Q. Will smart devices such as Nest help me save on my energy bill?
A. Programmable thermostats can save you money if you use them properly. Typically with a gas furnace if you program in a setback of 5 degrees when you are at work and while you are sleeping you will use less energy in the month. With a Heat Pump you would need a special thermostat that would not bring on the electric backup heat when coming out of setback or you would use what you just saved to get the house back to temperature. In summer, avoid increasing the temperature for work and sleep times during extreme weather because the AC will take a long time to get back to your ideal comfort conditions.
Q. How is efficiency rating measured and should I always buy the best efficiency rating?
A. Gas or Oil Furnaces are rated in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), Heat Pumps in HPSF (Heating Season Performance Factor) and Air Conditioners in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). With gas furnaces you should buy a model with a 92% rating if you run the blower continuously for better air filtration as it has a more efficient blower. However, if you allow the air to turn off when not heating, a 95% model will save you energy in the long run. On the A/C side it has more to do with comfort as you get to the higher SEER ratings in our climate. The base A/C is a 13 SEER for each point you go higher it uses about 10% less energy to run.
When it comes to a residential heat pump, homeowners can expect one to last 10 to 20 years with proper maintenance. Learning how to maintain your home's heat pump isn't difficult and will save you money now and in the future.
Is a lack of whole-house humidification causing problems for your household? Low humidity can cause uncomfortable health issues like dry sinuses, allergy flare-ups and itchy skin. Dry air also has a damaging effect on your home's structure and furnishings, causing cracked trim and floorboards, furniture that may fall apart as solvents dry, or cracks that emerge in protective coatings or the wood itself.