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When You Should Be Adjusting Your Thermostat

Are you the type of person who sets the thermostat to 71° and “Auto” then never touches it again? Or are you the kind of person who is constantly adjusting the thermostat throughout the day?

Well, we’re here to tell you that neither of these thermostat personality types are doing a good job of keeping their energy bills low. If you want to start seeing lower energy bills, then here are a couple of often-overlooked occasions when you should be adjusting your thermostat:

When You’re in the Kitchen All Day

“Cooking up a storm” can really increase the temperature in your house, starting with the kitchen. And, since we’ve found that many of you keep your thermostats in or near the kitchen, a raised temperature in the kitchen tends to affect the whole house.

The solution?

Go ahead and lower the temperature on your thermostat when you know you’ll be cooking a lot—especially with the oven—so that when things heat up, you’re more likely to reach a normal temperature. Doing this will not only benefit your energy consumption on a regular basis, but it will likely help you prepare your home for whoever it is you’re cooking for. You’d hate to invite them into a sweaty house party!

When You’re Not Home

Energy.gov said in a recent report that turning your thermostat down for 8 hours per day will help you see a reduction in energy consumption from 5-15% per year. That means that if you were to start lowering your temperature when you leave for work every morning (in the winter—and raising it a bit in the summer), you could save 10-15% on your energy bills every year!

We always recommend setting it back 5-10 degrees, so that your system can easily adjust back and forth.

To make it even better—you can adjust the temperature when you go on trips away from the house for extended periods of time.

Consider a Smart Thermostat

Many smart thermostats adjust not only according to when you’re home or not, but also according to your daily in-house routine. Do you regularly make it cooler before bedtime?

Cool!

Your thermostat will take note of that and start doing it on its own. Sounds fancy, huh? The good news is that, while the price of making your house a smart home may seem high up front, the products are made to save you money in the long run!

We’re proud to offer these and other new thermostats to our customers! Call us at BNG Heating & Cooling to talk to one of our associates about installing one in your home, so that you can start saving TODAY!

The Homeowner’s Resolution List

The minute you buy a home, your to-do list grows exponentially. You no longer have the luxury of calling the landlord when something breaks or malfunctions.

Nope—it’s YOUR responsibility now! The good news is that, for homeowners who plan ahead and take care of their home year-round, breakdowns and malfunctions can be kept to a minimum.

It’s easy to lose track of all the things you’re supposed to be doing to make sure you’re keeping everything in working order, so that’s why we made this list for you! Of the many, many home maintenance tasks that we encourage, these are the most important:

Schedule Maintenance Appointments for the Year

When we encounter a broken-down HVAC unit, it’s often quite obvious that the problem that broke the system down could have been avoided if the homeowner had had their system checked out regularly.

That’s why we offer maintenance plans!

People on our maintenance plans get regular home visits, so that we can troubleshoot any potential problems BEFORE they get serious.

Cut Energy Usage

This should be a real priority. Whether you’re in an older home or a newly-built house, there are always ways that you can be cutting down on the energy that your home burns. Start by investing in a smart thermostat. It will monitor your daily habits and adjust the temperature in your home automatically.

These genius devices are always looking for ways to cut down your energy consumption, so it’s okay if you forget to make that a priority.

Another easy, but often overlooked, way to cut down on energy consumption? Sealing your windows! We tell you exactly how in this popular blog post. And lastly, it may simply be time to upgrade to an energy-efficient system.

Change Filters

This often-forgotten but incredibly crucial task impacts not only your energy-efficiency, but the quality of air you’re pumping through your home!

De-Clutter

While we can help you with the other items on this list, de-cluttering is up to you!

But trust us when we say that starting a new year with a freshly cleaned and organized house will be good for not only your mental health, but also for the happiness of your family. This list of statistics regarding the importance of decluttering will amaze you!

Oh, and doing a deep clean every once in a while can really impact your energy savings!

Work With a Dealer You Can Trust

We at BNG Heating & Cooling are passionate about being your partners in achieving optimal home comfort.

We want to be your go-to! We’ve invested in relationships with some amazing vendors so that we can always offer our customers top-of-the-line equipment at affordable price points.

Ready to work with us? Call our team at BNG Heating & Cooling to schedule an assessment today.

Resolve to SAVE Next Year

It’s time to make some new year’s resolutions! We’re here to tell you that making your savings account a priority is easier than you think—most people are spending WAY too much money on their home comfort! Here are our tips for lowering those monthly energy bills and avoiding expensive repairs and replacements:

Get on a Maintenance Schedule

Preventative maintenance visits are crucial! Not only do we make sure that your unit is clean and running at peak efficiency, but we can also spot breakdowns before they happen. We talked about our maintenance visits, including  in a blog post earlier this month, which you can find here!

Invest in Energy Efficiency

While sometimes investing in energy efficiency means that it’s time to ditch that old and rackety HVAC machine that breaks down every year, it can also mean investing in frequent air filter changes! Sometimes, you don’t even need to make a financial investment to make sure things are running smoothly. You’d be amazed at how many people forget to clear debris away from their outdoor unit! Invest a little bit of time each week to clearing away that surface-level yard debris, and you’ll save yourself both money and the heartache of having to evict a rodent family from your unit once winter is over.

Become a Smart Home

The upfront cost of a smart thermometer sometimes scares homeowners away from making the investment, but the more people make the switch, the more it’s being discovered that these smart thermostats save homeowners money almost instantly! What’s more is that you can integrate your new smart thermostat with the other smart equipment in your home, taking both your home security up a notch and your home’s energy consumption down a notch.

Take Advantage of Financing Options

Thinking it’s time to make a few of these upgrades in order to save money in the long-haul? Lucky for you, we offer multiple “buy now, pay later” options for the equipment we offer our customers. You’d be hard-pressed to find financing opportunities as easy as ours!

We hope these tips will be helpful to you! There’s nothing we hate more than to find that our customers have been spending way too much money on their energy bills or on expensive repairs that could easily be prevented.Take these tips to heart, so that 2019 can be your best financial year yet!

Making Your House a Smart Home

These days, you can access virtually anything from your smart phone. Your home is no exception. While our homes aren’t (yet) the futuristic “smart homes” that movies predicted, we do have some pretty smart capabilities that are making life easier and our monthly bills lower.

Here are our top picks for home connectivity:

Wi-Fi Thermostat

This is possibly the only smart home feature that ends up paying for itself and saves you money as an end result.

How?

Though a little more expensive up front, a smart thermostat learns your home and your family’s habits, and automatically adjusts the temperature of your house according to your usual preferences.

If you lower the temperature every night before bed, it will start doing that for you. If you raise the temperature every day when you get back from work, it will start doing that for you.

And—everyone’s favorite feature—if you’re away on a trip and have your system off of your most comfortable temperature, you can connect to the thermostat from your phone and set it to return to your optimal temperature before you pull in the driveway.

An Inter-Connected Security System

Security systems are no exception to the connectivity era!

Programs like SimpliSafe and Nest allow homeowners to enable and disable their homes both physically and through an app on their phones, and they’re even able to watch suspicious activity from their phones through cameras that are only active when the security system is armed.

Some systems even offer carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, to really complete your home monitoring.

Wi-Fi Outlets

What’s a wi-fi outlet, you ask? It looks like a surge protector, but allows you to control anything that’s plugged into it through an app or through your smart home hub (see next section).

These are useful for making certain things voice-command enabled or for turning things off or on while you’re away from home. Take lamps, for example.

If you have lamps plugged into a wi-fi outlet, you can say “Alexa, turn on my bedroom light,” or even turn on your living room lights from an app when you’re away on vacation.

Smart Home Hub

Many of these products come with their own individual smart phone apps, so you’re able to control each individually.

But it’s wise to make sure that every product you buy has the ability to connect to a smart home hub, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Samsung’s Connect Home.

Here’s a helpful guide to navigating which is best for you.

When you have one of these hubs, every “smart” product in your home becomes connected, voice-controlled, and accessible from your smart phone.

Seems like an easy choice, right?

If you’re ready to take the first (and easiest) step towards getting a smart home, call your friends at BNG Heating & Cooling. We’ve got the perfect wi-fi thermostat for you!

Smart Tech for the Home

Not too long ago, today’s consumer expectations for smarter products sounded like science fiction. But, as technology is becoming increasingly accessible and interconnected, consumer demand is fueling the rise of intelligent products in the HVAC marketplace!

Intelligent products, including a variety of smart thermostats that are already on the market, give consumers more personal control over their home’s comfort through the use of technology that “learns” on its own or through an app on their phone. As heating and cooling systems trend towards including more electronic components in addition to the mechanical, consumers have more nuanced ways to control that perfect temperature from wherever they may be.

Many times, the purchase of the cheapest HVAC system ends up as the most expensive proposition in the long run, due to poor temperature management. Additionally, if your thermostat isn’t properly programmed, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars annually. With increased regulations on energy efficiency, and more informed consumers, many heating and air-conditioning units can be equipped with smart controls and sensors to keep homes, and offices, cooler in the summer and warmer during the winter.

Sensors that can communicate with the thermostat, a smart meter and apps accessible on the web or smartphones are key to lowering those utility bills. Smart HVAC systems can net up to a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency upon installation, and even notify homeowners, building managers or HVAC service providers in real time if the efficiency drops below a certain threshold, indicating a problem. Whether a part breaks, or refrigerant leaks, the ability of sensors and software can pay off with huge savings–not to mention the comfort we desire at home or in the office in the first place.

Smart thermostats, like the popular Honeywell and Bryant Thermostats, can be controlled from your phone (so you don’t have to get out of bed just to adjust the temperature), but also learn where your heating and cooling systems are least efficient, and works to correct them. In fact, every time you make a heating or cooling change in your home, the thermostat’s software is learning, so that it can schedule and activate your preferences itself.

If your concern is rising utility bills, or you want to take advantage of the latest technology on the market, let us give your system a consult to see what upgrades are available!

Programming your thermostat to save money

Ever forget to turn off your heating or AC when leaving the house? How about having to get up in the middle of the night to turn the heat off because it’s too hot? Or what about waking up to a chilly 55 degree morning, only to be overheated in a sweater at 70 degrees by lunchtime? Wild temperature fluctuations are par for the course in the fall months, but trying to match that temperature can leave your home’s temperature always in flux, and your energy bill climbing steadily. Most people know that turning your thermostat off when you leave the house or spending less time adjusting your thermostat can save you money, as much as 10-15% on your electric bill, but forgetting to adjust your thermostat can keep you paying more without ever finding the perfect temperature for your home.

The solution to this is simple. Programmable thermostats do the work for you, automatically adjusting. Kind of like a crockpot, you can just set it and forget it! According to Energy Star, capitalizing on the best uses of a programmable thermostat, you could save up to $180 a year! Want to save even more money? Many utility companies offer rebates for switching to programmable thermostats; ask the professionals at BNG about rebates in your area.

How to use an energy-saving programmable thermostat.

  1. Program the thermostat to either adjust the temperature or turn off when everyone leaves for work, and to turn back on 20 to 30 minutes before everyone arrives home.
  2. Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature (down if you’re heating the house, and up if you’re cooling it) 20 to 30 minutes after you fall asleep. You should also set it to adjust back within 30 minutes of waking up. Although this may sound a little odd, you won’t notice slight temperature changes like this while you’re sleeping.
  3. Program different settings on the weekends than you would on the weekdays. Having your home warmer than usual in the summer is fine while you’re at work, but you shouldn’t be uncomfortable while you’re home all day!
  4. All thermostats come with an “override” setting, so you can manually adjust the thermostat, no matter your program settings.
  5. If you’re planning on going out of town, most thermostats come with a “vacation/hold” setting that you can use to adjust the temperature for longer periods of time. Be careful about winter vacations, though, and make sure you don’t allow your home’s temperature to fall too low. If your home goes below 55 degrees, your pipes could freeze.
  6. If your thermostat is battery operated, don’t forget to change them at least once a year!

Along with regular HVAC maintenance, we can help you install and program your new smart thermostat! If you’d like more information on what you can do to save money and energy in your home, contact us today.

Maximizing your HVAC unit’s efficiency while saving money

If there were a magic thermostat, keeping your house comfortable and your energy bill low would be easy. This thermostat would know to anticipate your every move, knowing when you come and go, tracking outdoor humidity levels and watching the calendar to adjust by one degree with every half rotation of the Earth. Without that, most of us just rely on common sense. When it’s hot outside, indoor should be cool. When it’s cold, making your home warmer is essential.

While the magical thermostat doesn’t exist, the key is the same: Your home should be the most comfortable for you. There is absolutely no point in having an HVAC unit if you’re going to sweat all summer or freeze all winter. For most people, this means a daytime temperature of 70 to 75 degrees, and a nighttime temperature of 65 to 72 degrees. The keys to saving money on your energy bill are directly related to these temperature ranges, but in ways you may not know. Setting your thermostat to the top of the day range will be cheaper, especially during peak AC usage hours (3PM to 7PM), but again, it’s all about comfort. Don’t sacrifice your comfort in an effort to try to save a few bucks; just a 1 degree temperature increase can save you money.

At night, feel free to lower that temperature. Your HVAC systems actually does less work at night (meaning a lower bill for you!) You can turn it down without spending more since your unit doesn’t have to fight against the sun or warmer outdoor temperatures to maintain the lower indoor temperature.

In the winter months, the ideal range is between 60 and 65 degrees. During winter months, it’s easy to throw on another layer. The main concern with your home’s or business’s indoor winter temperature is keeping your home above freezing to prevent your pipes from freezing, so if it’s possible to keeping your home between 50 and 55 degrees for 7 or 8 hours a day, you can save you 30% on your bill.

While you may have heard some of that before, one of the biggest questions we get about heating and cooling your home is about leaving your HVAC system on while you’re away from home.

You probably turn off your air conditioning while you’re on vacation in summer or turn off thefurnace when you head to the slopes in winter; as you should anytime you leave home for more than 24 hours. However, turning your systems on and off while you’re gone for shorter amounts of time, particularly during very hot or very cold weather, can actually end up costing you more money!

It may sound counterintuitive to leave your unit running during the day, but think about your home’s construction. Each home is insulated to help maintain the internal temperature, and prevent extreme outdoor temps from sneaking in. If you turn it off while you leave on a hot day, and then turn it back on, it can take your unit hours to get through the insulation. Your unit will be working to cool a higher temperature for a longer amount of time, costing you more!

If you’re looking to save money and energy, let’s revisit those temperature ranges from above.

  • In the summer, boost your AC between 5 and 8 degrees above your ideal temperature.
  • In the winter, lower your heater between 5 and 8 degrees below your idea temperature.
  • Only turn the unit off if you’ll be gone for more than 24 hours.

Hopefully this will help you make the best decisions for your comfort and AC bill until the magical self-assessing and operating HVAC unit is invented! If you have more questions about insulation, updating your HVAC system, regular maintenance or just how to better optimize your unit, call BNG. We have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, or your money back.