Category Archives: Energy Tips

Why A Bigger AC Unit Isn’t Better

AC Too BigBigger isn’t always better. This rings especially true when referring to air conditioning systems. It’s actually much more efficient and effective to have a unit that is appropriately sized for your home. Here are some of the biggest problems you’ll experience if you install a cooling system that’s too big, and how you can figure out what size air conditioner you should be considering instead.

Humidity Problems

Installing an air conditioner that is too big for your home can cause a your home to feel more humid, which can cause other issues. Air conditioners are supposed to remove heat and humidity from the air in your home, but if your system is too large, it will cool your rooms quickly, but only remove some of the humidity. This can leave your home feeling damp and clammy. A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools.

Related Read: How to Beat the Humidity

Cost Concerns

An oversized unit can also end up costing you more. Not only will you have to cash out more to buy it, but to operate it as well. A unit that is too large will start and stop more often. It starts up and shuts down a lot more because it runs for only a short time to meet the thermostat set point. All those starts and stops mean you’ll probably be repairing it more often and replacing it sooner, meaning it will have a shorter lifespan.

Figure Out the Right Size for Your Home

First, determine the square footage of the area to be cooled using the following formulas:

  • For square and rectangular rooms, multiply the length of the area by its width
  • For a triangular area, multiply the length of the area by the width and divide by 2

Next, using the square footage and the chart below provided by Energy Star, determine the correct cooling capacity. Cooling capacity is measured in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour.

AC Unit Chart

Lastly, make any adjustments for the following circumstances:

  • If the home is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the home is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • Adjust capacity based on how many people will occupy the home, as each person adds 600 BTUs.

For help figuring out which air conditioning system will be the most cost effective and efficient for your home, call the Omaha air conditioning company you can trust, Getzschman Heating & Cooling at 402-554-1110.

Four Ways to Effectively Lower Your Utility Bills

What if we told you that you could make some minor changes and see lots of improvement? The improvement would come in two ways – on your energy use and on your expenses. By using the following four tips, you can save thousands of unnecessary costs each year.

Furnace Check Up and Tune Up

money saving tips for your utility billsDon’t underestimate the effectiveness of a furnace tune up. Many people either forget about this maintenance tune up or often overlook it thinking it’s not important. We encourage you to compare how much it costs to have a tune up done on your heating and cooling unit, with the price of replacing a unit. With the amount of savings you end up enjoying – it becomes very worthwhile expense to take on. Your furnace will now operate much more efficiently, contributing to a better heated (or cooled) home. Keep in mind energy efficiency factors in as much as 25% savings on your utility bills. A typical furnace tune up costs a fraction of the savings that consumers end up with by the end of the year.

Replace Air Filters Regularly

Regardless of how much free time homeowners have to spend on upkeep of their home, it is essential to take certain steps for optimal energy efficiency and cost savings. Replacing air filters is a simple task that only takes a few minutes to complete. If you replace your air filter once a month, you can and will save a lot of potential costs in both energy savings and inevitable furnace repairs. 

Steady Thermostat Settings

Steadying your thermostat settings works well for all seasons. Whether you are addressing the inside temperature of your home in the dead winder or working to keep the cool in during hot summer days, it is essential to maintain your thermostat at a steady level. Do your best to stay away from constantly adjusting the temperatures up and down. Try to set the thermostat at a comfortable yet not extreme level. You will be surprised on the savings you encounter within a year or more. Keep in mind, the size of your house will factor into the savings. 

Seasonal Weatherproofing

Many people fail to recognize just how strong the sun’s power is in terms of inside temperatures. Depending on the direction your house faces, keeping windows and blinds closed during the day will reduce a fair amount of sun exposure resulting in steadier temperatures and savings on your utility bills.

It doesn’t cost too much to implement the tips we mention here. Call us today at 402-895-5383 to schedule your tune up. Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning is also available for 24-hour furnace and air conditioner repairs.

4 Tips to Save You Money on Your Heating Bills

Save Money on Heating Bills

With winter fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the cold, harsh weather that comes with it – and the strain that can put on your heating bill. Don’t break out the long-johns just yet, however. By following just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to keep your home nice and toasty without causing your heating bills to skyrocket. Here are four tips that will help you keep your heating bills nice and low this winter.

Control Your Vents Wisely

One great way to save money on your energy bills is to close off the vents to any rooms you don’t use regularly. If no one’s spending time in that guest bedroom, spare office, or storage area, why heat them? By shutting those vents, you’re allowing your furnace to focus on the rooms that do need heat. That means it won’t have to work nearly as hard to heat those rooms properly.

In the rooms that you are using, you’ll want to make sure those vents are open all the way. Vents that are only partially open force your furnace to work twice as hard to reach the desired temperature, wasting energy and money. Make sure no furniture or rugs are blocking the vents to ensure maximum airflow with minimum effort.

Check Your Insulation

Old, worn out, or missing insulation can’t function the way it’s meant to, which means precious heat is escaping your home without your knowledge. If you haven’t had it checked or replaced in a while, now’s the perfect time to get that taken care of. Because heat rises, the attic is typically the biggest culprit when it comes to heat escaping your home. Make sure yours is properly insulated.

Don’t forget to check the insulation on your heating ducts, as well. If they aren’t properly insulated, then heat can escape before it ever reaches your vents. This results in lost efficiency, wasted energy, and higher bills. This is especially important in unfinished areas of your home like basements.

Seal Up Those Cracks

Just like missing insulation, missing or cracked seals around your home can either let your heat seep out or cold air creep in. By properly sealing up your heating ducts, caulking around your windows, and installing strips to cover any gaps in your exterior doors, you’re helping to keep the hot air in and the cold air out — where they belong. Even electrical outlets and places where pipes enter your home can let a lot of warm air leak out.

Let The Sun Shine In

Even if it’s below freezing outside, the sun can still provide a great deal of warmth. By opening your curtains during the day when it’s sunny, you can easily raise the temperature in your house without having to crank up the thermostat! When the sun goes down, close the blinds and curtains to keep that heat inside.

These are just a few of the steps you can take to reduce your heating bills this winter, but even following just these simple tips can help reduce your heating bills noticeably. If you need help with your furnace, please give us a call at (402) 554-1110 or request service online.

How to Get Through Summer with a Struggling AC

Getting Through SummerYou know your air conditioner is old. You know it’s time to replace it. But you’d really like to make it through one more summer before buying a new one. At Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning, we understand. A new air conditioner is a big purchase and it may not be in the budget yet. To help you eek out one more season, here are five tips from the AC pros at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning to make it through the summer with a struggling air conditioner.

1. Expect to Pay More in Electric Bills

Older systems are less efficient than newer systems just because they were built 10 to 15 years ago before some of the newer technology was even available. Add to that the fact that an older system has wear and tear from running for more than a decade (think dirt and dust, worn parts, loose connections, etc.) and you can imagine how inefficient your old AC is. The harder your AC has to work, the longer it will have to run to reach the temperature on the thermostat and the higher your electric bills will be.

2. Change the Filter Monthly

One of the biggest things you can do to help your old system is to change the air filter monthly. A dirty filter will impede your system’s ability to push air through it, making it work harder and cost more.

3. Expect to Pay Dearly for Freon

If your AC is older, chances are it runs on Freon. As units age, the chances of a refrigerant leak increase. If your system is leaking Freon, it will cost you a lot of money every time you need to recharge it. Freon was banned by the EPA (because it damaged the ozone layer) and is no longer being manufactured. Because of this, the price has skyrocketed as demand has built and supply has decreased. It will cost you several hundred dollars each time you need to add Freon. Newer systems use R410a, an environmentally safe refrigerant that costs much less. Unfortunately, older units are not designed to use the newer refrigerants.

4. Be Ready to Be a Bit Too Warm

Your old AC may not be able to keep your home comfortable. Even new air conditioners are only designed to keep your home 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. If it’s 100 degrees, your home may stay in the upper 70s to 80 degrees. An older, inefficient unit will certainly not be able to do better than that. Expect to be on the warmer side especially when the temperatures soar.

5.Get a Tune-Up

A tune-up on an older system may be what gets your AC through the season. Not only will it help it run more efficiently, it will reduce the number of unwanted breakdowns and emergency service calls. A technician will replace any worn parts, check all electrical connections, lubricate any moving parts, clean your system and repair any broken parts. Simply cleaning your air conditioner will help it run more efficiently too.

Employ the $5,000 Rule with Repairs

If your air conditioner breaks down, the immediate question is: do you repair it again or do you replace it entirely? Thankfully, there’s a simple way to figure out which way to go. It’s called “the $5,000 rule”: It’s simple. Note the age of your AC and multiply the age by the amount of your most recent repair bill. If this results in a number less than $5,000, a repair is likely the best way to go! Of course, this is meant as a first step; a professional consultation from a trusted repair provider is another great data point to gather. But the decision is ultimately yours, and this is a great way to pin down what might be the best way to spend your money in the long run.

3 Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your AC

The formula above is a great rule of thumb, but there are a few signs that clearly signal you’d be better off replacing your system than repairing it:

  • If you’ve repaired  your AC more than three times over a three-year period, that implies that there is a larger issue that a fourth repair might not address fully.
  • If you have your AC repaired and energy bills remain exceedingly high, that’s another major warning sign that the overall health of your AC system is ailing.
  • And finally, refilling the Freon after multiple repairs means that patching it up and refilling it yet again will not solve the systemic issues with your AC.

Hopefully, these tips will get you through the summer, but if not, give us a call. We’ve got great credit options to help you afford a new air conditioner. Call us at (402) 554-1110 or contact us online if you need repair or replacement.

Spring Thunderstorms – Protect Your Home from Water and Wind

Spring ThunderstormsThe weather here in Omaha can be unpredictable in the springtime. Thunderstorms pop up with a very little warning. How do you make sure your home is safe from wind and water damage? The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning has put together this list of four vital precautions to take before spring storms hit:

1. Sump Pumps Are Critical

Most homeowners think that if they have a sump pump, their homes are safe from flooding. While a sump pump serves as an excellent defense to keep basements dry by pumping out excess water, it relies on electricity to run. Unfortunately, it is common for the power to go out during a thunderstorm which is exactly when you need your sump pump the most. Make sure your home is protected from flooding by checking the following:

  • Be sure that you have a battery backup sump pump. If your power goes out, the battery backup pump will take over for it and keep your basement from flooding.
  • Test your sump pump every month. One quick way to test your sump pump is to take the lid off the sump pit and pour a five-gallon bucket of water into the pit. The motor should kick on and drain the water immediately. If it doesn’t, you may have to call for service.
  • Protect your sump pump system from clogs. Keeping your discharge lines clear and covered will help to protect them from clogging and backing up into your home. Check the line when you test your sump pump to make sure the water has a clear path outside your home.

2. Lock Windows and Doors

Simply checking to make sure windows are closed and storm doors are latched this time of year will save you costly damage caused by water coming into your home or a loose storm door blowing in high winds. Double check them all.

3. Don’t Forget the Patio Furniture

In the event of stormy weather with strong winds, make sure to check outdoors for items that need to be secured or put away. Patio umbrellas, tables, chairs, yard decorations, grills, and stacked firewood can all get broken or cause damage to your home if blown around by high winds.

4. Turn Your AC Off

Cutting power to your unit at the circuit breaker, or turning the unit off at your thermostat can prevent costly damage in the event of a lightning strike. A power surge can cause significant damage to an air conditioning unit during a storm. Sure, your home may get a little stuffy in the few hours it is storming,  but as soon as the storm is over, you can cool it off again safely.

Take these precautions to protect your home and heating and cooling systems in the event of a spring thunderstorm. Call Getzschman if you need any help with your air conditioner this spring at (402) 554-1110 for more information.

9 Little-Known Tips to Reduce Your Winter Energy Bills

Reduce Winter Energy BillsSure you set your programmable thermostat down when you’re away, shut off registers in unused rooms, and change your furnace filter monthly, but there are some less obvious energy saving actions that the average homeowner doesn’t know about. Since the winters here in the Omaha area can get pretty brutal, the team at Getzschman Heating and Cooling wanted to share these less-than-obvious tips to help lower your energy bills as much as possible. See which ones you didn’t know about.

  1. Lock Doors and Windows –  Everyone knows to insulate around your doors and windows because they are one of the worst offenders when it comes to air leaks. But what most people don’t know is to make sure those windows and doors are also locked. Even when doors and windows are closed, they might not be pressed tight against the weatherstripping. Locking them ensures that the seal is as tight as possible so warm air cannot escape.  

  2. Check Your Door’s Threshold – Simply adding caulk or weather stripping to doors is good, but check underneath your door. If you can see any light from outside, you may need to adjust your door’s threshold. Most thresholds have screws that can be adjusted. Turn the screws counterclockwise to bring the threshold up. Adjust it until it’s snug, but If the door drags on the threshold, you may need to lower it just a bit so you don’t wear out the weather strip on the bottom.

  3. Don’t Run Exhaust Fans Any Longer Than Necessary –  If you run kitchen or bathroom fans, make sure to turn them off as soon as possible. Not only do they remove steam and odors, they take the heat with it.

  4. Don’t Waste Heat That You Created – Take advantage of any residual heat you create inside the house from everyday activities like cooking or showering. Don’t keep heat trapped inside the appliance or the room. Open the doors and let that extra heat (and moisture) spread throughout the rest of your house.

  5. Outlets Let Air Out – Most homeowners never think about their electrical outlets and switches on the walls. Almost all of these have small gaps around them that allow air to escape. Filling those gaps with caulk or expandable foam sealant will keep the air inside. You can also purchase foam gaskets over the outlet or switch before you replace the cover to further insulate it. Those outlets and switches will be there forever and this small improvement will help save energy year round.

  6. Pipes, Gas, and Electrical Lines – Just like electrical outlets, areas on exterior walls where plumbing pipes, gas pipes or electrical lines enter your home also have gaps around them where warm air escapes. Use expanding foam to fill these holes. Bonus: This will keep mice and bugs out too!

  7. Seal and Insulate the Attic Door – This is one place that is often overlooked even if the attic has been professionally insulated. Warm air rises and will easily escape into the attic through an attic door that is not insulated. Check your door and make sure it forms a good seal when it is closed and add weather stripping if it doesn’t. Attach fiberglass insulation to the back of the door to close this large thermal gap.

  8. Seal Your Ductwork – Have you ever walked your ducts to see if there are leaks, holes or poor connections? Most homeowners haven’t. A typical home can lose 20 – 30% of the air in the system to these leaks when heated air escapes into unheated areas like the basement. Seal any leaks with metal tape. (Don’t use duct tape as, despite its name, it is not the best tape for this job.)

  9. Consider a Furnace Tune-Up – A tune-up is a great idea. Not only will it protect your family from carbon monoxide leaks, but it will ensure your furnace is running at peak efficiency saving you money on heating bills.

We hope some of these tips help you save the maximum amount on your winter energy bills and your summer cooling bills as well. If you would like to schedule a furnace tune-up, just give us a call at (402) 554-1110 or contact us online on our home page. Look for money-saving service coupons on our website.

Holiday Fireplace and Mantel Decorating Safety Tips

Decorating Safety TipsEach holiday season it seems that we hear at least one or two heartbreaking news stories about a family who has lost their home due to a fire caused by a too-dry Christmas tree or other holiday decorating mishap. If you’ve got a fireplace, it’s probably the focal point of your living room, and it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to take full advantage of the mantel to display a variety of festive decorations, including Christmas stockings. After all, it’s a tradition, both here in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, wherever people celebrate Christmas! Make sure you take the proper precautions when hanging those holiday decorations!

How to Hang the Stockings with Care

There are a few things to remember about decorating a fireplace that will help keep you and your family from becoming the victims of a house fire during this festive and joyous time of year:

  • Go ahead and hang those stockings, but remember to take them down whenever the fireplace is lit. Anything dangling from the mantelpiece — whether stockings, greenery or ribbons — is a fire hazard when there’s a fire blazing on the hearth!
  • Spray any live greenery adorning your mantel with a fire retardant. It won’t make greenery, (including your Christmas tree) fireproof, but it will make it fire resistant, meaning that a stray spark from the fireplace would be less likely to ignite it.
  • Don’t put your Christmas tree near the fireplace either. Even if it’s not a real tree, and is labeled fire resistant, it simply can’t take the heat that the area near the fireplace puts out when there’s a fire burning in it.
  • Use a fireplace screen, which will keep sparks from flying out of the firebox and potentially igniting nearby objects.
  • If candles are a part of your Christmas “mantelscape”, make sure they’re only burning when there’s somebody there. Never ever leave a burning candle unattended! Better yet, consider using LED candles instead of the real deal!

Make Sure Your Furnace Is Safe Too!

When it comes to fireplaces and holiday decorations, a little common sense goes a very long way. The same is true of making sure that your furnace is in tiptop shape as we dive into the winter heating system. That means having it checked out, cleaned, and repaired by a professional, like the experts at Getzschman Heating and Cooling. We’re the Omaha area’s premier heating and cooling specialists, offering 24/7 service and a dedication to ensuring that each of our customers is warm all winter and cool all summer long!

Give us a call at (402) 554-1110 or contact us for speedy, professional service anytime!

6 Simple Questions to See if It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace

When Is It Time To Replace FurnaceUnfortunately, like all mechanical things, furnaces only last so long before they need to be replaced. The lifespan for the average furnace is roughly 12-15 years. Sure, you can keep limping along, but at some point, repair costs, inconvenience, or high energy bills are going to make you pull the trigger and replace your furnace. The problem is, it’s hard to tell exactly when that time is. The team at Getzschman put together this simple list of questions you can answer to give you a better idea of whether or not you can limp on through this winter, or it makes more sense to buy a new furnace. Answer the six questions and see where you stand. If you check off more than three, it’s time:

Decide the Fate of Your Furnace

  • Is your home more than 12 years old?  If it is, and you have not replaced your furnace yet, it’s likely your system is nearing the end of its lifespan. Most systems only operate efficiently for 12-15 years before they need to be replaced.
  • Have you had to repair your system more than once over the last 5 years? Annual maintenance is fine, but if you’ve had more than one major repair to your furnace system in the past 5 years if could be a sign of trouble.
  • Is your furnace warranty expired? Most furnace warranties only cover your system for 5-10 years. Once the warranty expires, repairs can become extremely expensive. At that point, you could be putting that money you’re spending on repairs toward a new, high efficiency furnace that will save you money on energy bills.
  • Are your utility bills continuously increasing every year? Your furnace and air conditioning systems are the biggest consumers of energy in your home – they account for roughly 48% of your energy costs. As your system ages and becomes less efficient, it also can hike up your energy bills.

Related Read: Seal & Insulate Your Ducts Now for a More Comfortable Season

  • Does your furnace seem to run nonstop? Older systems become less efficient over time, which means they must work harder and longer to maintain the temperature that the thermostat demands. This results in higher utility bills.
  • Does your home have hot spots and cold spots? Older systems weren’t necessarily designed to keep every room comfortable. Two-story homes are especially difficult to keep warm and cool. The upstairs stays warm in the summer and the downstairs is always chilly in the winter. Newer systems have technology available to even out the temperature in your home.

Did you reply yes to more than three questions? It’s time. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re without heat in the dead of winter. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later both for comfort and for energy savings.

Learn more about your furnace replacement options and if you need to replace your furnace now. Give us a call at 402-554-1110 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to explain your options and give you a free estimate.

Furnace Noises – Your Furnace Is Talking, But What Is It Saying?

Furnace Noises And What They MeanEvery year, we get phone calls from homeowners here in the Omaha area asking about a variety of furnace sounds and if there is cause for concern. Well, luckily, here at Getzschman Heating and Cooling, we speak furnace. We’ve put together this list of noises your furnace can make and given you an explanation for each one as well as a concern level. Just like when you wake up from a long nap, you may make some strange sounds – grunts, groans, yawns and squeals – your furnace does the same thing. Here are some sounds to listen for:

Furnace Noises

We’ve broken them down into normal noises and noises to be concerned about:

Normal Furnace Sounds

  • Chirp – Chirping sounds are fairly common. It’s usually the natural noise of the mechanisms.
  • Rattle – Rattling noises usually happen when the system is cooling down and it’s not generally cause for alarm.
  • Hum – This is usually a sound that happens when the furnace burner lights. It can be followed by a click.
  • Crackle – Crackling noises may be the metal parts cooling down after the furnace shuts off.
  • Ping – This sound can also be caused by contracting and expanding ducts.

Related Read: 3 Heating Myths Busted

Noises to Be Concerned About

  • Boom – These sounds are usually your ductwork expanding and contracting with the changes in temperatures throughout the seasons. But, if this happens and your furnace smells like it’s burning, you might have a dirty burner in your furnace or a defective gas valve. Have a professional check it out.
  • Screech – This could be a problem with your motor or fan belt. Call a pro before you have a bigger problem.
  • Whine – Whining or odd vibrating noise may indicate a problem with your system. Call in an expert.
  • Clunk – Clunking or bumping sounds often mean you have a cracked belt. Fix it immediately.

If you hear strange noises coming from your furnace, or you notice your furnace is not keeping up with your thermostat setting, give us a call. We’ll send one of our technicians out to take a look. We’re available 24 hours a day for emergency service. Just give us a call at 402-554-1110 or contact us online.

3 Clever Hacks to Hide Ugly AC Vents

Here in Omaha, air conditioning and heating are musts for a comfortable home. But, sometimes, the vents can detract from your beautiful walls and home decor. Never fear! The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning has gathered some of the best solutions for camouflaging ugly wall vents. Read on to see how you can make your home more beautiful.

1. Use a Rubber Doormat

Rubber DoormatThis may sound ridiculous, but you just have to buy the right doormat. You can get grate-style rubber doormats at almost any home improvement store or market. Many pretty scrollwork patterns exist. Make sure the mat is an open design to allow air to flow through it and into your home without obstruction. The doormats costs between $10-$20 dollars. If you’re not a fan of the black, you can paint it to match the rest of your home. Then, just hang it on two nails right above the vent. The finished product looks like an antique vent cover, and looks nice enough to be wall art!

If you find dirty vents while you’re sprucing up your covers, check out Getzschman’s air duct cleaning services. The service reduces allergy and asthma symptoms and leaves your home with better air quality.

2. Fake Fancy Air Vents with Spray Paint

Spray Paint Air VentsDon’t want to cover up your vents? Try spray-painting them instead! You can buy spray paint that looks like metal, such as gold, silver, bronze or even copper, to give it a more elegant look. A hot color currently is oil-rubbed bronze. The paint shouldn’t cost you more than $10.

This works for almost any type of vent, too, whether it’s a floor or wall vent. Just make sure you remove the vent cover first and take them outside or in a garage before you spray paint them. You don’t want those paint fumes in your home. Also make sure to lay the vent cover on some newspaper or plastic before painting, so you don’t get paint everywhere. Then, wait for the paint to dry before putting them back in the floor or wall so they don’t stick. This is also a great idea for old vents that might be chipping or rusting. It will bring them back to life, and save you some cash!

3. Use a Piece of Furniture

FurnitureIf you have a piece of furniture that would sit nicely against the wall where your vent is located, simply remove the back and push it in front of the vent. Make sure it has doors that are vented to let the air circulate. If the doors aren’t vented, replace them with screened, louvered or decorative scrollwork doors. As long as the air can pass through the doors, it will remain functional and look fabulous!

We hope these tips will help you make your home both comfortable and charming. Let us know if you try any of these tips and send us a picture of how it turned out! We’d love to see it.

For your air conditioning and heating needs, call the technicians you can trust at Getzschman at (402) 554-1110.