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  • Gas or Electric Heat: A Cost Comparison

    One of the first decisions a homeowner or business owner has to make, regarding an HVAC (heat, ventilation, air conditioning) system, is whether to purchase an electric or gas heater. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. The up-front costs and long-term costs are one area that people typically examine.

    Up-Front Costs

    These are the costs associated with the initial installation of the heating component of the HVAC system. The first item to look at is whether the home or business has access to electricity and natural gas. Many homes and businesses have both electricity and natural gas lines already running to the house. However, some locations do not have access to natural gas. In this case, running a gas line to the location could be an additional upfront cost. Each home or business is unique and different costs may be taken into consideration for each one.

    The cost of the heater itself is also included in the up-front costs. If you are buying this as a single component, it's often called a furnace. At National Air Warehouse, the electric furnaces start around $700 and the gas furnaces start around $900.

    Looking at just the up-front costs, the electric furnace seems to be cheaper. However, most HVAC systems are meant to be used for years. The long-term costs look at how expensive it is to run each type of furnace for years to come.

    Long-Term Costs

    The costs associated with the furnace in the long term are: maintenance and the cost of the electricity/natural gas. When it comes to maintenance, the electric heaters are typically cheaper to maintain. One of the reasons is that electric furnaces typically outlast gas furnaces. An electric furnace can last for 20-30 years with regular maintenance. Gas furnaces, in comparison, typically have slightly shorter lifespans of 10-20 years.

    People commonly say that the cost of natural gas is lower than that of electricity. This is true in many locations, but it does depend on the location of the home or business. Electricity is cheaper in some cities than others. To truly determine the long-term impact of paying for electricity or gas, a homeowner or business owner can calculate the energy use. The amount of electricity used is typically tabulated as kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the amount of natural gas is often tabulated as therms. A homeowner could directly compare the costs by converting kWh to therms (1 kWh = 0.034 therms). Less money spent per therm will save the homeowner or business owner in the long-term.

    Making a smart decision regarding electric or gas furnaces may require a bit of thought, but there are many resources out there to help home and business owners decide between the two.

  • Hysteresis Thermostat and What You Should Know

    Hysteresis Thermostat Hysteresis Thermostat

    Individuals get hung up over complicated terminologies like ‘hysteresis’ and more often than not, these terms can be simplified with an easy explanation that can be understood by anyone. In the same manner, hysteresis is considered an engineering terminology that is used to explain a simple ‘lag.’ It is specifically the way that a reaction lags a step or an action. Let’s take a closer look at this simple example below.

    An Example

    If you were to squeeze a piece of foam and then release it, you would hear a popping sound as if it popped back to its original form. However, it does not do so immediately. It goes back to its normal state in a slow motion. It lags this action until the release of your hands. Other forms of hysteresis are the same way.

    The Thermostat

    The common use of hysteresis is during the use of magnetic and electronic systems. Thermostats are a perfect example. Without using technical applications and definitions of hysteresis, let’s look at how it applies to thermostats. The hysteresis thermostat also goes through a similar motion; it lags inputs from the surroundings for the main purpose of saving energy as well as preventing a furnace or air conditioner from enduring wear and tear as it frequently turns on and off.

    Poor Insulation

    If you live in a house that is poorly insulated and the temperature outside is a scorching 104 degrees, your main concern is how long it will take for the heat to penetrate your house while the air conditioning unit is running. Believe it or not, this would not take long. With a good HVAC system, your house will cool to about 72 degrees, which is quite comfortable. When the insulation is insufficient, in about one minute, the temperature will increase to 73 degrees and your air conditioner will kick in again. This cycle continues to be repeated frequently as your air conditioning unit is overworking due to the poor insulation. It is, therefore, difficult to maintain the comfortable temperature in the home.

    Saving Energy

    You would not classify this thermostat as a hysteresis thermostat because of its lack of hysteresis in the programming. For that reason, it will constantly turn on and off. With a hysteresis thermostat, you can set your temperature to 72 degrees and be able to maintain it. Why? The temperature will go up to 74 degrees before cooling it to down to 71 degrees, allowing the HVAC system to relax. This saves on wear and tear and also fosters energy efficiency.

    Conclusion

    It is important to get your HVAC system working efficiently and therefore, you could consider using a hysteresis thermostat. It will definitely work in your best interest. Speak to a HVAC contractor to discuss your immediate needs.

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  • Common HVAC Problems to Look For

    HVAC System HVAC System

    When homeowners experience problems with their air conditioning unit and heating systems, it calls for finances to make the repairs. It also involves the time it takes to fix the problem. However, when there is experienced and knowledgeable assistance, the result is improved efficiency. It is very critical to seek the help of a reputable HVAC contractor with the expertise necessary to resolve the issue in a fast, affordable and effective manner. When your HVAC system needs to be repaired, it can truly create havoc in the home. Below are some common problems that you may encounter, which will need professional help.

    Air Conditioning Unit

    A central air conditioning unit is the ideal option to keep the entire house much cooler and more comfortable. The common problem associated with an AC unit is the compressor’s failure to turn on. In addition, you may not feel cool air coming from the AC, which may be caused by insufficient air flow. If your AC unit is leaking water, it is also time to call a HVAC contractor.

    Furnaces

    All homeowners should be aware that a furnace should be serviced on an annual basis, if you want to have it properly functioning. If not, you may encounter problems. If parts need to be replaced, it is best to obtain the assistance of a qualified HVAC technician to install a new one, maintaining efficient operation of your furnace.

    Heat Pumps

    For your heat pumps, you should have a regular maintenance system, which can be provided by a HVAC contractor or HVAC company. In doing so, the heat pump will function at a higher comfort level.

    Air Handler

    The air handler is an important component of the HVAC system where it moves air efficiently and easily around the home. When this part is not working, your system will malfunction.

    Boiler System

    To keep your water heater operating at its peak, the boiler system also has to be properly and frequently maintained.

    Thermostat Control

    Your thermostat is essential to circulating heat and cool air within the home. You must know how to set the temperature to get the most energy efficiency. If your thermostat malfunctions, this objective won’t be met. So, make sure that it is good working condition. If flawed, you may need to call a HVAC contracting company.

    Conclusion

    Other problems that you may encounter are the leaking of your refrigerant, dirty air filters or clogging of your drain pipe clogged. Many of the common problems with your heating system and air conditioning unit are as a result of faulty installation, and poor or no maintenance. You can easily have your HVAC system working throughout the year by having regular maintenance from an HVAC service professional.

     

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  • Myths about Air Conditioning and Heating

    Air Conditioning Unit Air Conditioning Unit

    Air conditioning and heating are essential to a person’s comfort. It is also important to energy efficiency. Therefore, if you have a heating and air conditioning system, it is best that they cover these two things. If you really want to know the facts about HVAC, then you also have to become aware of some of the common myths that people have spread as it relates to your A/C and heating system. Let’s explore some of these myths.

    Temperature Adjustment

    Some people will say that temperature adjustment to your A/C unit and heating system is not necessary when you leave your house. However, this is not true. Paying attention to the temperature is important if you want to save on your utility bill. To save on energy during the winter months, it is best to lower the temperature and during the summer months, the opposite is true. You could invest in a thermostat that you can set to automatically adjust on schedule.

    Regular Maintenance

    Some homeowners don’t place a lot of emphasis on regular maintenance of their HVAC system. However, this is necessary if you want your units to last you for a longer period of time and operate efficiently. Don’t wait until your HVAC system breaks down to call a contractor. If your system is properly and regularly maintained, it could save you the headache.

    Higher Temperatures

    Don’t believe the myth that if you turn up the heater temperature, the entire house will heat up faster. The same thing is true for your air conditioning unit. The temperature will reach to the desired threshold in the same time period, no matter what you set it at. So, don’t waste your energy by setting it at high temperatures.

    Standing Fans

    Some people believe that using both the standing fan and air conditioner unit will lower the energy used. That is not true. Fans only circulate air and not keep the area cool. Therefore, the energy expended to circulate air carries no weight, if you are looking to cool your home. Moreover, you would be using unnecessary energy to operate the fans.

    Flexibility

    An A/C is not only beneficial if you want to keep an area of your home cool. No, an air conditioning unit does much more. In fact, it helps to lower the humidity in the air, making cooling more effective.

    Using Space Heaters

    There are people who genuinely think that the use of space heaters in a few rooms is less costly than operating a gas heater. A space heater only heats up a small portion of the space in comparison to your gas heating system. The best option is to have one heating system in a home instead of several space heaters.

    Conclusion

    If you have any issues with your air conditioning system or heating system, it is best to get the facts from a reputable and experienced HVAC contractor and not listen to what others say. Before making any decisions as it relates to your A/C and heater, it is best to speak to a professional.

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  • What is the best Central Air Conditioner brand?

    Central Air Conditioner Unit Central Air Conditioner Unit

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    If you are an HVAC contractor or specialist, you should have all the products in your inventory necessary to do a heating and cooling system installation. The only time the manufacturer should be involved is when they are creating and testing the product. Air conditioners and furnaces take thousands of dollars in tools to repair or replace. This means that the contractor has to invest in tools to get the job done right. Now, an experienced contractor who has done installations over and over again will know the ins and outs of the HVAC system and what brands are the best and which ones aren’t. Do you agree? It makes sense! It would be safe to say then that the contractor is the middle man when it comes to HVAC parts and products.

    The Recommendation

    What if your central air conditioner broke down or wasn’t performing? You would call on a HVAC contractor to advise you if replacement is necessary and if it is, which brand is best to purchase. That would be the wise thing to do since you don’t know yourself. The contractor is the expert since you may not be able to reach the manufacturer directly for the appropriate solution. In that case, the recommendation should come from the middle man who is the HVAC contractor. You could rely on reviews and testimonials from customers who have purchased the product, but they don’t have hands-on experience and knowledge of the makeup of the air conditioner unit and what it takes to operate it.

    The Most Popular

    While several brands of air conditioner units exist, most of them are manufactured by a handful of well known companies and not necessarily a wide range of companies. The most popular brands of air conditioner units are:

    • Carrier
    • Trane
    • Lennox
    • Goodman
    • Rheem
    • York
    • Maytag and Westinghouse

    The Stand Outs

    Most people would recommend the Maytag because of its years on the market and its selling points such as how quietly it runs and its efficiency. Its SEER ratings are up to a 25.5 level and its EER ratings are up to a level of 15 if you take the cooling capacity into consideration. Lennox, Trane and Carrier are all regarded fairly well by HVAC contractors and many consumers. It may have to do with the reputation of the company and its policies as it relates to qualified and quality installation. All three of these companies are very particular about their product installation, being selective as to which HVAC contractor does the installation. Lennox boasts an efficiency rating level of up to 26 SEER. Carrier does the same thing at a rating of 21 SEER. Trane is a hot competitor with also a 21 SEER rating.

    Conclusion

    So, it is safe to say that Carrier, Lennox and Trane are the better brands and have received national coverage to prove that they are products to contend with. However, when you get ready to change out your air conditioner unit, speak to a qualified HVAC contractor for the best recommendation and solution.

  • Should you repair or replace your AC system?

    Air conditioner Unit Repair Air conditioner Unit Repair

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    If you are having trouble with your heating and cooling system or just ac system, then you may have to consider whether you should repair or replace it. There are several things that go into making that decision. However, first, it will depend on your budget. If you are contemplating on the decision, this means that you may have to check with an HVAC specialist to discuss your best option. In the meantime, though, if your system is not running as efficient as it used to or you have absolutely no A/C or heating capabilities, it may be time to replace it. In the long run, though, repair could be the better choice instead of replacement.

    HVAC Contractor

    When you are ready to make your decision for ac system repair, contact a local HVAC contractor for answers. If the contractor tells you to purchase new equipment without inspecting the old one, you may have to reconsider using their service. If the repair is going to be expensive and the replacement cost is less, then the obvious choice is replacement. If the repair cost is within your budget and once repaired, the equipment can operate effectively for a few years down the road, by all means, repair would be the perfect solution. First, however, let’s explore the replacement option some more.

    The Replacement

    If your air conditioner unit was built prior to 1992 and you own a standing pilot furnace, then you may think about replacing both, whether these need to be replaced or not. With this type of furnace, you are only receiving 65 percent efficiency and 8 SEER or fewer with the air conditioner unit. Replacing these units will save you tons in utility cost. Take some time to conduct a research and make plans on replacing your unit sooner rather than later. If you find that your A/C compressor is failing and you have no warranty, you could replace the compressor instead of the entire unit. This would cost you less.

    The Repair

    If you have to spend thousands of dollars in repair cost on your ac system, it is not wise to replace, but to buy new equipment. If you are unsure of whether to repair or replace, have an experienced technician inspect the equipment.  However, if you have a furnace that is 15 years or older and the repair cost is $750, then it is time to replace the unit. As long as you are receiving 95 percent efficiency out of the equipment, you can keep it after repairing and not replace it.

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