couple tries to keep cool in the summer heat

13 Tips to Keep Your Air Conditioning Costs Low

The summer months usher in fun times with family and long, hot days. As temperatures rise, a lot of the time, so do your air conditioning costs. But there are plenty of methods ranging from quick fixes to long-term solutions to cut down on your cooling bill.

Let’s take a look at them!

How to Reduce Air Conditioning Costs Today 

You can start cutting back on cooling costs as soon as today!

Here’s the bottom line: the smaller the difference between the temperature inside and outside of your home, the lower your bill will be. There are plenty of minor lifestyle changes and considerations you can implement to achieve this.

1. Turn The Heat Up

If you have a programmable air conditioning system, keep the temperature as high as you can handle. When you leave your house, turn it up about 5 degrees higher to get the temperature inside and outside even closer – just don’t keep it above the outside temperature.

If you’re attempting to cool down your home faster, try to stay away from setting the inside temperature lower than you intend to keep it regularly. It doesn’t actually save you much time and you may run the risk of forgetting to set it to your normal temperature again.

2. Reduce Heat-Creating Activities 

Our home appliances create a lot more warmth than we may think. Another method to keep your home cool for cheap is to cut back on heat-creating activities during the day. Avoid using your dryer, stovetop, and dishwasher during the heat of the day.

Instead, explore outdoor alternatives such as using a clothing line or grilling. Some other activities you may want to reduce during the day include showering for long durations, keeping the television on, and at-home workouts (try using a fan instead).

3. Don’t Crowd Into One Room

In a confined space, multiple people crammed together can significantly heat up a room. Your body can radiate around 100 watts of excess heat. This can make for an uncomfortable increase in heat in an already toasty room during the summer. If you have guests over, try spacing out as much as possible during the daytime when the temperature is at its hottest.

4. Use a Fan 

A steadfast tool to beat the heat is the ceiling or circulating fan. In reality, fans don’t lower the temperature of a room. They make you feel cooler through a phenomenon known as the wind-chill effect. As the air circulates, you’ll feel several degrees cooler. Fans work especially well in combination with your air conditioner, moving the cool air throughout a room more efficiently. Be sure your ceiling fan is rotating counterclockwise so that the blades push cooler air down while the A/C is on.

5. Draw the Curtains 

Curtains, blinds, and shades are more strong allies in your quest for a lower electric bill. You’ll notice a significant difference in the temperature of your home if you allow sunlight to beam through your windows. Keeping your curtains drawn can significantly reduce the temperature of your home. Especially if they are light in color. According to the Department of Energy, “medium-colored draperies with white, plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.”

6. Don’t Let Your Cool Air Escape 

The last thing you want is to lose all the cold air your air conditioner worked so hard to create. Another important rule of thumb is to keep your doors and windows closed while your A/C is running. This one is easy to implement and something you can do today. Be sure to check for potential bad seals or leaks. This leads us to some more involved fixes you can work towards for a lower cooling bill. 

7. Keep Your A/C On All Day 

If you feel way too hot and the tip of keeping the temperature up isn’t an option, keep the air conditioner on at all times of the day. Although it seems counterintuitive, leaving your A/C on all day is another great way to save on your cooling bill.

When you turn your system off and let your house heat up too much, it takes up a lot of energy for your A/C to get the temperature back down again once you turn it back on. It can also put a lot of undue stress on your system to make this a regular habit. 

What Are Some Long-Term Ways to Reduce My A/C Bill?

The methods above are a great starting point for a cheaper, cooler home. But if you’re willing to invest more time and money in a solution, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

1. Seal Your Windows and Doors 

As mentioned before, potential leaks or bad seals aren’t doing you any favors in the quest for a cool home. Sometimes something as simple as a weather strip can prevent the flow of air. But, you might need to consider replacing an entire window if it’s more of a serious issue. 

2. Seal Your Attic and Basement

Your windows and doors aren’t the only areas of concern when it comes to bad seals. Attics and basements can be another place where cool air escapes. This can be especially problematic in older homes. You can try your hand at a DIY fix by caulking leaks you may notice or, if you’re willing to spend a little more cash, you can hire a professional to air-seal these spaces. 

3. Plant A Tree or Bush 

Some other long-term fixes you can invest in are trees or bushes. Just as curtains block out the sun, plants can shield your home from the harsh rays. When deciding where to plant, consider placing tall trees on the south side of your home as it gets the most sun throughout the day.  

4. Update to an Auto Thermostat 

Auto thermostats are another great tool. As you already know by now, keeping the home as close to the temperature outside as possible is crucial to lowering your bill. With an auto thermostat, you can set your temperature preferences schedule once and it will automatically change. Some even connect to an app so you can change it while away from home!

5. Maintain Your A/C System 

Even the most energy-efficient, technologically advanced A/C won’t save you money if you don’t maintain it properly. Take care of your air conditioning system. Be sure your air ducts aren’t blocked by furniture or dust. Periodically check the evaporator and condenser coils outside for debris and clean or switch out your filter once a month. 

6. Call in the HVAC Professionals

A final step you can take to assure you’re saving as much money as possible is to hire a professional HVAC contractor to provide you with comprehensive air conditioning services. There could be underlying issues costing you money that you might not be able to detect on your own. That’s where we come in! 

If you’re in Northern Colorado, take advantage of a free estimate when you call Good Guys Home Services. Escape the summer heat and save money with us today!

HVAC contractor fixing ductless mini-split system

Questions to Ask an HVAC Contractor

Finding the right HVAC contractor for your home can feel like a confusing, frustrating process. How do you know where to look? Once you find a specialist, how can you be sure they’re professional and experienced?

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the quickest ways to determine an HVAC contractor’s credibility is to ask him or her the following questions.

Where Can I Find Your Reviews and References?

If they have none, time to walk away. Today’s relevant and most trustworthy HVAC companies have an online presence because they know the value of meeting customer expectations online. If you’re doing research on your own, you should be able to search for the company by name in Google, and their business listing, along with all relevant information (contact information, website, any posted ratings and reviews), should appear.

If there’s no evidence of satisfied customer reviews, it might be a good idea to continue your search for an HVAC contractor.

What Services Do You Provide?

Ideally, your HVAC contractor will be well-versed in a wide range of techniques and services. If they are experts in only one facet of HVAC, working with their agency may result in frustration and inflated service costs, since other tasks will take up unnecessary paid time, or will require another contractor to step in and help.

Which Certifications Have Your Technicians Earned?

In a perfect world, you’d like to have someone working with the internal wiring of your home who actually knows what they’re doing, right? We thought so. Asking about a company’s requirements for training and licensure for their employees is a completely appropriate thing to do, and may save you a disaster in both home and wallet.

It goes without saying: you’re much more likely to get top-notch service from HVAC technicians who are certified and trained.

Additionally, you might ask a follow-up question: “How long have you been in business?”

This will allow you to gauge the expertise and longevity of experience your contractor is bringing to the table. Most likely, if you’re seeking out an HVAC contractor, your home might have been on the block for a few years (or decades). You want to be sure your technician is familiar with the fragile components of an older home, as well as proficient in understanding new HVAC systems in newer builds. Experience is vital.

What Maintenance Programs Do You Offer?

Every home is unique, so every home’s HVAC needs will be different. Knowing what your HVAC company protects, guarantees, and maintains is an essential part of creating a partnership. Ask about the company’s agreements and policies, and whether they’re flexible depending on the home’s needs. Ensure everything is in the open before signing on the dotted line.

Essentially, this question could be phrased as, “What happens after installation?” Does your HVAC technician leave you hanging high and dry, or will they commit to tune-ups and maintenance if need be?

How Can I Be Sure Your Recommendations Will Address My Home’s Air Needs?

This is not your average “business check-in” question. Too many HVAC contracting companies take short cuts and aren’t privy to the latest technologies and developments in the world of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The bolder you are able to be with your question asking of potential HVAC contractors, the more clarity you will have regarding their fit for your needs.

HVAC companies should be methodical, thoughtful, and intentional in their approach to giving quotes, assessing home air problems, and fixing/replacing any dysfunctional mechanisms. If you sense any theme of being rushed, abrupt, or insincere in diagnosing your HVAC issues and concerns, it may be a sign to keep searching.

What is Included in Your Service Quote?

This question seems like a silly one, but it is a surefire way to guarantee that there won’t be any hidden fees that arise later; after you’ve signed and services are in progress. Specifically, be warned that in the installation of a new HVAC system, the quote may not ensure that the old parts of the previous system also be replaced (fittings, valves, pipes, connectors, etc.). Ask your HVAC contractor about their policies regarding this.

Good Guys Home Services: The Answer to Your Questions

Locally owned and operated Good Guys Home Services is the most trusted source for all your HVAC needs in the Fort Collins, CO area. We take our commitment to excellence very seriously and accomplish this by providing customers with services that surpass their expectations.

Our goal is to give you complete confidence in hiring our team of licensed technicians. As a family-owned business, we know how important it is for you to feel comfortable in your home. Having professional HVAC services allows you to have the amenities you need, such as a temperature-controlled home environment. With 15 years of experience, our certified technicians have the knowledge and tools necessary to identify and complete any furnace repair or installation.

When you call Good Guys Home Services, you’ll receive prompt service and a transparent, straightforward quote. Maintain a comfortable temperature and healthy air quality by reaching out to our team.

In fact, we believe that a home should offer a high level of comfort, which is why we offer pre-season maintenance, complete system upgrades, 24-hour emergency services, and quick and honest communication. Good Guys is reliable, credible, and professional. The search is over; reach out today!

Woman testing an old thermostat

How to Test an Old Thermostat

Is your home suffering from an inconsistent indoor climate, but your wallet seems to suffer from a consistent decrease in funds going toward your heating and A/C bill? It might be time to check the functionality of your home’s thermostat. Keep reading for the DIY step-by-step.

Northern Colorado homes in Fort Collins, Denver, and across the Front Range get a lot of quick weather changes. The overall comfort of your home shouldn’t be compromised by something as simple as an old thermostat.

Before implementing the following steps, first, determine if your thermostat is attempting to control the temperature inside your home at all. This can be completed quite simply: turn on the heat function of your home’s thermostat until it reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Then, switch your system to A/C, and set it to run until it reaches 66 or so. If you do not hear your HVAC system activate and begin to cool your home, this is a sign of a potential thermostat problem.

Step 1: Turn off HVAC power

This can be done by switching the furnace to the off position if your system has an on/off switch. If not, you may need to cut off power by locating your home’s breaker box and switching off the circuit lever labeled “HVAC” or “furnace.”

Step 2: Remove thermostat cover

Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the main plate of the thermostat so that you are able to see inside. Depending on your thermostat model, you may have to remove the entire body of the device. This should expose the wires inside.

Step 3: Remove wires from terminals

The wires located inside your thermostat should be screwed to terminals marked R (red), W (white), G (green), Y (yellow), and C (common). Some thermostats have only two wires: either Red and White or Red and Green. Make note of these labels, or simply snap a photo with your phone. 

Unscrew and remove the wires from their various terminals. Be careful not to let them fall back into the hole in the wall. You can wrap the wires around a pencil if this is a concern. If there are more than two wires, pick only Red and White (standard colors for power and heat).

Twist the bare ends of the two wires (heat and power) together. Ensure that no other wires are making contact with each other or with these two.

Step 4: Turn the HVAC power back on

Return power to the furnace via the HVAC circuit breaker or furnace switch. If the blower turns on without the connection to the thermostat and the furnace burner ignites, the thermostat is defective or not connected properly.

Turn off the HVAC unit circuit breaker and untwist the R and W wires.

Step 5: Test other wires

If your system has all wires previously described, you may complete this test with the following wire combinations in addition to the R and W test.

Twist the R and Y wires together and turn on the HVAC power. Check to see if the air conditioning system ignites. Then, flip the HVAC switch back off.

Twist the R and G wires together and turn the HVAC breaker back on. The fan should now be working. After the test, turn off the HVAC power and untwist the wires.

If the HVAC passed all of these tests, the thermostat is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Time to Replace Your Thermostat

If you’ve determined your thermostat is non-functional and you’re tired of wasting money on a heating or cooling system that isn’t getting the job done, it may be time for a thermostat repair or a complete replacement. It’s time to call the professionals.

Don’t get left cold inside your home with an empty wallet. Call Good Guys Home Services in Fort Collins today and let us make it right!

A new smart thermostat installation

How to Replace Your Thermostat With a New One

Think it’s time to install a new thermostat?


There are a variety of signs that your old thermostat is going caput. If you have a failing or broken thermostat, it’s definitely time for a replacement. Or maybe you’re just sick of having high energy bills from your HVAC systems and want a fancy new smart thermostat.


No matter the reason for a new install of a thermostat, we’re laying out the steps of how to remove the old and install the new! Follow these steps in order for safety and to have a fully functional thermostat.


1. Choose Your New Thermostat

This is obvious but also necessary. You don’t want to remove an old thermostat that wasn’t working and replace it with a new one that is known to go bad after a couple of years. You also want to ensure that your thermostat will work properly throughout your home.


Research the type of thermostat that you want in your home and decide based on a few factors:

  1. Is the new thermostat compatible with my current HVAC systems?
  2. Will the thermostat provide the right comfort for my home?
  3. Are the reviews of the new thermostat positive?
  4. Does the thermostat meet manufacturer-specified voltage?
  5. Do I want wireless connectivity?


Smart/learning thermostats have wireless connectivity to devices such as your smartphone. They also don’t require much attention as they are programmed to learn as you use them. They are a terrific solution for the comfort of homes.


2. Turn Off the Electricity

Before starting on your new thermostat installation, turn the power off to your HVAC systems. Anything that’s connected to your current thermostat should be switched off. You can do this by going to your home’s breaker system and finding your air conditioning unit, furnace, and anything else related to the heating and cooling of your home.


If you are entirely uncomfortable with trying to find the breaker switches to your HVAC systems, you can turn off the main breaker to shut everything down.


You’ll be dealing with loose wires, so it’s better to be safe and turn the power off. You may also turn the power off to your air conditioning and heating units by directly flipping the switches on the units to “off”.


3. Remove the Old Thermostat

This is a 3-part process for removing the old thermostat.


  1. Remove the face (control unit) to the old thermostat, exposing the wires inside. It should come off fairly easily. If your thermostat runs off of batteries, this is how you’d normally remove the face for battery replacement.


  1. Disconnect the wires. Remember the placement of the connected wires as you’ll need to reconnect them later on. It’s easier to just take a photo of the wires to save yourself a headache.


  1. Unscrew and remove the thermostat mounts connected to the base of the thermostat. Remove the base from the wall entirely.


4. Install the New Thermostat

When you install the new thermostat, ensure that you are following the manufacturer’s diagram appropriately for wiring and other specifications.


  1. Put the base on the wall and thread the circuit wires through the appropriate opening specified on the thermostat base. Make sure the wires are tightened.


  1. Mount the thermostat base on the wall using the respective screws. Ensure that there are no openings. If there are any openings, plug the hole with appropriate materials that are fire-resistant.


  1. If necessary, install the batteries to the thermostat’s base.


  1. Secure the control unit to the base after the base is fully mounted.


5. Turn on the Electricity

Now that you’ve fully secured the thermostat, turn the electricity back on. At this point, everything should be operational. Reset the thermostat to its default settings and ensure that the power is working.


To test your new thermostat, program it to the comfort of your home and turn on the heating or air conditioning unit. If the units aren’t functioning, check the breakers again to ensure they are on. If they still aren’t functioning with the new thermostat, refer to the thermostat instructions from the manufacturer.


It is rare, but sometimes, things can go array when you replace a thermostat. If your newly installed thermostat isn’t working as it should, consult the manufacturer or hire a local HVAC contractor to come out to inspect the situation.

A local HVAC contractor will have much more experience in configuring thermostat installations due to their extensive knowledge of servicing homes in your area. If you’re in Northern Colorado, Good Guys Home Services is always here to help. Contact us today if you need assistance with the installation of your thermostat or any HVAC needs. We’re here to ensure you are always comfortable in your home.