Is My Thermostat Temperature Set Too Low?

Energy Efficient Homes

The summer heat will soon be in full swing. Many of our wonderful A-Plus customers ask our AC Service Techs, “What is the BEST temperature to set my AC?” Though every situation and every homeowner is different, setting your AC to 78F degrees is a good recommended temperature for energy efficiency to help keep your electrical bills lower.

Your AC system is designed to remove the heat energy from your conditioned space.  The cool air blowing out of your register grills should have no less than an 18-degree differential from the air at the return.  If your system is blowing air less than that 18 degrees, call your favorite HVAC Company to get your unit checked out.  (SEE COUPON BELOW)

Here are some other tips to consider to help keep your energy bill low when running your AC unit in the summer heat:

  • Service your A/C unit – In Austin AC maintenance is crucial. Twice a year maintenance is recommended to make sure the unit is running efficiently and keeping your family cool during the hot Texas summer.
  • Shade your windows – Protecting your home from the direct sunlight is essential. Install Solar Screens or keep the blinds shut to prevent the room from heating up.Cute Frog BBQ Image
  • Make sure to keep all exterior doors closed – Keep an eye on small kiddos. They often forget to close doors behind them when heading outside to play.
  • Avoid cooking inside if possible– Use the outdoor grill whenever you can. The oven and stove are major sources of heat.  Plus, it’s summer time in Austin, Texas after all.  Everybody loves the backyard cookout!
  • Don’t use the clothes dryer – During the hottest part of the day. It will cause an extra draw on your energy bill and heat up your house during the day.
  • Done all these steps and still having high bills? Is your AC unit over 10 years old? Request Your FREE Energy Audit* to see what improvements can be made to you home!

Austin Energy provides rebates for energy improvement such as cooling & heating system replacements, solar screens, insulation, ductwork, and more.  As a founding member of the Powersaver program with Austin Energy 30+ years ago, we know the proper techniques to save on your energy bills. If you need AC Repairs in Austin, or you just need your annual AC maintenance, A-Plus is here for you!

 

Give our office a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule a time for your Free Austin Energy Audit*.

*Free Audits for Valid only for Austin Energy Customers who’s AC system is over 10 years of age.  Call for more details if you are interested in an Energy Audit.  There may be a small charge if your AC unit is under the age of 10, or if you are not an Austin Energy Customer.

 

A-Plus Energy Audits and Weatherization

Energy Audits and weatherization by A-Plus

Weatherization
 is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, and wind, and of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency. A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning, & Home Solutions is qualified to perform many types of audits and independent testing for Austin, Texas residents, including the audit types listed below.

ECAD Audit (residential, multi-family, commercial)

An Energy Conservation Audit & Disclosure (ECAD) is unique to electricity users in Austin, TX. If you are buying or selling a home, own a multi-family complex (apartments or four-plexes), or own a commercial business, Austin requires an ECAD audit to be done. Residentially, this is to inform the new homeowner about the energy “condition” of the home. Similarly, by knowing the energy “condition” (and its utility usage patterns) of the apartment complex you might lease, you can make an informed decision on what you can afford. Moreover, different requirements are necessary for commercial Energy Conservation Audit & Disclosure (ECAD), depending on the size of the business. Call us to learn more about Austin ECAD audits.

Visual Audit (the basics only)

This type of audit includes taking a visual impression of the building from the outside first, proceeding to learn about:

  • The building’s orientation
  • What windows get direct su
  • The ducts and ensuring they remain in good shape
  • The insulation and ensuring it is up to recommended levels

In Austin, TX, the program that utilizes this type of audit is the Home Performance Program. A-Plus was a pioneer contractor when the program began, and we continue to be one of the most qualified contractors anywhere.

Comprehensive Audit (testing included)

Are you the type of homeowner who likes recommendations based on testing and numbers? We are qualified to use the “energy door” to test for home air infiltration and how much there is. We can test the ducts for air leakage using our duct blaster, and we make sure there is proper airflow in each room using an air-balancing hood. All of these tools can be utilized to help determine and quantify what is necessary to improve the building performance.

In addition, if you are replacing your existing heating and cooling system, a manual J can be used to determine the proper size of the air conditioner to be replaced. The fees to perform these services are reasonable and the results of the tests can better inform you about where your money should be invested.

New Construction Audit (plan review)

If you are looking for a contractor to review your new building plans, evaluate your energy conservation features in your new place, or ensure that your new AC unit is properly sized, we can help. We will run a manual J and review what your builder recommended. Many times we can find small, incremental suggestions that can give you long-term savings. Call us to see how we can assist you with your new construction audit needs.

Third Party Testing

This is another unique Austin, TX program. When new homes are built or existing homes are remodeled, the city requires a contractor that did not participate in the installation of the new heating and cooling system to independently test the duct system for air leakage and perform room-by-room air balancing. A-Plus is proud to be an approved contractor on this list.

Government Energy Audit (WAP, LIHEAP, Frontier, CEAP)

A-Plus has consultants trained to do different types of government energy conservation audits. Our auditors are BPI trained and educated in the use of the NEAT audit program. Our experience includes working with the approved vendor list of Austin Energy, Travis County, Georgetown, Arlington, CSI (Corsicana), CPS (San Antonio) and the city of San Antonio. A-Plus has had the good fortune and opportunity to help hundreds of low-income homeowners throughout the Austin, TX area and the state during the past several years. We feel we are fortunate to continue participating in these programs.

Call A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning & Home Solutions today at 512-450-1980 to see which of these services could help you improve weatherization and reduce your electric bills and make your home in Austin a more comfortable living area.

Home Selling Season is Almost Upon Us

City of Austin ECADSpring is in the air here in lovely Austin, Texas, and warmer weather brings home buying season. It’s an exciting time for realtors or for anyone looking to sell a home or condo in Austin.

In 1981 A-Plus helped pioneered the Austin Energy Conservation Program.  With expertise in energy management and conversation, our auditors strive to help inform and improve all home energy efficiency.

Don’t forget the ECAD

Selling a home in Austin, however, requires the seller to obtain a special kind of inspection called an ‘Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure’ (ECAD). Officially termed “ECADs,” ECAD audits examine the energy efficiency of a home or condo in Austin. The ECAD audit focuses on:

  • Insulation
  • Duct systems
  • Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Exterior door weather stripping
  • Plumbing penetrations
  • Glass panes in windows receiving over one hour of direct sunlight daily

Who’s required to obtain an ECAD?

An Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure is required for any home (including duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes) or condo sold that:

Once a dwelling passes the ECAD audit, certification is good for 10 years.

What happens if I sell without ECAD compliance?

Failure to comply with Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure requirement is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to $2000 in fines. Austin home sellers must also reveal ECAD results to prospective buyers.

The ECAD requirement largely acts as a consumer-protection mechanism, providing full disclosure of an Austin home’s energy efficiency levels and an estimated cost of monthly utilities.

We’re ECAD certified

A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, is certified to perform ECAD audits and many other kinds of audits and independent testing in Austin, Texas, including:

City of Austin ECAD

  • Visual Audits
  • Comprehensive Audits
  • New Construction Audits
  • Third Party Testing
  • Multi-Family Audits

Contact A-Plus today

If you’re about to plunge into spring by selling your home or condo, let the experts at A-Plus Energy Management & Home Solutions, help make sure you meet all necessary requirements for closing the deal.  For more information about our audits, give us a call at 512.450.1980.

We’re experts at Austin home solutions and repair, and we’d be thrilled to partner with you on conducting an Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure in Austin, Texas. For more information, contact A-Plus Energy today.

How the Energy Conservation Audit affects your home purchase (Austin ECAD)

A-plus ECAD Audit Service

A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning, & Home Solutions is qualified to perform many types of audits and independent testing for Austin, Texas residents, including the often confusing ECAD Audit. A Plus will make the process easy for you with the extensive experience their crew brings to the field.

According to this Austin Relocation Guide article:

ECAD audit ATX AUSTIN TX

Whether buying or selling a home in the Austin area, you can benefit from the Energy Conservation and Audit Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance during real estate transactions. The ordinance, as described in Chapter 6-7 Energy Conservation of the Austin City Code, requires energy disclosures for homes and buildings more than 10 years old which are served by Austin Energy and located within Austin city limits. This City of Austin ordinance simply indicates the responsibility of sellers to disclose energy audit details, without insisting that improvements must be made.

Like other energy ordinances throughout the nation and the world, ECAD helps promote energy efficiency and environmental responsibility by identifying energy savings opportunities for property owners. Improving home energy efficiency can:

  • Improve indoor air quality and comfort
  • Save money and energy
  • Increase value and marketability

While certain exemptions may apply, the ECAD audit typically occurs during the time of home sale, with a completion deadline at time of contract signing or during the 10-day option period. Potential home sellers may arrange for the ECAD audit earlier, using the results to identify energy efficiency improvements made or desired to differentiate the house on the market.

To comply with the ordinance, home sellers work with certified energy professionals to conduct the ECAD audit, which requires specialized equipment and attention. Sellers pay for, receive and share audit details with potential buyers. The audit includes assessing the efficiency of air infiltration and ductwork, attic insulation, windows, weatherization, heating and cooling. Per the ordinance, this information then goes to home buyers and to Austin Energy.

As the City of Austin continues to encourage more sustainable practices, the ECAD ordinance benefits each side of a real estate transaction. For home buyers, the energy audit provides a helpful tool when evaluating a home, whether looking for a place already energy efficient or a new project for home improvements. In addition, home buyers can use the audit to anticipate any potentially hidden costs associated with ongoing maintenance and home energy use, clarifying the full cost of a new home.

For home sellers, an ECAD audit that discloses an array of energy efficiency home features translates into a more distinct and attractive listing in the competitive real estate marketplace. Savvy sellers and buyers recognize that the energy efficiency features identified through the ECAD audit contribute to ‘green’ listings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and increase home value.

Austin Energy offers a variety of energy efficiency upgrade incentives to help homeowners offset the costs of making improvements identified through the ECAD audit. Homeowners who have made energy efficiency improvements to the home through Austin Energy programs may qualify for an ECAD exemption.

For more information about the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure ordinance and related Austin Energy programs, go to austinenergy.com/go/ECAD or talk with a local real estate professional.

This entire article can be found here

For more great information check out our ECAD page here.

Make Your Home a Healthier Place with a Home Energy Audit

Home Energy Audit by A-plus Air Conditioning of Austin

HVAC Duct FabricationYour duct system plays an instrumental role in terms of the air quality in your home, as it directs conditioned air where you want it to go. Especially in older homes, duct systems may be inefficient, damaged, over- or undersized, poorly designed and/or installed improperly, or of low quality, thus compromising the air that you breathe.

Good ductwork is sealed, tested for tightness, and insulated to values recommended for your area. Leaks in your duct system can cause increased levels of particles, allergens, and dust, as well as heightened humidity in your home, loss of energy and, consequently, elevated energy bills.

How do you know if your ductwork is not performing correctly or has issues?

  • If your home feels clammy and muggy and you’re constantly adjusting your temperature levels to counteract indoor humidity
  • If the air flow in your home feels stagnant despite the blower being on
  • If the temperature your thermostat is showing doesn’t align with the way the air feels in your house
  • If you’re sneezing or feel congested due to dust and allergens in the air in your home
  • If you constantly hear your HVAC unit kick on and you feel like it’s working overtime

If any or all of these indicators apply, it may be time to update your air duct system. A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning, and Home Solutions can fix this problem with an Energy Star home energy audit.   The first thing we do is run diagnostics to identify the issue.  Then, we recommend solutions ranging from modification to replacement. When we’re done, you and your family will breathe fresher, healthier air, feel more comfortable, and save money on energy bills.

Now that summer is knocking on your door, don’t delay having A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning, and Home Solutions perform an energy audit to identify and resolve potential issues. We proudly serve Austin and its surrounding areas, and are one quick phone call away. Dial (512) 450-1980 to set up your appointment today!

Selling your home? Let’s talk about ECAD Audits & you

ECAD Audit service New Homeowners by A-plus Home Solutions

City of Austin ECADDid you know the City of Austin requires an ECAD energy audit before you sell your home (with only a few exceptions)?  If you have not replaced your AC or had energy work done on your home in the last 10 years, your house would be more “sellable” if you upgraded your insulation and ductwork before you sold your home.  What may look like a $2000 improvement to the buyer, may really only have cost you $1000 (after Austin Energy rebates and Texas Gas rebates) and may help you sell your house faster.  Most weatherization work, regardless of upfront cost, ends up costing the seller 50% or less after rebates.

Several years ago, Austin passed the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance that requires most sellers to provide information about how energy efficient the home is.  This was done to encourage energy efficient work to be performed by the seller and make the home more “sellable”.  The benefit to the buyer was having the knowledge of approximate utility usage to determine if the home is really affordable.  An ECAD audit usually takes less than an hour to perform and addresses the age of the air conditioner (possibly its SEER), the condition of the ductwork, the level of insulation,  how much direct sun comes through the windows, and finally, determine how “leaky” the home is and if it needs weatherstripping.

Remember, it’s a win-win for both the buyer and the seller to have an ECAD audit done when buying or selling your home.   Call A-Plus Energy Management, Air Conditioning & Home Solutions to discuss whether getting the work done in advance or having an ECAD audit done at the time of sale is better for you.  512-450-1980 or hvac99@AplusAC.com.