Heating and Cooling Companies' Recommendations

Home Improvements

A Penny Saved

Most of Us Spend Lots of Time at Home. That's why it's important to have things done right when it comes to home improvement. When finances permit, the following suggestions concerning governmental support for contractors striving to save you money may come in handy for getting the most out of your household utilities at the time when serious work has to be done on the home.

Choosing Your Company Carefully
Not only is a responsible home heating and ventilation company often one of the oldest and most experienced companies in town, but it is also usually a member of Energy Star's home performance program through Consumers Energy or a similar organization. What does this mean to you?

In recessionary times, home owners are looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Consumers Energy is an organization that helps heating and air conditioning companies to provide savings through a program called Consumers Energy Home Performance with Energy Star.

Since 1992 the U.S. government has saved people billions of dollars by helping and encouraging such companies to provide energy savings for your home.
A company may be selected to be one of the companies to participate in this special program because:

  • It is certified by the National Building Performance Institute.
  • It offers you a wide range of energy savings products, including very efficient heating, cooling, and water heating equipment, excellent insulation, duct sealing, and appliances bearing the Energy Star label.
  • It has a long-standing reputation for responsibility and professionalism.

The Advantages for You
Through its participation in Energy Star's home performance program a responsible heating and ventilation company can be counted on, because it is dedicated to finding solutions to your problems and special issues, including:

  • High energy use
  • Particular rooms with heating and cooling problems
  • Excessive moisture in your home
  • Health and safety problems.


Special Energy Savings
The following tips and advice may open the doors to additional benefits for your family:

  • Under the program rules, Consumers Energy and similar organizations often offer some customer rebates on selected items of service by your select company.
  • You often can get a free home comfort and energy savings guide, or similar literature from the Internet websites of responsible heating and ventilation companies.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has placed special emphasis on indoor air quality and its effects on breathing disorders in your family, including asthma and allergies.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy advises that energy savings should involve an energy assessment of your home to determine where you're losing energy.
  • It's estimated that in 2009 alone, U.S. consumers experienced $17 billion in savings through Energy Star, while saving the environment from a potential damage level equivalent to 30 million cars.

Additionally, there are basic tips that always will result in good economy in home cooling and heating. For example, watching the thermostat carefully is the key to keeping bills down. People can sleep better at night sometimes with the thermostat off.

Also, if you have a hot-water radiator, you should drain it about once a year to make it work more efficiently.

Proper insulation is essential to keep the warmth or coolness inside your home.

If you are able to utilize natural warmth from the sun, do so by letting the sunshine come through the windows in the winter. In the summer, try to shade off those same windows and use screens on the shady side of the house.

But energy-efficient appliances such as highly rated air conditioning units, are the way to make long-range savings. In addition to Energy Star, the "SEER" equipment (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) delivers excellent results at an economical rate.

Finally, don't lose sight of the fact that no matter how careful someone may be in operating heating and cooling equipment, other home appliances that use electricity and gas also may have a strong effect on the economical operation of the home and can offset any savings gained through heating and cooling, if usage is wasteful or excessive.

Winter Prep Chores

WINTERIZING IS LABOR INTENSIVE
WINTERIZING IS LABOR INTENSIVE

The Tough Job of Winterizing Your Home

Among the things that are sure in life are cold winters. Gutters along the edge of the roof have to be cleared of debris before melting snows and storm water get backed up, forming a rotten sewer of garbage hanging overhead as you nervously await disaster in the form of dry rot and what-not. In fact, if you see anything leaking, whether it's leaking water, air, or gooey stuff, patch it up right away. Don't wait until all health-scare breaks loose in the dead of winter.

Insulation isn't put on a house just for looks. In fact, you can't even see it. No matter whether it's pink, white, gray, or purple, insulation has it's purpose. If the purpose isn't obvious now it will be when the heating bill arrives and you have sticker shock even though you've been freezing all month with the heat on.

A furnace is like a person. It has to breathe, through its ventilation ducts. It needs a routine check-up by a good internist--you. Make sure you clean the filter. In ambitious years when you have the energy, do your best to vacuum out the ducts leading to your vents inside your rooms. This would be the typical hot-air furnace that can blow dust and microscopic particles around your home in the winter when windows are shut, leaving your family no choice other than to take that stuff into their lungs, unless they choose to stop breathing.

In the old days people boarded up the windows. Now we have storm windows and special, strong clear-plastic protection that can be taped across a window opening to avoid drafts. Get with the program and do the right thing.

If you are lucky enough to have a nice fireplace, you have to tend to your chimney care as well. Birds and kids' toys and balls can find their way into a chimney in mysterious ways. Many people find it wise to place a protective screen over the top of the chimney.

Find a good wrapping material for pipes that are outside enough that they might freeze. Calling a plumber for a burst pipe in freezing weather isn't going to help his attitude when he makes out the bill.

On a serious note, fires occur in the winter, especially on the first cold day when furnaces kick in after a long dry spell. Listen for the fire engines at the beginning of cold-snap season. Therefore, take care that the furnace is clean and operable. Make sure that any smoke-alarm system you have in your home is going to be up and running.

Winter is no joke when it hits. Most of the heavily populated urban northeast, the central states, and the Canadian border states in America have had news-making storms consistently. Turning your back on winter and pretending it's going to be a snap could prove unwise. Best of luck for a happy holiday season, safe and sound.


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revmjm profile image

revmjm 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

Useful advice about saving on heating and cooling bills.

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