Although we don’t have to suffer through subzero temperatures during Texas winters, it still gets relatively chilly, which means the AC goes off and the heat goes on. Some homeowners dread the season because it means higher energy bills – but it doesn’t have to! If you want to lower utility expenses and get the most out of your heat, follow these tips below.
The National Resource Defense Council estimates that about one-third of a home’s heat loss occurs through old or drafty window and doors. That means that you’re paying for heat that’s literally going out the window! Check around door and window frames, pipes, foundation seals, and mail slots to detect air leaks. To help keep all the warmth inside, seal up drafts with caulking or weatherstripping, which are available at any hardware store. Even heavy curtains or fabric door draft blockers can make a huge difference. If you really want to stop drafts in their tracks, replacing old windows with higher performance ones can save you hundreds on your energy bills each year.
Take Care of HVAC Maintenance
An inefficient heating and cooling system can lead to a lot of wasted energy because your system will work harder than it should to warm your home. To maximize efficiency, clean and/or replace filters, properly seal air ducts, and remove any excess dirt or soot. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) found that homes with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system, so these renovations can truly make a difference. An annual tune-up with an HVAC specialist will take care of all this and more. It’s also beneficial to make sure air vents aren’t blocked or obstructed by furniture so the heat can effectively reach the whole room.
Use Your Thermostat to its Greatest Potential
Your thermostat is perhaps one of the greatest tools at your disposal for saving energy. According to the DOE, programmable thermostats can save you tons of money on your annual heating and cooling costs. The DOE reports that by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours each day (like when you’re asleep or at work), you can save 5 to 15% on your heating bill. Nowadays, homeowners can even purchase “smart thermostats” that can be controlled from a mobile device, allowing you to adjust the temperature if you forgot to do it before you left for work, or to turn the heat back up on your commute home so you can return to a toasty house.
Conserving energy in winter doesn’t mean living in a chillier home – in fact, it’s just the opposite. By draft-proofing your home and better utilizing your HVAC system, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll stay warmer.
Things are cooling off outside in Austin. Although the temperatures don’t get incredibly frigid in Texas, you still might start thinking about clicking on the heat soon. Has your furnace had a tune-up this year? If not, this is the best time to do so! No one wants to find out they have a faulty heater once it’s already freezing outside!
A tune-up on your heater is well worth it. If you’re wondering what the advantages are, keep reading!
Benefits of a Furnace Tune-Up
If there’s one factor that should convince you to schedule a furnace tune-up, it’s your safety. The most significant safety issue connected to furnaces are carbon monoxide (CO) leaks. The way that furnaces provide your home or business with heat is by burning fuel–but an issue with this process could lead to gas leakage and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Your health and safety can be compromised if exposed to this gas for an extended period of time. Having a professional take a look at the unit can prevent an emergency from occurring in the future.
2. Save Money!
You might ask yourself, “How will paying for a tune-up appointment help me spend less money?” The answer is that you’ll be shelling out less cash in the long run for repairs and maintenance by catching tiny issues before they worsen. Would you rather schedule a tune-up twice a year, or have to keep making a bunch of little appointments every time a piece of your HVAC unit breaks down? Paying for those minor repairs adds up! In addition, having your furnace checked up will prevent scheduling any costly emergency appointments if your unit breaks down this winter.
3. Greater Energy Efficiency
A standard HVAC tune-up with involve a cleaning and inspection of the furnace burner and heat exchanger. This ensures your safety, of course, but it also will ensure that your HVAC unit is performing at full efficiency. This is just one more way that an annual tune-up can save you money. By running at top performance, your furnace wastes less heat so you’ll be truly getting what you pay for in energy bills–all while staying warm!
The secret to staying safe and comfortable this winter is to be proactive. When it comes to HVAC maintenance, the old adage is true that you’re better safe than sorry. Call an HVAC technician today to schedule a check-up on your furnace!
People looking for an HVAC tune-up in the Austin area can still take advantage of Stan’s AC special discount and rebate program! See here for details but hurry because this offer ends November 30, 2014!
I’m Chris Strand, owner of Stan’s Heating & Air Conditioning. One of the most common questions we get from customers at Stan’s is about the different types of rebates and financing specials that are currently available. Because we stay on top of the myriad of incentives offered, Stan’s helps their customers qualify for more rebates by any other contractor – by a lot! There are several ways our customers can save money — and they can be broken down into 3 general categories:
Rebates and Low Interest Financing from your local utility company
One of the best ways to save on the purchase of a new air conditioning and heating system, energy efficiency improvements and equipment maintenance is by taking advantage of rebates and financing from local utility companies. Depending on the utility company you use, rebates as high as $2500 and interest rates as low as 0% are available. Austin Energy, Texas Gas Services and Pedernales Co-op all have great incentive programs.
Manufacturer Incentives for new systems
Most homeowners will recognize the big air conditioning brands we carry like Rheem, Carrier, Trane, and Mitsubishi which are commonly found in homes across central Texas. These brands compete with each other for new customers. To encourage you to buy their products they frequently offer significant discounts on new systems and special financing offers. The discounts typically come in the form of mail in rebates or instant cash back offers. These rebates and low interest financing programs can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing a new air conditioning system in your home. If there is a manufacturer incentive available Stan’s will let you know.
Exclusive discounts for Stan’s customers only
Stan’s has been in business since 1954, and over the years we’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best customers in central Texas. To say thanks to all our customers we sometimes offer limited time exclusive saving on tuneups, repairs, and installations, so make sure to keep an eye on our website for more information about any current offers that may be available.
Because of our extreme weather, you’re probably apprehensive about the thought of your air conditioning bills skyrocketing or your system breaking. However, the good news is that we are always here to help you save money and stay cool during the summer heat.
To see all the incentives currently available, visit our website or give Stan’s a call and we can help you find the best program for you. We even help with the paperwork.
If you live in Central Texas, chances are you get a lot of use out of your HVAC system. But are you getting the most for what you’re paying? Switching to a higher efficiency heating and air conditioning system can save you money, time, and discomfort. So how do you know if you’d benefit from making an energy-efficient switch? Here are few factors to consider:
1. Your energy bills have increased from last year and continue going up.
Of course, there are several reasons you could be seeing an increase in your bills–rises in energy costs and more extreme seasonal temperatures can sometimes be the culprit. However, the age and condition of your heating and cooling system may have caused it to become less efficient. Sometimes upgrading can be less expensive over time than paying the bills for a system that wastes energy and makes your bills skyrocket.
2. Your heating and cooling equipment is over 10 years old.
Many houses have units that are 10 years old or older but even if they’re still functional, these older models simply don’t offer the same performance as newer ones. Today’s highest quality air conditioners use anywhere from 30-50% less energy to generate the same amount of cooling than those older models. In fact, the law requires that any units manufactured after January 2006 must have a minimal Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13. Some of the older models have ratings of 8 or lower! You can experience huge savings by switching to a more modern, efficient HVAC unit. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by upgrading from a SEER rating of 9 to a rating of 13, you can save about $300 per year. And that’s just by switching to the minimum SEER rating. In our climate the minimum recommendation is a SEER of 15.
3. You’re frequently scheduling repairs on your HVAC system.
Almost every heating and air conditioning unit can benefit from an annual tune-up, but if your system is constantly breaking down or malfunctioning, the costs of service appointments can start to add up. At some point, it becomes cheaper to replace the system altogether than keep paying for repairs. Actually, a new HVAC system can cost up to 50% less to operate.
4. You’ve ruled out other factors.
Before you invest in an all new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed any issues with your duct system. The average duct system has a leakage rate of over 25% and is often undersized. Sometimes, this is where the true root of the issue lies, rather than in your HVAC equipment. Have your home heating and air conditioning unit evaluated by an HVAC professional to get their best recommendation. In some cases, a system upgrade or replacement may be necessary to maximize savings and efficiency. However, other times some simple maintenance like filter changes, annual tune-ups, insulation and duct sealing may help your current unit return to an acceptable level of performance.
Indoor Air Quality Improvement
System Performance Tests
Chris Strand Purchased Stan's in 2011
My family and I sold Strand Brothers / Service Experts, a company we founded in 1978, and have joined a great group of professionals at Stan's. My mom, my brother Tom, my sister Kate, and many long-time co-workers have joined me at Stan's. Stan Johnson is still with the company too.