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Air Conditioning Service Experts’ Guide to Saving Energy on AC Units

A big concern for many homeowners in Myrtle Beach, SC during the summer is how expensive their cooling costs will be. As temperatures soar, you need the AC unit to cool down your home and keep it comfortable for your family. This, however, will undeniably increase your energy costs. How do you find the right balance? Fortunately, this isn’t too hard when you take advantage of some HVAC cost-saving strategies offered by air conditioning service providers. [Read more…]

Tips to Save Energy this Winter on Home Heating

Remember last winter when tying to save energy and you felt like setting your thermostat higher but didn’t do so because of fear of how much it would add to your utility bills? Remember how you stayed uncomfortable all winter long just so you could keep your electric consumption to a minimum? With the fall season at hand and winter just around the corner, it pays to know how you can save energy this winter and keep your thermostat low while staying comfortable at the same time.

Seal up leaks and drafts
Brown & Reaves Services Inc in Myrtle Beach offers tips on ways to save energy this winter.

Your home loses much of its heat to air leaks and drafts. Simple sealing steps, such as caulking windows and sliding draft guards under your doors, can help you save as much as 20 percent on heating costs.

Use the sun for free heat

During the day, open the windows and curtains facing the sun to let sunshine into your home. When the sun goes down, close your window to keep the heat from escaping.

Stock up on warm accessories

To save energy this winter, instead of turning up the heat, wear heat-retaining clothes, then double it up with a sweater, jogging pants, and thick socks. Have a rug installed to insulate the floor, and keep throw blankets accessible so you can pick one up anytime you feel cold.

Only heat the rooms you’re using

If your heating system has vents in storage spaces that you don’t frequent during winter, seal off the vents in these places to focus your heating consumption in rooms that are actually used by people. If you don’t, you could be spending a lot of money on heat you never get to use.

Aside from these tips, it can be extremely advantageous to have a heating and air conditioning professional check your home heating system and perform some maintenance on it. A maintenance service not only ensures that the furnace is operating optimally, it can also prevent the onset of costly repairs down the line and help you save energy this winter.

Call Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. today at 843-497-9867.  Or contact us via our convenient form. We’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible. Don’t forget to find us and like us on Facebook for more timely tips, and follow us on Twitter too!

Keep Your House Warm Without a Heater

The temperatures are dropping and the heating bills are rising. Welcome to Winter. Even though we rarely get any snow in the Myrtle Beach area we still have to deal with freezing temperatures, and high energy bills. However, there are ways to keep your house warm without a heater this winter.

How to Keep Your House Warm Without a Heater

1. Let the Sunshine In

Here are some tips for keeping your house warm without a heater this winter

Living in the South we are fortunate to enjoy a lot of sun during the winter months. Make sure you open your curtains and blinds during the day to get as much sun in as possible. A house full of natural light will feel and look warmer and will make you feel more energetic. At the same time, when the sun goes down close the blinds and the curtains. The best way to block the draft from any window is a two-curtain setup with a liner.

2. Stop that Winter Draft

The best way to keep your house warm without a heater is to make sure your windows and doors are sealed off to prevent leaks. Even though the Winter is upon us, you still have time get some caulk and weather stripping for your home using them where needed.

3. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

If you want to make sure a room is evenly heated flip the reverse switch on your ceiling fan so that it moves clockwise. The fan will then force the hot air down to the floor.

4. Cook Something

If you want to quickly get your house warm without a heater get busy in the kitchen. Cooking will add some heat to your home and eating warm food will make you feel warmer without running to the thermostat.

5. Dance, hug or cuddle!

Yes, the best things in life are free. Have a very Warm and Merry Christmas!

If you enjoyed our tips on how to keep your house warm this winter make sure you check out our Facebook page for more HVAC resources.

 

Cold Weather Preparations To Make Right Now

As we quickly approach November, you will undoubtedly be turning on the heat, if you haven’t done so already. We’ve had some cool nights here in the Myrtle Beach area over the past couple of weeks, even though the weather remains very nice, for now. But we all know, colder weather is coming, and cold weather preparations need to be taken care of.

If you want to find ways for reducing your heating bill this winter, take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts and get some of your cold weather preparations done now.

Cold Weather Preparations

Make sure cold weather preparations include checking all your window sills for leaks.

1.  Air leaks around windows and doors let heat escape every minute of the day. Start with simple solutions like sealing your doorsills. Simple stick-on weather stripping tape is available at most home improvement stores, and can make a huge difference. Also consider caulking windows, or applying a clear, heat-retaining film, to prevent heat loss.

2.  Another of the many cold weather preparations you should make now includes checking your attic insulation. Make sure your attic floor has plenty of insulation, whether it’s loose or blow-in fiberglass or rolls of fiberglass batting.

3.  Check Your Gutters. If your gutters are full of debris and leaves or obstructed, water cannot drain properly. If we were to have sub-freezing weather, this can lead to the formation of “ice dams,” in which melting water refreezes on your roof and blocks proper drainage. If the water cannot drain, it can often collect under your shingles and cause structural damage over time.

4.  Another of the cold weather preparations you should be taking care of now includes checking for outside holes. Any place where a pipe or cable passes through your roof can be a source of heat loss. Look for areas where pipes from your sump pump, furnace or air conditioner, or even your cable TV pass through an external wall, and caulk those areas well.

5.  Change your air filter. A dirty air filter not only makes your furnace work harder, it can lower the temperatures in your home by hindering airflow. Change your filter regularly to keep your home comfortable and efficient.

6. Call for a checkup. Proper maintenance will help your heating unit run more efficiently. Electric and oil heaters should get professional attention at least once a year and gas heaters every other year.

No matter what type of heating system you have, reducing your heating bill by following these tips for cold weather preparations should be a priority. Brown and Reaves Services can help by giving your heating system a full tune-up for the winter. Call us today. 843-497-9867. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

Cut Your Myrtle Beach Summer Electric Bill Now

You don’t have to replace your air-conditioning system to lower your summer electric bill. Maybe a higher-efficiency system is in your future. But until then, consider these eight steps right now to reduce your summer electric bill right away:

Cut your Myrtle Beach summer electric bill now with a programmable thermostat

1. Install a programmable thermostat. Raising the temperature a few degrees in your home is a no-brainer when it comes to saving on your summer electric bill. The warmer you let your home get, the less work your air conditioner needs to put in.

Install a programmable thermostat. Pick up a basic model at your local hardware store for 30 bucks. Or splurge on a self-regulating model, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, which learns your home-and-away patterns over time.

2. Only use ceiling fans when you’re under them. Ceiling fans are more efficient than air conditioners, but leaving them on all the time won’t do you much good. A ceiling fan merely circulates air. It won’t actually lower the temperature.

Ceiling fans work by making you feel cooler by circulating air against your skin. So only use a ceiling fan when there’s someone in the room to feel it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting electricity by keeping them running all the time.

3. Install air conditioners in the warmest rooms. Many houses — especially older ones — have that one room that just doesn’t cool off as well as the other rooms. That one room can cost you a lot of money, especially if it’s a bedroom or an often-occupied room. To keep it cool, you may be tempted to turn your thermostat down into the arctic range. The rest of the house will be freezing, but that room will finally be comfortable.

But this just wastes money by making your central air-conditioning system work overtime. Instead, spend $75 to $100 on a window or floor unit for that one room. Turn the unit on when you’re in the room and need it to be a bit cooler, and then turn it off when you leave again. Over time, you’ll save money on your summer electric bill by going this route.

4. Keep it clean. Cleaning the air-conditioner filters — whether you have window units or a central unit — is just as important as replacing your furnace filter regularly in the winter. When the filter gets dirty, the unit has to work extra hard to pull air into the system, which just costs more energy.

So figure out how to clean your unit’s filter, and check it every few weeks in the summer. Many outdoor units can be hosed off regularly, and window units often come with removable filters that you can wash in the sink.

5. Close the drapes or blinds. It’s nice to let a little sunshine in. But that sunny corner the cat likes so much is costing you big bucks on your summer electric bill. When you let the sun in, it radiates heat.

So especially on the south and west sides of your home, keep the blinds or drapes closed unless there’s someone in the room actually enjoying the sun.

6. Hang out the laundry. Your dryer is probably one of your home’s biggest energy suckers. It takes a lot of electricity (or gas) to generate heat that dries your clothes. Plus, some of that heat escapes the dryer and winds up heating your home unnecessarily.

Let the hot sun work for you instead of against you by hanging your clothes to dry outside on a clothesline. The sun is great for bleaching stains out of white clothes and towels, too!

7. Caulk all cracks. We often talk about using caulk to seal cracks (especially around doors and windows) in the winter. And it’s true that in the winter, it’s especially easy to feel the cold air leaking in through even the tiniest of cracks and gaps.

But caulk is just as important a tool in the summertime, too. If you notice one area or doorway in your home is particularly warm, check for leaks and cracks. Then, use caulk or an expanding foam to fill up the gaps. That keeps the cold air in so you use less energy to cool your home.

8. Keep the kitchen cool. One way to quickly heat up your home is to use your kitchen appliances to fix meals. Sure, you still need to eat in the summer, but you don’t always have to heat up the whole kitchen to do it.

Instead, plan no-cook meals like salads. Or use smaller appliances, like a toaster oven, for moderate amounts of warm food. Another option is to use a slow cooker. For even better results with your slow cooker, move it outside to a shady back porch. Then it won’t heat your house at all!

Even if your air conditioner is 10 years old and on its last leg, you can make it last a little longer and spend less money on your summer electric bill with these eight simple steps. Find other energy savings ideas by checking out our other articles on energy savings.

Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. 843-497-9867. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

Solar Energy – Disadvantages of Going Green

Using solar energy has it’s advantages, and disadvantages. Just as we pointed out the advantages of solar energy in our article last week, if you are really serious about solar energy to provide your home with electricity, you will need a deep understanding of its disadvantages as well. Today we are going to look at the many disadvantages of using solar energy.

Despite the fact that solar energy has been used for over 50 years, the technology is still considered relatively new for home use.

Solar Energy – Upfront Costs

There are many disadvantages of solar energy panels for home installations.One of the biggest disadvantages of solar energy panels is their cost. Of course, cost largely depends on the size of the home, and the type of solar energy you plan to install.

The cost of an actual system probably won’t vary much from place to place, but there are a lot of options, and there are different incentives from place to place.

A PV System producing 1 kWh can go somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000, and this size system won’t power most homes, at least not the entire home.

Many home installations of solar energy are used to supplement the power received from the electric company and are not intended to completely replace that. Many homes would require a more sizable investment, perhaps upward of $30,000 or more for a whole house system that would generate enough power not to ever have an electric bill.

If you’re seriously considering solar energy, check with your electric utility to see if they offer any rebates or energy credits. It could save you thousands on the installation. You’ll need to figure in federal tax write offs to determine what your net cost will end up being.

Solar Energy – Get a Site Survey Done

If you’re thinking of going with solar energy, you’ll need to have a site survey done to make sure you home can handle it. Both from a location standpoint, and from a structural standpoint. Solar panels are heavy and your roof must be able to handle the weight. Solar energy panels, on average, will add about 5 to 6 pounds per square foot of roof load.

If you’re going to be relying on funding assistance in the form of any kind of rebate, the electric company is going to require that your roof is pointing in the right direction. This means it must be facing south within about a 20 degree window. If you can’t point the panels in that direction, you might as well forget it because your solar generation drops dramatically. Same goes for shade. If you’ve got a building beside you, or trees that tower over the house, your solar energy plans are done.

Solar Energy Panel Inverters

Solar energy panels emit DC current. This is like the current that comes out of a battery. But houses use AC current. So an inverter takes care of the conversion. There are two types, micro-inverters, and solar panel inverters. While micro-inverters are more efficient, they are also more costly. Solar panel inverters will run you around $3,000 to $4,000, and micro-inverters will add another $1,000 to $2,000 on top of that.

Summary

As you can see, there are many advantages AND disadvantages for installing solar energy panels on your home. Cost being the major disadvantage, experts believe that in a few years, solar energy will become gradually much cheaper, more accessible and more effective. Here’s where to go if you want to read more in our article from last week about the Advantages of Going Green with Solar Energy.

Check out our other articles on Home Energy Efficiency and Savings here.

Be sure to Find Brown and Reaves Services on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for even more daily tips for saving money around your home.

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