In Montana, it feels like we only get two seasons—winter and summer! Winters bury the Bridgers in snow, while summers are filled with blue-skied, long days when the sun doesn’t set until well into the evening. As much as we love the few months of the year when we get warmer weather, summers in Montana can get very hot. The heat can feel unrelenting!
So, the welcomed chill of good air conditioning offers a wonderful reprieve. More and more homes in Bozeman use air conditioning to bring cool relief from endless, scorching summer days. However, suppose you are not using energy-efficient air conditioning best practices. In that case, you’re not only going to waste time and money, but you’re going to reduce the level of cool air you could be enjoying. You might as well have the front door of your home wide open—letting the cool air out and hot air in.
High summer air conditioning bills can often take a toll on your wallet and peace of mind if you aren’t careful. At Mountain Heating & Cooling, we value your budget and your comfort, so we curated a list of energy-saving practices that you can use during the summer months. Read on to explore the four best practices you can use to help you optimize your HVAC system’s energy efficiency during the long summer months in Montana.
4 Best Energy-Saving Practices for Summer Air Conditioning in Montana
1.) Schedule Regular A/C Maintenance
Most homeowners do not want to replace their air conditioners in the heat of summer. Have no fear, our Bozeman HVAC contractors and technicians are highly-trained professionals who make the whole process effortless. Often we find that debris in your cooling system and neglect are two of the top reasons air conditioning units work poorly or break down altogether. One minute you are enjoying the refreshing cool comfort of your home, and the next, you are beginning to wonder why it feels as stifling inside your house as it does outside. To avoid needing to schedule a new air conditioner installation this summer, here are two easy tips you can take advantage of:
- Clean and Replace Air Filters – Every air conditioner has an air filter in it which helps filter out larger dust and dirt particles in the air as your unit runs. If neglected, dust and particles will build up and clog the air filter, making your air conditioning system work harder and less efficiently. This can cause your home not to be cooled properly and even make your monthly energy bills spike. Cleaning and replacing air filters every few months can help keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
- Maintain Your Outdoor A/C Unit – Often overlooked, keeping the area around your outside unit clean and free from clutter can help it perform well all summer long. Make sure you trim back shrubs and overgrown plants that can interfere with the unit’s operations. Also, having a technician clean out your HVAC system before and after the summer months can cut costs on your utility bill considerably and prevent early repairs or even A/C failure. Fortunately, these are completely avoidable issues. With proper maintenance by a qualified technician, you can take important and necessary steps to prevent these problems.
2.) Utilize Window Treatments & Fans
Window treatments and fans can work together to cool a home, so your A/C unit doesn’t have to work as hard without them. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that highly-reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by 45%. So installing blinds and window treatments in your home can be a helpful, easy option to block out the sweltering summer heat. Also, using ceiling or circulating fans causes hot air, which rises, to be cooled and dispersed throughout a room. This, in turn, saves you money on costly utility bills. Remember:
- Be sure to hang your curtain shades as closely as possible to your windows to block out radiant outdoor heat.
- Turning on your fans when you are in the room will make it feel cooler and circulate the air throughout the room. To save energy turn the fans off when you’re not utilizing the room.
3.) Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostats
At Mountain Heating and Cooling, we use ENERGY STAR-certified products like Trane air conditioners and smart thermostats. These types of programmable and smart thermostats allow you more opportunities to regulate your cooling system better and optimize your home to save energy. Smart and programmable thermostats use less energy than standard thermostats. They can be scheduled for a specific time that you want your cooling system to kick on, so you don’t waste power while you are not at home, and your a/c unit does not have to work so hard staying on all the time. They also have useful features such as:
- Using real-time weather data to gauge what to set your home temperature at.
- Scheduling accessibility that lets you adjust your home’s smart thermostat from your tablet, computer, or smartphone and monitor your system remotely.
4.) Properly Seal and Insulate Your Home
Why seal and insulate your home? It is simple. It saves energy and saves you money.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, proper insulation and sealing in your home can lower your heating and cooling costs. Homes that do not have adequate insulation and sealing can experience temperature losses or gains, which can make for uncomfortable days during inclement summer weather. Insulation and sealing in your attic, around windows, doors, and even floors can ensure your air conditioning performs optimally. And when you do this, cool air is prevented from escaping, and warm air is stopped from infiltrating your home. Oh, and it will help you be more comfortable in the summer too.
Use Best Practices for Summer Air Conditioning and Enjoy the Energy Savings!
Wise summer air conditioning decisions can mean the difference between enjoying the cool sanctuary of your home or wishing you were anywhere else. If you invest the time and utilize these tips to keep your air conditioning system operating at its best, you ensure it will work optimally for you for years to come. And if it begins to show signs that it is time to maintain it, repair it, or replace it, reach out to Mountain Heating & Cooling, your air conditioning installation experts—we’ve got your back!
Is your home’s HVAC system making your life simpler or adding to your to-do list? Imagine that you’re heading out of town to a business meeting or on the highway onramp with a carload of kids on the way to a soccer tournament. But you accidentally left the heat or AC on full blast. The last thing you want is to step into a cold house when you return home or expend excess power that skyrockets your monthly energy bill. Life is busy enough, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your home being comfortable when you’re there and taken care of when you’re not.
Luckily, home automation means you can easily and automatically control the temperature in your home anytime and from anywhere. New home automation technologies give you freedom, control, and peace of mind in knowing that your home will always be at the right temperature. Plus, automation helps you save money on heating and cooling bills. As your Bozeman home automation experts, Mountain Heating and Cooling can make your home comfortable—and your life easier—with HVAC-friendly smart home technology. Read on to learn more about home automation or schedule an appointment with our experts today.
Check, Change, & Schedule Your Home Temperature from Anywhere
Did you know home automation can include your HVAC systems? Home automation systems can monitor and control your home furnace and air conditioning unit using a centralized smart thermostat. Most smart thermostats also tie into a smartphone or tablet app, so you can check, change, and preschedule the temperature of your home while you’re on the go. As the seasons change in Bozeman, home automation with HVAC control adjusts the air temperature inside your home. That way it’s always comfortable when you or your pets are there, and optimizes your energy usage when you’re away.
The Benefits of Home Automation
1. Smart Scheduling – Smart scheduling lets you fine-tune your HVAC’s operation schedule. For example, you can schedule your thermostat to start heating up at the right time to ensure it’s warm and cozy when you get home on cold winter evenings. During weekdays, you can automatically lower the temperature when you’re out, saving energy and cutting your heating bills.
2. Energy Tracking & Reporting – Automation also provides ongoing and annual system performance reports. This helps you optimize your heating and cooling schedules and reduce your home’s energy consumption and costs.
3. Smart Zoning – If you have Smart Zoning capabilities in your home, automation allows you to set different rooms to different temperatures. Don’t spend much time in the spare room or shop? Schedule your thermostat and smart vents accordingly so those rooms get less heat.
Where to Start with HVAC Automation
What HVAC systems can be included in your Belgrade or Bozeman home automation? You don’t need to take on an entire HVAC installation project to enjoy the benefits of home automation. We recommend starting simple with an easy thermostat swap.
Smart Thermostat Benefits
Regular thermostats allow you to adjust your home’s air temperature via a wall-mounted control panel. Smart thermostats, on the other hand, provide much more control and versatility than raising and lowering the air temperature by a few degrees. Although they still have a touch-based interface, they also allow you to make changes remotely through an app while automatically accounting for your daily and weekly schedules, where in your home you spend your time, and what temperature you’d like for different times of the day. In addition, smart thermostats offer insights into your home energy use patterns, giving you recommendations and updates on how to conserve energy while keeping your home perfectly comfortable.
Which Smart Thermostat is Best?
We are proud to help our customers choose and install the most innovative, energy-efficient products, reliable enough to take on the Big Sky State’s toughest weather conditions. As your trusted Bozeman home automation team, we offer a wide range of smart thermostats, including Trane® Home (previously Nexia™) that streamline home automation and let you connect from anywhere.
In addition, they give you integrated access to any other important smart systems you have installed like home locks, lights, and cameras. Trane and Nexia are compatible with all smartphones, Google Home, and Alexa. The Trane app also creates a two-way communication channel between you and your home furnace, so you get alerts to your phone or email (and your HVAC service provider gets notified) if your system needs repair. Once you have a smart thermostat, you can upgrade to other “smart parts” one at a time.
Contact Our Bozeman Home Automation Experts
A professional HVAC installation for your Bozeman home automation systems can provide peace of mind. With Mountain Heating & Cooling, you know your smart home systems will function reliably, supporting you and your family’s busy lifestyle by providing control and comfort you can count on. Reach out to us today for a home automation consultation.
As Montana starts to transition into spring, now is the perfect time to prepare for the upcoming heat. Once the summer hits, the last thing you want is for your A/C unit to be broken, in maintenance, or waiting to be replaced. Investigating your cooling options and installing a new A/C unit now can save you discomfort when we’re in the thick of summer. There are many air conditioner types on the market, so assessing their features and your cooling needs can help you pick the best unit for your home. We’ve laid out the different air conditioner types available and our top tips for selecting the right A/C unit for your needs.
Air Conditioner Types
Air conditioner types can be broken down into two larger categories: stand-alone units and split-system units. Here’s how they work:
- Stand-alone, or free-standing air conditioner units, are comprised of one device. This device contains both sets of metal coils used for cooling your home. One coil collects the heat from your home while the other dispels the heat outside.
- Split-system air conditioners use two devices to cool your home. One device (usually smaller and quieter) is located in the home, and the other device (usually bigger and noisier) is located outside. The cooling metal coil that collects heat is located in the inside unit, and the coil that dispels heat is in the outside unit.
Stand-Alone Air Conditioner Types
Portable Air Conditioner
These models are very popular for those looking for a single room air conditioner. They’re cheap, no-fuss units that can be easily moved around the room of your choice. Hot air collected by the unit is dispelled outside by an air pipe through an exterior wall or window. While they’re easy to move around, the air pipe needs to be moved as well, so they can take up extra floor space.
Window Unit Air Conditioner
These units are self-contained units that are either placed in a window or through a hole in the wall. One part of the unit faces indoors while the other faces outdoors. The part facing indoors collects the hot air, and the part facing outdoors expels the hot air outside. They come in a variety of sizes, and the bigger the unit, the more cool air it generates. You can normally install these units yourself and they typically have a low upfront cost. However, because of their singular, static locations, their cooling capabilities are limited to a single room.
Wall or Floor Mounted Air Conditioner
These air conditioner types can be both stand-alone or split-system units. Using strong supports, these units can either be mounted to the wall or floor with pipes going through the wall to release the hot air outdoors. If run continuously, the units and pipes can become warm to the touch if you are not careful. These units are typically better for single rooms, as the airflow is localized to one place. Floor mounted air conditioners typically cool the room quicker than wall mounted units, as the fan blows cool air at your level.
Split-System Air Conditioner Types
Ductless Air Conditioner
Ductless air conditioners, also known as mini split air conditioners, have become extremely popular over the years. They are great options for apartments or homes with no ductwork and those looking for a more permanent air conditioning solution than window air conditioners. They have two units that are installed on the interior and exterior of your residence. Tubing connects the two systems through the wall that separates them. These are efficient air conditioner types that can be installed in a single room or installed in each room for whole-home cooling. It can become pricy to install a mini split air conditioner in every room in the house, so central air conditioners are more optimal for whole-home cooling.
Central Air Conditioner
If you have a large home and want to cool many rooms at once, a central air conditioner is the best choice for your home. Central air conditioner units are able to cool multiple rooms in your home simultaneously and quietly. They use a split system setup, where the condensing unit is located outside and the evaporative unit is inside next to your furnace. They connect together using refrigerant tubing. The condensing unit generates cool air that is pushed into the evaporative unit. Then, the evaporative unit propels the cool air into your home through your furnace duct system. While central air conditioners are the most expensive option, they are extremely effective and efficient.
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Air Conditioner Type
- Energy Efficiency – Choosing an energy-efficient air conditioner can help you save money on your monthly energy bill in the long run. Many air conditioner types are ENERGY STAR certified, which means they meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards for using less energy. The higher the ENERGY STAR number, the more energy-efficient an air conditioner is.
SEER rating is also a great measure of an air conditioner’s energy efficiency. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is the air conditioner’s cooling output divided by the total energy used in a cooling session. Like ENERGY STAR ratings, the higher the SEER rating, the better the energy efficiency.
- Price – Your budget is king when deciding on an air conditioner unit. If you’re looking for cheap, easy cooling for a single room, a window air conditioner or portable air conditioner maybe your best option. If you are looking for whole-home cooling, a central A/C unit is more expensive but more effective for all-around cooling. Remember that systems with a higher price tend to be more energy-efficient, which can make them less expensive to run in the long term.
- Size – You will need to make sure your A/C unit is the right size for your desired location. If you choose an air conditioner that is too large or small, it can be less efficient and use too much energy. Consult with a professional HVAC technician to ensure you choose an A/C unit with the right dimensions.
- Cooling Power – British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the measure of an air conditioner’s cooling capacity. The higher the BTU number means the more cooling power an air conditioner has. You will need an air conditioner with the BTUs necessary to properly cool your space. Air conditioners can range from 5,000 to 36,000 BTUs, so speak with an HVAC technician to evaluate how many BTUs you need to cool your space.
- Quality – You want to get the most out of your air conditioner, so choosing one that stands the test of time is important. Make sure your chosen air conditioner has reliable, well-made components so it can last you a long time. At Mountain Heating and Cooling, we recommend air conditioner brands like Trane, Lennox, and Mitsubishi for quality A/C units. Typically, more expensive units are higher in quality, but it’s important to choose an A/C unit with specifications that match your cooling needs.
If you need a hand selecting a quality A/C unit, our highly-trained HVAC technicians understand the differences between various A/C units and can help you choose the best unit for your home. Chat with our technicians today.
Need an Expert’s Advice? We’ve Got Your Back!
Choosing an air conditioner unit can be a challenge, so it’s important to get an expert’s advice to ensure your home stays comfortable and operational during the summer. If you need a hand selecting an air conditioner unit before the warm months hit, schedule an appointment with our air conditioning specialists today. At Mountain Heating and Cooling, we take the time to understand your needs and budget so that you can make informed, confident decisions for your home. To schedule an appointment, fill out a contact form or call us at (406) 586-4007.
Give Big Gallatin Valley is just around the corner, and here at Mountain Heating & Cooling we’re excited to support— and raise awareness for— the awesome nonprofits in our community. We wanted to give folks a little information about what Give Big is, and how to show your support this year.
What is Give Big Gallatin Valley and when is it?
Give Big Gallatin Valley (GBGV) is a 24-hour fundraising and celebration event where community members connect with and support the nonprofit organizations that serve the Gallatin Valley. It’s an event with fundraising at its core, and it’s also a fun event designed to bring everyone together to celebrate our community and the local nonprofits that make it the place it is today.
This year, GBGV runs from 6PM on May 6th until 6PM on May 7th. There’s a lot of information about what’s happening, and how to show your support, on the GBGV website.
Which nonprofits does Mountain Heating & Cooling support?
At Mountain Heating & Cooling, we’re proud to support lots of local nonprofits. Here are a few examples of nonprofit organizations we’ll be showing our support for this GBGV:
- Love, Inc— Love, Inc is a partnership of local Christian churches that supports individuals and families in need in Gallatin County. Last year during Give Big, Love Inc raised $8,285.00. This year their goal is $25,000! Due to a generous donor, the first $5,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. View their GVGV page here.
- HAVEN— Haven works to empower survivors, strengthen our community, and prevent domestic violence in Gallatin County. Haven has seen a significant increase in demand for their services during the pandemic, and money raised will help them continue to serve survivors in the coming years and the aftermath of the pandemic. View their GBGV page here.
- Boy Scouts of America – Montana Council (BSA)— BSA provides kids programs that involve a variety of hands-on activities that grow confidence, preparedness, and honor in kids. The Montana Scouts have been very busy in spite of the pandemic, collecting food for the food bank, reading online to younger kids, sewing masks, and more!
- Gallatin County 4-H— In Gallatin County 4-H, kids take part in projects that teach life skills through hands-on learning, such as leadership skills, animal projects, robotics, and more. It’s also designed to teach members to give back to their communities through service activities. View their GBGV page here.
How can I get involved, and what goes on during GBGV?
Give Big Gallatin Valley usually launches with an awesome kick-off event and a ton of in-person (and online) events. This year GBGV will be fully online this year due to COVID-19, though people will still be able to come together through online initiatives. Each organization has a page on the GBGV site where you can donate, fundraise for them, and see which other needs they have (such as volunteering or a need for new board members).
This has been a tough year for a lot of us, and the nonprofits have rallied together more than ever to keep our community the wonderful place that it is. At Mountain Heating & Cooling, we’re proud supporters of lots of local nonprofits, and we’re excited to show our support during Give Big Gallatin Valley. We’d love it if you could join us in supporting and celebrating our community this Give Big!
Is Your Air ‘Asthma and Allergy Association Certified’ Clean?
Spring has finally begun, and that means it’s time to get your ducts cleaned. Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. it is important to perform routine maintenance to ensure energy efficient system operation, and to ensure that you’re breathing clean air in your household. Our duct cleaning services start at $11/ month. If you bundle an air purifier with your spring duct cleaning service, we offer deals that help you save as much as $450. If you bundle the two, not only will you have clean, fresh ducts, but adding an air purifier will knock out dust, allergens, forest fire smoke, and unpleasant odors permanently, so you’ll be set for spring, summer, and fall.
We are proud to carry the Trane CleanEffects air purification system, which is the only air purification system certified by the asthma and allergy association.
Our Spring Cleaning Special Includes Financing as Low as:
- Duct cleaning service starting at $11/mo
- Air Purifiers starting at $23/mo.
- Bundle the two together and receive financing as low as $33 per month for an AirScrubber Plus, or bundle a duct cleaning and a Trane CleanEffects air purification system together for as low as $41/month.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Please come back and check out our new blog project. Our goal is to write short bits on the variety of solutions we see out on the marketplace and try to make some sense of them for you.
There really are so many opinions and designs floating out there. This can be good, and we know it can be overwhelming when you are trying to make the best decision for your budget, family, or business.
First, we’ll tackle some of the local considerations that are unique to southwest Montana like humidification, ventilation strategies, indoor air quality, summer smoke, etc. Later, we can dive into some of the more broad topics of system types and so on.
I’m looking forward to getting some of this info written down. If you have questions, please ask them and I will write a ‘Heated Rant’ about it.