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Plan Your Landscaping To Be Energy Efficient

The air conditioning condensing unit that sits outside works hard. If this unit is sitting in direct sunlight, it’s working even harder, so give it a break. Plant some trees or shrubs nearby to give it some shade. You’ll want to choose something that won’t drop pods or seeds on the unit.

Be careful how close these are planted to the condenser so that our technician can still have easy access when servicing the unit. The condensing unit also disposes of hot air and you don’t want the plants damaged. In the ideal scenario, your house will also benefit from the additional shade the landscaping will provide.

Cottonwood Trees and Air Conditioners Don’t Play Nice Together

When the cottonwood trees lose their seeds and the air conditioner happens to be running, the cottonwood seeds get sucked into the air conditioner coils. It’s important to keep the unit free of these cottonwood seeds. Turn the unit off for a little while and give it a much needed rest. While it’s resting, take a moment to hose down the condenser and wash away the cottonwood seeds. Too many cottonwood seeds on the unit forces it to work harder due to lack of air flow while also preventing the unit from operating efficiently.

It may be summer, but check the filters in your furnace!

Dirty or clogged filters can degrade the performance of your cooling system. A clogged filter restricts the airflow which will cause the system to run constantly and never get to the right temperature.  As the system is working overtime, the electric meter is running, running, running.   

When we get a call from a customer saying they have a problem getting the proper temperature, the first thing we ask them is, “when was the last time the filter was changed”? Quite often, that is the only problem and they don’t need a service call after all, saving some money in the process.

Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your smartphone to check your filter every three months. That filter is something that escapes most people’s attention – out of sight is out of mind. 

How did we keep cool before modern air conditioning?

Ancient Romans, the wealthy ones, filtered the water from the aqueduct through the walls of their homes. One Roman emperor imported snow down from the mountains in the summer and build his own mountain of snow to try to stay cool. President James Garfield had air blown through cotton sheets that had been doused in ice water.

Then a man named Willis Carrier came along, but he was just looking for something to take the humidity out of his printing plant, not to cool humans. In the U.S. today, over 87% of homes have air conditioning.

Stay cool (but call us if you’re not)!

The new world of thermostats

With all the things that smart phones, tablets, etc. can control these days, your thermostat is another one to add to the list. Besides the cool factor, it’s a money-saving energy efficient way to run your home as well. Currently there are some rebates available from our local utility companies which will help offset the initial purchase price.

The Honeywell Prestige thermostat, the Nest and the Ecobee thermostats all have a full-color display and a self-monitoring system that tells you when action is needed. You can receive email alerts for problems or reminders for filter replacement. Some of the models even have “dry contacts” that allow us to get advanced warning of sump pump failure or water leaks.

These smart thermostats can also calculate how long it takes to heat or cool your home. Remote access allows you to change, monitor or override those pre-set temperatures or times. As our world become more tech-savvy, don’t let your thermostat fall behind!