How to Use Your Home Appliances More Efficiently

Make Better Use of Your Major Appliances

Are you looking to save energy (and money) around your home? One easy way to do this is to change your habits with your major appliances. There is no need to purchase all new energy efficient appliances (although this is a very effective way to cut down on energy use). Instead, switch up your habits so that you can make the most of your existing appliances while greatly increasing the energy efficiency in your home. Check out these helpful tips below for energy savings at home.

Dishwasher

Much of the energy used in dishwashers goes to heating the water in the appliance. Look at the manufacturer’s manual for your dishwasher and determine the recommendations on water temperature. Most have internal heating elements, so that you can avoid setting your home’s water heater to a higher temperature, and instead have it remain at a more energy efficient setting, such as 120ºF.

If you have a lot of dishes to do, don’t overfill the dishwasher, as this leads to energy waste and your dishes won’t get as clean. Instead, break the task into two separate loads for better energy efficiency.

Avoid the the “rinse hold” setting on your dishwasher when doing a smaller load of dishes; save this for larger loads only, as it can use up to 7 gallons of hot water with each cycle.

Refrigerator

Avoid setting your refrigerator/freezer too cold. The recommended temperatures for are between 35°-38°F for the refrigerator, and 0°F for freezers.

Be sure that your refrigerator door seals are airtight and are not leaking any air. You can test them by sliding a piece of paper in between the door and refrigerator and closing it. If the paper is difficult to remove, then the seal is tight. If you find the paper easily slips out of the door, then the seal most likely will need to be replaced.

Wrap up all foods and especially any beverages/liquids stored in the refrigerator. Foods that are left uncovered will release excess moisture in the refrigerator, causing the compressor to have to work harder, which wastes energy.

Oven and Stove-top

When cooking on the stove-top, be sure to match the size of the pot or pan you are using to the size of the heating element. Keep all range burners and reflectors very clean as they will reflect the heat better, which saves you energy in the long run.

Avoid preheating your oven when cooking frozen foods, roasting, or broiling. This is an unnecessary step that wastes precious energy. Do preheat your oven when baking, however, as this does make a huge difference in the outcome of baked goods.

When cooking small meals or dishes, rather than using your stove, use toaster ovens, electric skillets or convection ovens, which will use approximately half the amount of energy as a full size oven will.

When Should I Run My Kitchen Range Hood?

Kitchen range hood exhaust fans serve an invaluable function in filtering indoor air. If you never run your exhaust fan or only turn it on when something starts to smoke on your stove, you may want to make a few changes. Knowing when and how to use your exhaust fan can reduce indoor air pollution and keep kitchen surfaces clean.

The Role of the Kitchen Range Hood

Most stoves have some type of exhaust fan. These fans are commonly located above the stove and under a hooded structure. You need an exhaust fan whether you have a gas or an electric stove. Either kind of range produces air pollution and sticky residues that adhere to kitchen surfaces.

Exhaust fans not only reduce air pollution from cooking and burning foods, they also remove moisture, food particles, smells, and grime from the atmosphere to keep your kitchen clean and safe. For gas ranges, exhaust fans also play an important role in removing noxious gases, such as carbon monoxide.

Range Exhaust Fan Best Practices

Homeowners commonly flip on the exhaust fan when they start to fry or sauté foods that may smoke or smell. In reality, you should turn on the exhaust fan anytime you cook on the stovetop. For best results, turn on the fan 10-15 minutes before you turn on the stove. Then leave the fan running for about as long after you turn off the stove. This added running time will improve filtration capabilities and reduce the number of contaminants you may inhale.

Some exhaust fans connect to ductwork that removes particulates from the kitchen and disposes of them outside the home. Other fans use charcoal filters to clean the air before redistributing it within the home. If you currently run an exhaust fan, follow the user manual’s recommendations for cleaning or replacing the filter for maximum air quality results.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Range Hood

Some kitchens don’t have range hoods and others have exhaust fans that no longer work. If you’re not ready to invest in new equipment, use these tips to keep your kitchen clean and safe:

  • Open the windows and use a plugin fan. Place a small fan in the window and run it backwards, or on an “exhaust” setting, to rid your home of cooking odors and some contaminants.
  • Invest in a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter. Run a portable HEPA unit in the kitchen while you cook to remove odors, smoke, and other contaminants from the atmosphere.
  • Use a grease guard. If you fry, sear, or sauté foods on a regular basis, purchase a small screen to place over the cooking pan to prevent splatter.

Choosing a Range Hood

A strong ventilation system will move air quickly and efficiently, remove air contaminants, and feature a low running sound. You may need to compromise on one area or another, but these three factors indicate overall performance. Follow all installation instructions or invest in professional installation for best results.

If you have any questions about your kitchen vent hood and exhaust fan best practices, contact us today. Our friendly HVAC team would be happy to answer any of your questions.

 

This Old House: The Dangers of Asbestos in Older Homes

 

Older homes are a beauty. There are, however, some important points to note for current or potential owners of old homes. The most notable being the potential presence of asbestos in the structure of these homes.

dangers of asbestos

If your lovely home was constructed before 1980, it could be classified as an “older home”, but this may not necessarily mean that those constructed thereafter do not have high levels of asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a foam like substance that closely resembles insulation. While it may take years to affect our health, the severity of prolonged exposure to this substance is quite serious. The long-term effects may include diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a very serious chronic respiratory disease that is non-cancerous. It is caused by the scarring of lung tissue brought about by loose asbestos fibers in the air. Symptoms include a crackling sound from the lungs during inhalation and shortness of breath. Left untreated, it may eventually lead to cardiac failure. Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Lung Cancer

This is the leading cause of death from prolonged exposure to asbestos. Symptoms include shortness of breath, anemia, coughing, chest pains and other respiratory ailments. Studies have also shown that smokers exposed to asbestos could have as much as 90 times more likelihood of contracting the disease.

Mesothelioma

This is a form of cancer that is most associated with those who have prolonged exposure to asbestos due the nature of their work – miners and textile workers for example. It is relatively rare but remains a threat to those with continued exposure to asbestos. The disease attacks the lung’s thin membrane, as well those of the abdomen, chest, and heart.

Other Cancers

Prolonged exposure to asbestos may result in other cancers in the body such as mouth or throat cancer. The American Cancer Society provides detailed information on the various cancer threats associated with asbestos.

Where is Asbestos?

Where can asbestos be found in the older homes? Older homes have beautiful, intricate, designs that may, unfortunately, have involved the use of substantial amounts of asbestos.

Asbestos is likely to be found on the ceiling, old floor tiles, sidings and roof shingles. Again, look out for insulation around ducts, boilers, sheeting, fireplaces, pipe cement, and on seams where the joint compound was often used.

While most all homes have these features, not all are at risk of this dangerous substance. So how can you tell whether your home has a dangerous level of asbestos?

How To Test For Asbestos In Your Home

A visual inspection of the structures we mentioned above may not be enough. The best option might be to seek professional help. Two methods, both requiring specialized equipment, are approved for asbestos testing. Both Polarized Light Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy are effective at identifying hidden asbestos in homes.

What To Do for High Asbestos Levels

If tests reveal high levels, repairs, removal, and or replacement of the structures in question will be the solution. This will depend on the advice from your professional.

To learn more about how to keep your family safe, contact Albuquerque’s most trusted HVAC specialists in Anderson Air Corps.

 

Questions you should ask your heating repair professionals

FurnacesWhen you go to turn on your furnace and you think there’s an issue, it’s probably time to call your local heating repair professional. Even if your heating unit is running fine, you may need to discuss issues or preventing issues with your technician. Knowing what questions you should ask your heating repair pros makes it easier to stay on top of your heating needs.

When you call your heating technician out, be sure to write down any questions or concerns you have before they arrive. By doing that beforehand it will help you to remember what you need to ask and keep you on top of the repair process. Here are a few ideas you can keep in mind when your heating professional technician is on their way out.

Will I Receive an Estimate?

Calling out your technician for a repair can be a daunting task. Some companies may try to fix the problem without giving you an upfront estimate of the cost of the work. Ask your technician when he arrives to diagnose the problem if you’ll receive and estimate before any work is done. A reputable company should have no problem telling you this up front before they do the work. If you are not satisfied with the estimate it’s your option to get other estimates from other providers. This is something that your technician should be okay with before the work is done. Be sure to feel comfortable with their answer to this question before going on with the visit.

Furnace License and Insurance

A company should have no problems allowing you to see the license of the installer/repair technician or their insurance coverage. They are coming in to your home to work on your appliance and you should feel comfortable with their skills and the coverage in the event something were to happen. By seeing this information up front you can rest easy knowing they are skilled and will have you covered should you need it.

Routine Furnace Maintenance

You should discuss with your technician the routine maintenance needed for your current furnace or air conditioning unit. By taking this time to know what is needed, you can prevent costly repairs up front by taking preventative steps beforehand. These routine maintenance visits will help you to catch things before they become huge problems. This will help your unit run at it’s maximum efficiency as well. This will save you money each month on your power bill as well. When your unit runs smoothly, everything else does too.

These are just a few of the questions you should keep in mind when meeting with your technician. Do your research on the company before using them and do not be afraid to ask questions. Be sure that you are comfortable with them when you discuss these and other questions you may have. Get estimates from more than one company if you are unsure of the first one you received. Talk to friends or family and see who they recommend. You can also look online to read customer reviews or complaints to know what you can expect when choosing a heating professional to deal with.

A reputable company will not have any problems answering your questions and getting you the information you need. If the company you’re working with does not answer your questions, you may want to consider finding a new technician. You are trusting them to make sure your home is comfortable and safe during the upcoming winter months. Be diligent and comfortable with you choose to entrust your family and your homes safety to. You won’t regret it.

About Anderson Air Corps

With 50+ years of experience behind us, our Mission Statement and Code of Ethics set us apart as one of the best HVAC companies in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have been serving residential and commercial enterprises of all kinds with the highest levels of customer service. With trained and certified technicians, as well as a high level of expertise in heating, cooling and indoor comfort, you will be sure of getting the best HVAC products installed by the most professional people in the business.

Give us a call on (505) 855-9028 today and experience what an award winning service can be.

3 tips to save money with a programmable thermostat

In almost every home, across the globe, there is some form of air conditioning and heating system. Most people have an electrical or fuel source system that needs a thermostat to operate correctly. The thermostat is the brain behind the unit as it tells the unit when to turn on and off and at what temperature the home should be. Since the thermostat is so important, it is vital that home owners have a proper thermostat unit in their home. a great option for home owners is a programmable option. A programmable thermostat comes in many forms and can provide home owners with not only efficiency but also money savings. Below are three tips you can use to save money with your programmable thermostat.

While Away

While you are away at work or on vacation, a programmable thermostat allows you to set your unit to a certain temperature. You have the option to preset temperatures so you can turn your unit off while you are away but have your unit turned back on for when you arrive home. This can be a great asset especially during the winter and summer months as temperatures can be extreme. This option not only allows you to remain comfortable but it also allows you to save money because your HVAC unit is turned off while you are away.

During Sleeping Hours

While you are sleeping, your body sets itself to a certain temperature. Everyone wants to remain comfortable while sleeping but many end up cutting their unit on and off during the night trying to be comfortable. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the unit to cool you off during the night but then preset a time for heating to warm you up. This will not only keep you comfortable but also allow you to avoid turning the unit on and off, which can cause a fluctuation in your heating and cooling bill.

Energy Efficiency

A programmable thermostat also provides energy efficiency to your heating and cooling unit. Because the thermostat allows for presetting temperatures, the unit you have in your home will have better efficiency. The unit will not use as much energy and it will also get longer breaks than a unit without a programmable thermostat.

These are just a few reasons why a programmable thermostat can help your home not only be comfortable but save money as well. Contact your local HVAC provider today to begin adding a new thermostat to your home or install the new unit yourself. You will be glad you did!

High Energy Bill? Five Ways Energy Efficient Systems Can help

High energy bills plague millions of homes across the globe and many home owners are struggling to pay their monthly bills. It is imperative to be able to afford heating and cooling bills so that the home can continue to remain comfortable no matter the season. The best way to lower the energy bill in the home is to install an energy efficient heating and cooling system. An efficient system will allow you to save money on your energy bill each month as well as have a longer lasting HVAC unit. Below are five ways that an energy efficient system can help with high energy bills.

Lower Utility Bills

One way that an energy efficient system can help with high energy bills is the most important, it can lower them. An energy efficient system requires less energy to function. Thus less energy is used and your unit will cost less to operate. This will make your utility bills lower, which will save you money and cause less stress.

An energy efficient unit has a higher SEER rating. A proper unit must have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. A unit that does not have this rating and is lower, such as an older unit, will not work efficiently. When installing a new unit, make sure the unit has a high SEER rating to be able to operate on less energy.

Longer Lasting Unit

An energy efficient unit can also provide you with a longer lasting unit. Because the unit requires less energy to operate, it will essentially be able to last longer.  A unit is expected to last around 10 to 15 years but a unit that is energy efficient and is maintained on a regular basis will be able to last much longer, sometimes 20 years and beyond.

Warmer / Cooler Home

An energy efficient unit will also be able to provide your home with a warmer or cooler environment. A unit that is energy efficient and functions properly will be able to meet your temperature needs. This means that your home will be as warm as you need and as cool as you need. The temperature in the home should be stabilized properly and energy efficient unit can provide this for you.

These are just a few reasons why an energy efficient unit is the best choice for your home. If you have high utility bills, it is recommended that you install an energy efficient unit. To find out more, simply speak with your local HVAC provider. A qualified dealer and contractor will be able to explain to you the benefits of a new system. A technician will be able to view your property and help you determine which energy efficient unit work best for your home.

Once a decision has been made, the installation process can begin. You will soon be enjoying a new unit in your home and lower energy bills for many years to come! Speak with your local provider today to find out more!

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