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  • Insulated Flexible Duct Decisions: Price Considerations for Cost-Savvy Customers

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    In last week’s post, we talked about the performance considerations that homeowners and home builders must make when choosing between insulated flexible duct options. When it comes to the choice between products, cost is often the other major factor that you may be considering. Whether you’re trying to optimize the heating and cooling system in your own home or working to meet the needs of your clients as a home builder, it is important to ensure that the duct you choose falls within your short-term and long-term budget. There are two main factors that affect the prices of insulated flexible ducts: diameter and R-value. Read on to learn more about the direct (and indirect) costs (and savings) associated with each.

    The Impacts of Duct Diameter and R-Value on Cost

    In general, the lengths of insulated flexible ducts are standardized around 25 feet, regardless of their diameter. That way, you always have the option of cutting the duct to whatever length you  need. As duct diameter increases, so does the amount of insulation in a 25-foot-long duct, which explains the simultaneous increase in price. When you think about buying a duct with a larger diameter, you also have to consider the cost of the supports that you will need to prevent the duct from sagging when you install it. Ideally, you want to prevent the duct from sagging by more than about two-and-a-half inches, so with large-diameter ducts, you should plan to us a support every four feet.

    As you consider the upfront costs of ducts, the other key factor is the R-value. The R-value indicates the effectiveness of the insulation, with a higher R-value associated with higher effectiveness. Insulated flexible ducts can range between R4 and R8, and the price increases for higher R-values. At the same time, choosing a duct with a higher R-value may save you money in the long run--especially if you live in a cold area--since ducts with higher R-values are more effective for trapping heat and can therefore help lower your energy bills.

    The Relationship between R-Value and Duct Diameters: Ratings vs. True R-Values

    When you’re thinking about energy savings, it is also important to acknowledge the interplay between R-value and duct diameter. A duct with a 6-inch diameter and a duct with a 14-inch diameter may both be rated R6, but the true R-value -- that is, the true effectiveness of the insulation for retaining heat -- is higher for the 14-inch duct, simply because the larger amount of material makes it harder for heat to escape. That means that R-value ratings are can only truly be compared for ducts of the same diameter. Therefore, the discrepancy between R-value ratings and true R-values is another factor that you should keep in mind as you weigh the short-term and long-term financial costs of different insulated flexible duct options.
    At National Air Warehouse, you can find competitively priced insulated flexible ducts with R6 and R8 ratings, ranging in diameter from 4 inches to 20 inches. Contact us today for more help finding the right one for your project!

  • Choosing Between Insulated Flexible Duct Options for Your Home: Performance Considerations for Homeowners and Home Builders

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    Last week on the blog, we talked about installing and/or replacing ducts in a mobile home. Today, we’re going to discuss the insulated flexible ductwork choices that can work for any type of home or business. For home builders who are looking to install ductwork for the first time or homeowners who are looking to repair ducts that are faulty and/or damaged, it is important to recognize the differences between the different options on the market -- and what these differences mean in terms of the performance of the product.

    How R-Value Affects the Performance of an Insulated Flexible Duct

    When you are considering the performance of insulated flexible ducts, the measure you want to look at is the thermal resistance, also known as the R-value. The R-value is a measure of the effectiveness of the insulation. For an insulated flexible duct, this value is determined by factors such as the composition of the insulation material, its thickness, and its density. A higher R-value means that the insulation will be more effective, which is particularly important in cold climates, where high-level insulation performance is essential in order to keep the building warm when temperatures drop below freezing.

    The Performance Benefits of a Metalized Jacket for an Insulated Flexible Duct

    Another aspect of an insulated flexible duct that can play a role in its performance is its metalized jacket. You’ll find metalized jackets offered on insulated flexible ducts for most types of buildings because they offer protective benefits. Specifically, the metalized jacket can keep water out, which reduces the risk that moisture will interfere with the functioning of your heating and cooling system. The metalized jacket also provides a protective barrier against other potential sources of damage to the duct, such as dust buildup or animals that chew through the insulation.

    Some metalized jackets, commonly known as “silver jackets,” have an additional performance benefit -- they absorb noise. For homeowners who are looking to stifle disruptive sounds, a silver flex metalized jacket noise absorption is a significant performance benefit when choosing between insulated flexible ducts. If your vision of top-performing ductwork is a duct that supports a quiet atmosphere, a duct with a silver metalized jacket is probably your best option.

     

    National Air Warehouse offers high-performing flexible ducts that can meet the needs of any homeowner or home builder. Contact us today for more information about our products!

  • The Costs and Benefits of Replacing a Centralized Heating and Cooling System with a Ductless System

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    Traditionally, ductless air conditioners are used in single-room settings, such as a room addition or garage conversion. However, some homeowners today are considering replacing their entire centralized heating and cooling systems with an entirely ductless system. This approach is unusual, but it is becoming increasingly popular as concerns about energy efficiency grow. Read on for more information that can help you decide if going entirely ductless is the right choice for your home.

    The Benefits of an Entirely Ductless System

    There are two main reasons why homeowners today are deciding to replace their centralized heating and cooling systems with ductless systems: environmental concerns and energy costs. As the threat of climate change grows , many homeowners are looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint. Cost-savvy homeowners are also looking to find ways to lower their monthly energy bills. Replacing a centralized heating and cooling system with a ductless alternative can accomplish both goals. Consider the following realities:

    • By some estimates, about 25 percent of the energy generated in a centralized heating and cooling system gets lost to the ductwork -- a non-issue with ductless systems.
    • The inner workings of a ductless system are inherently conducive to energy savings. In a centralized heating and cooling system, the compressor turns on and off in response to changes in the system’s needs, but with a ductless system, the compressor only speeds up or slows down, which is less energy-intensive.

    Homeowners may also opt to make the switch from to a fully ductless system if there are varying climate control needs in different parts of the home. For instance, in a home where several renters each have a room but share a central living area, a ductless system can enable each tenant to choose the temperature of their own room. For empty-nesters whose kids have left for college and who rarely spend time in rooms other than the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom, it simply doesn’t make sense to use a centralized heating system that unnecessarily keeps empty rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

    The Upfront Costs of Ductless Systems

    The primary deterrent for homeowners who are considering replacing a centralized system with a ductless system is the upfront cost. Depending on the cooling capacity, cooling efficiency, and brand, a ductless air conditioner can range in cost from around $1000 to around $3,300. The energy savings may make up for the upfront costs in the long-run, but you have to recognize that adopting an entirely ductless heating and cooling system for your home is going to be a significant initial investment.
    Whether you are looking for a ductless system for a single room or for multiple rooms in your home, National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of high-quality products. Contact us today for more information!

  • Your Guide to Choosing a Standalone TXV: Sizing, Types, and Costs

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    In an earlier post, we covered the basics of the Thermostatic Expansion Valve (TXV) -- what it does (and does not do), plus some of the considerations you have to make when deciding whether or not to add a TXV to your purchase or purchase a standalone TXV for an existing system. With newer systems, you may not have to make that choice at all, since a TXV is often already incorporated for efficiency purposes. However, if it becomes clear that you need to add a standalone TXV to your system, it is important to make sure you choose the right product for your system. Read on for more information about the sizing, refrigerant types, and costs of purchasing a standalone TXV.

    The Right Model for Your System

    When buying a standalone TXV, you have to choose one that is consistent with the cooling capacity of your system. The cooling capacity is a measure of your air conditioning system’s ability to remove heat from the air in your home in a certain amount of time. The unit of measure for cooling capacity is tonnage. Typically, a TXV is designed to work for systems that fall within certain tonnage ranges. That means you can find:

    • A TXV for 1.5 to 2 ton systems
    • A TXV for 2 to 3 ton systems
    • A TXV for 3.5 to 5 ton systems

    Refrigerant Type

    You may have heard that the R22 refrigerant is being phased out in favor of the more environmentally friendly R410-A. However, many homeowners still have legacy air conditioning systems that utilize R22, so you can find a TXV that is compatible with either one of these refrigerant types. When you are choosing between products, make sure that the TXV you buy is optimized for the refrigerant that your system utilizes.

    Cost Considerations

    If you’re buying a standalone TXV for an existing system, you can expect to spend around $100, or a little less. When considering the cost of a TXV, you may also want to factor in the warranty, which can add value the product. At the same time, you should also recognize that field installation presents a possible cost -- unless you’re a home-builder or a do-it-yourselfer, in which case installation may be less of a concern.

    Currently, National Air Warehouse offers a Goodman TXV (of any size) for $91.69, with free shipping. This product also comes with a one-year warranty. Contact us today to learn more about this TXV and all of our other products!

  • Deciding What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Coil Gives Out: Why the Age of Your Cooling System Matters

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    A malfunctioning air conditioner coil is always bad news. The air conditioner coil plays an essential role in the cooling system -- drawing in air from the outside, cooling it, and then releasing it back into the home -- so you have only two choices when your air conditioner coil gives out: replace the air conditioner coil, or replace the whole system.

    If you’ve relied on your system for decades, you might be hesitant to replace it with something new. After all, there are high-quality evaporator coils on the market today that can boost performance of some of HVAC systems that were installed years ago. If you trust that your system can keep the climate of your home cool and comfortable, why make a change? One key reason: the upcoming phaseout of R22.

    Considering the Upcoming Phaseout of R22 Refrigerant

    Many older cooling systems rely on R22, a refrigerant that is known to contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Right now, you can still buy a replacement air conditioner coil that works for a cooling system that uses R22, but it is important to note that R22 is being phased out in favor of R-410A, a refrigerant that is more environmentally friendly. The EPA started the phaseout program in 2010, and it is nearing the end. Here are a few key facts about the phaseout that you should know when deciding what to do about a broken air conditioner coil in an aging system:

    • R22 is no longer being manufactured in North America, so supplies are dwindling, and prices are going up.
    • The phaseout is set to end in 2020, at which point you will no longer be able to access R22, so you will need to replace your cooling system.

    Replacing your air conditioner coil is less expensive than purchasing and installing a whole new system, so you may want to replace the coil and continue using R22 as a refrigerant for the two more years that it is possible. On the other hand, you might feel like it is worth investing in a completely new air conditioning system now, since you’re going to have to replace yours within the next two years anyway. Plus, when you switch from R22 to R-410A, you won’t have to worry about rising refrigerant costs, and you’ll know that you’re making an environmentally friendly choice.
    Whichever route you choose, National Air Warehouse has the products you need. We offer replacement air conditioner coils for older systems that use R22 refrigerant and newer systems that use R-410A. We also provide air conditioning systems that can keep your home or business at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Contact us today for more information!

  • Choosing between an Upflow and Downflow Furnace for Your Home Building Project

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    If home builders can learn anything from the winter of 2017-2018, it’s that an effective heating systems is essential for a comfortable home. As temperatures have dropped to record lows around the country, home builders need to be aware that more clients will be interested in the ability of their home’s furnace to keep their family safe and warm, regardless of the weather outside. As a home builder, one of the decisions you have to make is whether an upflow furnace or a downflow furnace is the best choice for your project. In order to figure that out, it’s important to examine some of the distinctions between upflow and downflow furnaces, as well as what they might mean for the heating of the home.

    Upflow vs. Downflow Furnaces: The Basic Differences

    At the most basic level, there are key differences in the ways that upflow and downflow furnaces heat and distribute air. With an upflow furnace, the air enters the bottom of the unit, is warmed in the heat exchanger, and then is released from the top of the unit into the ductwork of the home. A downflow furnace works in the exact opposite way: the heat enters the unit from the top, gets warmed in the heat exchanger, and then is released from the bottom of the unit into the ductwork of the home. That means that upflow furnaces are typically situated in a basement or crawl-space, while downflow furnaces must be stored in an attic.

    Considerations for Different Projects

    If you are trying to decide whether an upflow or downflow furnace makes more sense for your project, here are a few things to keep in mind:

     

    • Energy efficiency. Heat rises, so upflow furnaces are often more energy efficient than downflow furnaces. If you’re looking to cut the carbon footprint of your home building project, an upflow furnace can help you reach your efficiency goals.
    • Building and flooring costs. If you’ve already planned a basement for your home building project, this isn’t an issue but if you’re adding a basement or crawl-space to your home building project for the sole purpose of creating a space for an upflow furnace, costs can go up significantly. At the same time, adding reinforced subflooring in the attic for a downflow furnace can also be expensive.
    • Installation challenges. The installation process for downflow furnaces tends to be more difficult, and you have to pay closer attention to building codes requiring reinforced subflooring.
    • Homeowner preference. Some homeowners simply feel more comfortable in rooms where the heat comes below, rather than being dispersed from above. It’s a good idea to check with clients to find out about their preferences.

     

     

    As a homebuilder, you can find everything you need to optimize the HVAC systems of all of your at National Air Warehouse. Contact us today for more information!

  • Choosing a Heat Strip Size That Can Keep Your Home Warm: The Factors to Consider

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    When you are buying a new furnace or air handler, you may be asked to choose a heat strip size. Depending on the product, heat strip sizes can range from 5 kW to as high as 20 kW. Ultimately, the choice you make can mean the difference between enjoying warm, cozy winter nights at home with your family and shivering through endless evenings of uncomfortable cold, wrapped in blankets and layered clothes.

    Of course, the size of your home is the most important factor, because it determines the volume of space that needs to be heated. However, there are several additional factors you need to consider when choosing the appropriate heat strip size for the furnace in your home. These factors can vary between homes, and they can make a big difference when it comes to making the appropriate decision for a heat strip size. Consider the following:

     

    • The climate in which you live. If your house is located in the Midwest or Northeast,where the temperature regularly drops below freezing in the winter, it is likely that you will need to choose a heat strip size that is larger than the size required for someone living in the Southeast in the same size house. Watching temperatures hit record lows this year, homeowners in the Midwest and Northeast don’t want to take the risk of choosing heat strips that are too small.
    • The insulation in the home. If your home is well-insulated, you may be able to get away with heat strips of a smaller size. However, if your house is poorly insulated, you may need to choose heat strips of a larger size, even if you live in a climate that is generally warm.
    • The size and location of the windows. Depending on size and location, windows can either increase or decrease the heat load of the home. Uninsulated windows can transfer cold air into the home, and if they are drafty, things can get even worse. At the same time, strategically positioned windows can also let in sunlight and decrease the heating needs of your house.

    When you choose heat strips that are above the standard size for your furnace or air handler, you typically have to pay a slightly higher price, but choosing the right size is typically well-worth it for homeowners. For instance, going from 5 kW heat strips to 10 kW heat strips for an upflow air handler can cost as little as 15 dollars -- typically representing an increase of only about 2 percent of the total cost. As a homeowner, it’s usually best to focus on the other relevant factors when choosing athe right heat strip size for your home.
    National Air Warehouse offers furnaces, air handlers, and a wide variety of other HVAC equipment. Contact us today for more information!

  • Considering a Ductless Heat Pump for Your Home

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    Last summer on the blog, we talked about the potential benefits of ductless air conditioners for home remodeling projects. Now that winter is here, it’s time to talk about ductless heat pumps. Ductless heat pumps, also known as ductless mini-complete systems, are very similar to ductless air conditioners, in that they serve as standalone climate-control systems that don’t use ducting. Thus, they are ideal for living spaces in your house where the other viable option would be baseboard heating. If you are considering a ductless heat pump for part of your home, read on to learn more about the energy-saving benefits of these systems and some of the cost considerations you should think about.

    The Energy-Saving Benefits of a Ductless Heat Pump

    The primary explanation for why many homeowners today are choosing ductless heat pumps over traditional baseboard heating is simple: the energy savings. From the start, ductless systems are more energy efficient than traditional heating systems because the mere existence of ductwork inevitably results in a loss of energy. According to one estimate, at least 25 percent of the energy generated by the HVAC system is lost to the ductwork in the average home.

    Another reason why ductless systems are more efficient is that they have inverter-driven compressors. Unlike traditional compressors in HVAC systems, which turn on and off in response to changes in the system’s needs, inverter-driven compressors simply slow down or speed up. Compressor start-up requires a lot more energy than compressor speed-up, so ductless heat pumps end up being a lot more efficient.

    It is important to note that the degree of energy efficiency varies between ductless heat pump systems. You can compare systems based on their SEER ratings. Ductless heat pumps with a 14 SEER rating have good efficiency, but there are also systems on the market today with SEER ratings as high 33.

    Cost Considerations for Consumers

    When it comes to deciding whether or not to choose a ductless heat pump for a living space in your home, cost can be a major factor. Many consumers initially shy away from ductless heat pumps because of the relatively high upfront costs, but the significant increase in energy efficiency can make up for your initial investment in the long-term.

    Moreover, in some states and localities, there are tax credits that can help offset the upfront cost of a ductless heat pump system. If you’re looking to take advantage of a tax credit, make sure to find out whether / which types of heat pumps qualify for a tax credit in your area when you are choosing a system.  

     

    National Air Warehouse offers a variety of ductless heat pump options. For more help deciding which one is right for your living space, contact us today!

  • Wi-Fi Thermostats Thermostats as Holiday Gifts

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    Now that Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season is officially in full swing, odds are good that you’re on the lookout for the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend or family member. One unique gift idea that you might want to consider this year is a wi-fi thermostat. Unlike traditional programmable and non-programmable thermostats, a wi-fi thermostat is connected to the internet, which means that you can access information about the climate in your home no matter where you are. Even more importantly, you can make changes to the current state of your heating and cooling systems so that the climate of your home will be exactly the way you want it when you get home. This innovative technology can be a great option for lots of people on your holiday shopping list.

    Who Needs a Wi-Fi Thermostat?

    The best kind of gift that you can get for a friend or family member is one that they will actually use and truly appreciate. Here are a few of the people on your holiday shopping list who might benefit from what a wi-fi thermostat has to offer:

     

    • The Mobile App Enthusiast. More and more Americans are looking to manage every aspect of their lives from a single screen. Because a wi-fi thermostat is always connected to the internet, it can always be accessed from a smart phone or tablet. If someone on your gift list is always on the hunt for the latest in mobile technology, a wi-fi thermostat is a great option.
    • The Tech Junkie. If someone on your holiday shopping list just loves the bells and whistles of the latest technology, a wi-fi thermostat won’t disappoint. Some of the latest products on the market offer high-tech benefits like self-programming features and touch screens.
    • The Busy Parent. Because a wi-fi thermostat can be accessed from anywhere, it can be a major stress reliever for busy parents. With a wi-fi thermostat, parents won’t have to remember to reset the thermostat when shuttling kids between school and soccer practice.
    • The Environmental Advocate. If someone on your holiday shopping list is always looking for new ways to combat climate change, wi-fi thermostats offer a variety of energy-saving benefits. For instance, many of the wi-fi thermostats on the market today are Energy Star certified, and some have an auto-away mode that saves energy when you aren’t home -- making it easier to reduce your carbon footprint without even thinking about it.

     

     

    National Air Warehouse offers multiple wi-fi thermostats that can meet the needs of anyone on your holiday shopping list. We also offer free home shipping anywhere in the United States, completely tax free (except Florida). Contact us today to learn more about our offerings!

  • Halloween Heating Tips for Homeowners

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    Happy Halloween! Today is the scariest day of the year, but with the cold months of winter on the horizon, you probably have something on your mind that’s even scarier than ghosts and ghouls: your winter energy bill. As a business owner, you need to keep the building warm in order to ensure the comfort of your customers and the productivity of your employees. As a homeowner, you want to keep your family cozy and warm during the long nights of winter. However, heating a home or business can be expensive, so you have to be strategic about the heating choices you make. Read on for some Halloween tips to help you keep your building warm this winter without dying of fright when you see your energy bill.

    Tip 1: It’s no treat to get tricked about AFUE.

    If you’re buying a new gas furnace for the winter, one of the things you have to consider is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of the system. This number is expressed as a percentage, and it is calculated by dividing the total heat output by the total energy consumed. When looking at these figures, it is important to understand what they might mean for your energy bill. In general, choosing a system with a higher AFUE can lower your energy bill. Medium-efficiency heating systems typically have AFUE ratings between 80% and 90%, while high-efficiency systems typically have ratings between 90% and 98.5%.

    However, it is important to note that AFUE ratings can only be directly compared if you are looking at systems that use the same fuel type. You can’t compare the AFUE of a natural gas furnace with the AFUE of an electric furnace if you are worried about your energy bill, because the costs of natural gas and electricity differ.

    Tip 2: Don’t count on the ghost in your attic to adjust your thermostat when it gets cold.

    In the winter, there’s nothing worse than coming home from a long day of work to a frigid house or arriving at your business in the morning and shivering through your 9 o’clock meeting. At the same time, you don’t want to waste energy heating your house all day when no one is home or your business all night when no one is working. To resolve this problem, you can install a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set a temperature schedule for your home or business so that it is warm when you want it to be without draining your budget by heating during the off-hours. Another option is a wi-fi thermostat, which enables you to adjust your thermostat remotely.

    Tip 3: Don’t be a ghoul and rule out a dual fuel packaged unit -- it might make sense for you!

    Dual fuel packaged units differ from traditional heat pumps in that they utilize a built-in gas furnace for supplemental heating rather than electric heat strips. Therefore, they are ideal for customers who live in places where the cost of heating with gas is lower than the cost of heating with electricity. Find out about the energy costs in your area before you rule out this option.
    Here at National Air Warehouse, we are committed to providing high quality HVAC equipment at affordable prices that even a ghost wouldn’t say boo about. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you heat your home this winter!

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