Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 29)

$$$$$$$$$$$ $ that ranks the home on a 100-point scale and lists the savings opportunities and approximate costs for each. Even without rebates, a typical homeowner opts for $5,000 in fixes and upgrades, resulting in up to 30 percent in energy savings, Matteson says. Tests are repeated after repairs are made to ensure advertised savings are met. “We work with the homeowner based on their budget, looking at the cheapest way to save the most money,” Matteson says. your best bet, notes Bill Cunningham, cooling product manager for HVAC manufacturer Lennox. “When you’re ready to upgrade, it’s most important to do it when you’re comfortable and ready financially,” Cunningham says. “If you try to replace a unit that’s already gone out, there’s not enough time for research.” In 2006, the minimum mandated seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) for air-conditioning units was raised from 10 to 13, a 30-percent improvement, but some units are as efficient as 21 SEER. The past decade also has brought new-generation, programmable thermostats that are easy to use and allow homeowners to optimize their comfort. “Comfort has become an important part of the picture in recent years, and it should be,” notes Jim Rutherford, vice president of the Gwinnett division of Coolray, a full-service heating and cooling contractor. “So many people don’t realize how comfortable they can be. There’s nearly always that hot bonus room that no one uses.” Besides age, it may be time to replace an HVAC system if repair costs continue to mount. And if your unit isn’t under a maintenance agreement, it probably should be. A semiannual tune-up helps ensure your unit is in tip-top shape before heating or cooling season. Potential installers also should investigate the ductwork and ask questions about home comfort, including noise levels, dust, allergies and current utility charges, says Rutherford from Coolray. Besides investigating equipment, also investigate potential installers. A competent installer will provide a written estimate, outlining the precise unit that will be installed and any needed modifications. It also should address a product and labor warranty. Knowing when it’s time to replace your HVAC system Of course, replacing a wholehouse unit is not inexpensive, and most homeowners wait until a unit fails before buying a replacement, says Greg Wallace, owner of Progressive Heating & Air Conditioning Corp., a Rheem dealer in Newnan. “About 60 percent of the replacement calls we get are from people whose units have failed,” Wallace says. “It may be a little more when it’s real hot or real cold outside.” But calling a contractor in a panic to replace a faulty HVAC system is not Investigating systems and installers In Georgia, a common HVAC system combines an electric A/C unit with a gas-fired furnace for winter heating. But dual-fuel systems that heat with electricity first and then change to gas as temperatures drop are becoming more popular. Equipment can differ widely, with variable capacity heating, humidity control, sound-dampening operation and many other options. Determine what’s important to you and your family before making any decision. RHEEM Minimum efficiency standards for air-conditioning units have increased by 30 percent in the last decade, so an investment in a new HVAC system could pay for itself in just a few years. May 2011 More online at www.georgiamagazine.org COURTNEYK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM Before signing a contract, make sure to investigate the installer. Ask for references of previous customers and call them. Be sure the equipment specified in the contract matches the unit you selected and includes all extras you discussed during the sales process. Once you sign a contract, make sure the unit is installed according to the contract. A programmable thermostat is all but standard, but hightech thermostats can be difficult to operate without instruction. Cunningham from Lennox says that up to 70 percent of homeowners don’t use thermostats in the program mode, which can save money by raising the temperature while no one’s home during the day, for example. Finally, remember that an HVAC system is not a set-it-and-forget-it piece of equipment. The No. 1 cause of compressor failure is a dirty filter. Program your smartphone, use your computer or mark your calendar to set monthly reminders to check the filter. Many programmable thermostats also monitor filters and will alert you that it’s time for a change. 29 http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2011

Georgia Magazine - May 2011
Contents
Viewpoint
Mailbox
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar
Currents
Georgia’s Energy Outlook
Special Energy Report
Dolphin Tales
Agrability in Georgia
Creature Comforts
Georgia@home
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Gardens
Georgia Cooks
Snapshot

Georgia Magazine - May 2011

Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page Cover1)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page Cover2)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page 3)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Contents (Page 4)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Viewpoint (Page 5)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Mailbox (Page 6)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Picture This? (Page 7)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia News (Page 8)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia News (Page 9)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 10)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 11)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 12)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 13)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Currents (Page 14)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Currents (Page 15)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia’s Energy Outlook (Page 16)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Special Energy Report (Page 17)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 18)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 19)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 20)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 21)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 22)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 23)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 24)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 25)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 26)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 27)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 28)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 29)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 30)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 31)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 32)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 33)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 34)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 35)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 36)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 37)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 38)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 39)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - My Georgia (Page 40)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - My Georgia (Page 41)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Gardens (Page 42)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Gardens (Page 43)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 44)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 45)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 46)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 47)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 48)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 49)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50A)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50B)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50C)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50D)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50E)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page Cover3)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page Cover4)
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