Increase Your HVAC Efficiency and Get Lower Energy Bills from PG&E and SMUD

blog-icon-specialsDo you want to lower your utility bill? Do you want your home to be more comfortable? Would you like to do all of that and maybe even have someone else help you pay for it? We’re not sure there’s anyone who wouldn’t. The good news is, we’re here to help you achieve all three of those goals, and it all starts with energy efficiency and your home.


Energy Efficiency? What’s That?

Energy efficiency is a measure of how well your home is using the energy it consumes. A high-efficiency home is like a car that gets great gas mileage. It’s better for the environment, cheaper to drive, and less of a hassle in general. In an energy-efficient home, the utility bill will be cheaper, and you’ll be more comfortable.

By contrast, a low-efficiency home is like a big gas-guzzler (and not a fun one like a V8 Mustang). Homes with poor efficiency will have bigger utility bills; they also will be less comfortable and often have more HVAC repairs because the systems work too hard to heat or cool a less-than-ideal space.

How Efficient Is My Home? Get the Assessment!

You may have some idea already about how energy-efficient your home is, or you may not be sure at all. Either way, you should schedule an energy assessment from a trusted contractor to figure out where your house is doing well with efficiency, and what areas could be improved. Even if you think your home is a-ok, it’s worth getting a second opinion from a professional.

Bell Brothers offers a free home-energy assessment that covers all the bases for your house. We’ll have an expert meet you at your home and go over the whole thing top to bottom. They’ll assess the home’s energy efficiency and show ways that efficiency could be improved. This isn’t a sales pitch, folks — it’s an information rap-session with someone who knows their stuff, and our assessment includes everything that affects efficiency. That means the stuff we don’t personally work, on as well as the stuff we do.

Once you have that assessment, you can figure out what needs to be done. If we think you’ll benefit from new insulation or a better roof, we tell you. If replacing your windows will give you a boost in efficiency, we let you know. There will likely be some HVAC stuff in there, too — not because we’re an HVAC company trying to drive business, but because HVAC accounts for a huge amount of energy use in the home, usually the lion’s share of the utility bill. That puts us in a great place to help folks figure out what they can do to make their home more efficient.

How to Plan for the Work

Some energy-efficiency upgrades may be do-it-yourself jobs. If your lighting is not up-to-par, you can change the bulbs yourself pretty easily. Similarly, some homeowners can swap out their own HVAC filters. We admire the do-it-yourself attitude; as tradesmen we’re sort of that way too! And we also appreciate folks who don’t want to work on their own stuff, because there are a lot of things we wouldn’t do ourselves.

But whether you’re a DIY-gal or someone with a more hands-off approach, most efficiency upgrades should be handled by the pros. Insulation is a great way to improve your home’s efficiency, especially insulation in the attic, but it can be hazardous and unpleasant to install — not something you want to undertake personally. And replacing windows reaps substantial energy benefits, but is also something a professional should do. You may be able to mastic visible duct holes and gaps, but you probably won’t want to reroute your ducts solo, and you won’t be able to pressure test them, the only way to ensure you’re sealing them correctly.

All of these things should be left to trained professionals who’ve done it a lot, to ensure both your safety and the success of the job. And if you want to rebate the work, you’ll need a licensed and approved contractor do the work and submit the rebate forms for you. This can be daunting to plan out, but your contractor will help you. It’s important to budget for whatever projects you’re planning, and there may be financing options available.

What to Expect

Depending on the current efficiency of your home and the upgrades you do, you may see a few things from energy efficiency projects. You may notice that the home heats and cools faster and more effectively, especially after duct sealing and insulation. If you replace single-paned windows with double-paned ones, you’ll likely notice that the temperatures in various rooms are much more even throughout the house. Best of all, any of these upgrades can result in a reduction of the utility bill and a prolonged life from your HVAC system. A home that doesn’t waste energy is one where the system only works as hard as it has to, and lives much longer as a result.

So start today. A consultation and assessment is free, and we never pressure you to get work done. We want you to know where your home stands and help you come up with a game plan to make it as energy-efficient and comfortable as you want.