Lowering the Heat Cost in your Home

The average winter heating bill in Virginia is just over $100 a month. While saving a few dollars here and there may not seem like much, it all adds up. Knowing how to lower the cost to heat your home can be beneficial in many ways. Not only do you save money, you can also reduce your impact on the environment and you can make your home more cozy during the colder months. To save on your furnace maintenance and repair, here are some great DIY tips to follow this winter:

  1. Replace your HVAC filter – One of the easiest things you can do (all year round) to improve your HVACs efficiency is to replace the filter as needed. Depending on the quality filters should be changed every 3 or more months. If you have allergies, pets, or are a smoker, you should change it more often. Filters are easy to change and you can sign up for a delivery subscription so you don’t have to keep track. When the filter gets delivered, you know it’s time for a change.
  2. Reverse your ceiling fans – Another super easy thing you can do is to flip the switch on your ceiling fans so that it rotates clockwise. Clockwise rotations  create an updraft that recirculates heated air. In the summer switch it back – the counterclockwise rotation pushes air down, creating a wind chill to cool you.
  3. Turn down the thermostat – Over an 8 hour period, for every degree you lower the temperature, you can save up to 1% on your heating bill. If you are leaving for the day, turning the thermostat down a few degrees is easy, since no one will be there. If you are home all day, put on an extra layer, and consider investing in some warm socks. You can also turn the thermostat down 1 or 2 degrees at bedtime – just use an extra blanket.
  4. Install a smart thermostat – It’s never a bad time to invest in a smart thermostat. Most models are user friendly and connect to a smart phone so you have control even when you’re not at home. If you set the thermostat a few degrees lower while you’re at work, you can turn the heat back up on the way home so you don’t walk into a cold house. Another benefit is the habit tracking feature. The thermostat records every change you make. So if you have a habit of turning the thermostat down at 9 pm every night, the thermostat will pick up on that and do it even when you forget.
  5. Mind the gap – Check your windows and doors for gaps that allow cold air in and heated air out. Add or improve insulation in areas that feel drafty. Simple fixes as door draft blockers slide ride onto the bottom of most doors. There are also many different styles of window draft blockers on the market.
  6. Service your HVAC -Every fall, before turning on the heat, you should schedule a service appointment with a certified HVAC specialist. This ensures that your system is operating efficiently and there aren’t any big problems. By having a yearly check up, you will extend the life of your system and save money by fixing small issues before they become big problems.
  7. Go LED – During the holidays, switching to LED lights will save you a lot of money. You should switch all of your lighting to LED, not just holiday decor. According to the Department of Energy, LED lights use 75% less energy than incandescent lights, and last up to 25 times longer.
  8. Use your curtains wisely – Upgrading your curtains to a heavier style can help you sleep later by blocking sunlight, and can help your home stay cozy by keeping heat from leaking through cracks. Open the curtains during sunny parts of the day to allow sunlight to naturally warm your home and get some much-needed vitamin D.

There are quite a few tricks to help with heating your home in the colder months, many of which you can do yourself. For more tips, advice, or to schedule HVAC service, give Weather Crafters a call today!

ultramax

Using UV Lights to Clean your Air

Indoor air quality in your home is a constant struggle. Traditionally home owners have relied on air filters in the HVAC systems to keep all the airborne creepy crawlies under control. 

Filters trap things floating through the air – such as dust, pet hair, and pollen. However, smaller particles slip through the filter and keep circulating through your home. They are in the air you breath and they settle on the countertops, your toothbrush, and everything else in your home.

So how do you combat a germ-a-phobe’s worst nightmare? With the power of light! Use UV lights to clean your air. You might be surprised to know that outdoor air generally contains less pollutants and germs than indoor air. This is because the UV rays produced by the sun keep many airborne microorganisms under control – killing bacterias, viruses, mold, and other nasty things that travel through the air. UV lights, such as the Ultramax, can produce the same bacteria-destroying properties as the sun and help to improve the air quality in your home.

The Ultramax is installed inside your existing HVAC system and  using UV lights to clean your air couldn’t be easier. It is mounted near the indoor coil and keeps mold and other allergens from growing on the coil.

Because all the air in your home circulates through the HVAC system and ductwork, the powerful UV lights produced by the Ultramax will come into contact with pretty much all the air in your home. Not only does the Ultramax clean your air – it also cleans your HVAC system by removing mold and mildew that might build up inside the ductwork. This allows your HVAC to run more efficiently, saving you energy and money. The Ultramax is an awesome addition to any home. It is easy to install, it sits inside your already-existing HVAC system so it is out of the way, and it runs silently so you won’t have an annoying humming sound.

Why wait to purchase an Utramax UV Light? Every second you wait, you are breathing in bacteria and germs. Contact Weather Crafters today to hear about our special promotions for Ultramax UV Lights and how your family can benefit from  using UV lights to clean your air. We can answer any questions you have, help determine which model would be best for your home, and help with installation. Put a stop to breathing dirty air! Call Weather Crafters now!

For more information about the Ultramax UV Light system, check out https://www.ultravation.com/germicidal-uv-air-treatment/

Save Money on Heating

Air Leaks that Cost You Money

Energy efficiency is an important topic for many homeowners. Not only is energy efficiency important for the environment, it also saves you money by reducing your energy bill. Things like buying energy efficient appliances and changing to more efficient light bulbs will cut costs, but there is something else you can do that will save you a significant amount of money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average home spends 48% of its energy bill on heating and cooling. By reducing or eliminating air leaks in your home, you can reduce that part of the bill and save yourself money. Air leaks that cost you money are throwing money out the window, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some easy tips to find and fix air leaks in your home.

  1. Unsealed Windows and Doors
    Making sure that your windows and doors are well-sealed is key to preventing air leaks that cost you money. Having an energy auditor come to your home to do an inspection is the easiest way to check the seals on your windows and doors. However, you can check the seals yourself. Begin by inspecting the seals on your windows and doors. If there is an obvious gap, or if the seal looks like it is worn or torn, it needs to be replaced. If you aren’t sure, try closing and locking all the doors and windows in your home. Close the vents and air ducts. Turn on the exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen. Take a lighted incense stick and walk slowly past each window and door, where the seals are. The smoke from the incense stick should float normally. If it start to float toward a seal, that means there is air leaking out from that seal. Do this with all external windows and doors. The smoke from the incense will show you where you should replace the seals.
  1. Attic Air Sealing
    To find any air leaks that cost you money in your attic, start by making a blueprint of all the lights and fans that are below the attic. Lights and fans are mounted by creating an electric cutout in the ceiling, which will cause air leaks. Go into the attic and check each spot that a light or ceiling fan is. You may need to pull back insulation to see the opening. Make sure that all electric cutouts are properly sealed using either acrylic latex or silicone caulking. This will keep air from going up into that attic and help keep your home the desired temperature.
  1. Air Ducts
    Another area that may have air leaks that cost you money is found in the ductwork. The ductwork is essentially a series of tunnels that the air from your HVAC travels through to go to various parts of your home. If there are leaks in the ductwork, the air that you are paying to heat or cool is leaking out into the space under your floor, going to waste. Because air ducts are generally tucked away, it may be hard to visually see them. For areas of the ductwork that you can see, look at the joints where the ducts connects, and make sure there is a tight seal. If you need to re-seal a connection, use mastic or sticky metal tape. If you are having trouble seeing your ductwork, have an energy auditor or your HVAC company come out to inspect it.
  1. Recessed Lighting
    Recessed lighting can be another culprit for air leaks. Just like ceiling fans, these lights often require an electric cutout into the ceiling. You can check for air leaks using an incense stick. If you find a leak, you can re-caulk the seal or replace the light fixture with a more air-tight lighting can.
  1. Chimneys
    Chimneys often cause leaks because of the building codes. They require one inch between wooden frames and metal flues, and two inches from the brick chimney itself. These gaps help your chimney from overheating or catching on fire, but they also cause air leaks. To fix these gaps, you will need aluminum flashing cut to perfectly fit the gap in your chimney. This is definitely a project that requires a skilled hand, so getting in touch with your chimney inspector is probably the best way to deal with air leaks in your chimney.

Air leaks that cost you money are no joke. Not only  are they cutting down on the energy efficiency of your home, they are taking dollars right out of your pocket. Taking a weekend to check for and fix air leaks will save you money in the long run and it’s worth the time and effort.

For more information on how to air seal your home and cut down on your heating and cooling bills, check out https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/air-sealing-your-home

smart thermostats save money

Smart Thermostats Save Money

Homes are becoming more and more advanced in the technology realm. Refrigerators that remind you to buy milk, doors that can lock themselves, and showers that remember your water temperature preferences. While some of these advancements may seem a bit frivolous, one thing is true – smart thermostats save money. This little piece of technology is a smart investment and also gives you peace of mind.

Many people talk themselves out of purchasing a smart thermostat because of the initial price tag. However, the EPA’s Energy Star program found that smart thermostats save about $180 in heating and cooling a year. So your upgrade should pay for itself in 2 years time.

Many smart thermostats have an app to download on your smart phone. Once the app is ready, it will provide you with a step-by-step video on how to install the thermostat. Weather Crafters can save you the hassle and install your WiFi thermostat for you.

The app also provides you with a remote way to access the thermostat. So whether you want to adjust the temperature while you’re relaxing on the couch, or while you’re out working at the office, it’s in the palm of your hand. Another money-saving tip is to talk to your energy provider. If your home is more energy efficient, they get energy reduction results to brag about. Many utility companies provide rebates for smart thermostats.

Smart thermostats save money making adjustments based on 3 things:

  1. What you tell the thermostat to do
  2. Patterns it learns from you
  3. The actual weather

So let’s say you leave the house at 8 am during the week for work, and return home at 6 pm. Each day, you program your thermostat to turn the HVAC off while you are gone. Soon, the thermostat will begin following that pattern so you don’t have to keep telling it what to do. It will also take into account the weather and climate. If your area is prone to humidity, the thermostat will register the temperature outside, and the amount of humidity, and then make adjustments to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house.

It is important to monitor your home’s energy usage, and a smart thermostat is just the thing to do that. It will generate reports and data for you to look at. There you will see trends – does your home become warmer from sunlight during certain times of the day? Do certain areas require more air-conditioning than others? These little tidbits will help you make adjustments and adjustments mean more money going into your pocket and not onto your bill.

While not all technology upgrades are worth it, a smart thermostat definitely is. It saves money and energy, all while creating less work for you. These thermostats can keep you comfortable and take a little stress off of your mind. Instead of trying to remember to adjust the temperature every time you walk out the door, just relax. The smart thermostat has got you covered.

For more information about how smart thermostats save money, check out https://www.suncountryheatingandcooling.com/article/everything-you-need-to-know-about-smart-thermostats