Monthly Archives: July 2013

5 Steps toward Becoming a Zero-Energy Home

Steps to reducing your home's energy consumption.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could say goodbye to energy bills forever? Zero-energy buildings have a net energy consumption of, well, zero. This means they produce at least as much energy as they use. While this is not something that is feasible for the average homeowner, it’s possible to live a greener and more economical lifestyle and reduce your energy consumption. How? Find out with this energy advice from Getzschman Heating & Cooling.
 
1. Be smart. If you are really committed to reducing your carbon footprint, it starts with the small things, like turning off the lights when you leave the room, taking shorter showers and being willing to open your windows to keep your house cool. It’s not glamorous, it’s not complicated, but it can make a big difference for the environment and your wallet.
 
2. Design. In a perfect world, you begin living a zero-energy lifestyle with the design of your home.  This can be done by strategically positioning windows to take advantage of crosswinds, putting living space on the warmer south and east sides of your home and so on. However this is not a breaking point, even if you are not building your home from scratch, you can still reduce your energy consumption.
 
3. Passive solar. Passive solar energy means taking advantage of the natural heating (and cooling) properties of the sun. This is anything from keeping your windows open when it’s cold and shutting them when it’s sunny to drawing the shades in the summer against the harsh glare. These simple actions can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills and keep your home more comfortable with the natural heat and light.
 
4. Active solar. If you want to further reduce your energy usage, there are some affordable solar energy options. These options include putting a discrete solar cell on your roof or in your yard or using a solar-powered water heater to take some of the heavy lifting away from your gas or electric model.
 
5. Geothermal heating and cooling. The earth is naturally cool any time of year. Installing a geothermal loop in your yard lets you take advantage of that, helping to bring cooler air in to your home in the summer. Because you’re using the natural properties of the earth, you don’t use as much electricity to maintain your home comfort.
 
For more information about geothermal heating and cooling, give Getzschman a call! We can help you install or repair a geothermal heating system.
 

Even Temperatures Everywhere with Zoning

 Have you ever noticed that there is always one room in your house that is too hot or too cold? At Getzschman, we hear about weird temperature swings all the time from Omaha area homeowners. But why does it happen? Below are a few of the most common explanations. 

 
Your Room is Far from the Air Conditioner or Furnace
 
When air leaves your furnace or air conditioner, it’s very warm or cool respectively. But as it races along the ducts to reach distant rooms of your house, you may get better airflow in the rooms closest to your heating and cooling system.
 
The further a room is from the AC or furnace, the harder it is to push that warm or cold air. This is especially true in 2 story houses, where the heating and cooling system is downstairs and it becomes difficult to cool the second floor during the summer.
 
Construction Issues with Your Home
 
Large windows, sliding glass doors or skylights are wonderful ways to brighten a room. They are also a source of heat transfer. Rooms with more glass and southern exposures will typically need more air conditioning and heating than other parts of the house. 
 
High ceilings will also cause temperature imbalances. Since warm air rises to the top of cathedral ceilings, those rooms tend to stay cool in the summer but can be frigid in the winter. If you control your temperature to keep these rooms comfortable, other rooms can suffer.
 
 Zoning Can Solve the Problem in Your Omaha Area Home
 
One of the best ways to solve the problem of temperature imbalances is to add a zoning system to your home.  Instead of managing your entire home with one thermostat, you can create zones. If you have a two-story house, you might create a zone for each floor. If you have rooms that are typically warmer like the kitchen, or cool like a finished basement, you can create a separate zone for that room or group of rooms.
 
A thermostat is then placed in each zone, which allows occupants in the zone to set the temperature for their comfort level. Setting up your zoning is dependent on the setup of your ductwork, so have Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning check it out.
 
How A Zoning System Works
 
The thermostats are connected to a master control panel, which opens and closes dampers in the ductwork to restrict or allow airflow as needed in a specific zone.
Zoning lets you moderate how much energy you use, so in addition to keeping you more comfortable, a properly installed zoning system may also lower your utility bills. Have a room that is too hot or too cold? Give Getzschman a call to find out if a zoning system is the right solution for you.