ABC Blog

Simple Tips to Control Home Energy Use This Winter

Stay warm while keeping your heating bills under control

It’s the same scenario every winter: you get your first heating bill and nearly fall over when you see the total. Make it different this year with these tips to save energy and reduce heat loss around your home.

Assess and Address Air Leaks

Any problem that’s allowing air to escape from your home should be addressed immediately. Check for duct leaks, and gaps around windows and doors. Assess the amount of insulation in areas such as the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. A home energy audit can give you the most comprehensive picture of where heat is going. If necessary, use weather stripping, caulking, or extra insulation to close gaps.

Be Smart With Windows

Windows are another big source of heat loss. One of the most inexpensive ways to control this is to seal them with a plastic window covering kit. Put the storm windows … Read Full Post »

Winter Ahead! Is Your HVAC System Ready?

Ensuring that your heating system makes it through the Austin winter

When the chilly days of winter roll in, you don’t want to be worrying about your heating system. Keeping your home’s HVAC in top condition for the coldest months helps guarantee that you and your family stay warm throughout the season.

Getting Your HVAC Ready for Winter

There are several things you can do to prepare your heating system to tackle winter temperatures. One of the most important is to make sure that all components are clean. Start by cleaning or replacing the filter if necessary. Check the air vents to make sure that they’re allowing for proper flow. Blockage or restriction anywhere in the system reduces efficiency and can negatively affect the air quality in your home.

Blower doors should also be checked to determine if the seals are sound. This component of your HVAC system is designed to keep gasses from … Read Full Post »

Simple Guidelines for Selecting a New Water Heater

How to find the right model without paying too much

When properly maintained, your home’s water heater can provide a decade or more of dependable service. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. If your water heater is on its last legs and needs to be replaced, you’ll need to determine which type and brand of heater is right for your home. Here are a few guidelines that you should follow as you make your decision.

Selection Criteria

According to the Department of Energy, you need to base your water heater selection on several key factors:

  • The upfront and ongoing (annualized) cost of the device
  • The size and heating power of the device as it relates to the size and water use of your house
  • The overall efficiency of the device
  • The type of fuel used by the heater

Fuel Types

On the matter of fuel, it’s important to note that not all water heaters run on … Read Full Post »

Air Ducts Leaking? Watch Out For These Warning Signs

air ducts leaking

Many San Antonio home and business owners are not aware that their HVAC’s air ducts are leaking. All they know is that their home or office is uncomfortable and seems as if there is no air coming out of vents because something feels “off” about the temperature. We know how frustrating it can be to notice a problem but not know what is going on exactly, or how to fix it.

Air duct leaks are more common than you would think. If you have noticed any of the following warning signs, schedule an appointment with a trusted air conditioning professional to help you determine whether or not your AC issue is caused by a duct leak.

Stuffy Air Or Uneven Temperatures

If certain rooms are difficult to cool, or you notice the air not circulating well in some areas, it’s possible that the air from the AC unit is seeping out through the … Read Full Post »

How Much Money Can You Save with a Heating Upgrade?

Reducing Your Austin Area Heating Bill with a new HVAC System

Austin’s average low temperature might not get much lower than 41°, but this is still more than cold enough to need energy-efficient heating. After all, there’s no viable reason to purposefully pay more for your energy bill than necessary, and it’s also much more eco-friendly to take steps to reduce your energy consumption. Fortunately, there are many techniques that you can utilize to save money and adopt a green approach within your home.

The Perks of Upgrading Your HVAC System

Many people are hesitant to replace their HVAC unit because of the one-time cost that is associated with this process. Sadly, this shows a lack of forethought because the reality is that you can save enough money on your monthly bills to justify the expense within just a few years. In fact, any HVAC unit that is more than 20 years old … Read Full Post »

What Actually Happens During a Home Comfort Audit?

Understand what happens during a comfort audit and how it can help you

Keeping your home comfortable is important, but it may cost you big when it comes to utility bills. Like many San Antonio homeowners, you may wonder how you can cut down on costs while staying comfortable at home. Consider choosing a professional home comfort audit to identify opportunities to bolster efficiency in your home.

What Happens During a Home Comfort Analysis?

Many homeowners have heard about home energy audits but are unsure of what they entail. At its core, home comfort analysis is designed to identify areas for efficiency improvement in your home. These inspections take your home’s structure, HVAC system and your own comfort habits into account. During a home comfort analysis, you can expect your technician to do the following:

•    Discuss your home’s HVAC system and your overall level of comfort with you in detail.
•    Inspect your heating … Read Full Post »

The Breakdown: Why Are My Utility Bills So High?

The link between timely HVAC repair and your energy usage

Air conditioning is imperative in Austin, and you also need your heater to be in good shape for the winter months. However, many people are in shock when they see their energy bill, especially during the warmest part of the year. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to reduce your electric bill without having to turn off your HVAC system and suffer the weather.

Dealing With a High Utility Bill

If your utility bills seem to be significantly increasing for no particular reason, this is a strong indicator that you need to contact a professional HVAC repair company. The reality is that every HVAC system will eventually begin to fail, and this can lead to electric bills that creep higher and higher every month. Additionally, simple issues such as failing to change your HVAC unit’s filter and having old air … Read Full Post »

Moisture, Mites and Mold: What Factors Influence Indoor Air Quality?

Factors affecting home air quality and comfort

•    Temperature is a huge factor in home comfort. Drafts can result in creepy hot or cold spots that seem to come from nowhere. Temperature fluctuations can affect your sleep quality and cause headaches, sweating, shivering and bad moods. A poorly functioning air conditioner may not be able to keep up with the demands of hot Texas summers, so Austin residents are at significant risk of heat-related misery and higher-than-average energy bills.

•    Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air. Most people are comfortable with a relative humidity level of about 45%. When humidity is high, the air seems hotter and heavier. If it drops too low, symptoms like dry eyes and itchy skin appear. Extremely dry air results in high static electricity levels while excessive humidity encourages mold growth, which can lead to bad smells, structural damage and health problems.

•    Ventilation is … Read Full Post »

When Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Count the cost, both present and future

An air conditioner is a sizable investment, and every home and business owner wants to get as much use out of that investment as possible. Still, if your air conditioner wastes energy or needs frequent repairs, you might end up spending more money to keep it running than you would to start fresh with a new unit. You’ll need to carefully consider several factors to make an informed decision about replacing your air conditioner.

First of all, remember that air conditioners are generally designed to last eight to 10 years. If you’ve had yours for the better part of a decade, it’s probably getting old enough that it needs to be replaced anyway. Certain other circumstances, though, might make it necessary to replace your unit even before you’ve had it that long.

If your air conditioner is more than a few years old when it suffers … Read Full Post »

What Is A Good SEER Rating For Your New AC?

what is a good seer rating

Are you in the process of buying a new AC unit? When looking for a new air conditioning system, you’ll probably be presented with a lot of different air conditioner types. Do you want a central AC system? Do you want a programmable thermostat? What brands do you prefer?

Another factor you might be asked to consider is the energy efficiency of your air conditioner. You’ll see that every AC system comes with a SEER rating. This is a term that is somewhat new for many customers and an aspect of the selection process we’d like to help others understand better.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a gauge of the efficiency of a particular air conditioning unit. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

Now, this doesn’t mean that a higher rated unit will be able to reach cooler temperatures than a unit with a lower SEER … Read Full Post »