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.
If you are in the market for a new system, there is no better time than rebate time to get the best deal for your buck. Here are a few exciting rebates and promotions happening right now.
Geothermal Technology = Major Savings
The best deal around is on one of Bryant's Geothermal Systems. Going with geothermal gets you a sizable credit on your tax return AND a rebate from one of the area's largest utility providers. These deals apply to five of Bryant's Geothermal Systems (models GB, GC, GP, GS and GT), including: Evolution Variable-Speed Geothermal Heat PumpLegacy Multi-Speed Geothermal Heat Pump Preferred Split System Indoor Geothermal Heat Pump Preferred Variable-Speed Geothermal Heat Pump
Federal Tax Credit Geothermal heat pumps currently qualify for a tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost of the new system, including installation and labor. Your new system must be installed by or before December 31, 2019 and you must include the credit on your 2019 federal income tax filing (Form 5695) submitted on or before April 16, 2020. If you have it installed before the end of 2018, you'll submit the information and form for your tax credit with your 2018 tax filing.
There are a few requirements to meet to be eligible for this tax credit. The geothermal system you choose must be Energy Star certified and must be installed in your regular residence or second home (no rental units allowed). To claim this tax credit, you'll need to keep your receipt handy and make sure you get a manufacturer's certification statement. Both documents are needed to claim this credit.
Santee Cooper Rebate If you are a Santee Cooper residential customer, this deal is about to get better. You can also snatch up a $600 per installed system rebate on your utility bill with Santee Cooper for systems installed and claims submitted by November 30, 2018. Of course, Santee Cooper has a few requirements to meet as well. First, you have to already be a Santee Cooper customer. Your home must be all electric. The system you choose must be either AHRI or Energy Star certified. An inspection is required along with a heat pump quality inspection form and proof of purchase.
Heat Pump with Base Pan Heater - Still a Great Deal
If geothermal isn't right for you, you still have savings opportunities. One example is with the Preferred Multi-Zone Heat Pump with Base Pan Heater. While this option doesn't have a federal tax credit, there is still a sizable rebate available from Santee Cooper. Santee Cooper is offering a rebate of $160 per ton, up to $400. Like the other Santee Cooper rebate, the installation and claim must be submitted by November 30, 2018. Your new system must be AHRI certified and installed in your primary residence or second residence. Your home must be all electric and you must be an existing Santee Cooper customer. An inspection is required along with a heat pump quality inspection form and proof of purchase.
Now is a great time to upgrade your system and rake in the savings at the same time. Going geothermal is the best deal but it's not the only deal available. Call Carolina Comfort Systems to explore your options and ways to save today.
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.
National Gratitude Month is observed every year for the entire month of November. Gratitude is more than simply saying "thank you". Gratitude is appreciating the good and positive in our lives, despite whatever challenges we may face. Practicing gratitude shouldn't just be reserved for one month because it can benefit your life every day. Studies show practicing gratitude lowers stress, improves blood pressure, enhances mood, improves relationships, combats depression and helps people experience fewer illnesses. You might be wondering why your HVAC provider cares about gratitude and the positive effects of gratitude on health and well-being. At Carolina Comfort Systems, our clients are more than simply customers, they are part of our extended family. To get you started on your practice of gratitude, we've put together 10 things Grand Strand residents can be grateful for.
1. Warmer weather! While snow piles up in other parts of the country, we get to enjoy beautiful sunshine.
2. Southern hospitality! Whether relaxing with a sweet tea on the porch with a neighbor or a friendly "hey, y'all!" when visiting a local business, there are few places more welcoming and friendly than right here.
3. We have a natural stress-buster accessible to us year-round - the beach. Research shows even a few minutes spent at the beach, with the waves and salty air and warm sand, can refresh us and provide a turbo boost of stress relief.
4. We have lots of ways to stay active year-round. Just a few of the activities available include golf, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking and walking trails, tennis, beautiful parks and green spaces for afternoon strolls and much more.
5. Our area's deep connection with history. With dozens of places along the Grand Strand appearing on the National Registry of Historic Sites, there are plenty of historic places to see and learn about (not to mention some pretty fun stories about ghosts and pirates).
6. Some of the most stunning state parks in the whole state are right here in the Grand Strand. Explore Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park close by or venture inland from the Grand Strand to experience unique ecosystems and landscape at Woods Bay State Park and Little Pee Dee State Park.
7. Giving back is a way of life here in the Grand Strand. The people, neighborhoods and businesses of the area have a strong focus on helping others in the community. Food donation drives, toy drives, fundraisers and opportunities to volunteer are easy to find and participate in. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more generous and giving community anywhere.
8. Your family from out of town always wants to come here for the holidays. When you live in the Grand Strand, the yearly family dispute over where to spend the holidays seems to somehow always swing your way. You get to avoid the traffic and driving up to the snow and cold while your family gets a relaxing (though sometimes still a little chilly) holiday at the beach.
9. There is always something fun to do! Events are a big deal around here and there are no shortage of food festivals, heritage festivals, parades, races, fundraisers, musical performances, theatre performances, lectures and presentations... and more.
10. YOU! At Carolina Comfort Systems, what we're most grateful for is YOU - our neighbors, friends and extended family of clients all along the Grand Strand. The spirit of giving, the friendly neighborhoods, the sense of community and that special southern hospitality are all possible because of you. All of you are what make this a great place to live.
Cor Home Automation is a new offering available for your home from your Bryant Heating and Cooling System providers at Carolina Comfort Systems. Cor technology works with Bryant's Preferred or Evolution heat pumps, gas furnaces, air conditioners and heat coil systems. Cor Home Automation gives you the ability to control your lighting, thermostat settings, security system and more from your smartphone.
Of course, Bryant is an industry leader in heating and cooling systems but for a more complete home automation package, they couldn't do it alone. For security, Cor utilizes Interlogix. With Interlogix, you can watch security footage, unlock or lock doors, and receive alerts about open windows or when the garage door is opened - all from your phone. And because your family's safety is the top priority, Cor works with Kidde smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you immediately in the event of a potential fire or carbon monoxide incident.
Currently, Bryant is offering a $500 rebate toward the Cor Home Automation Smart Start Kit with the purchase of a compatible Preferred or Evolution heating and cooling system. With Cor, there are no contracts and no monthly fees and you can add-in features and options that allow you to customize the way you care for and monitor your home. Even better, the technology in Bryant's Cor Home Automation system is expandable to accommodate new technology options as they come to market. To learn more about this exciting new technology from Bryant, give us a call at Carolina Comfort Systems!
Can you remember back in the ‘old’ days, when we had to actually go over to a heater or cooling unit and push a button to turn it on and turn a dial to control the temperatures? Okay so it wasn’t really that long ago – but then came a technology breakthrough – the remote control! What was better then sitting on the couch and raising or lowering the system output? Then energy saving technology came into the mix and we could set a thermostat and the system monitored itself to cycle down when that indoor temperature was reached, and to turn on when it read it was over the desired temperature. Could it ever get better than this?
I bet you didn’t think so, but now, thanks to the Bryant Evolution® system your life can get even more comfortable. The brain behind it all is the Evolution Connex ™ control. When installed as part of the Evolution system it can monitor temperature, humidity, air quality, fan speeds, ventilation and zoning! You can program a schedule to fit your lifestyle and once you’ve programmed the settings the Connex system actively manages your home’s temperatures. The control monitors the outdoor temperatures, so instead of ramping up to meet your settings, it can adjust the time of levels to save you the most money. One of the options with this system is the ability to adjust your settings whether you are home or away by installing a Wi-Fi enabled Connex control. There is even a Touch – n – Go feature which allows you to change from ‘sleep’ or ‘away’ settings to ‘wake’ or home with ease. Carolina Comfort Systems is an authorized dealer for Bryant, and this is just another product in our impressive line that is designed to simplify your life, conserve energy and save you money on monthly bills. Call us to discuss this or our line of Bryant products.
Here are just a few of the RIGHT questions to ask your HVAC Contractor:
To see a short video on the "Right Questions to Ask Your HVAC contractor, click here! Call Carolina Comfort Systems today for an Myrtle Beach HVAC Contractor you can count on! Your satisfaction is our guarantee!
La Niña – How it has affected our weather and what we can expect temperature-wise and weather-wise this Spring/Summer
By S. Kim Henson
La Niña is on its way out; at least that’s the forecast for now. But, as we all know, no one knows for sure. However, there’s a good chance the prediction is accurate because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says conditions from La Niña last anywhere from nine months to two years. Since the weather phenomenon began July 2010, it’s nearly run the full course.
Cooler surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean characterize La Niña, an occurrence that influences weather patterns around the world in the opposite way as El Niño. The two are extreme phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, a natural climate cycle that fluctuates every three to five years between the warm phase of El Niño and the cold phase of La Niña.
In February, the National Weather Service reported La Niña weakening, projecting neutral weather conditions by May. Until then, we can expect the same affects as we experienced during winter. The Grand Strand, as well as the rest of the Southeastern United States, is likely in for a warmer, drier spring than usual. Summer temperatures and rainfall are expected to normalize if La Niña continues to dissipate. One thing is for sure, whether La Niña stays or goes, warmer weather is on its way.