HVAC Review: the Benefits of Variable Speed Technology

Whether the calendar indicates intense August heat or an approaching winter chill, your HVAC system needs to provide as much comfort as possible. It must also work efficiently, saving you the time and money it would take to repair or replace the system. There are several ways to ensure your HVAC system works optimally, and one of the best is the variable speed motor.

What Is A Variable Speed Motor?

As its name implies, a variable speed motor can run at any level between zero RPM and maximum speed. This allows you to heat or cool your home as much as you want, rather than relying on a single speed motor that starts or shuts down arbitrarily. Additionally, variable speed motors have an advantage over multi-speed ones. While multi-speed motors only operate on levels 1, 2, or 3 (low, medium, or high), a variable speed motor will operate to your exact specifications. The speed, temperature, and volume of the air is more dependent on what you want it to be.

Is A Variable Speed Motor Environmentally Friendly?

Yes; in fact, this is one reason variable speed motors are so popular. Despite our four distinct seasons, the weather can change incrementally every day. For example, the calendar might say it’s mid-September, but your house may feel slightly warm. If you run the air conditioning, you’ll only need to remove a small amount of heat from your house. A variable speed motor can remove the heat without wasting electricity and increasing your energy bills.

The circuitry in a variable speed motor is some of the most environmentally friendly available. With a variable speed motor, your HVAC system’s circuit board constantly communicates with compressors, blowers, and coils. Even after the motor is turned off, the circuit board will tell the blower to blow a little more air across your house until every bit of heat or cold has been used. Thus, your house will remain at the perfect temperature for longer. You won’t have to adjust the system as much, thereby saving energy.

How does VST Affect Air Quality?

Air quality is a big concern for most home and business owners. A variable speed motor is more likely to keep your indoor air clean and breathable. The fan on a variable speed motor continually “washes” the air, filtering out allergens like dust or pollen. As long as your HVAC system has a high quality filter, it won’t circulate these harmful substances back into the air.

Additionally, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor is able to clean more cubic feet of air more quickly than many standalone air cleaners. Standalone air cleaners are fine, but some of them only clean about 25-50 cubic feet of air per minute. In contrast, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor could clean about 1200 cubic feet per minute. Even with the motor on low, the air can be cleaned at a rate of 250 cubic feet per minute. That’s more than ten times the capability of some standalone air cleaners.

If you’d like to learn more about the variable speed motor or have other HVAC questions, contact Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning online or via phone. We look forward to working with you.

Can I Save Money With a Programmable Thermostat?

The Energy Information Administration estimates that over 40 percent of home energy costs come from cooling and heating our homes. As a result, reducing the amount of energy we use for heating and cooling can significantly lower our overall energy bills.

Programmable thermostats may seem like a great way to do this. These thermostats are often advertised as energy-saving devices that will save you a great deal of money. However, studies have found that programmable thermostats frequently fail to live up to their supposed energy saving potential. The problem, it turns out, is that many people don’t use their potentially efficient thermostats in a very efficient way.

The Human Element

One key to lower heating and cooling costs is to turn down your thermostat for at least eight hours every day or night. Programmable thermostats make this easy, since you can preset temperatures for different times of day. In the summer you can set your air conditioner to turn off while you’re at work, and during the winter you can have your thermostat switch off while you’re sleeping.

However, many people set their programmable thermostats to run the air conditioner during the day and the heater at night. This may ensure maximum comfort but it uses an enormous amount of energy and causes energy bills to skyrocket.

Moderate indoor temperatures are also key to lowering energy use. Indoor temperatures of 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer are considered ideal for energy efficiency. However, one study found that people with programmable thermostats used less cooling energy while they were away but more when they were home because they set their thermostats lower.

Choose a Thermostat That Works for You

Programmable thermostats are likely to benefit some people, while others may be able to save more money on a consistent basis with a manual thermostat. If you prefer to let the thermostat do the work, and often forget to turn your system up or down at appropriate intervals, then a programmable thermostat is a reliable way to ensure that your system has enough down time.

However, if you prefer to have hands-on control of the temperature in your home, a manual thermostat may actually be the more efficient option. Small differences, such as turning your system on when you actually get up in the morning instead of one hour before, can add up to moderate savings over time.

In the end, human beings are the most important variables in the quest to reduce energy use and save money. If you are determined to lower your energy use, you can do so with any kind of thermostat. Make sure to turn your system off for at least eight hours every day and choose moderate temperature settings, and you will see the difference in your energy bills.

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Myth Busters: 8 Ideas About Energy Efficiency Debunked

 

Conceptualizing energy efficiency can be difficult. There is not a representative device such as a wind turbine or solar panel. Rather, it is a collection of policies, strategies, and technologies involving businesses, homes, transportation, and behavior that enhance the way people live. For measurement and verification, 8 energy efficiency myths are debunked below.

1. It takes less energy to leave the lights on all day than it does to turn the lights on and off several times a day.

Given today’s lighting technology, this myth is completely false. For many years, commercial buildings used florescent bulbs for lighting. Such bulbs took a very long time to turn on. In fact, some took several minutes, which is why most people preferred to leave them on. Not only was is frustrating and impractical to wait for five minutes before starting a meeting or presentation, it also took a lot of energy to fire up the bulbs. Modern bulbs light up in less than a second; therefore, if one does not need lighting, it is better to switch off.

2. To keep a room cool, leave the ceiling fan on.

The aim of a ceiling fan is to cool people, not the room. Fans recirculate air and create a slight breeze that cools down people in the room. Unlike AC units, fans do not actually alter the air temperature. Therefore, people can save energy by turning off their air conditioners and turning on their ceiling fans only when they are in the room. When out, they should keep both the AC and fan off.

• Adjusting the thermostat settings downwards or upwards several degrees will cool or heat a room faster. A thermostat is a simple temperature regulator. It simply tells the HVAC system to turn on or off once the temperature in a room reaches a certain level. Changing the settings does not make a thermostat work harder. Rather, it only makes the heating and cooling system work longer.

• Turning a computer on and off wastes energy. Like the light bulbs in myth number one, older computers tended to wear out faster from being constantly turned on and off. Modern PCs are not as finicky. People should, therefore, turn off their computers when not in use.

• Electric space heaters save money. This is only true when one is doing it right. Most buildings in the U.S. use natural gas for heating. However, homeowners should find out whether the cost of gas in their area is actually cheaper than the cost of electricity. For some, the cost of electricity may be ten times more expensive, which means that their space heaters would cost them significantly more to run.

• If air is leaking from a building, the windows and doors are to blame. While doors and windows play a big role, the most extreme air leakage comes from holes in the attic and ceiling and air duct leaks.

• Cooling a building when the air conditioner has been off all weekend is more expensive than keeping it running at a higher temperature. This myth does not hold any water. It is always cheaper to shut down the AC unit completely. Keeping it running over the weekend or all night wastes unnecessary energy.

•  It is impossible to decrease the energy bill without buying new and expensive equipment. The truth is that the cost of energy is one of the most controllable costs in a home or business. People can work with what they have by changing their behaviors. Simple things like shutting down computers, turning off the lights, and closing the shades can go a long way in controlling energy costs.

Energy savings from efficiency can save homes and businesses a lot of money. Improvements in energy efficiency have reduced the country’s energy costs by billions of dollars. The money saved can be reinvested to create more jobs and support businesses. Follow our blog for more great HVAC Information.

Strategies For Controlling Home Comfort Costs As Energy Prices Escalate

If energy prices continue to escalate, which strategies will prove most effective for controlling home comfort costs? This is one of the most important questions that homeowners can ask. Keeping property interiors at comfortable temperatures has become a very expensive endeavor. This is especially true in areas with extreme climates. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to limit your spending in this area without having to forgo an enjoyable living environment.

Weatherproof Your Windows

Metal window frames are actually responsible for conducting cold into the property interior. You can upgrade your frames and look for windows with a high R-value. The R-value determines how resistant a window is to heat gain or loss. If you are unable to pay for costly improvements of this type, you also have the option of using self adhesive foam to insulate your windows.

Weather-Strip And Seal Your Doors

Given their larger sizes and the fact that doors are constantly being opened and closed, they can be responsible for far more heat gain and heat loss than windows. Weather-stripping your doors and properly sealing them can limit energy loss. Homeowners can additionally purchase threshold locks or metal or rubber sweeps. These block the gaps that often exist at the bottoms of doors.

Add Exterior Insulation

One of the best ways to promote a comfortable temperature on the property interior is by making improvements at the exterior of the home. If you lack exterior insulation, your home is probably experiencing a lot of unnecessary heat loss during the winter months. Crawl spaces, basement walls and attics can be insulated in order to cut energy use and overall energy costs.

Use Programmable Thermostats

A great strategy for saving energy and one that won’t cost much at all is to simply install a programmable thermostat. You can set this unit to heat or cool the home, only when you’re present. This helps people to avoid the high costs of running heating and cooling equipment even when the property is empty.

Controlling your home comfort costs will help you to significantly reduce your overhead expenses. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a lot of money in order to create a home interior that is both comfortable and cost-effective. Call us for additional energy saving solutions.