All posts tagged energy efficiency

Winter has arrived in the Haverhill area, meaning that it’s the time of year to fire up the furnace and get your home heating system up and running. But if you’re finding that the heat isn’t coming out the way you’d like, be it because of decreased airflow or shorter cycles of air, the answer may be as simple as a clogged air filter. While air filters are easy to replace, ignoring them can have a long-term negative effect on your home HVAC system.

Air filters play an essential part in your home HVAC system all year long, but in the winter, dirty air filters can make a huge difference in your comfort. Because furnaces usually use a heat exchange method to heat or cool your home’s air, existing air is pulled in from other rooms by the unit’s fan.

That means dust, pet hair, dander and other fine particles are also drawn in as part of the heat exchange. Air filters help prevent buildup in ducts and protect the heat exchange at the heart of your furnace. Over time, this buildup can clog your air filter. More buildup on your air filter means less air can get through back into your home.

But that’s not the only impact that dirty and clogged air filters can have on your HVAC system when left unchanged. As the weather changes throughout the year in the Haverhill area, unattended air filters can create such other problems as:

  • Higher energy bill costs. Your HVAC system needs a constant recirculation of air, and a clogged air filter makes it that much harder for air to get in and out of your ducts on the way to the heat exchange. As a result, your system has to work harder to get your home to the desired comfortable temperature. The harder your fan works to get air throughout your house, the higher your energy bills will be. According to the Department of Energy, that means a home with clogged air filters can require up to 15% more energy usage than a home with a clean air filter.
  • Increased health risk. Clogged air filters are congested with dust, pet hair or dander and, often, chemicals that have been already filtered out of the air. When air blows back through a dirty filter, it takes that dust and debris and puts it right back into your home. For people with allergies or respiratory conditions, this can be an increased health risk, especially in the winter when it’s often too cold to open a window to allow fresh air into your home. Keeping your air filters clean is an easy way to keep your air clean and reduce the risk of winter sickness.
  • Failed heating system. If you ignore your air filters for long enough, the gradual buildup of dust and debris can make it so that your HVAC system breaks down. The harder your system has to work to pump air into your home, and the longer the amount of time it has to do this, can lead to parts breaking down. These kinds of drastic problems can lead to reducing the life of your heating system—meaning more repair costs, or even the need for an entire new system. That kind of downtime for your home heating system, often at the time that you need its heat the most, far outweighs the hassle of taking the time to check and replace your air filters on a regular basis.

So, when was the last time you replaced your home air filters? A good rule of thumb is to replace your air filters every three months (right around the time you should be replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors). But if you can’t remember exactly the last time you changed your air filter or want a professional to make sure that your filters, ducts and HVAC system are working at peak efficiency, give the team at Climate Zone a call at (978) 912-7677 or schedule an appointment online. Our experts can answer questions about where your air filter is, what kind of air filter you will need and more.

When it comes to getting prepared for winter, many Haverhill residents overlook preventive maintenance. Of course, preventative maintenance is what helps keep their HVAC and plumbing working smoothly. One particular area that gets overlooked in seasonal upkeep is the heat pump portion of a central heating and cooling system.

While the summer might provide the chance to check refrigerant levels and make sure that all of the parts of your HVAC are working to keep homeowners cool, checking the heat pump side can often get ignored until problems arise.

Systems with heat pumps can be energy efficient because they generate heat from electricity as opposed to furnace systems which burn fuel (natural gas) to create heat. While this kind of system might provide enough heat for more moderate climates, homes in colder areas, such as Massachusetts, often use heat pumps in conjunction with a home furnace to support and move warm air efficiently through the home.

Because of that, making sure that the heat pump is working effectively can help prevent against failure of defrosting or back-up features.

A maintenance contract with Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone helps make sure that your heat pump system will be working well all year long. Understanding what goes into keeping your heat pump working well will help you identify any problems that might show up during other parts of the year too.

Here are some of the things that a professional technician will check when maintaining your heat pump:

  • Inspect the air filter: A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of HVAC problems, and one of the easiest to solve. It’s also one of the most commonly ignored parts of the HVAC system by a homeowner. Replacing or cleaning the air filter quarterly will make it less likely to impact your airflow. Depending on the condition of the filter, a technician will clean or replace your filter with a new one during their visit.
  • Inspect the electrical components: Another way to make sure that things are working properly with your heat pump (and most any HVAC system) is to check electrical wires and ensure there is a tight connection. Loose connections can cause wires to overheat and burn up. While many homeowners might be hesitant to tamper with their electrical wiring, a maintenance professional brings the experience and expertise to know exactly where to look and what to do. They’ll even check the amperage of the electric elements to make sure that the unit is starting and shutting down properly, investigate heat strips for heat damage and replace any wires that are showing wear.
  • Flush lines, check fluids and clean the condensing unit: This is where having a trained technician comes in handy, as most homeowners won’t feel comfortable doing tasks like cleaning and oiling the blower motor, flushing the drain line or checking the indoor condensing coil. All these elements, if left unchecked, can get dirty or clogged and start to impact the efficiency of your heat pump.
  • Check the thermostat: The thermostat is an essential element of the heat pump system that should be included in any winter maintenance inspection. While making sure your home thermostat is reading your air temperature properly before firing up the heating pump, it is also important to make sure that the heating pump’s temperature controls are accurately showing the amount of heat being produced. A technician has the tools to verify proper levels and can check all of the thermostat connections, as well as make sure that the thermostat is level.

As with all HVAC maintenance, homeowners should be aware of the factors that go into making sure that their heating and cooling system is working at peak efficiency. A maintenance contract with a Climate Zone certified technician means you have expert support for your home’s comfort.

Even if you have the ability to do the basic maintenance of your system, a maintenance contract makes sure that your system will get a thorough review before dealing with the winter chill.

Find out how a maintenance agreement with Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can help you get ready for the cold. Call us at (978) 872-1190 or schedule an appointment online and we’ll help make sure that your home is comfortable all year round.

At Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone, we know that an energy-efficient home is important to our customers. Keeping comfortable in all the weather that New England seasons throw at homeowners requires HVAC equipment that works well and, just as important, works efficiently. Why spend more money than you need to when getting the comfort that you need? From inefficient equipment to leaks and gaps in your home’s windows and doors, energy efficiency can make a tremendous difference in your monthly bills.

A great way to determine where your home is losing energy and where you can save money is by scheduling a home energy assessment. Here in the Haverhill area you can receive a free energy assessment through Mass Save. During the home energy assessment an energy auditor will do a room-by-room inspection of your home, including the outside of your home. You will want to accompany them during their inspection to answer any questions they may have while inspecting your home. The inspection can take between one and three hours and you should expect that the energy auditor will also want to look over your past utility bills.

Your home energy assessment will cover the three main parts of your home’s energy usage:

  • Thermal layers, such as walls, windows and insulation, provide a strong layer of protection from letting air in from outside or letting it escape from your home. Gaps in walls, thinning insulation or damaged window frames can have a negative impact on your home’s energy efficiency. If the assessor sees problems in this area, they’ll give you advice on how best to repair the issue or suggestions of how to best replace a damaged area.
  • Mechanical systems, such as water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners, provide the backbone of your home HVAC system. While many modern HVAC systems are built with energy efficiency in mind, an assessor will help make sure that your system is running as efficiently as possible. This may include a basic adjustment to settings or a more detailed look at making sure that pipes, filters or ducts are clean. Older HVAC systems might be a target for replacement. An assessor will help you understand which approach can offer the best savings both in the short- and long-term.
  • Consumer products include lightbulbs, washers and dryers, and other home appliances that don’t impact your home HVAC system, but can play a role in your energy usage. As with HVAC systems, everything from lighting to home appliances are now being designed with optimal energy efficiency in mind. Something as simple as changing the type of light bulbs used in your home can make a small, but significant, change to your energy efficiency and create the opportunity for savings on your monthly bills.

Your energy assessor will take a whole-home approach and make recommendations for you along the way. You’ll be left with an energy-saving plan that will fit both your home and your lifestyle. Along with your energy plan you’ll also find out about all of the applicable rebates and incentives for improving your home’s energy efficiency.

The Mass Save website also has an option for giving yourself an online home energy assessment. You can also count on the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone to help you every step of the way. Keeping your home comfortable and helping you save money is our specialty. If you have any questions about home energy assessments or anything else home comfort related, give us a call at (978) 912-7677 or set up an appointment with us using our online scheduler.

Summer is a time when your air conditioner is working hard. When temps hit the upper 80s and 90s around Haverhill, cooling off makes your AC work even harder, which can mean higher bills.

Cooling and heating costs typically account for 48 percent of your monthly utility bill. Improving energy efficiency can mean a cooler home and a little more money at the end of the month. The good news? Increasing your HVAC system’s energy efficiency doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require purchasing a whole new air conditioner.

Following some of these easy tips will increase your home’s energy efficiency and help you balance comfort and cost.

Schedule a Free, In-Home Energy Audit

Haverhill area homes have a great resource to help find ways to make their air conditioners more energy efficient: a free, in-home energy audit offered by Mass Save. As part of this program, Mass Save sends a specialist to assess your home’s energy usage and provide you with personalized recommendations. Then, they’ll work with you to create a home energy efficiency plan.

Your energy audit includes an assessment of everything from your heating and cooling system to your laundry and kitchen appliances. Mass Save will also inform you of any possible rebates or incentives available to you for improving your home’s energy efficiency.

Routine Maintenance

Most of the time people only think of air conditioner service when their unit breaks down or isn’t running well. But one of the best ways to prevent potential air conditioner replacement is also one of the best ways to make sure your home is being cooled as efficiently as possible: routine HVAC maintenance.

We’ve offered tips on how you can easily perform maintenance on your AC unit. (Changing your air filters every one to three months is one of the easiest, and most commonly overlooked, ways to make a simple impact on energy efficiency.) But having a scheduled maintenance agreement will also help your air conditioner run at peak energy efficiency thanks to professionally-trained pros, armed with the skills to get the best out of your air conditioner.

Utilize Your Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow you to adjust at what times to run your AC and how much energy to use when cooling your home. It allows for comfort that suits your needs and schedule while helping you save big on utility bills. With a wide selection of programmable thermostats available, you’ll find one that’s right for your home and your wallet.

Keeping your energy efficiency high and your utility bills low is not just a priority for you, it’s also a priority for us. There’s no reason you can’t stay comfortable and save money. We are here to help you achieve just that. If you have any questions for us on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency or anything related to your home comfort, give our professionals a call at (978) 872-1190 or contact us online.

It’s getting into the sweltering days of summer in Haverhill. When it gets this hot, you don’t want to work any harder than you need to. The same goes for your home AC system.

It’s important to remember that energy efficiency can have a major impact on both your home comfort and your budget. Having an inefficiently running air conditioner can make it harder to cool off your home. It can also lead to more expensive energy bills or, worse, a broken-down air conditioner.

Getting your air conditioner running at peak performance for the summer isn’t hard either. The U.S. Department of Energy offers some ideas on keeping you, and your HVAC system, from overheating this year.

1. Change the air filter

Summer or winter, the easiest maintenance for your HVAC system is changing the air filter. From helping with proper ventilation to improving air quality, changing your air filter regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the most out of your air conditioner.

However, most people aren’t changing their filters frequently enough. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends changing your air filter once a month to keep your air conditioner running efficiently.

Finding where to look on your unit when replacing the air filter can be tricky. In central air systems, the filter is usually located behind a metal panel on the side of the system. Unscrew or pull off the metal panel, remove the old filter and install the new one. It’s as easy as that.

2. Pay attention to your thermostat

Programmable thermostats can automatically adjust your home’s temperature at different times during the day. That can translate into significant energy savings when your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard when it’s not needed.

For example, you can program your thermostat to keep your home at a higher temperature when you’re away and to cool it down before you return. This will not only save you money on energy costs, but also reduce the burden on your air conditioner that would otherwise be cooling an empty home.

3. Keep condensation lines clear

When your air conditioner unit runs, evaporator coils create moisture. This moisture is removed from the unit in a drainage area, either by gravity or a motorized pump. If the condensation pipes that carry this runoff away from your air conditioner become clogged, it can do more than make your air conditioner run inefficiently–it can damage your home. So it’s important to make sure that your condensation lines are flowing smoothly.

If you have a professional maintenance agreement for your air conditioner, a technician will come to your home to check the quality of your lines, as well as other maintenance. In between visits, you can easily clean condensation lines between visits by sending a simple mix of bleach and warm water through the pipes to help prevent buildup.

4. Clean debris from coils

Over the course of the year, your central air conditioning unit can collect dirt and debris outside, especially if you don’t use a cover. That buildup can lead to a sluggishly performing AC unit. Nearby shrubs, trees or other plants can also impact your unit if overgrown branches push into the air conditioner coils. Make sure to clear any plants growing too closely to your air conditioner and make sure that the coils are clean.

5. Make adjustments around the house

Not every tip for increased efficiency means working with your HVAC unit. Consider taking simple steps around your house to further reduce the strain on your air conditioning unit this summer:

  • Turning off your cooling system and opening your windows while sleeping can help push out hot air. Shutting the windows and blinds in the morning helps capture the cool air.
  • Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows.
  • If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting a few degrees with no reduction in comfort. But make sure to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room since fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).

Keeping your home comfortable shouldn’t be a chore this summer. Following these tips can go a long way in maintaining a well-running air-conditioning system. But getting an inspection and ongoing maintenance from HVAC repair professionals like the team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone will make sure that your air conditioner is running in tip-top shape. Call us today at (978) 872-1190 to find out how we can help keep you cool.

With technology that promises to “just work” at the flip of a switch, it’s no surprise that people expect their HVAC system to work when they need it, without any worries or concerns. After all, it’s no fun to face a Haverhill winter with a heater that breaks down just when you need it the most.

Just like your car, computer and even your body, air conditioners and furnaces need occasional maintenance to run at peak efficiency. You wouldn’t dream of driving your car without making sure the oil’s been changed every few thousand miles. So why neglect your HVAC?

Without occasional checkups, your system can cost you time, money and comfort. That’s why maintenance agreements from Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone make all the difference in your home’s heating and air conditioning.

When you sign on to a maintenance agreement, you can trust that your system will be well cared for by certified technicians. During routine maintenance checks, they’ll walk through a checklist of inspections, tests and cleanings to ensure your system is in great shape and advise you of any areas that might present concerns down the road.

While there are number of things that you can do on your own to keep your HVAC system working well, a checkup from a professional technician offers not only a deeper look at your system, but the tools, knowledge and skills to identify any trouble areas.

Think of it like a dentist. Sure, you can brush and floss regularly. But a dentist can do a deep cleaning while looking for any coming cavities. A maintenance agreement does the same thing for your HVAC system.

Here is just some of what you can expect to be done during an annual technician visit as part of a maintenance agreement with Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone:

  • Lubricate all moving parts: Friction in your HVAC system can cause it to overheat and break down. Adding lubrication helps parts move smoothly.
  • Tighten electrical connections: A loose connection can lead to problems that can not only shorten your equipment’s lifespan, but also present a danger to your home. Technicians will make sure all connections are correct, and measure voltage and current on equipment motors.
  • Check the thermostat: If your thermostat is not calibrated correctly, it can lead imbalances in your system’s use. A technician will check your thermostat and can even install an updated programmable thermostat on their visit if you don’t already have one.
  • Check system controls: Making sure your system’s start cycle, operation and shut-off sequence happen in the correct way keeps your system running safely and properly. The technician checks the controls and makes any necessary adjustments.
  • Clean and adjust the blower: Issues with your HVAC system’s blower can mean up to a 15 percent drop in energy efficiency. With the proper adjustments, your blower will have better airflow and increase your home’s comfort.
  • Other services, specific to cooling or heating units, will prevent breakdown.

The investment in a maintenance agreement can pay off in lower energy bills, thanks to a more energy-efficient system, and help reduce the number of repairs that might be needed in a neglected system. You’ll get a longer life out of your equipment and it will run much more safely than a system that might otherwise be failing.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has a great reputation in the Haverhill area for a reason. So don’t hesitate to call and talk about the various maintenance agreements available. Our team is ready to serve, 24/7. Call us at 978-872-1190 or schedule an appointment online.

The team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone know that having an energy efficient home is important to our customers. It’s important to us as well. A great way to determine where your home is losing energy and where you can save money is by scheduling a home energy assessment. So what exactly is a home energy assessment?

Here in the Haverhill area you can receive a free, energy assessment through Mass Save. During their home energy assessment an energy auditor will do a room-by-room inspection of your home, including the outside of your home. You will want to accompany them during their inspection to answer any questions they may have while inspecting your home. The inspection takes anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours. You should expect that the energy auditor will also want to look over your past utility bills.

Your home energy assessment will cover the three main parts of your home’s energy usage. They will take a look at your thermal layers, which are things like your walls, windows and insulation. Another part is your mechanical systems such as: water heater, furnace and air conditioner. And lastly, they will assess your consumer products, including your lightbulbs, washer and dryer, and other home appliances.

Your energy assessor will take a whole-home approach and make recommendations for you along the way. You will be left with an energy saving plan that will fit both your home and your lifestyle. Along with your energy plan you’ll also been told all of the applicable rebates and incentives for improving your home’s energy efficiency.

The Mass Save website also has an option for giving yourself an online home energy assessment. Of course you can also count on the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone to help you every step of the way. Keeping your home comfortable and helping you save money is our specialty. If you have any questions about home energy assessments or anything else home comfort related, give us a call at (978) 872-1190 or set up an appointment with us using our online scheduler.

Fall is slowly creeping into the Haverhill, MA area, which means it’s a good time to start saving money. Of course it’s always a good season to save money on utility bills and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Heating and cooling costs typically account for 48% of your monthly utility bill. Improving energy efficiency doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or mean that you need to purchase a new HVAC system. We have some easy tips to help save you money while also helping you keep your home feeling comfortable all year long.

Schedule a Free, In-Home Energy Audit

A great resource in our area is the free in-home energy audit offered by Mass Save. They will send a specialist out to assess your home’s energy usage and will provide you with personalized recommendations and work with you to come up with a plan to make your home more energy efficient. They will assess everything from your heating and cooling system to your laundry and kitchen appliances. Mass Save will also inform you of any possible rebates or incentives available to you for improving your home’s efficiency.

Routine Maintenance

If you haven’t yet, now is the perfect time to schedule your annual furnace service. Keeping a well-maintained system is vital for keeping your system running smoothly and using as little energy as possible. Along with the service we provide, be sure you’re changing your air filters every 1-3 months. This will improve both your energy efficiency and your indoor air quality.

Utilize Your Programmable Thermostat

There are several different models of programmable thermostats to choose from. Pick the one that best suits your needs and schedule. If you have any questions or need assistance with set-up or thermostat choice, the professionals at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone would be happy to help you throughout the process. A properly installed thermostat could save you big on your utility bills.

Keeping your energy efficiency high and your utility bills low is not just a priority for you, it’s also a priority for us. There’s no reason you can’t stay comfortable and save money. We are here to help you achieve just that. If you have any questions for us on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency or anything related to your home comfort give our professionals a call at (978) 872-1190 or set up an appointment with us using our online scheduler.