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Spring 2012

When to Schedule Your Air Conditioning Maintenance Exam

Now is the best time to have your AC system checked, cleaned, and tuned up.  The weather is warmer so more accurate testing of your system is possible, plus, you can start saving energy and reduce your utility bills as soon as your system is cleaned and tuned up.  

Many homeowners just do not think about the need to perform regular maintenance on their air conditioning system and assume it will operate flawlessly and efficiently for years.  A typical Southeast Texas home AC unit runs around 2,200 hours a year.  Would you drive your car for 2,200 hours without maintenance and a tune up and expect it to perform as it should?   Neglected maintenance will cause decreased efficiency, higher energy bills, reduced cooling and heating capacity, discomfort, higher repair costs, and eventual premature replacement.

The air conditioning system, in most homes, is the biggest single user of energy.  Regular maintenance will keep the energy use of your air conditioning system at the lowest possible level.  ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) says that up to 50% more energy can be saved with proper sizing and installation, AND regular planned preventive maintenance of central air conditioning and heating systems.     

Texas A&M and LSU have stated that dirty indoor coils or dirty outdoor coils can reduce capacity and efficiency of air conditioning systems by up to 40%, causing higher energy use and decreasing comfort.  Plus, they say that, on average, 70% of breakdowns can be reduced with proper preventive maintenance.   Don’t wait until it gets hot to schedule your AC maintenance exam.  Such might keep your system from breaking down on a really hot day and definitely will allow your AC system to operate efficiently as design and installed.  

Efficient Systems provides Preventive Maintenance Agreements for any system, any brand, not matter who installed.  We come out twice a year to check, clean, and maintain your AC system in the spring and your heating system in the fall.   In addition, any repairs required are discounted 15% and should you break down during the hot summer, you are given priority status and quicker service.   Be proactive; call today, so Efficient Systems can make your air conditioning system more efficient!

 

10 Hidden Ways to Save Energy


Most homeowners know that turning down the thermostat or conserving hot water can help reduce overall energy bills for the home, but there are many small tips that might not immediately come to mind when thinking of more ways to save energy. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or simply lower your utility bills, there are many smaller things you can do that can make a significant difference over time.

Here are ten hidden ways to save energy and lower your bills.

  1. Insulate your water heater tank. Remember that part of your utility bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. You can buy what is called a “jacket” or “blanket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive and easy to install, and they can be a tremendous help in minimizing heat loss, especially for older water heaters.
  2. Keep your HVAC system clean. While many homeowners know that they are supposed to change air filters regularly, most people don’t realize that this helps increase efficiency. Anything that reduces airflow will lower the efficiency levels of your HVAC system, and will therefore increase your bills. Keep outdoor units free of debris as well as keeping your indoor return grilles clean and drapes or furniture away from return grilles.
  3. Monitor your bills. Paying attention to patterns in your utility bills will help you determine how much water and energy you are using each month.  This will help you figure out whether you are currently saving energy and which months to pay more attention to your usage. Keeping track of water bills can also help to detect potential hidden leaks, which need to be repaired to prevent damages and lower your water bills.
  4. Install low–flow faucets. If you own an older home with a plumbing system that has not been updated recently, you could be wasting gallons of water a day. Low–flow faucets are not expensive, and they can greatly reduce the GPM (gallons per minute) in your showers and sinks. Along with being mindful of your water usage, installing low–flow faucets can cut your monthly water bill in half.
  5. Close the flue in unused chimneys. Chimney flues are a common cause of heat loss. Whenever your fireplace or chimney flue is not being used, make sure the damper is shut tightly.
  6. Insulate behind light switches and electrical outlets. Light switches and electrical outlets are hidden sources of heat gain or loss that can be remedied simply by adding a foam gasket behind the light switch plate or electrical outlet plate.  
  7. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are perhaps the most effective way to save energy. With a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to remember to turn the heat down at night, or the AC up when you aren’t home. You can set the times you want the thermostat changed according to your schedule. Upgrading to a digital thermostat will help ensure more precise temperatures which decreases energy use and increases comfort levels.  
  8. Lower your hot water temperature. One of the easiest ways to save energy is to lower the thermostat on your hot water heater, whether you have a tank or a tankless model. While some manufacturers recommend a water temperature of 140°F, there’s no reason to turn the hot water in your home above 120°F. Consult your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure where to locate the thermostat on your water heater.
  9. Install storm doors or windows. Many homeowners who have older homes can’t afford to retrofit an entire home at once. If you are trying to save money, consider installing storm doors and windows. These can be just as effective as double–paned glass windows and doors and a lot less expensive to install.
  10. Change the rotation of ceiling fans. You can save energy all year long simply by adjusting the rotation of your ceiling fan. In the winter, make sure your fans turn in a counterclockwise motion, which forces the hot air from the ceiling down. Conversely, changing the rotation to a clockwise motion in the summer pushes the heat up and creates a cooler airflow throughout the room.  
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