Seasonal Checklist: How to Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently Year-Round

HVAC systems are important to homeowners and business owners, as they are central in keeping your indoor environment comfortable. In order to keep your HVAC system running efficiently year-round, it’s important that you keep it well cleaned and maintained. Below, we’ll offer you some tips for doing just that.

Seasonal Checklist: Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently

To keep your HVAC system running its best while efficiently heating and cooling your home for many years, you’ll want to follow these guidelines.

Once Per Month: Check Your Air Filter

Air filters are the easiest part of an HVAC system to maintain, and paying special attention to your HVAC’s air filter can increase your system’s longevity. Once per month, check your air filter for buildup and debris. When your filter gets dirty, it’s time to change it. A dirty air filter can cause excess strain on your system, which will make it break down over time.

If you have pets, consider investing in a special air filter that better traps pet dander and debris. You can find a wide variety of air filters at home improvement stores as well as at various retailers online. Check your current filter for proper dimensions before purchasing a replacement.

Once Per Year: Get Annual Maintenance

Getting an annual checkup on your HVAC system is the best way to ensure peace of mind that your system is functioning at optimal efficiency. By getting regular maintenance, you’ll be aware of any issues in your system before they become major problems. With regular maintenance, your HVAC system will last longer, preventing you from having to make an unexpected costly replacement purchase if your system breaks down.

Each Spring and Fall: Unblock Vents and Registers

Make sure that all of your vents and registers are completely clear of obstructions, including furniture, objects, or piles of clothes. Blocked vents can make it very difficult for your HVAC system to regulate the temperature in your home. blocked vents will prevent your HVAC system from properly heating or cooling your home, since the system will force air out of open vents rather than allowing the air to move evenly throughout your home. Fabrics and other materials that are blocking vents can also cause problems by “shedding” threads and lent into your vents, so keep your vents and registers free of obstructions.

 During the Winter: Lower the Temperature of Your thermostat

When colder temperatures hit, it’s tempting to want to crank up the heat. However, you’d be better served to set your thermostat to as low of a temperature as comfort permits. By setting a higher temperature on your thermostat, you are increasing the burden on your HVAC system. Over time, this unnecessary increase in energy will wear down your HVAC system and cause it to work less efficiently sooner.

When company visits, set your thermostat even lower. Groups of people create body heat requiring even less energy use from your heating system. For every degree you reduce your thermostat setting, you can save approximately 3% in energy costs.

During the Summer: Seal Up Your Ductwork

In the summer, you’ll most likely be turning on your air conditioner quite often. Before it gets hot outside, have your ducts inspected and allow an HVAC professional to seal any gaps, tears, or leaks in your ductwork. Simply by doing this, you can reduce unnecessary strain on your HVAC system by making sure the cold air gets where it needs to go and isn’t escaping through small leaks in your ductwork.

If you’re interested in having your ductwork inspected and sealed, we at Hader can help. Give us a call today to find out more: 513-612-9201.

The Ultimate Guide to Weatherproofing

Your home is most likely where you spend the majority of your time; and because of this, energy costs in your home can quickly add up. This is why weatherproofing is so crucial. If your home has gaps, or leaks air to the outside elements, then your home will undoubtedly require more energy to heat or cool. This can have an impact not only on the environment but also your wallet.

Ultimate Guide to Weatherproofing

Follow these simple guidelines to make sure the temperature in your home is comfortable, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

Weather-stripping Works

Most air leaks in the home happen around windows, attic entryways, and around exterior doors and outlets. Applying weather-stripping to these areas can be an effective way to keep outdoor elements from entering into your home. Depending on the type of air leak, you’ll want to consider your weather-stripping options:

  • Compression weather-stripping is an excellent and durable choice for sealing paneled or “sashed” windows as well as doors that swing open.
  • Foam weather-stripping works well for sliding doors, typical windows, or doors that swing open.
  • Door bottom or threshold weather-stripping, as the name suggests, is for sealing the areas at the bottoms of exterior doors.
  • V-shaped weather-stripping strips are generally vinyl or bronze and form a “v” seal when the door or window is closed.

Caulk It Up

Experts estimate that a typical home has many small air leaks around windows and doors that can add up to the equivalent of one open window. That certainly isn’t very energy efficient during severe weather! Luckily, it is an easy thing to fix. Using a caulking gun is both easy and effective in combatting air leaks around your home. An easy way to check for air leaks is to run a lit candle or incense stick around exterior walls where you suspect a draft. If the flame flickers or the incense smoke moves suddenly in a certain area, then you’ve got an air leak that needs sealed.

Caulk leaks around the floor of your home first, paying particular attention to areas with air leak potential, such as dryer vents, cable and internet wiring, and attic doors and windows; then work your way up. Invest in a high quality caulk and fill any small gaps or replace older caulking that may be chipped or cracked.

Draw the Curtains

This is an effective and inexpensive way to add more energy efficiency to your home’s windows without investing in costly new windows for your home. Hang heavy drapes to seal off all windows in your home during the winter months, particularly in rooms that go unused or are extra drafty despite weather-stripping and caulking.

Draft Stoppers Can Help

Insulate your home’s exterior doors a bit better by adding draft stoppers to the bottoms of the doors. You may have seen these sold at department stores disguised as cute animals like snakes or giraffes, but they are simple to DIY as well. Even if your door has threshold weather-stripping, an extra layer of protection from a draft stopper can aid in keeping your home even more energy efficient.

Insulate Your Home and Don’t Forget the Ductwork!

The most effective way to protect the interior of your home from the outside elements is to make sure that it is properly insulated. Everywhere in our home should be insulated, and it’s especially important to have proper attic and roof insulation.

Leaky ductwork can create problems that will make it very difficult for your HVAC system to maintain a comfortable temperature within your home. The experts at Hader can help. We offer comprehensive assessments on your home’s insulation and can also assess how well your current ductwork is sealed. Give us a call today to find out more about how our comprehensive home assessments can help make your home more energy efficient and adequately guarded against the elements.

Call us today! 513-612-9201

How Smart is Your Home? Upgrade Your Thermostat to Smart Technology

Did you know that your home lighting, security, and even your sprinkler system can all be controlled right from your smartphone over a Wi-Fi connection? Smart home technology helps you control the comfort and safety of your home quickly and conveniently from any location. Below, we’ll talk a little bit more about what smart home technology is and how upgrading to a smart thermostat can help change the way you cool and heat your home.

Smart Thermostat Technology

Smart thermostats have been on the market for quite some time, but companies are continuing to make improvements that offer homeowners even more powerful benefits. If you’re not familiar with this type of HVAC technology, let’s take a look at what smart homes are and how the smart thermostat can benefit homeowners.

What is Smart Home Technology?

Smart home technology includes a variety of home automation tools that help you automatically control and adjust elements of your home environment. Over time, smart devices learn about your home habits and needs, allowing you to automate processes like your security system or when your exterior lights turn on.

Homeowners can also connect to their smart home devices through Wi-Fi, allowing them to control many aspects of their home environment right from their smart phone, no matter where they might be. This technology not only makes things more convenient for homeowners, but it can also help save on electricity costs by ensuring that different systems in your home are not using energy when you are not there.

Benefits of Smart Thermostat

One of the most popular and easy to implement smart home technologies is the smart thermostat. There are many benefits of switching to a smart thermostat device:

  • Energy Savings – One of the greatest benefits of using a smart thermostat is the energy savings each month. These devices allow you to use less energy by helping you run your HVAC system more efficiently. They learn when you prefer to raise and lower temperatures in your home and allow you to control temperatures while you are away.
  • Convenience – Smart thermostats make it very simple to adjust home temperatures when the home is empty. Rather than having to remember to turn down the thermostat before you leave home and adjust it when you return, this smart device automatically does this for you. What’s more is that it learns your habits so that you don’t have to give it much direction to make it work for you.
  • Remote Access – Another important benefit that the smart thermostat offers is the ability to adjust your home temperature from anywhere you are. The smart thermostat connects to the Wi-Fi, allowing you to monitor and control temperatures right from your smartphone. Coming home a little earlier than expected? Just adjust the temperature on your phone before you return.
  • Other Features – There are other helpful features that the smart thermostat offers that may not be available to you with your traditional thermostat. Some devices allow you to set maintenance reminders and can detect dirty filters, letting you know when it’s time to replace your air filter. These devices also help you monitor energy consumption so that you can make changes to stay energy efficient.

How smart is your home? If you want to take control of your comfort and improve your energy efficiency, contact us today about upgrading your thermostat to smart technology.

The Latest Advancements & Technologies in Home Heating & Cooling

Technology is constantly changing the way that we live, making everyday tasks easier and more convenient. But did you know that new technologies are also changing the way that we think about home heating and cooling?

New HVAC Technologies

There are a variety of HVAC advancements and technologies that help you maximize health and comfort for you and your family while remaining energy efficient. Here are just a few of the ways that you can enhance the heating and cooling process in your home with new HVAC technologies:

Maximize comfort by controlling your vents through an app.

Much like smart thermostats, there are also smart ventilation systems that give you more control over the air flow throughout your home. Using sensors placed on your vents, you can monitor and adjust the temperature throughout your home for ultimate home comfort. The best part is that you can do this from any location by using an app on your smartphone. This technology allows you to monitor and adjust your home temperature even when you aren’t home, allowing you to save energy by using your home HVAC system more efficiently.

Use motion sensor technology to cool your home more efficiently.

Smart motion sensor technology is not just for your home security system. Some companies are now using this technology to help homeowners use their cooling systems more efficiently and effectively. These sensors detect when there are people in the room, activating air flow. This helps save energy by reducing air flow to rooms that are empty for a majority of the day, helping you cut down on your cooling bills.

Save on monthly costs with energy-efficient improvements.

There are a number of other energy-efficient HVAC upgrades that you can make to reduce your heating and cooling bills. Here are just a few options:

  • Smart Thermostat – Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature in your home, even while you are away. You can set your temperature lower or higher when you leave your house, which helps you to save energy while you’re away.
  • Variable Refrigerant Flow – Homeowners can waste a considerable amount of energy running their HVAC system when they only need to heat or cool part of their home. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) allows you to adjust the temperature in each room to use your HVAC system more efficiently. You can also save energy by only heating or cooling the rooms that are occupied.
  • Solar-Powered Cooling – There are also a variety of options that use the power of the sun to run your air conditioner. These solar-powered options help you keep your home comfortable while using less energy.

If you have any questions about which HVAC technologies are available to you, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our home HVAC experts would love to review your heating and cooling upgrade options.

Furnace Efficiency Ratings and What They Mean

The efficiency of your HVAC system is important for a number of reasons. The more efficient a furnace is, the less energy it uses to heat your home. With less energy used, whether that means gas, oil, or electricity, you save money on every energy bill. You can also feel better about your carbon footprint and contributing less to environmental problems. So how do you know how efficient a furnace is? It all comes down to the efficiency rating.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, or AFUE, rates a furnace by how much heat it provides in comparison to how much energy it uses. As an example, an AFUE rating of 75 percent tells you that the furnace loses 25 percent of the energy coming in and only 75 percent of that energy goes into producing heat. The higher the rating, the less energy is wasted and the more efficient a furnace is.

How to Find Your Furnace’s AFUE Rating

Most furnaces have a bright yellow sticker on them, labeled energy guide. This is where you will see your AFUE rating. This is required to be on all new furnaces. If you have an older furnace, installed before the rule went into effect, you may have to estimate the efficiency. If your furnace has a continuous pilot light, you have a style of furnace that typically rates between 56 and 70 percent. Those with an electronic ignition are more likely to rate around 80 percent.

What is the Minimum Requirement for AFUE

New furnaces have to meet a certain minimum efficiency rating of 78 percent for most homes. For mobile homes, which are harder to heat efficiently, 75 percent is the minimum. Efficiency requirements are set by the Department of Energy and they are subject to change. Different types of furnaces may eventually have different set minimum requirements for AFUE.

AFUE Doesn’t Tell You about Your Whole HVAC System

Keep in mind that the AFUE rating is just for your furnace. Another place where you can lose efficiency is in your ducts, which move hot air around your home. If ducts are not insulated well you can lose a lot of heat this way, especially in colder parts of the home like the attic.

Efficiency ratings are important, and not just because the government requires them. If you want to be environmentally responsible and save money, you need to consider the AFUE rating of your furnace. When you’re ready to upgrade to a new, more efficient furnace, contact us at Hader so our professionals can help you choose the right unit and get it installed.

Top 3 Ways You’re Wasting Money This Winter

Winter energy bills are often a shock to the system. After a comfortable summer and a cozy fall, the extreme temperature drop that most experience during the winter months can make utility bills skyrocket. Some homeowners may not realize that there are certain steps they can take to make their home more energy efficient during the cold months. Some of these steps require an appointment with your HVAC contractor, while others require just a trip to the hardware store or even just some simple forethought.

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Energy Saving Tips for Commercial Buildings

Did you know that your building could be wasting up to 30% of its energy potential? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that is the amount of energy wasted by the average building. How can you optimize your building’s energy efficiency and regain that 30%? Here are a few tips.

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