ANSWERS ABOUT OUR ENERGY AUDIT & INDOOR AIR QUALITY SERVICES
SERVING THE HOUSTON, TX AREA
Q: WHY SHOULD I SCHEDULE AN ENERGY AUDIT?
- To increase the comfort of your home
- To increase the durability of your home
- To ensure that energy improvement recommendations are portrayed with reasonable and consistent projections of energy savings
- To increase the energy efficiency of your home
- To reduce waste and pollution, protecting the environment
Q: WHAT IS HOME PERFORMANCE STUDY?
Hage Energy is all about making existing homes more comfortable, safer, healthier, more durable, and more energy efficient. Our energy consultants use proven building science to examine the whole home and how different systems within it interact. These systems include the building envelope (shell), heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, and the occupants themselves.
Q: WHAT SERVICES MIGHT BE INCLUDED IN A HOME PERFORMANCE PROJECT?
Our experts will conduct several home safety tests, including an energy audit, air leakage tests, carbon monoxide tests, combustion appliance back-draft, testing, and other safety tests.
Q: CAN AN INVESTMENT IN HOME PERFORMANCE HELP MAKE MY HOUSE MORE COMFORTABLE?
Yes, because a home performance project will assess many different energy systems in your home to determine what problems are causing you to waste energy. Living more efficiently can help you live more comfortably.
Q: CAN A HOME PERFORMANCE PROJECT HELP ME LOWER MY ENERGY BILLS?
Yes, a home performance project can reduce annual utility bills by as much as 20 percent (U.S. EPA, U.S. DOE, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Brochure, EPA 430-F-09-001, January 2009)
Q: WHAT ARE LED LIGHTS?
LED stands for light-emitting diodes, which produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them.
Q: HOW IS LED LIGHTING DIFFERENT THAN OTHER LIGHT SOURCES, SUCH AS INCANDESCENT AND CFL?
LED lighting is considered much more efficient than incandescent or compact fluorescent lighting. The way LED lighting produces light is a little different from other light sources. LED uses light emitting diodes to produce light. LEDs are illuminated by an electrical current passing through semiconductor material. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, which is different from how incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs emit light.
Q: WHY IS ATTIC VENTILATION SO IMPORTANT?
Attic temperatures can reach over 150° F in the summer with inadequate ventilation, which can cost homeowners a lot of money in the long run.
Moisture is a common problem in attics that can lead to a lot of other serious issues. It can warp and damage the roof, ruin the insulation, and cause mold problems, which will also cause moisture problems in other areas of the house. All these issues can lead to structural damage, which can cost a great deal of money to repair.
Proper attic ventilation can also help to keep cooling costs down in the summer. Houston weather can get very hot, so it is important to have a good working air conditioner. If the attic is not ventilated correctly, the heat that rises to the attic will hover there because it has nowhere else to go. The heat in the attic will then work its way back down into the living space, causing the air conditioner to have to work harder to keep the house cool. This will not only make the cooling bill significantly higher, but it will also put a lot more wear and tear on the air conditioning unit.
Q: WHY SHOULD I PURCHASE A NEW HEATING OR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM?
At Hage Energy, we realize that purchasing a heating or air conditioning system is no small matter. However, if your existing system is old, in need of repair, or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit, one which can be as much as 60% more efficient than a system purchased just 10 years ago, can offer long-term benefits.
Rather than continuing to pay for ongoing maintenance and costly monthly bills, invest in a new system today that will save you money for years to come.
Q: HOW CAN I FIND THE SYSTEM THAT’S RIGHT FOR ME?
There are many heating and air conditioning systems to choose from today. Your Hage Energy Comfort Specialist can draw on a vast degree of heating and air conditioning knowledge and experience to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, local and regional utility costs, and utility incentive/rebate programs are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system. Hage Energy, utilizing the latest technology, considers all these factors while assisting you in choosing the best system for your home.
Consumers seeking to replace an existing system often choose a new unit with equal or higher efficiency ratings compared to their previous system. Replacing a unit that is 10 to 15 years old may reduce natural gas or electricity costs by 30 to 50%.
Contact Hage Energy today to help determine initial cost, warranty protection, service options, maintenance options, operating cost, and proper installation.
Q: HOW DO I DETERMINE THE SIZE, OR CAPACITY, OF MY HVAC SYSTEM?
We will consider factors such as the size of your home, the number of residents in your home, the number of windows in your home, and the number of heat-producing fixtures in your home. Our specialists will factor all of this in to determine the appropriate heating or cooling unit for your home.
Q: WHAT GOES INTO INSTALLING A NEW SYSTEM?
A new ductwork system will have to be installed to handle the flow of air in and out of your new HVAC unit. Ductwork is the most important installation to make, since it determines the amount of air coming in and out of the system.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I REPLACE MY OLD SYSTEM?
We start the replacement process by inspecting your home. This inspection includes a detailed look at your ductwork, insulation, refrigerant, wiring, slabs, piping, and more.
Q: HOW LONG WILL MY SYSTEM LAST?
Your air conditioner can last for more than a decade if you stick to regular maintenance and service.
Q: DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY INDOOR COIL?
It is generally a good idea to replace the indoor coil if you are also replacing your air conditioner or heat pump. There is a correlation between the efficiency of your heating or cooling system and the performance of the indoor coil, and changing out the current indoor coil for a new one may be critical to optimizing the performance, the efficiency, and the savings potential of your new system.
Q: WHERE CAN I LOCATE MY AIR HANDLER OR FURNACE SYSTEM?
Depending on the design of your home, you can find your furnace system in several different locations. These systems are typically found in basements, while others may be in closets, attics, outside the home, or even on your roof.
Q: WHAT IS A HEAT PUMP?
A heat pump moves hot or cold air from one space to another. This includes moving hot air from inside to outside or exterior heat to the inside of your home.
Q: WHAT CAN I DO TO CONTROL THE HUMIDITY LEVELS IN MY HOME?
The air handler is designed to control the humidity levels in your home. Variable-speed furnaces also do the job. These products remove moisture from your home, which lowers the humidity.
Q: WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE CALLING SOMEONE TO SERVICE MY SYSTEM?
You can try disconnecting and reconnecting your indoor and outdoor switches to see if that fixes the problem. You can also simply check that your circuit breakers are in the ON position and that your filters are clean. Another check you can try is to open supply and return vents to look for obstructions and check the settings on your thermostat. Depending on what you want, you can also make sure your system switch is on the appropriate COOL or HEAT setting.
Q: WHAT IS AFUE?
AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas, or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs. Furnaces manufactured in the United States are required to have at least an 80% AFUE.
Q: WHAT IS HSPF?
HSPF is the abbreviation for the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, which is a rating of the efficiency level of the heating operation of a heat pump. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the heating performance of a heat pump. New units in the United States have HSPF ratings from 7.0 to 9.4.
Q: WHAT IS R-22?
R-22 is the common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the United States Clean Air Act has set a target date for January 1, 2010, on which HVAC manufacturers must cease the production of products that use R-22.
Q: WHAT IS R-410A?
R-410A is the common name for an emerging hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that is being used as a refrigerant in the HVAC industry. R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is being considered the most likely replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufacturers. At the beginning of 2010, the use of alternate refrigerant will be required in HVAC manufacturing.
Q: WHAT IS ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a program that was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help businesses and individuals make energy-efficient purchases.
This program places the ENERGY STAR label, a small blue and white logo, on items that meet superior energy efficiency standards. This label provides an easy way for consumers to identify quality, high-efficiency products.
For more information about the Energy Star program, please view their website at www.energystar.gov.