Dupuis Energy
401 Walcott St Pawtucket, RI 02860
(800) 322-5025

Get Smart: How a New Thermostat Could Save You Big Bucks

 Choosing a Programmable Thermostat to Save on Utility Bills

No matter the type of HVAC system you use in your home, cutting down on your electricity bills is a priority. Maybe you’ve replaced an older furnace with a new heat pump or have had your home re-insulated. Choosing a programmable thermostat is a great way to increase your savings while ensuring a high level of comfort.

What Are Programmable Thermostats Anyway?

Programmable thermostats, also known as smart thermostats, have all of the features of a standard thermostat but with extra capabilities designed to allow homeowners to make the most of their heating and cooling systems. Such thermostats can be programmed to handle comfort needs during different times of the day and year, and many can even be controlled remotely over wireless connections.

Making the Most of Your Smart Thermostat

Buying a smart thermostat is just the first step towards ensuring greater comfort and energy savings at home. It’s essential that you understand how to set your thermostat to best provide for your needs. Of course, you’ll also need to talk to your HVAC contractor to be sure that the thermostat you choose is compatible with your heating and cooling system. In most cases, it’s best to choose a thermostat of the same brand as your HVAC system.

Ensuring energy savings also means choosing specific settings for your home’s comfort system. You can make the most of your thermostat by:
•    Setting the thermostat to an energy-saving point during the daytime when no one is at home.
•    Leaving your thermostat set at a constant temperature of 76 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter.
•    Setting up programs to handle your vacation and away-time needs without fuss.
•    Running different programs for zones or areas of your home that are not in use on a regular basis.

In addition to calibrating your smart thermostat, you can also make periodic adjustments to ensure on-going efficiency. Every three to four months, review your utility bills to see if there have been any substantial changes in the charges. If you’ve noticed an increase in your utility bill, think about whether or not your heating and cooling habits have changed. You may need to adjust your thermostat settings to help increase savings, especially if your HVAC system is aging. Remember that bills will also vary from season to season.

To ensure that you can get the most out of your smart thermostat, work with a professional HVAC contractor for installation and calibration. Dupuis Energy is here to help you boost your home comfort while cutting down on utility bills.

Take Stock of Your Heating System’s Health

Is it time to replace your furnace, boiler or other home heating system?

Winter weather in MA and RI can get chilly fast. Dealing with unpredictable temperatures requires a home heating system that’s always ready to kick into action. How can you know if your furnace or boiler is up to the task? Consider these factors before the height of heating season to give yourself peace of mind.

Age

Heat pumps more than ten years old and furnaces or boilers more than 15 years old are prime candidates for replacement. Not only are these units likely to be wearing out, but they’re also much less efficient than newer models. Upgrading can save you money and frustration by ensuring better performance throughout the heating season.

Both furnaces and boilers contain heat exchangers that can develop cracks over time. You’ll know if this has happened by the presence of water beneath the boiler or soot collecting around heat registers. If you notice an unusual smell, it needs to be dealt with immediately; the furnace could be leaking dangerous carbon monoxide gas into your home.

Problems Around the Home

Heating systems that are on their last legs often create noticeable problems inside your home. You may notice that one room is much warmer or colder than another, a sign that something is wrong with either the main system or the ductwork. The same underlying problems can result in undue dryness or humidity.

Keep an eye out for excessive dust as well. This is often the product of leaking ducts which may need to be repaired or replaced completely to correct the problem. Dust buildup is not only unsightly but can also aggravate allergies. Plus, it requires a lot of extra cleanup that would be unnecessary with a newer system.

Excessive Bills

A sudden increase in your heating bills may be indicative of a drop in efficiency. Old or worn out systems always work harder than those in top condition, leading to greater expenses. However, higher bills can also indicate dirty ductwork, so have your system inspected before deciding to replace it.

Excessive repairs rack up bills as well. When you’re spending more than the price of a replacement model to fix your furnace, repairs cease to be cost-effective. You’re just dragging out the time it takes for the system to break down.

Don’t let any of these signs of an aging heating system go. Waiting too long for inspection, repair or replacement could mean being literally left out in the cold when you need your heating system most. Contact Dupuis Energy today to set up a regular inspection and maintenance plan that identifies potential problems, offers tune-ups and ensures the best possible performance.

How to Choose the Most Efficient Furnace for Your Home

5 Things to Factor Into Your Furnace Choices

Your home’s winter comfort depends on installing an efficient heating system, but choosing the best model isn’t as easy as picking out a new refrigerator. Whether you’re building a new house or replacing an old furnace, here are five important considerations that can help you make the best decision.

1. Understand Energy Efficiency

All furnaces are rated by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and this AFUE percentage represents how much heat a model delivers per dollar spent on fuel. Today’s minimum is set at 78% and runs to a maximum AFUE rating of 97%. A new furnace with a higher rating comes with a big price tag, but that initial investment is offset by lower fuel costs during its mechanical lifetime.

2. Balance Home and Furnace Size

A furnace that’s too large for your home wastes energy and drives up heating costs. A furnace that’s too small constantly runs trying to deliver warmth throughout the house, and this hurts monthly bills too. A professional HVAC contractor can help you determine the best heating system size with computer calculations based on industry standards and your home’s construction.

3. Make an Informed Investment

Investing in a new home heating system is a big decision, so weigh your budget against long-term considerations. Once you’ve settled on a furnace size and AFUE rating, you’ll find a variety of models available from different manufacturers. Be sure to look behind the price tag for information on warranties and equipment life expectancy, and kick the wheels by researching consumer reviews.

4. Don’t Forget the Details

Most homeowners don’t switch fuel supplies when installing a new furnace, and they rarely relocate the unit to another part of the house. If you plan on either of these changes, factor the price of retrofitting into your installation costs. Also put ductwork, vents and air intakes and returns on your list of details that need to be checked by a professional furnace installer.

5. Choose an Experienced Contractor

If you don’t already have an HVAC specialist, make sure to confirm certification and licensing. You want a contractor who’s ready to talk about size calculations, installation details and work guarantees. A reputable company won’t hesitate to answer your questions, so don’t feel shy about asking.

It’s easier to choose the best furnace for your home when you have the right information, and we’re always happy to share our expertise with MA and RI homeowners. Here at Dupuis Energy, it’s our job to keep you warm, so let us help you make the best choices in home heating.