(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.

Tips for Minimizing the Use of Your Heating System This Winter

Once the weather starts to drop below 60 degrees on a regular basis, you will likely start using your heater regularly. However, it is pretty easy to start dressing warmer to combat the cold inside your home. If you are well prepared, you should be able to stay warm, even when it drops into the 50s or 40s. However, when you have a family in your home, including several pets, you simply have to rely on your heating system to make sure everyone is at least somewhat comfortable temperature-wise.

To minimize the need to use your heater and save yourself some energy and money this winter, you should take advantage of a few methods.

Install Heavier Drapes through Wintertime

Blackout curtains are great to have in the summertime because they stop the heat from getting into your home, both from sun exposure and through natural air leakage in the windows. However, during wintertime, you will benefit most from installing heavy drapes that keep the warm air inside.

Cook with the Oven on a Regular Basis

If you want to make your home as warm and comfortable as possible, you should cook meals in the oven to take advantage of the residual heat that your oven will produce. It is an easy way to enjoy multiple benefits from a single task, and most of the time, kitchen heat will transfer to nearby living areas.

Open the Drapes in the Daytime

While it is important to keep your windows close, you should open the drapes up in the daytime. The sun that breaches through the windows will naturally warm up your home.

Utilize Your Ceiling Fans

While ceiling fans are great to use in the summer, they can also be useful during wintertime. By flipping the switch that ceiling fans have, the air will get pushed up instead of down, which will in turn bring the hot air that has risen down to the floor level where your family will feel the difference.

Maintaining your heating system and implementing these methods will help you enjoy a warm home while keeping energy costs to a minimum. Questions? Give us a call at (770) 455-6722 or use our handy “Ask an Expert” form on our website.

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!

How to Save Money on Heating this Winter

Nothing beats feeling warm and cozy in your home during the cold winter months, but let’s face it: keeping your home at a comfortable temperature can cause a spike in your utility bill! Here are a few wallet-friendly heating strategies that will keep help you save a few dollars this winter:

Insulation.  Proper insulation of your home is one of the best ways to keep your home warm in the winter. It acts as an extra layer of protection from the winter chill and helps to prevent the warm air that your heating system generates from escaping. This is especially important in the attic of your home, where heat tends to rise to. If your home isn’t insulated, or you’ve noticed damage to your existing insulation, it’s something you may want to consider installing.

Adjust the temperature. Don’t forget to lower the thermostat when you leave for work or go to sleep for the night. Leaving the heat on high when you’re out of the house for extended periods of time or sound asleep will greatly increase the amount of energy that you use without cause. Turning the temperature down even a few degrees during these times can really help to reduce utility costs.

Utilize ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are great during the spring and summer months, but they can also come in handy during the winter! Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans and keep them powered on low. Since heat rises, having your fans moving in this direction will help to continuously move heat downwards and keep your home evenly heated.

Direct heat to most used rooms. If you have rooms of your home that you rarely use, such as a guest bedroom or bathroom, be sure to close the vents in those spaces. Closing them will force more air out of open vents in your more lived in spaces, keeping them warmer without having to increase the temperature on your thermostat.

Utilize the sun. The sun is a great source of natural heat! During the day, open your curtains to south facing windows to allow for the sun light to heat the room. Just remember to draw the curtains once the sun has set.

Clean your furnace. Your furnace will run more effectively and efficiently when it is clean. Over time, dust can build up in and around your furnace, forcing it to work twice as hard to heat your home.  Be sure to keep your furnace and the area around it clean and change the filter every few months.  In doing so, your furnace will use less energy and saving you money!

Contact us to learn more about our energy efficient heating systems!

What to Look for When It Comes to Air Conditioning Installation

Air conditioning is a staple in most homes today. When it’s time for air conditioning installation, you’ll want to do it right the first time since it’s such a time-consuming job. For this reason, there are a few things you need to consider before getting started:

You want an efficient unit so that it doesn’t cause a drag on your energy bill, thus costing you a lot of money. In order to understand this, you need to know what the SEER (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is.

It’s also important to install the right size unit. If it’s too small, it won’t cool your home adequately. However, if the unit is too big, it will continuously turn off and on in just a short amount of time. Not only will this use a lot of energy, it will place a lot of strain on each part of the unit.

Another important thing to do is what’s known as an energy audit. This looks at your insulation, air sealing, and whether there are any leaks in your ductwork. If any problems are found, you should take remedial actions at the time that you install your new central air conditioning system.

Now that you understand how vital it is to choose the right air-conditioning unit, you can see why it’s just as important to choose an experienced contractor, like Cunningham Associates. We can help you work through all the necessary considerations that you need for finding the best air-conditioning system for your home.

Introducing the NEST Learning Thermostat

Thermostats usually aren’t the first things a person would like to upgrade in their home. They think about their bigger appliances like a fridge or a stove. But upgrading your thermostat can save you the most money throughout the year, and we want to tell you why the Nest Thermostat can save you the most.

Here at Cunningham Associates, we offer one of the best thermostats around: The Nest Thermostat. This thermostat allows you to preset your thermostat so that it drops or increases the temperature when you’re not using it. With the digital screen in front of you, there’s no more guessing as to which degree you’ve set your thermostat to. It also gives you a green leaf icon, to assure you that you are saving energy.

If you’re worried about your filters, and never know when to call us to get it cleaned – Nest can help with that too. The Nest thermostat tracks how long you run your system and will alarm you when your filter needs to be changed. According to Nest, a dirty filter can cost you 5% more on your heating and cooling bills, but also decreases the quality of the air your breathing.

The Nest thermostat learns from your previous settings, and will set it so that when you leave the house in the summer it will increase the temperature while no one is home, and vice versa in the wintertime. If something unexpected comes up and you need to change your thermostat, not to worry – it can be controlled by your smartphone.

Nest wants to save you money and make your home as safe as possible. The Nest thermostat and carbon monoxide detector work together. If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, your gas furnace will automatically shut off too.

We understand with this new, high-tech thermostat you might have some questions – and we’re here to answer them! Feel free to give us a call or email with any questions you might have.

How to Save on Your Air Conditioning Bill

During the summer months, air conditioning is a necessity for most parts of the country. High temperatures combined with high humidity make it especially difficult for the body to cool itself. While air conditioning is a welcome piece of technology, it does consume a lot of power. However, there are many things you can do that reduce its power consumption.

Take Advantage of New Technology

If you have a very old air conditioner, consider buying a newer unit. Specifically, you want to look for a unit with a very high energy-efficiency ratio (EER). The higher the EER, the less power required for the same cooling you get now with your old unit. Investing in a newer air conditioner will quickly pay for itself in energy savings. Have questions on this? Give us a call!

Keep the Filter Clean

A dirty filter reduces airflow through the air conditioner, which reduces its efficiency and overworks the fan.

Keep the Condenser Shaded

When the condenser is exposed to direct sunlight, it consumes more power.

Keep Your Home Well Insulated

Everyone understands how insulation keeps out the cold in the winter. However, it also keeps out the heat in the summer. Insulate your home, including the attic, so excess heat can’t get inside.

Keep Your House Shaded

A lot of the heat that your air conditioner battles against comes from the exposure of your house to direct sunlight. If you are thinking about cutting down trees that are shading your house, weigh in increased cooling costs as one of the cons to this decision. If you are considering transplanting trees from a nursery, place them on the sun-exposed side of your house so that your windows and AC window units are in the shade. Also, install solar screens on windows with sun exposure.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Set the programmable thermostat to raise temperatures while you’re away from home and lower them when you’re back. Maintaining a constant low temperature when you are away is a mistake because the AC unit consumes more power maintaining a low temperature than a higher one.

Use a Ceiling Fan

When the fan is pushing air downward on you, it has a natural cooling effect on your body, which makes it easier to tolerate a higher temperature setting. The additional power it uses is more than offset by the lower AC setting.

Steps to a Greener Home

Are you thinking about “going green” in your home, but you’re not sure how? Going green can be hard and a huge transition for you and your family – but well worth it in the end. Here are a few small steps you can take before turning your home entirely green!

Paint: If you’re up for a home project, get to painting! There are new paints that have low and even no “VOC” options that will not give off harmful compounds like traditional paint.

Upgrade Your Thermostat: If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat to change the temperature in your home much easier. This will help you figure out when, and how much to lower the temperature while you’re gone, or increase it. Check out our Nest Thermostat!

Cracks: Walk around your home and look for any cracks and openings. Fill them with caulk in order to decrease the amount of air that gets let out or let it!

Switch Your Lights: An easy way to save money is to switch your light bulbs to LED or CFL bulbs. These use 75% less energy than your average light bulbs. Also, don’t forget to turn off your lights when you leave the house or room.

Temperatures: Make sure your fridge and freezer are set correctly. You can set your fridge at 37˚ F, and it will be able to keep your food at a good temperature. If your freezer isn’t as full as your fridge, don’t waste that energy. With less amount of food in the freezer, it can be set at -3˚ F.

Carbon Monoxide: Since carbon monoxide is almost impossible to catch without a detector, make sure you get one installed. Before you do, call us to have one of our technicians come take a look at your home to look for possible leaks and faulty equipment that can be contaminating your home and family with this deadly poisonous gas. We can also install a detector that day!

Why Efficient Duct Work Matters

Did you know that indoor air pollution can be just as bad, if not worse, than outdoor pollution? We understand that cleaning your ducts and vents can be easily overlooked, but it makes a huge difference. Do you remember the last time you cleaned them? A lot of people answer no to that question, and we want to explain why that’s bad for your health.

The longer you wait to clean your system, the worse your indoor air is getting for you and your family. We’re talking about the place where you spend most of your time! Whether it’s at work, at home, or even school – these places are where the majority of people spend their time and they all have HVAC systems that need regularly maintenance in order to improve the air quality.

A clean duct and HVAC system can improve indoor air quality, create a more comfortable interior environment, save energy and lengthen the life of your system. We offer complete duct cleaning for your HVAC system – coils, coil drain pans, plenums, air filters, ducts, fans, vents and registers. Not only can cleaning your ducts improve your air quality, it will also result in you using your air conditioner/heating system less since the airflow will improve, which means a lower energy bill!

If you don’t remember the last time you had your ducts cleaned, here are a few reasons to get them cleaned as soon as possible:

    • Allergies: If your family suffers from severe allergies then cleaning your system could improve their symptoms.
    • New Home: If you just moved into your new home and didn’t check with the previous owners about when the last time the ducts were cleaned, now is the perfect time to get them cleaned!
    • Construction: Did you just get construction done on your home? With all the dust and work that went on, your system may be dirtier than usual. If you were thinking about getting the ducts cleaned, do them sooner rather than later.

Still have questions? Give us a call – we’d be happy to help!