Explore and find Listings
May 15, 2020
Fantastic Ways To Keep Your Home Cool Without Overworking Your AC
Homeowners across the country will be turning up their air conditioners at full speed to try and stay cool as the summer months approach with rising temperatures. Such a move, even though wise and well-timed, can make their energy bill a lot more expensive. However we want to tell you of other less expensive ways to cool off your home without breaking the bank.
Here are some ways to keep your home cool without compromising your comfort and budget:
Choose the right color for your drapes when you install them
Remember to keep your blinds closed
Your fan needs to be used in the correct way
When you don’t need your lights, remember to keep them turned off
Now we will explain how these 4 tips can keep your home cool, by keeping the cold air in and the hot air out...and there won’t be a need for increased energy bills during the summer months, while at the same time you are keeping your home nice and cool.
No. 1 Cooling Tip: Choose the right color when you install your drapes
Medium-color drapes work the best, although all drapes can block some heat from entering a room.
According to energy.gov, studies have shown that medium-colored drapes with white plastic backings give you a fighting chance to lower heat costs by as much as 33%. Drapes made with lighter fabrics, such as cotton will help block the heat while other types of fabrics, such as velvet, will serve to absorb the heat and contain it in your home.
No. 2 Cooling Tip: Remember to keep your blinds closed
When so much heat comes through your windows it increases the internal temperature of your home. It is estimated by energy.gov that between 25%-30% of heat gained is through windows. You can help prevent a certain amount of heat from entering your home and keep your room temperature a lot cooler by keeping your blinds closed.
You can keep some blinds on windows open by only using those that don’t face the sun, such as those not facing directly toward the sun (north or south-facing windows). By not opening blinds or drapes on windows facing east or west, the heat intake won’t be as powerful, leading to a cooler room.
No. 3 Cooling Tip: Using your fan the “right” way
Fans are perfect when it comes down to cooling off your home. They make you feel cooler because they circulate air to help evaporate the sweat from your skin, unlike air conditioning, which circulates cool air. Ceiling fans and standing fans are a great and inexpensive way to cool off from summer’s warm temperatures. A good idea is to make sure your fan is spinning counter-clockwise, since it will be cooling your room more effectively when it’s spinning in this direction. This works because it’s basically pushing the cooler air down, making you more comfortable.
In the wintertime you should do the opposite. You would want to set your fan to run in the clockwise mode because this pushes cool air up towards the ceiling, which helps distribute the heat to keep you warmer. You can change the direction of your fan. Look to see which setting it is on simply by moving the switch on your fan.
When it is really hot outside you can step up the cooling in your home by placing wet clothing in front of or near a fan. This is known as evaporative cooling, and it can really help keep you cool. Perhaps your air conditioning broke down and you are waiting for a home comfort professional to come and fix it. At that point, using this evaporative cooling method can really help.
Note: Be sure to turn your fan off when you leave the room. Fans do not produce cool air. They just circulate air around the room, so if you leave the fan on when you leave the room it won’t cool the area. It will just waste energy and increase your energy bill.
No. 4 Cooling Tip: Make sure to turn off your lights when you are not using them
It may seem that lights do not have much of an impact on the temperature of the room. Actually turning them off does decrease the heat in the room and helps keep your space cool.
According to www.energy.gov, approximately 90% of the energy that incandescent lights put out is given off as heat. This means that if you leave the lights on when you are not using them or when you are not in the room, the area will heat up, seemingly for no reason. Remembering to turn the lights off is a great way to keep a room cooler in the summer.
Extra benefit: An extra perk of turning off lights on top of keeping your room cool, is that it also saves energy which could in turn save you money on monthly energy bills.
You probably do not need to worry about wasted money or increased heat if you have LED lighting. The light that’s being emitted from LED bulbs in your house does not create additional heat in a room, according to energystar.gov. You will not see a significant change in your bill if you decide to leave LED lights on because these energy-saving light bulbs are already energy-efficient.
Extra tips for cost-effective maintenance when it comes to cooling your home
If you want to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible and effectively decrease your monthly costs, schedule an AC check-up with a professional. Prices vary according to your location but most HVAC contractors listed in our directory offer a comprehensive 21-point check-up that includes the following:
Thermostat operation is checked
A defrost test is conducted
Filter is cleaned or replaced (customer supplied)
Inspection of indoor blower and motor for dirt buildup
Inspection of the condensation drain
Inspection of the outdoor coil and advisement to the customer of its condition
Inspection and testing of the safety switches
Inspection of the indoor coil and advisement to the customer of its condition (but only if it is accessible and will not disturb any seal on a cabinet)
Explanation of necessary repairs
Running and testing of the system
May 15, 2020
How Smart Thermostat Settings Can Boost Productivity
The lines may be blurred during the pandemic, but whether that’s at home or in your actual office, thermostat settings do have an impact on your overall productivity. You might have been there yourself, after all many people engage in ruthless thermostat battles with coworkers or loved ones. Temperature conflicts do arise and when they do they often revolve around one thing: temperature. Did you know that setting your thermostat to a specific temperature can increase your productivity levels?
When our mind is busy with monitoring and adjusting the temperature of our body, it’s no wonder why such an issue could affect productivity (and in turn your bottom line) to a great extent. To put things into perspective, a study in Cornell back in 2003 found that employees who are having a hard time to stay warm make more mistakes, which may be a potential cause for up to a 10% increase in labor costs.
When you think of ways to positively affect your productivity when you’re feeling sluggish the most obvious hacks include:
· Cups of caffeine
· A daily exercise regime
· Eating wholefoods and relying on healthy snacks
· Drinking plenty of water
· Getting eight hours of sleep
Yet, there’s one more little-known factor that can substantially impact how much you work, and it has to do with the indoor temperature of your workplace environment.
Believe it or not, setting your thermostat to 71.6 °F can help boost productivity.
And we can prove it.
The research behind the facts
Findings from a study conducted by the Helsinki University of Technology found that indoor temperature affects several human responses which have to do with performance at work.
Specifically, office tasks such as data processing, simple math calculations, and handling time of customer service over the phone were all affected by the indoor temperatures of the workspace.
The results suggest that temperatures starting at 69.8 °F up to 71.6 °F supported productivity output but once they reached 73.4 °F and upwards productivity levels dropped. The temperature for highest performance levels was determined as 71.6 °F.
Need more proof?
A 2016 study published in the journal Plos Medicine looked at the effects a heat wave can have on cognitive function among students living in AC and non-AC buildings for a period of 12-days.
The researchers found that students living in non-AC spaces experienced significant decrements on cognitive function in comparison to those who had AC, suggesting that room temperature does affect our cognitive abilities. The room temperature of those with an AC was set at a range of 71.6°F- 73.4°F, further supporting how 71.6 °F is the perfect temperature between cognitive performance and work output.
Further reference: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests office temperature control in the range of 68-76° F.
Want to implement this temperature hack at home? Install a smart thermostat today!
Firstly, we suggest you only set the temperature at 71.6° F when you have a lot to do around the home and want to get things done quicker.
Once completed remember to adjust the temperature back to normal and during bedtime to avoid high utility bills.
However, if your aim is to enjoy lower utility bills all year round and home comfort, we recommend installing a smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat will help you stick to your budget and keep your home comfortable to live in, by allowing you to set different temperature levels throughout the day.
By setting the programme to 71.6° F before you leave home in the morning for work, the smart thermostat will begin warming your home to ideal temperature, so after a hard day’s work you return to a warm and comfortable home.
With a smart thermostat you save money, time and you ensure your home is at productivity-boosting temperature all day long.
Search for one of the best HVAC contractors in your local area on CIHVAC starting today! They can help install a smart thermostat the right way, and they will do so in no time!
May 15, 2020
Repair vs. Replace: Why Do Air Conditioner Replacement Costs Vary So Much?
Replacing your AC system requires careful thought, as this can absorb investments of up to $12,000 or more. Many variables are involved, all requiring careful consideration: house dimensions; family usage patterns; system types, ductwork, brands, models, efficiency ratings, maintenance fees and monthly utility costs.
Prepping your home
Long term, central air conditioning offers better value for larger homes. However, ancillary items (like ductwork) skyrocket system costs well above basic equipment prices. If you have ducts already in place, schedule a professional cleaning visit before installing a new AC system, plugging leaks and ensuring smoother air flows through clean vents. Your more efficient new system will quickly offset this fee (around $400) against lower monthly utility bills.
Central or individual?
If you plan to upgrade from window units to a central system, duct installation must be built into your budget. Get a couple of quotes from licenced contractors, with materials and labor costs priced separately, for greater transparency.
Single cooling units or mini-splits are perfect for smaller areas (like built-on workrooms) needing individual temperature control. Although ductless, multiple mini-splits might be more expensive than central systems, so compare unit, installation, maintenance and running costs carefully, before making an informed decision.
Although heat pumps are more expensive and with higher installation fees, longer working lives and lower maintenance costs make them an efficient cooling option.
In very dry regions, swamp or evaporative coolers are cheaper than standard AC systems. Check with a local expert to see if you live in an area where this might be a valid option.
Rightsizing is vital
By cooling the air faster than your dehumidifier can remove moisture, an oversized AC unit leaves your home unpleasantly damp and sticky, where mould and other pathogens thrive. In contrast, inadequate equipment can never bring temperatures down to a comfortable level and then switch off. Non-stop operations overstress parts, with more repairs, shorter working lives and higher utility bills.
Not only eco-friendly, newer energy-efficient equipment is also your budget buddy. The smart step here is to check the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating when exploring the market. The higher the SEER rating, the better the value, providing the same amount of cooling with less energy, lower utility bills and fewer repairs.
The devil’s in the details
Depending on where you live, an HVAC system might be more economical than separate heating and cooling units. By regulating humidity and eliminating odours, this can also improve air quality throughout your home. This is a decision that should be taken with advice from a reputable licenced contractor, as expert guidance at this stage saves money over the long term, avoiding countless headaches in the future.
Expertise, experience and fees vary widely among installers. Protect your investment by asking for competitive AC replacement quotes from only licenced and insured contractors, seeking advice on the long-term best value for money. Remember, there’s a good chance the lowest bid will not be the most cost-effective over time.
When looking at an investment protecting your family’s health and comfort for decades to come, opt for experience and testimonials, rather than going cheap with uncertified and possibly untrained workers. With custom fabrication often needed before fine-tuning the equipment, installing these systems is a delicate task, even for professionals. So skimping will almost certainly prove far more expensive in the long run.
For expert advice on the most cost-effective air conditioner replacements, find one of the best local dealers in our HVAC directory, starting today.