even in extreme temperatures. Though the prices of Trane AC and heating systems may be slightly higher than other brands in the industry, the quality of workmanship makes Trane HVAC packages worth the cost.

Warranty

Additionally, Trane HVAC products stand out with regard to their impressive warranty options. All products include a Base Limited Warranty that covers the cost of defective parts for a range of 1-20 years, depending on the product. However, by simply registering your product within 60 days of purchase, the Base Limited Warranty is extended to the Registered Limited Warranty at no cost. The Registered Limited Warranty ranges from 5 years of coverage up to the lifetime of the product. For an additional cost, customers may purchase an Optional Extended Warranty that covers all parts and labor.

Who is Trane best for?

Whether you’re preparing for a long, hot summer and need a more energy-efficient upgrade, you’re moving into a new home and require a brand new system, or just require standalone Trane parts, Trane HVAC products are equipped to keep your home’s heating, cooling, and ventilation systems running well even in extreme weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Trane HVAC unit cost?

The cost of installing a new Trane HVAC system can range from $1,500 to $15,000. The size and type of unit you require can depend on a variety of factors, including the climate and region where you live, the degree of insulation and existing ductwork in the home, the project difficulty and any special add-ons you may opt for.

How long do Trane HVAC units last?

Trane HVAC products are renowned for their longevity. Well-maintained units can last through season after season for up to 20 years.

Where can I buy a Trane HVAC system?

Trane parts and products are available at many local HVAC stores, and you can find local dealers easily using the Dealer Locator page on the Trane website. Simply enter your zip code, and you’ll be provided with a list of providers in your area.

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5 Ways to Fix Temperature Variations In Your Home and Save Energy

Is there a spot in your home that’s always hotter or colder than the rest? It’s more common than you think. Fix temperature variations right away and you’ll extend the life of your HVAC system and save on your home energy bills.

When a room’s temperature varies, your HVAC system has to adjust to regulate for the change in temperature. This means your HVAC system may be working harder than needed.

Why are some rooms warmer or colder than others?

Before you can fix temperature variations, it’s a good idea to understand why they happen. There are lots of factors that can contribute to a hot spot or cold, drafty room in your house, but the most common are the following:

  • Poor insulation can let more outside air in, causing the room to feel colder or warmer
  • The orientation of the room may mean more hot sun comes in or a lack of sunshine
  • If the room is furthest out on the HVAC air duct’s line, it may not cool or heat efficiently

Fixing the temperature variations in your house allows your HVAC to work less, which will save you money on your cooling and heating bills. Here’s how you can fix temperature variations in your home so your HVAC system works more efficiently.

how to fix temperature variations in a room

Caulk gaps and drafty spots around windows and doors. Image: veryulissa/Shutterstock

1. Seal Windows and Doors

The weatherstripping on windows and doors deteriorates over time, letting cold or hot air in. Caulk all gaps and replace worn out weatherstripping to better balance the temperature in your home.

HVAC drafts

Layers of fabrics and textiles can warm up a cold, drafty space. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

2. Add Window Drapes, Shutters Or Blinds

Sunny rooms tend to feel warmer than rooms that are dark. If you have a room where the window receives a lot of sun in the summer or feels very cold to the touch in the winter, invest in a heavy black-out or insulating set of curtains or drapes. Window shutters or blinds are also a good insulating option to keep the ambient temperature of the room comfortable.

Open the shades or blinds during the winter so the sun’s warmth enters. And in the summer, keep blinds closed to maintain a cooler room.

HVAC thermostats to fix temperature variations and drafty rooms

A programmable thermostat can keep the room at a comfortable level automatically. Image courtesy of Trane.

3. Add A Programmable Thermostat Strategically

Once you address insulation and manage to balance the temperature extremes, install a programmable thermostat. The key is the location of the thermostat. Place it in or near the room you use most so the temperature level is most comfortable where you spend the most time.

Smart thermostats like Trane’s ComfortLink II XL850 can be programmed remotely from your smartphone so your home’s temperature is perfect before you arrive.

cold drafty rooms and how to fix them

A zoning system means each room can have its own temperature setting. Image courtesy of Trane.

4. Install An HVAC Zoning System

If one temperature for the entire home isn’t realistic, consider adding an HVAC zoning system. A zoning system allows you to set unique temperatures in different rooms or zones in your home.

how to fix drafty rooms

A ceiling fan can circulate air to keep the room’s temperature more comfortable. Image: JR-stock/Shutterstock

5. Add a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is a low-energy way to circulate the air in a room. Most fans have a small button at the base of the motor that allows you to switch the direction the fan spins. This little trick can make a huge difference in the temperature of your room.

In the winter, set your fan to rotate clockwise on low to pull cold air up and away. Doing so pushes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down, warming the room. Do the opposite in the summer, setting the fan to spin counter-clockwise, to cool your room.

Still have questions? Talk to an expert

Making your home comfortable and energy-efficient is the smart way to live. Plus, think of all the design projects you can take on with the monthly savings. Talk to a local HVAC professional to see what you can do for your home.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Working?
Keeping Cool: How to Choose the Right A/C Unit
HVAC Basics: What’s a Good SEER Rating? 
Building Your Energy-Efficient Dream Home
Clever Ways to Hide an Ugly HVAC Unit

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How to Keep Your Heating and Cooling Vents Clean

Dusty heating and cooling vents aren’t just ugly. They can also restrict the airflow into a room if the dust buildup gets bad enough, and you risk dust and debris getting down into your air ducts. So, to keep your heating and cooling vents free of dust and debris, below we have both some cleaning tips and some preventative ideas.

These tips to keep your heating and cooling vents clean are actually very easy to do and only take a few minutes. They also tend to be low in cost. You’ll need your vacuum cleaner, some soap and water, towels/rags and crevice cleaning supplies to clean the vent.

Some of the preventative measures, on the other hand, could require some items you don’t already have around the home. For instance, an air purifier to capture dust can run around $20 for small devices or all the way up to hundreds of dollars, depending on how many features you want the device to have. Air vent covers often cost around $5.

Heating and Cooling Vents Vacuum Attachment

Brush attachments on the vacuum can help clean vents easily. Image: paulbiryukov/Getty Images

Cleaning Tips

Regular cleaning is your best bet in keeping your heating and cooling vents free of dust and debris. That way, nothing has the chance to build up to problematic levels. In order to get your vents clean, follow these tips:

  • Start by turning off the power source to your air conditioner at the breaker. That way, your HVAC system won’t kick on when you’re cleaning it, blowing dust everywhere.
  • Vacuum the vent cover itself, ideally with a crevice or brush attachment.
  • Remove the vent cover by unscrewing it, if it’s screwed in place. Pull the cover straight up from the duct.
  • Soak the vent cover in warm, soapy water if there is any stubborn dirt. Keeping soaking until that dirt loosens.
  • Wipe the cover down with a wet rag.
  • You can clean between the slats of the vent cover with any narrow cleaning tool, like a pipe cleaner, narrow soft brush or even a cotton swab.
  • You should manually dry between the slats with either a thin rag or a hair dryer on the hot setting to prevent water from pooling. If you use a hair dryer, be careful touching the metal after you blow dry it on a hot setting, as the metal can get warm. From there, you can either let heating and cooling vents air dry on a towel or dry them by hand.
  • After they’re dry, put the vent covers back and turn the power source back on.
Heating and Cooling Vents Pet by Vent

Pets seem to be naturally attracted to vents. Image: @jenlpalmer/Twenty20

Preventative Maintenance for Your Heating and Cooling Vents

You can also keep your heating and cooling vents clear of dust and debris with some defensive measures. A popular way to do so is to invest in a magnetic or plastic vent cover. These are usually used to direct airflow in a certain direction or to prevent excess air from coming through a closed vent, so they’re only suitable if you wish to restrict airflow. But they have the added benefit of keeping dust and grime off the vent, too.

Another option is to protect the heating and cooling vents themselves through lifestyle changes. For instance, encourage pets to avoid the heating and cooling vents if they have a habit of laying on or near them. That will keep dirt and pet hair away from the heating and cooling system. Make sure to vacuum the floor regularly so that dirt and debris are not close to the vent. You may also want to invest in an indoor air purifier to remove dust from the home.

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5 Inexpensive Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient This Summer

There’s a lot of information out there on how to make your home more energy efficient. While it’s all meant to be helpful, some of the advice is not the most practical. Not all of us can afford to install solar panels or to buy all new appliances. With that in mind, we’ve brought you a few budget-friendly ways to save on energy. Read on to learn how to start lowering your utility bills.

energy efficient

An energy audit will take stock of your home’s strengths and weaknesses. Image: tommaso79/Shutterstock

Get an energy audit

If you’re unsure of where to start with making your home more energy efficient, having an energy audit done is a great first step. Also known as an energy assessment, these audits are designed to take stock of how much energy your home is currently using, to identify problem areas where energy might be being wasted and to offer suggestions on how to solve those issues.

As for how to get an auditor out to your home, calling your electric or gas utility company may be your best bet. There’s a good chance they’ll either conduct assessments themselves or be able to recommend local auditors. However, if not, the Residential Energy Services Network offers a search directory for qualified professionals. Just remember to always do your research before hiring any service provider to come into your home.

insulation

Insulating your attic will help keep cool air where it belongs. Image: Arturs Budkevics/Shutterstock

Insulate your attic

Your attic isn’t just a place to store your excess belongings. It’s also one of the places in your home that’s most likely to let cool air out. This, in turn, causes your HVAC systems to have to work harder, using more energy overall. However, by adding some extra insulation, you can go a long way towards keeping your temperature-controlled air where it belongs.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs — and an average of 11% on total energy costs — by taking the time to properly insulate your home. Here, they especially recommend insulating attics, crawl spaces and floors.

seal

Fixing drafty doors and windows will keep you more comfortable indoors and help you save big. Image: Ray B Stone/Shutterstock

Seal drafty doors and windows

In addition to insulating the attic, you can also take care of any drafty doors and windows that might be allowing cool air to escape your home. While an energy auditor will be able to identify these “cold spots” during your assessment, you can DIY this task just by paying attention to where you can feel drafts coming through on windy days.

As far as how to do the sealing, this is definitely one home maintenance task where you won’t need to call in a professional. Adhesive sealing strips are sold at nearly every home improvement store. Once you have the strips in hand, it’s simply a matter of measuring the area you need to seal, cutting the strip to size and applying it securely.

light bulbs

Change out your light bulbs for newer, energy-efficient varieties. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Change your light bulbs

If you can’t afford to splurge on a new energy-efficient appliance package or to upgrade to solar panels, replacing the light bulbs in your home is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to make a difference in your energy usage. This move can help you save around 5% on your total energy bills.

In terms of which lighting options offer the biggest savings, you have three choices:

  • Halogen incandescents: Halogen incandescents are popular bulbs because they come in a wide range of shapes and colors. In addition, they tend to work well with dimmer switches. However, while they do meet the minimum energy-efficiency standard, they are not the most efficient option that’s currently available on the market.
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): CFLs are where you really start to see energy savings. These bulbs use about one-fourth the energy of traditional incandescent options. They also are said to last up to ten times as long. While these bulbs did not offer a lot of variety when they first came out, they are starting to become available in more shades and colors.
  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs): Though LED lights have been traditionally used in outdoor applications, they are becoming more commonplace in indoor settings. LEDs use only 20% to 25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. They also use 25% to 30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than halogen incandescents.
electronics

Plugged-in electronics like coffee makers can use up a lot of unnecessary energy. Image: rawf8/Shutterstock

Unplug energy vampires

This last tip is more of an ongoing effort than a one-time task. Though it may be convenient to leave electronics plugged in even when you’re not using them, the reality is that unless they are certified as energy-saving, they are likely wasting energy. Directenergy.com estimates that you can save $100 to $200 per year simply by unplugging these devices when they’re not in use.

The post 5 Inexpensive Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient This Summer appeared first on Freshome.com.

Here’s Why an HVAC Inspection is Worth the Cost

Is an HVAC inspection worth the small price now? Absolutely, especially when you consider you’re avoiding a big, unexpected repair bill later. During an annual HVAC maintenance visit, a licensed AC technician can spot issues and prevent the need for costly repairs.

HVAC maintenance by HVAC technicians near me

An annual HVAC maintenance visit can save you on repair and energy costs. Image: Serenethos/Shutterstock

Is an HVAC inspection worth the money?

An HVAC system costs thousands of dollars and features lots of moving parts that wear down over time. A neglected system doesn’t work its best.

According to the contractor-consumer matching website Thumbtack.com, the average HVAC technician charges $50 to $80 for an AC service tune-up. Compare that to a repair, which can run you between $150 and $1,000 on average, and it’s a no-brainer. It pays to prevent HVAC problems before they happen.

You’re also likely to save money on your energy bills after a spring HVAC maintenance visit. The Department of Energy says that routinely replacing or cleaning your AC’s air filters (one of the jobs an HVAC technician performs during the tune-up) can reduce your home’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

HVAC inspection and AC maintenance schedule by HVAC technicians near me

An HVAC inspection should be performed at least once per year. Image: I AM NIKOM/Shutterstock

When should I schedule an HVAC maintenance visit?

Spring is an ideal time for HVAC maintenance. You’ll be running your air conditioner soon enough, so get your preventative maintenance in early. The last thing you want is your AC to break down and leave you in the lurch on the hottest day of summer. And scheduling an HVAC inspection before the summer busy season could save you money on the visit.

If your system also includes heating, the technician can inspect the heating elements during the same visit. Or if you use your heating as much as your air conditioning, you may want to schedule two inspections separately: a spring inspection to review your AC system and a fall inspection to review your heating system.

HVAC technicians near me for HVAC service

During an HVAC maintenance visit, the technician reviews and inspects all components. Image: Joyseulay/Shutterstock

What should I expect during an HVAC tune-up?

An HVAC technician will set a time to visit your home. The HVAC maintenance visit takes about an hour. If the refrigerant needs a refill, it may add another 30 minutes to the service visit. During your appointment, a technician will inspect all the components of your system. This includes checking:

  • The thermostat
  • Electrical connections
  • Refrigerant levels
  • Controls

And adjusting, replacing or cleaning the coils, plus:

  • Adjusting and lubricating moving parts
  • Straightening the fins
  • Cleaning the condensation drain
  • Changing the air filter
  • Adjusting the blower motor and all belts
HVAC inspection

A licensed HVAC technician is familiar with all aspects of an annual HVAC maintenance schedule. Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

How to choose an HVAC technician near you

Most states require HVAC technicians to be licensed (or certified) and insured. There’s good reason for this requirement: state licensing programs are designed to protect consumers by requiring that HVAC technicians have experience working with heating and cooling systems and are adequately insured to cover anything that could go wrong while working in your home.

Once you find an HVAC technician near you, you can check to see that their license and insurance is up to date, by state, at contractorquotes.com.

HVAC maintenance schedule

One of the HVAC maintenance jobs you can DIY is to keep your unit(s) clear of shrubbery and debris. Image: Christian Delbert/Shutterstock

Can I do my own annual HVAC service or should I hire an HVAC technician near me?

There are a few things you can do to maintain your HVAC system yourself. Most maintenance and service, however, should be left to a licensed professional, or you could void your warranty. Some of tjhe tasks you can do yourself to extend the life and function of your heating and cooling systems include:

  • Change your filters at least once a year
  • Trim all grass and shrubs around the AC unit outside and clean away any debris like cobwebs or leaves
  • Check the insulation around the exterior unit for damage
  • Clean the air vents inside your home

Your HVAC unit is an essential part of your home. Just because it quietly runs behind the scenes doesn’t mean you can forget about it. An hour of your time once a year and an affordable visit by a licensed HVAC technician can extend the life of your unit — and your family’s comfort level.

The post Here’s Why an HVAC Inspection is Worth the Cost appeared first on Freshome.com.

How to Allergy-Proof Your HVAC System

Allergies and asthma are a growing problem. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says, “More than 26 million people in the US have asthma, and allergic asthma is the most common type, affecting around 60% of people with asthma.” Improving your home’s air quality can reduce common symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. Start by updating your HVAC for allergy relief.

The main culprits that lead to asthma and allergies in your home include dust mites, pollen, pet dander and cockroach droppings. Your HVAC system is designed to filter these allergens (and more), but if it’s not optimized properly, it may be blowing the allergens around. Here are 4 reasons everyone should update their HVAC for allergy relief, even if you don’t personally suffer from asthma or hay fever:

hvac for allergies

An HVAC inspection and maintenance includes cleaning or replacing air filters and searching for trouble areas where mold and mildew are growing. Image: Charles Knowles/Shutterstock

1. Your HVAC System Can Be Hiding Mildew And Mold

Mildew and mold thrive off dark and damp places. And an improperly maintained HVAC system may be collecting condensation and humidity in hidden zones. Turn your contaminated AC or heating on and you may inadvertently blow the mildew and mold into the room.

HVAC allergy fix: Schedule an annual maintenance visit with a licensed professional to make sure your system is working properly. Make sure the HVAC maintenance visit includes having all ductwork cleaned and changing the air filters. In humid zones, installing a dehumidifier can keep humidity levels in check. A good humidity level is around 40%.

hvac for allergies and best hepa filters

Here’s what your HVAC air filter may look like if you don’t regularly clean or replace it. Image: Steve Heap/Shutterstock

2. Your HVAC Filter May Be Making Your Allergies Worse

HVAC filters are meant to capture debris. But if you don’t clean or replace them regularly, they could become overloaded with allergens and blow allergens like dander, pollen and dust mites back throughout the home.

HVAC allergy fix: Clean or replace your HVAC filters every two to three months. Better yet, upgrade to a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Filters must remove at least 99.97% of contaminants in the air to earn a HEPA rating. Choose a HEPA filter with a MERV rating of at least 10. MERV ratings score the quality of the air filtration on a scale from 1 (worst) to 20 (best).

hvac asthma and allergies

Keeping all windows closed can cause poor air quality inside your home. Get your home’s air circulating! Image: Dmitry Zimin/Shutterstock

3. Your Home’s Air Is Stagnant

Just because the temperature indoors is fine doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run your AC occasionally. Homes nowadays are so well insulated that there’s a side effect: pollutants and contaminants can’t escape.

HVAC allergy fix: Run your HVAC system regularly, even if just for 20 minutes, to circulate air. The AC ventilates your home by pumping in fresh outdoor air and pumping out the stale indoor air. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can schedule your system to run at a time and duration of your choice.

4. Other Types Of Microbes And Bacteria May Be Growing In And Around Your HVAC Unit

Besides mold and mildew, other organisms can thrive in the warm, damp and dark environment of your system. According to abatement.com, fungi, mites and bacteria that thrive there can “produce adverse effects” to one’s health. Air filters made of cotton and cardboard can provide food for these microbes, allowing them to multiply quickly.

HVAC allergy fix: Consider having your HVAC contractor install a UV light near the system’s evaporator, which absorbs the heat drawn from your home and is often the place where microbes thrive. A UV light will kill bacteria and other bio-organisms and curtail the harmful growth in your HVAC unit.

Once you allergy-proof your HVAC system, tackle the rest of your home. Here are some tips on how to have a healthier, greener home:

The Ultimate Guide To Sustainable Furniture

How To Keep Your Clean Eco-Friendly

Dealing With Asthma And Allergy Triggers In Your Home

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