3 Real Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

Many people tend to neglect all the many ways they are losing money on utility bills. While there are lots of tricks to improve your energy efficiency, some methods are only minimally effective. Here are the three top ways you can begin to really improve the energy efficiency of your home.

1. Reduce Your Water Heater Temperature

Many people have their water heater set far hotter than it needs to be. Reducing the temperature by a few degrees will save you a great deal of money throughout the year and result in lower energy usage overall. All it takes is a simple adjustment of the heater settings.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can save you a lot of money. If you don’t pay attention to your system, you can end up having your heater or AC working a lot harder much more often than necessary.

You also have to ask yourself, what is a comfortable level? Can you stretch a few degrees lower in winter and use an extra blanket? Can you stretch a little higher in summer and use fans instead? Can you use that programmable thermostat to set a more conservative temperature during off-peak hours? All of these will help you save money and raise your energy efficiency. Even a difference of just a few degrees can noticeably lower your monthly utility bill.

3. Insulate Your Home

Better insulation in your attic, for example, makes it harder for perfectly conditioned air to escape your house. Seal up cracks and add insulation where possible so that it will keep out the cold or hot weather. This will make things much easier on your HVAC unit.

All of these tips require a good HVAC unit that is properly maintained. This is where Lion Home Service can help. We operate throughout Fort Collins and the surrounding areas with a full range of services that cover heating, cooling, electrical, radon testing, and more. Call our office today for detailed information.

Proper insulation is the key to keeping your house warm this winter

 

At some point in their lives, most people have probably heard a mom or dad yell, “Close the front door! We’re not trying to heat the whole neighborhood!”

Everyone wants to keep their home appropriately warm during the winter and cool during the summer without spending a fortune to do so. In this scenario, the door represents the basic principle of how insulation works, acting as a barrier that helps seal warm or cool air inside where it belongs. Making sure your house has adequate insulation is the crucial factor in achieving that goal.

Like water, air seeks to balance itself by acclimating to its surroundings, much like an ice cube will melt if the air around it is above freezing. Let’s say the air in your home is 40 degrees warmer than the exterior temperature. Without any insulation for resistance, the warm air will seep out of your house trying to equalize with the colder air outside.

 

What is insulation?

 

In simplest terms, insulation is material that’s placed into your home’s walls, floors, attics and ceilings to prevent the heated or cooled air inside from leaking out. (It also absorbs sound, reducing noise between rooms and spaces.) Good insulation helps your HVAC system operate more efficiently — you’re already paying for the energy to heat or cool your home; insulation ensures the effect lasts as long as possible. If you don’t have decent insulation, the warm or cool air your HVAC system is working so hard to generate dissipates much more quickly, costing you money and personal comfort.

Modern insulation is made from fiberglass and sold in batted sheets that can be cut to size, rolled into joists and stapled into place; or as loose bagged cellulose that can be spot-blown into spaces using equipment specific to this purpose. Most insulation usually costs somewhere in the range of $1 to $2 per square foot.

Insulation is measured by R-value, a number between 1 and 60 that rates the material’s resistance to heat and air flow based on its thickness and density. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will perform. A product with higher R-value will cost more than a product with lower R-value, but in colder regions of the country, the added upfront expense may prove well worth it in terms of heat preservation and savings on utility bills over time. Homeowners who live in more moderate climates probably won’t need insulation of the same R-value level as those in areas with harsh winters. Helpful charts of recommended R-values by geographic region are readily available online for quick reference.

 

How do you know if your home has enough insulation?

 

You can measure the insulation in your home with a ruler and research the suggested R-value for your region to determine if you have what you need in place. Most homes should have at least 12 inches of insulation with no obvious gaps. If there’s any question as to whether or not you have the right amount, err on the side of excess. It’s better to have too much insulation than not enough. It’s also important to note that the U.S. Department of Energy updated its R-value recommendations just last year, so if your house was built prior to 2017, it’s likely to need more insulation.

Homeowners can choose to purchase insulation at home retail stores and install it themselves or hire a professional contractor. It’s fairly easy to roll and staple batted insulation into place, although this option can create gaps. Blowing in cellulose fills spaces more completely, but the process can be a bit more complicated, not to mention messy. Plus, you’ll have to rent the proper equipment and learn how to use it correctly and safely. The advantages of relying on the professionals to install your insulation lie in the assurance that they have the experience and the tools to get the job done right the first time.

Once it’s in place, good insulation should last for years. The fiberglass material won’t break down over time and shouldn’t require revisiting unless R-value recommendations change or it gets damaged by rodents or birds.

 

 

Tips Xcel Energy Wants to Keep Quiet

Summer is here and energy costs are rising. Between the warmer weather and children being out of school and using more electricity, the market for electricity expands. As it expands, electricity suppliers raise costs. While the average homeowner has no recourse but to pay their electric company the market rate, they can change some of their habits to reduce their use. Respected area heating and cooling service company, Lion Home Service wants to get the word out on how to save on energy costs during the dog days of summer. According to CEO and founder, Barton Palmer, there are several tiny steps that homeowners can take to save big on energy costs.

“A lot of service companies will try to tell people that need a new, energy-efficient cooling system for their home and while they can certainly lower a home’s energy use, not everyone can afford it,” says Palmer. “I usually tell people to look for tiny ways here and there that they can save on energy use because over the course of a few months those tiny changes in behavior will add up to big bucks.”

Lion Home Service recommends changing filters and performing routine maintenance on heating and cooling systems will make a huge difference. When a system doesn’t have to work hard to do its job, energy is reduced. Dirty air filters play a huge role in cooling costs, which is why Lion Home Service stresses changing filters regularly.

Other tips include purchasing UV shades to block out the suns more harmful rays and being sensible with the cooling dial. Instead of setting the temperature to 69 degrees, set it to 70 or 72. According to Palmer, the little things add up to big savings.

“If our customers have a little extra money,” he says,” installing solar powered attic fans, roof vents, or additional insulation may also help. You’d be surprised how much heat is stored in the attic of a home. If you can reduce that, it lowers the effort on the cooling system to regulate the temperature.”

For more information on how to adopt energy-saving polices or have a system serviced for summer contact us.

How Can I Save Money on Energy Bills in The Summer?

Energy BillsReducing your energy consumption in summer can be quite challenging since the temperatures can soar so high. However, there are several energy-saving techniques to help you manage your energy bills during the hot season. To save more, implement more than one technique.

Add Insulation to Your Walls and Attics

Air leakage occurs due to the cracks, openings, and spaces in between the walls of your home. Insulation is the best way to fill the gaps that allow air leakage. This can be done through caulking and weather-stripping. Unfortunately, if you are a renter, you may not have this option. But, you can still insulate your property by installing blinds on your windows, draught-proof your doors, and much more.

Spend Time Outdoors

Summertime offers the best weather for outdoor activities. Spending more time outdoors means that you can switch off the AC, lights, and electronics for some time. As you have fun in the park, at the movies, or at the beach, you’ll naturally reduce energy consumption. Before leaving the house, remember to not only switch off these devices, but also unplug them since some devices can still drain power even when they’re not on.

Use Fans

While AC units may be a necessity during summer, they consume a lot of energy; therefore, limit their use to extremely hot days. Using ceiling and widow fans gets the air circulating, which means that you can delay turning on the AC. Plus, they don’t consume much electricity. If your AC unit has internal fans, you can also turn the fans to auto, which helps to circulate the air without running the AC.

Maintain Your Cooling System

It’s normal for your cooling system to reduce its efficiency over time, which in turn increases the amount of energy required to run it. Some of the ways to maintain your cooling system include:

  • Cleaning the AC
  • Replacing or cleaning filters
  • Getting your cooling system regularly inspected and serviced by a professional
  • Replacing the AC with a more efficient model

Outstanding AC Service in Fort Collins

At Lion Home Services, we ensure that the residents of Fort Collins and its environs get the comfort and convenience they need all year round. We provide a wide range of installation, repair, and maintenance services in plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, and duct cleaning. Our qualified service experts are highly dependable and can handle any HVAC issues you may have. Contact us today for trusted services.

Signs You Need a Furnace Tune Up

It’s cold outside and you need your furnace to work. Whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve been in the same place for a while, it’s a good idea to get your furnace checked out every year. We offer a comprehensive furnace tune up that does just that. We’ll make sure everything is running smoothly, diagnose any problems before they cause your furnace to stop heating entirely, and make sure you stay warm all winter long.

Not sure if you need this service? Here are some signs that it’s time to call for your tune up today.

  1. It’s been at least a year since you had one. Most furnace manufacturers recommend getting your furnace tuned up at least once a year. Some actually want you to do it twice! Check out the manufacturer’s guidelines in your manual or online, and we’ll come out and do the work according to their specifications. If your furnace is under warranty, it’s even more important that you get this done. Some warranties are voided if you don’t have regular tune ups.
  2. Your furnace is old. Most furnaces last between 10 and 20 years. If yours is 10 years old or older, it’s a good idea to get it checked out more frequently. This can head off any problems before they affect the temperature of your home.
  3. Your energy bills are high. Do you pay more than you used to when you run your furnace? If so, then there’s a good chance that something isn’t working as well as it could. We’ll diagnose the problem, which is often solved simply by servicing the unit. If it needs more work, we’ll let you know that, too.
  4. Your furnace makes unusual noises. Most furnaces run almost silently. If yours is making banging noises or any other noises, it’s time to get it check out. We’ll perform routine maintenance and, in the process, determine what is making the unusual sound. Then, we’ll get it fixed before your house gets cold.
  5. Changing the temperature on the thermostat doesn’t help. If you feel like you’re constantly turning up the heat but your house isn’t getting any warmer, let us know. Part of our tune up involves checking your thermostat and making sure it’s still properly connected to your furnace and is correctly reflecting the temperature in your home. If there’s a problem, we’ll let you know.
  6. Your furnace turns off and on frequently. Your furnace should turn on, run until your home is warm, then turn off again. If it’s turning off and on more frequently than that, it’s time for a tune up. We’ll service the unit and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, we’ll figure out what else is going on and get it all working again.

 

When it’s time for a tune up, call us at Lion Home Service. We’ll send out a professional furnace service expert to perform standard maintenance on your unit according to the manufacturer’s specifications. We’ll also help you get any problems fixed, so you and your family aren’t left out in the cold.

Keep Energy Bills Low this Winter

Nobody likes spending a lot of money on heating. After all, there are a lot of things you want to do, so those dollars can always be spent on something a little more interesting. However, most homeowners don’t really know what they can do that will help.

If this is you, don’t worry. You don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to keep your home warm and your family cozy this winter. No matter how big your home and how efficient your furnace, here are some good ways to save money on energy.

 

Manage Your Thermostat

Most people want to wake up warm, so they keep the temperature inside their house up all night. However, this doesn’t save money. Instead, get a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. If you’ve got one, start using it.

The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 65 degrees, which is a lot cooler than most people keep their houses overnight. Program your thermostat to go down overnight, so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your house warm when you don’t need it. Then, program it to warm back up just before you get out of bed.

You can also save money by turning your thermostat down when you’re not home. If there’s nobody in the house all day, while you’re at work and your kids are at school, program the thermostat lower. Once again, tell it to heat things up right before everyone gets home. You’ll save on energy and still be comfortable at home.

 

Insulate Your Windows

Your home loses heat and lets in cold air through drafts in and around your windows. If you don’t have double or triple paned windows, consider installing them. However, windows can be expensive and not everyone will choose to invest in their home that way.

Even if you don’t get new windows, though, you can always insulate the ones you already have. Most home repair stores sell window kits. These have a film that will stick to your windows and help keep cold air out. It takes a bit of work to figure out how to put the film on, but after that you will lose less energy that way.

Finally, be sure to fill or cover any cracks. Sometimes, you can feel cold air coming in around your windows even though you can’t see a crack or anything else. Fill in the gaps with caulk, or place a blanket or insulating tape around the place where your window meets your wall, until you can’t feel the cold air anymore.

 

Get a New Furnace

If your furnace is old, it’s probably not working efficiently. It surprises many homeowners that they can save money on energy simply by installing a more efficient furnace. If you’re interested, call us today. We’ll help you find the right furnace for your home and get it in, so you can start saving today!