This month’s important HVAC stories offer news you can use to lower energy costs, diagnose a common system problem and plan future heating and air conditioning purchases.
1. Energy Star Releases List of 2016 Most Efficient Models
Since it is cooling season across the US, Energy Star has published its list of Most Efficient 2016 Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. Lennox and Johnson Controls brands Coleman, Luxaire and York get front-page billing, but the entire list of Energy Star most efficient ACs and heat pumps is available by clicking the link on this page. Be sure to download the air conditioner and heat pump calculators to see how much money you can save over the life of the unit based on where you live and your current energy cost per kW.
2. Natural Gas Prices Will Probably Rise
In the last few years, natural gas and propane prices have dropped steeply for several reasons. Now, many experts expect them to start creeping back upwards. Here is the short-term outlook on energy costs from the US Energy Information Agency as well as an article that says natural gas prices might double in the near future.If you're inclinded to believe prices will rise significantly, than this might be a good time to invest in a more efficient heating and air conditioning system. Talk to a qualifed contractor to get a free, no-obligtion estimate.
3. AC Condenser Freeze-up: Diagnosis and Solution
Refrigerant does such an amazing job removing heat that the process can actually cause the surface of the coil to become freezing cold. When humidity from the air condenses on it without draining or evaporating, it freezes. This post from an HVAC company explains the issue and what can be done. It’s a bit of a technical article, at least in part, so you’ll enjoy it if you appreciate the science behind the problem. This post is another, less technical, take on it.
4. Millennials are Cost Conscious in HVAC Efficiency Decisions
The generation born between roughly 1980 and 2000, the so-called Millennials, are thought to be a generation concerned about the environment, but new information shows that many in this age range put a price on their decision to go green in heating and air conditioning. Take a look in this post about the cost of energy-efficient equipment and the Millennials’ willingness to pay more to get better efficiency. Of course, if you’re part of this generation, it would be a good idea to see our first item and the calculator that shows higher efficiency units often save you money over the life of the unit.
5. Nexia is the Latest Smart Home Company to Team with Amazon Echo
We enjoy bringing you news about the Smart Home industry because it’s fun stuff and we believe it is the future of how we will control HVAC, lighting, sound systems, home security, home theater, curtains and blinds, kitchen and laundry appliances and much more.
Nexia is a smart home brand of Ingersoll Rand, the parent company of Trane and American Standard HVAC brands. Amazon Echo is Amazon’s hands-free personal assistant named Alexa that has voice recognition and can sync with a growing and impressive range of devices. That list now includes Nexia thermostats. When they system is set up, the user says something like, “Alexa, set the air conditioning to 74.” The Echo will respond with, “Air conditioning set to 74,” and it will be done.
If you’d like a smart HVAC system, talk to a qualified contractor that can install a smart thermostat that is Wi-Fi enabled. Then, you’ll be able to control your HVAC system from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet. Add Amazon Echo, and simply speak the words for quick climate control.