Can Window Film Lower My Electric Bill?

Window Tinting Saves Money and Improves Home Environment

There are a lot of ways of making home improvements that save money on energy bills. Pretty much everyone has heard about weather stripping, attic insulation and double glazed windows. One measure that can make a significant dent in the energy bill that has not received as much attention is window tinting.

Window tints and films can do more than save money on energy bills. This low cost improvement also reduces glare improving the view out of the window. Windows with films also let in less UV light. This means that furnishings, art work, rugs and other personal items will get less UV exposure, and will suffer less damage from fading of colors and deterioration of materials.

Window films are made from a variety of materials, including ceramics. They come in different thicknesses and adhere to the window surface, reducing both UV light and heat exchange. Saving on the cost of energy in a major benefit of having home windows tinted. The cost of having a home’s windows tinted can usually be recouped in energy savings within one to two years.

Single pane windows that have window film applied to them can result in up to a 37 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs. With double glazed windows, the savings can be as much as 20 percent. With up to 43 percent of a typical home’s energy bill going to heating and cooling, this can add up to substantial savings. Studies on the effectiveness of window tinting have shown that this measure is most effective in older homes in warm climates.

In warm weather areas the objective is keeping the house cooler in summer and reduce air conditioning costs. In this situation, window films are applied to the exterior of the window keeping heat out. In cooler areas where heating costs are the biggest concern, window film are applied to the inside of the window pane, and act to keep warmth inside.

Window film can also be decorative. They come in a wide variety of colors and degrees of tinting which can add an aesthetic touch to the look of the windows as well. Some window films also provide a safety factor if the glass breaks by holding the shards together. This feature is especially worth considering in areas where hurricanes and tornadoes occur.

Window films are economical and can be installed quickly, resulting in immediate improvement to the interior conditions of the house. While they do reduce visible light slightly, this can be a benefit in hot climates where interior glare and hot spots are problems.

Federal tax rebates have also been available in recent years for homeowners who get window films installed. While these programs change from year to year and differ around the country, some recent rebates have returned as much as 30 percent of the cost of materials up to total of $1,500 in direct tax write-offs for home owners who have window tinting done.

If you are looking for ways of reducing your energy bills in summer and winter, as well as improving the quality of your indoor environment, look into having tinted window film installed on your home’s windows.

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Buying A New Air Conditioner? Check the SEER Rating First!

A new air conditioner ensures that people can beat the heat when the warm summer weather comes in. However, this is more than cooling off during the hottest days of the year. Instead, it is important to invest in models that have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or Rating (SEER). This ratio means that the air conditioner is energy efficient, in line with government regulations, and will save a person money. Whenever it comes time to buy a new air conditioning model, one needs to check the SEER ranking first!

Get in Line with Regulations

The SEER measures the amount of power needed to power the system in comparison to its cooling output. In January of 2006, it was decided that all air conditioners had to have a SEER of 13 or higher. Older models may have lower rankings. The best SEER ranking one can achieve is 21. Usually, the higher the ratio, the larger the size of the unit, though this is not always true.

Save on Utility Bills

One of the chief benefits to a high SEER rating is that a home owner can be sure to save money. After all, who doesn’t want to invest in an air conditioner that will efficiently cool a room without using a lot of electrical power? The higher the rating, the more money a person can save later on down the line. Thus, this is a long-term investment. Some experts predict that as the SEER number increases, efficiency increases between 6 and 10%.

Environmentally Friendly Option

Reducing the amount of energy one uses is more than just saving on utility bills. This is also a prime time to go green and reduce one’s carbon footprint. After all, the more energy a home uses, the more harm is done to the environment. This is a chance to make smart decisions when investing in new appliances and air conditioning systems.

Increase the Value of the Home

People want to invest in homes that come with a host of features. Any property with an air conditioner with a high SEER rating is sure to be worth more. After all, this tells a would-be buyer that the home will have lower utility costs during the hotter months of the year.

An air conditioner is an important investment. There are many models on the market today. A high SEER ratio means that people can be sure that the unit will efficiently cool a home without resulting in high utility bills. It is possible to find some great models without going into debt. Shopping around, comparing SEER ratings, and investigating different models will help a home owner select the best new air conditioner for him or her. This investment will lower energy bills, increase the value of the home, and is a green alternative to older models.

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Homeowner Rookie Mistakes: Central A/C System Inspection

Buying a new home can be an exciting time. Unfortunately it can also be a time when all eager, trusting new homeowners can get into a bad situation all too easily. Before any house is purchased, it is essential that a thorough home inspection be done of all the major appliances, structure; etc. This will ensure that the home is worth the cost and there are no unseen dangers or potential problems.

The home inspector that does the work needs to be professional and trusted. Many times, the realty company will be able to recommend an reputable inspector, however, it’s a better idea to find your own independent inspector to avoid a potential conflict of interest. The inspector will do a walk through with the potential buyers and should also provide a written and electronic copy of all of the findings, as well as pictures documenting any issues with the house.

One of the major areas of concern with any home would be the central air conditioning system and related ductwork. If there are any problems with the air conditioner, the new homeowners may find themselves with costly repair or replacement costs.

The replacement cost of a central air conditioner is anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 dollars, and skyrockets over $10,000 if the ductwork and registers need to be replaced as well. All this hassle can be avoided just by asking your realtor the right questions regarding the A/C system in the house your interested in – before you buy.

Ask About the A/C SEER Rating

Before the inspection is done, it is often advisable to inquire about the efficiency rating and brand of the A/C system. The seller should have recently had the air conditioner checked and the efficiency of the system should be clearly visible. Over time, technological advances have improved the energy efficiency of appliances, making older units more costly to run than their newer counterparts. An air conditioner’s energy efficiency is easily determined based on the appliance’s SEER Rating. This is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating that is used to qualify EnergyStar products. The higher the SEER rating, the less amount of energy that is needed to produce energy, which will result in a lower electric bill. Newer models are more energy efficient, and will therefore have a higher SEER rating than a unit that is twenty years old (of at least 16). New homeowners often have to make the hard decision about weighing the costs versus the benefits of replacement a dated air conditioner with a new, high-efficiency system.

Check the Air Conditioning Ducts and Coils

When the inspector is looking over the HVAC system, one main area to look at would be the ductwork. This is what delivers the cool air or heat to the house, and if it is damaged or ineffective, the unit will certainly not perform as it should. Special attention should be taken when it comes to any additions to the house. If the duct work was not done properly, the heating and air conditioning of the house can be unbalanced. This means that all rooms are not receiving even distribution of the air and heat.

Depending on the age of the A/C and the home, there may or may not be a warranty that is available. Many times, the manufacturer will have some type of warranty that covers certain things for the lifetime of the particular model. All of this information should be known before the house is purchased. Some warranties are not transferable, others become void from unauthorized service. All important factors to consider when investing in a home.

Along these lines, there is also the option to get a homeowner’s warranty or service plan. These are often offered by the Realtor or insurance agent. It is basically a plan that covers items such as appliances. Depending on the specifics, this may or may not be a worthwhile option.

Make Sure the A/C Refrigerant is Environmentally Friendly

Finally, there may be ozone and environmental concerns with the air conditioner. Older units may still be utilizing R-12 as the refrigerant. This is no longer produced and has been shown to be an ozone-depleting chemical. Newer models now use R-22 as the refrigerant. Older units may have pressure leaks and could be losing refrigerant. Having this checked during the home inspection is essential. If it is found that the old refrigerant is used or if there are any leaks, a potential homeowner could inquire about getting this resolved before the sale continues.

A home inspection will provide buyers with valuable information. The buyers may find things that need to be fixed before any paperwork is done. It might also give the buyers good reason to move on and look at other properties. Hopefully, the inspection is successful and the buyers find that they are getting a decent house that has an efficient and reliable heating unit.

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What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Breaks

In South Florida, your air conditioner is the only thing between you and the miserable, sweltering heat of summer. Breakdowns are always inconvenient and can even be disastrous for people with medical conditions. Most people in the situation will immediately call for repairs, but service teams stay busy in the summer and may not be able to respond immediately.

While you suffer in the heat, there are some basic diagnostic procedures anyone can use to determine the problem. Many air conditioner problems can be fixed with a few tools and a little know-how. Learning to distinguish between problems you can handle and those requiring an expert will save you money in the long run. The majority of breakdowns can be prevented with basic maintenance, including allowing the AC to rest when you aren’t home. A programmable thermostat can help with this. If you’re tired of repetitively handing over cash to a repair team, you’ve come to the right place.

A/C Runs Without Cooling

The outside condenser kicks on and the evaporator fan is blowing, but you house is getting hotter by the minute. If warm air is coming through the vents, the problem is likely not dire. Ever had your toaster mysteriously break only to realize it was unplugged? Something similar can happen with air conditioners. You could accidentally flip the switch from cool to heat or fan only, or someone could be pulling a prank. Either way, it is always best to start with the solution you’ll be most embarrassed about should a repair team find it first.

Next up, you’ll need to ensure the outside condenser has good airflow and check the filter. Central systems will have one filter usually behind an overhead grill. If this is news, the filter is likely past needing a change. Filters should be changed each month as basic maintenance. If it is a window unit, you’ll have to spray it out once a month. People often put this off for longer due to the hassle of pulling the unit out of the window and using a pressure hose. In either case, clogged filters can reduce cooling efficiency and cause system failure.

If none of these actions help, you may be looking at a coolant leak. Let the professionals handle the chemicals.

Air Conditioner Won’t Start or Stops Before Cooling Sufficiently

If you’ve checked the thermostat to ensure proper settings and checked the filters, it’s time to look at the breaker box. It can be difficult finding the breaker corresponding to the air conditioner, or the outlet where the window unit is plugged in. Once you do, mark it on the schematic inside the box cover that electricians rarely bother filling out. Flip the breaker off and back on.

If the AC still fails to start, you have two options:

  • Call a professional A/C repair company.
  • Locate a shop-vac and fin comb at the hardware store. You’ll need to flip the breaker off, open the condenser, and clean the coil fins. It’s easier than it sounds.

 

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