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Tag Archives: Heating

  • 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.

  • The Best Methods of Air Duct Cleaning

    Air duct cleaning Air duct cleaning

    Most of the residential and commercial buildings these days are usually erected with ventilation, HVAC, heating or air conditioning ducts. Since these are tightly assembled, it is rare that stale air or fresh air will circulate at the same time. If this occurs, then there may be accumulated pollutants in the air ducts. This will typically create air that is unhealthy for everyone living in the home. Subsequently, these same pollutants will become irritants, negatively impacting the health of the occupants of the building. In many cases, people will suffer from respiratory conditions and in other cases, the pollutants could likely cause damage to the home.

    Reducing or Eliminating Pollutants

    When you clean the HVAC air ducts, it will drastically eliminate or reduce the pollutants, creating healthier air and improving the health of the occupants. There are several suggestions for air duct cleaning. However, it is best to hire a HVAC contractor with more knowledge about the best practices for air duct cleaning. In so doing, the project will be done more properly and it will reduce the appearance of annoying rodents.

    The Disadvantage

    The disadvantage of air duct cleaning if you do this yourself is that you could ultimately damage the air ducts. So, to improve the air quality in your home, it is strongly recommended to get professional assistance. The HVAC technician will be able to tell when your next duct cleaning will be necessary. It is especially important, though, to know as much as you can about air duct cleaning so as to establish the one that is ideal for you. While you will be relying on a professional HVAC contractor, you will still have personal knowledge about what is involved and the methods used.

    Common Methods

    The most common methods used for air duct cleaning over the years is industry standard. As time goes on, advancements are being made to continue improving the methods involved in the process. However, for now, the methods employed are as such:

    • Power Vacuum or Air Sweep – this is a meticulous method of duct cleaning, although, more expensive. It does the best job of removing dirt in an extremely careful manner.
    • Point of Contact – while this may not be as thorough as the air sweep method, it is safer for the vents and air ducts. It is also less expensive, but still uses a vacuum, and spinning brush as the best cleaning tools
    • Removing the Source – this is the most common of all three methods for air duct cleaning. Mechanical agitation loosens the dirt and debris and extraction helps to remove everything entirely in a safe manner.

    Conclusion

    Methods of air duct cleaning have been around since the 1900s. However, the techniques have evolved since that time due to the work done by knowledgeable and experienced HVAC contractors. When you hire a professional HVAC technician, you stand a better chance to have improved air quality in your home.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/airductcleaning/3054209713/

  • 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.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moria/95480015/

  • Should you repair or replace your AC system?

    Air conditioner Unit Repair Air conditioner Unit Repair

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/antre/6365655015/

    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.

  • 3 Major Systems of the Home That Take Up the Most Energy

    Home Energy

    If you’re a homeowner or live in any type of housing complex, you know the feeling of receiving your utility bills each month and feeling your stomach drop at the numbers. Whether you want to lower your home expenses, be more environmentally conscious, or both, having knowledge of which systems of your home are consuming the most energy and how to reduce their consumption will be instrumental.

    Heating
    It’s tempting to turn the heating as far up as it can go when winter rolls around each year. However, this convenient household system is responsible for the largest percentage of the energy consumed by most houses. This is especially true for those who live in colder regions or who have particularly cold winters. Fortunately, it is easy to reduce the amount of energy used by your heater: Simply reduce the heat setting on your thermostat. Doing this might warrant donning a few more layers inside the home, but it is much easier to put on more layers or even use alternative sources of heat like a fireplace than it is to remove layers of clothing when the temperature gets swelteringly hot. Speaking of which, this brings us to a perfect segue into the next household appliance that is vacuuming the money from your wallet.

    Air Conditioning
    Unfortunately, one of the things we rely on the most to keep us cool during the warm months is also adding more and more digits to our electricity bills and consuming masses of energy. With 87 percent of U.S. households equipped with air conditioning systems as reported in 2009, it is easy to see why such a large portion of energy is spent on this luxury. The solution to minimizing this consumption, however, follows the same principle as the heating system: Adjust the thermostat. Opt for methods of cooling that don't utilize electricity in any way, such as ice buckets, cold drinks, and staying closing the shutters to keep sunlight from warming up your home. Ideally, utilize a combination of both natural methods and a low setting on your air conditioning to reach a comfortable temperature without your electricity bills going through the roof.

    Water Heater
    There's nothing better than the feeling of taking a hot shower after a long day. But sadly, yes, your water heater is responsible for a big portion of your home's energy consumption. In fact, it takes up about 18 percent of your utility bill on average. To combat this, you can do things as simple as taking shorter showers and turning the temperature of your water down a little bit. But if you want to implement a longer-lasting solution consider installing an on-demand water heater. This way, you can control when your water heater is on or off, thus saving you money and conserving energy.

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