Spring in the Hamptons is the ideal time to start thinking about those home-improvement projects. Gary Shoemaker, Manager of the Heating and Air Conditioning Side of Hardy Plumbing and Heating, shares his insights into the cost benefits of improving the energy efficiency inside of your home.
Danshamptons.com: First off, is upgrading your home heating/cooling system to a more energy efficient system make financial sense to do?
Gary Shoemaker of Hardy Plumbing and Heating: Oh my goodness, yes. First off, you get an incredible efficiency, which leads to an operating cost savings. But not only that, there is the environmental factor. The old refrigerant freon is being phased out with the new stuff known as puron, which is a much more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Danshamptons.com: What are some options to get better energy efficiency in a home?
Shoemaker: You can upgrade your existing equipment so that it is not a prohibitive expense, or you can get an whole new system. In terms of upfront costs, there are ways to off set that through different programs that we are experts at setting you up with. You can get some utility rebates as well as manufactuers rebates, and there are also some government tax credits available.
Danshamptons.com: When should people be thinking about their heating/cooling systems?
Shoemaker: This is also the time of year for maintenance. People really need to do that. We have the second-highest electric utility rates in the country—only Hawaii is higher—so it certainly pays to maintain your air conditioner to save money on your operating costs.
Danshamptons.com: Are upgrades and/or replacements something that people are doing frequently?
Shoemaker: We’re doing energy efficient replacements and upgrades all the time because it’s a win/win, it’s financially smart and it’s environmentally smart. We do have some customers that are upgrading their old air conditioning to geothermal, and when you do that you get 30 percent tax credit—not deduction, but credit, it’s really incredible. That’s a different style of system and it’s not as cost prohibitive as you might think.
I’m going tomorrow to a place where we’re renovating an old system with geothermal, and when it it’s all said and done, in a few years it will be more than justified in terms of cost savings. One of the nice benefits that people are liking about geothermal is that there is no outdoor equipment, so you don’t have to deal with the large machines that might be sitting in your patio. It’s an aesthic thing—there is no noise and no units—but it is pricey. It is an option for high efficiency, and we’re doing a lot of it. But if you don’t want to go that far and completely redo the entire system, you can always upgrade.
Danshamptons.com: Are there any new and exciting trends happening with home efficiency?
Shoemaker: Some big things are remote access thermostats, which means that you get an app on your phone, open it up and change the temperature in your house remotely, anywhere in the world. We’re doing a lot of that. We even have it set up so that you will get a text message to your phone to let you know that you need to turn up or down the temperature of your home. It’s pretty incredible. The thermostats can even be programmed to call us if there are any problems.
Another thing that is new and popular, especially since allergy season this year has been awful, are some pretty impressive high efficiency air purifiers and cleaners, as well as complex dehumidification systems that will keep the air really clear and get rid of the mold and dampness that get into your house.
For home heating, cooling or plumbing questions, you can contact Hardy Plumbing and Heating, 654 County Road 39, Southampton, at 631-283-9333, or visit them online at hardyplumbing.com.