(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Want to Avoid High Heating Bills This Winter? Install an Energy Efficient System Now

The weather is still beautiful here in Georgia, but colder temperatures are just around the corner. And if you are one of the homeowners who are still paying off last winter’s heating bills, it’s time to be proactive.

 
In many cases, if your heating system is older, it’s a better decision to put your money into a more energy efficient system than keep paying those high utility bills. In time, the savings will pay for the system itself, and having a newer furnace will give you peace of mind that your heat will not suddenly stop working mid-winter.

 
If you’re considering a new furnace, but aren’t sure where to start, there are several factors to consider. First, look at energy efficiency. All furnaces have an efficiency rating, often referred to as AFUE. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and each unit is assigned a percentage of how much fuel it can convert into usable heat. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 means 90 percent of the fuel is used to heat, and 10 percent is lost. Most furnaces sold today have AFUE ratings of 80 percent, all the way up to 98 percent.

 
When choosing a new furnace, the higher the AFUE, the lower your utility bills will be, but some of the very high efficiency furnaces are also very expensive, so homeowners must weigh their options. When looking for other features that might make a furnace more efficient, electronic pilot, condensing gas furnaces, two-stage gas valves, and variable speed motors are other items that might save on bills.

 
While the options can be confusing, an experienced, reliable heating contractor can help you evaluate your current system, and give you an idea of how much you will save with a variety of new furnaces. This can help homeowners make an informed decision about which one to choose when it is time to replace the furnace. Contact Cunningham Associates today – we complete furnace installation in Atlanta, GA.

A Big Spike In Power Bills? It Could Be An Air Conditioning Problem!

The summer heat is brutal and our HVAC systems are running around the clock. We are not surprised when we get our higher electricity bills in the summer months. But, look closely. Is the bill unusually high? Is the cost increase more than it was last year? You could have an air conditioning problem.

A clogged up and dirty condenser coil results in overworked HVAC systems. The air is not freely flowing through the system. This could cause your system to continually cycle on and off using more electricity to maintain your comfort levels. A cleaning is a quick and inexpensive fix that will save your system and return your power bill to normal.

Thermostat problems are one of the most overlooked issues with our HVAC systems. If your thermostat is not correctly calibrated and working properly, it could cause your system to turn on and off too often. This is a common problem and (like with the coil issue), a cheap fix. Allow a professional to check, calibrate or if needed, replace your thermostat. This is a much less expensive option than a year of higher power bills.

A tiny leak in the refrigeration lines could be allowing small amounts of the refrigerant to leak out of the system. If the leak is small, you may not hear or feel the difference. But you can see the difference in the electric bills. Your HVAC system is struggling to keep the house at a cooler temperature with less than enough refrigerant to do so. Over time, the leak will get worse and eventually a costly repair is necessary. Fixing a minor leak allows minor problems to remain minor.

All of these little issues can cause you headaches and cost big money if neglected. All of them would be addressed in your bi-annual cleaning and system checkup.

Do not let your hard-earned money be stolen by unnecessary electric bill surges. Make sure that you call Cunningham Associates today for an air conditioning system inspection in Atlanta, GA.

What is the NEST Thermostat and what are its benefits?

When it comes to keeping warm in the winter, nothing is more important than your heating system and the thermostat you use to control it! If you’re looking to lower your energy usage and utility bill costs this winter season, the NEST thermostat is a great option for you and your home! The NEST thermostat starts learning about you and your heating needs from the very first time that you adjust it. Within a week’s time, NEST has gathered enough information to know your routine and keep your home at the optimum temperature for when you’re at home, work, or asleep! Here are few of the benefits of investing in a NEST Learning Thermostat:

It Learns and Adapts. Your NEST thermostat learns your routine by tracking each time you adjust the temperature. With each turn of the dial, your NEST thermostat is able to determine what time you wake up, leave the house for work, come home, and go to sleep. The best part is your NEST thermostat is never finished learning; it understands that your heating and cooling needs change with the seasons. NEST is sensitive to your busy schedule and will pick up how to always keep your home at the best temperature.

It Conserves Energy. Since NEST knows your daily routine, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the heat down before you leave for work or go to sleep. Your NEST thermostat will stay on top of it, helping to lower your energy usage and, in turn, decrease your utility bill each month. The NEST thermostat will even generate daily reports to help you keep track of how much energy you are saving!

You can Adjust it from anywhere.  With a simple smartphone app, you can adjust your thermostat from anywhere! With this technology, you’ll always arrive home to the perfect temperature!

It Lets you know When Something is Wrong. One of the most important features of the NEST thermostat is that it will alert you to when your heating system appears to be malfunctioning. If the temperature drops to a dangerously low level or your furnace isn’t functioning properly, the NEST thermostat will let you know so that you are able to address the problem before a more serious issue arises.

Want to learn more about the NEST learning thermostat? Give us a call today to speak to one of our knowledgeable team members!

5 Ways to Winterize Your Home

In an ideal world, prepping your home for the upcoming winter months would have already been done, before the coldest of the weather starts to creep in. However, if you have let winterizing your home fall to the wayside while the days get shorter and the chill gets colder, here are some tips and tricks to get you back on track!

Set Your Thermostat: This may seem like a complete no-brainer, but make sure that you turn the heat on in your home! A lot of homeowners forget this step and until you find the balance in heat in your home, you could be racking up your energy bill. Try to match your thermostat to the temperature you’ve set for the different rooms of your home.

Change Your Filters: Dirty filters can stifle your unit’s efficiency, and it may make it increasingly difficult for your heating system to heat your entire home in a timely manner. Check to see if your filter is washable! You may be able to use soap and water to clean your filters. Changing the filter also ensures that you keep pollution or debris out of your heating system and, ultimately, if your system works as efficiently as it should, your result will be lower energy bills.

Insulate Vulnerable Or Exposed Pipes: Do you have exposed piping? Pipes that run along the outside of your home, or even in the garage, are exposed to the elements! These temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze so make sure that you insulate those pipes. If you’re unsure which pipes need insulation, do a walk through with an HVAC professional and they can help you avoid frozen pipes by pointing out the weak spots that may need some extra TLC this winter.

Check The Doors and Windows: Check to make sure that your home’s doors and windows are properly sealed! Making sure that there are no cracks in the caulk or weather stripping could help your heating system immensely! Your heating system won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature if there’s no way for the warm air to escape or the cold air to enter your home.

Clean Your Vents: Make sure that before you go into the winter months and turn on your heat that your vents are clean. If you don’t know how to clean them properly, don’t be afraid to ask an HVAC professional! Even getting your system checked or a tune-up would allow for the professionals to clean the vents before you start using your heat each day.

Our trained HVAC professionals at Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. will help you and your family transition seamlessly into the Atlanta winters. Schedule your maintenance check-up today!

The Freon Phase-Out

Freon is the old, expensive air conditioning coolant that is now being phased out by the EPA, due to its harmful affect on the ozone. Freon equipment is very widespread, so with the phase-out, air conditioning system replacement should be on peoples’ list soon.

But don’t worry: Freon is non-toxic and non-flammable, so if you’re using it in your air conditioning unit there’s no need to panic.

Interestingly enough, even with Freon being phased out, all the Freon that has already been emitted into the atmosphere will affect the ozone layer for decades. This means the sooner we stop using Freon the faster we can begin to protect our atmosphere.

Now you’re probably wondering what the Freon should be replaced with. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has reviewed alternatives to ozone depleting substances and has determined several acceptable substitutes, which you can review here: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/refrigerants/qa.html

If you currently have an air conditioning system that uses R-22 (the type of Freon that is most dangerous to the atmosphere), you can continue to use and service that system. But, replacing your system should definitely be considered, as newer air conditioning units are being designed with substitute refrigerants that are better for the atmosphere and repairs on R-22 systems will continue to get more expensive as Freon becomes less and less available.

The Freon phase-out mandated by the EPA can be confusing, so please call Cunningham Associates at (770) 455-6722 if you have questions. We can help you determine if replacing your air conditioning system should be at the top of your list, or let you know if your system already uses one of the newer, safer refrigerants.

PS, if you’re looking for HVAC services in the Northern VA area, call M&M Mechanical, Inc.

Resources: 1, 2, 3

Your Home Office: Save Energy & Money

Nearly 28 million people work from home at least part of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While this can save time and fuel by reducing your commute, it may increase your home energy use. Improving the energy efficiency of your home office equipment will help you save on utility costs without hampering your productivity.

Save Energy & Money

  • Make sure computers and other office equipment are turned off when they are not in use for an extended period.
  • Many electronic devices continue to use standby power even after they are turned off. Connect your office equipment to a power strip as a central shut-off to eliminate standby power losses.
  • Set office equipment, such as printers and scanners, to automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use. In addition to saving energy, the equipment will stay cooler, which will help to extend its useful life.
  • Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop. Laptops use less than one-third the energy of a typical desktop computer.
  • Adjust the thermostat to the unoccupied setting. This avoids wasting energy by conditioning the entire house while you are occupying only a small portion of it. Consider using a space heater in winter or ceiling fan in summer to maintain comfort.
  • Use task lighting with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). A desk lamp uses less energy than whole-room lighting.

When purchasing new office equipment, make sure that it is ENERGY STAR qualified. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy than standard models. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every home office product purchased in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR qualified, Americans would save an estimated $75 million a year in energy costs.