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Fall/Winter Maintenance Checklist

In central Arizona, winter tends to arrive late and leave early. Even though freezing temperatures are extremely rare, winter does arrive every year, and your furnace needs service and preventative maintenance every winter. Here are five checklist tips to get you through the winter.

    1. Interior air qualityInterior air collects dust, allergens, and other pollutants. Does your furniture need dusting occasionally? The fine particles that you collect when you dust are the same that are circulating in your interior air day after day. In most cases, the quality of your interior air is much poorer than outside air. Your heating and cooling technician can measure your indoor air quality and recommend methods to clean it and reduce harmful pollutants.

      The first line of defense against dirty indoor air is your air filter. Change your furnace filter frequently, use a high-quality air filter, and change it often. If you remove a filter and it is noticeably darker from accumulated dust, you aren’t changing it as often as you should.

Over the years, dust and other pollutants accumulate in ductwork. Professional duct cleaning and sealing will remove years of accumulated grime and improve the quality of the air that is circulating in your home. Devices can be installed in ductwork to kill bacteria, viruses, mold, and other harmful materials in your air. Ask your technician for recommendations.

  1. Thermostat settingsA good rule of thumb for a thermostat is to set it at 68 degrees for the winter and 76 degrees for the summer. In winter, many homeowners choose to lower their thermostats overnight. Every one degree higher in winter or lower in summer will add about 1% to your utility bill. A programmable or smart thermostat will adjust the settings to accommodate your daily and weekly routine. In most cases, programmable and smart thermostats pay for themselves through reduced utility costs.
  2. Furnace maintenanceAn often-overlooked way in which programmable thermostats pay for themselves is that your furnace will run less often, usually giving it additional years of service before needing to be replaced. Regular tune-ups and preventative maintenance will also prolong the efficient operating life of your furnace. Annual service plans pay for themselves, but equally important is the peace of mind that you are not going to have a system breakdown on a cold night or when your family is gathering for the holidays.
  3. Unpleasant smellsWhen furnaces get turned on for the first time after not being used for months, it is not uncommon for homeowners to notice a burning smell. It is likely that the smell comes from the dust that has accumulated over the months of not being used. As the dust burns off, it emits a burning plastic smell. Allow 10-15 minutes for the dust to burn off, and the smell should go away. If the smell lingers longer, there might be a different problem and you should turn the furnace off and call Semper Fi Heating & Cooling. They will send a technician to check it out.
  4. InsulationGood insulation, properly installed, helps keep the cold air out in the winter and hot air out in the summer. Inadequate insulation—along with windows and doors that are not sealed properly—lets in the outside air and causes your heating and cooling system to work harder year-round. Good insulation allows your furnace and air conditioner to work less and with fewer repairs for longer.

For more information about furnace problems, tune-ups, or other heating and cooling problems, call the expert technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling at 480-616-3636.

Energy Usage in Your Home

Typical homes contain dozens if not hundreds of energy-consuming parts. Heating and cooling systems, light bulbs, refrigerators, coffee makers, vacuums, and many more items in your home depend on electrical energy to operate. Let’s take a look at the energy users and learn more about which consume the most electrical power.

Heating and Cooling Systems

It is very likely that your HVAC system is the largest energy user. Even if you heat your home with natural gas, bottled gas or oil, the heated air does not circulate around your home without a blower that is powered by an electric motor. Ceiling fans are great to keep warm air circulating; ceiling fans are powered by electric motors.

Conventional air conditioners are big users of electrical energy. Electrical-powered compressors generate cool air and electric motor-powered blowers circulate the cool air. Heat pumps and geothermal systems are highly efficient for heating and cooling. They use the natural heat in the air and underground to heat and cool your home. But they require electric motors to pump and circulate the air and coolant that heat and cool the home.

In most homes, the heating and cooling systems are the largest user of electrical power. These systems typically account for nearly 50% of your total energy usage. Your toaster oven and hair dryer may be energy hogs, but they only get used occasionally. Your heating and cooling system operates nearly year round and nearly 24 hours every day.

Refrigerators and Freezers

Refrigerators and freezers are appliances that also require electrical power 24/7/365. Modern refrigerators are well insulated and well-sealed, making them highly efficient. A full freezer with solidly frozen food and a good seal is especially efficient. The frozen foods themselves keep the temperature low with the compressor motor seldom needing to run. Less than 5% of total home electrical usage should be attributed to refrigerators and freezers.

Water Heater

A conventional tank-type water heater requires 10-12% of energy usage. Gas-burning water heaters use much less electrical power, but gas is still part of home energy costs. The greatest inefficiency in a tank-type water heater is they keep water hot 24/7/365—all day, all night and all through your out-of-town vacation. A tankless water heater only heats water as you use it, making it significantly more efficient. The energy savings is not enough to justify replacing a working tank-type water heater, but when the tank needs to be replaced, it is a good idea to consider tankless.

Washer and Dryer

Laundry machines are big electrical users, using as much as 12-15% of total electrical usage. Power usage can vary significantly depending on the number of loads to be washed and dried. Newer machines with larger capacities make it possible to wash fewer loads with improved operational efficiency.

Lights and Other Appliances

Light bulbs, microwave ovens, computers, televisions, phone chargers, coffee makers, cooling fans, power tools, and all other small appliances account for the balance of home electrical usage. Most of these items are only used occasionally, while some are on 24/7/365. Think of the little lights in your doorbell button, your coffee maker, and charging station that indicate power is on.

Make a count of all of the items in your home that require electricity. Don’t be surprised if there are over 100 light bulbs and at least 50 small electric-powered devices. Individually, they don’t consume much electricity, but collectively they can account for nearly a quarter of total usage.

Look for efficiencies in all areas. Look to your heating and cooling system for the biggest efficiency improvement. Keep your home a little cooler in winter and a little warmer in summer. Keep your heating and cooling system in good working condition, and get it tuned up every year. When it comes time for a replacement, purchase a high-efficiency system from Semper Fi Heating & Cooling.

In the Air That You Breathe

It’s widely accepted that the indoor air in your home is as much as five times more polluted than clean, outside air. What pollutants are found in indoor air, where do they come from, and most importantly– how can you reduce or eliminate them?

Central Air Circulation

By design, central heating and air conditioning circulates the same air over and over inside of your home. Air is drawn into the cool air vents of your HVAC system, then the same cool air is heated or cooled depending on the season and pushed back out through your heating and cooling vents. The same air is circulated over and over. Unless some fresh, outside air is drawn into your home, the same dirty air continues to circulate over and over.

Dust and Pollen

It is no secret that dust accumulates in your home. If you don’t dust your solid surfaces occasionally, your home will definitely fail the white glove test. The dust doesn’t just settle on your floors, tabletops and bookcases; it also settles on your furniture, carpets, and curtains. The dust gets in from outside when your windows are open, when your pets come inside, and from your shoes and clothes. Seasonal pollen is usually included with the outside air duct, making its way inside. If anyone in your family is susceptible to allergies, they know when the pollen level is high.

With no fresh air, the same dirty air just keeps circulating and getting more concentrated, but fresh outside air introduces even more dust and pollen. There are solutions. The air filter in your central air system is the number one solution to improving indoor air quality. What is the best way to improve the purity of the air in your home? Use a good filter and change it often. Regular dusting and vacuuming will significantly improve your indoor air too.

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing Products

There is irony in that the products we use to clean, disinfect, and sanitize our home removes grime from surfaces but leaves volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air we breathe. Some of the products that release VOCs include furniture polish, dishwasher and laundry detergent, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, air fresheners, hair spray, and other personal care products.

Formaldehyde is a harsh human respiratory system irritant. Unfortunately, formaldehyde is present in most homes because it is found in building materials. There is no safe level of formaldehyde exposure, exposure should be reduced as much as possible.

Mold is a VOC that can cause health problems. It can grow in areas where there is excessive moisture. In your home, mold might be found in leaking pipes, roof and window leaks, and areas that have been flooded. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help keep your humidity level low and reduce the risk of mold growth.

The VOCs can be removed with activated carbon air purifiers. The professional technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling can install a REMO HALO air purifier in your ductwork that will capture the VOCs. Over years, your air ducts collect dust and dirt. Semper Fi can clean and seal your air ducts.

The Most Dangerous Weather Event

What is the most dangerous weather event in the U.S. in terms of human deaths? It isn’t hurricanes, tornados or floods, although they cause massive property damage. It isn’t blizzards, snowstorms, freezing temperatures or ice storms. Lightning strikes and forest fires are horrific, but not the leading cause of deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700 people die from extreme heat in the United States every year. That makes heat the leading cause of weather-related deaths. Extreme temperatures are also responsible for heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. On a secondary level, people with heart disease and high blood pressure are at greater risk of serious health issues during extreme heat.

Semper Fi Heating & Cooling considers it a true emergency when an air conditioning system stops working during a heat emergency. We dispatch our technicians to get cooling systems working as soon as possible. Proactively, we offer air conditioning system tune-ups for the extremely low price of $17.75 to prevent whole system failures when it gets hot. Beyond keeping your air conditioner functioning when you need it more, there are other steps you can take to assure your health and safety.

Air Circulation

Use fans to mix and move air around your home. Ceiling fans are a great way to move internal air. Box fans, tower fans, personal tabletop fans, or any kind of fan will keep air moving, and moving air feels cooler than still air. Why does the same air feel cooler because it is moving? It is because it actually does keep you cooler.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is a good health practice year-round, no matter the temperature. In extreme heat, staying well hydrated is even more important. When our bodies get too hot, they vent water in the form of perspiration. Perspiration cools our bodies, and it evaporates faster when there is moving air. Drink more water on a hot day and you will perspire more.

When you stop perspiring, you are dehydrated and showing an early warning sign for heat stroke. If you are perspiring, drink more water. If you are being active outside on a very hot day and are drenched with sweat, your body is responding as it should; keep drinking water. Cold water is one of the greatest defenses against overheating.

Plan for the Heat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several suggestions to prevent overheating:

  • Stay indoors with air conditioning as much as possible.
  • Plan outdoor activities early or late when the weather is cooler.
  • Take cool showers to cool down.
  • Never leave children or pets in a car.
  • Wear light and loose clothing.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and heat warnings.

At Semper Fi, we know that keeping your air conditioning running at maximum output is an absolute necessity in the hottest months, so we respond to calls quickly. However, on some days, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the calls. The best option is to have your air conditioner inspected, repaired or replaced in cooler months so you are ready for the heat. But when the unexpected does happen and your air conditioner stops cooling your home on the hottest days, call us at 408-616-3636. Keeping you cool is always a priority for us.

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

Have you received record-high utility bills? Are you setting new records for energy costs every month? Are you looking for ways to reduce your utility costs? Take a look at the appliances and equipment in your home and get an understanding of how much each of them contributes to your overall utility costs.

Heating and Cooling Systems

In almost all homes, heating and cooling systems are the biggest users of electrical power. The motor that powers the fan that moves warm and cool air through your ducts and all through your home works day and night year-round. In warm months, the motor in the outside unit of your air conditioner also runs day and night.

By some estimates, nearly half of your home’s electrical usage goes to power your heating and cooling systems. Being the biggest user of electrical power, your heating and cooling system offers the biggest opportunity for significant savings. Newer systems are significantly more energy efficient than older systems. If you have a system that is more than 10 years old and is requiring annual repairs, it may be time to consider a replacement.

If your heating and cooling system is not keeping your home temperatures at a comfortable level, it is undersized or in need of repair. A heating and cooling system that is properly tuned will operate more efficiently. Supplemental heating and cooling appliances are often expensive to operate and a sign that your central system is not performing as it should.

Water Heaters

While much less expensive to operate than a heating and cooling system, a water heater is still a major contributor to your utility costs. Like other equipment, newer models are more energy efficient. If your water heater needs to be replaced, energy savings will help offset the cost. However, the energy savings with a new water heater is not enough to rush the purchase before a replacement is truly needed. Turning down the temperature of the hot water is a money-saving move. Dishwashers have their own means to heat water, washing machines can do their job with cold water, and most people mix hot and cold water for bathing and showering.

When a replacement truly is needed, look into a tankless water heater. With a traditional tank system, hot water is ready for you on demand overnight, during work hours, or while you are on vacation and it is not needed. Tankless water heaters produce hot water as you need it and only when you need it.


Energy-efficient modern refrigerators use less energy than older refrigerators. Replacing an older refrigerator with a new energy-efficient one is probably not going to have a quick payback. A better option is to adjust the temperature. Increasing the freezer and refrigerator temperature by a couple of degrees will save you money on your utility bill.

Washers & Dryers

As with any appliance, newer models are more energy efficient. Washing in cold water is always a good option. Washing and drying fewer but larger loads is another choice that can save substantial money over time.


Make a trip around your home and count the number of light bulbs you have. Count the bulbs in your refrigerator, oven, microwave, porch and patio lights, closet lights—count them all. Most homeowners would be surprised at the number of bulbs they find. Collectively, those bulbs may be using up to 10% of your total electrical energy bill. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs will reduce energy consumption by more than half.

Smaller Appliances and Electronics

The average home has a large assortment of mostly smaller devices that collectively account for a significant portion of electrical energy usage. These may include toasters and other countertop cooking appliances, entertainment centers, televisions and cable boxes, gaming consoles, fans, computers, electric ovens, phone chargers, and much more.

While some of these devices require significant electrical energy to operate, most of them do not operate continuously, so total electrical usage is small. Computers should be set to go into sleep mode when not in use.

If you are using fans or small heaters to keep your home comfortable, there are more efficient options. Talk to the technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling to learn more about what you can do to lower your utility bills.

Tired of Waking Up Tired?

Do you have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep? Do you feel tired when you wake up in the morning? Is poor sleep affecting your health? Your heating and cooling system could be preventing you from sleeping well.

Too Hot or Too Cold

Room temperature is a major factor in getting a good night’s sleep. A cooler room improves sleep quality and helps prevent waking up during the night. Your body temperature decreases at night, your metabolism slows, and you spend less energy while sleeping. A heating and cooling system that cannot adjust to the desired overnight temperature makes it difficult to get good and restful sleep.

Programmable or smart thermostats that automatically adjust to the desired nighttime temperature are a big help. We all remember nights when we are already in bed and do not want to get up to change the thermostat. Even with a proper thermostat setting, your system is not always able to get your bedroom to the desired temperature. Your HVAC system may need a tune-up, repair, or replacement to fix the problem.

An HVAC system that cannot deliver the proper temperature to your home is more than an inconvenience; it is a threat to the health of your family. Not enough sleep can influence your health, mood, and energy. Contact the technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling if your HVAC system is not delivering the day or night room temperatures that you need.

Indoor Air Quality

Research has found that indoor air quality is as much as five times more polluted than outside air. Air filters are the No. 1 tool in the effort to keep home air clean. Use high-quality air filters and replace them often. You might want to also invest in an air purification system. Pollutants can be removed from the indoor air that you breathe. With cleaner air to breathe, you should feel better, be healthier, and be able to get a better night’s sleep.

System Noise

Your heating and cooling system will cycle off and on several times overnight. Loud noises from your system every time it starts and stops are likely to wake you up repeatedly. The good sleep that you need for good health is restful and uninterrupted sleep. Talk to the technicians at Semper Fi to find ways to reduce the noise level from your HVAC system.

Humidity Level

Humidity control is one of the often overlooked but important jobs of a heating and cooling system. Extreme dry air can cause dry skin, nosebleeds, and sore throats. Too much humidity allows germs to grow and cause respiratory problems. When you and your family are suffering from humidity-related illnesses, you will not be sleeping well.

Good sleep matters. A properly operating heating and cooling system will help you sleep better and wake up rested and full of energy. A properly tuned and properly operating system will help you sleep better. Get in touch with Semper Fi Heating & Cooling to get your HVAC system operating properly so you can get the sleep you need to wake up fresh and full of energy.

Pricing Outlook for Heating & Cooling Systems for 2022

A replacement heating and cooling system has always been one of the more expensive items to purchase for home upkeep. Recommendations for the frequency of replacing your heating and cooling system range from 10 years to as much as 20 years. Systems that have been well maintained through routine preventive maintenance may even last a few years longer.

As multiple efficiency improvements have occurred over the past 20 years, the inefficiencies of an older system have made newer systems even more attractive. Not only are newer systems more efficient, but there is good reason to expect that with proper maintenance they will continue to operate efficiently for longer lifespans.

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers and their employers turned to remote working. Initially just to survive, some later made remote work a permanent solution. During 2020 and 2021, many remote workers chose to make their home more comfortable by replacing their heating and cooling systems. The upturn in demand coupled with materials shortages and logistics disruptions resulted in spotty shortages of replacement HVAC systems and parts.

As early as late fall 2020, price increases for heating and cooling systems and the components to service and repair them led to price increases for consumers. Prices continued to rise throughout 2021 and are continuing to increase in 2022 as the shortages of raw materials, parts, and new systems continue. Higher transportation costs and ongoing logistics disruptions are adding to the price increases.

Additional price increases in 2022 are expected by most industry insiders. Many of the major system manufacturers have already announced mid-year price increases ranging up to 20% with no assurance that there will not be additional price increases before the year’s end.

For instance, one major equipment manufacturer announced a 7% increase in June 2021, a 9% increase in April 2022 and a 12% increase for July 2022. Together, they compound to an increase of more than 30%.

Over the past several years, small price increases for HVAC equipment have come to be expected as new models became more advanced, longer lasting and efficient. The post-pandemic increases, however, have been larger and more frequent. The repeated significant increases add up to an overall surge in HVAC equipment prices.

Since the start of the pandemic, commodity raw material prices like copper and steel have increased in the 20% range, and transportation costs have increased by up to 40%. A heating and air conditioning system consists of dozens of additional components, all of which have experienced inflationary increases:

  • Wrap insulation +15%
  • PVC fittings +15%
  • Filters +10%
  • Parts and accessories +19%
  • Pipe fittings +15%
  • Coils +5%

The outlook is for continued price increases through the end of 2022. If you need to purchase a replacement unit, expect to pay more. If you need repair parts for your existing system, you should also expect to pay more. The good news is that these newer, higher-priced systems are generally more efficient and will have a longer lifespan than new systems did 15 to 20 years ago.

Seven Reason To Replace Rather Than Repair Your AC

It’s not a secret that air conditioning systems that are 15 years old are approaching their maximum lifespan. If your system is over 20 years old, you should not expect it to last much longer. Newer systems can be expected to have a longer lifespan than the older systems they are replacing. With regular preventative maintenance, newer systems should continue to keep you cool and comfortable for decades. Older systems are also no match for newer systems in terms of operational efficiency.

Is your system approaching or beyond the time that it needs to be replaced? Here are seven indicators that replacement may be the best option for your air conditioning system:

  1. Service History
    Has your air conditioner required expensive repairs over the past few years? If it has, you should expect repair expense to continue to increase in the future. Consider replacing it entirely. Furnaces generally last longer than air conditioners, but seriously consider replacing your furnace at the same time. Newer furnaces are more efficient, and you will save on utility costs. If you are replacing both the furnace and air conditioner at the same time, you should expect a better price than replacing them separately.
  2. Home Additions and Remodeling
    Have you added living space or made major renovations since your heating and air conditioning system was installed? Perhaps you are planning to make a new addition. Your system may not be properly sized for your home. Even without major renovations, you may have rooms that are not heating and cooling as well as they should. If your system is not sized properly for your home and it is more than 15 years old, it is definitely time to consider a replacement.
  3. Lack of Routine Maintenance
    Has your system had regular maintenance over the years? If not, arrange for a service check soon. Like the vehicle you drive, your system needs regular maintenance to keep it operating properly. Unlike the vehicle you drive, your heating and cooling system cycles off and on day and night almost every day of the year. Small problems can lead to bigger issues, and those system issues lead to total system failure. You really don’t want your system going down on a 98-degree heat alert day.
  4. Performance
    Is your system heating and cooling as it should? Is your home comfortable on the hottest days? Is it producing cold air as it should? How about the on/off cycles? Are they occurring more frequently than usual? Have your utility bills gone up more than expected? Your system should be cooling as well as it did immediately after it was installed. If it isn’t performing as it should, then maintenance is needed. Easy service repairs may not be enough. It may be time for a replacement.
  5. Moisture
    In addition to keeping your home cool, regulating indoor humidity is an important function of an air conditioner. If indoor humidity is high when it is dry outside, you may have evaporator coil problems. That may require a simple repair, or it may be a serious problem that would be better solved with a replacement.
  6. Noise and Ice
    Check the outside unit. Is it visibly frozen? Is it making loud grinding noises? What about the sound you hear inside? Has it become louder than usual? If it is noisy or icy, it needs attention quickly.
  7. Freon
    Some older air conditioners use R-22 refrigerant, sometimes known as Freon. R-22 is no longer produced in the United States. It is still available in limited quantities, but it is very expensive. If your air conditioner requires R-22, it may be best to replace the entire system instead of paying for repairs and R-22 refrigerant.

Programmable & Smart Thermostats

Spend a Little – Save a Lot

The concept behind all programmable and smart thermostats is that there are days and partial days when your home does not need to be heated or cooled to the level that you feel is most comfortable. Any properly sized, properly installed, and well-maintained heating and cooling system can keep your home at the preferred temperature all day and all night, at a cost. The cost is higher utility bills.

Does the temperature need to stay the same overnight? Many people turn the heat down overnight. What about when your home is empty when you are away at work or on vacation? Are you heating and cooling more than necessary just so your home will be at your preferred temperature when you return? Do you manually adjust your thermostat multiple times every day? Do you ever forget to make some of your daily adjustments? A programmed thermostat does not forget.

The savings you can expect from a programmable or smart thermostat will vary greatly depending on what you program into the thermostat. In any case, you should expect the cost of the new thermostat to be recovered somewhere between 6 and 24 months. After that, the savings goes on for years.

You can also add to your utility cost savings by setting it for higher and lower temperatures in the summer and winter. ENERGY STAR estimates that for every 1 degree of thermostat change, your energy cost will decrease by 1%.

Programmable & Reliable

Typically, a programmable thermostat can be set to adjust the temperature at different levels for weekly intervals. You might program it for a daily schedule something like this:

  1. 6:15 AM, 15 minutes before your normal wake-up time. Raise the temperature to 70 degrees.
  2. 8:15 AM, last family member leaves for work or school. Lower temperature to 62 degrees.
  3. 4:00 PM, 15 minutes before first family member returns from work or school. Increase temperature to 70 degrees.
  4. 10:30 PM, bedtime. Lower temperature to 66 degrees.

For weekend days, you would program in a different schedule. You could achieve the same energy reduction if you manually adjusted the temperature four times every day. For most families, a programmable thermostat is more reliable than counting on someone to adjust the thermostat four times every day.

Smart & Smarter

Smart can do everything that a programmable thermostat can do, and a whole lot more. A Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat can be reset or adjusted from anywhere using a mobile device or computer. If you are working late, just tell the app on your phone to warm up the house later. If your smart device is linked to Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant or another smart home service, you can just ask for a little more heat or cooling when you feel it is needed.

A smart thermostat equipped with geofencing can learn to adjust the temperature when a connected smart phone leaves the house or moves from room to room within the house. A smart thermostat that utilizes machine learning can observe your comings and goings over time and create a heating and cooling schedule that reflects your personal lifestyle.

All HVAC systems eventually need to be replaced. Your central heating and cooling system may last for 10 years, 20 years, or more. A well maintained system will have a longer lifespan. Among the most important reasons to install a smart thermostat with learning is that your system can alert you when maintenance or safety repairs are needed. A smart thermostat saves you money every day it operates. It saves you even more when your system continues to operate efficiently for years before needing to be replaced.

Seven Ways to Lower Your Utility Costs

In the Valley of the Sun, the average 2,000-square-foot home spends about $160 per month for electrical power, or $1,920 per year. In summer, the cost of electrical usage goes up dramatically with some larger homes paying $500-$600 and more per month. During winter months, the cost of electricity for heating drops significantly unless the home is using electrical power for heating.

Larger homes with multiple heating and cooling systems pay substantially more to stay comfortable year-round. Homes with heating and cooling systems that are more than 10 years old also pay more. Homes with a heat pump heating and cooling system will experience much less variation.

Here are seven steps that a homeowner can take to reduce the cost of electrical usage:

  1. Replace HVAC System – If your system is more than 10 years old, if it has been requiring repairs over the past few years, if your summer electrical bills have been going up, or if it is not doing a good job keeping your home comfortable, it may be time for a replacement. Look for a new system with 90% or higher efficiency.
  2. Keep System in Good Repair – No matter how old your system is, it needs regular service. Semper Fi Heating & Cooling offers a 29-point tune-up for only $17.75. You don’t drive your car for years without service. Your heating and cooling system needs occasional service too. Your system will operate better and more efficiently. It will have a longer peak operating life if it is properly tuned up.
  3. Home Insulation – The amount and quality of insulation in your home makes a big difference in the energy required for heating and cooling. The effectiveness of your insulation goes beyond the basic R-value of the insulation material used. Talk to an insulation expert to determine if your home is properly insulated to maximize energy efficiency. Don’t forget windows and doors; they need to be adequately sealed to avoid air leaks.
  4. Smart Thermostat – Are you heating and cooling an empty house for a big part of every day? Do you remember to turn the thermostat down every night? A smart thermostat can adapt to your daily routines and reduce your energy usage when you are away. The cost of a smart thermostat is relatively low compared to the savings in electrical usage that will result.
  5. Seal Air Leaks in Ducts – It is not uncommon for as much as one-third of heated or cooled air to leak out of unsealed ducts. If your ducts haven’t been checked for several years, there is a good chance there are leaks. While you are getting the air ducts sealed, it is a good practice to get your air ducts cleaned to improve the quality of the air that you breathe.
  6. Lower Hot Water Temperature – Lowering the temperature on your hot water heater will reduce your energy usage. There are no smart thermostats for water heaters; they keep your hot water at a set temperature day and night, whether you’re home or away, on vacation or not. If the temperature is set lower, it will use less gas or electric. Like newer air conditioners, newer water heaters are also more energy efficient. If your water heater is 10-20 years old, you may find that replacing it with a newer one will have a reasonably quick payback.
  7. Appliance Replacement – Your water heater is not the only home appliance that contributes to your total utility bill. Appliances such as washers and dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers are all available in newer energy-efficient models.

Don’t want another summer of $500 electrical bills? There are ways to reduce your utility costs. Call Semper Fi Heating & Cooling to learn about your specific energy efficiency options.