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Is Your Home Wasting Energy? How to Improve Your Home’s Efficiency

Most homeowners are concerned about how much energy is used in a typical year, because the energy use is directly related to your household energy bill. If you suspect that your home is wasting energy, you’ll probably want to check out this handy guide to help you figure out how to save on home energy use in the long run.

It doesn’t take a complete overhaul on your home’s appliances or a fortress of solar panels to make your home more energy efficient. In fact, all you really need to do is to follow a few simple tips to make a significant impact on your home’s energy use. For a few helpful tips on how to improve energy efficiency in your home, read on.

 

Energy Efficient Home

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, be sure to check our blog for regular updates.

Top Myths About Energy Efficiency: Busted

One of the best ways to save on monthly home bills is to find ways to become more energy efficient. Many homeowners assume that you have to completely change your lifestyle to conserve enough energy to make a difference in their monthly bill. But the truth is that there are many simple steps that you can take to become more energy efficient.

In this post, we tackle this and other energy efficiency myths. Read on to get the truth about home energy efficiency and find out what might be holding you back from saving more money on your monthly energy bills.

Top Energy Efficiency Myths: Busted

At J&M Air Conditioning and Heating, we get a lot of questions and concerns from our customers about energy efficiency. To dispel some of the myths and help homeowners find the right path toward higher annual savings, we’ve tackled some of the biggest myths out there about becoming more energy efficient.

Myth: It takes a complete lifestyle change to save enough energy to make an impact on your monthly bills.

Truth: When you think of energy efficiency and monthly savings, you may picture someone who lives off-grid or severely restricts their energy usage. However, it doesn’t take drastic changes to your lifestyle to save money on your monthly energy bills. Simple changes like adjusting the thermostat before you leave and unplugging your appliances when they’re not in use can help you become more energy efficient.

Myth: Becoming more energy efficient requires a huge up-front investment.

Truth: Though there certainly are costly investments that you can make to become more energy efficient like solar panels, there are also a variety of smaller, more affordable investments that can help you save more energy on a regular basis. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you save a significant amount of money on HVAC operation costs over time and energy-efficient lighting is now widely accessible.

Myth: It requires too much effort to become energy efficient.

Truth: Many steps that you can take toward becoming energy efficient are very much a “set it and forget it” type of change. For instance, if you are using a programmable thermostat, you can program your thermostat to save energy for you, and you will only have to change it if you change your routine. Other changes that require a daily commitment like turning off lights and unplugging appliances that are not in use will become second nature once you get into a routine. If you’re more forgetful, try leaving a checklist for yourself that you can perform each day until it becomes the norm.

Do you still have questions about energy efficiency? Feel free to contact us for any questions you may have about your HVAC system or how you can find a more energy efficient model. For more informative articles on saving energy in your home, be sure to bookmark our blog. We update it monthly with new information on HVAC, home improvement, and energy savings.

 

5 Things Homeowners Should Know About HVAC Energy Usage

How well do you know your home’s HVAC system? If you don’t know much, you’re not alone. Get informed about your home’s HVAC energy usage starting today. With the right knowledge, your HVAC system will operate more efficiently and provide you and your loved ones with optimized home comfort. Not to mention, understanding your HVAC system can also save you money, as an efficient HVAC system means less energy is wasted, which means less money is wasted. We have created a handy list for homeowners looking to get familiar with their HVAC systems energy usage.

HVAC Energy Usage: What Homeowners Should Know

From what you should do with your HVAC air filter to the truth about space heaters, we’ve compiled 5 things that we think every homeowner should know about their HVAC system. Most homeowners don’t think that often about their HVAC system, until the heating or AC breaks down. Yet, HVAC energy usage is so important!

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Give us a call for more in-depth info about HVAC energy usage and to learn more about how we can help keep you comfortable indoors, no matter what the weather is like outdoors.

Call Today: (951) 663-4895

Home Energy Audits: How to DIY

Though a professional energy audit is the best way to determine how much energy your home is using (and wasting), San Jacinto homeowners can still conduct their own audit to find any problem areas and make the appropriate repairs. Below, we’ve laid out a simple checklist of steps to take to conduct your own DIY home energy audit.

DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist

Do you know how much energy you use at home? A simple but diligent audit of your home energy usage can help you identify areas for improvement as well as cut costs throughout the year. We’ve put together a simple checklist of common problem areas that you can check for energy loss during your DIY home energy audit:

Locate air leaks.

Air leaks are the first thing you should check for during your energy audit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save between 10 and 20% of home energy usage by reducing drafts in your house. Not to mention, it creates a more comfortable home environment for you and your family.

Look for any gaps or cracks on the edge of your flooring as well as where the walls and ceiling meet. You should also look for leaks around windows, doors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and electrical outlets. Once you locate leaks, plug or caulk the cracks and holes to seal the leaks.

Check insulation.

Without proper insulation, homeowners can lose a lot of heat through the walls and ceiling. Your home’s insulation may not be up to today’s standards, especially if the house is older. That’s why it is important to check for adequate insulation during your DIY home energy audit.

Start by looking in the attic to ensure that any openings around pipes and ductwork are sealed properly. Ensure that the attic vents are not blocked by any insulation, and check to see that the entire attic floor is covered with the recommended amount of insulation.

Inspect heating and cooling equipment.

In addition to changing your air filter regularly, you should also have your heating and cooling equipment inspected by a professional at least once a year. During your annual HVAC tune-up, your technician will make sure that the system is clean and running smoothly. He or she will also check for any worn or broken parts and make any necessary repairs. This helps ensure that your system is running as efficiently as possible.

If your unit is over 15 years old, then you might want to consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. If you need to schedule your annual maintenance appointment or find out about your HVAC system upgrade options, give us a call today: (951) 663-4895.

Review lighting choices.

Lighting can account for about 10% of your electric bill, which is why it’s important to review the lighting choices that you’ve made in your home. Replace older, more inefficient bulbs with energy-saving incandescent bulbs or LEDs. When you purchase new bulbs, make sure to pay attention to the brightness.

If you find that your lighting use is contributing to your high energy bill, work on changing your habits by turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. In addition to changing your habits, you can also use sensors, dimmers, and timers to reduce lighting use throughout the year.

Examine appliance and electronics usage.

The last factor that you need to consider in your home energy audit is your use of appliances and electronics. Which appliances and electronics you have and how you use them can have a significant impact on your monthly energy costs. Take note of which appliances and electronics you use on a daily basis. Then, use this appliance energy calculator from Energy.gov to estimate how much energy they use.

Once you’ve determined how much energy you use through appliance and electronics usage, work on saving more energy by making simple changes to your habits. This can include unplugging an appliance when it is not in use or changing the settings on your electronics to energy-savings mode. You may also want to consider purchasing more energy-efficient appliances to reduce more energy over time.

Do you like reading about energy efficiency? Check back on our blog each month for more helpful tips on how to save energy and lower your monthly bills.

5 Go-To Resources About Going Green

More and more homeowners are recognizing the benefits of green living. Whether you want to reduce your impact on the environment and leave a better future for your family or you need to find more ways to reduce energy usage to save on monthly costs, there are so many benefits of going green. Not only can this help you create a healthier home environment, but it may also help you save a little on monthly energy costs.

One of the biggest issues that homeowners face when trying to be more environmentally-friendly is educating themselves on the best ways to save energy and reduce their environmental impact. That’s why we have put together a list of our favorite resources to help San Jacinto homeowners go green.

How to Go Green: Our Top Resources

Our team is always looking for ways to stay up-to-date with the latest in energy efficiency. Here are just a few of our favorite resources:

Energy.gov

The U.S. Department of Energy’s mission is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. One of the ways that this department helps homeowners learn more about energy efficiency is through the helpful articles and infographics on their site. The Energy Saver section of the website offers simple and actionable tips that homeowners can take to reduce their energy usage and lower monthly costs.

Sustainable Baby Steps

Many homeowners want to live more sustainably, but don’t know where to start. Sustainable Baby Steps is a site dedicated to helping beginners start their journey toward more sustainable living. The site offers informative articles on a range of topics such as home, garden, health, and shopping. This is a great site for those who want to live more sustainably but are not sure where to start. The articles offers some small and simple steps that you can take to get started.

Real Simple Green Living

RealSimple.com is the online platform for Real Simple magazine, a publication that provides smart and realistic solutions for everyday challenges as well as inspiring ideas to make your life easier. The site has a Green Living section that contains a wealth of informative articles that offer simple and actionable tips for going green. From articles on how to create DIY natural cleaners to fun pieces about individuals living in tiny homes, this site contains a lot of great content for any homeowner who is looking for more information on living sustainably or tips on how to make it happen.

J & M Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

We have included our blog on this resource list because we often publish articles on energy efficiency. Though we are an HVAC company, our articles go beyond just providing ways to save money on HVAC energy costs. Some of our articles, such as Home Energy Audits: How to DIY, help homeowners discover new ways to improve efficiency and save on their monthly energy costs.

Are These Things Holding You Back from Lowering Your HVAC Costs?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”? Well, when it comes to HVAC system health and efficiently, this is just not the case. Sometimes you may think that the way you are running your HVAC system is increasing efficiency when in reality it is doing just the opposite. Below, we’ll discuss some things that you may be doing that actually hold you back from lowering your HVAC costs.

Common HVAC Mistakes That May be Costing You

No one wants to waste money. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most common HVAC mistakes that homeowners make and how you can avoid them:

Setting your thermostat to fan-on mode.

Some homeowners may think that setting their thermostat to the “fan-on” position instead of “auto” will make their home more comfortable throughout the day. However, this can actually cause a lot of trouble in your home. When there is humidity in the air, this may cause the perfect breeding ground for mold, especially if you have an oversized AC unit. Not only can mold be costly to remedy, but it can also have a significant impact on your family’s health.

In addition, your energy bills will be higher because you fan is constantly running instead of just turning on when it needs to bring the temperature up or down. Leaving your fan on all of the time can also increase duct leakage, which can then lead to an increase of air leakage across your home. To avoid these issues and the possibility of increased HVAC costs, set your thermostat to “auto,” and allow your cooling system to determine when it needs to run.

Closing or blocking air vents.

Some homeowners are under the assumption that closing air vents in unused rooms will help them save energy and lower their HVAC costs. In reality, closing air vents does just the opposite. When you close air vents in certain rooms, this offsets your home’s airflow, which will cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should to keep your home a comfortable temperature. This decreases efficiency, and ultimately, raises your heating and cooling costs.

Another common HVAC issue that homeowners face is blocking air vents. Air return vents may not be the most attractive element of your home. However, hiding these vents behind furniture or curtains can mess with your air flow and drive your HVAC costs up. If your HVAC system does not get proper airflow, this can decrease efficiency. Homeowners should always keep air vents uncovered and clean to promote an efficient and healthy HVAC system.

Using the most efficient air filter.

Most homeowners want to provide the healthiest home environment for their families. Buying the least expensive air filter may result in poor indoor air quality, so some individuals opt for more efficient air filters with higher MERV ratings. The issue here is that air filters that are extremely efficient are typically very thick and they can cause too much of a drag in air flow. The standard residential HVAC system was not designed to use these types of filters, especially the older units, and using these filters can cause a decrease in overall efficiency as well as additional wear and tear to the unit.

Instead of buying the most efficient air filter possible, do some research and read the HVAC manual to find the right type of air filter for your system. If you are concerned about indoor air quality or have family members with weakened immune systems, contact an HVAC professional to discuss your options for upgrading your air filter.

Looking for more ways to save on HVAC costs? We would love to help! Call us today for more information about our energy-saving HVAC systems and programmable thermostats from Carrier: (951) 663-4895.

J&M’s Best Tips for Saving Energy

Most homeowners are continuously on the lookout for ways to save money. One of the best ways to decrease overall household costs is to reduce energy usage. However, this is often easier said than done. That’s why we have dug deep into our blog archives to bring you some of our best energy-saving tips for San Jacinto homeowners.

Best Articles for Saving Energy in San Jacinto

We know how important it is for homeowners to find new and simple ways to save energy in their homes. Below are some of our best blog posts for helping you do just that:

Why You Shouldn’t Close Vents in Unused Rooms

There is a false assumption out there that closing the air vents in unused rooms helps save energy and reduce energy costs. The truth is that this can actually cause damage to your heating and cooling system, which leaves homeowners with costly repair bills. If someone you know closes their AC vents to save energy, share this article with them today!

Tips on HVAC Efficiency

Who couldn’t use a few tips for improving their HVAC efficiency? This article talks a little bit about what measures you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently year-round. For even more tips, check out our article, “How to Use HVAC System Efficiently.” With all of these great energy-saving tips, you’ll be on your way to cutting down on heating and cooling costs in no time.

Energy Savings on Vacation

Though saving energy may be the last thing on your mind as you head out the door for vacation, it is important to be conscious of how much energy you are using (and paying for!) when you’re not even home. This article offers effective and actionable tips that you can use to save energy while you are away. Bookmark this article for the next time you leave home for an extended period of time or share this with a friend who is going on vacation soon.

DIY Home Energy Audit

One of the best ways to prevent energy waste and unnecessary spending is a home energy audit. This article offers a step-by-step plan for conducting your own DIY home energy audit. It also provides more information about professional home energy audits. If you’re tired of wasting precious energy, you might want to read this asap!

3 Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Thermostat

Have you been thinking about upgrading to a smart or programmable thermostat? This blog post can better help you prepare for the big upgrade. Though many homeowners may not realize it, your choice of thermostat plays a big role in how you can monitor energy usage and work to conserve more energy on a regular basis. Read this post to find out more about how a thermostat could help you cut down on energy costs.

Want to learn more about other aspects of HVAC, home improvement, and energy efficiency? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog (updated monthly), and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Save Money this Holiday Season with Our Top Energy-Saving Tips

The holidays are fast approaching, and this time of the year is one of high energy use. Whether you’re turning on your heat more often, baking up a storm, entertaining family and guests at your home, or even just putting up holiday lights, there is a good chance that your energy usage will increase during this time of the year. However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can work to reduce your energy costs this holiday season.

3 Energy-Saving Tips for the Holidays

Here are a few ways that you can cut back on your energy use this holiday season and lower your energy bills:

  1. Use LED holiday lights or non-lighted decorations.

A cheerfully decorated home is one of the first signs that the holidays are here. One way to save energy this holiday season is to use décor that does not require electricity such as tinsel or garland. If you can’t imagine the holidays without the colorful lights, consider using LED holiday lights. LED holiday lights use up to 90% less energy than traditional holiday lights. These are a great alternative to less energy efficient holiday lights, and they can be used both inside and outside the home.

  1. Drop the temperature on your thermostat.

The higher you set the thermostat, the higher your energy costs will soar. Though you want keep your family warm and comfortable during the holidays, there are ways to do this without breaking the bank. Try bundling up by putting on an extra sweater or sharing a blanket with a loved one. Perhaps spend some time outdoors around the fire. Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat when leaving the house to save energy while you’re away. A programmable thermostat is a great choice for those who want to be able to control the temperature while away.

  1. Avoid using inflatable lawn ornaments.

It seems that inflatable snowmen, penguins, and reindeer are all the rage during the holiday season. Though these lawn decorations might be cute, they are certainly draining your bank account if you leave them inflated on a regular basis. Instead, opt for lawn decorations that don’t need to be plugged in. They can look just as nice without using any energy. If you must have your inflatable Santa Claus, make sure to unplug it during off hours or only plug it in when you will be outside to enjoy it. This can help you cut down on the energy you use to inflate your holiday lawn decorations.

Want to save money on energy costs year-round? We would love to help you find the right energy efficient HVAC system for your home comfort needs. Call us today at (951) 663-4895.

Can My Heat Pump Keep Up When It’s Over 110 degrees Outside?

This year’s summer has boasted some of the highest temperatures on record. As we transition into fall and children return to school, the mercury continues to rise. Meteorologists predict that we will continue to break record temperatures throughout September. In the scorching heat, homeowners are confronted with a “burning” question: Can my heat pump keep up?

How A Heat Pump Cools Your Home

A heat pump providing cooling services? If it seems backward to you, you’re not alone. Many homeowners are confused about a heat pump’s function. A heat pump can provide your house with some much needed summer relief by pushing warm inside air to the outside. Some think that a heat pump may have trouble keeping up with summer swelter, but this is a common misconception. In fact, heat pumps are more likely to have trouble keeping up in bitterly cold climates, since they rely on pulling heat from the ground or water.

HVAC experts maintain heat pumps cool a home just as effectively as a standard air conditioner, no matter what the heat index.

Heat Pump Cooling: Other Misconceptions

If you’re considering a heat pump to provide warming and cooling services for your home, know the common misconceptions and truths surrounding them:

Heat Pump Efficiency

While heat pumps may cool a home just as efficiently as any other conditioner, they also won’t be any more efficient. Some homeowners assume that heat pumps help save money. While there’s no difference between air conditioners and heat pumps with regard to efficiency, there are differences between models. A high-efficiency model will save you more on your utility bills, for example.

Heat Pump Benefits

Heat pumps do help save cash in other ways. The main benefit of a heat pump is that you can use it for heating and cooling, so you don’t have to pay for installation and maintenance of two devices. And a heat pump can save you money on your winter heating bills—they can be 30-40% more efficient in the winter. When the temperature dips below 30 degrees, a heat pump generates its own heat, which costs a little extra. If you live in a climate with temperatures consistently under freezing, a heat pump may not be your best option.

How Much Does a Heat Pump Cost?

Makes and models vary, but in general, expect to pay $800–$1,500 for purchase and installation. Only trust a qualified HVAC specialist to install your unit. Improper installation can actually lead to higher energy bills.

Do They Require More Maintenance?

Like all appliances, your heat pump requires maintenance to keep it running at maximum efficiency. Just as you get a summer tune-up for your air conditioner, get one for your heat pump. Expect it to cost around $100.

Heat pumps are a smart heating and cooling option for many homeowners. They provide maximum efficiency while pulling double duty—and you don’t have to worry about a heat pump keeping up in hot summer temperatures. For more information about heat pumps and how they work, contact us today.