energy efficiency

Energy Savings

10 Steps to a Green Home

The effort to build and live green is not going away. In fact, energy efficiency will just continue to be more important as we move away from fossil fuels and find alternative, more efficient energy sources. But right now, there's a lot you can do to have a green home. Have a look at some of these tips and adapt them in your dwelling space.

1. Change the air filter frequently. A dirty air filter makes your HVAC system work harder. Change the filter as often as is needed.

2. Switch to a permanent, washable air filter. This eliminates having to dispose of filters, which end up in the landfill. Make sure you clean it so it works properly.

3. Seal air leaks. You'll get greater energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint by sealing air leaks around plumbing, light switches, baseboards, doors and windows.

4. Use a programmable or Wi-fi thermostat. Set your schedule to reduce power use during the day when everyone's gone and at night when they are asleep. Stick to the schedule.

5. Reduce humidity in the home in summer. A humid home can make you feel warm so you use more energy to cool. Fix plumbing leaks, reduce shower times, and install exhaust ventilation to reduce relative humidity.

6. Look into solar solutions. Look into installing energy-efficient solar lights and other solar solutions around the home to reduce energy use. You may even want to install solar batteries for all your energy use.

7. Fix air duct leaks. If your air ducts are leaking, you're losing conditioned air. Have them checked out during HVAC maintenance.

8. Install efficient windows. Install double pane, efficient windows recommended by Energy Star to reduce solar radiation in the home, and to keep cold winds out.

9. Install window tinting. This can help reduce solar radiation in the home.

10. Install Energy Star appliances. As your older appliances wear out, look for efficient Energy Star-rated replacements.

For more on creating a green home, and to schedule repairs, maintenance and installations, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Energy Savings

Measure Your Home's Energy Efficiency

While the Department of Energy recommends having a professional energy audit as the most effective method of accessing your home's energy efficiency, it is possible for DIYers to conduct their own audit to pinpoint some of the troublespots and improve efficiency.

What is Home Energy Efficiency?

Simply put, energy efficiency is the use of less energy to power more things. As a homeowner, the more efficient your home, the less you spend annually in electricity.

Major Problem Areas

Perhaps the greatest problem for most homeowners are the drafts that occur in your home. Air escaping through leaks around door frames, baseboards, and window ledges can reduce home energy efficiency by as much as ten to twenty percent each year. Check for cracks around areas where different materials join together. Simple caulk or weatherstripping will alleviate a majority of these issues.

Insulation

Another common problem is an inadequate amount of insulation. Insulation in the attic and walls helps to prevent energy loss throughout your home. While it is difficult to check and replace insulation in preexisting walls, checking the attic is far less intrusive. Review local building codes to identify the minimum required amount of insulation for your home and measure the amount you currently have. Chances are you can improve your home energy efficiency by simply adding insulation.

Lighting

It may be surprising but lighting your home can account for as much as ten percent of your monthly energy bill. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with more efficient bulbs like LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. Look for ways to better manage the amount of light you use. Dimmer switches and timers can be a viable option.

Heating and Cooling

Your HVAC system should be inspected annually to ensure proper performance. Change filters on a regular basis to reduce the amount of strain put on your unit. If your unit is older than 15 years, consider replacing it with a more efficient system.

Appliances

Appliances can affect your energy bill whether you use them or not. Unplug all appliances when not in use and always consider energy ratings when purchasing new appliances.

To schedule a professional home evaluation, contact us at Air Assurance. We serve the Broken Arrow area.

HVAC system

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Most of us don’t give airflow much thought, but it’s a physical phenomenon surrounding us every moment. Inside our homes, the movement of air, or lack thereof, drives its air quality and the costs for keeping it comfortable. Even though it’s largely intangible, air has some of the same physical qualities as water. Air moves just as easily as water does, but instead of being affected by gravity, it’s affected by pressure that’s always trying to equalize itself. Where positive pressure exists, it moves into a negative space and vice versa. 

Why It Matters

A home’s energy efficiency depends on a few important factors. Insulation in the attic and walls makes a big difference, as does its degree of air infiltration. A leaky home will be hard to heat and cool because air is either moving in or out. You’ve probably experienced how a drafty room feels on a cold day. The draft probably came from a window, exterior door, or around the floor. Another way to encourage the movement of air from positive to negative is to close off a room in a home that has a forced-air HVAC system. Closing off the duct without stopping the return airflow will create a negative pressure gradient that will pull unconditioned outdoor air inside. 

Air Infiltration and Quality

While homes with low air infiltration rates cost less to condition, they may have air quality issues. The U.S. EPA reports that the air quality in many homes is among the worst that people encounter. Pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products made from hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and radon, dust, pollen and dander. All homes need some fresh air ventilation. The most energy efficient way to introduce fresh air without driving up energy costs is with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that uses technology to capture the energy in the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air. If your home isn’t as comfortable as you’d like or your air quality is low, you may have airflow issues.

To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners. 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics,download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 918-217-8273.

Efficiency, Energy Savings

How Cleaning Your Windows Enhances Energy Efficiency

How Cleaning Your Windows Enhances Energy Efficiency

Spring cleaning the windows is a great way to refresh your home's exterior and give its aesthetic a boost. Shiny window panes are great for zesting up curb appeal, but for improving HVAC performance and your home's overall efficiency, you also need to focus on window maintenance.

Why Windows Matter for Energy Efficiency

Statistics from the Department of Energy tell us that 25 to 30 percent of a home's HVAC-related energy consumption can be wasted by heat gains and losses through the windows. You can trim that percentage by cleaning and enhancing your windows' efficiency. Having more efficient windows also reduces your HVAC equipment's workload, which translates into better performance and longer component lifespan.

Tips for Enhancing Window Efficiency

Along with tackling your normal spring cleaning, try taking a few of these measures to improve your windows' efficiency:

  • Before shining and polishing the glass, inspect the windows to locate any areas of cracked/missing caulking or damaged/missing weatherstripping. To stop air leakage in these spots, remove any damaged material, then seal them with add new caulking or weatherstripping.

  • If your windows are leaking badly or in poor condition, spring is an ideal time to replace them with energy-efficient units. A less costly option is purchasing interior inserts. These acrylic or plexiglass units are made to size, so they fit tightly and prevent air leaks.

  • If your home has casement or double-hung windows, pay special attention to the tracks and moving parts when you clean. You need to remove all built-up debris in these areas so the windows close snugly and won't leak air.

  • Give your home's interior a revamp with new insulated window treatments that you can close during the day to keep out solar heat.

  • Shade your windows by adding awnings on your home's exterior and/or by planting a few strategically-placed trees.

  • Put window cleaning on your fall home maintenance list too, because squeaky-clean glass lets in more of the sun's energy, which can help warm the interior during the winter.

To learn more effective ways to enhance energy efficiency in your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.

HVAC system

Pros and Cons of Skylights on Energy Efficiency

Pros and Cons of Skylights on Energy Efficiency

When most people think of skylights, they may not be focusing on energy efficiency. The most notable feature of a skylight is simply natural light. Technology still hasn’t provided an artificial equivalent for the aesthetic and mood-lifting benefits of sunlight streaming downward into living spaces from above. While windows allow indirect light into the house laterally, an overhead skylight provides the most direct way to gain the beneficial exposure to real sunlight indoors.When it comes to efficiency issues, however, a residential skylight presents both good news as well as downsides. Here are some skylight pros and cons:

Energy Efficiency Benefits

  • Extra heat in winter. Sunlight passing through glass carries heat energy along with it that warms rooms and helps reduce furnace expenses during daylight hours. Energy costs can be reduced during the heating season.

  • Free lighting. During daylight hours, a skylight reduces dependence on other electrical light sources.

  • Passive ventilation in summer. Skylights that are openable permit enhanced cross-ventilation by letting out rising warm air that naturally accumulates at the ceiling. This upward flow of air creates a “stack effect” in a room that continuously exhausts heat through the open skylight while pulling in fresh air through open windows.

Energy Efficiency Drawbacks

  • Heat gain on summer days. Solar heat entering through a skylight in summer may cause your air conditioner to run longer to compensate and increase energy costs. Placement of a skylight—such as selecting the north-facing side of the roof with less solar exposure—can reduce heat gain.

  • Nighttime heat loss. Once the sun goes down, glass in a skylight may allow indoor heat to radiate out of the house into the colder outdoors. In winter, this may require more heat from your furnace to compensate and energy consumption may rise. Skylights that utilize glass with low-emissivity coating can help reduce heat loss in winter.

If you're considering installing a skylight, ask the professionals at Air Assurance for more information about the potential energy efficiency pros and cons.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

How Your Roof Affects Your HVAC System

How Your Roof Affects Your HVAC System

Running the HVAC system accounts for about half of the total energy used in an average home. If you're looking for ways to reduce your household energy consumption and save money, one vital factor to consider is how your home's roof affects the HVAC system.

The HVAC System – Roof Relationship

The amount of energy needed to maintain comfort in your home is directly affected by the sun beating down on the roof. When there's a lot of heat getting absorbed through the roof, and it radiates down into your attic and living space, your HVAC equipment has to work harder to compensate, and you'll pay higher energy bills.

Factors Affecting Rooftop Heat Absorption

Research in recent years has given us a greater understanding of the role roofing material plays in how much solar heat enters homes and other buildings. This has led to the development of roofing with two key qualities that help it stay cooler and more energy efficient:

  • High solar reflectance. This allows a material to reflect sunlight better, so there's less solar heat absorbed into the roof system.

  • High thermal emittance. These materials release a high percentage of solar radiation that does get absorbed, which reduces how much heat can be transferred into an attic and conditioned living space.

Roofing Options That Improve Efficiency

If you want to increase your home's efficiency and you're planning to have new roofing installed in the near future, here's are some materials to consider:

  • Cool asphalt shingles. Regular asphalt roofing is a poor solar reflector, so it tends to soak up heat. New cool shingles are topped with specially-treated granules to reflect the sun's rays.

  • Coated metal. Bare metal can reflect sunlight, but it doesn't emit heat well. More efficient versions feature painted or granular-coated surfaces that provide both qualities.

  • Clay or concrete tile. While some types of tile roofing naturally reflect sunlight and shed heat, there are also products available with treated surfaces to provide better solar reflectivity and heat emittance.

To learn more about improving HVAC system efficiency in your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Service & Maintenance

How to Locate Cold Air Leaks Around the House

How to Locate Cold Air Leaks Around the House

Air leaks allow cold outside air to sneak into your home and steal your comfort and money. As the cold air gets into your home, your heating system is forced to work harder to deliver more hot air continuously, driving up your energy bills. The first step to winning the fight against cold air leaks is finding out where exactly the leakage is occurring. Here are some useful tips to help you achieve that.

Visual Inspection

The most common place for warm air to leak out of your home is around doors and windows. You can spot existing gaps by simply looking over door and window frames. If you see daylight around the frame, that's a sign of a leak. Having someone go outside at night and shine a flashlight over window and door frames will also reveal locations of large air leaks. If you observe from inside dark rooms, you'll see the light in the areas where the leaks are taking place.Also check for gaps and cracks around:

Smoke Test

You can locate the leaks that are less easily visible by conducting a smoke test.

  1. Turn off your furnace and any other combustion appliances on a cool, windy day.

  2. Walk around the potential leak sites with a lit incense stick. You'll know you have a leak if the smoke wavers or is blown back into the room.

Call in a Pro

If you want an accurate gauge of your home's cold air leaks, hire a technician to conduct a professional energy audit. He or she can perform a thermal infrared scan or a blower door test to measure your home's airtightness and locate sources of air leaks.

The energy you lose through cold air leaks can be equivalent to leaving a window open throughout the winter, so locating and sealing these leaks is well worth the time and effort. If you want to truly maximize your Broken Arrow home's energy efficiency by scheduling an energy audit, contact the professionals at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Heating

Considerations for Heater Replacements

Considerations for Heater Replacements

Fewer things are more annoying and inconveniencing than finding out your heating system needs replacement on a freezing winter evening. It can be hard for the average person to tell when their system has started to break down completely hence needs to be replaced. The good news is there are certain signs that homeowners can use to know when it's the right time to make heater replacements. Read on to learn more.

Current System Age

Furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. After this period, they start failing more often. If your furnace is 12 years or older and has required numerous repairs, you should consider replacing it.

Energy Efficiency

Have your energy bills gotten higher than usual? Your heating system may be to blame. Its efficiency may have significantly reduced. Therefore, it may need replacement. Newer furnace models come with higher AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings than older models, meaning they'll operate more efficiently.

Comfort

If some rooms feel warm whereas others are chilly, your heating system may be failing to distribute air correctly. A home that heats up unevenly can't be comfortable. It may be time to upgrade your heating system. Newer furnaces have variable speed motors that produce more even, comfortable heat and use less operating energy.

Costly Repairs

Are you faced with an expensive repair? It may be better to upgrade the system and get a new warranty on parts.

Financial Incentives

Are there any financial incentives for purchasing a new system? You should definitely take advantage of that. Summer is the best time to make good use of preseason upgrade specials. But that's not all. You may also qualify for manufacturer, company, and statewide rebates for choosing to install a new heating system in the summer. Installing a new heater in the summer will also prevent you from worrying about having a malfunctioning system in the winter.

By understanding the signs of needing heater replacements, homeowners can prevent harrowing total system breakdowns. If you need the best possible comfort in the Broken Arrow area, contact the HVAC experts at Air Assurance

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

Career Day: Teaching Kids about HVAC and Energy Efficiency

Career Day: Teaching Kids about HVAC and Energy Efficiency

From leaving the lights on to taking long showers to turning the thermostat up and down in a bid to achieve instant temperature control, children can significantly increase your utility bills due to their wasteful habits. For that reason, teaching kids about HVAC and energy efficiency should be a priority. Use the tips below to get them involved in saving energy at home.

Discuss the Thermostat

Your HVAC system is a major energy consumer. One of its parts that you interact with the most is the thermostat. Take the time to talk to your kids about how its settings affect energy efficiency. Explain to them why they should leave the settings alone to make them appreciate the need to have adults solely responsible for managing the device.

Do Basic HVAC Maintenance Together

Kids love doing adult work. Ask them to help you in doing basic maintenance tasks, such as:

  • Inspecting and cleaning or replacing air filters

  • Cleaning air vents

  • Looking for air leaks

  • Hosing down the exterior A/C unit

As you perform these tasks, make sure you explain to them the importance of what you're doing.

Give Rewards

A great way to prevent children from viewing conservation as a new chore is by turning it into a game. For example, you could come up with a game to find out and reward the person that best remembers to unplug unused appliances or turn off the lights. You could also keep track of their energy-saving habits and reward them once they meet certain goals.

Involve Them in HVAC Decisions

Are you planning to upgrade your thermostat? Let the kids help you choose a new programmable thermostat. If your furnace or air conditioner needs repair or replacement, talk to the young ones about the process. Allow them to watch your HVAC technician work and encourage them to ask questions.

Teaching kids about energy efficiency helps them develop good habits that will yield lifelong benefits. For more tips on energy efficiency, contact us at Air Assurance. Our friendly all-NATE certified technicians serve the Broken Arrow area with safe, effective, and efficient HVAC services.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Fans

Have You Changed Your Ceiling Fan Direction Yet?

Have You Changed Your Ceiling Fan Direction Yet?

When you're making the transition from heating to cooling your home this year, a related task that's well worth tackling is changing your ceiling fan direction. Once the blades are going in the right direction, you can use your ceiling fans strategically to boost your comfort, help you save energy and make your HVAC equipment last longer too.

Ceiling Fan Direction Simplified

Ceiling fan blades are purposefully designed to spin either forward or backward, and the direction of the spin is controlled via a small button found on the fan housing. This simple button adjustment allows you to change the blade rotation on a seasonal basis: in the summer, you want the blades spinning forward, in a counter-clockwise direction, so they create a cooling breeze. This “wind chill” helps perspiration evaporate and makes the body feel more comfortable.Making the change on all your ceiling fans isn't a difficult or time-consuming chore. Once the blades are set to spin counter-clockwise, you can:

  • Save energy without sacrificing comfort by dialing up your usual thermostat temperature setting a few degrees. Doing so can help you lower your energy bills for the entire cooling season.

  • Help lighten your heat pump or air conditioner's workload. By reducing strain and wear on your cooling equipment, there's less chance that it will break down at the height of the cooling season, and it will likely last longer as well.

Important Details to Know About Ceiling Fan Use

In our climate, ceiling fans can't completely replace air conditioning when the weather heats up, because they can't change the actual air temperature. What ceiling fans do is move air very effectively, and it's the cooling sensation created by air movement that lets you feel more comfortable. Understanding this makes it easy to see why it's only beneficial to run the ceiling fan in an occupied room. To avoid wasting any energy by having fans running unnecessarily, just make sure you switch the fan off whenever you exit a room.

To learn more ways to make your Broken Arrow home more comfortable this summer, contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Featured

A Room-by-Room Look at Where You Can Maximize Energy Efficiency

A Room-by-Room Look at Where You Can Maximize Energy Efficiency

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency may not be out of your reach, regardless of your budget. Even the smallest efforts you make on a room-by-room lower the amount you use, leaving more money in your pocket.

Overall Improvements

  • Look for air leaks around windows and exterior doors and seal with caulk or fresh weatherstripping.

  • Identify areas in the attic where insulation is lacking and add more.

  • Make a note to check the air filter for the HVAC system when it’s running often. Dirty filters increase energy bills and shorten the life of HVAC systems.

Living Areas

  • As you upgrade your home’s electronics and entertainment system, choose Energy Star-rated models.

  • Install reversible ceiling fans to use summer and winter for greater comfort. A fan increases comfort in the summer and when reversed, will actually warm the room in the winter.

Kitchen

  • Use the ventilation fan in the summer to remove heat while cooking.

  • Turn to the microwave and slow cookers during exceptionally hot weather. They use less energy and emit less heat than using the stove or oven.

  • Run full loads in the dishwasher and let them air dry instead of using the dry cycle.

Bathrooms

  • Run the ventilation fans when bathing during the summer to remove hot, humid air.

  • Replace old or leaking faucets with WaterSense fixtures that use much less water.

  • Turn the water heater down to 120 degrees F. Not only does it increase water heating energy efficiency, it also reduces the risk of scalding and extends the life of the water heater.

Bedrooms

  • Whenever the HVAC system is running, make sure the windows are locked to prevent air infiltration.

  • Use ceiling or floor fans to lower the “feels like” temperature when sleeping.

  • Install shade screens on south- or west-facing windows that receive direct sunlight.

  • Use smart power strips or surge protectors that turn off when it detects the devices are idle.

Taking steps to increase energy efficiency at home reduces your monthly overhead and often increases indoor comfort. For more information, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

What is a "Properly Matched" System?

What is a "Properly Matched" System?

You may have heard of the term “properly matched” if you’re in the market for a new HVAC system. Having a properly matched system is important if you want to get the most out of your heating and cooling equipment. Read on to learn more about properly matched systems and the problems that could come with using mismatched equipment.

A Matched Set Ensures Proper Performance

Most split HVAC systems are comprised of two parts: an indoor air handler that contains the evaporator coil and blower fan and an outdoor cabinet containing the compressor and condenser coil. Both halves are connected by copper or aluminum lines that circulate refrigerant between the two halves.

The two halves of a typical split HVAC system are designed to work as a team, highlighting the importance of a properly matched system. Matching one halve with another that’s not specifically designed to work with the other can result in poor performance, among other issues.

Perils of Mismatching

If you need to replace your HVAC system, you might be tempted to replace only half of the system in order to save money. However, this pennywise step can quickly turn into a pound-foolish mistake for a variety of reasons:

  • Improperly matched HVAC equipment can fail prematurely due to added stress on mismatched components.

  • Mismatched units that use non-ozone depleting refrigerants will fail when mated to equipment using older, incompatible refrigerants such as R-22.

  • Improperly matched HVAC systems are not only unreliable, but they’re also extremely inefficient.

  • Using improperly matched equipment can also void your HVAC warranty.

Undoing the damage caused by improperly matched HVAC equipment can also be expensive. In many cases, the damage can be so severe that only a complete replacement can correct the issue.

Only a properly matched system offers the performance, longevity and efficiency you expect from your heating and cooling equipment. If you need a new HVAC system for your Broken Arrow home, contact Air Assurance today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

How HVAC Industry Changes Affect Homeowners in 2018

HVAC industry changes

The HVAC industry changes for 2018 will have the most impact on homeowners who have older heat pumps and air conditioners, and the amount of fresh air ventilation new homes require. The phasing out of R-22 is nearly complete as the 2020 deadline approaches and the building codes for ventilation have been relaxed.

Refrigerant Phase-Out

If your central HVAC system uses R-22 and needs refrigerant, you’ll have to pay higher prices to fill it. Since 2010, no new systems can use R-22 because it’s an environmental hazard and the amount produced each year has been diminishing. By 2020, production will cease altogether.The new rules governing R-22 apply to HVAC technicians who need to handle it. They must pass a certification exam, and keep the certificate for three years after it expires. The technicians must also record how much they remove from a system that uses R-22, and how they disposed of it. They must also record where they disposed of the HVAC equipment.

Ventilation Codes

The International Residential Code (IRC) makes periodic changes to their building codes. They’ve rolled back their fresh air ventilation requirements to the levels established in 2010. Ventilation helps keep air healthier indoors either by exhausting stale air and replenishing it with fresh.Newer homes have been built to higher energy efficiency standards and require more mechanical ventilation since they have few air leaks caused by cracks or gaps in the exterior envelope.Some builders include balanced ventilation systems, like heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) that pull out as much interior air as they pull in from the outdoors. If not included as a standard feature, your HVAC contractor can add an HRV, which is the most energy efficient way to supply fresh air year-round.

If the HVAC industry changes for refrigerant will affect you in 2018, feel free to contact Air Assurance for more information. We provide trusted HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about the HVAC industry and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Gellinger/Pixabay”

HVAC system

Are Your Recessed Lights Affecting Your HVAC Efficiency?

Are Your Recessed Lights Affecting Your HVAC Efficiency?

Recessed lights offer a modern and unobtrusive style, while providing light practically anywhere in your home. However, there are drawbacks to recessed lighting fixtures — air leaks and heat gain/loss between your attic and living spaces. Energy losses make your HVAC system work harder and use more energy. Following are some tips to give your HVAC system more recess time and less work.

Types of Recessed Lighting

When you install recessed lighting fixtures, you are basically cutting a hole in your home's ceiling that compromises the insulation barrier. Energy losses can be minimized or exacerbated, depending on the rating of your recessed lights, air tightness and insulation factors.

  • Insulation Contact (IC): You need to know if your recessed lighting fixtures are rated "IC" for Insulation Contact. Fixtures with the IC designation may come into contact with attic insulation without the risk of fire.

  • Non-IC rated: If you have non-IC fixtures installed, attic insulation should be no less than 3 inches away from the top and sides of the recessed lighting fixtures.

  • Airtight fixtures: Airtight recessed lighting fixtures use gaskets to create a seal between the fixture and ceiling. Fixtures designated as airtight will be marked with "ASTM E283" on the canister.

Sealing and Insulating Recessed Lights

Take a look at all of your recessed lighting fixtures to see if you spot the IC and ASTM E283 ratings. If you do, then you don't have to worry about sealing air leaks. Even more, you can pile insulation up to and on top of the light canisters: HVAC energy losses solved.If your fixtures aren't rated airtight and insulation safe, perform efficiency upgrades to keep conditioned air out of your attic and attic air out of your living spaces. One of the most practical solutions is installing air-tight insulation boxes over the top of your recessed lights. Browse your home store or talk to your HVAC professional about your best options.

If you adore your recessed lights but abhor wasting energy in your Broken Arrow home, contact Air Assurance to audit your home efficiency and find the best solutions to promote energy savings.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about recessed lights and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Heating

Face It — Your Heating System is Ready for an Upgrade

Face It — Your Heating System is Ready for an Upgrade

Many people move into homes and only have a vague idea of the age of the heating system that comes with the home. Years later, it's even harder to know how long that heating equipment has been chugging away. Or perhaps you bought the furnace or heat pump yourself some years ago.Whatever the case, it's important to recognize signs that your heating system is ready for replacement. Following are some red flags to watch out for:

The age of the system

Furnaces last an average of 15-20 years, though it can be more or less depending on maintenance and usage. For example, a furnace operating in a cold-weather climate that seldom gets professional maintenance probably will go kaput at the short end of the average service life. With heat pumps, the average service life typically runs from 12-15 years. When your heating system gets close to the end of its expected service life, start watching for signs that a replacement is warranted.

The frequency of repairs

Obviously, if your older furnace or heat pump is breaking down or malfunctioning frequently – requiring serious repairs more than once a year – consider replacement. Once some components start to go bad, other components soon will begin following suit.

Loss of efficiency and/or comfort

If your energy bills are rising and comfort decreasing, and you can't find any other obvious reason for those negative developments, it could mean your old heating equipment is going bad.

Obvious corrosion or deterioration

Sometimes you can see for yourself that aging equipment is near its end. Corrosion or rust on a furnace heat exchanger may signal cracks, which can be hazardous to your family.The good news when it comes to a heating system upgrade is that modern HVAC equipment is much more energy efficient than equipment produced 15-20 years ago. With a new system, you can begin saving on energy bills immediately, while enjoying enhanced whole-house comfort.

For help deciding whether you need to repair or replace the aging furnace or heat pump in your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heating system upgrades and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Energy Star

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding Energy Star Guidelines

Understanding what the Energy Star label means and how the program works helps you chose appliances that stand up to rigorous use and cut energy consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started the program in the 1990s, and it makes it easy to make product choices based on performance and efficiency.The DOE requires EnergyGuide labels on some major appliances like HVAC systems, water heaters, washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers because they have engineering differences that can improve their efficiency. Those labels tell you how much energy the appliance uses over the course of a year along with its cost based on average use and energy prices.

The products that exceed the standards for energy efficiency in each appliance group receive the Energy Star’s distinctive label found on the EnergyGuide label or the product itself. The DOE’s guidelines for the Energy Star include:

  • The product must demonstrate it performs well under a wide variety of operating conditions.

  • Consumers need to recoup the extra costs that high efficiency products carry over a reasonable time period.

  • The energy consumption of a product can be accurately measured and verified.

  • Labeling the product would help consumers differentiate that product from other less efficient models.

Besides major home appliances, you’ll find the Energy Star label on computers and peripherals, light bulbs and televisions. While every bit of energy saved is important, it’s especially important to look for the label on major appliances, especially heating and cooling equipment, because they use the bulk of energy consumed in homes.

The DOE also uses the product’s durability and versatility under varying conditions to award it the designation, another good reason to look for the label on major home appliances. Better quality often translates to increased dependability and a longer lifetime for high-ticket appliances, and those characteristics also save money over the long term.

HVAC systems that earn the Energy Star label pay for themselves in lower operating costs and many have features that enhance comfort. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing top-notch HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Energy Star guidelines and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomain/Wikipedia”

Featured, Furnaces, Heating

Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works

Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works

Why settle for outdated, on/off heating when new variable-speed furnace technology excels in both comfort and energy efficiency? You may not realize it, but if you’re heating with gas like most Oklahomans, the cost of the electricity to operate the forced-air furnace blower is a major contributor to your heating expenses. Most installed furnaces incorporate a blower with a PSC (permanent split capacitor) motor. It’s an old-school energy hog and only operates at two speeds: on and off. A variable-speed furnace blower incorporates ECM (electronically commutated motor) technology programmed to circulate air continuously across a wide range of output speeds keyed to the heating requirements of the home.

Maybe it's time to move up to 21st-century heating technology and upgrade to a variable-speed furnace. Here’s an overview of the advantages.

More Consistent Heating

Conventional PSC furnaces create noticeable temperature swings in the home. As the blower cycles on and off repeatedly, temperatures may swerve from 10 degrees above the thermostat setting to 10 degrees below. Rooms are always overly warm or too chilly. A variable-speed ECM blower runs at low output continuously, maintaining comfort levels close to the thermostat setting at all times.

Lower Operating Costs

A typical PSC furnace blower guzzles over 500 watts of electricity when it's energized. A variable-speed ECM blower consumes less than 100 watts, substantially reducing the electrical component of your heating costs.

Improved Filtration

The air filter in your heating system protects indoor air quality—as long as air circulates through the filter. When a conventional system blower cycles off every few minutes, circulation stops and filtration ceases. Optimum air quality is also on-and-off. Because a variable-speed blower runs continuously, air filtration never stops and the indoor environment improves.

Longer Component Life

A conventional motor runs at full-blast output and turns on and off repeatedly, incurring substantial wear and tear. Variable-speed blowers run consistently at reduced output and stay cooler. This reduces wear and contributes to greater reliability and a longer expected service.

For more advantages of upgrading to a variable-speed furnace, contact the heating professionals at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock”

Featured, Furnaces

Important Tips to Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

Important Tips to Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

Buying a new furnace for your home may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information, you can easily choose a heating system that will serve your needs for many years to come. The following tips can help you identify what's important in a new furnace.

  • Efficiency: The efficiency of your new furnace will determine how effectively it heats your home and how much it will cost to maintain indoor comfort during the colder months. Higher-efficiency models use less fuel and, as a result, provide heating for a lower cost. Look for a furnace with a high AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, usually 90 or above.

  • Size: Proper furnace sizing is essential to buying a system that works well for your home. Sizing, in HVAC terms, refers to the system's capacity to produce heat and keep your indoor living spaces at the temperature you prefer. Have your HVAC professional perform a load calculation on your home. This is a detailed evaluation process that determines exactly how much heating is needed. When you have this information, you can easily find a furnace of the correct size.

  • Fuel type: Most often, you'll probably want to buy a new furnace that uses the same type of fuel as your old one. If you have a gas furnace, for example, you'll already have the utility connections in place for a new gas model. However, there are circumstances where you might want to change fuel types or switch to an electric furnace. Ask your HVAC expert for advice.

  • Efficiency-boosting features: Additional components can be added to your furnace to boost performance and efficiency even higher. Variable-speed blowers, for example, provide a lower speed for use when less heating is required. This lower speed uses less energy and costs less to operate. Dual heat exchangers improve heat transfer functions.

Air Assurance offers expert heating and cooling services to customers in Tulsa and neighboring areas. Contact us today for more information on how to choose a new furnace and for expert help with selecting, installing and maintaining your heating system.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock”

Featured, Programmable, Thermostats

Energy Saving Tips for Your Programmable Thermostat

Energy Saving Tips for Your Programmable Thermostat

If your home is outfitted with a programmable thermostat, you've already taken an important step toward saving energy and money. However, if you're not sure how to program or use this modern device, you're missing out on the potential benefits. These include both greater energy efficiency and enhanced convenience.

How Does a Programmable Thermostat Differ from a Standard Thermostat?

It's all about control. With an older, manual thermostat, you have to adjust temperature settings by hand. If you forget to adjust the thermostat for when you're not home or are sleeping, the temperature setting remains at whatever point you last set it. With a programmable thermostat, you can program temperature changes to match your daily and weekly schedules. Typically, people will lower (or raise, in the summer) the temperature while they're at work or school during the day, and then program the temperature to return to their comfort level shortly before they expect to arrive home.

Three Different Types of Programming Options:

  • 7-day. This is the most versatile model, allowing a separate program to be set for each day of the week.

  • 5-2-day. You'll be able to have one program for five days (usually the weekdays) and a separate program that applies to Saturday and Sunday.

  • 5-1-1-day. Resembling the 5-2 model, it allows a separate schedule for one weekend day and another schedule for the other weekend day, with the other five days set to the same schedule.

Save Energy by Following these Guidelines:

  • Try to schedule energy-saving setbacks for a minimum of eight hours for maximum savings. Frequently adjusting temperatures will handicap your efforts to save money.

  • Avoid overriding temperature settings as seldom as possible. This just defeats the purpose of your programmable thermostat.

  • Let the thermostat save energy and money while you're on vacation, by keeping the temperature eight to 15 degrees higher/lower than your comfort level. There's no reason to fully heat or cool a home when nobody's home for the week.

For more advice on optimum usage of your Broken Arrow home's programmable thermostat, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “marinini/Shutterstock”

Featured, Programmable, Thermostats

How to Use Your Programmable Thermostat Correctly

How to Use Your Programmable Thermostat Correctly

Using a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to cut down on the costs of staying comfortable. For the greatest savings, though, it helps to follow some simple guidelines.

Choose Your Temperatures Carefully

The number of temperature schedules you can set depends on the type of programmable thermostat you have. For example, 1-week models allow only one schedule, 5-2 models let you choose separate workday and weekend schedules and a 7-day model allows you to select a different schedule for every day of the week. Most let you choose four temperature settings per day.Put your energy-saving set points at least eight hours apart. For example, you might set your air conditioner to 78 degrees or your furnace to 60 degrees while you're in bed. Then program your system to turn off while you're out at work and come on again an hour before you get home. Selecting extreme temperatures doesn't heat or cool your home faster. If it's important for your home to be at a specific temperature at a certain time, choose a thermostat with "adaptive recovery" or "smart" technology.

Use the Settings as Intended

The "override" option allows you to temporarily change the temperature on unusually hot or cold days without wiping out your programming. Avoid the temptation to use it whenever you're slightly uncomfortable or you'll negate your energy savings. If you're frequently too hot or cold, program in more comfortable temperatures.Use the "hold" or "vacation" setting to keep your home at a constant, energy-saving temperature when you're gone for more than a day. Using it to control your temperatures every day makes it hard to save because you're likely to forget to reset the thermostat to your energy-saving temperatures.

Change your thermostat's batteries at least once a year. Weak batteries can cause the thermostat to malfunction and fail to maintain your preferred temperatures.

For more tips on using your programmable thermostat or other ways to lower your energy bills, contact us at Air Assurance. We serve the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “tab62/Shutterstock”