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Posts Tagged: Home energy efficiency solutions

Heat pumps vs. furnaces

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Furnace, Heat pump No Comments on Heat pumps vs. furnaces

Furnaces are the traditional means of heating buildings. These devices use fuel to generate heat and then use a fan to circulate this heat through the building. There are gas furnaces, oil furnaces and electric furnaces.

Heat pumps act as sort of a reverse air conditioner. Instead of transferring heat from inside the building to its exterior, these machines absorb heat from the air or ground outside and transfer it inside the building. Even in cold outside air, heat energy is present. This heat outside is absorbed into a refrigerant that is evaporated at a low pressure and piped inside the facility. Once inside, the refrigerant is compressed back into a liquid. This process releases the heat that is then distributed throughout the building.

Pros & Cons of A Furnace

Perhaps the chief advantage of furnace is the start-up cost. These devices are fairly simple machines that use a very well-established technology. As such, they are inexpensive to install. Also, the effectiveness of a furnace is not impacted by the weather. As long as the machine has fuel, it will have no problem in producing heat. These machines do have some drawbacks, however. Depending on local power rates and your source of fuel, they can be expensive to operate. Furnaces also produce carbon emissions that can be harmful to the environment. These machines also typically have more maintenance needs than heat pumps.

Pros & Cons of A Heat Pump

Heat pumps’ greatest advantages are their energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact. Heat pumps are incredibly energy efficient, requiring less energy to use than traditional furnaces. This results in less carbon emissions and lower power bills. They also do not dry out the air the way furnaces do, so property owners won’t have to purchase humidifiers to add moisture back into the air.

Heat pump devices are more expensive to install than traditional furnaces, but credits or rebates from utilities may be available to help defray the cost of installation. Heat pump devices also do not work as well at very low temperatures, as there is less heat in the air for them to absorb energy from. Washington’s climate is mild, meaning that in all but the coldest of conditions, heat pumps should work fine. In parts of the country where heat pumps don’t work as well, they are often supplemented by an electric furnace. Heat pumps that draw heat from geothermal energy in the ground are also a solution to this problem.

Whether to purchase a furnace or a heat pump is largely a question of how much property owners want to spend up front and the climate of their area. How environmentally friendly property owners want their homes and businesses to be also plays into the decision.

About Washington Energy

Washington Energy Services is a family-owned business providing home energy efficiency solutions to Seattle area clients. Founded in 1957, Washington Energy Services has generations of experience in providing heating and cooling and other energy-related services, including sales, installation and service. A member of the Puget Sound Energy Contractor Alliance Network, Washington Energy Services has an excellent local business reputation.

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Five reasons why you need a smart thermostat now

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling No Comments on Five reasons why you need a smart thermostat now

Think about how often your heater or air conditioner is running when you’re not at home. Now, consider this: Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of the average homeowner’s energy bill. A smart thermostat can help cut the waste while keeping your home comfortable year round.

Some of the advantages of these devices include:

  • Energy bill savings – Having greater control over your thermostat and avoiding unnecessary operation can save you significant sums on your power bill. According to Forbes, a high-tech thermostat can save homeowners about 15 percent on their energy bills. On average, that’s a savings of about $131 to $141 per year. People who are very diligent with their new thermostats can save up to 30 percent each year.
  • Great for second homes – If you own a vacation home or other rental property, a high-tech thermostat can help you manage climate settings even if you’re hundreds of miles away. Use your device to ensure your property is comfortable for renters when they arrive, and that it doesn’t run unnecessarily when they leave.
  • Drill down – Many smart home thermostats can provide a wealth of data about your a/c system’s energy use, including peak times and lulls. Some reports will even let you know how your energy usage stacks up to other users. Armed with this information, you can make smart decisions about when to run your heating and cooling system, and whether it’s time to upgrade to a new energy efficient unit or heat pump.
  • Email alerts – High-tech thermostats can be programmed to send email alerts when temperatures inside the home rise or fall outside of pre-determined ranges. This can help you better manage the thermostat and alert you if there’s something going wrong, such as a heating and cooling system malfunction.
  • Stay comfortable – Many people have traditional thermostats but try to save energy by turning them off while they’re at work, and then come home to uncomfortably hot or cold houses. A smart device allows you to program the thermostat to heat up or cool down the house when you’re on your way home, allowing you to avoid shivering or sweating the first hour or so after you arrive.

Smart thermostats are a hot tech item and make an excellent gift for homeowners. Technology companies continue to refine these devices, making them more efficient, user-friendly, and capable of providing energy efficiency data.

Smart thermostat

Washington Energy Services is a family-owned business providing home energy efficiency solutions to Seattle area clients.  Founded in 1957, Washington Energy Services has generations of experience in providing heating and cooling and other energy-related services, including sales, installation, and service. A member of the Puget Sound Energy Contractor Alliance Network, Washington Energy Services has an excellent local business reputation.

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