9 Ways to Save Energy & Reduce Your Energy Costs This Summer

The heat is on St. Thomas!

It’s time to make a game plan for saving energy this summer and avoiding skyrocketing energy bills. Here are a variety of ways you can offset the season’s rising temperatures.

1. FAN YOURSELF
Buying stand, box or ceiling fans is a small investment that can reduce your energy costs. Using fans to help cool your home means you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level. Just remember to turn off the fans when you’re not in the room. They aren’t intended to cool the space — just the people in the space, via the wind chill effect.

2. OPTIMIZE YOUR THERMOSTAT SETTING
According to the Department of Energy, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees F / 25 C in the summer can save you up to 10% in energy costs each year. If 78 f / 25 C is too warm for you, you can adjust it a bit lower to be comfortable. Just remember that for every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 F / 22 C, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.

Consider getting aprogrammable thermostat, so you can program a warmer setting when you’re not home and automatically start cooling your home right before you get back. If you’re into technology, try a wireless remote thermostat, like the ComfortLink™ II,  that can be paired with the Nexia™ system and your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to control your air conditioner from wherever you are.

3. UPGRADE YOUR AIR CONDITIONER AND APPLIANCES
If you’re ready to take your summer energy savings to the next level, go for a system upgrade. Heating and cooling use nearly half of the energy in your home, so investing in an energy-efficient system is a smart move that will save you money in the long run.

When you’re upgrading your air conditioner, look for Energy Star certified systems that have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. They’ll be 15% more efficient than other models. While you’re going green, think about upgrading your entire home with Energy Star appliances. At the very least, schedule seasonal maintenance for your air conditioner and other systems, so they’re working their best.

4. GO LOW FLOW
In the summer, water usage usually increases — whether it’s watering your lawn or taking more post-swim showers. Keep outdoor watering costs down by only watering grass and plants in the early morning or at dusk, so the water doesn’t evaporate in the summer heat. Another secret to having an energy-efficient home is installing low-flow water fixtures. These work well on showerheads, toilets and even your outdoor sprinkler.

5. WASH WITH COLD WATER
Here’s a quick summertime money saver. Change up your laundry routine by only washing and rinsing your clothes with cold water. If you do it year-round, it could save you around $200 annually.

6. CLOSE THE BLINDS & CHECK YOUR SEALS
Kicking up the AC isn’t the only way to keep your home cooler in the hot summer months. Take a quick walk around the house and close all the blinds and curtains. This will keep your rooms from heating up too much and being super hard to cool with your air conditioner or fan. Another tip to keep warm air outside is to add weather stripping to your doors and windows.

7. KEEP YOUR FRIDGE COOL
Your refrigerator and freezer are essential to keeping your lemonade and popsicles cold all summer long. So, here are a few tips to save on your energy bill by maintaining your refrigerator properly. Set the thermostat between 35 and 38 degrees for the refrigerator and between 0 and 5 degrees for the freezer. Check the door seal and vacuum the coils. Make sure your fridge is always full of food (or even just jugs of water), so there’s less air space for it to have to cool.

8. RELAX AND UNPLUG
Keep your electronics from sucking up all your summer energy by unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when you’re not using them. It’s an easy way to save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.

9. DINE OUT
Whether you’re grilling a great meal or treating yourself to dinner at one of our great restaurants in St. Thomas Ontario (#stthomasproud), steering clear of your kitchen in the summer can reduce your energy bill. Using kitchen appliances can raise the temperature by 10 degrees. Not only will you reduce the energy you use to run those appliances, but you’ll also save on air conditioning costs to cool down your home.

Now that you’ve got a variety of energy-saving ideas that range from new habits to efficient upgrades, challenge yourself to see if you can lower your energy costs this summer. Then use those savings for a weekend vacation in the fall!

 

#StThomasNewACInstallation

#StthomasProud

#airconditioner

#StThomasEmergencyACRepair

#GastechSolutions

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5 Air Conditioning Myths That Are Costing You Money

Don’t waste your energy on these common beliefs

Want to save money on your air conditioning expenses and energy bills? Then don’t buy into these common A/C myths.

1. MYTH: THE SIZE OF YOUR A/C UNIT ISN’T IMPORTANT

FACT: The size of your HVAC unit depends on the size of your space. A too-small air conditioning system will have to work harder to cool your home and wear down sooner. A too-large system will keep turning off and on until it breaks down. Call 519-633-5106 to speak to a pro, we can help you choose the right size HVAC unit for your home.

2. MYTH: TURN THE TEMPERATURE DOWN FOR QUICKER COOLING

FACT: Your air conditioning unit works just as hard whether you lower it 3 degrees or 30 degrees — getting to the temperature you want is just a matter of time. If you set it lower than you need to and forget about it, you’ll end up paying a higher bill. Try using a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat to save money and get the temperature you actually want.

3. MYTH: YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE THE AIR FILTERS

FACT: You may vacuum your home on a regular basis, but it’s still important to check your air filters. Air filters are typically inexpensive and can save you money on repair costs and your electric bill in the long run. If you have trouble finding your air filter or replacing it, call a specialist to help you with replacement every 30-90 days.>

4. MYTH: RUN YOUR HVAC SYSTEM UNTIL IT QUITS

FACT: You’ll often hear this myth regarding cars, but it applies to HVAC units, too. Replacing an air conditioner might be more expensive upfront, but running your unit past its expiration date will be less efficient and cost you money in the long run on repairs. Start saving money on your energy bills sooner by replacing your old unit before it quits on you.

5. MYTH: MAINTENANCE DOESN’T MATTER

FACT: Broken units are inefficient units, so keep your HVAC unit performing at its peak. What might seem like a minor issue now could become an expensive one later if you don’t repair it. Gastech Solutions can help you with any and all issues you might be having with your air conditioning system. Consider purchasing a seasonal maintenance plan to keep your system in top shape year-round.

Call 519-633-5106 Schedule your seasonal maintenance today!

 

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How to Prep Your Home Before You Go on Vacation

Your must-do vacation checklist.

It might take a little extra work to get your home ready for vacation, but you’ll be able to relax more once you’re at your destination. Consider this your checklist for peace-of-mind while you’re getting away.

DON’T LEAVE ANY CLUES FOR THIEVES

Vacation season is prime time for criminals to make a visit. Take a few precautions to make your home look lived-in while you’re away. 

  • Park at least one car in the driveway, so it looks like someone’s at home
  • Hold all mail and packages or ask a neighbor to bring in your deliveries
  • Bring in your spare keys
  • Put your lights on a timer to mimic your family’s typical schedule
  • Mow your lawn and trim hedges
  • Set up smart locks for helpful neighbors and pet sitters
  • Play it safe and don’t mention your travel plans on social media

PRE-CLEAN YOUR HOUSE

Nobody wants to come home to a stinky situation. Keep your vacation vibe going by taking time to tidy up before you head out. That way you can come home and rest, instead of cleaning up a mess.

  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer (before you take out the trash!)
  • Take out the trash — check every room
  • Vacuum, dust and wipe down counters and sinks
  • Make your bed, so you can sink right in when you get back

SET EVERYTHING TO ENERGY-SAVING MODE

If you’re gone for 3 days or more, take a vacation from your electric bill by dialing back your energy usage.

  • Set thermostats up to 25 degrees in the summer and as low as 13 degrees in the winter. If you have pets staying at home while you’re gone, choose a setting that will still keep them comfortable.
  • If you use smart home automation, turn your thermostat off completely so it won’t turn on every time your neighbor brings in the mail. Again, if you have pets staying in the house, keep the thermostat on and set at a comfortable temperature.
  • Unplug small electronics, especially chargers, which continually draw electricity and can increase your electric bill.
  • Close blinds and curtains to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Then your air conditioner and heater won’t have to work too hard while you’re on vacation.
  • Put the water heater on vacation mode if it has that option, so it operates more efficiently and gets a well-deserved break (like you!)

Checked everything off?  Then you’re all set. Enjoy your vacation and relax knowing you’ll come back to a happy home and lower energy bill.

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Gastech Solutions heating and cooling in st thomas ontario #stthomasproud

5 Hot Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool at Home

Energy-saving ideas to keep your pets comfortable this summer.

The dog days of summer are here. Which can be hard on your AC unit and your pets. Keeping your pup cool during the hottest months doesn’t have to be a hassle though. With some careful planning, an HVAC tune-up and a few fun pet products, you and Fido can beat the heat without breaking the bank.

5 WAYS TO KEEP PETS COOL

  1. TURN OFF FANS, LIGHTS AND ELECTRONICS

Turn off the ceiling fan. Fans cool humans by evaporating the sweat on our skin. But because dogs don’t sweat, the air flow from a fan isn’t going to make much of a difference for them in the summer.  So, leave the fan off to save money and energy.

Turn off the lights. Natural light isn’t just for Instagram filters. Pets love it too. Natural light is best light for them. Plus, turning the lights off causes less heat output, which helps keeps your AC from working overtime.

Turn off the TV. Leaving your TV on all day can drive up energy costs by raising indoor temperatures and making your pet more active during the day when they should be resting.

 

  1. GET WITH THE PROGRAM(MABLE) THERMOSTAT

Setting your thermostat to 25 degrees helps cut back on energy costs in the summer. Since regular body temperature for dogs is 3-4 degrees higher than humans, turning the thermostat up won’t adversely affect them. A programmable or smart thermostat will keep your temps on track and allows you to program and adjust temperatures from the house or on-the-go.

 

  1. CHECK FOR LEAKS

Your AC could be running on overdrive without you even knowing, especially if cool air is escaping from doors, windows or air ducts. Adding weather stripping to doors and windows that have gaps in them can keep hot air out. Check to see where plumbing and electrical wiring is coming into your home to make sure there are no big openings.

 

  1. THROW SOME SHADE

Keep the blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day or while you’re at work. This helps keep unwanted heat from coming in via the greenhouse effect your windows can produce. For those of us who didn’t pay attention in 8th-grade science this means sunlight and heat enter, but can’t escape. Which makes your house hotter. Close the drapes, or if you have blinds, tilt the slats upward to help reflect light away from your house.

 

  1. BE ROUTINELY HIGH MAINTENANCE

Check your air filters once a month, especially in the summer, to make sure they are clear from dust and debris. A clogged filter can cause your AC to work overtime. Switching out your filters is a smart way to conserve your energy bill and keep your HVAC working smoothly. On top of monthly air filter checks, having your HVAC cleaned and inspected by Gastech Solutions helps keep things running smoothly all summer long.

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Why isn’t my air conditioner working? Your common cooling problems answered.

What should you do if your AC doesn’t work?

We’ve got troubleshooting tips for this and more common cooling questions.

 

WHY ISN’T MY AIR CONDITIONER WORKING?

ANSWER: Your thermostat is not calibrated properly or set too high
Before calling us, make sure your thermostat is set to cool. Especially at the beginning of a new season, your thermostat may still be in heating mode. Try setting the temperature 2 to 4 degrees below room temperature.

ANSWER: The circuit breaker might have been tripped
Try resetting it.

ANSWER: Clean or replace your filters
Sometimes filters can get clogged and keep cool air from circulating. That’s why we recommend routinely checking and cleaning or replacing your filters as needed. You can use the owner’s manual to find where your air filters are located in your unit. Or contact our office if you’re unsure.

 

WHY IS MY A/C BLOWING WARM AIR?

ANSWER: You’re low on freon
If your air conditioner is running properly, you shouldn’t have to replace freon. However, refrigerant leaks can happen over time, and it is costly!  You don’t want to wait to find the source of the leak. You’ll need an expert to evaluate your system, repair the cause of the leak and restore your freon level. Don’t let a dishonest dealer fill your freon level and leave – you’ll just have to pay to refill it again soon. Trust a Gastech Solutions to help.

WHY DOES MY A/C SMELL LIKE FEET?

ANSWER: You’ve probably got a mold and bacteria build up
Dirty sock syndrome is that moldy odor you get when you turn on your air conditioner for the first time of the season. It’s caused by mold and bacteria on your evaporator coil or other areas of your HVAC system. If the smell lingers after repeated use we recommend having your evaporator coil cleaned by a professional. Other steps you can take to remove musty odors include:

  • Check your filters
  • Clean the drain pan
  • Check your ductwork

WHY IS IT HOT UPSTAIRS AND COLD DOWNSTAIRS?

ANSWER: Your air conditioner can’t keep up. Create climate zones 
The DIY way to do this is to close a few (not all) vents on the first floor. This forces your cooling system to direct more air upstairs. Take this concept to the next level by having Gastech Solutions HVAC install a climate zone system. In this system, heated or cooled air is directed where it’s needed most. If the problem continues, you may not have the right size air conditioner for your home and should consider installing a new air conditioner or one of our ductless systems to cool a single room.

WHY IS THE AIR FLOW SO LOW?

ANSWER: Clean or replace your filters
Over time, dust and dirt will collect on the filter screen. There could also be a blockage in your air ducts. If this is the case, you’ll need Gastech Solutions to inspect the ductwork.

WHY IS MY UTILITY BILL SO HIGH?

ANSWER: Your system is running too much
If you have your thermostat set to a temperature drastically cooler than the outside air temperature, your system has to work harder to maintain that temperature. This can result in a higher than normal utility bill. Try adjusting your thermostat to a more moderate temperature.

ANSWER: Your air conditioner is not energy efficient
If your air conditioner is over 10 years old or has a SEER rating of 10 or less, you’re probably spending more than you should each month in energy costs. Today’s energy-efficient air conditioners have energy-saving features that allow them to cool your home while running on less energy – which can save you money each month.

ONE LAST TIP

A seasonal maintenance inspection can eliminate many if not all of these cooling problems. Contact Gastech Solutions today and ensure your home is cool and comfortable all summer.

 

SAVE $100 on a new AC

CALL US 519-633-5106

Gastech Solutions, Keeping Elgin County Families Cool.

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What Are the Best Air Filters for Allergies?

Find out who wins between flat-panels, pleats, and whole-house

If you’re sniffling and sneezing your way through allergy season, adding the right air filter to your HVAC system can help improve your home’s air quality and ease your allergy symptoms. But deciding which filter to choose can be just as tricky as finding the right allergy medicine. Here’s what you need to know before you go shopping.

TRADITIONAL FIBERGLASS FILTERS

These are the flat-panel filters that have been around for years. They don’t look fancy, but they’re affordable and won’t restrict airflow in your HVAC system as much as the others. However, they’re not great at trapping allergens. These filters will capture less than 10% of the pollutants in your home. But if you’re allergies aren’t terrible, it’s a small investment to give these a try first.

PLEATED FIBERGLASS FILTER

The pleated filters have a lot more surface area and will filter 45% of allergens in your home — including pollen, dust mites and pet dander. You can even find electrostatic filters made with electrically charged materials that are great at attracting particles. The downside is they’re a little bit more expensive and can restrict airflow in your HVAC system. This means your system will have to work harder and it’ll be hard to save money on energy costs during allergy season. But test one out and see if the thicker filter changes the way your heating and cooling system works.

HIGH-EFFICIENCY PARTICULATE AIR (HEPA) FILTERS

These filters are so good that they remove up to 98% of pollutants in the air, but they’re also so thick that they require an extra fan to push air through the filter. That’s why HEPA filters have to be incorporated into a whole-house filtration system, like the Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner. Filtration systems like this can trap particles down to .1 micron in size. And while these filters have the highest cost, they also the biggest impact on improving allergy symptoms.

Before you make your final decision, compare the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of common filter types. You may pay a little more for a higher CADR, but your sinuses will thank you.

furnace filter maintenance in st thomas ontario

Finally, keep in mind that an air filter is just one part of your allergy battle plan. You’ll have a better chance of wiping out allergies if you use multiple tactics. Try adding some of these simple tips into your routine.

  • Keep pets off of furniture and out of bedrooms. If your pets are outside often, allergens will stick to their fur and they’ll bring those particles indoors with them.
  • Shower before you go to bed to remove any allergens that are on your hair and skin.
  • Wash clothing and linens with super hot water to banish dust mites.
  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. A fast way to reduce sniffle-inducing dust and allergens is to vacuum once a day.
  • Keep your windows closed and limit your time outdoors to reduce exposure to pollen and outdoor allergens.
  • Change your air filter once a month
  • Consider a whole-house filtration system for a more robust approach to stopping allergy attacks.

 

Schedule Your Maintenance Today!
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Gastech Solutions heating and cooling in st thomas #stthomasproud

Ready to Sell Your Home? 5 Steps to Prep Your House

Make your home more appealing to buyers, so you can sell faster at the right price.

Selling a house can be stressful. But if you take the time do your homework (we know, bad joke), you can quickly tackle a few improvements to make your home more appealing to buyers.

1. TALK TO A REALTOR.

Before you start making any changes to your home, consult a realtor who knows what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood.

Your realtor can give you insight into which updates will pay off and which ones are a waste of time and money.

They can also recommend preferred contractors, such as HVAC experts like US!

2. CONSIDER GETTING AN INSPECTION BEFORE LISTING YOUR HOUSE.

Inspections can help you competitively price your house and alert you to problems that require repairs or replacement. The more you know, the less there’s a chance for surprises to pop up later in the selling process. Plus, you can manage your repairs budget, instead of answering to the demands of a buyer.

PRO TIP…

Don’t be afraid to spend a little money to fix a potential dealbreaker like a leaky roof, broken window or old appliance. An example — if your inspector discovers that your air conditioner is on its last leg, consider replacing it with a more energy efficient HVAC system that could appeal to buyers and add value to your selling price.

3. MAKE A FEW COSMETIC IMPROVEMENTS.

Curb appeal matters, so invest in a handful of upgrades that’ll make your home look great. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are very important to buyers. Extensive outdoor living space also makes your home more marketable

Improving these areas could be as simple as new paint or seasonal plants. Landscaping and trimming your yard, cleaning gutters, pressure washing, neutral colored paint and a fresh welcome mat can make your home look more inviting to buyers.

4. CLEAN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.

If you want to make your house really shine, then literally make it shine by cleaning every nook and cranny. Hire a professional window washer to let the light in and make your home look brighter. Bring in a house cleaner to make sure every spot is spotless. Find a professional organizer who can thin out your closets and clear the clutter. They can also help you figure out the best way to store your stuff while you’re staging your home for potential buyers.

 

PRO TIP…

Hit the dollar store to snag some affordable decor to freshen up your kitchen or bath. A new set of towels, shower curtain and rugs will make a big difference at your open house.

 

5. TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME.

If you can’t make all the improvements at once, it’s okay. Work with your Realtor to determine which ones will get the most bang for your buck right off the bat. Then have a plan to try different upgrades over time if your home isn’t selling. Trying doing one big repair and a few smaller cosmetic fixes to start.

Don’t forget to set aside extra money in case you need to make more improvements after the buyer’s inspection or if your home stays on the market for longer than expected.

WONDERING IF YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEM?

Give us a call and we can help you determine whether repairs or a replacement will make your home more marketable.

Phone: 519-633-5106

 

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Gastech TV | Episode 1

Gary and Kyle install a new RUDD A/C unit.

Follow Gastech Technician, Kyle along in episode N0.1of GastechTV

Quality Heating and Cooling for your Family’s Comfort. Providing your family the peace of mind of knowing your Air Conditioner, Furnace or whole house system is running safely and efficiently all season.

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A/C Startup Procedures

Don’t forget to change your furnace filter!

All of the previous steps will make sure your A/C is ready to start.
Gas tech recommends yearly maintenance.
We will look after all of it for you,
plus make sure you have no leaks, the unit is cleaned,
working efficiently, and temperatures are accurate
to get yours through the summer!

Providing your family the peace of mind of knowing your Air Conditioner, Furnace or whole house system is running safely and efficiently all season.

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