Cold. Wet. Snowy. Ice. Sleet. Cold. Very cold.
These terms all describe one particular season. It is winter. And it is here.
Winter is the season where the temperature drops, snow and sleet become almost daily occurrences, and plants and trees either die or lose their leaves. It is a season where darkness prevails; in Alaska, for instance, darkness dominates most of the hours in the day.
It is a season where mittens and scarves and big wool coats must be used to stave off the chill. It is a season where huddling around the fires in a fireplace become typical, where bonfires on the outside can bring life to a party, and where people lounge out in hot tubs on the patio.
Most importantly, winter is about a single elemental force: heat. Without heat, everyone in winter suffers. Fortunately, this winter, there is your HVAC system and this little guide to enable you to maximize it.
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. It’s the unit that provides the basic functions in a home. It is the energy that heats the water for your afternoon shower, the filters that allow your air to be pure when entering into the house, and the air-conditioning that makes air cool during the summer. Here are some statistics:
- The first U.S. president to have an air-conditioned oval office was Herbert Hoover, who paid $30,000 for it to be installed just months after the 1929 stock market crash.
- If you tried to buy an in-window air-conditioning unit in the 1940s, you’d spend about $350 in 1940s money, the equivalent to $3,500 today.
- The average American spends 2.7% of their income on energy bills, which amounts to $2,000 per year.
The HVAC unit encompasses numerous elements, including your air conditioning unit, your heating unit (including the water heater), and the ducts and ventilation within your air distribution system. When approaching either the hot summer months or the cold winter months, it is often important to have an HVAC inspection by a qualified inspector.
The HVAC inspection will cover all the components of your HVAC unit and give you an idea as to what needs to be repaired (if anything) and how much it will cost. In cases like this, be sure to choose a reputable HVAC inspector to avoid any overcharges or an incorrect inspection of your HVAC unit.
An incorrect inspection can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the future.
One quick way to find a reputable HVAC inspector is to research online to find the best HVAC companies in your area. Often, these will be the most highly rated and come with the best array of services that an HVAC company can offer. Searching with your key terms in mind, such as ‘air conditioning and heating repair’ or ‘heating and cooling’ can lead to strong results.
Another way of finding a reputable HVAC inspector is to ask friends, family, and neighbors, and anyone you know and trust in the area for the HVAC inspector that did well by them. That is a quick way to ascertain credibility; if one of your trusted friends, family, or neighbors said this person was reputable, then he or she likely is.
Here are some tips to look out for during an inspection of your HVAC unit:
- An old, mercury-based thermostat can increase your HVAC bill by as much as 20%.
- A gas water heater can warm a 50-gallon tank in one hour, and its recovery rate (that is, the time it takes to re-heat after use) is approximately 50 gallons an hour.
- An electric water heater takes three times as long to heat the same amount of water.
- Tankless water heaters are extremely efficient. They use only the energy necessary to heat the amount of water you’re using, unlike tank heaters which heat several gallons of water at a time.
- Tankless water heaters can save you up to 20% on your energy bill.
During winter, it’s important to have a well-functioning heating system. Your water heater and general heating system for air is incredibly important in having a winter not steeped in the cold, to allow your body to warm up when you enter the house, and to have a quality of life that is very comfortable.
Go with the heat. It’ll help you.