How to Reduce Energy Costs This Summer

You love when summer rays radiate down on you outside, but why don’t you feel the same way when you are inside?

When the sun permeates through windows, the temperature quickly rises, making a home feel more like a greenhouse by the minute. To counteract this effect, homeowners will resort to blasting their air conditioners excessively. This not only increases their energy bill but also wastes energy. Below are some helpful tips for saving on both!

Close Windows When AC Is Running

We all know those people that want the best of both worlds —fresh air and the nice blast of cool air from the air conditioner. However, running the AC while the windows are open makes your unit work harder than it needs to, taking your home longer to reach your desired temperature. If you want fresh air, open your windows during the evening when it is cooler outside.  

Close Curtains & Blinds When Not At Home

We spoke about how the sun can turn your home into a greenhouse above, but how does that happen inside your home? When your windows are closed and the sun radiates through to the inside, the temperature in your home increases. The warm air rises, filling and trapping heat in any room it finds.

Investing in some solid blackout curtains and closing them during the hottest parts of the day can significantly decrease this effect. While they do not completely stop heat from entering your home, blackout curtains drastically reduce the impact of the sun’s rays.

Run Your Fan When At Home

A common misconception about fans is that they help cool your home, but they are actually quite inefficient. Fans circulate air throughout a room. When you feel hot and sweaty, this breeze can feel refreshing on the skin and help to lower your core body temperature. However, the actual temperature in the room remains unchanged.

Fans use a lot less energy than central AC (55-90 watts vs 3500 watts depending on the size of the unit), so using them while at home will save you a significant amount on your electricity bill. Avoid running the fan when not at home, however, because it won’t affect the temperature. You’ll just waste electricity.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are a more expensive initial purchase, but their benefits far outweigh manual models. First, they save you time, which we all know is precious. Stop wasting time flicking between degrees. Programmable thermostats allow you to set them once, based on recommended levels or personal preferences, and be done with them! Second, they use less energy, saving homeowners upwards of $150 each year! Lastly, unlike some manual models that contain mercury, programmable models are mercury-free. Save the environment, one thermostat at a time!

Don’t let your discomfort overshadow your energy costs! Use the above tips in your home. For more savings tips, or for technical HVAC services, call us to schedule your very own appointment today!

Top 5 Reasons for Air Conditioner Failures

Last month, you fulfilled your curiosity about how air conditioner parts function together to cool the air in your home. That knowledge is all good and dandy, but there are more questions to be answered. Do you know the reasons why an air conditioner would fail and what to do in the event that it does? Below is a breakdown of the top 5 reasons for an air conditioner’s failure.

Faulty Circuit Breaker, Fuse or Electrical Wiring

If your air conditioner fails, first check your fuse and circuit breaker to make sure that there aren’t any electrical issues present. Turn off your air conditioner, allowing 15 minutes of cool down time before replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker. If that doesn’t do the trick, your AC could have been improperly wired or you could have tripped a high-pressure limit switch. In those cases, call a trained technician to inspect the problem.

Refrigerant Leak

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A refrigerant can leak for several reasons: natural wear and tear, formic acid buildup, or formaldehyde exposure. Over time, acid can build up, burning a hole through the copper tubing or coils of the air conditioning unit, resulting in a leak and a change in pressure. If an air conditioner does not reach an adequate pressure level, this can cause it to fail.

TIP: If you see a refrigerant leak, call a trusted HVAC technician immediately! Refrigerants are harmful substances to the environment.

Frozen Coils

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Air conditioners need a passageway for warm air to travel in order to reach the cold coils that cool the air. If there is a blockage within this passageway, your coils can freeze from a lack of warm air passing over the coils. To prevent this issue, change your AC filter regularly and don’t skip your HVAC maintenance inspections! If you see frost, call us!

Age & Wear and Tear

Is your air conditioner 5 years or older and constantly toggling on and off? This could be a sign that there is damage to one or more parts within your unit, such as the fan blades, compressor, or electrical parts. Regular inspections can catch these issues before they become too large to fix.

Faulty Thermostat

If your thermostat is not properly calibrated, it can cause your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to. Thermostats exist to control the amount of air being circulated within your home. If the thermostat is faulty, it can send your air conditioner into overdrive.

Don’t let the humidity in your home get you down! Talented HVAC technicians are just one call away. Reach out to us and we will get that cool air flowing in no time!

Optimize Your Thermostat Settings for Winter

Tips to save energy with your own thermostat.

Over the last few weeks, mother nature has blasted Waterloo Region with extreme temperatures and snow, even causing home pipes to freeze! Yikes! Due to the cold weather been asked a lot, “What temperature should I set my thermostat to in the winter?”

Homeowners ask us this every year, especially when temperatures start dropping. Unfortunately, answering this is not as simple as citing a specific temperature, as financial and energy usage concerns differ from one house to another.

However, we do have general recommendations for winter thermostat settings—set the thermostat to 16°C at night or when you are away. When you are home, most are comfortable at around 20 to 21°C.

Instead of focusing on a perfect number, you’ll benefit from establishing an energy-efficient winter heating strategy that’ll keep your home warm and energy bills reasonable. Here are some tips!

Thermostat Strategy

Every home has its temperature preference, but setting the thermostat to that temperature and never changing is NOT helpful to your energy bills.

  1. Set your thermostats at that desired high temperature.
  2. Once your family acclimates to the colder weather, lower the temperature in the home by half a degree each week for three or four weeks.
  3. This can reduce your home’s energy bill by 1% and you’ll probably never notice the temperature difference.

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Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats simplify the chore of creating optimal temperature settings. When you install it, you can program your thermostats to deliver specific temperatures at set times of the day. The specified temperatures can then be changed and adjusted by using the accompanying smart-phone app. This allows homeowners to reset their home’s temperature from anywhere.

Fun fact: these preferences can be programmed for weeks or months in advance!

Optimal use of a smart thermostat enables homeowners to save as much as 15% on their heating bills, making this technology worth the initial investment.

Have questions about programmable thermostats? We have answers! Give Afterglow a call and we will help you: 519-747-7732.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.