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Home Energy Saving Tips for Fall

As fall arrives and temperatures start to drop, many Manassas homeowners are looking for ways to save more energy on home comfort costs. The question is, how can you save energy while also staying comfortable? Below, we provide some basic tips for helping you stay warm and cozy while keeping your home energy costs low.

  1. Fix any drafty areas of your home.

When gaps and cracks start to form around your home’s doors and windows, these areas can let the warm air escape, which wastes energy while also making it harder for you to get comfortable. You can fight the draft by sealing any cracks around your doors and windows. Caulk around your windows, apply new weatherstripping to your doors, and seal any gaps around electrical outlets. These quick and affordable fixes can help you save up to 20% on your energy bills.

  1. Make sure that your vents are uncovered.

Over time, it can be easy to accidentally block your vents. Whether you rearrange the furniture in your living room or add new drapes and curtains, you may be blocking your vents without even realizing it. Make sure that your vents are uncovered and clear of any objects so that your heater doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to keep you warm.

  1. Replace your furnace filter.

A clogged or blocked furnace filter can start to impact your HVAC efficiency. That’s why it’s important to check your air filter at least once a month and replace the filter when it has become visibly dirty. Not only will this help improve air flow and efficiency, it will also help you maintain your indoor air quality throughout the year.

  1. Get an HVAC tune-up.

Routine HVAC maintenance is an important part of keeping your home comfort system running smoothly and efficiently year-round. Fall is the best time to get an HVAC tune-up as your HVAC system tends to get the heaviest use in the summer when temperatures are warmer and again in winter when they start to cool down.

During your HVAC maintenance visit, one of our licensed HVAC contractors will clean and lubricate your equipment while checking for any malfunctions or repair needs. By making sure that your system is operating correctly, your HVAC tech can help prevent costly breakdowns and help you save more money on energy costs throughout the year.

Save More Energy in Manassas

If you’re looking for more ways to save on energy costs in your Manassas, VA home, be sure to check out our blog each month for brand new content about HVAC and energy efficiency topics. If you think your HVAC system may be to blame for your high energy bills, give us a call today: (703) 496-5527.

Setting Your Thermostat in the Spring and Summer (The Last Blog You’ll Ever Need to Read)

Thermostats have almost become an enigma among Virginia households. Anytime someone asks, “What should I set my thermostat to save money?”, it’s met with a number of different responses, of which, only a few are really applicable to any given household.

The truth is, setting your thermostat in the warmer months doesn’t have to be so complicated. Taking into account your family’s comfort and short vs. long-term savings, you can very likely run your home’s A/C on one simple rule – Set it and forget it!

While programmable thermostats can be a lifesaver in terms of short-term savings and home comfort, putting your system through consistent temperature shifts can harm your energy efficiency and place unnecessary wear and tear on your unit. Always keep in mind that whatever you set your thermostat to, your system will eventually have to overcompensate to return your home, or a given area, back to a comfortable temperature.

Unless you are on the brink of a seasonal shift in weather, the warm weather that you allowed to buildup in your home is going to stick around until your unit kicks back on again. Once it does, it is forced to work twice as hard to attain the same comfortable temperature. So while you are saving up to 6% of your energy per each degree you increase your thermostat and your unit doesn’t have to run as much, your savings go right back into re-cooling your house.

What should I set my thermostat to in the summer?

The average person does not sweat until the temperature rises above 78 degrees. This is why most HVAC specialists and energy saving buffs recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the warm season. On days where the temperature does not drop below 78 during the daytime, it’s best to maintain one setting in order to prevent your system from overworking. This setting also prevents residents from experiencing harsh shifts in temperature when leaving their homes.

Pro tip: A desk, box or ceiling fan can go a long way towards helping you feel cooler without actually cooling the room further. Fans use up significantly less energy than your A/C unit, so you can stay comfortable while also keeping your home energy efficient.

Unique factors that can affect home comfort

Each household will have exceptions to the standard 78 degrees in the warmer months. If you have the budget, then discussing these factors will help promote a comfortable home for all residents.

  • Hormones (especially for those experience times of great hormone fluctuations – pregnancy & menopause)
  • Glandular disorder – While the average person perspires when the temps hit 78, those that sweat at cooler temperatures will want to avoid excessive perspiration with a more appropriate thermostat setting.
  • Sleep habits – A great night’s sleep is a must for any lifestyle. If you are  a cool sleeper, a simple fan may not be enough to keep you from waking up in a sweat. Be certain to set the thermostat to accommodate cool sleepers during spring and summer.
  • Time spent in the home – Certain programmable thermostats can be set depending on the day of the week. This is great for households on the go. You can avoid energy efficiency issues by increasing the thermostat setting while you are away, but only if the temperature drops enough by the time you return home at night to assist your unit in re-cooling your home.
  • Where time is spent (hot air rises, which makes spending time upstairs less comfortable)
  • Humidity – Humidity can make any home uncomfortable. Don’t continue to set your thermostat lower and lower to attempt to make your home comfortable if humidity is the issue. Instead, invest in a dehumidifier or and A/C unit that controls humidity in order to create a comfortable home.
  • Sunlight – Skylights and poorly shaded windows can let in heat from the sun. Be aware that those that spend time in these rooms will not be as comfortable as residents in rooms with less sunlight in the summer.

What about zoning my home in the summer?

Attempting to zone your home in the summer can get a bit dicey. Yes, zoning can save you money on your monthly bill, however, just like raising your settings or shutting off your system, you run into the issue of re-cooling a room or section of your home that is now much warmer than it would have been if you would have just maintained a consistent thermostat setting at the beginning of spring.

If at all possible, consider your schedule at the start of the warm season when attempting to zone your home. If you aren’t expecting guests until late fall, feel free to zone off your guest bedroom and bathroom.

Setting your thermostat while on summer vacation

The same mentality can go into your “away” or “vacation” mode settings. If you’re going to be gone through a temperature transition, then it’s okay to shut your system off and allow your home to naturally release the heat that gathered during summer when you get back in the fall.

If you’re gone for just a few weeks or less, only increase your settings by 4 degrees at the most. This will keep your system from using too much energy while you are away, but prevent it from having to struggle to replenish your home with the cool air you need to stay comfortable.

At Fire & Ice HVAC, we know that marrying home comfort and energy savings can be a struggle. We also understand that every home has different needs. If you feel as though you need additional guidance beyond this post, please don’t hesitate to contact our Woodbridge HVAC office at 703-496-5527 to speak with one of our licensed HVAC specialists.