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5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bill this Winter

By admin on October 1st, 2009

Consumer Reports Shows How to Reduce Your Heating Costs This Winter

Last year Consumer Reports published an article showing homeowners how to reduce their heating bill while increasing the value of their home. At Duct-911.com we don’t claim to be real estate appraisers, but we do know that all these things play a big role in making your house more sellable. More importantly we feel, is showing consumers how they can make slight changes in their lifestyle and still save substantial amounts on their annual heating bill.

Here is what Consumer Reports Recommends:

  1. Weatherize Your Home. – Weatherizing you home can save you up to 30 percent on heating. Your hardware store or local building center can give you one great tips on this based on the age and style fo your home. weatherizing includes things like putting plastic on the inside or outside of your windows, replacing damaged or missing seals on doors, using insulating foam gaskets on outlet covers, and much more.
  2. Insulate and Seal. – Insulation is relatively inexpensive and in many cases makes for an easy weekend do-it-yourself project. Here are some of the areas in your  home where you may be losing heat:
    • Add More Insulation – Adding attic insulation can lower your heating costs from 5 to 30 percent, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. Check your attic to see if there ae places where the insulation is dirty. This could be a sign that you have a leak (seal it up) and now it’s time to replace the insulation. Ideally you should have R-38 insulation in your attic. If your house is new or your attic has been recently remodeled, you might be all set, but in older homes insulation can be minimal and poor quality at best.
    • Insulate your water pipes using slip-on pipe insulation. You may also want to replace your water heater’s damaged or missing blanket or wrap. A water heater generally comes from the factory with inadequate insulation and correcting the problem is easy and effective. Both of these products can be found at most home improvement stores.
    • Seal up your air ducts. The DOE estimates that 20 to 40 percent of the heating energy that leaves the heating system of a typical forced-air gas furnace heating cooling system is lost in the duct work system.
    • Seal Up Those Holes & Cracks – Cracks and crevices throughout your home allow expensive heated air to escape from your home. Furthermore, strong winds can force Freezing cold air into your home. Oftentimes a little caulking and a few pieces of insulation is all you need.
  3. Lower Your Thermostat. – For every degree you lower the temperature, you can save about 3 percent on your heating costs. This chore can be handled automatically using a programmable thermostat. Discount stores often times sell them for as little as $30-$40.
  4. Replace Your Old Windows. Installing new windows can save you 10 to 25 percent per year on heating if you have single-paned windows. But installing replacement windows can be expensive to install and the payback can take years. High efficiency replacement windows typically cost $7,000 to $20,000 installed, for an average house so it’s important to consider how long you will be keeping your home.
  5. Buy an Infrared Space Heater. If you can get by with not heating your whole house, many people are turning their thermostats way down and using a high efficiency infared space heater. Although space heaters cost about twice as much to run as a high efficiency gas furnace does, you have the ability of heating only the rooms your are using.

In cold winter climates like Minneapolis, MN many homeowners turn their heat way down at night and use a space heater to heat only 1 or two rooms while they get ready for work. If no one is home during the day they don’t need to turn the heat up again until they return from work. Programmable thermostats work perfectly in this situation. The house will be warm when you come home from work and until you go to bed at night.

For even more energy saving ideas, read the article we published last year: “Home Energy Saving Tips“.

To read the Consumer Reports article in full, here is the link: http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2008/10/winter-heating.html

Should I Install a Heat Pump?

By Dave Trosdahl on August 4th, 2009

Because of their energy savings, heat pumps are quickly gaining in popularity. Most homeowners are unaware of how a heat pump works and how it could add value to their home’s heating and cooling system by saving energy and money. This article, written in easy to understand terms, explains how a heat pump can find heat in the winter even in a northern climate like Minnesota.

Although our skin tells us differently, when it’s cold outside there is still heat which can be brought indoors. And, when it’s hot outside there is still cool air which can be used to cool your home. Here’s how heat pumps work in our four very distinct seasons in Minneapolis, St Paul, MN:

September through December in Minnesota, temperatures start to fall. A heat pump will start to find warm air outside and bring it indoors. A heat pump works like a window air conditioner which has been put in your window backwards! Your furnace will barely run except when it gets really cold, at night for example.

Winter is usually well under way starting sometime in December and in Minnesota, it doesn’t let up much until March. Even so, there are many days where the temperature climbs above +20 degrees. On warm winter days, your furnace will most likely not even run, your heat pump will takeover. Think of the money you will save!!!

Secure Your Home Improvement Tax Rebate!

By Dave Trosdahl on July 16th, 2009

By now, most homeowners have heard of all the tax rebates for various home improvement products and services, but not all are aware of how substantial they are. If you install a qualifying high efficiency furnace, you can save 30% of the bill! While there are some stipulations, a qualified heating and cooling contractor will easily be able to help you out. Here is a link to the federal website to help you get started: Federal Tax Credits For Energy Efficiency

Here are the federal guidelines:

  • must be “placed in service” from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010
  • must be for taxpayer’s principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes qualify)
  • $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009 & 2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016
  • must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify
  • for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement
  • improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010
  • If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters.

A/C Spring Cleaning Air Conditioner Tune-up

By Dave Trosdahl on April 10th, 2008

At Duct-911.com, we would love nothing more than to be able to help you save energy and save money by lower your heating and cooling costs while still helping you maintain a cool climate inside your home this summer.

A/C Spring Cleaning

When thinking about your furnace or air conditioner it is important to under stand that most central air conditioners have three basic parts:

  1. Compressor/Condenser – This is the outdoor unit that sits next to your home
  2. Evaporator/A-coil – an indoor unit which is located in the plenum (the duct work above your furnace).
  3. Duct work and air vents More

A Clean Dryer Vent Saves Money and Prevents Fires

By Dave Trosdahl on March 15th, 2008

A Clean Dryer Vent Provides Safety, Shortens Drying Time & Saves You Money!

You put your clothes in the dryer 2 hours ago and they’re still not dry! Sound familiar?If so, it might be time for you to have your dryer vent cleaned. If you can tell that your dryer is working properly (heating up and tumbling) most likely you have a plugged clothes dryer vent.

Benefits of a Clean Dryer Vent:

  • Faster drying times – the damp air is vented outdoors instead of recirculating within the tumbler.
  • A clean dryer vent saves you money – The longer it takes to dry your clothes, the more energy you consume. Most homeowners realize enough energy savings the first 3 months to pay for the service call.
  • Fire hazard is prevented – the lint which has built-up over time in the heating chamber and dryer vent is removed, eliminating spontaneous combustion due to excessive heat.

Cost of Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer vent cleaning prices vary from one company to the next. Another factor is who is doing it. An appliance repairman is much more expensive than a professional dryer vent cleaning company. Prices seem to vary from $65 when included with another service already being performed at your home (duct cleaning for example), to $199 if a special trip is made. Some companies charge more for dryer vents which are seriously plugged or are vented two stories up through the roof.

Look for a company that will give you a guaranteed price. If they need to come out to do an inspection and give a quote, expect to pay much more. At Duct-911.com the price is always guaranteed; $65 when included with air duct cleaning, or $99 for dryer vent cleaning only.Remember, the same equipment which is uysed for duct cleaning is also used to clean dryer vents.

Call 877-DUCT-911 (877-382-8911) for dryer vent cleaning, duct cleaning and more.

Home Energy Saving Tips From Washington

By Dave Trosdahl on September 19th, 2007

Here are 5 energy saving tips from Energy Ideas Clearing House based in Washington. They have many tips from using the right light bulbs to refrigeration savings. We have published the ones directly related to Heating and cooling.

Home Energy Saving Tips.

  • Lower your thermostat at night and whenever the house is not occupied.
  • Tune up the furnace annually.
  • Replace furnace filters. The dirtier they are, the harder the fan furnace works. Clean filters are essential for heat pumps – airflow is critical and can add years to the life of your heat pump.
  • Insulate and seal ducts in attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas-potential big energy savings.
  • Furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning and water eaters all have high efficiency models available and should be considered when replacing these appliances. – Replace conventional oil burner (oil furnace) with a more efficient flame-retention burner.
  • To read all of the home energy savings tips (even those unrelated to your heating and cooling system) visit energyideas.org. Additionally, you might want to search the entire Duct-911.com website for many heating and cooling, dryer vent cleaning tips and air duct cleaning tips.

    Adjust Your A/C Temp – Save Energy and Help the Environment!

    By Dave Trosdahl on April 26th, 2007

    Here are 10 ways you can start doing your part to conserve energy and save money doing it. This was just posted on the homeakers.com website:

    10 ways to save money — and the environment
    Get a little greener with smart ways to fight global warming and fatten your wallet.
    By Carlye Malchuk
    …1. Use your furnace or air conditioner only when needed
    Heating and cooling are the biggest sources of energy costs for Canadian families. The best way to save money is to turn the thermostat down one or two degrees in the winter, and up in the summer.
    When heating your home, every degree you turn down your thermostat can save between two and four per cent on your energy bill. In the summer, every degree below 26C means a significant increase in energy needed to run your A/C, so stick to 24 or 25C. As well, keeping your air conditioning unit out of direct sunlight will save you five per cent of your cooling costs…

    Furnace and Air Duct Cleaning

    By Dave Trosdahl on April 21st, 2007

    Welcome to our blog about furnace cleaning and air duct cleaning. We hope to provide quality information that will help you enjoy cleaner air in your home, as well as energy saving tips. In future posts we will provide information about things like:

    • Air duct cleaning techniques
    • Furnace maintenance
    • air conditioner inspections
    • Indoor air quality
    • Dryer vent cleaning
    • Chimney cleaning
    • Allergy information/relief

    We hope that you will participate in this blog and help us to create an awareness of the benefits of air duct cleaning. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to give us a call at 651-653-4704. Our knowledgeable staff will be more that willing to help you in anyway they can.

    Is Your HVAC System Wasting Money? – Steps to Save Energy

    By Dave Trosdahl on April 21st, 2007

    Whether you are concerned about rising energy costs, or simply wanting to do your part in conserving energy, here are some tips that will help you conserve energy:

    • Switch from incandescent bulbs to high efficiency and florescent bulb
    • Clean your HVAC system – clean air ducts, a-coils, furnace filters, air conditioners and the furnace
    • Adjust room temperature according to season
    • Evaluate energy usage when no one is home
    • Make sure all equipment is functioning as designed
    • Install weather stripping around doors and windows

    These are just a few pointers, some of which are discussed in the San Diego Source’s article ’30 Easy Ways to Save Energy’:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the real estate management industry can reduce energy usage by up to 30 percent simply by improving building operating standards. If a 1 million-square-foot portfolio can reduce its energy consumption by just 10 percent, it would be the environmental equivalent of removing almost 5,000 cars off the road for one year.

    Energy efficiency is easy — and doesn’t require significant capital expenditures to make a big difference in your operating expenses. Use this checklist to reduce the need for unscheduled maintenance and to make sure that you’re saving all you can. Start with the lowest cost efforts and use cumulative dollars saved to invest in larger improvements