6 Simple Tips for Saving Energy (And Money Too!) [INFOGRAPHIC]

As the holidays start to wind down, you may have noticed an increase in your energy bills. Turning on your holiday lights, cooking up a storm, hosting guests, and keeping your home comfortable all require a significant amount of energy. The good news is that you can start taking small and simple steps today toward saving more energy (and reducing your energy costs). Our infographic below shows you how you can get started.

Infographic: 6 Simple Tips for Saving Energy (And Money Too!)

Are you ready to start saving a little more each month on your energy costs? We’ve broken it down into some simple energy-saving tips that you can start using today:

Energy Saving Tips

Which one of these energy saving tips are you ready to try? What else do you do to save on energy costs throughout the year? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Tips for Saving on Energy Costs this Holiday Season

The holidays are a fun and exciting time of the year. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a time of high energy usage for most homeowners. The good news is that you can work toward reducing energy even during the holidays. Below, we’ll offer some expert tips for saving on energy costs during one of the biggest energy-packed times of the year.

Save More on Energy Costs with These Tips

The holidays are here, and many homeowners are looking for any way they can save money this season. Cutting down on energy costs is one way to do just that. Here are some energy-saving tips that you can use to cut costs this holiday season:

Entertain more efficiently.

Hosting guests can be fun and rewarding, but it can also use a great amount of energy. You can entertain more efficiently by turning down the thermostat once your guests arrive. With the warmth coming from the stove, food, and extra bodies in the room, you should still be able to stay comfortable without turning up the temperature too much. You can also cook more efficiently by keeping the oven closed when baking and keeping your burners clean to decrease necessary cook times. You may also want to cook as many dishes as you can at one time to reduce the time the oven is on. This will help you save a little more energy when entertaining this holiday season.

Use more energy-efficient holiday décor.

If you want to save energy with your holiday decorations, consider investing in LED holiday lights. LED holiday lights are much more energy efficient than the traditional variety. They also tend to last longer and pose fewer risks. Homeowners should also avoid using inflatable lawn decorations. Though these inflatable holiday lawn ornaments may be cute and festive, they use up a lot of energy and can drive your electricity costs through the roof this holiday season. Instead, opt for décor that does not require electricity.

Unplug unused appliances and electronics when on vacation.

If you are going out of town this holiday season, make sure that you unplug your appliances and power down any electronics before you head out for vacation. This will ensure that your home is not using energy while you are away. Similarly, you will want to adjust the temperature on your thermostat so that you are not using electricity to heat or cool your home while you are away. A programmable thermostat is also an effective option for controlling temperature while you are away. If you will be in and out of your home running errands, shopping, and visiting friends and families during the holiday season, you can use a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature and save money.

If you’re interested in learning more about saving energy throughout the year, check out our previous blog post about saving energy with your HVAC system – Going Green While Saving Green: How to Increase Energy Efficiency and Lower HVAC Costs.

How Cogeneration Impacts HVAC Systems

Saving energy is a major topic in the HVAC industry. Although the American economy is recovering, the process is slow, and for consumers and businesses, saving energy means saving time and money. However, HVAC systems often use massive amounts of energy, which naturally translates into larger energy bills for home and business owners. HVAC experts are finding cogeneration may be the answer to this issue.

What Is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration, otherwise known as combined heat and power (CHP), uses a power station or heat engine to create useable electricity and heat simultaneously. When an HVAC system generates electricity, it also generates heat. This keeps the home or business warm in fall and winter, but that energy is often wasted during spring and summer. Even during colder seasons, extra heat is siphoned into the environment, causing wasted energy. Cogeneration captures leftover heat and “recycles” it.

How The Heat Is Used

In cogeneration, the “waste heat” from an HVAC system is used to heat water, and offsets greenhouse gas emissions and fuel that would otherwise be burned away. This keeps the HVAC system from overheating or breaking down. Over time, such use saves significant time and money in terms of repairs and replacements. The longer an HVAC system lasts, the more energy it can create and the cleaner and safer its surrounding environment will be.

Cogeneration Cuts Costs

Additionally, cogeneration decreases the overall need for electricity. An HVAC system that uses CHP will use about 50% less electricity than systems that do not. As a result, home and business owners can run their HVAC systems for shorter periods, saving energy and keeping the surrounding environment free of pollutants. In addition, home and business owners who use a CHP HVAC system will learn to respond better to natural temperature fluctuations in their buildings. Over time, they may turn to more energy-saving methods of keeping themselves warm or cool, such as using environmentally friendly building materials.

The EPA and other agencies estimate that using a cogeneration HVAC system cuts energy costs and harmful emissions by at least 30-40%. Growing popularity and technological improvements guarantee that increasing numbers of people will use cogeneration systems in the future.

The Growing Popularity Of Cogeneration

Although cogeneration has existed since 1882, our over-reliance on fossil fuels has created a resurgence among home and business owners, especially those who work with HVAC systems. With cogeneration, HVAC systems are now relying more on thermal energy, a cleaner energy source than oil, gas, and other fossil fuels. This decreases air pollution and its many negative consequences, such as the impact of poor air quality on human health.

As the technology behind cogeneration improves, the EPA and other agencies estimate its popularity will only continue to grow. Right now, technological improvements include cost reduction for HVAC systems that use cogeneration, as well as improved environmental control technology. These particular improvements will allow HVAC experts and their customers to adjust individual cogeneration systems to fit their needs and surrounding environments.

Finding An HVAC Dealer in Los Angeles

There are several cogeneration HVAC systems available, so finding the right dealer is crucial. If you are searching for a Los Angeles HVAC dealer, please call Brody Pennell or visit us online. We can further explain the benefits of a cogeneration HVAC system and determine the best system for your particular needs.

What Are the Ratings for Furnace Efficiency?

All gas- and electricity-powered furnaces use up natural resources and add to your monthly utility costs. Ideally, you want your household to rely on a well-designed unit that provides the heat you need while preserving resources and keeping your costs at a minimum. You can judge the energy usage of your current furnace, or any model you intend to buy, by checking out its efficiency rating.

What Is Furnace Efficiency?

Broadly speaking, things are efficient when they perform their intended function with as little waste as possible. In terms of furnaces, this means that highly efficient models keep your house warm during cold weather while using a relatively small of amount of fuel or electricity each month. In contrast, low-efficiency models go through a relatively large amount of fuel or electricity per month, even though they may still keep your household interior at a desirable temperature. Naturally, since an efficient furnace keeps your house warm at a lower monthly operating cost, it’s preferable to an inefficient furnace that features the same heating technology.

Measuring Efficiency

In the U.S., furnace efficiency is measured by something called annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. This measurement is defined as the amount of heat output a furnace creates for the amount of fuel or electricity it uses. In a natural gas- or propane-powered furnace with a 90 percent AFUE rating, 90 percent of all the heat produced by the combustion process enters your household’s ducting network, while the remaining 10 percent escapes through the venting system. Since electric furnaces don’t lose heat by venting combustion gases, they typically have a higher AFUE rating than gas furnaces (between 95 percent and 100 percent).

Determining the Efficiency of Older Models

Under current federal law, all new furnaces sold in America must display their AFUE rating. However, you won’t necessarily be able to gauge the rating of furnaces sold before this standard was introduced. Still, you can usually recognize low- and moderate-efficiency units through certain telltale signs. For example, any gas-powered furnace with a continuously lit pilot light will have a low efficiency rating (as low as 56 percent in some cases). The presence of an octopus-like ducting network also indicates a lack of fuel efficiency. You can recognize a moderately efficient older furnace (an AFUE rating of roughly 80 to 83 percent) by the presence of a fan system that functions as an airflow regulator.

Gas or Electric?

So, among furnaces with equal AFUE ratings, what’s the best choice: gas or electric? As a rule, it costs less to heat with natural gas or propane than it costs to heat with electricity. This means that, all other things being equal, a gas furnace with a 90 percent AFUE rating will produce lower monthly utility bills than an electric furnace with the same efficiency rating.

Make sure to follow our blog for future posts on crucial home heating and home cooling topics. If you have a more specific HVAC question or concern, contact us today to speak with one of our experienced team members.

What Is An Energy Management System?

Energy managment systems are used by both the public and private sectors to monitor and control consumption. The end goal is to conserve energy use due to financial and environmental reasons. They involve a complex network of equipments connected to the HVAC, lighting, and other contributors to the electrical load. These equipments are employed for the following processes:

 

Information Gathering

The first step towards any meaningful change is to quantify the current situation. Meters will be placed at strategic spots to measure consumption in various areas. The data will be collected continuously every single day.

 

Data Analysis

The numbers will not mean much if they aren’t put into context. Experts will need to analyze the data collected from the meters to get an overall picture of the energy situation. They might use different graphs to make it easier to interpret the information they have on their hands. Their goal is to find opportunities for improvement and suggest ways to boost efficiency.

 

Project Implementation

This is the part in which the suggested actions are considered and implemented. These will be ranked according to priority after a cost-benefit analysis and other pertinent tools. An example would be the replacement of old machines with modern alternatives that can perform the same functions while consuming a fraction of the energy. Insulation may also be upgraded to reduce unwanted heat transfer at vulnerable locations. Behavioral changes may be made as well including diligent HVAC control.

 

Progress Tracking

Things do not end once the projects are completed. The effectiveness of these schemes will have to be measured to see if they were implemented correctly and if things need to be modified to achieve better results. The building consumption will continue to be tracked to check for progress. The data collected before and after each project will have to be compared for evaluation. In order to get a good idea of their individual impact, these projects should not be done all at once. They should rather be implemented in sequence with enough time in between.

Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

What Is A Smart Thermostat, Anyway?

If your goal is to reduce your energy costs by being kinder to the earth, then you might want to consider having a smart thermostat installed. Smart thermostats are wireless digital thermostats that enable you to better control the temperature throughout your home (or business) while using less energy than traditional thermostats.

How do smart thermostats work?

Smart thermostats work by measuring the temperature in each room and resetting itself accordingly. For instance, if you spend a majority of your time in the living room of your home and 6 other rooms are unoccupied for a majority of the day, then the thermostat will adjust itself so energy isn’t wasted heating and cooling rooms that aren’t in use.

How can a smart thermostat benefit me?

There are many ways that a smart thermostat can benefit you. One way is that such a technologically-advanced thermostat will use less energy but provide the same comfort. You will more or less have complete control over your energy bills, which will be based on the average temperature that you prefer for each room in your home. Another way that a smart thermostat can benefit you is that the thermostat has the ability to “learn.” In other words, the smart thermostat will adjust itself according to the settings that you normally use.

In addition, a smart thermostat can control up to 8 separate rooms of your home, customizing the temperature for each area. This will provide you with consistent and optimal cooling and heating, which will ensure your overall comfort levels. Since the thermostat can be controlled via the internet, you can control the temperature in your home even when you’re not home. This can prevent you from wasting energy when it is not needed, and you will definitely see the difference in your energy bills.

Obviously smart thermostats can improve your life in a number of ways. Not only can they help you to drastically reduce your heating and cooling costs, but they can also make controlling the temperature in your home a lot more convenient. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Should I Leave Interior Doors Open Or Closed During Heating And Cooling?

Energy efficiency is defined as the percentage of consumed energy that goes into air conditioning in comparison with the overall absorbed energy. Most people understand that leaving premises’ exterior doors and windows open reduces the efficiency of their HVAC systems in heating, cooling or cleaning/ purifying indoor air. However, few people know that closing interior doors during heating and or cooling HVAC systems reduces their (HVAC equipment) efficiency. Leaving such doors open is recommended for increased efficiency of HVAC systems, therefore, increased quality of indoor air.

How does leaving interior doors open increase energy efficiency?

Air conditioners draw air from the external environment, cool it and then dissipate the cooled air indoors. Unfortunately, most HVAC systems lack return air vents, and the expulsion of excessive air relies on large indoor spaces or openings to a building’s exterior. Closing interior doors reduces the free flow and expulsion of excessive air, and pressure builds up, forcing air out of the enclosed space through any available openings. One of the laws of nature is that in an airtight, pressurized space, the space created by forcefully ejected air must be replaced by an equal quantity of air from the exterior environment of that space. As air is forced out of the pressurized indoors, outdoor air rushes inside through available openings such as the fire ducts and water heater exhaust flues.

Whereas an HVAC equipment may have successfully cooled, heated or purified indoor air to desired levels, the new outdoor air upsets the attained IAQ (indoor air quality) and an HVAC system must consume more energy, and run longer to reach the desired levels of IAQ. Leaving interior doors open during heating and cooling guarantees the energy efficiency of an HVAC equipment as there is minimal trapped air (pressure), and consumed energy goes into conditioning the air without the risk of outdoor air upsetting the achieved IAQ.

The effectiveness of any HVAC equipment is determined by, among other factors, adequate space through which air circulation is guaranteed. Small, airtight small spaces, such as building rooms that are secured from other rooms by tight-fitting doors, can trap air and build pressure. The forceful or abrupt expulsion of such air creates a vacuum that must be filled by exterior indoor air that rushes in through wide, open flues. The rush in of hot/ cold and polluted outdoor air undoes the heating/ cooling and air purification that an HVAC equipment may have achieved. The HVAC system is, therefore, forced to run longer and consume more energy to condition the new air to the desired, comfortable levels. To increase HVAC energy efficiency, building owners should ensure that their interior building doors are open, or there is sufficient ventilation (under or above the doors) that allows free air circulation.

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Brody Pennell Wins Carrier’s Presidents Award for the Ninth Consecutive Year

We are one of only three Carrier Factory Authorized Dealers in all of North America to win Carrier’s Prestigious Presidents Award, are one of only three Carrier Factory Authorized Dealers in all of North America to win Carrier’s Prestigious Presidents Award for nine consecutive years award for nine consecutive years.

Energy Savings Tips Can Help You Develop A Plan For Summer Savings

Summertime brings longer hours of daylight, more sunshine and higher electric bills. Air conditioning keeps homes cool and comfortable but uses a significant amount of a home’s total energy consumption. Now is the time to work on creating a Summer Energy Savings Plan to use your home’s appliances and systems effectively and efficiently while achieving energy savings during summer’s warmest days.

Simple things such as closing blinds, shades and drapes in rooms when they are receiving direct sunlight to stop heat transfer will help rooms remain cool so your A/C does not need to work so hard. Open all your interior doors so that cooler air freely flows throughout the house. Use ceiling fans and raise the temperature on your A/C’s thermostat by several degrees. Check the filters each month and clean and/or replace them as often as needed.

Check the house for air leaks. Air may escape through fireplaces, holes in foundation walls and attics, and around doors and windows. Close fireplace dampers, caulk around windows and places where there are air leaks in attics and foundation walls, and install or replace weather stripping around doors. Inject foam insulation into walls without insulation and add R-30 rated insulation to your attic. Make your home as snug and air tight as you can.

Run heat producing appliances during the coolest parts of the day. Cook more on your grill or in your microwave, as it uses have the energy your stove or range does. Place your refrigerator’s temperature setting between 30°F and 42°F. If it has a power saving switch, use it. If your dishwasher has an economy setting, wash on that setting. Only run full loads.

Finally, call to learn more about how replacing an older HVAC system with a new energy efficient replacement can fulfill the HVAC Energy Savings Home Energy Savings part of your Summer Plan.

Energy Efficiency: Using Fans Vs. Lowering The A/C

It is a proven fact that home energy costs incurred in powering a fan are significantly lower than those of powering an Air conditioner. However, having an energy savings plan can go a long way in saving energy bills. With the summer sun heating up our houses, turning on the Air conditioner proves a practical way of keeping homes cool and comfortable. However, it has not occurred to many households using the fan can actually do the job, cost-effectively. A ceiling fan cools by triggering evaporation from the skin, while forcing hot air down & away from occupants, makes them to feel up to 8 degrees cooler.

Using Your AC Efficiently

Saving money on AC costs should be the goal of every homeowner. However, according to research findings, billions of dollars on electricity bills are spend annually for running AC systems, accounting for about 15% of total energy bills used in most households. During summer, the energy bills of air conditioning account for 70% in most households. On average, a central AC system operates about 3 kilowatts, costing about 36% per hour, while a window AC system operates on 1.2 kilowatts, costing 14% per hour. On the other hand, a ceiling fan operates on 30 watts, costing about 1% per hour.

A 2.5 ton central AC system often uses about 3,500 watts, while a window AC system uses 500-1,500 watts. On the other hand, a ceiling fan utilizes 15-95 watts, depending on size and speed. Therefore, a central AC system can cost up to $129.60/month, while a window AC system can cost up to $50.40/month. On the other hand, each ceiling fan can cost up to $1.20/month. Therefore, using a ceiling fan can save you up to 99% in cooling costs.

Ceiling Fans: The Balancing Act

Ceiling fans can reduce the need for air conditioning. During hot summer season when air conditioning is paramount, using a ceiling fan together with high efficiency air conditioning can help circulate air throughout the room, cooling the room more efficiently. Ceiling fans allow homeowners to raise their AC settings by 12 degree, while keeping the home cool and comfortable, as if they were exclusively using the AC system.

In addition to saving costs, ceiling fans are not difficult to use. Furthermore, they do not have to run when you are away. It is essentially for every household to put together a Summer Energy Saving Plan. Find out your last energy bill and the difference ceiling fans offer in terms of environmental and economic costs.

Want to save more money each month on your HVAC costs? We’d love to help. Contact us today to find out more about our energy-efficient HVAC systems or to schedule your routine HVAC maintenance appointment to ensure your system is working efficiently.