3 Energy Efficient HVAC Solutions for Old Homes

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Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, also known as HVAC, is one of life’s most taken for granted comforts. Whether you live in the deep south where temperatures reach well into the hundreds, or in the snowy northern states where winter brings chilling cold, your home always stays the temperature you want. The problem, especially in recent years, is the energy to heat and cool your home can cost a pretty penny. With energy prices going up and environmental impacts becoming more obvious, everyone should be interested in more energy efficient ways to control the climate at home.

But high energy costs aren’t the only problem many homeowners face when it comes to residential HVAC. Older homes tend to be drafty and contain older appliances, which makes efficient heating and cooling doubly difficult. Well, here are some energy efficient HVAC solutions for older homes.

  1. High Efficiency Furnaces
    One of the most obvious and available HVAC efficiency solutions is a high efficiency furnace. Furnaces with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90-95% are considered “high efficiency”. This efficiency rating means that only 5-10% of the fuel used to run the furnace isn’t converted to heat. That is impressive by any measure. Luckily, a furnace installation takes very little time and they can last for many years.
  2. Smart Central Air Conditioner
    Old AC units (the ones you hang from your window) are notoriously inefficient and highly localized. Switching to a central air system can not only increase your energy efficiency in a big way, but you will have programmable control over your home’s thermostat. With some smart systems, you can install an app on your phone and control the temperature at home from anywhere in the world. This is perfect for vacations and long days at work and can save you money on every bill.
  3. Heat Pump
    Heat pumps are a bit different than traditional heating and cooling systems, as they combine both jobs into one unit. By pushing air around, they can control the temperature of your home or any specific room. This makes them incredibly efficient, more than traditional HVAC systems, but they work best in more moderate climates. No amount of air movement in the dead of winter in Alaska will make up for how cold it gets.

Energy efficient houses are becoming more common by the minute. They benefit homeowners, the environment, and society as a whole. If you would like to see your energy bill reduced without needing to suffer chilly nights, there are many energy efficient options you can choose from.

Can My HVAC System Improve My Sleep?

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Some of America’s most energy efficient homes utilize controlled thermostats. However, did you know that controlling your thermostat can do more for you than save money on utility bills?

By choosing to lower your thermostat by a few degrees at night you can actually get a better night’s sleep. Consider the following ways you can mess around with your thermostat, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers to get a better night’s sleep tonight.

Keep your cool
Your body temperature naturally drops when you prepare to fall asleep. In fact, the warmer you are the more alert your body is. For this reason, it’s often better for your bedroom to be cooler at night in order to help you fall asleep faster.

This doesn’t mean you need to sleep like a penguin in order to get a good night’s sleep. The optimal sleep temperature is typically around 60 to 67 degrees, which is the equivalent of a chilly spring day.

Not only can maintaining a cool bedroom at night help you drift off to sleep a lot faster, but it can also help you save money. By reducing the amount of heat you use during the night you help save money on your utility costs.

By reducing the use of your heating system during the winter you can keep your HVAC system working longer.

Play with your room’s humidity
Sometimes your sleeping problems may be caused by your room’s humidity. Air quality that’s muggy and thick can make it difficult to breathe. On the other hand, air quality that’s dry can also dry out your nasal passages and throat.

Consider getting a humidifier or dehumidifier to help get the humidity in your bedroom to the optimal humidity level. You’ll want a humidity level between 40% to 50% for the best sleep.

For a better night’s sleep, it’s important for your HVAC system to be working properly. Duct leakage can make it too chilly in your room for proper sleep and clogged filters can leave you coughing and sneezing late into the night.

Comfort Master Heating offers the HVAC repair you need to keep your system working efficiently throughout the year. For more information on HVAC repair and maintenance, contact Comfort Master Heating today.

The Myth, The Legend: 4 Busted Myths About Geothermal HVAC Systems

geothermal heatingGeothermal heating and cooling systems work by drawing on underground temperatures, which don’t fluctuate as dramatically as aboveground temperatures. In winter, a geothermal heating system will absorb the cool air in your home.

This cool air is then transferred to an underground loop where it becomes absorbed by the earth’s warmer temperatures. Geothermal heating systems then pump the warm air from the earth into your home to create natural heating.

What makes geothermal HVAC systems so popular?
Geothermal HVAC systems are fairly popular in the U.S. because they offer homeowners a more environmentally-friendly option to heat and cool their home. These HVAC systems have been used by homeowners for over 60 years.

What’s more, geothermal systems don’t emit greenhouse gases and only use a small amount of electricity. This can help save you money in the long run compared to the approximate 5% you’d save on heating costs by lowering your thermostat two degrees.

However, despite their popularity, there are a surprising number of myths circulating around geothermal HVAC systems. Consider the following myths and facts about geothermal heat so you can feel knowledgeable about your own HVAC system in your energy efficient home.

    1. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems are loud
      Geothermal HVAC systems are actually incredibly quiet. Additionally, there isn’t any equipment placed outdoors to bother you or your neighbors.
    1. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems use electricity, so they aren’t renewable energy
      Geothermal HVAC systems don’t release any greenhouse gases. They also use only one unit of electricity for every five units of heating and cooling they draw from the earth. Therefore, they’re considered renewable energy.
    1. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems will wear out quickly
       All technology needs maintenance to keep it running. Geothermal HVAC systems are no different. However, they can last decades with proper care and the earth loops they use to heat and cool your home can last even longer.
    1. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems can’t heat multiple parts of the home
      Your geothermal system can be set up in such a way that you’d be able to heat your home, your pool, and your home’s water all at the same time.

Geothermal HVAC systems are a great way to make your home more energy efficient. For more information on geothermal heating and air, contact ComfortMaster today.

Tips For Maintaining Your HVAC Systems In The Winter

air conditioning replacementWhen it comes to having an energy efficient house, heating and air conditioning replacement and repair are key. But so is general maintenance. While winter might be the last time you want to put effort into your HVAC units, it’s still important to maintain them in the cold. To prevent winter from damaging your HVAC systems, follow these simple maintenance tips.

  • Change the filters.
    By keeping clean filters in your heating system during the winter, you can lower your heating bills and keep your allergies in control. This is because your system will work more efficiently without picking up any excess particles. IF you are not comfortable changing them yourself, call an HVAC professional.
  • Cover your AC unit.
    About two thirds of all homes have AC units, and if you are one of these homes, it pays to maintain yours. By covering your unit, you can prevent snow and ice from damaging it. Then you can avoid ordering air conditioning replacement in the spring.
  • Schedule an inspection.
    When in doubt, call a professional inspector. They can come to your home and assess your HVAC systems. This allows you to spot any problems and plan repairs accordingly.
  • Update your thermostat, stat!
    Your thermostat plays a big role in your HVAC efficiency, so be sure that you are using an effective model. If yours is out of date, you may consider replacing it with an updated, programmable model. Then you can enjoy temperature and energy efficiency all year around.
  • Know when it’s time for replacement.
    While tweaks and repairs go a long way to extend the life of your units, it’s important to know when to order a replacement. This is especially true if repairs are getting costly. Talk to your HVAC professional today about which units need replacing and when.

Remember: No home is the same, so it’s important to work with a qualified HVAC company to curate a system that works for you. Then you have a go-to team of professionals for repairs, replacement, and troubleshooting. And this will keep you and your family comfortable no matter the weather.

For more information on winter HVAC maintenance here in Lexington, KY, call Comfort Master today. We are here to serve your HVAC needs all year long.

How To Cut Costs On Your Home’s Heating Without Losing Warmth

hvac repairsFamilies are more likely to stay indoors during the cold winter to stay away from the frightful weather. Unfortunately, more time indoors can also mean higher utility bills.

However, it doesn’t have to be a struggle to reduce your home’s heating costs. Consider the following simple steps you can take to help keep your home’s heating costs low even when the temperature drops.

  1. Make sure your home is well-insulated
    Up to 25% of your home’s heat can be lost through small holes and cracks in the house. Check your home for drafts and foundation problems. You may need to re-insulate. Consider using a draft blocker on your door and windows as well.
  2. Take your HVAC system to the doctor
    If your system’s been working harder than usual to warm your home, you may need some HVAC repairs. Call your local HVAC service for your annual tune-up. The maintenance will keep your HVAC system working efficiently and help keep your utility bills down.
  3. Give your home a pre-spring cleaning
     One of the reasons why your HVAC system’s filters are more likely to clog in the winter is because everyone’s inside. This means pet hair, human hair, and dander are everywhere. When your home’s heating is obstructed by dust and debris, it can make your system work harder which causes your utility bills to go up. To keep your HVAC system’s filters clear, change them regularly and be sure to do some extra cleaning around the house during the colder months.
  4. Lower the thermostat and use natural heating
     By lowering your home’s thermostat by two degrees, you can help reduce your home’s heating costs by 5%. However, just because your thermostat is lowered doesn’t mean you have to lose out on heat. By opening the curtains and letting in natural sunlight, you can help gain back the heat you lost by lowering your thermostat and at no additional cost to you.

If your home’s heating and cooling system isn’t warming your home efficiently, it may be time to call a professional for HVAC repairs. Contact an HVAC contractor at ComfortMaster today to get the HVAC repairs your system needs.

The History of Air Conditioning in the United States

air conditioning unitHomeowners often take their air conditioning units for granted. These AC units not only save families the trouble of installing dozens of fans to achieve the same results, they ensure year-round comfort.

Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first air conditioning unit in 1902. His AC unit sent air through coils filled with cold water, subsequently cooling the air and removing moisture in the room to limit humidity.

In the 1920s, air conditioners were used to cool theaters during the summer. In 1922, Carrier and his engineers modified heating apparatuses to reserve the heating process by shutting the vents where cool air entered the theater and by simplifying the AC units.

The home AC unit became semi-popular in the early 1930s. The first installments were window units and large, bulky systems. Then came General Motors to the rescue by introducing chlorofluorocarbons as a non-flammable coolant.

Air conditioners in the 1950s were much more widespread throughout American homes, and they worked great — but they wasted so much energy. In fact, air conditioning units today use roughly 50% less energy than they did back in the 50s. Another breakthrough in the AC timeline happened in the 50s, as well, when automobiles starting offering air conditioning.

AC innovation changed everything in the 1960s and 1970s. Central air conditioning removed window units, and then came evaporators, compressors, AC fans, and intricate ductwork. Also, there was a major energy problem in the 70s, which led the U.S. to regulate air conditioning. The government created federal standards for energy-efficiency levels in all appliances.

By 1993, approximately 68% of all occupied housing units had air conditioning inside their homes. During the 1990s, automobiles used dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12) for air conditioning but had to stop using this gas because it was causing serious environmental concerns and depleting the ozone layer.

Today, AC units are much more environmentally friendly and can be found in the majority of U.S. homes. And it doesn’t look like the need for AC is going anywhere for a long, long time.

If you’re in need of AC maintenance or other HVAC repairs, contact ComfortMaster today!

How Can I Heat My Finished Basement This Winter?

hvac serviceWith winter officially on the way and the holidays right around the corner, you’ve most likely started gearing up for the Big Chill. You’ve contacted your HVAC service for furnace maintenance, you’ve looked at heating tips for energy efficient homes, and you’ve swapped out your old HVAC system filters for new ones.

Now, what about your newly finished basement? Finishing a basement can be a great achievement and it certainly adds value to your home. But before you can truly enjoy it and consider yourself prepared for winter, you’ll need to bring heat to your underground family space.

Bringing home heating to the basement
It’s essential to hook up your home’s heating and air to your finished basement not only to heat up the space but also because heat rises. Without proper connectivity, there’s no way your new underground office or family space will be warm enough to inhabit this season.

Therefore, it may be in your best interest to set up heating systems as you finish the basement rather than going back and adding it in later. Consider the following options for bringing heat to your finished basement space:

  • Make your floors toasty-warm
    Many basement floors are made up of cold concrete, which can suck up the heat and leave you with icy, uncomfortable feet. Additionally, up to 25% of a home’s heat will escape through small holes and cracks in the flooring and walls. For this reason, consider installing radiant floor heaters if you’re already redoing the floors. This will help heat the room from the flooring itself and will keep your feet nice and warm throughout the year.
  • Use your existing ductwork
    While you’re doing construction in your basement, consider extending your ductwork into the basement. This will help provide your basement space with just the right amount of heat. However, before doing this, contact your HVAC service for a professional opinion. The last thing you’ll want to do is throw off your HVAC system and cause problems with heat circulation around your home.
  • Use a portable option
    If redoing your floors or extending your ductwork makes you uncomfortable, go the simplest route and set up an electric space heater. This type of heating works best if your basement is a space you only use once and a while.

If you’re having trouble setting up a proper heating system in your finished basement, don’t be afraid to contact an HVAC service. An HVAC service is there to help and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

How Your Pets Might Be Hiking Up Your Home’s Energy Bills

heating and coolingAccording to HVAC experts, up to 75% of phone calls regarding a lack of home heating during the winter is the result of a lack of maintenance. In some cases, this lack of maintenance may not be on your part at all, but rather your pets.

Let’s put a little light on the situation. Even homeowners who contact their HVAC service regularly for furnace repair and HVAC repair may have maintenance problems with their heating if they have pets in the home. This is because of the following reasons.

Pet hair can coat your filters
The colder months of the year are considered the worst times for those who suffer from allergies and it isn’t only because of the common cold. When the weather outside is frightful, our furry friends want to stay indoors to better keep warm.

Unfortunately, your pet’s increased presence alongside seasonal shedding and closed windows means your heating and cooling filters are seeing a lot more hair. When this hair builds up, it can make the air quality of your home as bad as the inside of a vacuum cleaner. Well, maybe not that bad.

Still, you’ll want to be sure to change your heating and cooling filters at least once a month if you have more than one pet. Also, be sure to vacuum your carpets regularly to keep any dander and allergens from being sucked up into your HVAC system and fired back out into the air.

Your heating is consistently running
Many American pet owners will keep their heating systems on consistently throughout the day and night even when they’re not home to keep their furry friends warm. This can not only drive up the cost of your utility, but it can also age your HVAC system.

Instead of keeping racking up your energy bills in an attempt to make your pets happy, reduce the temperature in your home by a few degrees while you’re away. Your pets will naturally gravitate to the sunny areas in your home to keep warm. What’s more is that, unlike their human owners, pets have a coat of fur to keep them warm.

So you don’t have to worry about keeping your house at a consistent 70 degrees Fahrenheit all winter long. Your cat or dog will be just as happy with 65.

During the winter months, it’s always a good idea to pay special attention to your pets. However, don’t forget that you need to be responsible for them as well.

Clean out your heating and cooling filters regularly and trust that they’ll be happy with the home being a couple of degrees cooler while you’re away from the house. This will not only ensure your furry friend is happy during the holidays, but it’ll also guarantee your HVAC system will keep running for many winters to come.

How Not To Prepare Your Home For The Cold: Debunking Home Heating Myths

furnaceWith the weather getting colder, many homeowners have begun performing their annual heating system rituals. These rituals include tuning up the furnace, checking the carbon monoxide detectors, and looking for ways to maximize energy savings.

While there are a vast number of ways in which to winterize one’s home, it’s important to note that not every heating system hack you read is actually a great way to maximize your savings on your utility. In fact, to help avoid some of the biggest HVAC system myths this season, here are some of the most common ones debunked.

  1. Hiking up the thermostat will make it warm faster
    Turning on your heater full blast to help make it warmer faster might seem like a great idea, but in reality, your HVAC system doesn’t work that way. Your furnace turns on and works its way to your desired thermostat setting at the same speed, whether the setting is high or low. In fact, this might actually be one of the worst ways to improve utility savings because you’ll be paying for the additional heat you don’t want by cranking the thermostat up to a setting too high for your liking.
  2. Using a space heater will help save money
    Electric space heaters can actually cost you more money in the long run. Space heaters run on electricity, therefore increasing your electric bill, and are also less efficient for heating your entire home. Space heaters are good for heating a single room, but furnaces can heat the whole house for less. This is especially true of a furnace installation with an AFUE rating anywhere between 90 to 95%, which is considered high-efficiency.
  3. Wood-burning fireplaces can help save money
    Wood-burning fireplaces are wonderfully romantic and a great way to end a hard day at work. However, when it comes to energy efficiency and providing a good source of home heating, a wood-burning fireplace won’t do you as much good as a standard furnace. Like space heaters, fireplaces traditionally heat only one room and can actually send all of your heat through the chimney rather than your home.

It’s essential to winterize your home in order to stay cozy and warm during the colder months. To ensure your furnace is ready to roll for the wintry season ahead, contact a professional furnace repair service for an inspection today.

Is Your HVAC System Making You Sick This Season?

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With cold and flu season officially here, it can be all too easy to blame your illness on the weather. But if your respiratory problems don’t seem to go away, the problem may not be the colder weather.

Without regular heating repair and maintenance, your air ducts may be letting more than toasty warmth into the air. It may also be releasing dust, dander, debris, and the far more dangerous carbon monoxide.

Lack of adaptation
Surprisingly enough, it isn’t only the buildup of debris in your ventilation system and cracks in your system’s heat exchanger that can cause changes in your health. Scientific research has shown that, in the past, people were more exposed to colder weather because they relied on fires to keep warm. As a result, our immune systems were more likely to be active in order to fight off seasonal illnesses such as colds.

However, with the comfort of furnaces and heating systems, it’s suggested that our immune systems aren’t likely to become more active. By avoiding exposure to colder weather, we’re more likely to be affected by seasonal illnesses.

Yet, this lack of exposure to the cold doesn’t mean you should turn your heating off and light a fire instead. HVAC systems and air conditioning have made it possible for people to remain comfortable no matter the time of year.

What’s more is that the shift in your immune system isn’t detrimental enough to make central air a winter concern. Although, it may help give you a reason to lower your thermostat by two degrees, which can help to lower your heating costs by 5%.

The importance of efficient filters
A functioning HVAC system can do more good than bad to your immune system and is a necessary part of modern life to help us stay comfortable in our homes. However, when maintenance isn’t properly performed it can cause dust and pet dander to build up in the ventilation. When you breathe in enough of this dust, it can result in respiratory illnesses similar to the common cold.

It’s important to have your heating and cooling system inspected by a professional HVAC repair business at least twice a year. An HVAC repair business help ensure that your ventilation system is working well and is clear of dust and dander. An HVAC repair business can also help to ensure the heat exchanger in your furnace or other heating system is in good shape, therefore keeping any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning exceptionally low.

Proper maintenance on your HVAC system is essential to your health. Contact an HVAC contractor for seasonal maintenance today.