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Looking for ways to help save money on heating costs during the winter is a concern for everyone! The most important tip is to make sure that your heating system is working properly. Set up an appointment with us and we’ll come out and inspect your system. While you’re at it, ask us about our Planned Maintenance Agreement, and we’ll call you when it’s time to inspect your heating and air systems all year round!

Here are some great tips to prepare your home for the fall and winter months from the US Department of Energy’s website:

Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Cover Drafty Windows

Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Adjust the Temperature

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 -15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Digital thermostats provide a more accurate reading and some can be programmed to adjust the temperature in your home at certain times of the day or night. Ask us about the many digital thermostat options that are available.
Find and Seal Leaks

Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
Maintain Your Heating Systems

Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Call us to schedule your appointment!
Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace

Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly — approximately 1 inch — and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
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.
Lower Your Holiday Lighting Costs

Use light-emitting diode — or “LED” — holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.

(Source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips)

We believe that the best reasons to use sustainable features in a home are to save money or for the pleasure of the occupants. (Saving energy is an important side effect.)

But for one feature that checks all three boxes, consider radiant heating. On a cold, rainy day, there’s nothing that feels better upon waking than putting bare feet onto a warm floor heated by a radiant in-floor system.

Rather than rely on inefficient forced-air systems — which start with cold outside air, and then must expend energy to heat it before moving it inside — radiant heating uses a warm surface to transfer heat into a space. It’s much like shining a light on a wall. And as we learned in physics class, warm air rises, so a heated floor soon means a heated room.

In general, there are two types of radiant heating systems, according the National Association of Home Builders: dry-system radiant tubing, with electric-powered tubes positioned above the floor and in between two layers of plywood, or under the subfloor; and hydronic radiant-floor systems, with looped tubes pumping heater water beneath the finished floor. The water is heated by gas, wood or oil boilers; solar water heaters; or a combination of sources. Hydronic systems tend to be the most efficient, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

Can you imagine anything cozier in the morning than putting your feet onto a shag rug, warmed by radiant heat under the wood floors?

A benefit of radiant heating for allergy sufferers: The absence of outside air moved in and around a home can reduce allergies.

As for the financial savings, radiant flooring is reported to save 20 percent to 40 percent  in heating bills, according to the National Association for Home Builders.

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.

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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