Full Systems Articles

  • MrCool 3rd and 4th Gen DIY: What's the Difference?

    MrCool 3rd and 4th Gen DIY: What's the Difference?

    MrCool recently released their 4th Gen DIY Ductless Mini-Split, and it's great! But what's the difference from the previous generation? Read to find out!
  • Homestead Heating: What Are My Options?

    Homestead Heating: What Are My Options?

    Homestead living is a dream come true in many ways, but winter is always just around the corner when you're an off-grid living enthusiast. Protecting your crops and livestock when the cold comes in is second nature. Protecting yourself may require a little extra thought and planning, though. Understanding your heating options is a must for getting you through the winter — at least, getting you through the winter without wearing all your clothes at once or listening to your teeth chatter during late-night trips to the bathroom.

    Many types of heating systems are suited to homestead living and the best one for you depends on your property, budget and needs. The choice can seem overwhelming, but going through your options step-by-step can help you choose how you'll stay warm through the spring thaw.

    Should I Use a Wood Stove?

    Self-sufficiency is integral to homesteading, and a wood stove fits nicely with off-grid living. A wood stove will rank quite high if you're looking for the most efficient way to heat a home. You'll have a lovely, old-fashioned fireplace that heats the whole building.

    Pros of a Wood Stove

    Wood stoves are excellent at extracting every last inch of heat from the logs you feed them. These stoves provide a high enough heat output to heat your entire home without a single kilowatt of electricity. You also have more control over your heating and can adjust the temperature easily by burning more or less wood.

    If eco-friendliness is a consideration, you'll want to look for a newer model. Modern versions produce fewer harmful emissions, lowering global and local ambient air pollution. New EPA-certified wood stoves are also remarkably efficient, using one-third as much firewood to generate the same amount of heat.

    Cons of a Wood Stove

    Installation and the appliance itself can leave a dent in your pocket, though its durability and the sustainability of having one in your home can help offset the cost.

    If you've never used a wood stove before, it might take a little getting used to. You'll have to stock up on cords of wood and keep them on hand at all times. You may even have to chop the wood yourself, which is great cardio, but a bit of a hassle. If you don't live near a forest, you may have to travel some distance to harvest your firewood.

    Finally, the stove's body can get scorching hot, which could pose a safety risk to pets and small children.

    Should I Use a Masonry Fireplace?

    For a more traditional and aesthetically pleasing option, consider a masonry fireplace made of brick, stone and mortar. These fireplaces are most often installed during construction, though you can add the firebox and chimney afterward.

    Pros of a Masonry Fireplace

    Masonry fireplaces are functional and possess a certain rustic charm, making them a firm favorite. Their undeniable charm creates an ambiance that's challenging to replicate with other systems.

    Masonry fireplaces are also versatile. Brick and mortar hold heat very well, so it can be an excellent choice for heating your homestead for long periods. You can also use masonry fireplaces to boil water if you'd like to save on energy costs.

    Cons of a Masonry Fireplace

    On the flip side, masonry fireplaces are large, with space-invading attachments like the chimney and hearth. You might find you're limited in where you can place your fireplace. Masonry fireplaces are fixtures in your home, so you'd better be sure about the location — as there'll be no moving it later, regardless of how it turns out.

    Building a masonry fireplace in your home will be expensive and you'll also need to factor in cleaning and maintenance costs. The chimney serves as an exhaust and gets dirty quickly. Without regular maintenance and cleaning, blockages can develop and lead to fire hazards or dangerous carbon monoxide backflow.

    Should I Use a Pellet Stove?

    Pellet stoves take the guesswork out of homestead heating and provide one of the cheapest ways to heat a home. There isn't much opportunity for human error, either, so you'll be safe even if you have one too many glasses of red wine in front of the fire on a cold winter night.

    Pros of a Pellet Stove

    You can use a thermostat to control your pellet stove's temperature, and the central control panel makes them easy to operate. There's no need for manual adjustments with a pellet stove — its automation takes care of the temperature and airflow.

    Pellet stoves are incredibly efficient, providing a lot of heat per pellet. This highly clean-burning stove option gives you as much heat as possible from every pellet with minimal waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all new pellet stoves to meet low-emission standards, which is fantastic for sustainability.

    Installation is cost-effective and since pellet stoves don't require ventilation, you can install them anywhere you want. There are several models to choose from to suit the needs and sizes of the heated areas. While you'll have to clean them every few days, manufacturers have made pellet stoves easy to clean. Storing your fuel is also tidy and straightforward. You can buy the fuel in bags and keep some inside the stove — no mess, no fuss.

    Cons of a Pellet Stove

    Pellet stoves are electric, with additional bulky components that take up space and are challenging to move. These electrical components also make pellet stoves more of a hassle to maintain. You'll need to clean them out often and have a certified technician.

    The electricity means you'll have another energy cost in addition to the fuel pellets. Reduced availability can increase fuel prices. Those pellets are also manufactured, meaning you can't harvest your own the way you can with firewood. If you let your supply get low, you could freeze while trying to get more.

    Pellet stoves have a less traditional look — even the flames are different, which may not fit your homestead aesthetic. You also won't get the pleasant lull of a crackling fire with a pellet stove, as all their moving parts make them noisy.

    Should I Use a Heat Pump?

    A heat pump could make your shortlist if you're looking for more than just a heating option. The system uses heat from the outside air to warm your home. These multifunctional devices also remove the need for an air conditioning system while providing a reliable heating option in the colder months.

    Pros of Heat Pumps

    A heat pump is many people's first choice for homesteading temperature control. Instead of burning fuel to generate heat, they draw in heat from outside to warm your home. They'll also help you reduce costs compared to other electric heating options and limit your reliance on fossil fuels — a plus if you're environmentally conscious!

    Heat pumps are user-friendly and low maintenance, which is good news if you prefer to spend your time doing something other than figuring out your heating system. They also don't use gas or release carbon monoxide, making them a safer heating option for small spaces and homes with children.

    Cons of Heat Pumps

    Despite their popularity, heat pumps do come with some downsides. Incorporating a complex technology is expensive, so expect to pay a pretty penny for installation, repairs and maintenance. Heat pumps also run on electricity, which can get expensive due to rising natural gas prices.

    Heat pumps do better in temperate areas, as their efficiency plummets in colder climates. You'll also get cold quickly in a power outage unless you have a backup plan.

    Should I Use Geothermal Heating?

    Although geothermal heating is a bit complex, it has significant advantages in terms of off-grid energy.

    Geothermal systems come in different types. Underground tubes circulate water — sometimes mixed with antifreeze — that the earth's temperature warms in winter and cools in summer. The tube systems connect to a unit in your homestead that converts the liquid into heated air, which travels throughout your home.

    Pros of Geothermal Heating

    Geothermal heating can have a significant impact on your heating and cooling costs. This eco-friendly system creates minimal air pollution, though you'll still need electricity from solar or grid power to operate one.

    Like heat pumps, geothermal systems draw heat from the environment. However, geothermal heating is suitable for any climate since it pulls heat from the ground instead of the air.

    Cons of Geothermal Heating

    If you want the benefits of geothermal heating, you have to be willing to pay for them. You can't take advantage of this system unless you're prepared to dig up the roses and dip into your savings.

    Installing a complex system like this is expensive. You may need to dig up your garden, as installation requires extensive landscaping to place the underground pipes. Depending on the technology, you might also need to upgrade the ducts in your home.

    Should I Use Solar Heating?

    There may not be more sustainable off-grid heating than harnessing the sun's energy. Solar heating systems are gaining popularity, though they still come with their own challenges.

    Pros of Solar Heating

    With solar heating, you may not need to use electricity at all. You're producing clean energy and minimizing your carbon footprint, as the sun's heat is entirely renewable. Once you get past the installation, solar may well be the cheapest way to heat a home.

    Cons of Solar Heating

    Sounds perfect, right? Pay specific attention to the phrase "once you get past the installation." A solar-powered heating system isn't cheap to install — quite the opposite. The upfront installation costs can be prohibitive, although the long-term energy savings still make it worth exploring as long as the sun shines.

    Solar heating isn't suited to all climates. As the name suggests, solar heating requires sunlight, so your heating system won't work if you're short on that. If you live in a primarily overcast area, you may find that you can't generate heat at all.

    Additionally, you'll need an inverter to change your DC current to AC. Depending on your inverter capacity — the maximum power your system can provide — more than a few days of bad weather might leave you shivering in the cold.

    Should I Use Passive Building?

    If your homestead is in the design or redesign phase, you can use passive building techniques to design a house that needs less energy. Instead of relying on air conditioning and heating systems, these techniques focus on regulating temperatures by using a building's passive influences — sunshine, shade and natural ventilation. Combine these principles with robust insulation and an airtight interior, and you have a passive house.

    Pros of Passive Building

    Passive building offers a lot of flexibility in the design, letting you build a house that suits your needs. A properly designed passive house will significantly reduce energy costs and improve indoor air quality, providing massive health benefits. You can also enjoy better-regulated temperatures in the rooms.

    Relying on innovative architecture to heat your home gives you peace of mind as you reduce your carbon footprint. In the long term, passive building is an excellent investment for eco-friendly and off-grid living.

    Cons of Passive Building

    The main hurdle in passive building is the cost. Most existing homes will require a complete rebuild and the specialized architecture and materials make the process more costly than building a typical house.

    Working with an experienced contractor is essential, which can further increase the cost. However, it will help prevent errors that could otherwise lessen your homestead's eco-friendliness and energy efficiency.

    What's the Best Heating Option for Your Homestead?

    Everyone has unique needs and requirements for homestead heating. The choice of what's best for you depends on your preference. There are some considerations to narrow down your options, including the following:

    • Location: Where you live is central to your decision. Consider your climate, the distance you'll have to travel to get fuel for your heating system and the reliability of backup power.
    • Maintenance: Every heating system requires maintenance, but it's worth considering how much time you'd like to spend cleaning and tweaking your system. What would you like your life to look like? If you can't picture yourself scrubbing dirty chimneys, it's worth focusing on more user-friendly options.
    • Aesthetics: How important is the look and feel of your heating system? Are you looking for something that fits seamlessly with your homestead's rustic design or a purely functional alternative? Try to picture the different heating systems in your home and see if they work.
    • Budget: Some heating options come with significant initial expenses. Consider what you're willing to spend upfront and weigh that against the long-term cost of various heating options. Which is best suited to your needs now and in the future?
    • Energy saving: How off-grid do you want to be? Perhaps you prefer to stay away from electricity altogether or stick to natural fuels like wood. Considering how sustainable you'd like your heating system to be can help you narrow down your choices.

    Upgrade Your HVAC With Ingrams Water & Air

    You have many options for upgrading your HVAC system, each with its own pros and cons. Ingrams Water & Air has a wide range of options to suit your homestead's needs.

    If you're looking for a way to save time, money and hassle when shopping for your next heating alternative, browse through what we have on offer. If you're interested in a pricier system, you might also want to consider our financing options.

    Feel free to share your questions with us and let one of our experts help you make the best decision.

  • Pellet Stove Efficiency: What You Should Know

    Pellet Stove Efficiency: What You Should Know

    Wood pellet stoves are popular options for home heat sources. Pellet stove efficiency, aesthetic appearance, and renewable fuel source make these units a strong choice for many homeowners. They also have specific electrical requirements, and it's important to research them before committing to an investment.

    Luckily, we're here to help. Read on to learn more about pellet stove electricity use, efficiency and more.

    How Does a Pellet Stove Work?

    Wood pellet stoves use wood pellets to heat rooms and homes. Pellet stove efficiency is high, and it produces less air pollution than other standard options. In fact, they're so efficient the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies wood pellet stoves as the cleanest form of residential heating. All of these cool features make them a popular choice for many homes.

    As the name suggests, pellet stoves use wood pellets to heat spaces. Wood pellets are biofuels that contain compressed wood fibers. They're often retrieved from leftover lumber in sawmills. However, pellet stoves can also burn pellets made from other organic materials, like wood chips or nutshells.

    Though they look similar to traditional stoves, wood pellet stoves work a little differently. All wood pellet stoves contain spaces called hoppers for pellet storage. Most hoppers hold between 35 and 130 pounds of pellets, which is about a day's worth of heat. A skinny, screw-like device called an auger transfers the pellets into the stove's burn pot, which is where the fire is created. The burn pot mixes fuel and air to build flames and heat the room. Wood pellet stoves also contain ash pots, which collect leftover ash and debris from the burning process.

    Unlike traditional stoves, pellet stoves work by using the process of convection. During this process, the air becomes lighter and less dense as it increases in temperature. Hot air rises above the cool air to produce more heat. Pellet stoves have a convection blower, which pulls in cold air from the surrounding room. As the cooler air passes over the fire, the hot air rises and moves across a heat exchanger. This device transfers the warmer air across the room, warming the space.

    Thermostats power most pellet stoves. The thermostat level controls the number of pellets that move into the burn pot. And the more pellets you burn, the hotter the room becomes.

    How Many Amps Does a Pellet Stove Use?

    Most pellet stoves require about 2.5 to 3 amps of electricity. This number represents the maximum amount of amps needed, because manufacturers often rate pellet stoves with more amps than necessary. That way, users have a cushion for electricity requirements just in case they fall short.

    Because pellet stoves function through electricity, it's important to have backup sources of energy in case of power outages. Understanding amp usage helps you prepare backup sources like batteries. For example, finding an appropriately-sized battery requires specifications like:

    • Battery bank size
    • Amps used
    • Make and model of the stove
    • Average operating input current

    Pellet Stove Efficiency: How Much Electricity Does a Wood Pellet Stove Use?

    If you're considering purchasing a wood pellet stove, you might question how much electricity it typically uses. After all, utility bills are a significant portion of monthly expenses. Most wood pellet stoves need electricity to run. The electricity powers the fans, controls and pellet feeders, allowing them to function smoothly. They normally consume about 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month, which translates to around $9 per month in costs.

    You can calculate your average usage cost by referencing the U.S. Energy Department's table of state costs. They designate the average retail price, which is cents per kilowatt-hour. You can find your state's average retail price and multiply it by your stove's kWh usage.

    How Efficient Is a Pellet Stove?

    Let's face it — heating your home can be expensive. Efficient heating options warm your home without breaking the bank. The more efficient your heating device is, the less energy it uses. In other words, higher efficiency usually equals lower energy bills.

    Efficiency is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This percentage represents how much energy your heating system converts into usable heat. High percentages mean higher efficiency rates. For example, let's say your heater has an AFUE rating of 85%. This metric indicates that the system uses 85% of the generated energy while wasting 15% of it.

    Pellet stoves are known to be highly efficient. EPA-certified stoves typically have 70% to 83% efficiency, making them strong alternatives to other options. Their performance is largely due to the wood pellets' design, which is:

    • Compact: Wood pellets are compact but contain high amounts of energy. The small size allows stoves to use less energy to burn through them.
    • Low-moisture: The pellets also have low moisture contents, which lets them burn hotter. This trait also creates long-lasting and uniform heat, creating more comfort for homes.
    • Organic consistency: Wood pellets have an organic consistency that also contributes to their efficiency. Pellets consist of sawdust, wood chips, bark and other natural materials. The organic makeup makes it easier to burn through them. And, pellet stoves produce very little ash and smoke, making them a cleaner choice overall.

    What Are the Differences Between a Pellet Stove and a Wood Stove?

    Another popular choice for home heating is a wood stove. These systems are also standalone options but use firewood to warm spaces. Both stove types produce dry and consistent heat.

    It's easy to get confused about the differences between pellet stoves and wood stoves. After all, they both heat your home and have similar names. But the two options have some crucial differences that set them apart. For instance, they vary by:

    • Fuel type: One of the biggest differences between the two is their respective fuel types. Wood pellet stoves use pellets, while wood stoves burn through traditional firewood. You can retrieve firewood in various ways, from purchasing it to collecting it yourself. On the other hand, you have to buy wood pellets on most occasions. The two stoves also differ by fuel storage — you keep wood pellets in a dry indoor space like a garage or shed, but usually store firewood outdoors.
    • Fuel cost: Next, wood stoves and pellet stoves have different fuel expenses. Depending on your location and availability, wood pellets or firewood might be more costly than the other. It's also important to consider fuel longevity. Your average usage amount will impact how quickly you burn through resources and can drive up your costs.
    • Life span: Both stove types can last around 20 years. However, wood pellet stoves have more electrical parts that could wear down over time. For instance, it uses fans, motors and switches to operate. If one of these parts fails, you would need to either replace it or the entire unit.
    • Environmental impact: Overall, wood pellet stoves have a lower environmental impact than wood stoves. Pellet stoves produce less ash and release fewer emissions, making them the greener choice. And, wood pellet stoves are often more efficient.
    • Installation method: Wood stoves usually require an insulated chimney system to get rid of the smoke. On the other hand, wood pellet stoves are usually standalone structures and are easy to install. Both options need proper installation methods for safe use. Incorrect installation can lead to fire risks. You normally need a permit for both types before installation to ensure it meets building codes.

    What Is the Average Pellet Stove Cost per Month?

    Let's take a closer look at other pellet stove costs per month. Breaking down different costs can help you gain a more complete understanding of this investment.

    First, you'll face initial costs when you purchase the pellet stove. Your upfront costs will vary depending on the type of pellet stove you choose. For instance, your first expenses depend on factors like:

    • Stove type: You can select a freestanding stove or insert one into your wall. Pellet stove inserts are often more expensive because of additional installation procedures, like drilling holes into the wall surface. And, you usually have to connect insert stoves to your chimney, which costs extra. On the other hand, you can place freestanding stoves in any location without extra setup processes.
    • Size: The stove's size also impacts its overall cost. Larger stoves emit more heat but typically have higher price tags. Pellet stove size is often measured by British thermal units (BTU). The higher the BTU, the more expensive your stove will likely become. Your stove size should adequately heat your home or desired room.
    • Model: You can find many different pellet stove brands and models. All these options vary in price, depending on manufacturer quality, efficiency, market trends and more. Reputable and popular brands will likely have higher premiums than newer or lower-quality ones.

    In addition to your upfront expenses, you'll have to pay ongoing usage fees. These are some costs you can face each month:

    • Fuel expenses: You need a steady supply of pellets to power your pellet stove. Many different suppliers and pellet types are available, so your monthly fuel costs can vary. Most suppliers sell pellets in large packages, such as 40-pound bags. This size bag is usually between $5 to $9 and is enough to power the stove for about 24 hours. The number of bags you buy depends on your typical stove usage. For example, if you use your stove for five days throughout the month, your monthly fuel expense might be around $35 to $45.
    • Usage expenses: Next, you can factor in electricity costs. As mentioned, pellet stoves cost about $9 per month in electricity expenses. This price varies based on your location and typical usage.
    • Maintenance expenses: Lastly, your pellet stove needs regular maintenance, which can add to your monthly costs. You need to clean it consistently and remove leftover ash from the ash pot. In addition, many owners hire HVAC professionals to inspect and service the stove once a year. If any stove components break down, you will also have to cover repair costs.

    Can You Heat Your Whole House With a Pellet Stove?

    Yes, you can use a pellet stove as a primary heat source. Pellets are a renewable resource, so you should have a steady fuel supply for as long as your stove functions. Extremely large houses might require additional heaters to reach a comfortable temperature, but small and average-sized homes can usually heat the entire area with one stove.

    Your stove needs proper air movement and ductwork to heat the entire house. You can connect the pellet stove to your pipes and ducts to facilitate heat flow. Once you load the stove with pellets, it supplies consistent heat for your home.

    The number of pellets your stove requires depends on your home's size. If you use the stove 24 hours each day, you'll need a consistent supply of bags to maintain warmth. But if you only turn on the pellet stove for a few hours, one bag will last longer.

    How Can You Get the Most Out of Your Pellet Stove?

    After you purchase your wood pellet stove, you might wonder how to make your pellet stove more efficient. You can maximize your pellet stove investment by following these tips:

    • Follow the maintenance recommendations: Your stove will likely come with manufacturer instructions and maintenance rules. For instance, a certain pellet type might help the stove perform at its best. You might also have to clean the stove a specific number of times each month or schedule a visit with an HVAC technician. Follow these maintenance recommendations as closely as you can to ensure your pellet stove can function properly. That way, you're more likely to avoid repair costs.
    • Research as much as possible: Finding the best pellet stove for your needs requires research. With so many brands and sizes available, identifying the best fit can seem overwhelming. Researching available options, average costs and other considerations can help you purchase a pellet stove that matches your home specifications. And, it gives you a better idea of how to run the stove once you own it.
    • Stock up on pellets: If you're relying on a pellet stove as your sole heat source, it's essential to maintain a sufficient supply of pellets. After you use the stove for a few months or a year, you can understand your home's typical usage. You can estimate how many pellets you usually use throughout the month and buy the correct quantity. It's also a good idea to purchase extra for a backup supply.

    Update Your Home’s HVAC With Ingram's Water & Air

    wood pellet stove is an excellent option for heating your home. Its energy efficiency and low overall costs set it apart from other heating choices. At Ingram's Water & Air, we understand the importance of high-quality HVAC solutions. Heating plays a direct role in your home's comfort, and you deserve the best quality possible.

    We offer a wide range of heating and cooling units for your home. Our knowledgeable team can help you find the personalized HVAC solution that meets your home's needs. We also offer:

    • Product warranties
    • Competitive prices
    • Free product estimates
    • Technical help with unit installation
    • Top-rated brands and a broad selection

    To get started with Ingram's Water and Air, shop online today.

  • Troubleshooting Your Furnace When it Stops Working

    Troubleshooting Your Furnace When it Stops Working

    Troubleshooting your furnace stops working can help you keep your home warm. Browse Ingram's Water & Air for furnaces if your home needs an upgrade.
  • Holiday Sale on MrCool Universal & MrCool DIY Systems - 2022

    Holiday Sale on MrCool Universal & MrCool DIY Systems - 2022

    Save big on MrCool DIY and MrCool Universal systems this Christmas season with our special 2022 Holiday Sale. Shop & save now...
  • Furnace Flue Pipes: Installation, Inspection, and Care

    Furnace Flue Pipes: Installation, Inspection, and Care

    A furnace flue pipe removes harmful gases from your home's air. Ensure your flue pipe is properly installed, regularly inspected and adequately cared for.
  • Is Zoned Heating and Cooling Right for You?

    Is Zoned Heating and Cooling Right for You?

    A zoned HVAC system can significantly increase your energy savings. Browse a wide selection of efficient HVAC systems from Ingrams Water & Air.
  • What Is the Best AC Temperature for the Summer?

    What Is the Best AC Temperature for the Summer?

    When it gets hotter during the summer, it can be challenging to keep your home cool without increasing your energy expenses. Staying cool inside often means leaving your AC on all of the time, driving up your cooling costs. Finding the best summer temperature for your AC will help you stay comfortable without costing you too much money.

    Along with finding the perfect summer AC temperature, using different tricks and tools to cool your house will save energy costs and maintain a cool indoor environment. Find the best temperature and strategies for staying cool all summer long below.

    Why 78 Degrees Is the Best Temperature in the Summer

    Your comfortable indoor temperature might change depending on clothing, outdoor temperature, activity or preferences. Everyone is different and will have a favorite coolness and warmth setting for their home. While every homeowner has their comfort temperature, Energy Star recommends setting thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer when you're home.

    Many people think 72 degrees is a suitable temperature for summer air conditioning, but it's actually too low to help you save money. For your home, 78 degrees is the best temperature in the summer since it's cool enough that you aren't overheating but close enough to hotter outdoor temperatures that your AC doesn't have to work as hard to maintain it. The closer the indoor temperature is to outdoor conditions, the lower your energy bill.

    What Is the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

    For nighttime, you want the temperature to be lower. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting your AC between 60 and 67 degrees to get the best sleep. Your body cools down as you fall asleep, so sleeping in a cool room helps you get to sleep better. Since the temperature cools down at night, you can lower your AC without increasing your energy bill too much — the system won't have to use as much energy to achieve the cooler temperature, and you'll sleep better when you aren't hot.

    If you can sleep with the AC set higher at night, leave the temperature above 70. Use fans, open windows, thin pajamas and light sheets to help you stay cool while you're sleeping. Summer nights are much cooler than days, so take advantage and let night air flow through your house with open windows for a natural alternative to using the AC.

    What Is the Best Temperature for Babies?

    Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) standards keep newborn rooms between 72 and 78 degrees to regulate infant temperatures. Since babies aren't as good at regulating their body temperatures, you'll want to keep their rooms at a comfortably warm level.

    For babies and toddlers, 65 to 70 degrees is a good level to keep their rooms at. If you are unsure of exactly what temperature to set, aim for something slightly warmer and ensure it's a level you would be comfortable wearing a T-shirt in.

    What Is the Best Temperature for Older Adults?

    Older adults should set their homes to at least 70 degrees to keep their bodies regulated in summer. As we get older, we become more sensitive to cold and heat. Older adults need to stay at a comfortable temperature to prevent overheating or hypothermia. To save energy costs, close doors and vents in rooms you don't use so your AC focuses on rooms you'll be in. Stay hydrated and cover windows to keep the house cool.

    What Is the Best Temperature for Pets and Plants?

    We aren't the only living things in our homes — our pets and plants need to stay happy and healthy, too. Whether you have animals or greenery inside, set your house climate to something that suits them.

    For dogs and cats, temperatures from 68 to 75 degrees during the day work well. Animals with longer hair might not handle heat as well as short-haired pets, so lower the AC if you have especially furry friends. If you have spiders, snakes, lizards, birds, rodents or some other kind of pet, they might have more specific climate needs. Do some research and talk to pet store employees to find out the best temperature for your pet.

    If you have houseplants, you'll need to keep them in the best growing conditions. Many houseplants, while highly adaptable, are tropical. Many plants can tolerate 58- to 86-degree environments, but keeping them in rooms 70 to 80 degrees is best for their health. At night, you can lower the temperature to 65-70 degrees. Use pebble trays with water for a cost-effective humidity-producer for your plants.

    What Is the Best Temperature for Your Belongings?

    While our first thought when cooling our house is our family members, our belongings can become damaged if they get too hot. If you have significant family photographs, documents and prints, the National Archives recommends storing them in cool places below 75 degrees. This helps protect them from chemical decay and fading.

    For your electronics, try to prevent them from overheating. Components can suffer if exposed to more extreme temperatures, so keep them in moderate conditions. Laptops are built to function between 50 and 95 degrees, but room temperature — around 68-74 degrees — is best for keeping them in working order.

    Most belongings can handle the same indoor temperatures you can, so don't worry too much about your belongings during the summer. If you think it's getting too hot in your house for your belongings, move them to a cool, dark space for protection.

    Tips for Staying Cool During the Summer

    While 78 degrees is the best temperature for your AC in summer, it can be on the warmer side for many people. If your house feels too hot, you could end up adjusting the AC again, driving up your energy bill. To help keep your home comfortable, try some of these helpful tips.

    Use Fans

    Fans and ventilation are an excellent way to keep cool during hot periods. Use small electric fans to blow air onto you and stay refreshed in summer. For an extra cooling breeze, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan. As the ice melts, the cool water vapor blows onto you with the help of the fan.

    Remember that fans cool people and not rooms — small fans are great for keeping the heat off you but won't cool down an entire space. Always turn fans off when you aren't in the room — this can help save you money on your electric bill.

    To help with humidity, use bathroom fans. Too much moisture can make a room feel even hotter than it is, so turn off any humidifiers while inside. While you shower, put the bathroom fans on to remove that excess humidity. Consider buying dehumidifiers if your home's humidity is too high. Dehumidifiers help remove the moisture from a space, making it feel cooler, so you don't need to lower your temperature.

    Change the Ceiling Fan Direction

    Along with the smaller box, desk or oscillating fans, ceiling fans are perfect for getting a gentle breeze. They work great and send out lots of air so you don't feel the summer heat. In summer, always make sure fans are spinning counterclockwise. This direction pushes the cool air down, blowing it onto you instead of pulling it up. Ceiling fans will help you feel cooler without using the AC unit.

    Increase the Temperature While You're Away

    Set your thermostat higher when you're not home for higher energy savings. Setting the thermostat 7-10 degrees higher than its usual setting for eight hours a day can save you up to 10% on your yearly cooling bill. By not having your house constantly cooling when you aren't there, your AC system will use less energy, work less hard and last longer.

    If you can't set your thermostat that high for eight hours every day, any time spent with the system set higher will still help save you money. A few hours every day at a higher setting will reduce the work your AC system is doing and lower the amount you'll have to spend on cooling costs. Try turning the AC off at night when it's cooler if possible and use fans or open windows to keep you from overheating.

    Close Shades and Weatherstrip Doors

    Closing shades or using good curtains to cover the windows during the day keeps the heat out and the cool in. Sunlight and warmth come through uncovered windows during the day, heating your home and causing your AC to kick on more frequently. Blocking the sunlight with closed shades or thick curtains will prevent most of the heat from sneaking indoors during the day.

    Weatherstripping doors and windows is a great way to insulate your house against heat and cold. Small gaps and cracks between door and window frames allow air to travel in and out of your house. Larger holes and leaks will let the cool air inside escape, making your AC work harder and heating up your home. Put quality weatherstripping on your doors and windows to create an insulated barrier, trapping the cool air indoors and keeping your house cool.

    Avoid Using Heat-Generating Appliances

    Appliances like ovens, stoves and dryers can raise indoor temperatures. Try to use them after 8 p.m. to avoid heating the house. If you have to use them during the day, try to run them only once to reduce the heat entering your home. While these appliances don't always raise temperatures a lot, any excess heat sitting in your home will cause the AC to work harder, increasing energy costs.

    Open Windows at Night

    Opening your windows at night is a great, cost-effective way to cool your house down. Cooler night air and breezes can flow through the house, lowering the temperature and saving your AC unit from having to do all the work. Turn your AC off at night and let the nighttime air blow inside, relieving you from the day's heat. Just make sure your unit can handle frequent turning on and off — repeatedly switching a unit on may wear it out, so consider getting a variable-speed unit to avoid this issue.

    While opening windows in the evening and at night is an excellent way to stay cool, keep your windows closed during the day. Open windows will let the heat and warmth of summer travel inside while the cool AC air gets sucked out. Even if there's a gentle daytime breeze, it won't be enough to keep the house cool without making your AC system work harder. Keep windows closed and covered during the day and open them at night for the best, least expensive cooling.

    Get Seasonal AC Maintenance

    You rely on your AC system to keep you cool during hot summers, and the last thing you want is an unexpected issue or outage. Forgetting seasonal AC maintenance is a common air conditioning mistake that can cost you a lot.

    Your AC constantly runs during the summer, so it needs routine maintenance to work correctly. A damaged or unmaintained unit can run less efficiently, working harder to cool the home and costing you more money on your cooling bills. The more you put off maintenance, the more likely you will need a more extensive, more expensive repair down the road.

    AC maintenance will check for issues, perform tune-ups and catch concerns before they turn into problems. Get your AC system checked at least once a year before the summer starts to keep your unit running efficiently for the whole summer.

    Seasonal maintenance will help prevent problems that cause your AC to go out, which would leave you stuck without a cool house in the middle of summer. Look into local companies' maintenance programs — they're often low-cost and easy to get. Some AC systems will even have seasonal check-ups included in their warranties for easy servicing.

    Get a Programmable Thermostat

    Programmable thermostats are a convenient way to help reduce energy costs. Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to set a schedule, setting different temperatures at different times. With a programmable unit, you don't have to remember to change the thermostat when you leave or come back home. The system will do it automatically based on the schedule you've set for each day.

    Setting a schedule and letting the house stay warmer will help cut energy costs at the push of a button. You can set different schedules for specific days, allowing you to keep the house cool all weekend when you're home and letting the house warm up during the day while you're at work. Look at installing energy-efficient thermostats or AC systems and potentially receiving energy rebates, saving even more.

    Stay Cool and Save on Your Energy Bill

    Using intelligent strategies when cooling your home will help you increase your energy efficiency and save you money during the summer. Energy-conscious systems might let you qualify for energy rebates, saving you even more on your energy bills, and programmable thermostats allow easy control over your AC system for lower cooling costs. Maximize your home's temperature system affordably with quality air conditioning products.

    With over 30 years of experience, Ingram's Water & Air offers expert resources and high-quality HVAC products to ensure your home is as comfortable and cost-efficient as possible. Explore our heating and air conditioning options to find the best system for your home today.

  • How Long is an Average Furnace Life?

    How Long is an Average Furnace Life?

    Knowing the signs of an aging furnace will help you understand when it needs to be repaired, or when it needs to be replaced.
  • Gas Furnace Maintenance: What's Involved?

    Gas Furnace Maintenance: What's Involved?

    Staying on top of your furnace maintenance schedule will extend its life and improve its operation. Learn what entails furnace service here.
  • Your Heat Pump's Three Operation Cycles

    Your Heat Pump's Three Operation Cycles

    How does your heat pump provide comfort throughout every season? Learn about your heat pump's three operation cycles here.
  • Ductless Mini-Split or A Window Unit: What's Best for You?

    Ductless Mini-Split or A Window Unit: What's Best for You?

    You need to cool an extra room, but you don't know what unit will be right for you. Learn whether you need a mini-split or a window unit!
  • What is a U-Shaped Air Conditioner?

    What is a U-Shaped Air Conditioner?

    Have you seen the new u-shaped air conditioner designs hitting the market? Are these superior to conventional window units? Do you need one in your home?
  • MRCOOL Advantage VS MRCOOL DIY

    MRCOOL Advantage VS MRCOOL DIY

    What's the difference between the MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY? Aren't they basically the same thing? Aren't all MRCOOL products the same?
  • What Are Heat and Air Wall Units?

    What Are Heat and Air Wall Units?

    Want comfort? Heating and air conditioning wall units help you maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature within your home despite the weather outside.
  • How Do Boilers Work?

    How Do Boilers Work?

    You can use a wide variety of heating systems to heat your home, with boilers being one of the more traditional options. Are they the right choice for you?
  • Types of Fireplaces: Which Is Right for Your Home

    Types of Fireplaces: Which Is Right for Your Home

    We'll help you figure out what your options are, what types of fireplaces to consider, and where to shop for the best indoor fireplaces.
  • Mini-Split Heating - A Good Fit for Your Lifestyle?

    Mini-Split Heating - A Good Fit for Your Lifestyle?

    Mini-split heating could be the tool you need to get effective winter comfort wherever and whenever you need it in your home.
  • Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace

    Vented vs Ventless Gas Fireplace

    Which kind of fireplace is right for you and your family's needs. This vented vs ventless gas fireplace guide can help you understand the differences.
  • Is a Dual Fuel Heat Pump Worth It?

    Is a Dual Fuel Heat Pump Worth It?

    A dual fuel heat pump is a heat pump and gas furnace system that uses both a heat pump and gas to heat. Dual fuel heat pumps are smart and efficient.
  • Air Conditioning for Smaller Spaces

    Air Conditioning for Smaller Spaces

    While some people need a central air system powerful enough to cool a whole house, sometimes you just need air conditioning for smaller spaces.

Items 1 to 21 of 96 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5