Using Programmable Thermostats to Stay Cool and Save Energy

While the Beaumont climate makes your home HVAC system indispensable through much of the year, running a furnace or air conditioner 24/7 can take a toll on your energy bills and on the HVAC system. Setting the temperatures back when you're away from home or tucked in bed is a proven energy-saving strategy, but resetting the thermostat multiple times a day can be a hassle for even the most diligent homeowner. Programmable thermostats offer energy savings by taking care of the temperature set points for you. But you need to know how to use them to get the best savings out of them.
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5 Ways to Cut the Water Heating Costs Without Affecting Your Comfort

reduce water heating costsYou probably use hot water on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Washing your dishes, enjoying a hot cup of tea, and taking a long shower all consume hot water. However, did you know that water heating can account for 14 to 18 percent of your energy bill? You can lower your energy bill by using less hot water -- but how? Here are five ways you can reduce water heating bills.

Lower Thermostat Settings

Many water heaters are set at 140 degrees, but you can reduce the thermostat settings to 120 degrees without noticing a difference. One-hundred-forty degrees is hotter than necessary for most uses, and that temperature can even be dangerous -- scalding even -- to the bare skin. Make it safer for your family and reduce water heating bills at the same time by turning down the thermostat on your water heater.

However, many water heaters have inaccurate thermostats. Ensure that you set it to the right temperature by testing the hot water at the faucet that’s farthest from your water tank with a thermometer. Set the thermostat according to your measurements. Also, check if your water heater has two thermostats; some of them do.

Decrease Hot Water Usage

Leisurely hot showers use up a lot of hot water, which shows up on your energy bills. Encourage your family to take shorter showers and install low-flow shower heads. You can also install faucet aerators to reduce water consumption. These simple adjustments can reduce the amount of hot water your household uses by as much as 60 percent.

When you wash your clothes, set the washer to use cold water instead of warm or hot water. Don’t worry about rinsing your dishes with hot water before putting them in the dishwasher; your dishwasher will probably do the job of cleaning them just fine without the hot rinse.

Drain the Water Heater Tank

The hot water in your water heater tank can cause mineral buildup in your pipes and tank. This accumulation of sediment can reduce the efficiency of your tank, increasing your water heating bills. Prevent this by draining the water heater tank every three months to get rid of the sediment buildup and increase your tank’s efficiency.

Before you drain the tank, turn off the water and the power to the tank. If your tank is gas-powered, set the burner to pilot. Grab a water hose and connect it to the spigot. Take the other end of the water hose and point it toward the floor drain. Then lift the tank’s pressure-relief valve, turn on the spigot, and the water and sediment buildup will flow out through the house (which should be run outside or connected to a drain). Make sure that at least a quart of water is let out before you stop draining the tank.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Check the pipes that are connected to your water heater to see if they're exposed and uninsulated. Hot-water pipes without insulation can result in a lot of standby heat loss, which causes your water heater to work harder to keep the water heated, consuming more energy and giving you higher water-heating bills.

Reduce water-heating bills by insulating your exposed pipes with long, self-sealing sleeves. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always get a professional to add insulation to the pipes for you.

Add Insulation to the Water Heater Tank

Reduce water heating bills by wrapping an insulating blanket or jacket around your water heater tank. However, do this only if you have an older model. Check the label on your tank to find out the R-value of the unit. If it’s at least R24, the tank is already insulated. If not, adding an insulation blanket can reduce water heating bills by 4 to 9 percent. Make sure to not block the thermostat if you have an electric water heater or the exhaust and air inlet if you have an gas unit.

If you have a newer model that’s already insulated, adding insulation to it will not reduce water-heating bills and actually may be dangerous because it can interfere with critical components.

For more tips on how you can reduce water-heating bills in your Texas home, contact us at Thermacon Service Company. We proudly serve the areas of Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and Vidor.

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Don't Be Fooled By These Energy Savings Myths

energy savings mythsThe heat in Texas in the summer has many homeowners retreating to the comfort of air conditioning. And it's around this time, when energy bills are often on the rise, that homeowners look to make their homes more energy efficient to reduce utility costs. Unfortunately, energy savings myths can result in additional costs.

  • Myth: Setting the temperature lower will help the home cool off faster. Most HVAC systems use a single speed air handler. This means that whether your air conditioning is set to 77 degrees or 47 degrees, the air within your home will move and be cooled at the same speed. Setting the temperature lower than needed can cost you more money as the air conditioner works to get to the lower temperature.
  • Myth: Save money by turning off the air conditioning when you're not home. Common sense says it doesn't make sense to cool your home when no one's there it enjoy it. However, the HVAC system uses a lot of energy to bring a hot house down to a comfortable temperature. Use a programmable thermostat, which can slowly cool your home just in time for your scheduled return home.
  • Myth: Ceiling fans can cool rooms. Ceiling fans don't have the ability to cool the air in a home. By moving the air, the fan creates the wind chill effect, giving people a sense of coolness. Because of this, ceiling fans are great compliments to air conditioning, but only if you remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Myth: Closing vents increases efficiency. HVAC systems are designed to cool and move air depending on the home’s size. Closing a vent doesn't decrease the system’s capacity or workload. It only prevents air from moving into the room with the closed vent. Additionally, closing the vent can cause undue stress on your HVAC system.

For additional information on cooling your home more efficiently, contact the experts at Thermacon Service Company, Inc. today.