Saving money is more important today than it has ever been in the past. This is especially true when it comes to improving the efficiency of an existing home heating or cooling system. First it is important to understand that most heating and cooling systems are not created the same. Different systems will produce different results and can have varying levels of efficiency. Simply stated, always make a smart decision when installing an HVAC system in your home as a way to keep utility bills as low as possible without sacrificing comfort.
Heating and Cooling Costs
It is important to note that in most typical residential homes, heating and cooling costs can account for almost half of a total monthly energy bill. Those with units that are older than 10 years old should consider replacing them with an Energy Star compliant system. This simple money saving strategy alone can save a homeowner upwards of 30% or more on annual heating and cooling costs. For the absolute best in seasonal energy efficiency, few other types of HVAC systems can compare ones that are fully Energy Star compliant.
When it comes to replacing a central heating or cooling system here are a few other useful money saving tips worth considering. For example, anytime equipment requires frequent and costly repairs or energy bills are steadily on the rise it may be time to replace your existing system. In addition, when replacing equipment always select energy-efficient systems that meet smart energy saver standard programs or that offer rebate programs or other standard rebates. Many homeowners are surprised to find that this can help offset the cost of replacing an entire HVAC system. While high-efficiency systems can be more expensive initially, the cost will almost always be offset and paid back over time in the form of lower annual energy costs.
Finally, regular maintenance can be extremely helpful in preventing future heating and cooling system related problems. Work with an experienced and knowledgeable team of professional HVAC technicians to ensure that your system is properly maintained year-round. Having annual inspections of your system and occasional cleanings can ensure that it lasts longer and performs better. Springtime is the perfect time to check your heating system for possible failure. Contact Alpine Heating And Cooling today to learn more about Mount Vernon Washington heating and cooling services that get results.
Today more than ever before it is important to take the necessary steps to make sure that your household furnace is always operating at peak levels. Here are a few useful tips on keeping your home furnace working perfectly year-round. For example, it is important to make safety a top priority when working on a furnace. Turn off the power to the unit at the main electrical panel before beginning any type of inspection if you plan to do this kind of maintenance on your own.
Furnace Fan Motor Working Harder Than Necessary
In addition, it is a good idea to get into the habit of replacing the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors at regular intervals. Also make certain that clean air filters are routinely installed in the system. In fact, changing filters twice annually or even more often for those who live in environments that are dusty is a good policy. A dirty air filter will typically result in a furnace fan motor working harder than is necessary.
Duct Cleaning Company
Another way to keep a furnace working at its best at all times is to plan to have a professional ventilation cleaning company service ductwork at least every two years. Homes that have been recently remodeled are particularly susceptible to dust and debris accumulating in ductwork. A duct cleaning company should be called upon anytime renovation or remodeling work has been performed. Ventilation cleaning also helps to reduce the chances of mold growth in ducting. Preventing mold growth is especially important in homes where there are elderly or those who have allergy related problems. Another great way to keep an HVAC system operating at its best is to frequently check all vents and registers for any possible obstructions.
Normal Airflow And System Operation
Anytime a register or vent is blocked, air movement is hindered thereby causing a disruption in normal airflow and system operation. Finally, keeping a furnace running in a healthy way requires an occasional deep cleaning. This can be done by taking off the furnace access panels and using a vacuum to remove debris and dust that may have accumulated or settled over time inside the unit. Contact Alpine Heating and Cooling today to learn more about Burlington Washington HVAC services that are designed to keep your system running perfectly year after year.
Allergens typically cause serious health problems for millions of people each year and frequently result in seasonal allergy conditions. For example, airborne particles such as dust mites and pet dander as well as mold and other particulates can make it difficult to breathe and may result in sneezing and coughing as well as a runny nose and red eyes. The good news is that there are ways to address the issue of allergens in a residential HVAC system.
Using The Right Type of HVAC System Filter
Here are a few ways to properly care for an HVAC system in order to remove allergens and keep air clean and healthy. For example, using the right type of HVAC system filter can make a big difference. In fact, the right type of furnace or AC filter is one of the first lines of defense against poor air quality in most residential homes. When selecting a filter choose one that has at least a MERV 8 rating. This type of filter will in essence be more effective at trapping microscopic particles.
When choosing the right type of filter is combined with the frequent replacement of filters, the end result is cleaner air and better health. Equally important is to remove any debris near the outdoor portion of your HVAC unit. A typical AC system draws air from the outside the home. This air is eventually circulated throughout the home’s interior. As such it is important to keep this area outside clean and free of debris. Regularly inspecting an outdoor unit for surrounding debris can greatly improve efficiency and even lower energy costs. Finally, keeping air-conditioning registers clean is another great way to reduce allergens in your home.
Particulates That Circulate Throughout Your Living Environment
When dusting your home it is important to consider first dusting the returns and registers of your HVAC system. Follow this by dusting the rest of the home as a way to reduce the amount of airborne particulates that circulate throughout the living environment. One of the best ways to dust a home is to make use of the damp rag. This helps to reduce the amount of dust and even dust mites that could be sent airborne by using a dry dust cloth. Contact Alpine Heating and Cooling today for the best in Mount Vernon Washington HVAC system services and care.
Is Your Money Flying out the Window?
Most folks don’t enjoy paying more than they need to, or paying for something they aren’t getting. When it comes to heating (and cooling) your home, you may be doing exactly that. How can you find out? A home energy assessment can tell you where the energy you’re paying for is going. Efficient energy use is smart money management
Your Personal Comfort – the True Test
A more personal test is to compare your comfort level in your home with the comfort level of your wallet or pocketbook. Are you paying more than you’d like to, but you still aren’t warm in winter and cool in summer? While this sacrifice may have been necessary in the past, today’s new technologies and heating/cooling systems can pay for themselves with savings in a few years, then keep on saving you money for years to come. There are even rebates and incentives to help you out.
Efficient Energy Use Begins With a Tight Building Envelope
As in the video above, it’s important to stop your expensive heated or cooled air from leaving for as long as possible. A tight building envelope is a must. Once you’ve checked your insulation and sealed up the windows it’s time to address another area of loss – the equipment used to heat and cool your home.
Here is a quick overview of some of the systems and technologies Alpine Heating and Cooling installs and how they can save you money.
A heat pump is a device that transfers heat from a colder area to a hotter area(“against the gradient”) by using mechanical energy, as in a refrigerator. While that may not sound like it could heat your home, the fact is there is heat energy all around us waiting to be harvested. A heat pump can move this heat from the air (air source heat pump) or the ground (ground source heat pump) into your home. Think of it like a refrigerator in reverse.
Here is a terrific, short video of an air-source heat pump showing operation in both summer (air conditioning) and winter (heating) modes.
Natural Gas Furnace
A natural gas furnace is a popular and smart choice for home heating in the Skagit Valley. Natural gas is available to most homes, is clean burning, and modern gas furnaces can achieve as high as 98.5 efficiency ratings while lasting for 15-30 years with regular maintenance.¹
Also according to energy.gov, between 2007 and 2012 the average U.S. household spent $700 annually to heat with natural gas versus $1700 per year to heat with oil. A new, high-efficiency gas furnace can save you money, especially if you are moving from an older, lower-efficiency oil furnace.
Ductless Mini Split
A Ductless Mini Split heat pump system can decrease your energy bill in several ways.
- Ducting can lose 10-40% of the heat or cool they carry before it reaches you, even more if there are serious breaks or leaks, which often go unnoticed in attics and crawlspaces. Ditch the ducts, ditch the loss.
- Mini splits can be used “zonally” to heat and cool individual rooms or floors. You don’t need to heat or cool your entire house to the same degree if you aren’t using most of it.
- The modern heating and cooling technologies used in ductless mini splits are more efficient than their older counterparts.
Any on-demand heating system including furnaces, heat pumps, and mini-splits can benefit from the proper use of a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can help save you money when you’re away or asleep so that there’s more left over to keep you warm or cool when you’re home and awake.
By using “setbacks” (cooler settings in the winter and warmer settings in the summer) for times when you don’t need the full effect of heat or air conditioning, you can see a reduction in your utility bill with no change in your comfort level. Your programmable thermostat can turn your heat down when you leave for work or go to sleep and turn it back up just before you wake or return home in the evening, all automatically.
You won’t have to remember to turn the thermostat down when you leave the house or wait for the house to warm up when you arrive home in the evening.
Energy Star Rebates and Incentives
Be sure to check out our rebates and incentives page to find out how much money you can receive toward installing new, highly-efficient, quiet, and dependable heating and cooling equipment. We’ve put together a list that includes state, federal, local, and utility-based incentives.
Ask Us How You Can Save
Give us a call with your questions. We’d be happy to answer them over the phone if we can, or come out and have a look. Alpine has installed new, more efficient heating and cooling systems for thousands of satisfied customers in the Skagit Valley, from Sedro-Wooley to Burlington to Anacortes and beyond.
Alpine Heating And Cooling Inc.
1957 Park Lane
Burlington Wa 98233
Phone (360) 755-5146 and (360) 293-6210
¹ energy.gov: energy saver 101 infographic
Sedro Woolley Furnace Replacement.
Here we are again, decision time for another one of our customers.… do we put money into our older gas furnace or replace it. I try to be as honest as I can with people when making this decision. I look at age of the furnace versus the cost of the repairs and then the cost of the future repairs based on my experience. And in this case it was time for this Sedro Woolley furnace replacement.
Where did the quality go
I certainly see a lot of the York Diamond 80% in Skagit County, in fact I use to be a York dealer back when this furnace was actually installed. At that time York made a very good furnace. I personally have sold, serviced and installed 100’s of them, but today, based on actual field experience and experience with many other different brands I would say York and or Coleman all made by Johnson Controls have taken a big hit in the quality of their product.
The American Standard 80%
The new American Standard 80% gas furnace did require a little bit of modifications to the return ducting, as well as eliminating the angled base-can that the customer kept stubbing their toes on. We also added a Custom 4″ filter bank to the system, we just had to make a custom door for access because of the venting. Overall this Sedro Woolley Furnace Replacement project went fairly smooth.
Like I have stated on many occasions in Alpines blog before, American Standard is my choice of equipment to install, this is based on the fact I have sold, serviced and installed many other brands. I only like to install equipment that gives me the least call backs … American Standard is that equipment.
Mount Vernon WA Church Furnace
There are certain types of heating and cooling projects that really appeal to me, these projects generally have the biggest impact or affect for the customer and are usually the most challenging. This Mount Vernon WA Church Furnace project was for the Church Of Christ in Mount Vernon, their oil furnace was from 1951 and it was a monster. Time for a upgrade!
The Monster In The Room
The furnace was located in the church basement in a room about 9′ by 9′ and it consumed most of that room. I had to stand back out of the room just to take a good picture. One of the biggest challenges with small community Church’s is the furnace sizing. A lot of small Church’s only get occupied say 1 to 2 times per week and the rest of the time the furnace generally stays off. So you have to consider raising the temperature say from 50 degrees to 70 degrees just for a few hours, and within a short period of time. And of coarse keeping the noise level down. Perfect for the American Standard 95% 2 Stage Variable.
American Standard, To The Rescue.
One of the complaints from the church was the down stairs always seemed cold, and even though they had damper controls to help with this issue it never seemed to work correctly, therefore they abandoned that part of the system and went to space heaters. The American Standard 95% Variable 2 Stage furnace with a Honeywell 4″ pleated filter system (above) was installed to deal with just the down stairs, fortunately the existing duct work was zoned to do just that. As you can see the foot print is much smaller than the oil furnace.
Churches have a very unique situation when it comes to heating and cooling demands. In this Mount Vernon WA Church Furnace project an American Standard 95% gas furnace worked out perfectly.
Simple Sedro Woolley Air Conditioner.
This year we have sold and installed record numbers of air conditioners. In this case we actually replaced the existing gas furnace with a new American Standard furnace at the same time. Seeing how the home was fairly small the customer decided against a high efficiency furnace. In reality the difference would have only been about a 15% savings on a very small gas bill.
American Standard Furnace
As you can see the new furnace installed right next to the washer and dryer in the utility room, nice tight fit. Seeing how it was the same efficiency there was no need for redoing the venting. We did have to cut down the existing base can to make the coil fit, everything else just got reconnected.
Air Conditioner Location
When it comes down to it there is a compromise when I look at the Air Conditioners location. I have to think about the refrigeration lines from the indoor coil and the high voltage lines coming from the panel. I also have to think about cosmetics, no one wants an air conditioner located in the front of their home. Overall this Sedro Woolley Air Conditioner turned out great.
American Standard 95
American Standard 95 .. again
I love upgrading customers equipment, here we upgraded our customer from a single stage 80% to a new American Standard 90 to 95 variable speed 2-stage gas furnace. Not only will this furnace run much quieter than their existing furnace, but it will also save them 5% more on their heating bill.
American Standard is a Trane
The first picture is the older furnace and hot water heater. The Trane unit was and still is manufactured by American Standard.
Bradford White Tank
As you can see we also replaced the existing hot water heater with a new Bradford white water heater. I have installed many brands of hot water heaters, I prefer Bradford White. I will usually discount the hot water tank when replacing the furnace at the same time.