Everyone is looking for ways to save money. Yet there is a good chance you might be looking in the wrong place. How about replacing that old furnace or broiler that you’ve been putting off?
The truth is, you are probably unaware of how much money you can save, and how inexpensive it is to replace that old furnace.
Considering that over half of all energy costs in the home come from heating and cooling. Replacing an old and inefficient furnace could save you anywhere between $200 and $500 a year, possibly even more.
You don’t want to wait until your furnace goes out completely to replace it. You can keep your home comfortable and save time and money by knowing when it is time to invest in a new furnace. Here is what you should keep in mind:
- Your furnace or boiler is between 16-20 years old.
- Your gas or electric bill increases, even when standard prices remain the same.
- You are constantly having to make costly repairs.
- Your home no longer maintains a comfortable temperature.
While there are many inexpensive ways you can reduce energy costs around the home, replacing your old furnace with an energy-efficient one is a great place to start.
Chances are however, that somewhere in the back of your mind it makes you cringe to think of what it might cost. The fact is, a new heating system is probably not as expensive as you might believe.
In most cases, you can replace your furnace for close to, or even less than, what you spend in one year on your energy bill. The best part is, the money you save each month by switching to an energy-efficient furnace will quickly add up. Most new furnaces will pay for themselves within a couple of years.
Older furnaces do not operate as efficiently and they can also he hazardous to operate as well. If you need any advice on what type of furnace to buy, sizing or just want to discuss what your options are, call an expert at National Air Warehouse.
The federal government requires manufacturers of heating and cooling systems to label each unit with an energy efficiency rating. This helps consumers make an educated decision when they are comparing various HVAC systems that are in the market today. It is important for you to understand what these ratings mean. Knowing what the ratings me can help you can make the best long term decision based on your specific needs. By making a smart choice now, you can continue to save money throughout the lifetime of your new heating or cooling equipment.
Heat Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
All new heat pumps are labeled with a HSPF ranging from 7.7 to 10. This number reflects the energy consumed in watt-hours divided by its seasonal heat output expressed in British Thermal Units (BTU). Only heat pumps manufactured prior to 2005 should have a HSPF less than 7.7.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
When the heat pump is used for cooling in the summer, its energy efficiency is measured by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). This rating is always used for air conditioners. As of January 2006, air conditioners and heat pumps must have a minimum SEER rating of 13. Newer models may having a SEER of 20 or even higher.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
This rating is used to measure the efficiency of gas and oil furnaces and is typically expressed in whole percentages. For example, a furnace with an 80 percent AFUE rating utilizes four-fifths of the fuel available to it when heating your home. The remaining 20 percent is vented outdoors during the process of converting fuel to heat. You can now purchase a residential furnace with an AFUE rating as high as 98.7 percent.
Raising The Standards
In 2016 the United Stated government introduced a new minimum SEER standard for most of the country which is great news because newer air conditioner systems are more efficiency and therefore have less of an impact on the environment. We hope this trend continues to drive manufacturers to also increase their standards and to improve the technology to provide even more efficient products in the future. If you want to get the full details on the year to year changes, learn more about comparing SEER or EER (energy efficiency ratings) and how much you can expect to save with a higher SEER system, then you can click here to check out the latest article from our friends over at Furnace Compare that has all the up to date information. You can also visit FurnaceCompare.com for unbiased reviews and articles on many HVAC related products.
We’re Here to Help
All the these labels can get confusing at times. That is why the team National Air Warehouse is here! We know that purchasing a new air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace is a major decision. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have about a particular unit prior to purchase, including explaining its energy efficiency rating. Reach out by email, or by phone with your inquiries and we will he glad to assist you or answer any questions you may have.
A heater isn’t the first thing you cosmetically notice when you walk into a home like a beautiful painting would be, but as soon as winter starts, it is the first thing that you notice. So perhaps you’ve decided that your heating and cooling system needs an upgrade, but you don’t know if you should go with a gas furnace or a heat pump system. You’ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions in order to figure out the right choice for your home.
Does your house support gas appliances?
Many newer homes these days are built to be electric-only, without a pipe connecting to the gas company, or even an underground gas tank. You certainly wouldn’t want to buy a furnace only to find out that your home has no main gas line. So the most important check is to make sure that your home is set up to support gas in the first place. We typically recommend that our clients stick with what their home is currently set up to support. This is unless you have set aside a budget for setting up your home to support your new setup or you are building a new home where you have the option to choose.
Do you live in a cold or tropical area?
The northern states usually rely on gas furnaces because this is thought to be the most efficient way to heat a home in the snow. On the other hand, if you live in a warmer climate where it rarely snows, you would benefit from a heat pump to maintain the temperature of your home in the winter. The heat pumps can also reverse their cycle and cool your home during the winter time as well. The cost savings benefits of having a heat pump will not be as significant is areas where the climate get very cold during the winter.
What is the difference between the two?
A heat pump is designed to draw hot or cold air from outside, depending on the season. It then uses this air to heat or cool your home. The initial part of the heating uses only outside air but if the temperature drops too low, a heat pump can also use built in electric heat strips or a gas furnace to help aid in the heating. In contrast, a gas furnace heats a home very quickly as air passes through a set of burners producing flames. Gas furnaces use primarily gas energy to heat the whole while heat pumps primarily use electricity.
National Air Warehouse wants you to make the best informed decision as possible when purchasing a new HVAC system. Hopefully this article has helped you make a decision on which type of system to choose. If you need assistance or are still unsure about which type of system to choose for your home, get in touch with a representative from National Air Warehouse so that we may assist you with finding out which choice is best for you home.
Few things are as comforting as relaxing in the warmth of your home on a cold winter evening. Unfortunately, that scenario can come to an abrupt end if your furnace should pick that moment to break down. The good news is that furnaces rarely do that without providing you with some warning signs ahead of time. Knowing those signs can give you the opportunity to bring in an HVAC specialist to address the issues before you are left in the cold.
Obviously, a lack of heat in your home will alert you that your furnace is having issues, but uneven heating is also a warning sign. It can indicate that you may have an airflow obstruction which isn’t allowing the warm air to be evenly distributed through your home. If an area feels either warmer or cooler than what the thermostat is showing, you may also have a faulty thermostat.
Gas furnaces can provide several clues that they aren’t operating properly. A healthy gas flame should burn with a steady blue color. If there are other colors present, that can be a warning sign. If you occasionally notice a slight odor of gas in your home, it may be an indicator of a leaking gas line which will not only prevent the efficient operation of your furnace, it can be a deadly health hazard and should be addressed immediately by professionals.
Unusual sounds can be a tip-off that your furnace is not working as it should. A noticeable “whoosh” when your gas furnace kicks on can indicate that it needs to be adjusted to burn a little leaner. A high-pitched squeal when the furnace starts up can be the sound of a blower motor whose bearings are getting ready to seize up. This can not only prevent the flow of warm air through your home, it can become a fire hazard if the motor overheats.
An obvious indicator that your furnace is not operating efficiently is the bottom line on your utility bills. If you compare your current bills with those from previous heating seasons and notice a marked increase, chances are that your furnace is not giving you the performance it used to.
Age is another consideration when you’re looking at furnace efficiency. If your furnace is approaching or has passed the manufacturer’s warranty age, you probably aren’t getting all of the benefit from it that you could.
One way to deal with furnace efficiency is to have regular maintenance performed on it. That will help your technician spot potential problems, keep the furnace running its best, and may even add a few years to the life of your furnace. You tune up your car; why not your furnace? If you are looking to buy a gas furnace, consider replacing it with a high efficiency furnace instead for optimal performance.
Indoor air quality may not be at the top of your mind, but it’s important to know that the very air you’re breathing isn’t making you sick. Even if you’re not currently showing symptoms, poor air quality can lead to poor health as you age.
There are a few basic elements that go into indoor air quality; humidity, allergens, mold, and pollution. These different categories overlap each other quite a bit, but for simplicity’s sake, they are addressed separately here.
The humidity in your home isn’t a problem in and of itself. Instead, the side effects caused by too high or too low of humidity are the issue. Too much moisture in the air can grow mold and maximize the effects of allergens. Too low humidity, on the other hand, will cause dry skin and breathing problems. A good rule of thumb to follow is that your humidity should be above 25% but below 50% in the summer and below 40% in the winter. To test your home’s humidity, simply buy a cheap monitor available at most home improvement stores.
Home allergens include pollen, pet dander, and dust mites; too many allergens equal poor air quality. Excessive dust, owning a pet, or constant sneezing are all good signs that you have an indoor allergen problem. DIY kits can help monitor allergen levels, but sometimes professional testing is necessary. Thankfully, allergens are pretty easy to control. Buying mattress and pillow covers, not wearing shoes inside, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, frequently change HVAC filters, and keeping a cleaner house will all go a long way. For extra improvement, switch carpet out for wood or tile flooring and consider installing an air purifier.
Every home has mold inside. Even with hospital grade air filters, it’s almost impossible to eliminate it completely. The key becomes keeping mold to a controlled level. This is generally done by controlling the humidity level. However, the best indicators of if there is too much mold is generally your eyes and nose; if you see or smell mold, the level is way too high. Otherwise, your home can be tested for mold. This isn’t an easy process and is generally a task to be performed by professionals. If left unattended, the mold can travel through the air return and eventually into the ducts of the HVAC systems of the building, causing the mold to spread.
Pollutants include cigarette smoke, meth, asbestos, lead, radon, and chemicals that come from everyday household products. Some solutions to the problem, like not smoking, are obvious. You can also have your home professionally tested for radon, meth, asbestos, and lead. However, unless you’re undergoing renovations, testing for lead and asbestos generally isn’t considered necessary. To help prevent chemical pollutants, pay attention to any new flooring you install, cleaners you use, and what kind of clothing you buy.
There are many factors to consider when thinking about purchasing a new heating pump for heating and cooling the home. Because the system works by moving air from a warm area to a cool one like a refrigerator instead of generating the heat, the operating cost is approximately a quarter the cost of other heating and cooling systems. With the way the heat pump is built to operate in a highly efficient manner, it allows 4x the energy it uses. They’re an excellent choice for climates that don’t have sub-zero temperatures. A properly sized heating pump can trim electric usage by 30-40%. It’ll also dehumidify better than other types, resulting in less energy usage and cooler comfort during the summer. They do require larger duct work than other heating systems and should be sealed for efficient operation.
Sizing of a heat pump unit should start by figuring the required cooling capacity, and then figure the heating capacity of the selected heat pump. It’s rated by a standard outside temperature of 47 degrees because the unit is placed outdoors and exposed to different temperatures. The design and size must meet the temperature levels of the locality of the pump placement. Heat loss must be factored in the equation for sizing capacity because the unit must produce enough heat to make up for the loss through windows, walls, and ceilings to keep the home comfortable during the winter months. As the temperature gets colder, a supplemental heating element takes the heating capacity back to where it maintains sufficient heat output for warmth comfort.
Once the decision is made to purchase a heating pump heating and cooling system, the consumer should calculate the size necessary to heat and cool the home efficiently before contacting various companies for pricing. For example, a 2400 square foot home would need approximately a five ton system. A ton is equal to 12,000 BTU, and one ton is recommended for 500 square feet of heating. These are rough estimates only but proper sizing techniques are recommended. Knowing some basic facts will be an asset when talking to dealers.
To assist in determining the right size, the most recent version of the ACCA Manuals J and S should be used for the calculations of the unit. There are built-in safety factors to accommodate most needs. When the window dressing is unknown, they should be factored in place or the calculation will be overestimated. The temperatures of the area shouldn’t be altered because it would lead to over-sizing. Many companies estimate up when figuring the calculation capacity of the unit because they believe more is better. The recommended temperature for cooling is 70 degrees and 75 degrees for heating. Right-sizing of a heat pump provides a 10% bonus energy savings.
A pre-charged cooling system is charged with refrigerant and doesn’t require additional services for adding refrigerant. The cooling system is used to cool air that’s circulated throughout a home. The systems are usually installed by licensed professionals, such as HVAC technicians. The pre-charged units eliminate the need for removing the air from the system by creating a vacuum, brazing the metal parts together and then charging the system by adding refrigerant. The refrigerant is inside the units, which have no leaks. However, any connected parts could be a source for leaks and must also be sealed.
Air conditioner units have three very important components. The AC condenser, evaporator and compressor must function in unison because the refrigerant repeatedly changes from liquid into a gas and from gas into a liquid. Warm air transfers heat to the coils and causes the liquid refrigerant to change into a gas. The compressor is used to pressurize the gas, which forces the gas to change into a liquid. A pre-charged unit is sealed to prevent leaks and usually connected to the system with quick connect fittings.
The cooling system has metal tubing that also holds the refrigerant, which moves through the system. The tubing is sealed and usually quite fragile. Therefore, the HVAC technicians must carefully handle the units and ensure that the refrigerant is not accidentally released through a crack in the tubing. There are quick connect fittings installed on the metal tubing, which are used to connect to the pre-charged unit that supplies refrigerant to the entire system. The metal tubing may also be connected by brazing, which is similar to soldering. However, brazing requires a much higher temperature because the filler metal has a higher melting point than solder.
The HVAC technicians must have special licenses for handling refrigerant, which is consider to be a source of problems for the environment. There are refrigerant recovery machines that’re used to collect refrigerant from units. The refrigerant shouldn’t be released into the environment and should ONLY be handled by licensed professionals. Therefore, leaks should also ONLY be repaired by technicians who are licensed to handle refrigerant.
Benefits of the Pre-Charged Units
The pre-charged units offer the additional feature that the components will probably not need to be checked for leaks, which is another service that is eliminated. Leaks are serious problems with cooling systems because the refrigerant can leak from the quick connect fittings, from a crack in the tubing or from a component, such as from a condenser. The HVAC technicians usually charge a system with refrigerant and then quickly search for the source of a leak. Therefore, the pre-charged units can save time during an installation and help to eliminate inspections for leaks.
Central air conditioners come in two form factors: split systems or packaged units. These systems have significant differences and there are pros and cons associated with each.
These systems consist of two main parts: a metal cabinet that sits on a concrete slab outdoors and another cabinet that is installed inside the building, hence the term “split.” The indoor cabinet may be inside a closet, basement or in an attic and will often include a furnace. The indoor and outdoor parts of the split system are connected to each other via a refrigerant line.
The outdoor cabinet houses the compressor and condenser, while the indoor cabinet houses the evaporator.
Split systems have the potential to be far more efficient (as high as 25 SEER), though installation involves two units instead of one like with a packaged unit. Two units may be more difficult to install than one; it’s also important to note that unlike a packaged unit, a split system cannot be charged until it’s installed. Homeowners should also note that proper installation is crucial for optimal performance. If a split unit isn’t installed properly, this can severely reduce its lifespan.
The air conditioner’s main components like the evaporator and condenser are all in one cabinet, and are thus “packaged.” Most of the time, the cabinet is located somewhere outside the building, usually on the roof. In some cases, a packaged unit will include electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace.
Since packaged units are installed outdoors, installation is easier and they save on space in the building. Packaged systems may also work better once installed since they’re assembled in a controlled factory environment and come pre-charged with refrigerant; both factors can ensure optimal function once they are installed. However, their efficiency potential is much less than that of split systems (15 SEER at most). Another drawback comes from the fact that packaged units are placed in a harsh environment; the elements along with wild animals such as raccoons can cause problems. Animals can chew on wires or nest in the cabinet.
Price could be considered another factor. Packaged units are usually slightly more expensive than split systems but since the installation of split systems is more labor intensive, they both wind up costing roughly the same overall. A split system may be less expensive if the home is already equipped with a furnace and the property owner is replacing an older air conditioning unit.
When choosing between the two, the determining factor may be the building in which the system is to be installed. While larger and newer buildings may have room for the indoor part of a split system, a packaged unit may be the only option in a smaller or older one.
An air handler is an important part of the heating and air conditioning system in a house or commercial building. It contains a fan that is able to distribute the cool and heated air. This is considered a “split” heating and cooling system. They are designed to operate quietly and be cost effective.
Air handlers can be used to maintain the temperature within a commercial building or home. They can also provide smoke control and maintain air pressure in rooms. They are able to provide humidity control, as well as heating, cooling and ventilation.
Air handlers have both commercial and residential applications. A commercial air handler is large and may be placed outside a building or in a building’s mechanical room. In a residential situation, an air handler can be used with air conditioners and furnace units. They are connected to duct work and distribute air through the building. Smaller units consist of a coil, air filter and blower. Larger air handler units are designed to serve big buildings. The larger units may use only outside air and no air is recycled. Some units are able to supply and return air to a specified space without duct work.
There are three main types of heating and cooling systems that utilize an air handler. The split air conditioner and furnace system. In this system, the air conditioning unit is outside. The furnace is inside. The air handler is contained within the furnace. There is the split heat pump system. With this system, the furnace isn’t utilized. A unit is placed outside a building and will be able to do both the heating and the cooling. An air handler will be used with these systems to move the cooled and heated air through the air ducts. There is also the rooftop or packaged system. With this system the air handler is combined into the outdoor unit, and they operate as one piece.
When an air conditioner and heating system is constantly stopped and started, an air handler system will operate less efficiently. A variable frequency drive can be added to an existing air handler. This will make the system run better. It is designed to adjust the speed of the air flow. This makes it possible to run the unit for a longer time and be extremely efficient. It also reduces the wear on the fan and motor. This lowers operating costs and will decrease a home’s energy bill.
An air handler is usually made from single skin metal infill panels. The metal is usually galvanized. This will provide long-term protection as well as prevent corrosion. If the air handler is located outside, it will come with a waterproof lid. This construction is effective in preventing excessive heat loss or gain. An extract and supply air handler can be connected. This will increase operational efficiency.
The air filter for an air handler is designed to remove dust particles and more from the air. It will prevent dirt and other types of particles from entering the air handler. This will keep all of the working parts of the unit clean and operating effectively.
An evaporator coil is one of the key components needed in order for a central operated air conditioning system to work properly. This type of coil is used to turn liquid Freon into a gas, and it actually absorbs the heat created from this process. The type of evaporator coil someone needs depends on the installation style.
Goodman and Rheem are two of the top manufacturers for evaporator coils on the market today, but they each have their own specs for making these coils. Below is a brief description of these two companies, and to show their differences, there will be a comparison review of two evaporator coils, one from each company.
Goodman Evaporator Coils: Goodman has been in the business of heating and air units since the early 1980s. They pride themselves on making affordable evaporator coils, but although they cost less than some of their other competitors, they are still one of the top brands. Although they do make a few types of evaporator coils, most of the evaporator coils manufactured by Goodman have a horizontal configuration. All of their products are designed for quick and easy installation, and they offer some of the best warranties on the air conditioner and heating market.
Rheem Evaporator Coils: Rheem Manufacturing Company has been offering their well-made products since the mid-1920s. Evaporator coils are just one of the products that are manufactured by Rheem, and although their products are high priced, they offer their customers a great and long lasting product. Rheem is one of the top manufacturing companies not only because of their quality products but their world renowned customer service as well. They are known for making multi positional evaporator coils.
Review between the Rheem RCFL-HM3617CC and the Goodman CHPF-4860D6
Both of these products are good, but the Goodman model is considerably cheaper. However when buying products, the most expensive product isn’t always better. It is best to fully compare the products fully, because some lack where others succeed.
For instance, the Rheem model has a multi-positional configuration, while the Goodman has a horizontal configuration. This is an important aspect, because if one is replacing an evaporation coil, making sure that it fits in one’s existing air condition system is essential.
The other big difference between Rheem evaporation coils and Goodman evaporation coils are the style that they make. With these two examples, the Rheem model uses a multi-flex style, and the Goodman model uses an A-coil. Both of these manufacturers make their evaporation coils with a lot of the same specs and parts. For instance, both of them generally use a 3/8″ liquid line, and they both can use the same type of refrigerant.
However, this is where Goodman offers their customers a bit of variety. Their evaporation coils can use the same R410A refrigerant that Rheem uses, but their evaporation coils can also use the R22 refrigerant. Goodman and Rheem both value their customers. Therefore, they both offer up to a 10 year warranty on their products like the two mentioned above.