Homeowners Guide to Heating and Cooling

AccuTemp's Heating and Cooling Tips for HVAC

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Regardless of the age of your system, there are ways to make it even better. You don't have to go to a full upgrade to make your system more efficient. If your system is 15 years of age or older, I would definitely consider upgrading. Technology has come such a long way. With each year they increase in efficiency. A 15 year old system is costing you a ton to operate in comparison to newer systems.

First, walk around your home with a lit incense stick. Trace all windows, doors and cracks. Anywhere to see the smoke being obviously affected by a draft of sorts, investigate that spot and mark it.

Once you've figure out where air is coming into your home, you can seal it up. Use your best judgement when making a materials list. Some spots will need weather stripping, some will need caulk while others will need expanding foam.

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Add insulation to your attic and or basement. If it's exposed, tackle it. You can use R-38 to R-49 in your attic. If your attic is extremely cold, go for the R-49. Use R-4 to R-19 on the ceiling and walls (if exposed) of your basement. If you have a crawl space, shoot for between R-11 and R-25. This is like adding a giant blanket to your home.

Make sure to change your air filter every month. This keeps the dirt and debris out of the moving parts within your system. A lot of the time, motors fail due to gunk that builds up on them. Once enough of that collects, the moving parts can't move properly. In addition to that, your air quality will be better with clean filters.

It's also important to have your system maintained twice yearly. While it might sound like a money making scheme, it's anything but. In fact, these visits can save you money in the long run. With a trained technicians eyes on your system every year, you're much less likely to have a break down. They know what to look for in terms of signs of wear and safety.

You may want to consider looking into a maintenance plan. If you do end up with a breakdown, you get preferential treatment in scheduling and a 15% discount off any repairs you may need! You also won't have to remember when to schedule your visits. Our office actually keeps track of when you're due for a visit and will call you to schedule.

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By: Summer McAnally

At the beginning of each year, I find it helpful to reevaluate finances and create financial goals. There a lot automated services to help you with these goals. Find out what you saved last year. Make a list of all the subscriptions you have and the cost for each per month.

Speaking of subscriptions, if you have a lot of them, you may want to download two apps: Trim and TrueBill. Trim analyzes your bank accounts and locates all the reoccurring payments. Trim can cancel subscriptions and negotiate bills for you. It can also answer questions such as, “How much did I spend at Kroger last month?” TrueBill basically does the same thing, but it can also minimize your interest charges or eliminate them completely.

While we’re on the topic of bill pay, sign up for a Chime checking account (you get $35 for signing up through the link). You get rewarded for using your Chime debit card and for paying bills using their bill pay feature. My favorite part is the automatic savings. It rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and puts that change automatically into your savings account. At the end of each week they give you a bonus based on how many times you saved during that week. Mine usually comes out to about $52 in free money every year.

Make your home more energy efficient. Make sure to seal any spot with a draft. Those drafts cost you money! If you still have single pane windows, it’s time to upgrade. Those windows don’t do much to keep the conditioned air inside your home. Upgrade your light bulbs to LED’s. Unplug anything you aren’t using. Believe it or not, just having those items plugged in is costing you money, even if it’s off.

Reevaluate your phone plan. Do you actually use all the data you pay for? If not, go down a few gigs and save yourself that money. It’s also good to look into this about every 3 months. A lot of companies change their plans frequently. Those new plans can save you lots of money, especially when it comes to AT&T.

If you don’t have a budget. Sit down and create one. You’ll need every bit of financial information available to you. You’ll need to know how much you’re working with each month, what has to be dedicated to bills, what you can save and what you can have as “spending” money. Of course you never want to spend every bit of your spending money each week. That can add up to thousands in a short time.

Sell things you don’t need. There are lots of Facebook groups tailored around this. To find the ones in your local area, use the search bar and type in the name of the city or county you live in and “yard sale”, “garage sale” etc. Snap a few photos of the item your selling in natural light, accurate describe the item and put a price on it. From there, just wait for the messages and comments to roll in. You’ll have your unwanted items sold in no time. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the group rules as well. Some groups restrict the resale of certain items.

Drink more water. Not only is this one good for your health, but it saves you money too. A bottle of juice costs around $3-$4 each. If you have a family of 4, that’s probably gone in a day. That’s $1,095-$1460 per year on juice alone!! If you have that exclusively for weekends as a treat, you’ll be saving yourself a ton of money. If you happen to be a tea drinker, consider growing your own tea. It’s satisfying and comforting.

What ways do you plan to save this year? Share in the comments!

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With the insanely cold temperatures that we're currently experiencing, your home is likely to get pretty dry if you don't have a humidifier. Luckily there are things you can do to add moisture back into your air.

When you take a hot shower, don't turn on the exhaust fan. This will allow that steam to raise the humidity level in your home. Make sure to leave the bathroom door open too. This is especially helpful if your bathroom is attached to your bedroom. There's nothing worse for your sinuses than breathing dry air all night.

If you take baths, you can still take advantage of the shower tip, just wait for the water to cool completely in your tub before you drain it.

If you have floor registers, place a bowl of water over each. It should take about a week for all the water to absorb out of each. If you don't have floor registers, place glasses of water or vases (with or without flowers) on your windowsill. As the sun shines through the window each day, it'll warm the water just a tad and will absorb into the air within your home.

When you do laundry, hang your clothes to dry. This will help to add some moisture to your air and it'll save you money on your energy bill.

Add a few plants to your home. Aloe is a great one! It's a relatively easy plant to care for. It constantly lets moisture out into the air. It also absorbs formaldehyde too. Pothos absorb toxins as well. This plant it basically a little air cleaner that adds moisture to your air.

Save some money and cook at home. Focus on recipes that require boiling. All the steam coming out of the pots adds humidity to your home.

After you're done cooking and you wash dishes in your dishwasher, turn it off when it gets to the drying step. Open up the dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. While it might only add a little moisture, every little bit counts!

If you don't want to spend the money to get a whole house humidifier, you're in luck! Travel humidifiers have been invented! They put out about a gallon of water per every 24 hours. Not a bad deal for $50! (Of course a whole house humidifier will be a lot less work and do a lot more in terms of raising the humidity levels through your home.)

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By following the steps above, you'll raise the humidity in your home a little bit with each step. If you do them all, it adds up to a nice increase. Your family will be thanking you! It's a helpful thing to do for your health too.

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December 29, 2017

By: Summer McAnally

Since we’re getting blasted with Arctic air in the East, we figured this would be a good time to share a few tips with you. The freezing temperatures bring dangerous situations to homeowners. Prepare for the things you can and hope for the best with things you can’t control, such as falling trees.

First, make sure your gutters are free of leaves and other debris. If water can’t easily pass through your gutters, ice can end up building up where all the gunk creates a small dam. Those areas can become to heavy for the nails that are holding them to your home. This can be dangerous depending on where the gutters end up falling. They could potentially bust windows or cause damage to the outside of your home.

With ice comes possible power outages. Make sure to check all your flashlights and battery operated lighting devices. Get spare batteries for all the lights that work. Make sure all candles, lighters and matches are accessible in the event that you have to locate them in the dark.

Freeze a few gallon bags of water. Make sure any ice packs you have are in your freezer. If the power goes out, move 1 gallon bag of water to your fridge. Add another bag to your fridge every 8 hours. This will help to keep the fridge colder longer. As those bags melt, you have drinking water. Keep the ice packs in your freezer. Remember to open the door as little as possible.

Make sure you have a manual can opener. Make sure to have canned goods on hand. You never know how long you’ll be out of power. Just in case the food goes bad in your fridge, you’ll have canned goods to keep you fed till the power comes back.

Pre-cook what you can. Bacon is one of those items. You can cook it, let it cool and stick it in a ziplock or storage container for eating later. Ground meat is a good thing to go ahead and pre-cook too. You can make tacos and all you’ll need to do is warm the ground meat. All the toppings are cold items.

Be sure to protect your firewood from getting wet. Place it in your garage or basement if you have one. If it must be stored outside, try to make sure it’s off the ground and covered completely with a tarp. A fire may be the only way for you to warm your food if you don't have some sort of camping stove. 

Gather all your blankets and warm clothing in your living room. This makes it much easier for your family members to find the things that will keep them warm. By keeping everyone in one room, you also get to take advantage of body heat.

When you know the weather might get bad, go ahead an keep all your devices 100% charged. You’ll want to know what’s going on with your power company and neighbors. If the power goes out, shut all devices off unless you’re using them. By doing this, you can make your devices last for days. If you have any power banks, make sure those are also fully charged.

Make sure your car is filled with gasoline and you have cash on hand. You may need supplies and although the roads may be passable, the stores may not have electricity to run a credit or debit card.

Before the weather gets bad, take note of the trees around your home. Pay close attention to ones that look a bit weaker than the rest. From there, use your best judgement to decide where is the safest place in your home, in the event that one of those trees fell.

If you plan to use a generator, make sure you are familiar with how to run it safely. Make sure to have a space outside of your home to protect it from the elements. It can’t safely run inside. The fumes create carbon monoxide, which is incredibly dangerous to breathe. You cannot detect it with your senses. If the power is out, your carbon monoxide detector will only work if there is a battery backup with charged batteries in it.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Stay safe and warm!

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December 20, 2017

By: Summer McAnally

If your home has a furnace, there are a few basic things you need to understand about it. The more you know about the components that make your life more comfortable, the better.

You're probably familiar with the fact that your HVAC system has three main components. Aside from your furnace you probably have an air conditioner or heat pump outside and a thermostat. You may also have an air cleaner or some form of humidity control.

These days most homes with furnaces either have single-stage or variable speed units. These systems are exactly as they sound: a single stage heating component runs on one speed and one speed only. Variable speed systems analyze whats going on with the air in your house versus what temperature you've set your thermostat. It then calculates what speed it needs to run on to make your request happen the most efficiently. Single stage systems aren't able to keep the air within the home consistent as a variable-speed system can.

If you have an old system, you have outdated technology. While I'm not the person to go out and purchase the newest iPhone, I do recommend upgrading your system about every 10-15 years. With how quickly technology is advancing, a 10 year old system is going to cost a lot more to run than a brand new system with 97% efficiency. 

The best way to think about efficiency is to think in terms of how much heat your system produces and how much it loses. A system that is 97% efficient is only losing 3% of what it's producing. In case you're unaware of the average numbers on all this, that's really low and exactly where you want it to be. 

The filter inside your furnace needs to be changed every 30 days. This may sound like some sort of money making scheme at first, but once you understand the true purpose of your filter, you won't see it like that at all. Your filter is typically close to your blower housing. This is where EVERY bit of air passes through to be pushed out into your home. This area needs to stay clean in order to run properly. Let's say you forgot to change your filter for an entire year. You'd have A LOT of gunk built up on your filter. That has been trickling into your blower housing. Now that space is incredibly dusty around moving parts. This is where you'll start to see parts fail. Don't do that to yourself.

Your system needs to be maintained at the beginning of heating season every year. This isn't one of those things you want to skimp on. Unfortunately, gas heating system do pose some serious fire hazards. By having a technician inspect your system, you reduce these risks significantly. We train our technicians to look for such hazards. Recently, during routine maintenance, one of our technicians found that our customers safety switch had failed! Luckily he was able to cut power to the system quickly once the flames began. If this customer had procrastinated and didn't have his system checked, that could have very easily lead to his entire house burning down.   

Feel free to share this with your friends. New homeowners could especially use this information. How much of this information did you know? Share in the comments below.

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About AccuTemp

We provide air conditioning and heat pump repairs, maintenance and replacement to the Metro Atlanta Area and are centrally located in Marietta, Georgia.

Our service area includes: Adairsville, Acworth, Alpharetta, Austell, Ball Ground, Buckhead, Buford, Canton, Cartersville, Cumming, Dallas, Dawsonville, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Holly Springs, Hiram, lp, Jasper, John’s Creek, Kennesaw, Marietta, Norcross, Powder Springs, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Villa Rica, Vinings Waleska, White and Woodstock.

logowhite805 Jamerson Rd
Marietta, GA 30066
770-672-6963
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