Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Energy Saving’

What Are Energy Recovery Ventilators?

Monday, December 17th, 2012

When the heating and cooling months are upon us, many homeowners find themselves in a conundrum. They want to seal up their home to keep the heated and cooled air inside, but this lack of ventilation can cause serious issues with the indoor air quality in their homes. Thankfully, technology has provided a way for homeowners to make the most efficient use of the energy while also enjoying the fresh, pure air that is only possible with proper ventilation. If you live in the Harleysville area and are interested in learning more about how you too can get the best of both worlds, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today. We have all the information and services you need to take advantage of an energy recovery ventilator in your home.

Energy recovery ventilators are installed directly into your heating and air conditioning systems. The innovative devices make it possible for you to adequately ventilate your home without losing the energy efficiency you get with a well-sealed home envelope. A heat exchanger within the ventilator makes it possible to transfer energy from the air being vented out into the air coming in, and vice versa depending on the weather. When it is hot outside the heat is vented out and cool air is kept inside, while in the winter the heat is retained even when air is being ventilated outside.

Energy recovery ventilators are a great way to improve comfort and air quality in your home. They are also an inventive way to cut down on energy costs. By using the energy you pay for more completely less of that energy will have to be used, and less will have to be replaced due to energy loss. For more information about energy recovery ventilators or to schedule an installation in Harleysville, contact Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today. We have everything you need to start living more comfortably and efficiently.

Continue Reading

Heating Tip: Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your Fort Washington house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the HVAC system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your Fort Washington home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort. If you have any questions about how to keep your house warm this winter, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today!

Continue Reading

Things You Can Do to Make Your Heating and Cooling System More Effective

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Have you ever wondered why it is too hot or too cold in your Yardley home? You can always blame it on the thermostat or an open or closed window. Those are easy targets. But maybe the real culprit is your heating and cooling system, namely your furnace or air conditioner. Maybe these pieces of equipment have to work extra hard because of something as simple as a dirty filter that you should have cleaned or replaced.

Learning how to make your heating and cooling system more “effective” does not require a physics degree or an extensive knowledge of the refrigeration cycle. In most cases, it just takes common sense – and a little creativity.

For example, did you know that how your home is insulated can have a direct impact on how well your heating and cooling equipment functions? It sure can. If your walls, crawl spaces, or attic is poorly insulated or not insulated at all, your furnace and air conditioner will have to work harder to keep up – and keep you warm or cool. In some cases, your heating and cooling equipment might never be able to give you the desired temperature on your thermostat setting because the equipment has to work too hard to make up for lost heat or cooling due to poor insulation.

So what should you do? Find out if your home is properly insulated by having a load calculation or energy audit on your home. Any licensed and qualified Yardley heating and cooling contractor will be able to perform one of these tasks for you and show you where you might be losing too much of your indoor air to poor insulation. This same test can also detect any leakage through cracks in the foundation or joints or connections in ductwork. Windows and skylights are also an area of heat loss or gain. Installing awnings or trees can cut down on this loss or gain, too.

One way to make a heating and cooling system operate more effectively is to combine insulation and leak sealing. Here’s how that works. Uninsulated metal ductwork can make a heating and cooling system work harder, especially when it is located in poorly insulated areas like crawlspaces and attics. Warm air moving through a cold space slows the heating process and makes a furnace work harder to achieved desired temperature settings. Similarly, cool air passing through hot metal ductwork makes the air conditioner work harder. By wrapping insulation around the metal ductwork, you can stop heating or cooling your attic and crawlspace and send that conditioned air to the rooms that need it.

Of course, the most effective heating and cooling system is one that is serviced and properly maintained on a regular basis. If you have any questions on system maintenance, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling and schedule a tune-up today.

Continue Reading

Heating Contractor Guide: Which Fuel is Right for Your Home?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Souderton homeowners all want to save money on household expenses and utility bills. We turn off lights when we leave the room, take shorter showers and make sure the kids don’t keep the refrigerator door open. These small habits help, but still we all want to save a little wherever we can, right?

One area where people are constantly looking for ways to save money is home heating. Everyone wants to be comfortable and warm in their homes, but that costs money, so homeowners are always on the lookout for the most effective and cost efficient way to keep the house warm.

What is the most cost effective fuel for home heating?

Is it natural gas, electric, fuel oil or propane? How about less conventional heat sources like wood or geothermal pumps?

We all wish there was one easy, all-encompassing answer to this question, like a heating magic bullet that would keep every family warm and happy for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, there isn’t. It depends on too many factors for any one solution to work for everyone.

Probably the biggest factor that plays a role in the cost of a particular fuel is its local availability. Resources are available differentially, so that while one option might be cheapest for a family of five in Andover, Massachusetts, the analysis is entirely different for a single person in Kearney, Nebraska.

What is the most cost effective option for you?

That is a better question, but still not one that is necessarily easy to answer.

To figure it out, you need to carefully analyze several factors:

  • Local availability (see above)
  • Local climate
  • Size of your home
  • Your family’s needs
  • Existing heating equipment
  • Your budget

Armed with this information, you can do a careful comparison of the options available to you. For assistance you can use an online calculator to compare fuel costs, such as this one from the Energy Information Administration or this one from Hearth.com. Or if you have any questions, give Carney PHC a call today!

Comparing fuel costs and choosing the right solution for you may take some time, but the savings can be well worth it.

Continue Reading

Five Ways to Save Heat That You Might Not Have Considered

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Finding new ways to lower the heating bills for your New Britain home is always a challenge. Maybe you’ve already insulated and sealed every crawlspace and crack, or you might have recently upgraded that old furnace, but there are always other ways to reduce heat loss in the winter.

Here are five ways to conserve heat that you might not have considered.

1. Insulate Recessed Light Fixtures

While recessed light fixtures save space and give you more control over lighting and design, such as task lighting in kitchens, they can be a hidden source of heat loss. Feel around your recessed lighting fixtures to see if there’s cool air or a draft. If you do, they could need more insulation. However, you have to be extremely cautious about what type of insulation you use around electrical wiring and fixtures. Check with the manufacturer, or call an electrician if you aren’t sure what  type of insulation to use.

2. Insulate Water Heater Tanks

Part of your heating bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. Whether you have a gas, electric, solar, or hybrid hot water heater, every water heater tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses. If you have a low R-value, your tank may need more insulation. Call a professional plumber or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of the model you own, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you may need to buy a “jacket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found relatively anywhere you buy insulation.

3. Open Curtains on South End

The southern end of your home will get the most sunlight in the winter. If you have curtains or blinds on your windows or doors, leave them open during the day, and make sure you close them at night. Opening them will help warm up the home naturally during the day, and closing them will help keep the cold air out and warm air in at night.

4. Storm Windows and Doors

Many homeowners know they have the option of upgrading old doors and windows that leak air, but not everyone can afford to upgrade all the doors and windows at once. You can also install storm windows and doors to help reserve heat. Before you start comparing prices, remember to measure, since measurements will affect the cost.

5. Close Fireplace Flue

Whenever your flue is open, you are losing large amounts of heat. Close the damper if the fireplace or chimney is not being used. You can also consider upgrading to a more air tight damper.

You can always call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling whenever you have questions about lowering your heating costs for your New Britain home.

Continue Reading

What Is the Best Temperature to Heat My Home?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Saving on energy costs is important for every Gwynedd Valley homeowner, but it’s not always clear what the average temperature would need to be in order to lower your heating bills. Generally, it’s best not to turn your thermostat above 68°F when you are at home, and to turn it down ten to fifteen degrees when you leave the house or while you’re sleeping. This can save up to 15% on your heating bills, but keep in mind that this percentage is greater in milder climates than colder climates.

Remembering to turn down the heat when you don’t need it is the biggest challenge when trying to save heat. One of the easiest ways to do this is to install a programmable thermostat that allows you to set the times you want the heat turned up or down. This will ensure that you are consistent with turning your heat down, and you can set it to turn on before you get up in the morning so that the house is already warm when you get out of bed. Depending on the brand and setting options, programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

One common misunderstanding about thermostats is that it takes more energy for the heating system to warm up the house after the thermostat has been turned down for an extended period of time. The belief is that the energy saved by not producing heat is cancelled out by the work it takes to heat up the home again.  This is not the case, however, since the lower the temperature is inside your home, the longer it takes to lose heat. You will actually save more energy the longer the thermostat is set at a lower temperature. Conversely, the same theory applies to the cost of cooling your home in the summer, since higher interior temperatures slow down the flow of heat into the home.

Overall, if you want to save on heating costs, you should keep your home below 70°F as much as possible, and turn down the thermostat about fifteen degrees when you don’t need the heat. Closing off the doors and vents to unused rooms will also save energy, and you can put on extra clothing to help remind you to turn down the heat a few degrees while you are home. You don’t have to spend a fortune to heat your Gwynedd Valley home if you are consistent with your thermostat settings.

Continue Reading

Quick Tips From Perkasie: How to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Friday, August 26th, 2011

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your Perkasie house. That means you’re spending hundreds and possibly even thousands of dollars each and every year to stay cool. It’s well worth the investment as the risk of not having air conditioning is much too high, but there must be ways to cut the costs, right? With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash those costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable unit and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use. To get more energy saving tips, talk to your HVAC contractor.

Continue Reading

What Is the Energy Star Label?

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Any time you go out and buy any type of appliance in Norristown, you probably notice that some have a distinct mark that signifies them as Energy Star appliances. That sounds like a good thing, of course, but what does it actually mean? Should you always buy an Energy Star model over another type?

The Energy Star label was originally developed to help consumers more easily recognize appliances that are more energy efficient than the average. In order to obtain an Energy Star seal of approval, any device must meet very strict guidelines when it comes to energy efficiency.

What that translates into for you as a consumer is a lower monthly energy bill when you buy Energy Star appliances. Of course, once they have obtained an Energy Star labels, manufacturers can charge whatever they want for their product, and it is not unusual to pay more for a model that is certified an Energy Star.

However, as long as the potential savings over time that you will get by using the Energy Star model as opposed to one that is not as energy efficient outweigh the difference in initial purchase price, it is worth it to spend a bit more on the Energy Star model.

Keep in mind, though, that just because a produce meets the Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency does not necessarily mean that it is a superior product in terms of quality or overall effectiveness. Plus, not all Energy Star appliances are created equal. You should still do your research and pick out the product that will both save you the most money and has the best chance of getting the job done right.

Another benefit to Energy Star products is that, because they use less energy when they run, they also have a smaller impact on the environment than a model that uses a greater amount of energy to perform the same tasks.

Overall, it is definitely worth taking a closer look at all of the Energy Star options out there when you are purchasing an air conditioning system or any other type of appliance. Using less energy is always a good thing both for your bank account and for the planet. But you also want to make sure you are actually getting the best product for your money. Ask your local professional about other energy saving options.

Continue Reading