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Prevention is the best medicine – or so we’ve all been told. The theory behind this is that if you can prepare something to be ready when a less than desirable event occurs, you’ll come out of it all the better. This is true with many things in life, and especially with homeownership. If the Farmer’s Almanac predictions of super cold, teeth-chattering, harsh winter are going to come true, it’s best to have your system checked before the cold weather approaches. I mean, sure you could get your system checked in January when everyone is deciding it’s a good idea to do so. But why not prepare for the potential brutality of winter now?

Is Your HVAC System Ready?

It does seem that the over last few winters, various almanacs have been spot-on when it comes to their predictions. That said, is your HVAC system ready for a few feet of snow or sub-freezing temperatures? Chances are, you have no idea. And why would you? You’re not an HVAC expert. (Unless you are, in which case, you may stop reading now.) If you’re not quite sure the last time (if ever) your heating system was checked, it’s strongly recommended to do so prior to the cold snap. Even if it doesn’t get too cold this winter, it’s still a great idea to get it checked, and possibly even a tune-up.

Where is the Nice Weather?

Cold weather is a fickle beast. During the summer, you long for cold weather because of the oppressive heat. But when it does get actually cold, those 90° days are a distant memory, and you’re unable to remember why you wanted colder temps in the first place. That’s where your HVAC system comes into play and why it’s so important. It keeps your home and family comfortable despite extreme weather. However, that’s only true if you take care of it.

The Difference CoolMasters Offers

Maintaining your HVAC units on a regular basis is the cornerstone of them operating efficiently. There are quite a few moving parts that require the expertise of a professional HVAC contractor. These seemingly minute details aren’t something to be taken lightly. Contractors have the capacity to save you loads of your hard-earned cash by performing routine maintenance on your system. The small cost of preventative maintenance would pale in comparison to the price of replacing a neglected HVAC system. No matter whether it be a single A/C unit, compressor, or furnace.

Coolmasters is your number one source for heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and your home for top-notch customer service. Call 678.799.7999 or click the green circle in the bottom right to get in touch with CoolMasters immediately and schedule your tune-up for Winter!

So you’re looking to save money in heating and cooling costs while also using alternative fuel sources? Look no further than geothermal heating and cooling. Though it’s still in its infancy as far as conventional HVAC goes, geothermal is becoming a trend, and eventually will be the norm. The Earth’s core provides the energy needed to heat and cool your abode instead of oil, natural gas, or a heat pump. Although geothermal does have a few drawbacks, the benefits will likely outweigh the disadvantages for you and your family. It seems like a clear and easy choice, but let’s talk about what might discourage a homeowner from going green when it comes to HVAC.

how geothermal heating works

The Cons

If you’re easily shocked by sticker prices, this one might throw you a bit. The cost, especially on older homes that must be retrofitted, can be upwards of $30,000. So you’ll have to decide if what you spend for a geothermal system is worth what you’ll save in the long run. The reason older home installations cost more is because of the great deal of excavation required to install. However, a business that is larger than most homes would benefit from a geothermal install more easily because the cost might be tax-deductible based on the state, county, or municipality that it’s located in.

As of 2019, there are very few installers of geothermal systems and therefore not much competition. This also lends to the higher price versus standard HVAC systems, and the plethora of installers for those.

Underground ecosystems and their parts (i.e. roots) can be detrimental to the components of geothermal HVAC and can have huge out of pocket costs.

The Earth’s energy alone isn’t what powers this type of system. Geothermal only refers to the source of heating and cooling, not the energy to run it. That would almost certainly be electricity – and a lot of it. So there is a slight pitfall there. Aside from the power bill, the water required for underground wells that are used for these systems is immense.

Now that we’ve done the bad news first, here’s the good news.

The Pros

Compared to gas and oil furnaces, geothermal systems emit almost no pollution and are 300 to 500% efficient. Conventional systems average about 90% efficiency. As long as the planet stays intact, geothermal energy is 100% renewable. They also will not turn off because they run out of fuel.

Not only can two-bedroom homes benefit from these eco-friendly systems, but large commercial spaces can as well.

The savings for annual heating and cooling will drop drastically upon installation, typically between 40 and 60%. Gas and/or oil prices will have no bearing on what it costs to run a geothermal system. These systems make almost no noise as there isn’t a compressor to run or furnace to fire up.

The Whole Story

While geothermal energy may not be practical for all home or business owners, the future of this concept is quite bright. As more and more HVAC companies utilize geothermal energy systems and technology, prices will continue to fall, and they’ll become more readily available.

Heating and air conditioning units are one of the biggest factors in comfortability. But too often, we neglect these essential systems until something breaks and requires repair. Preventative inspections of your furnace, vents, and air conditioner will improve their performance, keeping you comfortable all year long.

During an inspection, a technician will check the system’s functions and safety features to ensure everything is operating efficiently and safely. They will inspect air filters and change them if necessary, and inspect pumps and motors and add lubrication if needed.

There are many benefits to hiring a professional to routinely inspect your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units:

Save Money on Utility Bills

Regular maintenance of your HVAC systems will reduce your energy bill by ensuring that it’s functioning at its peak efficiency. It also allows the technician to catch any unknown problems before they surface, potentially saving you money in the long run. These regular inspections will extend the life of your unit as well, so you won’t have to purchase a new heating and AC unit as soon if you take care of yours now.

Reduce your Carbon Footprint

HVAC systems are the single biggest energy users in your home. In fact, more than one-third of the energy used in the United States is for the purpose of heating and cooling buildings. Reduce your carbon footprint by regularly having your HVAC unit inspected. You could save up to 50% more energy by ensuring your heating and air conditioning unit is being used properly.

Ensure your Family’s Safety

A failed HVAC unit isn’t just costly, it can be dangerous. Electric units can develop short circuits, for example, which is a serious fire hazard. It’s also possible that your furnace develops a crack in the heat exchanger, which could lead to carbon monoxide leaking out and poisoning the air your family breathes. These are concerns that can be avoided with regular HVAC inspections.

Gain Peace of Mind

Maintaining your HVAC unit is just as important as maintaining your car! If you have your systems regularly inspected, you can live knowing you’re saving money, keeping your family safe, and staying comfortable during extreme weather.

It’s been said by a few experts that your HVAC system is the heart and lungs of your home. If you have ever lived in a home with window A/C units, space heaters, and stationary fans, you probably understand this better than anyone. When the heart and lungs in one’s body have trouble or stop working, they’re in big trouble.

Well, the same is true for homes. The air ducts are arteries that carry air instead of blood. The operating units are the hearts that pump air instead of blood. Looking at it this way allows you to equate the bad cholesterol, fats, and blockages in veins to allergens, dust mites, and pet dander in your vents. The bottom line is that your HVAC system requires cleaning and regular maintenance.

Air Duct Cleaning

Seeing how important the air you breathe is, you may not want to see what is lining the ducts of your HVAC system. That said, there are plenty of professional air duct cleaners that can make small work of the dust and particles that have built up over the years. Though there is some debate as to whether there are health benefits to this service, people who have had it done, claim that they seem to be breathing much better and have noticed a reduction in their allergies.

Regardless, having clean air ducts just sounds better, doesn’t it? While the jury is still out, all evidence points to the fact that cleaning your air ducts won’t hurt anything and likely will help.

Changing Your Air Filters

Aside from getting your ducts cleaned once every couple years, changing your air filters is extremely important. Your air filters scrub every bit of air that gets circulated through your home and HVAC system. The better your air filter rating, the better the air your family is breathing. It’s not rocket science. It was once said in regards to riding motorcycles, “If you have a five-dollar head, wear a five-dollar helmet.”

The same goes for your home and the lungs of everyone involved, including pets. You don’t have to buy a $200 filter, but spend a little more than whatever the bargain brand is and make a difference for your family’s respiratory health. A good option is the Nordic Pure with a 10 rating. The ratings go higher and lower than that, but 10 is a really good choice for most homes and systems. It’s recommended that you change your filters every 90 days, or when the seasons change. Don’t neglect your air filters!

Preemptive Maintenance

Even people that get their ducts cleaned and change their filters regularly still may forget or neglect preemptive maintenance. Getting your HVAC system checked before something goes awry can be very beneficial. Like just about any other device or health issue, taking care of things before they go wrong gives you a huge advantage. So get your heating system checked in the summer or A/C system checked in the winter will give you a leg up, and could end up saving you hundreds, or even thousands in the long run.

A thermostat is essential for any home with an HVAC system. With it, you can set your heating or air conditioning on or off, and can control the temperature. Thermostats can be a great help for lowering your power bill and make it easy to adjust the temperature inside your home.

How Thermostats Work

In terms of operation, there are two types of thermostats: line-voltage and low-voltage.

Line-Voltage Thermostats

Line-voltage thermostats are used in single heating systems, such as radiator systems and baseboards. This type of connection flows through the thermostat and into the heater. The trouble with this kind of thermostat is that they will sometimes shut off before the entire room is brought to the set temperature.

Low-Voltage Thermostats

These thermostats are more efficient for controlling air flow. Because of this, low-voltage thermostats are used in central HVAC systems that use electricity, gas, and oil as well as water heating systems. Low-voltage thermostats allow you to accurately control the air current and make it easier to use programmable controls. Low-voltage thermostats operate on 24V to 50V, whereas line-voltage thermostats operate on 240V.

Types of Wall-Control Devices

After you know what type of thermostat you need, you can then decide on what kind of wall device you want.

Programmable Thermostats

modern thermostatProgrammable thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature according to preset times. Having this capability makes it easier to limit energy usage since your home won’t need to be at your preferred temperature when you’re not there.

There are many different models of programmable thermostats. Basic models let you program daytime and nighttime temperature settings, while more complicated ones can be programmed for certain days of the week and the exact time of day.

Mechanical Thermostats

thermostat on a wall

Mechanical thermostats are the cheapest and easiest to install, but they also come with some tradeoffs. Their biggest issue stems from the fact that they either use vapor-filled bellows or bi-metallic strips to respond to variations in temperature.

Those that use bi-metallic strips are considered to be especially unreliable because of their slow response to the rise and fall of temperature. This means that there could be a significant difference between the temperature the thermostat is set at and the actual temperature inside the house.

Electronic Thermostats

These thermostats use electronics to detect temperatures, making them much more responsive than mechanical ones. Electronic thermostats also come in either line-voltage or low-voltage. You should also be able to find ones with programmable and automatic setback features.

What you think you know about home heating and cooling can cost you money. Over the last 10 years or so energy costs have gotten astronomical, so everyone and their brother are trying to come up with ways to save money by saving energy. However, some of the things people do or suggest are just plain wrong. They may make sense from a theory point of view, but in practice, they don’t hold up quite as well. Check out these issues below to make sure you aren’t falling into the trap of an old wives tale or urban legend.

1) Duct Tape Will Help with Sealing Ducts.

air filtersThis is not true or efficient. Duct tape, despite the name, is a great solution for a great many things. However, ducts aren’t included in this list. Duct tape doesn’t work well in dusty places and ducts are some of the dustiest out there. Duct tape tends to fail rather quickly when applied to seal ducts.

2) Leaving Devices Turned ON Will Save More Energy than Turning Them ON and OFF repeatedly.

NOT TRUE! Any time a light, appliance or even your laptop is turned off you are saving energy. Despite having to turn something on, the myth is that it takes some gigantic amount of energy to do so. This is simply not true and doesn’t use nearly as much energy as leaving it on for hours on end.

3) A Leaky or Dripping Faucet Isn’t a Big Deal.

Bonkers! A leaky or dripping faucet might as well be leaking pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. A single drip from a faucet could add up to over 300 gallons of water a year. If that’s not a big deal to you maybe you accidentally stumbled on this article.

4) The Higher You Set Your Thermostat the Faster Your Furnace Will Heat It.

setting a thermostatNope. Your furnace will work at the same efficiency whether you set it to 65 or 75 degrees. So when you go and forget you wanted it to be precisely 71 and your furnace runs until it’s 75, you’re going to waste even more money. Set your thermostat to what temperature you’d like it at, and leave it to save the most energy.

5) Fiberglass Insulation Keeps Cold Air Out of Your Home.

In actuality, fiberglass insulation is great at keeping warm air in your home, but not necessarily good at keeping the cold air out. Any types of cracks or loose seals in your home are going to let colder air in. The best way to keep cold air out is to caulk all windows, seal any drafty areas and feel around windows and doors for any places heat may escape.

Keeping the costs low on cooling your home in the hot Georgia summers is no easy task, but it can be done. There are quite a few smart ways you can help reduce your power bills while keeping your home cooler. Some of the methods are no-brainers and a few of them may seem outside-the-box, but are nonetheless, effective.

Keep Your Thermostat as Warm as You Can Bear

No one wants to be hot or uncomfortable in their home but if you or your family members find themselves snuggling under a blanket while the air is on, it may be too cool in there. That’s just wasted money, literally. Full disclosure: lots of companies and people give the advice of keeping your thermostat on 78, at the lowest, and 85 when you’re away. Let’s face it, 78 degrees isn’t reasonable for a large number of homeowners and 85 is simply out of the question.

Have you ever walked into a house that’s 85 degrees? That’s sweltering, especially in Georgia. But 73 or 74 won’t run the system too hard when you’re home and then try to put it up to 77 or 78 when you’re not going to be home. A programmable thermostat is very helpful with changes like these. If you have two or more units, have them run their own schedules to accommodate you when you spend more time on the floor that they control.

Seal Your Doors

Not so you can’t go in and out of them but rectifying a draft situation might literally save you hundreds a year by avoiding air conditioning and heating the neighborhood. Install weather stripping where there are any gaps between door and frame, and fill any holes around the outside of the frame with caulk. Cool air that escapes through cracks and voids can end up being close to 20% of your energy bill if not checked and fixed properly.

Install EnergyStar Appliances

Energy Star logoThe government loves when you save energy and will often reward you for complying with their energy saving suggestions. Sometimes it’s in the form of a tax incentive, sometimes it may be a check but regardless saving energy with any of the government aides that have been put into place can be quite rewarding. EnergyStar appliances are the ones you see with the blue and white EnergyStar logo like this one to the right.

Insulation Plays a Huge Role in Cooling

Whether you have an attic, a crawlspace, or both, they all need to be sufficiently insulated. You can bet that your attic is probably a few inches (if not feet) low, and most crawlspaces haven’t even been insulated at all. Your attic can allow warmer air in if it’s not insulated properly. Ideally, a spray foam on the top of your attic and adequately filled insulation on the attic floor will drastically keep your home cooler in the warmer months and warmer in the cooler months. Keep in mind that the cost of insulation will pale in comparison to the amount of your hard-earned dollars you’ll save by doing so.

Install or Use Your Ceiling Fans

Your air conditioner’s friends list should include a few extremely effective elements: Programmable Thermostat Proper Insulation Adequate Sealing Ceiling Fan(s) A ceiling fan has the ability to help reduce a room’s temperature and help lower your bills in a way that nothing else does. Keeping a ceiling fan on medium (not low, not high) will allow you to put your air a degree or two higher and keep your home cool.

Think about this: each degree you set your thermostat higher can save you anywhere from 1 to 3% on your power bill each month. That really adds up! Also, keep in mind that you can reverse the direction of the fan in the cooler months so it pushes the warmer air down from the ceiling. Ceiling fans are not only your A/C unit’s friends, but yours, too.

By choosing to follow any or as many of these simple steps as you can, you will reduce your cooling costs and keep your home comfortable.