The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Furnaces

Indoor heating is essential to the comfort and even health of the occupants of a house during winter. The core of any heating system is the furnace, which in most homes is located somewhere outside the main house or in the basement. This is so as to keep it out of the way but also for safety purposes. Whether you are moving into a new place and have to install a new furnace or you just wish to overhaul your current one, there are considerations to make before you go to the shop.

Types of Furnaces

Broadly speaking, there are two available types of furnaces. There is the traditional furnace and the two stage furnace. The traditional furnace, also called the single stage furnace, is either full on or completely off. This is to say that when it is on, it operates at maximum heat output and there is no way to regulate that because there is no provision for medium heat.

The two stage furnace is an improvement of this. In one setting, it can run like the traditional furnace but in the other, it allows for a reduced heat output when the temperature is not very low. If puzzling over which furnace to buy between these two, consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-stage Furnace

A two stage furnace is considered quieter. This is because it runs at a functionality of 75-80 percent most of the time. Lower fan speed means less noise. It maintains a more constant temperature without dips and spikes. This kind of furnace also saves energy because it runs on the lower setting most of the time. Even with these advantages, it is said to have two key disadvantages:

  • High upfront costs – It was made to improve upon the traditional furnace. It is therefore comes as no surprise that it is more expensive than the traditional furnace.
  • It breaks down more often – Unlike a traditional furnace which goes off when the weather is moderate to warm, a two stage furnace keeps running at that low setting. Running almost constantly causes wear and tear and may lead to frequent breakdowns.

Advantages of Traditional Furnace

It may not be possible to regulate the level of heating with a traditional furnace. However, it is the go to furnace when working on a budget because it is cheaper. It also breaks down less often than the two stage furnace. Besides, modern single stage furnaces have been remodeled to make them energy efficient. This should go a long way to reduce heating costs.

Other factors to consider before purchasing a furnace are:

  • Type of fuel – If you have no gas connection or if it is interrupted often, you might want to go for an electric furnace instead of a gas furnace.
  • Prevailing weather – Consider where you live. If it is customary to have extremely cold winters, then the traditional furnace might be the best because you will have no need for the low heat setting.

The type of furnace you install should be determined by the needs of your household and those in it. Seek the help of a contractor so that they can advise on the appropriate type and even size of furnace.

The Easiest Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills

As the climate warms, it’s more important than ever to consider how you can lower your carbon footprint as a homeowner.And lowering your carbon footprint has another huge benefit: you can often save money as a result of green upgrades to your home. For example, solar energy can save you around $600 a year in energy costs. Of course, there are many other reasons why you should use solar energy, but the primary reason to use it is that it is a renewable source, i.e., it will last for billions of years.

Besides making structural changes—like adding solar panels, for example, to your home, there are other ways to save on your utility bills such as turning off lights you’re not using. Below, we’ve gathered our tops tips for saving money on energy – and helping out the planet, too!

Take advantage of sunshine during the winter

The sun is basically free heat for your home. Homeowners can take advantage of what’s called passive solar design. During the day, open the curtains on south-facing windows to let the sunshine inside so it can warm up your house. This will keep your home considerably hotter during the colder months.

Don’t forget to close the curtains when the sun sets so you can keep as much of that trapped solar heat as possible. Consider investing in thick, insulated curtains, which will help keep heat inside your living spaces.

Pay attention to your ceiling fan’s rotation in winter and summer

As you may know, warm air rises. Instead of letting that warm air go up, up and away, you can leverage your ceiling fan to keep that warm air close to you and your family. Reverse your ceiling fan’s rotation so that it turns clockwise instead of counterclockwise. This will keep the hot air in your living spaces.

And during the hotter months, make sure the fan is spinning counterclockwise to pull hot air away from you.

Get a new roof

A new roof can make a huge difference in your energy savings. Best of all? Energy-efficient roofing helps you save money in both the colder and warmer months. Many new types of roofing are “cool roofs” which reflect more of the sun’s rays instead of allowing solar heat to permeate into the home. This means that you don’t have to run the AC as low or as often. In the winter, a new roof helps prevent warm air from escaping.

Plus, in many areas, you might be eligible for a government tax incentive for replacing an old roof with an energy-efficient version.

Seal drafts around windows, doors, and other areas of your home

One of the best methods for determining what areas of your home can be more energy-efficient is by conducting a DIY energy audit. To do an energy audit, light an incense stick and watch to see if smoke is pulled to cracks in the windows or under the doors. You can also sometimes feel drafts by simply putting your palm up around the edges of windows and doors. Once you find drafty areas, it’s important to seal up those holes with weather stripping or caulking.

Fixing air leaks will benefit you both in the summer and the winter because it helps keep your HVAC system from working overtime.

Invest in a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is a prudent investment, especially if you regularly forget to turn off the A/C or heat when you leave for work or errands. That wasted energy can add up to a big utility bill at the end of the month. A smart thermostat regulates the temperature and automatically programs a specific range to keep you comfortable but turns off in unoccupied rooms.

Schedule regular maintenance

Routine maintenance is essential to promote the longevity of your HVAC system and to ensure that your home isn’t wasting energy. Make sure to replace filters at least once a month and keep tabs on how old your HVAC system is, most systems need to be replaced every 15-20 years.

Takeaways

There are a variety of reasons as to why it’s in your best interest to find ways to make your home greener. Not only do green upgrades ultimately save you money, they also help the planet during a time when a climate emergency is threatening our very existence. If you want to see a smaller utility bill and live a more eco-friendly life, utilize some of the tips mentioned in this article. You’ll save money and help save earth, too.

9 Brilliant Tips To Save Energy In The Winter

When those winter months come, it can feel great to blast on the heating. That feeling of being cozy in your home while it’s freezing outside is something many people love about winter. That’s until you see your energy bill and realize all of that energy has come at a steep cost.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here we look at 9 brilliant tips that are going to allow you to stay warm in your house while saving energy. This will be much better for the environment and also much better for your pocket.

1) Cozy clothing

We’re not suggesting that you have a coat, scarf, and gloves in your home. Rather you can wear jumpers, thicker pajamas and winter socks. This will allow you to be comfortable in your clothing while also giving you the ability to turn down your heating by a couple of degrees.

Also getting thicker duvets for bedtime and nice throws for snuggling up in front of the TV can help keep you warm without your boiler doing all the hard work. You always want to be comfortable in your home but sometimes that can be done without adjusting the heating.

2) A 21st century Christmas

The holiday is a wonderful time of the year and many people love putting up a vast array of Christmas lights. You don’t have to be a humbug and take them down; instead, you can do it all a little more efficiently.

In these modern times, you should be using LED bulbs for those lights. Many people are still using their old bulbs which are much less efficient, and also more unreliable. Also, put your lights on a timer so that they only come on when it gets dark and go off at bedtime.

3) Use a space heater

Do you only stay in one room during the day or evening? Heating just one room instead of them all could save you a huge amount on your energy bills.

To make the most of this you can turn off the heating in your home and switch on your space heater. This will prevent a huge amount of waste. This shouldn’t be confused with using a space heater on top of your heating as this would be more inefficient.

4) Maintain your humidifier and HVAC systems

Over time your air conditioning, heating, humidifier and energy systems will become less efficient. It’s always a great idea to service your systems such as a furnace humidifier, see if any parts need to be replaced and then enjoy their greater output.

A lot of energy can be lost by devices that are either outdated or in need of a service, with your boiler being a great example. It’s usually easy to check this yourself or call out a professional to do it for a small fee.

5) Seal any leaks

If there is a draft coming through your home, then you need to block it. One common area of concern is basements and sealing leaks will prevent the warm air of your home escaping outside.

Other areas such as doors could benefit from a draught excluder and if you have inefficient windows, using quilted curtains can prevent drafts. If you’re not sure where drafts are coming from, using an infrared thermometer can be a huge help.

6) Keep a stable temperature

Some people can fall into the trap of switching their heating on, getting too hot, switching it off and opening a window, then switching their heating back on when it gets cold. If you repeat this process, not only can you get uncomfortable, but it’s a huge waste.

The best solution is to get a thermostat that you can time. You need to know your ideal temperature and use this for when you’re at home. You will also be able to turn your heating off when you’re out of the house and down when you’re sleeping.

7) Use solar energy

There are many misconceptions about solar energy, with one of the biggest being that it only works in warm climates. The reality is that all they need is sunlight, even if it’s freezing outside. They also don’t need direct sunlight to be powered up.

If you live in a spot where you have the space and budget, then it doesn’t matter what the temperature is. While a solar panel won’t be as effective if there are fewer daylight hours, they can still provide a huge boost of clean energy in those cold winter months.

8) Avoid your tumble dryer

You can’t put your clothes outside to dry and therefore you put them in your tumble dryer, it makes sense. This they are brilliant for getting the job done quickly but use up a huge amount of energy in the process.

If your radiators are on, then you might as well use them. If you don’t need clothes to be immediately dried then they are only going to take a few hours in front of a radiator and you’ll save a lot of money.

9) Don’t block radiators

Okay, this is a direct contradiction to the point before but with clothing it is different. If you have a bed or other piece of furniture in front of a radiator, it will have a hugely negative impact on its ability to heat your room.

You need to allow the radiator to heat the air around it and then give enough space for that air to circulate. In terms of circulation, if you have a ceiling fan then it’s a good idea to put it on reverse and in its lowest setting. Hot air rises and a ceiling fan, when used like this, can push the hot air back down into the room.

The Best Warm Winter Getaways in the US

After working for a long time, it is always advisable to go on vacation especially if there is enough cash. Going on a getaway is one of the few things to do to have fun and keep body and soul together. There are lots of places that one could visit for a getaway especially if one’s family will be going as well. The best getaway is ways the family getaway where you go with your family to a new land. This is always a good thing to do as it binds family love. To enjoy getaway, it is importance to look for a perfect destination that will offer everything needed to have a memorable getaway.

United States is a good destination for getaways as there are lots of beautiful things and amazing places that will make the getaway awesome. The United States also has a record of hosting a lot of tourists every year because of the numerous tourist attractions and beautiful places in various cities and towns. Getaway in the United States is always unique because you will find your choice of interest in the various cities. Also, no matter your budget you will always find good places that are suitable for getaways. If you want your getaway to be fun, easy, and straight forward, you should know your targeted locations in the US before leaving your country.

There is a big difference between winter getaways and planning a trip in every other season. The winter is always cold, and it could be extremely bad in some cases. It is always advisable for every visitor to visit some of the perfect warm locations in the US whenever the trip falls in winter. After getting to the US, below are some of the best getaway locations that one could visit to have good time.

Leavenworth

This is a popular town in the state of Washington that is suitable for a winter getaway. There are lots of warm locations in the town that makes it easy for tourists to have a great time in the town. Since the weather is always closed during winter, it is better to go with a good winter jacket. Another way to have great time in the town during winter is to visit some of the warm locations. There are good parks to host family picnics, good restaurants to eat both native and foreign foods, and other sightseeing locations that will make you want to visit the town again.

The good thing about visiting Leavenworth for vacation is that a lot of things are cheap making it easy for foreigners to access almost every activity and event in the town. No matter where you come from, you will always find something interesting about Leavenworth town. Memories are very important, and it is good to keep a record of good events thus try as much as possible to take a lot of pictures in the beautiful town of Leavenworth.

The ESTA is compulsory for every citizen of VWP countries that are planning a trip to the US. ESTA check online to know if your country is eligible.

Truckee

This is another town that is suitable for getaways, especially during winter. It is a town in California that attracts a lot of new visitors now and then. Truckee is a place to be during winter as there are several warm locations that will enhance excellent satisfaction. This is a place to be if you want to impress your kids because they will enjoy their time in the town. There are numerous children fun centers that provide children with top-notch services that keep them busy.

Choosing Truckee as a getaway location will provide you with a lot of amazing things needed to have a fulfilled vacation. You will meet a lot of other tourists that have come to explore the small town thus try as much as possible to make new friends and buy the best cheap luggage. It is also important for one to take pictures to save good memories, and also make use of green ways to travel.

Ithaca

This is another good location for a good getaway. It is one of the most visited towns in New York. There are lots of sightseeing locations and landmarks that will make your getaway an unforgettable experience. Apart from exploring some of the amazing places in this town, you can also visit some of the popular cities in New York to explore some popular landmarks and sightseeing locations.

Ithaca town has a lot of warm locations making it a suitable location for a winter getaway. Visit some of the parks and recreational centers with your kids because this will go a long way. Exploring this town maximally will show you the beauty of Ithaca town and New York. There are a lot of beautiful places to take good pictures; try your possible best to take a lot of pictures.