Thursday, August 30, 2012

HVAC Zoning Gives You Total Control of the Temperature in Your Home

Most Bay area homeowners spend a lot more time in particular parts of their homes than they do in others. So it does not make much sense to heat and cool just about every a part of your house in the very same way. A Heating and air conditioning zoning method is the perfect answer to this problem.

What exactly is HVAC zoning?

A zoning 
system for the air conditioner, furnace or heat pump enables you to have precise control over the temperature in different regions of your houseYou'll be able to divide your property into various zones and set each and every zone to a designated temperature in accordance with how your family makes use of that a part of your home.Similar to the way  a programmable thermostat adjusts temperatures in line with when you are at house or sleeping, a zoning program can focus your conditioned air on the rooms which you use the most.

How does HVAC zoning 
operate?Every single zone that you just designate in your residence receives a damper either inside the air duct that leads to the zone or near the air register in the zone. The damper opens and closes in accordance with whether or not the zone calls for conditioned air. When the damper is open, air is permitted in to heat or cool the zone. When the damper is closed, the zone receives no conditioned air.Each zone receives its own thermostat which you can set to your liking. When a thermostat detects that a zone desires to be heated or cooled, it sends a signal to a central control panel that asks for the HVAC unit to send conditioned air. Its damper is then opened to permit the air into the zone.Once each zone inside your property has reached its desired temperature, your HVAC unit shuts off and stops sending conditioned air.

What are 
the key advantages of HVAC zoning?

HVAC zoning comes 
with a few terrific benefits. For one, it permits you to have maximum control over the comfort levels inside your household.You will feel significantly much less hot and cold spots using a zoning system mainly because your HVAC unit is able to give a lot more consideration to each and every separate part of your house.

HVAC zoning also saves 
power due to the fact your heating and cooling units only work as tough as they must in an effort to satisfy each and every zone. That signifies they will not have to waste power on conditioning rooms that you simply do not devote quite a bit of time in.

If you have any questions about HVAC Zoning or if you would like a zoning system installed in your home please visit Sandium.Com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Everybody is familiar with furnaces and air conditioners, but did you know that South Bay Area homeowners have yet another option to heat and cool their properties? It is called a heat pump, and it’s an incredible way to cut down on your home’s power consumption.
So how does a heat pump operate and what are the pros and cons of installing one?

What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is usually a heating and cooling unit that transfers heat from one particular place to a different. Heat pumps is usually applied in place of an air conditioner along with a furnace, simply because they may be capable to both heat and cool a household.
You'll find 3 most important varieties of heat pumps: air-source, ground source and water-source. The name of each of these heat pumps describes the outdoor source that may be made use of to heat or cool your property.

How does a heat pump work?

 When a heat pump is utilized to heat a home, it absorbs current heat from the outdoors air, the ground or even a nearby water supply and transfers it in to the dwelling.
In an air supply heat pump, outdoors air is drawn into the heat pump exactly where it passes over liquid refrigerant coils that absorb the heat from the air. The heated, gaseous refrigerant then goes by a compressor where it increases temperature even more and moves for the indoor coils inside your property. There, the heat is made use of to warm the air in your dwelling and the refrigerant turns back into a liquid and repeats the cycle.
Within a ground or water source heat pump, pipes are buried underground or in a nearby water source exactly where the temperature remains consistently warm all through the year. Water or refrigerant is pumped by way of the pipes plus the underground heat is absorbed and transferred into your home inside a equivalent manner as an air supply heat pump.
No matter the type of heat pump, the approach is basically reversed when it is actually used to cool your home.

What are the pros and cons of using a heat pump inside your Bay Area home?
The biggest advantage of heat pumps is that they may be exceptionally energy efficient. Once they are utilised to heat a house, they simply transfer existing heat as opposed to employing energy to generate heat. Heat pumps perform most effective in milder climates, which makes them an extremely efficient alternative for the South Bay Area region. When you install a heat pump, you also possess the comfort of utilizing one device to heat and cool your home.
The biggest drawback to a heat pump would be the expense of installation. Having said that, this cost is normally created up in future energy savings.

Visit Sandium.Com to learn more about how a heat pump system can save you money in the long run. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

14 Ways To Lower Your Heating Bill

There's good news and bad news if you're a homeowner who's bracing yourself for the annual rise in winter heating costs: The bill won't hurt more this year, but it won't hurt much less.
The Energy Information Administration forecasts that the average household heating fuel expenditures this winter will decrease to $928 per household, down from $947 last year. This is the first price drop since the winter of 2001-2002.
If you hope to save more than the projected $19, there are many steps you can take.
"There's a lot of things that the entrepreneurial homeowner can do, if he's a little bit handy," says John Ryan, team leader for commercial buildings for the Building Technologies Program in the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who has spent years thinking about efficiency in homes.
Here are more than a dozen simple steps you can take to slash your home's heating bill. Six steps cost nothing. Eight more cost under $100. Combine them, and you can often expect to save 20% — and possibly much, much more — on your home heating bill this winter. And some new federal tax breaks even sweeten the opportunity.
Grab that free, low-hanging fruitFirst, the freebies. These strategies may sound simplistic, but they work well:
  • Turn down the thermostat. "The rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat" full time, says Bill Prindle, deputy director for the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees when you go to work, and again when you go to bed -- a total of 16 hours a day -- and you can save about 14% on your heating bill, says Prindle.
  • Use fans wisely. In just one hour, a hard-working bathroom or kitchen fan can expel a houseful of warm air, according to the Department of Energy. Turn them off as soon as they've done their job.
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed. Heat rises, and an open damper is like a hole in the roof. Also, limit use of the fireplace, since fires actually suck heat from a room, says Harvey Sachs, director of ACEEE's buildings program. Close off seldom-used rooms. And shut the vents inside.
  • Turn down the water heater. Lowering the temperature of water in the water heater to 115-120 degrees reduces power use often without a noticeable difference to the user, says Prindle.
  • Keep heating vents clear. Vents blocked by rugs and furniture prevent heated air from circulating efficiently.
  • Use curtains. Opening curtains and shades on south-facing windows during the day allows solar radiation to warm a living space; closing all curtains at night helps retard the escape of that heat.
Web sites on the topic abound, but one of the best is run by the Department of Energy.
Low-cost fixesSo you've put the easiest, and free, ideas to work. Now you can really make a dent in that heating bill with one cheap trip to a hardware store (Home Depot, for example, has all of the items below) and a few hours of work
Block that leak!The small gaps surrounding windows, doors and other areas in the American house, taken together, are like a 9-square-foot hole in the wall, according to EarthWorks Group's "30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do to Save the Earth." Plugging them can save you up to 10% on that heating bill, and the materials will pay for themselves within a year, ACEEE says.
First, find the leaks: On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: chimney flashing, recessed lighting, sill plates, window and door frames, all ducts and flues and electrical outlets.
Buy door sweeps ($3-$10) to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk ($2-$5 per roll, plus a $10 caulk gun) or tacky rope caulk to block those drafty spots around window frames. Apply weather-stripping ($3-$6 for up to 17 feet) to movable joints. Outlet gaskets ($10 for 10) can easily be installed in electrical outlets in a home's outer walls, where cold air often enters.
Keep your ducts in a rowA home that uses ductwork to move heated air can lose up to 60% of that air before it reaches the vents if the ducts are poorly connected, not well insulated and travel through unheated spaces such as the attic or crawlspace, says the government. "If you are a halfway savvy do-it-yourselfer, and your ductwork and heating and air-conditioning equipment are in the attic, you can do an awful lot to fix your system, at low cost," says Sachs.
First, look for obvious places in the attic, basement or in crawlspaces where ducts have become disconnected. Reconnect them, and fix places where pipes are pinched, which impedes flow of heated air to the house, says the Department of Energy's Ryan.
Fix remaining gaps with tape, but don't use traditional duct tape, which deteriorates; instead, use metal-backed tape ($6-$10 per roll) or aerosol sealant. Where possible, wrap the ducts' exterior with special duct insulation ($8-$12 for 15 feet). Though the cost will be substantially more, it's a good idea to get a professional to help insulate ducts when electrical wires or lighting fixtures are nearby.
Other tips:
  • Swaddle water heater and pipes. Unless you've got a newer water heater that already has built-in insulation, covering your water heater with an insulated "jacket" ($17-$20) will keep costs down, especially if your heater is in an unheated place like a garage. Also, wrap water pipes ($1-$5 per 5-foot section) when possible, especially when they run through uninsulated areas.
  • Winterize windows. If you can't afford storm windows, put plastic film on those windows ($6 covers three windows) where a clear view isn't crucial, which will curb drafts and keep windows from rattling.
  • Buy a low-flow shower head. A water-efficient shower head (often less than $20) can use 25% to 50% less hot water, saving both on water and power bills, with little to no reduction in user satisfaction, says Prindle.
  • Buy a smart thermostat. If you're the kind of person who forgets to turn the temperature down at night and before work, but who doesn't mind programming things like the TV remote control, a "smart" thermostat ($50-$100) can be set to change the temperature for you.
  • Keep your furnace in shape. "It's amazing how often a heating or air conditioning unit stops working because a $3 or $15 air filter is clogged," says Sachs. Replace the air filter ($4-$16) according to manufacturer's directions and your heating system will operate more efficiently. Oil-fired boilers should be cleaned and tuned annually, and gas systems, every two years($100-$125). By maintaining your heating unit, you can save between 3% and 10% on heating bills, says ACEEE.
  • Look for other insulation opportunities. Some well-placed insulation, especially in the attic of older homes, can save a bundle ($7-$16, in rolls from 22-32 feet, depending on insulation value).
First, however, Sachs recommends going into the attic and looking for black-stained areas on the edges of the fiberglass. That's dust, and it shows where air is flowing up out of the living space. Sealing that area first will do more good than simply piling on more insulation.
By following all of the aforementioned strategies, the owner of an older home can likely save much more than 20% on heating bills, he says.
Thinking bigSo you've spent the minimum and will now save a noticeable chunk of money. What else can you do in the future? Replace appliances, heating units, light fixtures and bulbs with high-efficiency replacements.
It costs money to save money, however. While an adequate vinyl window might cost $100-$150, a double-paned window with a low e-rating (that's a good thing) can cost $50-$100 more, says Nevil Eastwood, director of construction and environmental resources for Habitat for Humanity International in Georgia. "That adds up when you've got 15 windows in your house," Eastwood acknowledges.
Many experts therefore recommend buying high-efficiency windows and appliances as their predecessors wear out and you need to replace them anyway. Over time, the extra cost is recouped in improved efficiency.
"If your furnace is over 20 years old, you're probably paying far more to use it," says Maria Vargas, spokeswoman for Energy Star, a federal-government-backed program that promotes energy efficiency and that lends its name to energy-saving products. Furnaces bearing the Energy Star label are about 15% more efficient than a standard conventional model, says Vargas.
A Chicago resident might pay an Energy Star premium of $1,400 or so on an average home furnace for that area, Vargas says, but the savings pay off the extra cost in three or four years.
Many utilities offer discounts or rebates on energy-saving products. Call and ask. Loans are also sometimes available for major improvements that will incorporate energy-efficient products or to purchase a high-efficiency home.
Thank you, Washington (sort of)The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gives most of its $14.5 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years to businesses, but it does throw a few bones to homeowners, says CCH Inc., a provider of tax and accounting information and software.
Homeowners who make energy-efficient improvements to existing homes can qualify for a 10% tax credit, up to $500. A credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes, compared with a deduction, which only decreases taxable income. Improvements that can qualify include adding insulation, metal roofs coated with heat-reducing pigments, and energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights (though only $200 can come from windows).
Other items that meet certain criteria qualify for the credit with specific limitations, according to CCH: Advanced main air circulating fans can earn up to a $50 credit; some natural gas, propane or oil furnaces or hot water boilers are eligible for up to a $150 credit; and qualifying electric and geothermal heat pumps qualify for up to a $300 credit. The credits can be taken on 2006 and 2007 returns, but the total credits for the two years cannot exceed the $500 maximum, says CCH.
The act also gives homeowners a tax credit for 30% of the cost of buying and installing residential solar water heating and photovoltaic equipment, says CCH. The maximum credit is $2,000. Solar water heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify. The credit, which expires at the end of 2007, also applies to homeowners who install fuel cells to supply electricity. The maximum credit is $500 for each 0.5 kilowatt of capacity.
Visit Sandium.Com to have your home evaluated before winter sets in. 
Article courtesy of Real Estate at MSN

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heating Our Homes

Heating our homes today can be an expensive endeavor. Finding ways to cut your heating bill can mean an enormous savings in fuel cost. Sometimes an initial investment may be required such as a new boiler or furnace. Sometimes simple maintenance can cut costs.
Doing everything possible to save fuel today is the green thing to do. Our fuel supply is a limited commodity and until we develop sustainable types of replenish-able alternative energy sources, we should all be doing what we can to conserve.
When older homes are in question, the main heat loss is usually through the drafty wooden windows and doors. Replacing these with energy efficient new models with thermally insulated glass and sashes, can save as much as twenty five percent of your heating bill.
Adding insulation to your attic space is another easy way to gain some savings. Most of the heat from your house will eventually end up in the attic. The longer you can keep it in the room your using the better.
Crawl spaces are often neglected when insulating. Mostly because they're usually very hard to access. It's worth the extra push to crawl in there and add some insulation. Your efforts will be rewarded both by fuel savings and a more comfortable room above to live in.
Having your heating system cleaned annually is another good way to keep saving money. A clean system runs very efficiently and also will have fewer breakdowns. This can keep you from ending up in the cold waiting for a service company that may not always be readily available.
Having a service company in the wings waiting is something every homeowner should make a point of. Do not wait until the middle of a blizzard to find someone after your broken down and freezing. Losing your heat in extreme cold can cause frozen pipes to explode the plumbing and you can also lose the entire heating system. Great cost will need to be expended to repair the damage from frozen pipes.
If you have an older heating system in your home, it's highly recommended you investigate the new high tech computerized boilers and furnaces available today. Efficiency capabilities have increased dramatically in recent years and some new equipment can end up paying for itself relatively quickly not to mention the boost to the comfort level in your home.
Federal Tax incentives are available for high end high efficiency gas and oil apparatus that meat certain rating requirements. This added together with fuel savings will allow the average homeowner to afford the upgrade.
Finding the right people to work on our home heating apparatus again should be tackled well before the heating season. This gives us time to find someone that comforts us by showing they know what they're doing. Nothings worse then finding out your heating contractor is unreliable right when you need them.
Heating Our Homes is so very important and so very costly that it is always on our minds in the winter months. Thinking about them in the summer months will benefit us a lot more.
Visit Sandium.Com to schedule an appt to have your heating system evaluated or to have an energy audit done. 

Article courtesy of InfoBarrel.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Introduction to Geothermal Energy

What Is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal Energy is defined as “energy from the internal heat of the earth”
  • 47% of the incoming radiation from the sun
    is absorbed by the earth
  • The remainder is absorbed by the atmosphere
    or reflected back into space
Translated: Geo-Thermal means “Earth-Heat”
“High Temperature” Geothermal Energy
  • Energy Source for Hot springs and geysers
  • Temperatures exceed 300°F
  • Converted to produce useable heat and electricity


Energy Efficiency – Building Blocks

Step 1 – Reduce Energy Load
  • Site Orientation and Building Arrangement
  • Efficient and Effective Building Envelope
Step 2 – Improve Efficiency of Systems and Equipment
  • HVAC Systems – Geothermal Systems
  • Efficient A/C units, Boilers, Motors, Light Fixtures
  • Lighting Systems – Daylighting
  • Computers and Office Equipment
Step 3 – Effective Building Operations
  • Proper Control – Energy Management Systems
  • Commissioning
  • Operations and Maintenance – Training and Support
  • Leverage Utility Company Rate Schedules
Step 4 – Alternative Energy Sources
  • Renewable Energy Options – Solar, Wind, Biomass

"Low Temperature” Geothermal Energy

  • Heat Energy contained near the surface of the Earth
  • Shallow Earth temperatures fluctuate with seasonal outside air temperature
  • Earth temperature becomes more stable with increasing depth
  • Nearly constant Earth temperatures at depths below 16 feet
  • Earth mean temperature approaches annual average outside air temperature
  • Deep Earth temperatures start to increase at depths below 400 feet – at about 1 °F per 100 feet

Geothermal HVAC Systems

Geothermal HVAC Systems deliver space conditioning — home heating, cooling, as well as humidity control. They can also supply water heating — either to supplement or even replace traditional hot water heaters. Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems perform by transferring heat, instead of converting chemical energy to heat like in a furnace. Every Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems has 3 main subsystems or parts: a geothermal heat pump to move heat between your building and the fluid in the earth connection, an earth connection for moving heat between its fluid and the earth, and a distribution subsystem for delivering heat or cooling to the building. Each system could also have a desuperheater to complement the building’s hot water heater, or a full-demand water heater to fulfill all of the building’s hot water requirements.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Geothermal Energy in Iceland

To learn more about how you can tap into geothermal energy for your home please visit Sandium.Com

Monday, August 20, 2012

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days.
While many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes—from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter—a few feet below the earth's surface the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C). Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The GHP takes advantage of this by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.
As with any heat pump, geothermal and water-source heat pumps are able to heat, cool, and, if so equipped, supply the house with hot water. Some models of geothermal systems are available with two-speed compressors and variable fans for more comfort and energy savings. Relative to air-source heat pumps, they are quieter, last longer, need little maintenance, and do not depend on the temperature of the outside air.
A dual-source heat pump combines an air-source heat pump with a geothermal heat pump. These appliances combine the best of both systems. Dual-source heat pumps have higher efficiency ratings than air-source units, but are not as efficient as geothermal units. The main advantage of dual-source systems is that they cost much less to install than a single geothermal unit, and work almost as well.
Even though the installation price of a geothermal system can be several times that of an air-source system of the same heating and cooling capacity, the additional costs are returned to you in energy savings in 5–10 years. System life is estimated at 25 years for the inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop. There are approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the United States each year.

To learn more about how geothermal heating and cooling systems can save you money- please visit Sandium.Com
Article courtesy of Energy Savers

Friday, August 17, 2012

What is a Ground Source Heat Pump? Geothermal.

What is a ground source heat pump?
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) are electrically powered systems that tap the stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence: the earth. These systems use the earth's relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
How do ground source heat pumps work?
Ground source heat pumps can be categorized as having closed or open loops, and those loops can be installed in three ways: horizontally, vertically, or in a pond/lake. The type chosen depends on the available land areas and the soil and rock type at the installation site. These factors will help determine the most economical choice for installation of the ground loop.
For closed loop systems, water or antifreeze solution is circulated through plastic pipes buried beneath the earth's surface. During the winter, the fluid collects heat from the earth and carries it through the system and into the building. During the summer, the system reverses itself to cool the building by pulling heat from the building, carrying it through the system and placing it in the ground. This process creates free hot water in the summer and delivers substantial hot water savings in the winter.
Open loop systems operate on the same principle as closed loop systems and can be installed where an adequate supply of suitable water is available and open discharge is feasible. Benefits similar to the closed loop system are obtained.

A GSHP system can be installed in a residential structure of any size, anywhere, whether it is single-family or multi-family. GSHPs can be installed on almost any size lot: under lawns, landscaped areas, driveways, or the house itself. An existing house can be retrofitted with a GSHP using the ductwork that is already there. Your dealer/installer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed. Home builders and homeowners can both take advantage of the special financing that is offered in many locations on a GSHP either through the utility or manufacturer.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both endorsed ground source heat pump systems as among the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating, cooling, and water heating systems available. In a 1993 report, the EPA concluded that geothermal technologies represent a major opportunity for reducing national energy use and pollution, while delivering comfort, reliability and savings to homeowners.

Ground Source Heat Pumps offer great benefits:

  • Can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system
  • Some can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water
  • Made of mechanical components that are either buried in the ground or located inside the home
  • About the same size as a traditional heating/cooling unit
  • Pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty
  • Can cut energy consumption by 20 to 50% and reduce maintenance costs
  • Keep the air warmer in the winter (90 -105¡ F) and at a more consistent temperature throughout the home, eliminating the hot and cold spots common with other systems
  • Very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside & outside the home
  • No noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities
  • No exposed equipment outdoors; children or pets cannot injure themselves or damage exterior units
  • No open flame, flammable fuel or potentially dangerous fuel storage tanks
GSHPs offer great savings:

  • One of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today
  • Heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners
  • Save money in operating and maintenance costs
  • Investments recouped in only a few years
  • Positive cash flow; energy savings usually exceed the cost of the system
  • Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. 
  • Many heat pump manufacturers, local utilities, and lending institutions have special financing for homeowners who are installing GSHPs

GSHPs are environmentally friendly:

  • Conserve natural resources by providing climate control efficiently and thus lowering emissions
  • Minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged
  • Uses underground loops to transfer heat, with no external venting and no air pollution
 To learn more about geothermal heating and cooling systems please visit Sandium.Com

Article courtesy of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Room by Room Zoning System

Take Control of Your Heating and Cooling
A typical home's heating and cooling system has too little control, too little comfort, and uses too much energy. MyTemp can change that; it provides the control to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. It understands that every room has its own, unique, heating and cooling requirements. MyTemp doesn’t have to condition every room at once. Instead, it selectively conditions the rooms that need it, minimizing conditioning in the rooms that don’t. It drastically reduces hot and cold spots and temperature fluctuations between levels of a home while providing easy-to-use energy saving tools.

Create Zones on the Fly with SmartZoning™
MyTemp’s room level control removes all of the physical constraints associated with traditional zoning. MyTemp’s SmartZoning™ is completely flexible. At any time, you can create new zones or move rooms between zones with a few button presses at the touch-screen display. So if your son goes off to college and you decide to change his bedroom to a home office, you can remove his room from the "bedrooms" zone and create an "office" zone to suite your new needs and lifestyle.

Get Heating and Cooling That Fits Your Schedule
MyTemp's 7-day programmable temperature schedules let you easily create setbacks so you're not heating and cooling while the kids are away at school or you're at work. But sometimes you don't know you need to leave until you're half-way out the door. MyTemp's Away mode is perfect for those occasions. Just press Away and your temperature set points relax so you're not wasting money heating and cooling an empty home.

See How Much You're Using and Spending
Did you know that heating and cooling represents about half of the average home's total energy consumption? Yet heating and cooling is one of the least managed household energy uses. You may have heard the saying, "What gets measured gets managed" and at Home Comfort Zones we believe it's true. That's why MyTemp displays the amount of heating and cooling your home is using. MyTemp even records up to two weeks of history and can show total use for the whole house or for each room. Now you'll finally have the information you need to make informed energy management decisions.

To learn more about Room by Room Zoning Systems please visit Sandium.Com

Zoned Heating Every room should have its own Thermostat

Is your home comfortable?Inadequate temperature control is a common frustration many homeowners share.  It's not surprising—most homes have heating and cooling control that's fundamentally the same as it was 50 years ago.  Yet houses have changed dramatically in the past five decades.   They are larger, with more open space; most are multi-level and feature large expanses of windows.  These features challenge traditional heating and cooling systems relying on one or two thermostats for control. Rooms with direct sun exposure or on upper levels get too hot.  Rooms that are located far from the thermostat get too cool.  Keeping a consistent temperature in every room can seem impossible.  MyTemp takes your heating and cooling system into the 21st century; providing unmatched comfort in every room.

Eliminate Hot and Cool Spots

The key to having a comfortable home is maintaining a consistent temperature.  Unfortunately each room has it's own unique heating and cooling demands; as a result some rooms get too hot, others too cold.  That's why MyTemp monitors the temperature and regulates the airflow in each, individual room.  MyTemp then selectively conditions the rooms that need it, while minimizing conditioning in the rooms that don’t, virtually eliminating the common temperature imbalances that plague so many homes.  MyTemp eliminates out the differences between upstairs and downstairs and keeps rooms comfortable regardless of the weather or their location in the home.
Tailor the Temperature to the Person or Activity
Everyone has a temperature where they're comfortable.  As any married couple can tell you, that temperature can be quite different from person to person.  MyTemp allows you to have different temperatures in different rooms so you can tailor the temperature to the occupant or activity.  If you're in the home office, and your husband is watching TV in the family room, you can both enjoy your ideal temperature.  Likewise if you prefer to sleep in a bedroom that's slightly cooler than the rest of the house, you can do that too.  MyTemp brings personalized comfort to every member of your family.

To learn more about Zoned Heating please visit Sandium.Com

Monday, August 13, 2012

Energy Saving Tips

Energy Saving Tips

You can save energy dollars by following these simple tips. Many of them are common sense suggestions that require no tools or out of pocket expense. Over time, you will see your energy efficiency increase and your energy savings multiply.


  • Set your thermostat at 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter.  Each degree cooler or warmer will increase your energy use by 6% to 8%.  For instance, setting your thermostat at 72°F in the summer could increase energy use by up to 40%.  The same is true if you set your thermostat for higher energy use in the winter.
  • Turn off lights & fans when you leave a room.  Fans only make you feel cooler.  They do nothing to lower the temperature.  Most ceiling fans use less energy than a light bulb.
  • If you have central air conditioning, do not close vents in unused rooms.  This could increase pressure and cause leaks in your ducts.  This does not apply to homes or apartments with window units where closing off unused rooms will reduce cooling costs and increase comfort
  • Check air conditioning ducts.  If you feel leaks between sections, or where the ducts connect with the air handler, seal them with metal tape and a coating of mastic.
  • Clean or replace air filters.  Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20% because they make your system work harder and run longer than necessary.  They also encourage the build up of mold and mildew, making cleaning more difficult.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F or the 'normal' setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away.  Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner.  It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, an unnecessary expense.
  • Consider new high efficiency air conditioners and heat pumps.  They use up to 40% less electricity than older models for the same amount of running time.
  • During the summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.  Close curtains on south and west facing windows during the day, and install awnings on south and west facing windows.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south facing windows to reduce solar gain.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow.  Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house.  A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
  • Have your air conditioning unit serviced to cut 15% of cooling costs.
  • Clean your air conditioner's condenser / evaporator coils at the beginning of the season.  The fin coils on the outside air conditioner unit can be washed with a hose.  Clean coils lower your energy costs, extend the unit’s life and provide cleaner air for you to breathe.
  • Measure the insulation in the attic.  Many houses have 4 to 6 inches of insulation.  You need about 12 inches.  Big-box stores have blowers you can use to spray insulation if you buy from them.
  • Seal cracks, gaps, leaks with spray-in expandable foam.

Kitchen / Laundry

  • Let your dishes air dry instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.  If you don't have an automatic air dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.  About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating, and using cold water can save up to 50 cents per load.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold.  Recommended temperatures are 37°F to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section.  To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator.  Read it after 24 hours.  To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages.  Read it after 24 hours.
  • Regularly defrost manual defrost refrigerators and freezers.  Frost build up decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.  Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
  • Dust the refrigerator coils – this helps refrigerators run more efficiently.
  • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are air tight.  Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator.  If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator.  Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
  • Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water.  Placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it may never reach the faucet.
  • Wash and dry full loads.  If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water level setting.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter weight clothes.
  • Don't over dry your clothes.  If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Use the cool down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Consider air drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks.

Home Electronics

  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.  Turn off your computer every night.  Many people believe that equipment lasts longer if it is never turned off.  This incorrect perception carries over from the days of older mainframe computers.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs, DVD players, VCRs, battery charges, printers, into power strips.  Turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).  Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
  • When not using your laptop's AC adapter, be sure to unplug it from the electrical outlet, rather than from the laptop.  When plugged into the wall outlet, the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
  • Use your computer's power saving settings, including automatic monitor shut off and 'sleep' mode when not in use, to make sure energy is saved.


  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to save 75% off lighting costs.
To learn how you could save energy and $$ on your heating and cooling bill visit Sandium.Com

Article Courtesy of Save On Energy.