ABC Blog

How to Calculate SEER Ratings for Your Austin HVAC System

If you are wondering about the energy efficiency of your Austin HVAC system, here are some things you need to know.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is a number that provides the energy-efficiency of an HVAC system. Contrary to an instantaneous energy-efficiency rating, a SEER rating provides the predicted energy efficiency of the HVAC system over an entire Austin cooling season.

The efficiency varies from day-to-day because the efficiency at any point in time depends on the temperature of the indoor and outdoor air. If you are considering HVAC repair, or if you’re upgrading to a unit with a higher SEER value, you can easily calculate your predicted energy savings from making the switch.

Step 1

Review your utility bills to see your current month by month electrical consumption. Air conditioners consume electricity, not gas, so the system will be responsible for part of your electrical bill in the summer months. You want to determine exactly … Read Full Post »

Rewiring Your Home Electrical System

Is rewiring your home electrical system during a remodeling job necessary?  One of the first things you need to consider when planning a home renovation is the existing electrical system. Is the condition of the existing electrical wiring and the capacity (in amps) of the system up to code?

Along with plumbing and heating and cooling systems, updating the electrical system in a house will be one of the most expensive remodeling tasks. Major electrical rewiring will require you to use the services of a Licensed Electrician.

Electrical System Components

There are a few main components of a residential electrical system. The service entrance and the main circuit panel are the most important elements of the system. Depending on the complexity of the wiring circuits, additional auxiliary circuit panels may be required. The current National Electrical Code recommends a minimum 100 amp incoming electrical service. If your service panel provides less, it should … Read Full Post »

Fall & Winter Seasonal Home Maintenance Guide for the South

Certain home maintenance tasks should be completed each season to prevent structural damage, save energy, and keep all your home’s systems running properly. These maintenance tasks are most important for the South in fall and winter.

Key maintenance tasks to perform

• Get your heating system in order. Consider adding programmable thermostats to your home; they can help save around $180 a year on your energy bills. If you have a heat pump, make sure you install a programmable thermostat especially designed for heat pumps. Programmable thermostats for heat pumps are specially designed to keep these systems working at peak efficiency. Schedule your fall HVAC checkup promptly. Make sure you have all electrical connections checked, all moving parts lubricated if necessary, and the condensate drain and trap inspected.

• Clean your gutters. In the South, you’re less likely to have ice form in your gutters than in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, debris in your gutters can … Read Full Post »

Should You Upgrade Your Breaker Box?

Whether or not to change out the breaker box is a question many homeowners have faced. Age, period built, brand, maintenance, environment, and cost are just some of the factors to consider when making this decision. There are a few options for any upgrade, but it really comes down to the needs of the individual breaker box.

In order to understand the needs for a service change, there are a few items within the service that need to be defined. An electrical service generally includes four major parts: the weatherhead with associated wire (which may be underground), the meter base and enclosure, the service feeder to the breaker box, and the breaker box itself.

The weatherhead is where the utility connects to your service. The associated wiring and conduit is generally governed by the utility, even though the homeowner is normally responsible for its parts and installation. The meter base is where … Read Full Post »

How Energy Efficient Are Solar Screens?

 

Solar screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home. They are great for lowering energy bills by stopping the heat transfer through your windows and doors while still maintaining your view. Window film, interior products, or awnings cannot compete with the energy efficiency of solar shade screens. The best product to install is the 90% shade factor solar screens which are and incredibly pet resistant pvc coated polyester material. What color of solar screen should you choose? The darker colors are more efficient and also have the best view. However there are many different colors and you should pick the color you will be most happy with. Remember, the darker the color the better the view.

Which windows or doors on my house should you do? Many companies will tell you for maximum energy efficiency, solar screens should protect all windows and doors. This is … Read Full Post »

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Replace or clean your furnace filter

It should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed. Some filters are reusable and are supposed to be taken out, washed with a hose and re-inserted. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increase heating costs and cause fires.

Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter

Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep a stovetop fire from spreading.

 

Check your electrical system

  • Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
  • Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly.
  • Remove any combustible materials such as paper boxes or flammable liquids from the area near the main electrical panel. Sparks caused by arcing inside the … Read Full Post »

9 Energy Saving Tips for Spring

Spring can be a transition season: a good time to clear out the effects of winter and look at what needs to be made ready for summer.

Here are nine things you can do in the spring to make you home more energy efficient:

Spring-cleaning

Spring-cleaning involves making sure all the fans in your home are working properly and are dust-free. Regularly wash or replace filters.
Change the airflow on your ceiling fan

Make sure you change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fan. In the winter, let the fan push warm air toward the floor and in summer, switch the direction and draw air upward, cooling the room and ensuring constant airflow.

Insulated, thermal-backed drapes

In preparing for the summer, consider investing in some insulated, thermal-backed drapes for your windows.
Air conditioning system

Before buying an air conditioning unit or system, find out its energy efficiency ratio (EER). Calculate the EER by dividing the unit’s cooling capacity (BTU’s/hour) by its … Read Full Post »

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are a vital part of home safety. If installed properly, breakers perform a vital function in protecting your home or commercial facilities electrical system.

All circuits are controlled and protected by the circuit breakers.  If there is an overload, short or ground in the circuit, the breaker will detect the fault and open (kill) the circuit.  The purpose is twofold: prevent fire; prevent electrical shock.  

TROUBLESHOOTING BREAKERS AND CIRCUITS

One of the most common situations occurs when the electricity goes out in a certain area of the home but the breaker doesn’t seem to have opened the circuit. A breaker switch can sometimes open a circuit without its mechanical handle flipping off. You should first try to manually switch the breaker off and then back on. It’s also possible the current was interrupted somewhere other than the breaker due to faulty wiring. In this case, an electrician will probably need to … Read Full Post »