If you haven’t noticed the warmer weather, the happy emergence of the bluebonnets or the increase in antihistamine sales, allow us to announce that spring is finally here! After what was starting to feel like an eternal winter, we can finally look forward to long days at the ballpark, trips to the zoo and just enjoying the outdoors. With your heater heading into hibernation, you may be tempted to set low temperatures for blasting cold air. Leave that expensive practice to the movie theaters. (Their overpriced candy covers their HVAC costs, we expect.) This spring, make a conscious effort to cool your home efficiently. The first step is setting the temperature for maximum savings.
The not-so-well-known rule of thumb for indoor temperatures is to set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees in the winter and no lower than 78 degrees in the summer. If you broke a sweat just reading that last temperature, don’t panic! We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you keep comfortably cool while racking up energy savings.
Use your ceiling fans. In the spring and summer, your fans should be rotating counter-clockwise. You may need to reverse the flow if you switched it to clockwise rotation during the winter. Utilizing the ceiling fans in your home will help in creating a cooling breeze. Windchill from a ceiling fan can make you feel up to five degrees cooler than the actual room temperature. 73 degrees sounds a lot better than 78 doesn’t it?
Another way to supplement your air conditioner is to use heat-producing devices at the right time. Running your washer and dryer, ironing your clothes and cooking are tasks best done in the morning or evening when the sun is low. This way you don’t have to use your thermostat to simultaneously combat the sun’s heat from the outside and your appliances heat from the inside.
Another easy fix is to invest in high-efficiency LED or standard halogen light bulbs. Yes, they cost more than the average incandescent bulb, but they pay for themselves in energy savings and comfort. LED bulbs generally use one tenth the electricity that an incandescent bulb will. They also emit no heat. This is important to note in comparison to incandescent bulbs, which produce 90% heat and 10% light with the energy they use.
With these simple tips you can easily stick to the 78 degree rule of thumb. When it feels more like 70-73 degrees, you won’t hear any complaints from your family members. And when you receive your new and improved energy bill, they won’t hear any complaints from you!
2013 is just a few days away. The turn of the New Year is time to think about major life changes you’d like to make in the following 365 days. Beyond losing weight and being a better friend, we have a few energy-efficient New Year’s resolutions to suggest.
Change your air filter – It’s not an energy-efficient list without a mention of regularly changing your air filters. This practice is that important. During the peak heating and cooling months, change your filter once a month. In addition, check your filter every two weeks during the summer months. And if you own a pet, check your filter every two weeks no matter what the season. A clean air filter keeps your air conditioning unit running efficiently.
Use a programmable thermostat – Just about every new AC unit installed by a local AC company now comes with a programmable thermostat – so use it! It takes just a few minutes to properly program the thermostat to help you keep your AC or heater from running at all hours of the day and night. Energy Star says proper programming of a thermostat can save a family $180 a year in energy costs.
Turn off the lights – When you leave a room, turn off the lights. Simple, right? Unfortunately we all forget to do it from time to time. If you’re a parent, talk to your kids about this as well. Get them involved. Make a game out of it. Let them keep track of when mom and dad forget to turn off the lights, and give them an incentive to turn the lights off when they leave a room. You might be amazed at how quickly they become interested in helping you save energy and money.
Use CFL or LED bulbs – Speaking of lights, make the switch to energy-efficient CFL or LED light bulbs. These bulbs will last longer, and changing out just one of them will save you $30 over the lifespan of the bulb.
Summer is here, and that means your air conditioner may already be working overtime to keep your family cool in the south Texas heat.
One of the most important things your can do to help your AC work efficiently is to regularly change your air filter. There’s a reason you see air conditioning companies talk about this topic so much – it’s that important. According to the Department of Energy, a dirty air filter can affect your AC unit’s efficiency by up to 15%. During the summer, that could be as much as $20-25 a month in extra energy costs.
From May-September, Champion AC and CPS Energy both recommend checking your air filter every two weeks and changing that filter if it’s dirty.
“Filters are the lungs of your AC system,” according to CPS Energy’s Albert Cantu. “If your filter is dirty, your system has to breathe harder. If you’re not changing your filters like you should, it causes your system to choke, run longer and greatly increases your energy bill.”
For more on the importance of clean air filters and other energy tips, visit the Champion AC website.
If you’re investing in a new air conditioning system for your home, Champion AC recently produced a video to help walk you through the installation process. It shows you what will happen when our licensed technicians arrive, remove the old AC unit and install the new air conditioner and thermostat.
The Harris Poll just released the results of a new survey involving 2,056 adult Americans who were interviewed about energy-efficiency habits at home. There were several highlights, but the survey also highlights a lack of adoption for some practices that can drastically reduce your energy consumption and energy bills.
Let’s first showcase some of the positives.
82% regularly turn off lights, TVs and other minor appliances when they aren’t being used
58% have replaced traditional, incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs
56% use power strips
55% regularly look for the Energy Star label if buying new applicances
Have you ever heard of lumens? You will soon see that term when you shop for light bulbs at your favorite grocery store.
Big changes are coming this year to the packaging of new light bulbs. Gone will be the traditional measurement associated with bulbs – watts (the amount of power a bulb uses). Instead, light bulbs will be rated by lumens (the amount of light produced).
The new labels will also explain the color of the light (whether it’s warm or cool or somewhere in between), how much it will cost to use the bulb and how long it will last. For any holdovers, the labels will also include the watts.
Energy Star developed this conversion chart if you’re looking to make the switch to more energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
We here at Champion AC don’t want you to be caught off-guard when these changes take place. We hope this information helps you pick out the best bulb for your home.
Where did 2011 go? It seems hard to believe, but 2012 is just a few days away. That means a lot of people are making their New Year’s resolutions right now. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind for the New Year to help you save money and use less energy. These are all fairly simple things you can do in your home that are either free or cost very little.
Your San Antonio air conditioning and heating system is responsible for more than half of all the electricity you use. That’s why air conditioner maintenance is so vital. One part of that is making sure you regularly change the air filter in your home. A dirty air filter clogs air flow and makes your AC system or heater work double time, which means it’s costing you more money. Here are a couple rules of thumb about air filters. During December, January and February (the peak winter months), change your filter each month. During May, June, July and August (the peak summer months), change your filter each month. During the other months, get into the habit of checking your filter each month to see if it’s dirty. If it is, change it. If not, change your filter every 60 days during those non-peak months. And if you have pets or allergies really bother you, change your filter every couple of weeks.
When you leave a room, do you remember to turn off the lights? It’s a simple thing, but it’s amazing how often we all forget to do that. Leaving on lights in unoccupied rooms is a drain on your wallet – and is the quintessential example of wasting energy.
Speaking of lights, switching to CFL bulbs is a great way to save energy. CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs. They do cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs, but one, single CFL bulb saves you $30 on your electricity bill over its lifespan.
Finally, get an air duct evaluation. The average home loses about 30% of its cooled or heated air through faulty ductwork. That means you’re spending money to keep your attic heated or cooled. Champion AC offers a free air duct evaluation to catch problems like improper design or layout, unsealed ducts and ducts that are the wrong size for your home. If you decide to make changes to your ductwork, CPS Energy offers rebates up to $2,500.
We’re wrapping up one of the coldest weeks, if not THE coldest week, of this winter season so far. I know we normally associate being energy efficient with summer time and air conditioning, but your heating system can put just as big a dent on your electric bill.
So here are a couple of simple tips from the Department of Energy to take a bite out of that huge utility bill.
You can save up to 1% on your electricity bill for every one degree you turn down the thermostat.
Make sure you are properly using your fireplace. There are plenty of pieces of good advice here.
Use the sun to your advantage. Even on colder days, opening the drapes on windows that face the south can naturally heat up your home.
Likewise, keep the drapes closed on windows that don’t face the sun. Also, keep the curtains closed at night. This keeps the warm air in.
Posted by Ben Hubbert - December 24, 2010 - Rebates
You may have heard the radio ads about a new appliance rebate that’s starting December 20th, a week from today. It’s totally true – and a great deal that’s not going to last long.
Here’s the back-story. The state received a certain amount of stimulus money for rebates to help people buy more energy-efficient equipment in their homes. Texas had money left over from the initial program in April, so it’s starting this second wave of rebates next Monday.
Rebates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis on everything from a new AC unit to water heaters to washers and dishwashers. Here’s the complete list in a chart, courtesy of the Comptroller’s office.
For instance, if someone buys a new AC unit that qualifies, you get $1,000 back from the state as part of this rebate. You’d also get $75 for recycling your old unit with a registered partner. On top of those rebates, you’re eligible for a $1,500 federal tax credit (an offer that expires December 31st) and up to an $800 in rebates from CPS Energy (which also expires on December 31st.
Refrigerators are eligible for up to $250 in rebates from the state, washers up to $175 and so on.
But here’s the deal. This new rebate offer from the state starts on Monday – and will go until the money runs out. That means the earlier you get your forms postmarked and off to the state, the better chance you have of getting the rebate. Many businesses are bracing for a crush of calls since this might be the last rebate offer associated with stimulus money.
Posted by Ben Hubbert - November 18, 2010 - Energy Tips
One of the great things about the Web is there’s a resource for just about everything – especially in our field of air conditioning/heating/home improvement/energy use.
A specific tool I like to tell people about is the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick. It takes about five minutes and you need the last 12 months worth of utility bills, but it can tell you how your home stacks up in terms of energy consumption, especially regarding your San Antonio air conditioning system. Then you can use the information to determine which home improvement projects may be more important than others.