January 5, 2023
2023 is here, and for many Marin, Napa, and Sonoma county homeowners, that means setting some goals for the new year. Whether your goals are around fitness, family, home repairs, finances, or something else, this the perfect time of the year to ensure you are setting yourself up for successfully achieving your resolutions. If your New Year’s resolution is to save energy or lower home expenses, energy efficient HVAC can help. We are going to review how upgrading to an energy efficient HVAC system can mean big savings for your home’s energy usage and your pocketbook.
What is Energy Efficient HVAC?
Do you know what consumes the most energy in your home? It’s your HVAC system. The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs (EnergyStar).
An efficient HVAC system is cost-effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option (Energy.gov). To put this simply, compared to standard units, energy-efficient HVAC uses less energy and costs less to operate without affecting performance and comfort.
An energy efficient HVAC system can be determined by two things:
SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio or SEER, measures an air conditioner’s cooling output ratio, divided by the energy it uses in watt-hours. SEER ratings for modern air conditioners range from 13 to 21. The higher the number, the more efficient the cooling appliance will be. The U.S. Department of Energy enforces minimum SEER requirements that differ by geographical region.
A SEER ratio is calculated over an entire cooling season using a constant indoor temperature and a variety of outdoor temperatures ranging from 60 degrees to 100 plus. This is how it simulates a typical season.
Keep in mind that SEER ratio is a maximum efficiency rating, like the miles per gallon for your car. Say your car gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway; however, if you’re stuck in stop and go traffic it’s a lot less efficient. The same goes for your air conditioner. If your SEER ratio is 20, that’s the maximum efficiency and it could be lower depending on conditions.
AFUE: AFUE, annual fuel utilization efficiency, refers to the percentage of heat used by a furnace or boiler converted into heating your home. This is a measurement of how well your furnace uses fuel to heat your household. The higher the rating, the more efficient your heating unit.
A unit that has above 95 percent AFUE is converting most of its fuel into heat. Simply put; if you have a furnace with an 80 percent AFUE rating, you’re losing 20 cents of every dollar of your heating bill, or $20 for every $100 you spend.
The above is just an example. Your furnace probably has an AFUE rating of 78 percent or higher, unless you have an old furnace. In 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy established new manufacturing standards for furnaces, requiring them to be at least 78 percent efficient. That number rose to 80 percent in 2013, and most modern high-quality units hit 98 percent efficiency (Energy.gov).
How Energy Efficient HVAC Can Help you Save Energy and Money
If you don’t have an energy efficient HVAC system in your home, chances are it is costing you… quite possibly a lot.
If your outdated HVAC system is causing you to call for repairs or servicing several times a year, it might be time to consider an upgrade. A new system can help you enjoy more consistent heating and cooling throughout your home and lower your utility bill. Energy efficient HVAC systems have several other benefits as well:
If your New Year’s Resolution involves saving energy or money, an energy efficient HVAC system can help. Contact Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. We are committed to providing fast, cost-effective HVAC solutions for homeowners throughout the North Bay area. Contact us today.
December 20, 2022
Do you like to keep your home warm and cozy? Do you like to lower the temperatures in your home and keep it cooler while you are sleeping? Did you know that there is actually a recommended temperature range that you should keep your home at? Try to take a guess at what that range is. Do you think you have it? The truth is, most people keep their homes much warmer in the winter months and much cooler in the summer months than they really should. So, what’s the ideal temperature for your home?
What’s the Ideal Temperature for Your Home?
We all find different temperatures to be comfortable throughout our homes, but most Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County homeowners want to find a balance between comfort and higher energy bills. By keeping your home at the temperatures we review below, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling expenses. Energy.gov provides the below recommendations.
Depending on the season, the ideal house temperature for both comfort and efficiency is between 68° to 78°F.
You can save energy in the winter by setting your thermostat to around 68°F while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. To stay comfortable and save money in the warmer months, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you are home and higher while you are away. While 68°F may seem much too cold for your home and 78°F may seem way too warm, these temperatures have proven to cut energy costs and still keep most people comfortable.
During winter, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer; a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning.
Change your temperature settings when you sleep and are away from the home.
As referenced above, you should change your home’s temperatures when you are away or sleeping. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can easily set day and time ranges, so it can change the settings for you. This will help you avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home. The Department of Energy suggests changing your normal temperature settings by 7° to 10°F while you are away from the home.
What is the best temperature for sleep?
When it comes to the ideal temperature for your home, as we said, this varies by time of year, time of day, and if you are actually there or not; however, did you know that there are also scientific reasons why you should sleep at a certain temperature? It’s true, changing the temperatures at night won’t just save you money, it can lead to a much better night of rest as well.
The suggested bedroom temperature is between 60°F and 67°F for optimal sleep (Sleep.org). When trying to fall asleep, your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep and the proposed ideal temperatures can help accelerate this. If your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night. Keeping the temperature while you sleep either too hot or too cold while you are trying to catch some shut-eye may affect the drop in your body’s internal temperature and cause you to have an anxious sleep.
Did you Guess the Right Ideal Temperature for Your Home?
Remember when we had to guess the ideal temperature range above, did you get it right? The truth is, most people don’t really think about saving money when it comes to heating and cooling their homes, they just want to be comfortable, but by giving the recommended temperature range a try you could see some major rewards in your wallet.
While Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can’t be there to adjust the temperature in your home every day, we can help you with all of your Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County heating and cooling needs.
When it comes to your comfort, you deserve the best solutions at the best value. All of our technicians and installers are Bragg employees dedicated to providing you with personalized solutions that meet your goals and budget. Contact us today.
August 4, 2022
Have you even been woken up in the middle of the night because you are too cold? What about getting out of bed because you are much too hot? Both of these things can be directly caused by your thermostat. Your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County home’s thermostat controls your home and family’s comfort level more than you may even realize. There are indications that it is time to your replace your thermostat, and they should not be ignored. Is your thermostat in need of replacement?
Is Your Thermostat in Need of Replacement?
Having the right and a functional thermostat, can save you around 10% a year on heating and cooling costs, so it is important to know if your thermostat is in need of replacement.
Around 90% of American households have HVAC, and, as stated above, the thermostat is one of the key components to a HVAC system. Your thermostat is a regulating device component, of your HVAC. To put it simply, your HVAC’s thermostat is the central control center of your home’s heating and cooling system. It's the thing that determines when and how much hot or cold air to deliver throughout your home.
Because we know how important it is for you and your family to enjoy the temperatures within your North Bay Area home, we are going to review some signs that your thermostat is in need of replacement.
It’s important to note, for all of the issues above, if your thermostat runs on batteries, the first step to troubleshooting any issue, should be to replace the batteries with a new. If that doesn’t work, your thermostat is likely in need of replacement.
Your North Bay Area home’s thermostat is key to keeping you and your family comfortable all year round. If you suspect yours needs replaced or have another issue with your HVAC system, call in a local HVAC professional.
At Bragg Plumbing & Heating we know that HVAC problems can happen at any time and often require immediate attention. We’re available to provide fast same-day HVAC service throughout Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties at no extra charge. Contact us for your heating and cooling needs.