Posts Tagged :

energy efficient home

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What does the Energy Star Logo Mean?

You’ve seen this logo everywhere!  On washers and dryer; on dishwashers and refrigerators; on TV’s and computers; on air conditioners and furnaces.  But, what does it mean? Energy efficiency is something that every homeowner or building manager cares about. Whether you’re just paying your utility bills at home or you’re running a business, no one wants to pay more on bills than they actually need to. That’s why energy-efficient appliances and practices can yield some pretty sizable savings.

One phrase you might have read about or heard of is “Energy Star” or even “Energy Star rated.” But do you know what that means? What does the Energy Star logo signify when its placed on a product? 

Energy Efficiency Matters

Energy Star and the associated logo is an international standard for energy usage. An Energy Star rating means that an electronic product, industrial practice, or even residence or commercial building has been evaluated according to rigorous energy usage and waste standards, and it was found to meet the high criteria for being energy efficient. 

So what does this mean to you? It means that if you buy a home or start a business in a new building that has been Energy Star rated, you will be keeping your energy waste to an absolute minimum. Subsequently, it also means that you will not be paying more than you have to on bills, such as on heating. 

Energy Star rated products are designed to be efficient about using electricity. Energy Star industries follow specific practices to ensure that their total energy usage does not exceed certain quotients that would be deemed wasteful for the activities required. Reduced waste means reduced costs, and it’s also better for the environment! 

Energy Savings in Your Home or Business

For people who want to reduce energy costs, Energy Star rated devices and structures should be the ones you consider. In some cases, a home or business owner may even get a rebate from the government once they confirm that they have purchased and installed an Energy Star appliance, such as a new furnace, in their building. 

The Energy Star program is strictly voluntary. It has the participation of the Canadian government as well as different manufacturers, organizations, and for-profit and non-profit groups. When you notice the Energy Star logo on a product or a building, you already know that it’s going to be energy efficient and reduce energy costs for you. 

Trust Our Energy Star Products to Reduce Energy Costs

We supply Energy Star rated products to our customers! So you’ll never have to worry about a new HVAC system costing you more than it should when it comes to your heating or cooling bills. 

In fact, a new furnace or air conditioner will quickly pay for itself in reduced utility bills!

If you’re thinking of upgrading your home for more comfort and greater energy efficiency, then contact us. With our expertise at installation and our range of Energy Star rated products, you’re guaranteed reliable energy savings no matter what appliance you choose. Contact us today for more information and begin reducing energy costs! 

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Energy Saving Tips for Pet Owners

 

If you own your own home, then you’re free to have any type of animal companion you like, including furry, four-legged friends like dogs and cats. But even when you’re ready to go to work, and the kids go off to school, your pets stay at home. Have you ever considered what that could mean for your energy bills? Having comfortable pets may be important to you, but there are things you need to keep in mind about how your home runs while you’re away. Look at these tips on how to save energy and have a pet-efficient home.

Use a Fountain Bowl, Not a Running Faucet

While it’s true that both dogs and cats generally prefer to drink running water, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a lower water bill in order to have comfortable pets. You can rack up some dramatically high bills if you just can’t stand the thought of your pet not drinking running water and use the faucet to address this need.

Instead, you should try a fountain bowl. These setups use electricity and circulate water in a bowl to simulate the running water effect. Much easier on your utility bills than leaving the tap on all day!

Make Animal Doors Efficient

You may have a doggy door, or something similar for your cat so that they can exit and re-enter your home without assistance. But these are essentially holes in your home and can be a huge source of heat leakage.

Look into making your animal door as energy efficient as possible. Check the integrity, improve the seal, and, if it’s an older, more basic door, upgrade it to a modern, energy-efficient model. That can have a significant impact on your heating or cooling bills.

Turn Off All Devices

Both cats and dogs are pretty self-sufficient. You don’t need to worry about keeping lights, televisions, or even fans on as ways to keep them company or comfortable. A pet-efficient home doesn’t need to cater to every amusement of a pet, especially since one of the greatest joys for a pet is simply sleeping!

So don’t worry about keeping fans on throughout the summer, and when it comes to lights and televisions, pets don’t really need these on to avoid loneliness or boredom either.

Mind Your Temperature Settings

Keep in mind that when it comes to temperatures, your pets can actually withstand fluctuations. You can afford to keep the thermostat in the home set to 25°C or even higher in the summer, and your pets will be fine. Further, the rich fur coats of most dogs and cats mean they stand up to colder temperatures as well, so keeping a thermostat at or just under 20°C when you’re not at home in the winter can save you on energy bills while also having comfortable pets.

Try out these pet efficient home tips and notice a difference on your next energy bill!

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Why Are Some Rooms Hot & Others Cold?

Did you spend this past winter continuously turning up the heat? Winter in Canada is guaranteed to do one thing: force you to start turning up the heat so you can stay comfortable in your home. Now that the temperatures are finally starting to warm, will you be playing to the air conditioner too? You may find that your home experiences uneven temperatures from room to room and wonder, “Why is one room colder than another?”

There are a few possible causes for some rooms feeling colder than others. We’re going to look at the more common reasons for this difference and how you can achieve an acceptable temperature in every room.

Make Sure You Have Good & Even Insulation

Issues with insulation are a lot more prevalent in much older homes, especially if they’re still largely original, without any major renovations. For example, an older home maybe didn’t get the benefit of modern insulation like fibreglass, polystyrene, or cellulose. Uninsulated homes have a tougher time retaining heat and will more easily admit cold (or hot) air, which makes reaching an acceptable temperature in every room difficult.

The solution here, of course, is to get insulation! That might seem costly for your whole house, but in the end, you’ll experience a significant and immediately noticeable increase in warmth during the winter (and cooler temperatures in the heat of summer) on top of lower heating bills.

Differing Temperatures Are the Result of Heat Escape

Similar to an insulation problem, sometimes one room is colder than another because heat is leaking outdoors before it reaches those rooms. You will experience this type of heat loss with structural flaws in window frames, in the foundation, around entryways, and in other vulnerable areas. Older, wooden window frames will erode from exposure to heat and moisture, and they eventually create drafty areas that allow heat to leak out rapidly.

The best way to combat this leakage is to find the holes and seal them up. In some cases, you may need to either seal window frames or even think about getting new ones, complete with energy-efficient glass as well.

Faulty Ductwork

Sometimes the issue isn’t with your heat getting out, so much as the appropriate amount of heat (or cool air) not getting where it’s supposed to in the first place. If a home has old, leaky ducts, roughly 30% of heated air from a furnace isn’t even getting to the vents and into the rooms.

Have an expert come in and evaluate your ducts for efficiency and leaks. If any holes are found, it’s relatively simple to seal them up.

Improper Furnace or Air Conditioner Size

Sometimes, the problem is found right at the source of heating or cooling production. You may have a unit that just isn’t suitable for the size of your home. When a furnace or air conditioning unit is initially installed, professionals will go over the total area of the house and recommend a model that can accommodate your load. If the house is remodelled, especially with an extension or even a whole new floor, you need to reevaluate your furnace so that it aligns with your heating demands.

 

You’ll need to consider a new furnace or other measures such as adding a second thermostat or even zoning control with “smart vents” to get around an issue like this.

 

For a FREE assessment of your home’s HOT and COLD spots, please give us a call.

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Reduce Home Heat Loss

As the temperatures start warm, you probably aren’t worried about heat loss in your home but, do you remember the long winter that is finally ending? Do you remember the heating bills? Timmins is famous for its winters, which is why it’s no surprise that efficient home heating can be a major concern. But how do you make sure that you’re only paying what you should, not extra from heat loss? Finding out the causes of heat loss in your home is the best way to start stopping heat loss and save money in the long term. Plus, when spring arrives, these issues can be easily fixed.

Heat is Escaping from Your Chimney

Older homes may still have old-fashioned, wood burning fireplaces built in, with chimneys to expel the smoke. While fireplaces and chimneys make for a great winter experience, they are also a major source of heat loss.

You can reduce heating costs by sealing up a chimney if you no longer use your fireplace. However, if you do still enjoy building a fire from time to time, a “chimney balloon” acts as a seal to keep the heat in when not in use. Just deflate it when you’re ready to light things up again.

Pay Attention to Your Windows

Draw your curtains or blinds to reduce heat loss in the winter

A window is essentially a hole in your home with a transparent cover so you can see through it. It can admit light, which also carries heat, but can even radiate that same heat out. A window is always a “point of vulnerability” in a home for heat loss and gain. In the winter, you should use heat gain to your advantage while mitigating heat loss. Any windows with a southern exposure should have curtains or drapes open up to allow sunlight to stream in, for “free heating” during the day.

At night, however, you should use those same curtains or blinds to seal in the heat and slow down heat loss. If you really committed to reducing heating costs, invest in new, energy-efficient windows with innovations like an insulating layer of argon gas between the panes.

Your Insulation Might Need an Upgrade

One of the most common reasons for heat loss is poor insulation in a home. If your roof and walls are not properly insulated, cold air is constantly seeping in. Modern insulation like cellulose, fibreglass, and polystyrene make a huge difference in retaining heat inside your home. If reducing heating costs is one of your goals, evaluate your insulation situation, and upgrade to modern materials and techniques.

Your Floors Are Also Vulnerabilities

Yes, you can even experience heat loss through your floor! Wooden floorboards, for example, having gaps and seams through which cold air can leak in. You can insulate your floor with large area rugs to block those leaks.

 You might even consider in-floor heating as an alternative. Floor heating systems not only mean you’ll have a toasty warm floor in the winter, but it’s a less invasive way to heat, avoiding the stuffy air of turning up the furnace. It’s a unique, foot-friendly way to reduce heating costs and get rid of those socks and slippers while at home during the winter.

 

Stopping heat loss in your home starts with noticing the causes and can end with some of these practical solutions!

 

Contact Us for a Free Heat Loss Assessment, we’re sure it’ll reduce your heating bills next winter.

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Cheap Tricks to Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter

If you’re like most homeowners, you’d love to be able to reduce your energy bills in the winter without having to spend a lot of money. As the temperatures drop and that furnace kicks into high gear for several months, your energy bills can become uncomfortable. Having an energy-efficient home will give you peace of mind and help your bank account, and there are a handful of cheap tricks you can try to help make this a reality.

Lower the Thermostat

Over-programming your smart thermostat can end up wasting money unnecessarily. If you want to save money on your energy bills, try decreasing the temperature by three degrees during the days when no one is home and at night while everyone is asleep. With modern thermostats, you can schedule it to come on shortly before you get home or wake up, making the settings convenient and the bills affordable.  

Use Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls contribute to an energy-efficient home because they dry your clothes more efficiently and allow you to reduce the time you use the dryer. Clothes dryers use a lot of energy, but this inexpensive hack can help you reduce the output.

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Dryer balls help you save energy when drying, but you can also save during the wash cycle by only using cold water to wash your clothes. Naturally, your water heater will need to kick into gear if you wash clothes in hot water, so keeping it cold will save energy.


Hang Your Clothes to Dry

Not a lot of people consider hanging their clothes out to dry in the winter, but it is possible most of the time. Heat, humidity and time are major factors when it comes to drying clothes, and even though there isn’t a ton of heat in the winter, humidity levels are usually lower, and you can leave them out all day. Make sure not to crowd the line with clothes, and if it is cold and humid out or really windy, try an indoor drying rack for the same energy-saving effect.

Unplug Small Appliances That Aren’t Being Used

Small appliances like vacuums, computers, cameras, entertainment systems, and kitchen appliances that aren’t being used still consume energy if they are plugged in. This concept is often called phantom or vampire electricity, and it is adding to your electricity bill for no reason. Take a few moments to unplug small appliances that you aren’t using and save money.

Keep an Eye on Your Furnace Filter

A dirty furnace filter will make the entire system work harder and will reduce the air quality in your home. If you want to have an efficient furnace and improve air quality at the same time, take the time to clean or replace your furnace filter each month. Purchase a pack of three or more and have them handy so there is never an excuse.


Annual Furnace Maintenance

Every energy-efficient home has a furnace that is effective and gets the job done when it’s needed. Make sure you call a heating contractor in Timmins to have your furnace serviced at least once per year, preferably before the winter, and you will be able to reduce your energy bills while keeping your family safe and comfortable.  

 

If you’d like to learn more about saving on your energy bills and want to get ready for winter, get in touch with us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today for a full furnace servicing.

 

 

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How Often Should My Furnace Be Cleaned and Serviced?

 

The last thing anyone wants during a cold winter night is to have their furnace stop working. If you’ve ever lost the ability to heat your home, you know it can be one of the most unsettling experiences imaginable. You’re left to scramble for a solution as the temperature inside keeps dropping, and in most cases that furnace breakdown can be attributed to being negligent when it comes to your furnace maintenance.

 

Issues like a clogged furnace filter, faulty pilot light, or a cracked heat exchanger can end up creating a serious and even potentially dangerous situation. But these and other problems can be addressed by having your furnace cleaned and serviced on a regular schedule.

 

When Should I Get My Furnace Serviced?

 

Having regular furnace maintenance will help you save on your energy bill and will contribute to a more energy-efficient home. Ideally, you’ll want to have your gas furnace serviced once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you can stick to an annual schedule, that should still keep everything running smoothly until the next visit.

 

When you think of the time your furnace works its hardest, it is in the summer when your A/C is running and in the winter when you need constant heat. With this heavy workload, dirt and dust pile up and little things can start to go wrong. By having your furnace serviced and cleaned just before the busiest times of the year, you can feel secure knowing they are ready for the heavy usage that lies ahead.

 

What Happens on a Service Call?

 

During a furnace maintenance call, technicians will thoroughly inspect your furnace to ensure it’s in good working condition and safe. We will clean or exchange the filters as well as clean the blower’s fans and condenser units. We will replace any belts that show signs of wear and tear, check the coolant levels, inspect wiring, pumps, burners, and ignitors, and test all the motors and fans.

 

We will also clean and sanitize the equipment and check carbon monoxide levels to make sure there isn’t a leak. Even though we will take care of your furnace filter on each visit, it’s also recommended that homeowners clean or replace their filter every month or so for optimal performance.

Benefits of Regularly Scheduled Furnace Service


As a homeowner, the number of benefits you’ll receive offsets the expense of having scheduled furnace service. Regular maintenance visits will:

 

  • Increase energy efficiency and lower your current utility bills
  • Extend the life of your HVAC equipment, saving money on replacements
  • Improve the air quality in your home
  • Improve the overall comfort levels in your home
  • Prevent the need for extensive, costly repairs
  • Make your home a safer place for your family

 

It’s easy to see how having regular furnace maintenance will help you save on energy bills and provide a safer, more energy-efficient home. If you’d like to learn more or want to schedule a visit from one of our technicians, get in touch with us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today.  

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How a New HVAC System Can Both Save You Money & Increase The Value of Your Home

Most homeowners thinking about home improvement will go for the most visible, big-ticket items. Renovating kitchens and bathrooms, for example, is a pretty noticeable way to show that a home has had some major improvements.

But there are many other critical ways in which a home improvement project can involve a significant investment that will certainly pay out in the long term. Waterproofing a basement, insulating a home, or even putting in new, modern electrical wiring are all less “sexy” ways to upgrade your space. But one area that can yield a high impact is improving your HVAC system by installing a modern unit. How does this help? We’ll explain.

You Will Lower Your Bills

The first and most obvious way that getting a new HVAC system can save you money is by lowering just how much you pay every month in your heating and cooling bills. Gas burning furnaces and centralized air conditioning are built to run for decades when properly installed and maintained. This regular service can mean that some older homes may still have heating and cooling systems that date back to the 1980s or even the 1950s!

But while this equipment may operate reliably, it works far less efficiently than modern hardware. The contemporary gas-burning furnace, for example, can achieve over 90% efficiency. This figure means that nearly all of the heat it creates is dispersed throughout the home and not lost to the exterior or in other ways. A furnace from the 1950s, on the other hand, is lucky to achieve 65% efficiency, even with excellent care. That means 35% of your bill is heat that was lost, but you’re paying for anyway.

You May Get Rebates That Lower the Cost

It’s always a matter of watching for particular government or even company offers, but rebates can make a big difference! Paying attention to special offers means getting money back after a proper evaluation and installation, assuming you qualify.

Through this process, you will be saving even more money as your investment in new equipment gets paid back thanks to programs that offer rebates for people upgrading to new, energy efficient systems. Everybody wins when you take advantage of this discount.

You’ll find more information on rebates here.

You Increase Home’s Appeal and Value

Finally, if you decide to put a new HVAC system in your home, the unit can increase your home’s property value as well as make it a more enticing buy! People looking for new homes are always trying to cut down on the amount of extra work they need to perform in a house.

If you have a new HVAC system, this means potential buyers now know they don’t have to worry about the HVAC system in the home for years. They also know they will enjoy the same lower energy bills that you are currently experiencing! This update adds a lot of value and peace of mind for people on the market for a new home.

Upgrade your HVAC system for not only the environmental impact but also for increased comfort in your home and the benefits to your bank account! That’s what we call a “win, Win, WIN!”

For a free HVAC quote and home energy audit please contact RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning.

 

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Cheap Tricks to Keep Your House Cool in The Summer

Summer is here, and even in Timmins, it’s been a hot one, with heat waves and higher than average temperatures. That can get expensive if you’re trying to find ways to cool your home, but we’ve got some tips that can help you to keep those energy bills down!

Use Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans, you should make sure that they’re running counter-clockwise or “forward.” This movement has the effect of circulating air downwards, which creates a breeze that encourages the wind chill effect that can be so uncomfortable during the winter but is a great relief during these hot times of the year.

Use Coverings for Your Windows

If you have curtains, shades, blinds, or other means of covering your windows, use them during the daytime! Sunlight is not just light, it is also heat, so any sunlight that shines through your windows is heating up your home. By keeping your windows covered during the hottest parts of the day, you’ll experience a noticeable drop in your energy bills.

Close Your Doors

Both heat and cold circulate, so if you want to keep the room you’re in cool, don’t let that cold air escape to other rooms or outside. Conversely, if other rooms are hot, don’t let that heat flow back into your cooler rooms. By closing doors to unused rooms, you can better maintain the temperature you want in the areas that you frequently use.

Program Your Thermostat

If you have a modern, digital thermostat, you have the ability to program it. Try setting the thermostat to higher temperatures during the times of day when no one is home, such as when school is still in session, and you or your children are working. Then, anywhere from 10-20 minutes before people return home, have the thermostat turn on the air conditioning. By not doing anything to counteract natural, higher temperatures when no one is around, you are limiting your use of the air conditioning unit, and therefore reducing the amount on your bills.

Use Lighter, Smarter Bed Sheets

In the same way that you change clothing for the summer season from winter, you should be doing the same thing with bed materials and linens. Get rid of the thick, heavy comforters designed to keep you warm, and use lighter sheets and fibres that enable heat to pass through quickly and allow you and your skin to “breathe.”

Keep Your Body Cool

Stay hydrated when it gets hot at home, and this will help to keep you cool. Also, make sure to wear appropriate clothing. Stick to lighter, looser fitting clothing that doesn’t act as an insulator, helping your body build up and retain heat. Modern, “smart fibres” maintain tensile strength and durability without being thick and heavy. If they allow for breathability as well, this is a great way to radiate heat and remain more cool and comfortable.

After following these simple tips, you will have kept both the heat under control in your home and your bills lower at the end of the summer months!

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Rent vs. Finance Purchase of HVAC Equipment (AC, Furnace, Hot Water Tank)

Has your AC, furnace, or hot water tank seen better days? If so, it may be time to consider investing in a new piece of high-quality HVAC equipment. Whether it’s a decision you must make on short notice or one that you can prepare for, many HVAC companies will offer you the option to rent or finance your new system.

 

When it’s time to find the best HVAC system for your residential or commercial property, you deserve to be well-informed throughout the entire purchasing process. Use the following tips to help you decide whether financing or renting your HVAC equipment is the right solution for your unique needs.

 

Renting HVAC Equipment

 

Many HVAC companies offer you the option to rent your AC, furnace, or hot water tank units. Rental plans and contracts are often long-term and include higher interest rates, depending how long your contract runs for. Although it may seem like a better option initially, interest rates do add up over time, and you may not fully own your HVAC equipment when the contract is up.

However, there are benefits to renting your HVAC system, including the most competitive costs in Ontario, local technical service, and advice you can trust from a local professional.

For More info on RHMH’s rental program, click here.

Financing HVAC Equipment

 

Fully investing in the purchase of HVAC equipment can initially be a major undertaking, but there are many benefits to financing your new HVAC system, including:

 

Lower overall cost of ownership: When you choose to finance your new HVAC equipment, you will have to pay less on your monthly payments. Often, local HVAC service providers will install the new furnace, air conditioner, or hot water tank without the upfront costs when a financing plan is put in place.

 

More options: Financing your new HVAC equipment provides you with more options than renting the same equipment. You can choose your length of term, and work exclusively with our financing partner to customize a payment plan tailored to your unique situation.

With financing, you’ll eventually own your HVAC equipment so that you can enjoy whole-home comfort while creating an energy efficient interior environment.

Many property owners choose to finance their HVAC equipment rather than renting it as it adds value to the property, even after you leave. With finance plans, you can choose the payment plan that is right for you and save money in the long run.

For more information on RHMH’s financing options, click here.

At RHMH, we offer both financing and rental options. We’re proud to be an authorized partner of Enercare, Canada’s largest supplier of cooling, heating, and hot water tank rental units. Whether you choose to rent or finance your new AC, furnace, or hot water tank, you should be well-informed before making any purchase decision.

For a free home AC evaluation and quote, contact the HVAC experts at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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Is Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat Worth the Money?

With any consumer decision, you should always do your research before spending a large amount of money. One home investment that many experts recommend is installing a smart thermostat in your home. But what are these devices? How do they work, and are they even worth the hassle and money? Continue reading to learn everything about smart thermostats before you make the decision to upgrade:

What is a Smart Thermostat?

Everyone knows that the thermostat is the part of your heating system that controls the temperature of your home. Older thermostats use a mercury switch that triggers itself once the temperature in the home reached a certain level. Today’s smart thermostats are much more sophisticated.

A smart thermostat is essentially a unit that allows for extensive automation. This means the thermostat is programmable, in some cases, it can learn your habits, and it can also “communicate” with you by alerting homeowners to specific maintenance issues and more.

What do They Cost?

The cost of a smart thermostat is completely dependent on the model you choose, but most of them range in price from $150-$300. Some of the factors that contribute to the price include whether or not it’s a learning thermostat, if there is remote access, and more. However, one thing you should consider is that the upfront cost of the smart thermostat will most likely quickly pay for itself when it comes to energy efficiency and savings on your heating bill.

What is the Best Model to Choose?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your unique needs. Higher end smart thermostats will offer more features and include sophisticated automation, learning, and mobile access while more basic models will simply allow for extensive programming. Some of the best smart thermostats in a wide range of prices come from companies such as Nest, Honeywell, Ecobee3, and SensiSmart.

Can I Install it Myself?

As with most home projects, installing a smart thermostat on your own is completely doable. However, it’s not always advisable. Installing a new thermostat involves connecting it to the HVAC system. With this, come questions of compatibility, wiring, and more. Getting a professional to install your new smart thermostat is the best idea because then you know it is installed correctly and the work will probably be covered by a warranty. Many smart thermostats also connect your home’s Wifi, so it’s a good idea to work with an expert to select and unlock the full potential of the new thermostat.

What are the Potential Savings?

This is where upgrading to a smart thermostat gets interesting. Everyone wants to save, and the bottom line is that a smart thermostat can save you a lot of money. Almost all models, even the low-end smart thermostats, will come with upwards of 30 percent energy savings. This translates to more money in your pocket and less money wasted on inefficient heating.

To learn more about smart thermostats, contact the experts at RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today.