Choosing a new home is a big decision, with a dizzying range of considerations. While it’s important to consider the more readily visible elements such as your flooring, cabinetry, and square footage, it’s essential to keep in mind the subtle factors such as home comfort as well. The Edgewater, Maryland, climate can present many challenges. Examine your HVAC system carefully to make sure the new home you’re considering has everything you’ll need.
HVAC systems enjoy a longer lifespan, better efficiency, and fewer repairs when they’re properly maintained. Ideally, your system will receive two tuneups each year — one in early spring for the air conditioner and another in early fall for your furnace. When you’re purchasing a home, ask for maintenance records pertaining to the HVAC equipment. Look for a system that’s been properly maintained over the years.
Make sure your system continues to enjoy all the perks of regular maintenance once you’ve taken over as homeowner. Sign up for a maintenance plan that will include your annual tuneup. For extra value, our Bronze Plan includes the added benefit of a 15 percent discount on repairs.
You want your home to contain as little ductwork as possible, so air travels quickly and efficiently from your HVAC unit to the registers throughout your home. Ductwork is notoriously tricky to maintain in any home, as it often leaks air through loose connections or tiny openings. Don’t make your task any harder by increasing the amount of ductwork in the home. Look for a house with neat, efficient ductwork and steer clear of anything with masses of confusing ducts or extensions that were clearly added haphazardly in exposed areas such as the basement.
If the ductwork needs a complete overhaul, you’ll want to consider the purchase carefully before committing to a home that requires this much work. However, if you’re simply facing a few leaks, you’ll find that sealing and insulating your ducts is a relatively simple job for a licensed HVAC professional. Proper sealing is definitely worth investing in, as it will dramatically reduce your utility bills.
Insulation helps you keep your home at the desired temperature with minimal heat transfer. Examine your home’s existing insulation to determine how efficient your current envelope is. It’s important to understand exactly how insulation works so you can choose the best solution if your home needs upgrading in this area. Insulation does not stop air leaks. Rather, it slows heat transfer.
Insulating the attic is one of the best and easiest ways to increase comfort and efficiency in your Maryland home. In a well-insulated attic, it will take longer for the hot summer air to get through and warm your home below. The same is true during chilly Edgewater winters when the insulation will slow heat transfer from your warm cozy home to the freezing attic above.
A Well-Sealed Envelope
Sealing your home will keep air from escaping your interior envelope, so that you’re not paying to heat and cool air that simply seeps out. The best home purchase is one that’s already well-sealed. However, improving your home in this area is fairly simple, so you shouldn’t shy away from an otherwise outstanding home simply because it needs better sealing.
If you’re looking for a quick way to improve energy efficiency in your new Edgewater home, start looking for areas where you can better seal the space. Examine the baseboards, window frames, and door frames for cracks and seal these with caulk. Add weatherstripping around doors, windows, and your attic hatch. If your home has a basement, find the sill plate and seal it with caulk or sill seal. Head to the attic and run caulk along knee walls and around the space inside dropped soffits.
Edgewater, Maryland, has a varied climate that requires both efficient heating and cooling to stay comfortable year-round. With temperatures ranging from a high of almost 90 degrees in July to a low of 29 degrees in January, it’s important to choose efficient systems that can keep you comfortable in any conditions. Make sure you understand how to judge your system’s efficiency to see if your home has an outstanding system in place already or is in need of a replacement.
Furnace efficiency is measured with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, shown as a percentage. Energy Star furnaces are typically over 90 percent efficient. Condensing furnaces are the best option if you’re shopping for a new system. Look for one with an Electronically Commutated Motor or other advanced main circulating fan.
Central air conditioner efficiency is measured using Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. The SEER rating will give you a better idea of how well your system works in Maryland. This number measures efficiency over an entire cooling season. The EER rating applies only to days on which the temperature is over 96 degrees F, which is extremely rare in Edgewater.
Check the ratings on any equipment currently in place to determine whether you’re operating at reasonable efficiency or spending more than you should for a comfortable home. If your systems are wildly inefficient, consider installing an upgrade as soon as possible.
A Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat gives you a new level of control in your home. This is the ideal option for day-to-day comfort. With a programmable model, you can choose your settings once and forget about daily adjustments. There are three different models to choose from:
- 7-day thermostat models allow you to change your temperature settings every day of the week
- 5+2 day thermostats are for families with a set weekday schedule. These models let you choose different settings for weekends and weekdays.
- 5-1-1 models use one setting for all weekdays, but different settings on Saturday and Sunday.
Choose a thermostat that suits your schedule so you can enjoy optimum efficiency every day of the week. When you set your thermostat, choose a temperature at or below 70 degrees in cool weather, and at or above 78 degrees in warm weather for times when you’re at home and active. When you’re gone during the day or asleep at night, you should make the home cooler during heating season and warmer during cooling season to minimize your expenses.
Well-placed ceiling fans in your Maryland home can help support your heating and cooling systems so you can set your temperatures back and use less energy. Set your fan to rotate clockwise in winter to push warm air downward. In summer, the fan needs to rotate counterclockwise. This will create a cooling wind chill effect that supplements your air conditioning. Remember that ceiling fans don’t actually change the temperature in your home. They only alter the way you feel by moving air across your skin differently. Turn fans off when you leave the room to save electricity.
Air Cleaning Solutions
While a well-sealed and insulated home is excellent for energy efficiency, it’s not ideal for your indoor air. Without an air purifier, your home’s indoor air could be as much as 100 times dirtier than the outside air. There are many unseen pollutants that can accumulate in the home, from dust mites and dander to volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
There are allergens in the Maryland air in every season. Annual ragweed, rapeseed, Pennsylvania pellitory, and spiny amaranth pollens are present year-round. The list gets noticeably longer in spring, summer, and fall when you’ll find irritants such as great ragweed, southern wormwood, perennial ryegrass, and big sagebrush joining the list of common allergens.
The most efficient way to eliminate these pollutants is to install an air purifier in your HVAC system. Including an air purifier in a new Maryland home will help you keep allergens out from the very beginning. If you’re purchasing an older home, you can still promote clean air going forward by selecting an air purifier as soon as possible.
If your new home needs energy-efficient air conditioning and heating updates or a timely maintenance visit, contact our experienced technicians at 888-474-3391. Griffith Energy Services will help you get your home in top shape so you can enjoy optimum comfort in your new house.
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