(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.

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!

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.

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.