When the temperatures rise, you need every tip and trick in the book to help keep your home cool and comfortable. Here are 8 tips to keep your home cooler this summer.
Summertime is here and so is the heat and humidity. If you haven't already done so, now is a good time to prep your Bryant system for the sweltering summer.
The summer heat is right around the corner so now is the time to prep your A/C unit for summer. Here is your checklist to get your system ready to keep you cool when the hot and humid gets going.
While our winters might be short here in the Grand Strand, they can get mighty cold. These 8 tips can help you save money on your heating costs this winter.
You've likely heard of zoning or zoned systems before but perhaps you weren't quite sure what it meant or why anyone would choose a zoned system. We're here to solve the mystery of what is zoning and how it can be beneficial for your home.
HVAC zoning or a zoned system is a professionally installed control system comprised of a damper unit and a thermostat for each zone or room in the house. The control systems from each zone are then wired into a central control panel. This central control panel receives information from the thermostat in each zone and uses that information to control the dampers (and thus the temperature) for each zone.
As a comparison, many home HVAC systems are controlled by one thermostat that determines the temperature through the entire house. A zoned system has a separate thermostat for each zone that controls the temperature of just that zone. An easy analogy is to think of the lighting in your home. Instead of having one light switch that controls the lighting for your entire house, each room has its own light switch that controls the light in that room. This is similar to the difference between a non-zoned system and a zoned system.
HVAC zoning offers several benefits over non-zoned systems.
Could HVAC zoning be a good fit for your home? Call Carolina Comfort Systems today to learn more about how zoning can work for you.
It has been a hot and brutal summer so far here in the Grand Strand. Many people are seeing large increases in their utility bill as their cooling system kicks on more frequently to combat the high temperatures. We've got some tips to help you keep your cooling costs under control this summer.
1. Use fans - Box fans, pedestal fans, ceiling fans... just about any kind of fan will help keep you cooler. In fact, running a ceiling fan is shown to help it feel as much as 4 degrees cooler. Fans cool you down by creating air current that flows over the surface of your skin and helps cool your body. So, keep in mind that fans cool people, not rooms and be sure to turn off fans in rooms you aren't using.
2. Avoid generating cooking heat - Avoid using your oven, stove or any indoor small appliances that generate heat. These appliances will increase the heat inside your home and make your AC work harder to keep things cool. Instead, opt for grilling outside.
3. Upgrade your AC/cooling system - If your cooling system is more than 10 years old, it's possible that newer models with a higher SEER rating will work more efficiently at keeping your home cool while using less energy to do it. This is especially true of EnergyStar systems. At the very least, keeping your current system well-maintained with professional cleaning and inspection at least once per year (preferably twice) will help the system you have work as efficiently as it can.
4. Get a programmable thermostat - A programmable thermostat lets you set it and forget it in terms of your home's temperature. You can set it to a warmer temperature for the hours you'll be away at work and set it to come to your desired temperature when you normally arrive home. You'll stay cool and comfortable when you're home and save energy when you aren't.
5. Change your air filter - During the summer months, it's ideal to change your air filter at least monthly. Your cooling unit is running overtime and a gunked up air filter will make it work harder and for a longer period of time to reach the desired temperature. Keep the air filter fresh and clean and your system won't have to work as hard and won't consume extra energy.
6. Keep all vents and intakes clear and unblocked - Similarly, your air vents and intakes help your cooling system run at its most efficient. If vents are blocked by furniture, clogged up with debris or otherwise not able to operate clear and open, it makes your HVAC work even harder to reach and hold the desired temperature.
7. Block sunlight - Use blackout curtains, blinds or even invest in window films that reflect out UV and infrared rays from the sun. Reflecting away the sun's energy keeps your home cooler and prevents sun-related heat-up.
8. Replace leaky windows - If your windows have seen better days, you might want to have them checked for air leaks. Windows with drafts or air leaks let hot air in and cool air out. While new windows can be an expensive upgrade, the money you'll save from new energy-efficient windows will have you wondering why you didn't have them replaced sooner.
As you can see from the top 8 tips here, there are a number of things you can do to help your cooling system work more efficiently this summer. As a bonus, when your HVAC works more efficiently, it uses less energy and keeps your utility bill under control.
It's officially spring and time to take care of preventative maintenance for your HVAC system. Taking care of your HVAC system in the spring gets you prepped and ready for the hot and humid summer months. A little bit of maintenance now can help ensure your home stays comfortable all summer long. Here are some maintenance items you can take care of any time of year:
1. Check around the outside unit for any debris that could be hindering the smooth operation of the unit. If you find debris, turn the system off (safety first) and clear it away. Turn the system back on and check the outdoor unit during the next cycle to make sure it's running without any obstructions.
2. Clean out the A/C drainage hole. This drain tends to be fairly small so a fine pipe cleaner or even a paper clip can help ensure there is no build up in the drain that could impede the condensation from draining away from the unit.
3. Clean your dehumidifier. Open up the dehumidifier unit and allow to dry thoroughly inside. Once the inside of the unit is dry, use a vacuum or shopvac to remove any dirt and debris inside the unit. Keeping your dehumidifier clean helps it maintain efficient removal of extra moisture from the air in your home.
4. Change your furnace filter. Here in South Carolina, land of pollen, your furnace filter can get gunked up quickly. Most recommendations for this area are to change your air filter at least every other month, however, you might need to change it monthly to keep good air flow and keep your indoor air cleaner.
5. Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat is a great investment for your home that will easily pay for itself in the money you save with more precise control of your HVAC system when you're at home and when you're on the go. You can change your settings from anywhere through your smartphone and most models give you tips on how to save even more money based on your normal use.
And make sure to schedule your regular maintenance service with Carolina Comfort Systems. Your regular maintenance service includes a thorough cleaning and inspection of your HVAC system to keep everything working in optimal condition. Your Carolina Comfort Systems technician will also look for signs of wear and tear and recommend any belt or part replacements needed to prevent a costly emergency call later on.
Even better, Carolina Comfort Systems offers four different Comfort Star Protection Plans for you to choose from so your regular maintenance is one less thing to remember. Plus being a Comfort Star Protection Plan customer gives you priority customer service when you do have an urgent need and extra discounts depending on which plan you choose. To learn more about our preventative maintenance programs, just give us a call.
National Tune Up Day for your heating and cooling system is coming up this September 25th! This day was founded to remind everyone to have their HVAC systems cleaned and tuned up before the cooler weather sweeps in. The best time to have your HVAC system inspected and tuned up is ahead of the seasonal switch-over from using your system to cool your home to heating your home instead.
Benefits of HVAC Tune Ups
HVAC tune ups keep your system running efficiently, conserving energy and keeping your costs down. Having a tune up every year can also help catch wear and tear or other issues that could lead to a more costly (and uncomfortable) system failure during the cold part of the year. Here are just a few of the things technicians check and do during your yearly HVAC tune up:
The list above is just a short example of the many things your HVAC maintenance technician will test, inspect, clean and check during your yearly tune up appointment. Keeping your system properly maintained keeps you warm and toasty when the cool weather hits. Remind your friends to schedule their heating and cooling system tune ups by using the hashtag #NationalTuneUpDay on social media. They'll thank you for the reminder this January when they're cozy and comfortable no matter how cold it gets outside.
When your HVAC system needs a pricey repair, it's natural to consider whether it is more beneficial to do the repair or to replace the system. Here are three key factors to consider when making the decision whether to repair or to replace: When your HVAC system needs a pricey repair, it's natural to consider whether it is more beneficial to do the repair or to replace the system. Here are three key factors to consider when making the decision whether to repair or to replace:
When considering the cost of the repair versus replace question, there are two issues to keep in mind - both the bottom line of the repair bill but also the age of your HVAC system. A good age guideline to use is 10 years.
Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, how the system has been maintained and climate conditions in your area, your current HVAC system might not be providing optimal indoor air quality. Carolina Comfort Systems can test your current indoor air quality and share the results with you. We can also advise you on any optional components that can improve your indoor air quality or if replacement should be considered. Indoor air can be several times more polluted than outdoor air and can worsen or even cause allergy and asthma systems and other illnesses. This makes indoor air quality an important thing to consider when deciding to repair or replace your HVAC system.
Over the last several years, energy-efficiency standards have increased significantly. This means current HVAC systems are far more energy-efficient than older HVAC systems. Greater energy-efficiency means an HVAC system that heats or cools your home faster and runs less frequently or for shorter periods of time. This reduces the amount of energy your HVAC system uses and translates to lower monthly utility bills.
The current minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) in most states is 14 SEER (a few northern states have a 13 SEER minimum). If the SEER rating of your current HVAC system is significantly lower than the current standard or is so old that you don't have a SEER rating for it, you could save quite a bit of money on your utility bill by replacing your system. And you'll reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
To repair or replace is always a tough question. If you decide replacement is right for you, Carolina Comfort Systems offers financing solutions and affordable monthly payments. Also, replacing your current system to a more energy-efficient system could possibly qualify you for special tax credits and rebates on your energy bill from your local utility company. Give Carolina Comfort Systems a call to discuss your repair and replacement options.
If you are in the market for a new cooling system for your home, it pays to be familiar with SEER. SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is used to measure the energy efficiency of the cooling unit in your home comfort system. To determine SEER rating, manufacturers measure the cooling a unit puts out over a typical summer season and divide it by the amount of energy the unit used during that time. The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient a cooling system is. In South Carolina, the minimum SEER required by law is 14, however, there is a split system available with up to a 33 SEER rating at the time of this blog. From 14 to 33 is a big range and it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different options.
Cost vs. Savings: Is Spending More for Higher SEER Worth it?
One of the most frequent questions customers have is, "If a higher SEER number means greater energy efficiency, should I buy the highest SEER I can for my home?" Surprisingly, the answer is no. As the SEER goes up, so does the cost of the unit - by a large margin. Higher SEER units are also more expensive to repair and feature newer technology that, in some cases, isn't as reliable as the older technology of units with SEER ratings below 20. Also keep in mind that the SEER rating represents the maximum possible energy efficiency in optimal conditions. Similar to when you buy the latest smart phone that has up to 8 hours of battery life. Most users won't get the full 8 hours without needing to recharge because the way each individual uses the device affects the battery life. The same is true of SEER ratings - so a SEER of 18 really means *up to 18*.
While higher SEER does translate to less energy consumption and lower utility bills, the amount of savings for most average sized homes does not balance out the increased cost of the highest SEER rated systems. If your home is close to the average of 2,000 sq ft and you use your cooling system an average of 5 months of the year (we are in South Carolina, after all), a cooling system with a SEER rating of 14 or 16 provides you a sturdy and reliable unit with a comfortable reduction on your electric bill. If you choose an option with a SEER over 20, with installation, that system can cost in the ballpark of double the amount of the lower SEER system while only providing a few dollars more energy savings - during the 5 months of the year when you are actually running your air conditioning. If your home is much larger than average or you live in an area where you will be using your cooling system for more than two-thirds of the year, systems with SEER ratings of 18-20 could be worth the higher cost of the system.
Choosing a new HVAC or heat pump system with the best SEER rating for your home and specific needs doesn't have to be an overwhelming process. Carolina Comfort Systems can help! Our experts can review your current system and explore how much you can expect to save on utilities for different SEER rated systems to help you find the best value for your home.