As summer heats up, the need to use air conditioning to cool your home becomes much more pressing. No one wants to have to spend more money than necessary to cool their home or business, yet leaving leaks in your ducts is like trying to cool your home with the doors and windows open. It will cost you more money both in terms of your energy bill and extra wear and tear on your air conditioning unit. Fortunately, sealing your ducts is a viable and relatively inexpensive solution when viewed in comparison to replacing your entire air conditioning unit or continuing to pay high energy bills. About air conditioning ducts
According to the California Energy Commission, homes with central heat as well as air conditioning rely on ducts to evenly distribute cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. Ducts are composed of insulated and flexible tubes that often run across the floor of attics or alternatively are placed underneath the house. Since the location of the ducts is usually not where homeowners generally look, you can have leaking ducts for years without being aware of it. Checklist for savings on efficiency and energy bills
Energy Star, a consumer group advocating energy efficiency recommend the following steps to save energy and money:
Change the air filter regularly -- Changing the air filter once a month during heavy use periods will prevent impeded airflow and will help the system run more efficiently. This will save you money as well as help to ensure that the system can cool your home more efficiently.
Install a programmable thermostat -- A programmable thermostat is ideal if you are regularly away from home for set periods of time. This way the temperature will be controlled remotely and excess money will not be spent cooling your home when no one is there.
Seal leaking ducts -- Having a qualified technician come out and asses your HVAC system for leaking ducts can save you a significant amount of money.
Your air conditioner works hard to keep you cool throughout the long, hot Richmond summer. An inefficient system reduces your comfort level while raising your energy bills, and will likely fail prematurely. There are several things you can do this summer to increase A/C efficiency and keep your cooling costs in check. Schedule preventive maintenance
If you haven't already had your annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician, it's not too late to reap the benefits. Preventive maintenance considerably improves your system efficiency, lowers your cooling costs, extends the life of your air conditioner and helps prevent midsummer breakdowns. Change your air filter
A dirty air filter impedes the airflow to your system and makes it work harder to keep you comfortable, resulting in undue wear on your air conditioner. Check your filter every month. When it's too dirty to see through, replace it with a good-quality, pleated filter for the best results. Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save you a considerable amount of money on your cooling costs. Program higher thermostat settings while you're at work and asleep to optimize your energy use while maintaining a high level of comfort while you're home. Seal and insulate ducts
The typical home loses about 20 percent of its conditioned air through leaky ductwork. Seal loose joints and cracks with metal tape or mastic sealant and insulate ducts in unconditioned areas such as the attic and crawl spaces to save on your energy bill. Seal air leaks
Hot air enters your home and cool air escapes through gaps and cracks in doors and windows. Caulk around stationary components of doors and windows and apply weatherstripping around movable parts to increase your system's efficiency and your comfort. Keep your registers free of obstructions
Furniture and draperies that block your supply registers can considerably reduce your comfort level, and blocked return ducts can hamper the airflow to your system and decrease its efficiency. For more expert advice about improving your A/C efficiency, please feel free to contact us at Gilman Heating & Cooling, serving the Richmond area with a high level of customer satisfaction.
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your home’s heating and cooling system will help improve the energy efficiency of your system, reduce the need for emergency service calls, and prolong its useful life. It is important to remember to make cleaning your air conditioner’s evaporator coils a part of your regular maintenance routine. It is not difficult to clean your system’s evaporator coils and it requires very little in the way of tools. You will see that learning how to clean evaporator coils is easy when you follow these steps:
Turn power off to your system. Switch the circuit breaker to your HVAC system to the off position in your home’s circuit box to prevent electric shock or damage to the unit.
Locate the evaporator. The evaporator is located in your air conditioner’s main duct that sits above your furnace.
Remove the foil-wrapped tape. This tape holds insulation in place between the air conditioner component and your furnace. Take care not to damage the insulation because you will need to replace it when you are finished.
Remove the screws from the unit’s access plate. You will now be able to access the evaporator.
Carefully slide the evaporator toward you if possible. Be careful not to damage the delicate pipework.
Removing dust. If there is minimal dust, you can blow it off with compressed air, vacuum it away or gently brush it off with a stiff brush. You may find a mirror helpful in seeing beneath the coils to make sure you have cleared all the dust away.
Extremely dirty coils. If the dust has adhered to the coils or mold is present, you may use a foaming cleanser that is recommend by the manufacturer of your system.
Check the tray for clogs. Pour approximately one tablespoon of bleach in the drain hold to prevent mold growth.
Close unit back up. Reinstall screws and re-tape the insulation back into place.
According to the a recent study by a government commission, over 150 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Because this silent killer cannot be detected by sight, taste or smell, having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is essential for detecting a carbon monoxide leak. Once you've chosen the best detector for your home, you should also know what to do should the alarm ever go off. After moving to a safe place with fresh air, contact your fire department and make sure they check for the following carbon monoxide leak trouble spots:
Check flue pipes and gas- or oil-venting systems for leaks caused by cracks, holes, corrosion or blocked air filters.
Check to see if the furnace, burner or ignition system flame is looking flat and yellow, which can indicate a carbon monoxide leak.
Inspect all chimneys or venting systems for blockages caused by debris, holes, cracks or animal nests, which can cause the dangerous gas to be forced into your home and not out. Be sure to remove any buildup of soot, and make sure the chimney is not bent.
Inspect the venting and fan systems on household appliances such as water and space heaters, dryers and wood burning stoves.
Since stove pilot lights don't vent to the outside of the home, check to make sure they are operating properly.
Inspect fireplace pilot lights as well for proper ventilation.
You can avoid setting off your carbon monoxide alarms by never cooking with the oven door open and never using a charcoal or gas grill inside your home. Both can release excess gases into your home. It is also very important to remember to never leave a car running inside a garage with the door open or closed. Both are very dangerous. For more expert advice about carbon monoxide leaks and other issues related to home comfort, please contact us at Gilman Heating and Cooling. We are proud to serve the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen areas.
Energy efficiency is a year-round priority for homeowners. That being said, tips for saving energy at home can be particularly poignant in peak seasons when utility bills are notoriously high. Some of these tips require no investment on your part. Others may require an initial investment that will be recouped over a period of years. The more you can do to reduce energy consumption in your home, the better it is for your finances and the environment
5 tips for saving energy at home
Energy Audit. If you can afford it, invest in a professional home energy audit so you have a list of exactly what needs to be done to maximize efficiency. Otherwise, you can use this guide to perform a DIY energy audit.
Upgrade your HVAC. If your HVAC system is 10-years old or more, an energy efficient upgrade will pay for itself in a matter of years in terms of energy efficiency and maintenance/repair costs.
Change the thermostat. An adjustment of a single degree on your thermostat can add up to significant savings. For optimal energy savings, thermostats should be set no lower than 78 degrees during the summer and no higher than 68 degrees in the winter. Installing and using a programmable thermostat can add additional savings.
Seal leaks. Any leaks in your exterior walls, the roof and flooring will allow the hot air to escape in the cold months, and the warm air to come in during the hotter months. Make sure to caulk/seal any cracks, gaps, holes, etc. Common places to inspect include:
Penetrations caused by plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring and ductwork
Look for dirty spots on insulation, walls, ceilings or flooring, which can indicate an air or water leak.
Upgrade insulation. If you live in a new home, this may not be an issue. Otherwise, there's a good chance your home lacks adequate insulation. The best place to start is in the attic and crawl spaces. Make sure your insulation's R-value is adequate for our climate.