Costs of Home Heating with Electricity, Gas, & Oil

But for some isolated pockets of rural areas in the US, heating your home will be done in one of three ways, by gas, electricity, or oil. Each of these heating energy sources have their own costs, method efficiencies, and equipment costs.

Heating Costs: Electricity, Gas, & Oil.

There are a huge number of variables that can influence the answer to this question. Everything from home size, insulation rating and application, climate, market whims, and efficiencies of the heating equipment. So in order to answer this we’re going to have to make some concessions to limit the variables. We’ll assume the costs are for a moderately-sized home, with standard levels and ratings of insulation, and the average efficiencies of the heating equipment and examine the cost in terms of price per 100,00 BTUs.

Electricity – $2.93/100,000 BTU

Gas – $1.10/100,000 BTU

Oil – $2.50/100,00 BTU

We will also be using the costs for a home in a climate with cold – but not harsh – winters, that will take about 60,000,000 BTU of energy to heat per year.

Electricity – $703 – $1,875/yr

Electricity has such a cost range because of the large efficiency range of the available heating equipment. When dealing with electric-resistance heating, such as wall and baseboard heating, the efficiencies will be 100% (Sounds great, but it’s not.) If measuring for heat pumps, the efficiency range will be – at least – 100% but more commonly in the 200%-300% range. Heat pumps can achieve such efficiencies because they don’t actually generate heat, but simply move it from one place to another.

Gas – $733/yr

Gas is a fairly inexpensive utility and the available equipment has efficiency ratings from 90-97%.

Oil – $1,758/yr

Easily the energy source with the least-efficient equipment available, the costs of heating with oil can quickly add up. However, the market is rather variable so this figure can drop, or rise, quite normally. Oil furnaces used to have around a 70% efficiency rating but newer models can attain 80-85% efficiency ratings.

When deciding on a method of heating your home, or attempting to calculate costs, these figures should give you a rough idea of what to expect. Follow the Cardinal Heating & A/C blog for more informative HVAC posts.

Energy Efficiency Tips For Your HVAC System

Improving energy efficiency at home, especially in systems which run for hours, such as HVAC systems, is crucial as it can help lower energy bills. Unfortunately, some property owners have gotten some facts wrong. To clarify on any confusing issues, here are energy efficiency tips which can help improve the efficiency of your cooling system

 

a) Use a Programmable Thermostat

It is true that switching off your HVAC system when nobody is at home can help reduce energy consumption. In addition to being inconvenient, manually switching off the HVAC system can also make your home uncomfortable for a few minutes since the HVAC system will take time to condition the room. Ideally, you should install a programmable thermostat, to turn the system completely off when you leave and turn it back on before you get back home. The controller can also be programmed to change temperature settings at night when you’re sleeping.

 

b) Service your System on a Regular Basis

Regular cleaning, lubrication and replacement of worn out parts, such as clogged air filters is recommended if you would like to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. Ideally, you should have your unit checked by a professional at least once a year. The refrigerant can be recharged and dirty coils cleaned during the maintenance check up.

 

c) Use Ceiling Fans to Create Draft

The reason you may feel hot in a room with no air conditioning is because heat lost by the body stays just above the skin, thereby making you feel much hotter than the actual environmental temperature. Ceiling fans can help move air around the room thereby displacing warm air above your skin, leaving it cooler.

 

d) Close Drapes and Curtains During Hot Summer Days

Sunlight contains a lot of heat energy, which you do not want to let in when environmental temperatures are high. Ideally, you should close window treatments to block out direct sunlight from entering the room. This will allow the AC to work more efficiently.

You can also set your AC a few degrees higher to save energy – it won’t kill you. Follow us for more articles that your HVAC systems running comfortable and efficiently.

How Is The Efficiency Of Heating And Cooling Equipment Measured?

Nowadays, people have become more aware of the need to cut down their carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One way to do this is ensuring that a home’s HVAC system runs as efficiently as possible. This enables it to use the least possible amount of energy while in operation. There are various industry standards that can help in determining the best systems to purchase for maximum energy efficiency.

Knowing a system’s efficiency will help in estimating the amount of energy needed to run it and the annual operating cost as well. There are a number of efficiency ratings which can help in sorting out how good certain systems are going to be at saving energy. However, one needs to know that bigger doesn’t always translate to better. Only a qualified HVAC technician can help in determining the best system for a particular house or business.

Energy Efficiency Ratio

This gives a glimpse of how much cooling a certain system provides for every unit of energy consumed. This is based on the hottest days of the year. The EER is calculated by dividing the output cooling energy by the input electrical energy.

Energy Star

This is a designation provided by the EPA. This is only allocated to HVAC equipment that either meets or exceeds the laid-down efficiency guidelines. There are a number of factors put into consideration as well. Such include how much the equipment offers to the nationwide energy savings, the price difference between the device and its conventional counterpart, and the performance and energy consumption that can be measured and verified through testing.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor

This measures the efficiency of the heating component of a certain heat pump. The rating lies between 6.8 and 10, with high-efficiency devices having a rating of 7.5 or higher. This factor is calculated by dividing the output of the heating energy by the corresponding input of electrical energy.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value

This is a system used to rate the efficiency of filters in terms of the size of their holes. Smaller apertures mean a filter is better equipped at trapping contaminants. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with the higher figure indicating the highest possible efficiency.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

This indicates the amount of cooling power a HVAC system provides for every unit of energy purchased, based on the whole season’s average. SEER ratings range from 13 to 22, with the higher figure indicating the highest efficiency level possible. It’s calculated by dividing the output cooling energy during a season (in BTU) by the input electrical energy during the same season.
Homeowners whose houses have old, inefficient HVAC equipment would be advised to contact professionals in the field. Here, they can discuss their options for the repair and maintenance and how a newer system would be helpful in raising energy efficiency. Follow our blog for more great HVAC information.

Saving Energy And Money The WiFi Way

The heating and cooling industry has benefited from many new technologies over the past few years. Energy efficient heating and cooling units have been developed, programmable thermostats, as well as WiFi Thermostats and other climate controlling products. These products are changing the HVAC industry into one that is more environmentally friendly.

Products such as the wireless home thermostat offer homeowners convenience and the ability to save money as well. Thanks to the remarkable capabilities of WiFi technology, homeowners can now control the temperature of their home using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. When operating the HVAC system remotely, homeowners are able to adjust their homes temperature so they can save money, yet come home to the warmth or coolness they desire.

An air conditioning unit is capable of changing the temperature of a home up to 20 degrees. Keeping the thermostat set higher during periods of not being home can significantly lower energy bills. By changing a temperature setting shortly before it is time to leave work, a home can be cooled to perfection before a homeowner turns their key in the lock.

This concept makes a lot of sense, and having full control over the thermostat even when out of town is something that every homeowner can benefit from. Sometimes after leaving for work, many homeowners realize they forgot to change their homes temperature setting. Now these forgetful homeowners can access their wifi home thermostat with a phone and eliminate the waste of energy.

There is no sense in cooling or heating a home when there is nobody home to enjoy it. The WiFi thermostat is available in several brands, styles, and each one offers unique functions that can be remotely accessed. The absolute best way to purchase a wifi residential thermostat is to consult with a professional HVAC company.

An HVAC technician will do a zone evaluation and offer homeowners an introduction to the different wifi residential thermostats available to them. Once a suitable device is chosen the technician will install the thermostat and instruct a homeowner on how to get the most out of their wise investment. Start taking advantage of this remarkable WiFi technology today by scheduling a consultation visit from a local HVAC technician.

The Importance Of Replacing Air Conditioner Filters Regularly

Regular replacement of air conditioner filters is an important aspect of air conditioner maintenance. This component is responsible for getting rid of dust, pathogens, minute particles, pollen and any other type of airborne debris that may be present in the air supply system of a building. With time, air filters usually get clogged, thereby obstructing air-flow through the unit. This can cause a lot of problems.

The Effect of Having Dirty Filters

For one, it will reduce the efficiency of the system since motors have to work harder to force air through the filters. Secondly, dirt may bypass the filters and go directly into the evaporator coil. This will reduce the heat-absorbing capacity of the coil. The overall result will be:

– Poor performance of the air conditioning system
– Increased energy consumption of your AC system
– Contaminated air supply in the building
– Reduced lifespan of the HVAC system
– Uncomfortable surroundings

Air conditioner filters should therefore be replaced several times every year. Alternatively, dirty filters can be cleaned and reinstalled on a monthly basis. The average homeowner may be able to do this, but a professional HVAC company should be hired to handle all maintenance works.

Even with good filters, the two air conditioner coils may still accumulate dust and other debris. Both the condenser and air conditioner evaporator coils can accumulate dirt with extended period of use. Since dirt can insulate these coils and compromise their heat-carrying capacity, regular cleaning is recommended. During maintenance, the cooling fins in the condenser unit should be cleaned to remove any insulation that may have formed as a result of accumulation of dirt.

Save Money With Regular HVAC Maintenance

Maintaining your air conditioner will save you money now and in the future. There are several ways through which this can be achieved.

1. Energy Savings – A well maintained air conditioner consumes less energy compared to AC units that are not property looked after, so you can save a lot of money on your energy bills.

2. Reduced Repair Costs – Air conditioners that are well maintained rarely break down. Therefore, you will be able to save a lot of money on repair costs.

3. Replacement Costs – Well maintained air conditioning systems last longer, meaning that they can be used for many years before they need to be replaced.

While HVAC filters should be checked and cleaned, or replaced, every couple of months, complete AC system maintenance should be done at least once or twice a year. While these maintenance works do not come free of charge, the cost is reasonable considering the long term cost benefits.

The average homeowner may know a thing or two on how to maintain an HVAC system, but only professionals have the skills, experience and equipment needed to carry out these maintenance works. Therefore, homeowners should take their time to find a professional heating and cooling professional who can take good care of their HVAC Systems.

Find Out How You Can Program AC Thermostat To Cut Cooling Costs

One of the best techniques for minimizing your energy bills during hot summers is to program thermostat. Most modern air conditioning systems come with programmable thermostats, but few people utilize them properly.

How Programming the Thermostat Can Keep Energy Costs Low

During hot summer days, people spend time indoors. People usually go fishing, hiking and swimming among other fun activities that can only be enjoyed during summer. In fact, most people usually go on vacations. This means that there is basically no need of turning on the air conditioner during the day. An AC machine with a programmable thermostat can be programmed to switch off at a particular time in the morning and turn on in the evening just before you return to the house. This can save you a significant amount of money at the end of the month.

Other ways to tame runaway energy bills during summer include:

1. Proper Insulation

Heat is usually transferred through conventional currents in fluids. If cool air inside the house finds its way out of the house through a hole or any type of space, the air conditioner will have to work harder to maintain room temperatures at the desired level. Ideally, any spaces or holes around the windows and doors should be sealed to minimize energy wastage.

2. Clean or Replace Your Filters

Air filters are responsible for getting rid of airborne particles like dust, pollen, spores and other types of debris. Air conditioner filters eventually get clogged with time, so they need to be cleaned or replaced on a monthly basis, or every couple of months. Air conditioners with clean filters are usually very efficient. You can choose to clean filters on your own or hire professionals to do it for you.

3. Close the Curtains

During summer, you do not want the sun to get into the house and heat it up as the AC struggles to lower temperatures. The internal environment of the house should be kept separate from the outside, so all blinds, shades and curtains should be closed to block out the sun. This will minimize the AC’s workload, thereby helping to reduce the energy bill.

4. Proper Servicing

Ideally, you should service your unit once per year. This has many benefits including:

– Keeping the AC in good working condition
– Identifying problems before they cause a break down
– Helping to minimize breakdowns
– Enabling the AC to maintain its efficiency
– Increasing the lifespan of the AC unit

While homeowners can do a thing or two to maintain their air conditioners, professional heating and cooling experts should always be hired to offer an all-round HVAC maintenance service.