Friday, December 14, 2012

Now is the Time to Save Money on Furnace Replacement!

If you’ve been nursing your ailing furnace along, this season is a great time to purchase a new model. Due to the 2013 Furnace Efficiency Law, many manufacturers are offering equipment deals and system incentives that will save you money before the law goes into effect.

What is the 2013 Furnace Efficiency Law?

Passed by the Department of Energy (DOE), the new Furnace Efficiency Law will be instituted May of 2013, and elevates energy standards for HVAC appliances. Under this new law, Salt Lake City residents are required to have non-weatherized furnaces or mobile gas furnaces that are at least 90% efficient. (Previously, the standard was 80% efficiency).

Benefits of Replacing Your Furnace Before May 2013

Residents who install a new furnace before the new DOE law goes into effect are still permitted to purchase 80% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) furnaces. When properly installed by a Utah HVAC professional, these 80% AFUE furnaces can last 20 years or more with regular maintenance. In addition, the units cost less than their 90% AFUE successors, making them a good investment for vacation home and rental property owners (or homeowners on a tight budget). And, when you choose an 80% AFUE furnace model, installation costs are less than they are with 90% models—which require additional venting and may also require replacement of your chimney lining and hot water heater.

Benefits of Higher Efficiency Furnaces

If you’re considering upgrading your home’s heating system to 90% AFUE or above (called “condensing furnaces"), you’ll enjoy a number of advantages, as well. These include:
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Lower monthly utility bills
  • Extra heat exchanger that utilizes heat from exhaust gases, thereby saving energy
  • Rebates and incentives from manufacturers, utility companies and the government

At Main Street Heating & Cooling, our qualified technicians will help you select the furnace that suits your comfort and budget needs. Our team members are familiar with 2013 DOE legislation, and can assist you with purchasing and installing a central heating system that will perform to your expectations and save you money for years to come.

For a custom consultation, contact us via phone or email today. We look forward to assisting you, and wish you a joyful holiday season!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nest™ Learning Thermostat: The Next Generation in Temperature Control

If you thought your thermostat was little more than an ugly box on the wall, think again. Even if you have a programmable model, chances are you’re not enjoying the full, energy-efficient benefits of a properly used thermostat. Most of us turn the temperature up or down manually as we remember, rather than taking the time to figure out each unit’s programming complexities. As a result, we are often wasting energy rather than saving it!

Enter Nest: the World’s First “Learning Thermostat.”

Designed by iPod creator Tony Fadell, Nest is an affordable conversation piece that saves you money while delivering precision temperature control. This attractive, futuristic orb looks great on your wall, and can be managed online or via smartphone—so you can adjust the temperature from afar. Best of all, the Nest “learns” your climate habits, creating a personalized heating and cooling program based upon your usage and comfort patterns.

Benefits of the Nest thermostat include:

  • Energy savings. When used correctly, a programmable thermostat can save you up to 20 percent on your heating & cooling bill. Nest makes it easy to save money, since there is no complicated programming process.  
  • Auto-away setting. Nest detects when you’re away, automatically lowering the temperature so you’re not heating an empty home or business.
  • Real-time digital control. Using secure account access, you can easily access your thermostat to adjust temperature from a laptop, PC or smartphone.   
  • Eco-friendly. When you are saving energy with Nest, you’ll see the Nest Leaf™ appear on your thermostat display. In addition, you can access Nest’s energy history to see how much energy you’re really saving.

For your convenience, Main Street Heating & Cooling installs Nest Learning Thermostats for Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front. To schedule a Nest installation or speak with our team about using programmable thermostats to achieve energy savings, call 801-930-5151 or visit our contact page. To learn more about Nest technology, or view a video of the Nest Learning Thermostat, visit the Nest site today!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Warm Up to Winter with Sustainable Energy Savings

On the cusp of Utah furnace season, many residents wonder how to maintain indoor comfort without increasing their heating costs and environmental footprint. Fortunately, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to improve furnace efficiency before it’s time to rev up the heat. Consider the following energy tips:  

  1. Utilize your programmable thermostat. Most programmable thermostats are easy to operate—and are virtually maintenance free. This handy appliance can be easily adapted to your family’s energy schedule, so you’re never heating an empty space or waking up to an unwanted chill. Programmable thermostats generally pay for themselves during the first year of use, so consider installing one if you are still relying on a manual version. (Note: The Nest thermostat is a cool and cost-effective way to regulate your energy use. Tune into our next blog to learn more about Nest!)  
  2. Remember to change your filters! This inexpensive, yet often-neglected step is the most important thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system. When filters are dirty, your furnace has to work harder to maintain your comfort. In addition, dirt and debris may sneak past your filter, causing costly damage to your heating and vent system while impacting indoor air quality. During peak furnace season, filters should be changed every four to eight weeks. Use a furnace filter recommended by your HVAC manufacturer. If your family suffers from allergies or asthma, think about upgrading to a HEPA filter.
  3. Use direct sunlight to your advantage. The sun is the best source of “green power” during winter daylight hours. First, use white vinegar to clean your windows, since dirt can block the sun’s rays. Open blinds and curtains on south-facing windows, and install insulated coverings on other windows to lock in the effects of sunlight. Properly installed skylights can also contribute to heat and light savings during winter months.  
  4. Run your ceiling fans. They are not just for summer! Most new-model ceiling fans have a small switch on the unit. This switch changes your fan from “wind chill” mode to winter mode. In this mode, the fan pulls warmed air from the room’s center, and circulates it up to the ceiling and along the walls—without cooling you off. Ceiling fans are much cheaper to use than your furnace—and are a greener way to warm your home.   
  5. Keep warm air inside. If you live in an older home, warm air can leak out around door and window jambs. In fact, Energy Star estimates that most residents could save up to 20 percent on heating bills if homes were properly sealed. Identify air leaks with your hand or a stick of incense. Watch for smoke deflection around doors, windows and baseboards. Seal leaks with weather stripping or caulking. This is a very cheap and easy way to save money during winter and summer!

Finally, to ensure the efficiency of your Salt Lake City furnace, our team of technicians recommends semi-annual HVAC maintenance. Offering competitive pricing on one-time and annual maintenance agreements, Main Street Heating & Air Conditioning will inspect your furnace and ventilation system to ensure safe, cost-effective operation—year-round. Now is the ideal time to schedule your winter maintenance visit. Call 801-930-5151 to inquire about pricing, set an appointment time or speak with our Salt Lake HVAC team!