G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Archive for October, 2012

Woodinville Easy Tips: How to Improve Efficiency This Winter

Monday, October 29th, 2012

“So I heard that energy prices are going down,” said no one ever. With energy prices on the rise and no end in sight, we’re all dreading our monthly utility bills. That’s why people everywhere are looking for cheap and easy ways to make their homes more energy efficient. We’ve put together some simple ideas that are fast and affordable to make your home more efficient this winter. By keeping more of your heat indoors you can use your heater less and potentially save yourself some money.

Insulation

The first thing you should do is climb up into your attic and check the insulation there. Heat naturally rises and will collect in your attic. If your insulation is old or if you have holes in it, you could be leaking all of that heat energy to the outside. Insulation is given an “R” value that determines its efficiency. Replacing your old insulation with newer, higher rated insulation could help keep more that heat indoors. You can also check the insulation in your floors and in your walls. These are other areas where heat can escape.

Window and Door Frames

Another place where heat can escape is through the frames in your doors and windows. Having your windows and doors sealed is a great way to keep more of that energy inside. There are weather stripping products and indoor sealants that are specifically designed for this application. Particularly important is the door to your attic and the door to your basement. These can be places where heat easily escapes to the outside. There are also thin, transparent seals that can be applied to your windows to keep heat from seeping through the spaces between the glass and the frame.

 Insulate your Water Heater and Pipes

Another way to improve the efficiency of your home is to look at your hot water system. If you have a tank water heater in your basement you might be losing a lot of heat energy there. Your basement can get freezing cold and if your water heater is there, the cold air could be sucking heat out of it. Insulating your heater is a great way to trap more heat inside of it so that it doesn’t have to keep reheating the water. You may also want to think about insulating the water pipes in your house. Not only can this keep more heat in the water as it is en route to your faucet, but it can also potentially prevent damage to your home from frozen pipes.

If you have any questions about increasing the efficiency in your home, contact the heating professionals at G & S Heating, Cooling & Electric today. We offer comprehensive heating services in Woodinville and would be more than happy to talk with you about your home heating situation.

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Woodinville Tip: High Efficiency Home Comfort Equipment

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Don’t let high energy costs disrupt your comfort. Do your research, work out a budget, and invest in equipment with the highest efficiency levels that you can afford, such as a geothermal heating and cooling system. It’s true that the higher the efficiency of a heating or cooling system the higher the initial costs generally are, but you can offset that purchasing price by saving money on utility costs down the road. Here is some information to help you heat and cool your Woodinville home more efficiently.

  • Efficiency Ratings– Heaters, air conditioners and air filters all have different efficiency ratings. It is important that you understand what each of them mean so that you can know what sort of performance you can expect from your home comfort systems.
    • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the efficiency of gas and oil-fired furnaces. It is a percentage that tells you how much of the fuel consumed actually goes towards heating your home and how much is wasted. Industry minimum AFUE requirement is 78%.
    • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps when cooling your home. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the machine. Regulations require a minimum of 13.0 SEER.
    • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of heat pumps when being used for heating. Again, the higher the number the more efficient the heat pump. Today’s heat pumps are required to have at least 6.8 HSPF.
    • Energy Management Systems – Modern technology lets you take more control than ever over how you use energy in your home. With a home energy management system you can control temperature settings and power use in your home remotely from a smartphone or laptop. Shut off small appliances, adjust temperatures and more no matter where you are. You can ensure that you’re always coming home to a comfortable environment while using less energy with greater control.
    • When to Purchase – It can be tempting to stick with your existing home comfort systems rather than investing in new, higher efficiency models. However, frequent maintenance and repair costs plus higher operational costs can actually wind up costing you more. Take into consideration the quality of your system, its age and, of course, your budget. High efficiency home comfort equipment may have a higher price tag, but the energy savings translate into financial savings. When you’re ready to replace your home comfort systems make sure that you get the most efficiency for your money.

This information should help you understand the benefits and points to consider when contemplating a new home comfort system. Always keep in mind that a a geothermal heating and cooling system is another option to research. To get the most efficient performance in Woodinville you can afford from your heating and air conditioning systems, call G & S Heating, Cooling & Electric today!

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Seattle Tip: Benefits of Geothermal Energy

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Energy costs seem to be forever on the rise. This should not deter your from keeping your home as comfortable as possible throughout the year, though. If energy efficiency and a reduced environmental impact are priority issues for you, you may want to look into the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system. With a geothermal system you can literally pull energy from the ground or water on your property and use it to heat your home. There are a number of benefits made possible by geothermal technology, and the heating and air conditioning professionals at G&S Heating have gathered some information to help you decide if a geothermal system installation is right for your home.

Improve Energy Efficiency with a Geothermal Energy System

The most obvious benefit that geothermal heating and cooling systems offer is improved energy efficient. Like other heat pump models, geothermal heat pumps transfer energy rather than consuming a fuel source to create it. A loop system is installed in the ground surrounding your home or submerged in a water source on your property. This system absorbs heat and transfers it from the source to a heat pump, where it is used to heat your home. In the warmer months a geothermal system, like other heat pumps, can be used to cool your home by transferring heat outside. This heat transferring process requires only a small amount of electricity for operation, meaning that it greatly reduces the amount of energy that you use when heating and cooling your home. This lessens your environmental impact considerably and can also help reduce the amount you pay in utility bills to keep your home comfortable.

Improved Effectiveness

Air-source heat pumps operate in much the same way that geothermal and water-source heat pumps do, but air-source models are more limited in terms of the climates in which they are most effective. This is because they draw heat from the air itself for use in your home, and the air is highly susceptible to temperature fluctuations. The depth at which geothermal loop systems are buried beneath the ground or submerged in water, on the other hand, allow for much more constant temperatures, meaning that they can provide effective heating and cooling service in harsher conditions than air-source models.

If you have any further questions about the operation, benefits or installation process of a geothermal heat pump system, call the experts at G&S Heating for answers from qualified professionals. We’ll help you decide if a heat pump is right for your Seattle home. Enjoy clean, sustainable energy with all the benefits of an effective heating and air conditioning system.

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Woodinville Tip: What Is the Single Biggest Money-Saver Upgrade You Can Make?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

While it would be great if there was a simple answer to this question, the real right answer depends to a great extent on your own particular situation. There are literally dozens of steps you can take to save on your heating and cooling costs in the Woodinville area, and which ones are most appropriate for you will have a lot to do with what you already have, how you use it and where you live.

For instance, if you have a well-insulated house but your HVAC system is more than 10 or 15 years old, investing in a new system will almost certainly save you a ton in the long run. Even if your existing system is working well, the newer systems available are simply so much more energy efficient that having one will cut your monthly bills dramatically.

Insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter, and it also keeps colder air from seeping in. In the summer, it works the other way around, keeping in the air you are paying to cool and keeping out the hotter outside air. If you do not have thorough insulation or if it is too old, that temperature controlled air that you are paying for will be leaking out and unwanted outdoor air will be finding its way in. You will pay much more than necessary to keep the indoor temperature comfortable as a result.

If you have both good insulation and an energy efficient HVAC system, your thermostat might be the place to look when you want to try and cut your energy costs. A programmable or wireless thermostat might be just the ticket you need to cut back even more on your energy bills because of the added control it gives you to more precisely regulate the temperature inside your home.

Particularly if you have a large house, you might even consider having a zone control system put in so that you can set different temperatures for different areas of the house. After all, there is no need to be paying to regulate the temperature in a part of the house that is unoccupied.

Benefits of Upgrading to a Geothermal System

Upgrading to a geothermal system will have several benefits over other types of home heating and cooling systems. Geothermal heating is more efficient because it gathers heat from the ground below house and transfers it inside to keep you warm during the winter; even when the temperatures outside are lower, the ground is always warmer.

Though a geothermal system is more costly to install, it does not cost as much to run once it is in place. Sure, you will pay more to install a geothermal system over installing a furnace, but you will not have to pay the same amount in energy bills every month to run it. With that said, a geothermal heating system can actually save you quite a bit in the long run, depending on your home’s circumstances.

For more information about upgrading to a geothermal systems in the Woodinville area, contact G&S Heating today!

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What Makes Up a Geothermal Heating and Cooling System in Seattle

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Components of a Geothermal Heating System

A geothermal heating system has three basic components and some add-on ones as well. Its most distinguishing feature is the ground loops. The most common is the “closed” ground loop system, which is a series of pipes that are buried underground. These pipes contain a heat transfer fluid, comprised of antifreeze and water. This fluid absorbs heat from the ground and carries it to the home. This fluid also absorbs heat from the house and sends it into the ground to keep your Seattle home cool.

Examples of closed loop systems include the horizontal closed loop, which can be used in larger parcels of land (over an acre for example). The loops are placed typically placed horizontally 6-to-10 feet below the surface. A vertical closed loop design is recommended for smaller parcels of land and loops are often buried vertically approximately 20 feet underground. Other types of ground loop designs use well water to transfer heat in an open loop configuration, or have a closed loop submerged underwater in a pond or lake.

The next component is the heat pump, which draws the fluid from the ground loop. In a heat pump, heat energy is exchanged with the ground to heat or cool the home. In the heating mode, fluid warmed from underground flows through the heat pump. A fan blows across the pipe warmed by the fluid. Because the fluid is much warmer than the air inside the heat pump, heat energy is released into the cooler air. The cool air is warmed and distributed inside the home. The process is reversed for cooling. Cool fluid in the pipe absorbs heat from the warm air inside the home. Once pumped underground, the excess heat in the fluid is absorbed by the cooler earth.

The final component is the air handling or distribution system. Here, a fan in the heat pump’s furnace blows air over a fan coil and the heated cooled air is distributed through the home’s ductwork. Some distribution systems are hydronic, where hot water is circulated through radiators or radiant floor heat tubing. This water absorbs heat from the heat pump and then distributed throughout the home.

In some Seattle homes, both a forced air and hydronic system often referred to as a “hybrid system” work together.

Optional components include a heat pump “desuperheater,” which is used to help with domestic hot water heating. In warm weather, the desuperheater recovers some of the heat – that would otherwise be sent to the ground loop – to help produce hot water. In cold weather, some of the heat pump capacity may be diverted from space heating for the same purpose. Desuperheaters save approximately 25% on domestic water heating costs.

Another component is an auxiliary electric heater, which is built into the geothermal heat pump. This auxiliary electric heat is installed to allow heating and cooling technicians to size – or resize – a home’s geothermal heat pump system to assist the system during the few coldest days of the year. Auxiliary electric heat is also an emergency backup heat source if there are any operational issues with the geothermal heat pump system.

To learn more about the benefits of having a geothermal heating system in the Seattle area, contact G&S Heating today!

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