At JK Mechanical, we believe that your home can be both comfortable and environmentally smart. April is Earth Month, and is a great time to consider some small changes you can make at home to make your home comfort system more sustainable—and more budget friendly—without compromising on the comfort you need. Read on for six convenient ways you can make your HVAC more sustainable:
- Schedule Regular Maintenance
Regular planned, professional maintenance isn’t just good for maintaining your comfort and extending the life of your heating & cooling system. Regular maintenance—including regular filter changes—also help your unit work more efficiently, thus saving you on utility costs and using less non-renewable resources. A dirty air filter causes your heating and cooling system to work harder, using more electricity and driving up your utility bill. According to EnergyStar, even just changing a dirty filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
Bonus Tip: If your system is getting up there in years—10-12 for heat pumps and air conditioners, 15-18 years for furnaces, and 20-25 for geothermal, as a general rule of thumb—it might be worth it financially and environmentally to upgrade to a newer system with higher efficiency ratings. Your JK Comfort Consultant can help you weigh the benefits of different types of system and their efficiency.
- Add High-Quality H2O
Did you know that Americans purchase 50 BILLION plastic, disposable water bottles per year? By switching to a reusable water bottle, each person can save an average of 156 plastic bottles and more than $225 per year.
If you’re in the habit of buying bottled water for home because you’re dissatisfied with the taste of your tap water, investing in a water filtration system can deliver fresh, good-tasting tap water throughout your entire home without the use of harsh chemicals or single-use plastics, and will typically pay for itself in about one year based on a family of five. Savings for the environment, your wallet—and the back of the person carrying all those water bottles!
- Consider Renewable Energy
If you are replacing your current home comfort system or building a new home, now is a great time to consider switching to the reliable, quiet comfort of a Geothermal Heat Pump. Geothermal heat pump systems are incredibly efficient, even compared to air source heat pumps. According to the EPA, geothermal systems use 25-50% less electricity than a standard heating and cooling system. While a Geothermal system is typically a higher up-front investment compared to a traditional heat pump or furnace, the significant savings, 26% Federal Tax Credit, and longer system lifespan can quickly offset those costs. Because a Geothermal Heat Pump requires a well loop in your yard, some properties are better suited to geothermal than others, so check with your Comfort Consultant to see if Geothermal is right for you.
Bonus Tip: Want to take renewable energy even further? Consider offsetting your power bill with the installation of a Solar PV system, also eligible for the 26% Federal Tax Credit through the end of 2022. The average residential solar system installation is silent, low-maintenance, and offsets 178 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years, which is equivalent to planting 10 football fields full of trees. (We even have a rooftop array at the JK office, which generates on average 105% of the power we use each year!) The solar permitting and power company approval process tends to be lengthy, so if you’re considering solar, we urge you to start early and schedule your free assessment.
- Think Smart
Talk to your service technician about whether upgrading to a smart or learning thermostat such as the Google Nest, Ecobee, or Carrier Infinity is right for your heating and cooling system. Smart “learning” technology learns your temperature preferences and schedule and will adjust your HVAC system automatically, saving up to 15% on your energy bills while improving your comfort.
- Modernize Your Lighting
Do you still have incandescent light fixtures around your home? LED fixtures and bulbs use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent, AND last an average of 25 times longer. Plus, nowadays, LED lights come in an array of warmth and styles to suit any style of décor.
Bonus Tip: Already have LEDs and looking to improve your energy efficiency even further? Opt for motion- or occupant-sensor lighting, to be sure you’re only using power when a space is actually in use. As an alternative, smart switches or bulbs are compatible with a wide array of devices and allow you to control and monitor your energy usage from anywhere via the internet.
- Get Rid of the Hot Water Tank
Tankless water heaters (or on-demand water heaters) are appliances that heat water as it circulates through the device, rather than maintaining a storage tank of hot water. Already more common in Europe, the tankless water heater has gained popularity here in recent years as homeowners look to shrink their carbon footprint (and utility bills) without compromising comfort or convenience. For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. Plus, because water is heated as needed, that means you never run out of hot water.
For a limited time, UGI is offering mail-in rebates of $400 for UGI gas customers who install an EnergyStar rated gas tankless water heater. Click here or give us a call to request more information about tankless water heater installations.
If you have any questions about making your home comfort more sustainable, talk to your technician at your next service appointment or Precision Tune-Up and they will be happy to offer guidance. Schedule online or contact us here for help.
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