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Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, because it conducts heat well and adds thermal storage. Common floor coverings like vinyl and linoleum sheet goods, carpeting, or wood can also be used, but any covering that insulates the floor from the room will decrease the efficiency of the system.

If you want carpeting, use a thin carpet with dense padding and install as little carpeting as possible. If some rooms, but not all, will have a floor covering, then those rooms should have a separate tubing loop to make the system heat these spaces more efficiently. This is because the water flowing under the covered floor will need to be hotter to compensate for the floor covering. Wood flooring should be laminated wood flooring instead of solid wood to reduce the possibility of the wood shrinking and cracking from the drying effects of the heat.

Most of us flip on our central heat and air units regardless of the season, expecting the usual flow of either warm or cool air. When the cycle is interrupted, we know it—and feel it—instantly. Knowing a little about how your heat & air system works is important—if nothing else to calm you down while waiting for a qualified repair service, like Beaver Brothers, Inc., to arrive! All climate-control devices or systems have three basic components: 1) a source for warmed or cooled air, 2) a means to distribute that air, and 3) a control to regulate the system, meaning a thermostat.

When the furnace is turned on, it consumes the fuel that powers it, whether it be gas, oil, or electricity. As fuel is burned, heat is produced and channeled to the living areas of your home through ducts, pipes, or wires and then is blown out of registers, radiators, or heating panels. When an air conditioner is turned on, electrical power is used to cool a gas in a coil to its liquid state. Warm air in your home is cooled by contact with the cooling coil, and this cooled air is channeled to rooms directly from the unit itself.

While radiant and gravity systems are also in use in many homes, particularly older houses, for our purposes we’ll restrict our content to the forced-air system, which distributes heat produced by the furnace?or the coolness produced by a central air conditioner?through an electrically powered fan, which forces air through a system of metal ducts to the rooms in your home.

The thermostat, which regulates the temperature of your home, responds to changes in the temperature of the air where it is located and turns the furnace or air conditioner on or off as needed. The thermostat’s key component is a bimetallic element that expands or contracts as the temperature increases or decreases in a house. The latest heat and air-conditioning controls use solid-state electronics. Typically, they’re more accurate and more responsive than older systems. But repair to solid-state controls usually means replacement.

At Beaver Brothers, we’ve supplied our customers with trusted heating and air conditioning service for more than 94 years. Our friendly experienced staff stands ready to help you with all your indoor climate needs. But don’t wait for your heat or AC to give out! Give us a call at (704) 637-9595 today and let our experts check out the condition of your heat and cooling system, or visit us on line at www.beaverbrosinc.com.

Beaver Brothers Inc. 807 Corporate Circle Salisbury, NC 28147

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

General Thermostat Operation

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning.

Limitations for Homes With Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, and Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

The slow response time — up to several hours — of steam heating and radiant floor heating systems leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

 

(source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats)

11. Placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary because the thermostat senses heat from the appliances. Set them apart and save energy.

10. Lighting makes up about 10 percent of home energy costs. Save up to 75 percent of that energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They also last longer, saving money on replacements.

9. If #10 weren’t enough reason to make the switch to CFLs, only about 10 to 15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light — the rest is turned into heat. Don’t believe me? Watch this.

8. Running your air conditioning at 78°F instead of 72°F can save between 6 and 18 percent on your cooling bill. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be, so set your thermostat as high as possible during the summer months.

7. Well-planned landscaping isn’t just for aesthetics — properly placed trees around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually.

6. On average, households lose about 20 percent of their heated and cooled air through the duct system to the outside. To avoid wasting energy, have your ducts inspected to ensure they’re sealed properly and insulated if necessary.

5. If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Just make sure to turn it off when you leave the room (fans cool people, not rooms).

4. Heating water can account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and save energy (and avoid a surprise faucet-scalding).

3. By using the microwave, toaster or a counter-top grill rather than an oven, you’ll use less energy and avoid excess heat that increases room temperature.

2. Leaving a computer on all day can cost about 21 cents per day, or about $75 per year. Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use – a task made easier by using multiple-outlet strips, which can turn everything off with the flip of a switch.

1. Programmable thermostats can save up to $150 a year on energy costs when used properly. Use one that can automatically turn off your cooling system when you are not home, and turn your system on in time for you to arrive home to a cooled house.

 

(Source: https://energy.gov/articles/top-11-things-you-didnt-know-about-saving-energy-home-summer-edition)

Use Your Windows to Gain Cool Air and Keep Out Heat

  • If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, turn off your cooling system and open your windows while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air.
  • Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows.

Operate Your Thermostat Efficiently

  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.

Use Fans and Ventilation Strategies to Cool Your Home

  • If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
  • Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).

Keep Your Cooling System Running Efficiently

  • Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment.
  • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.

Don’t Heat Your Home with Appliances and Lighting

  • On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.
  • Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
  • Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air drying both dishes and clothing.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.

Keep Hot Air from Leaking Into Your Home

  • Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

Lower Your Water Heating Costs

  • Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.

(source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/spring-and-summer-energy-saving-tips)

At Beaver Brothers, we’ve supplied our customers with trusted heating and air conditioning service for more than 94 years, a tradition that proudly extends almost as far back as the birth of modern-era air conditioning itself. With temperatures dangerously soaring in many sections of the country this summer, it’s a natural tendency to head for the shade. Here are a few reminders of additional ways to beat the oppressive heat:

  • Head for the water. Beaches and swimming pools get a workout from the extra crowds flocking to water in relief of scorching temperatures. But additional exposure to the sun brings about its own problems. Be sure to coat yourself and your kids with frequent applications of sunscreen with a minimum 30 SPF protection. Some public pools even report people standing in line waiting for a swimming facility to open when temps get excessive.
  • Head for the mall, y’all. Folks too sensitive for the sun’s relentless bombardment often retreat to indoor facilities for a break. Shopping malls in particular report heightened traffic. “That’s the beauty of bad weather,” one mall marketing manager noted of the situation’s duality. “When the weather’s extreme, we benefit either way.” Iced tea and coffee, along with frozen treats like yogurt, sell well in malls when outdoor temperatures rocket. Movie theaters also report a climb in attendance from people seeking to retire to a cool environment.
  • Cooling centers. With record-breaking temperatures surfacing in Northern California this summer, several counties opened “cooling centers,” basically daytime shelters where the public can come to escape perilous heat levels. Water and snacks are often provided. An emergency services coordinator for the American Red Cross said that, typically, those who can’t afford to run their air conditioners?the elderly or those on fixed incomes?turn out at the centers in small numbers.

As always, the friendly experienced staff at Beaver Brothers stands ready to help you with all your air conditioning needs. But don’t wait for your AC to give out. Give us a call at (704) 637-9595 today and let our experts check out the condition of your cooling system, or visit us on line at www.beaverbrosinc.com.

Beaver Brothers Inc. 807 Corporate Circle Salisbury, NC 28147 Chill this summer with the kings of cooling? Beaver Brothers!

Geothermal HVAC Myths Busted

1. Geothermal HVAC systems are not considered a renewable technology because they use electricity.

Fact: Geothermal HVAC systems use only one unit of electricity to move up to five units of cooling or heating from the earth to a building.

2. Photovoltaic and wind power are more favorable renewable technologies when compared to geothermal HVAC systems.

Fact: Geothermal HVAC systems remove four times more kilowatt-hours of consumption from the electrical grid per dollar spent than photovoltaic and wind power add to the electrical grid. Those other technologies can certainly play an important role, but geothermal HVAC is often the most cost effective way to reduce environmental impact of conditioning spaces.

3. Geothermal HVAC needs lots of yard or real estate in which to place the polyethylene piping earth loops.

Fact: Depending on the characteristics of the site, the earth loop may be buried vertically, meaning little above-ground surface is needed. Or, if there is an available aquifer that can be tapped into, only a few square feet of real estate are needed. Remember, the water is returned to the aquifer whence it came after passing over a heat exchanger, so it is not “used” or otherwise negatively impacted.

4. Geothermal HVAC heat pumps are noisy.

Fact: The systems run very quiet and there is no equipment outside to bother neighbors.

5. Geothermal systems eventually “wear out.”

Fact: Earth loops can last for generations. The heat-exchange equipment typically lasts decades, since it is protected indoors. When it does need to be replaced, the expense is much less than putting in an entire new geothermal system, since the loop or well is the most pricey to install. New technical guidelines eliminate the issue of thermal retention in the ground, so heat can be exchanged with it indefinitely. In the past, some improperly sized systems did overheat or overcool the ground over time, to the point that the system no longer had enough of a temperature gradient to function.

6. Geothermal HVAC systems only work in heating mode.

Fact: They work just as effectively in cooling and can be engineered to require no additional backup heat source if desired, although some customers decide that it is more cost effective to have a small backup system for just the coldest days if it means their loop can be smaller.

7. Geothermal HVAC systems cannot heat water, a pool, and a home at the same time.

Fact: Systems can be designed to handle multiple loads simultaneously.

8. Geothermal HVAC systems put refrigerant lines into the ground.

Fact: Most systems use only water in the loops or lines.

9. Geothermal HVAC systems use lots of water.

Fact: Geothermal systems actually consume no water. If an aquifer is used to exchange heat with the earth, all the water is returned to that same aquifer. In the past, there were some “pump and dump” operations that wasted the water after passing over the heat exchanger, but those are exceedingly rare now. When applied commercially, geothermal HVAC systems actually eliminate millions of gallons of water that would otherwise have been evaporated in cooling towers in traditional systems.

10. Geothermal HVAC technology is not financially feasible without federal and local tax incentives.

Fact: Federal and local incentives typically amount to between 30 and 60 percent of total geothermal system cost, which can often make the initial price of a system competitive with conventional equipment. Standard air-source HVAC systems cost around $3,000 per ton of heating or cooling capacity, during new construction (homes usually use between one and five tons). Geothermal HVAC systems start at about $5,000 per ton, and can go as high as $8,000 or $9,000 per ton. However, new installation practices are reducing costs, to the point where the price is getting closer to conventional systems under the right conditions.

Factors that help reduce cost include economies of scale for community, commercial, or even large residential applications and increasing competition for geothermal equipment (especially from major brands like Bosch, Carrier, and Trane). Open loops, using a pump and reinjection well, are cheaper to install than closed loops.

Article by Jay Egg originally posted here: https://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/17/10-myths-about-geothermal-heating-and-cooling/

Approximately half the energy used in your home goes for heating and cooling. Beaver Brothers would like to remind you that making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big impact on utility bills, not to mention your wellbeing. Here are a few helpful pointers to get the most out of your heating and cooling system:

  • Change the air filter regularly. Every month check your air filter. If it looks dirty, change it. At the least, change the filter every three months. A clogged filter slows down air flow and makes the system work harder to function, wasting energy.
  • Have an annual pre-season check-up. Summer and winter are the busy seasons for contractors. Check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system each fall. A check-up now may save a costly maintenance bill later.
  • Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Ducts that move air to and from a forced-air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump can be big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent. How do you know if your ducts are faulty? High summer and winter utility bills, stuffy rooms that never really get comfortable, or tangled and kinked flexible ducts in your system are good indicators.

Seal ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and duct connections. After sealing, wrap the ducts in insulation to keep them from getting hot in summer or cold in winter.

  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat, which adjusts the temperature according to programmed settings for different times of the day — is ideal for people away from home for indefinite periods. Pre-programmed settings via a programmable thermostat can save you $180 annually in energy costs.

Spring is on the horizon! And as always, the friendly experienced staff at Beaver Brothers, now in our 94th year of service, is ready to help you with all your heating and air conditioning needs.

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home — typically making up about 54% of your utility bill.

No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling — and reduce environmental emissions — from 20%-50%.

Heating and Cooling Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer, and — depending on the season — raise or lower the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact us.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.

Long-Term Savings Tips

  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. We will help you find the best energy efficient product for your budget.
  • For furnaces, look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE, but there are ENERGY STAR® models on the market that exceed 90% AFUE. For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. ENERGY STAR models are 14.5 SEER or more.

Winter. For many of us, the season means holiday shopping, hot chocolate, and time spent with friends and family. For those of us who love saving energy, the winter season also means that there are many ways to save money by conserving energy.

Check out these top 10 tips below:

Air seal and insulate your home: you can prevent heat from escaping or cold from entering your home – lowering your heating bills – by insulating and air sealing your home.
Use a programmable thermostat: you can reduce your waste heat by using a programmable thermostat that can reduce the heat at a specific time when you’re away from the home and increase the heat before you get back for dinner.
Install ENERGY STAR doors and windows: doors and windows are places where cold/warm air can easily come through, so by installing energy efficient doors and windows, you can save energy and money with their better quality insulation.
Use LED holiday lights: Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are at least 75% more efficient and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights. By using LED holiday lights, you can be at ease knowing that you won’t be spending a bundle to keep those lights on.
Turn off the lights: If you’re out on vacation this winter, you can save energy by making sure the lights are turned off.
Use lighting controls: you can save additional money on your electricity bill by using motion sensor and timer controls.
Lower the water heater: one significant way to reduce energy consumption if you’re away on vacation is to simply lower the water heater. If you’ll be gone three or more consecutive days, set the water heater to the lowest or ‘vacation’ setting if there is one.
Unplug electronics: when you are away, unplug those kitchen appliances, DVDs, TVs, and computers to save energy and money. These electronics, when plugged in, use up energy even when they are turned off.
Use a power strip: if the idea of running around the home to unplug everything is a bit too much, use power strips to plug in multiple appliances, and then turn it all off with the flip of the power strip switch.
Adjust the blinds and curtains: last but not least, another useful way to conserve energy while on vacation is to lower the blinds and curtains. Close your curtains and shades at night to protect against cold drafts; open them during the day to let in warming sunlight.

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Power Usage

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Gentlemen, We just got our monthly Home Energy Report from Duke Power. The report tracks our kilowatt hour usage monthly going back a year and compares our usage to the “Average Home” and that of an energy “Efficient Home.” Our track record before February showed that we ranged between 200-800 kilowatt hours above the Average Home. The downward spiral of our energy usage tracks exactly to the installation of the geothermal HVAC unit by you and your team. We are now tracking consistently with the “Average Home” and are only about 200 kilowatt hours above the “Efficient Home.” The big number however is that we are 1,000 kilowatt hours below our usage in June of last year! Now, I know that circumstances out of our control can raise or lower kilowatt hour usage, but Jan and I are convinced the numbers relate directly to the geothermal system. From a dollar standpoint, we are paying a range of $50-75 less per month to Duke Power. Just thought that you and your team would appreciate a testimonial regarding the value of their work and the products that they represent. Sincerely, Rick

Geothermal Energy