Tag Archives: furnaces

How to Know if Your Furnace Efficiency is Right

How to Know if Your Furnace Efficiency is RightFurnace efficiency begins with the AFUE rating determined at the factory. Short for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, AFUE is a percentage that expresses the amount of fuel consumed that actually produces heat versus the percentage lost during combustion and venting.

 

Mandated by federal regulations, today the AFUE standard efficiency rating for furnaces is 80%. More expensive high-efficiency furnaces that recover lost heat, however, come with an AFUE as high as 95%.

 

AFUE is simply the starting point for determining furnace efficiency. Additional factors also play a role in the efficiency you actually receive once the unit is installed and in operation.

Age of the Unit

A typical gas-fired furnace has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. If an existing older unit is installed in your house, efficiency standards when that furnace was manufactured may have been significantly lower than today, while energy costs have increased. Upgrading to a new unit that meets current AFUE standards could result in lower operating costs plus better heating performance from day one of installation.

Accurate Sizing

Upgrading a furnace should always include a formal heating load calculation. Performed by a qualified HVAC technician using industry-standard software, data about the unique thermal characteristics of the house is crunched to generate the precise furnace BTU capacity for optimum operating efficiency. If rough guesstimates or a one-size-fits-all approach are utilized—instead of an accurate load calculation—an over-sized or under-sized furnace may be installed, resulting in excessive energy consumption and poor heating performance.

Regular Required Maintenance

To keep a furnace running at its original AFUE energy efficiency rating, annual preventive maintenance is critical. This procedure performed by a qualified HVAC technician supports maximum system efficiency, reliable heating performance and safe operation. It’s also required by the warranty terms of most major manufacturers.

Other Efficiency-Related Issues

Furnace efficiency is also affected by external factors such as condition of the home’s ductwork as well as the amount and quality of insulation in the house.

For qualified sales and service that support maximum furnace efficiency, contact the pros at Powers Heating & Air.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040. 

 

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Keys to Maintaining Your Furnace

Keys to Maintaining Your FurnaceMaintaining your furnace is vital for optimum indoor comfort during the coming winter. However, proper upkeep also serves other very important purposes such as keeping monthly operating costs low and ensuring safe operation. Because many of the most critical maintenance procedures are not suitable do-it-yourself tasks, proper furnace maintenance should always include an annual tune-up and inspection by a qualified HVAC service technician.

 

In addition to that yearly professional care, here are more basic steps you can take for maintaining your furnace yourself.

Change the air filter.

Proper airflow is among the most important parameters for maximum energy efficiency and heating performance. The furnace filter should be checked monthly. It’s an easy DIY procedure. If the filter appears dirty or dusty, replace it immediately. Otherwise, replace the furnace filter with a quality pleated filter every other month without fail.

Check the vents.

Make sure all supply vents and return vents in every room are open and not obstructed by furniture or other objects. Closing vents in individual rooms that may be unoccupied isn’t a good idea. This can unbalance airflow throughout the entire system and may diminish furnace performance and efficiency.

Feel for cold spots.

If a certain room stays stubbornly chilly while other rooms are comfortable, feel the furnace airflow entering through the supply vent. It should be approximately the same temperature and same volume of air as other rooms. If the airflow feels deficient or too cold, ductwork issues affecting that individual room, such as excessive air leakage or a duct segment which has become detached, could be at fault.

Verify programmable thermostat settings.

Make sure you’ve programmed the right temperature settings for colder weather and the shorter days/longer nights of winter. During daytime when the house is occupied, the Department of Energy recommends 68 degrees. When occupants are away, or overnight when everyone’s asleep, the temperature may be cranked down as low as 60 degrees.

 

For qualified professional service for maintaining your furnace, contact Powers Heating & Air.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040. 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay” 

Why Spring Is the Best Time to Replace a Furnace

Why Spring Is the Best Time to Replace a FurnaceIf your aging furnace didn’t keep your home comfortably warm last winter, it’s a good time to seriously consider replacing it. Why replace a furnace now rather than waiting until later in the year? Because upgrading your heating system in the spring offers some big benefits.

Slow Down Discounts

Spring is a typically a slow time of year for HVAC contractors because it’s in between the hectic heating and cooling seasons. HVAC companies want their installers and technicians to stay busy, though, so many offer significant discounts to homeowners who buy new equipment now. Scheduling a spring furnace replacement not only lets you save on equipment cost, but it also gives you more scheduling flexibility because your contractor isn’t booked up.

Less Inconvenience

Our spring weather in Georgia is quite mild, so there’s little risk that you’ll be inconvenienced by a lack of heat while your new furnace is being installed. If your air conditioner is near retirement age, it’s also the ideal time to talk with your HVAC contractor about a package deal. By replacing your furnace and A/C at the same time, you can benefit from optimal comfort and energy savings both summer and winter.

Extra Time for Comparisons

Since you have no worries about living without heat until your furnace gets installed, you have ample time to compare different equipment options. You can investigate features like EMC motors, modulating gas valves, variable-speed blowers, multi-stage burners and smart HVAC controls and pick and choose the ones that offer you the greatest benefits.

Easier Budget Planning

Having to replace your furnace if it fails in the middle of winter without any warning can put a strain on your budget. By planning ahead and upgrading now, you’ll have plenty of time to look at different financing methods and fit the purchase into your budget. If you’re expecting a tax refund, you also have the option of putting those funds toward a new furnace.

 

To learn more reasons why spring is the best time to replace a furnace, contact the Peachtree City home comfort experts at Powers Heating & Air.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Dennis Cox/Shutterstock”

Replacing a Furnace Motor: Deciding on ECM or PSC

Replacing a Furnace Motor: Deciding on ECM or PSCWhen it’s time to consider a furnace motor replacement, all the different abbreviations can make it hard to figure out what will work best for your home. This guide will help you sort out which type of furnace motor replacement will work best for your needs.

 

The furnace blower motor has a simple but important function in your heating system. It is the force that pushes the heated air into your ductwork. From there the air is carried through your home and released into your living spaces.

 

To get air into all parts of your home, a decent amount of energy has to be used. Because of this, the energy efficiency of the motor is an important consideration for anyone who likes saving money on their energy bills — and who doesn’t like that?

Option 1: PSC (Permanent Split Capacitor)

The PSC motor does a simple job. It turns on, pushes air through your house at full speed, and then turns off until it’s needed again.

Pros: It costs less than an ECM.
Cons:

  • It uses more energy due to running at full blast when it’s on.
  • The hard starts and stops cause more wear and tear.
  • It’s expected working life is about eight years.

Option 2: ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor)

The ECM can run at variable speeds. It can be programmed to use a gradual start and stop sequence that uses less energy than starting at full blast.

Pros:

  • Energy Savings. The ECM runs more efficiently, achieving an efficiency of 65 to 75%. A PSC only gets around 45%.
  • Maintenance. Less starting and stopping means less wear and fewer repair calls.
  • Longevity. An ECM’s expected working life is around 10 years.
  • Indoor Air Quality. You can set your ECM to keep air moving at a slow speed even when your home is at the set thermostat temperature. This keeps air moving through your filtration system, removing dust and other allergens.

Cons: The initial investment is larger.

Ready to talk about your furnace motor replacement options or any other HVAC concerns in the Peachtree City area? Contact Powers Heating & Air today.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “feng-yu/Shutterstock”

Home Heating Systems: Pros and Cons

Home Heating Systems: Pros and ConsWhile Peachtree City’s warm climate means heating doesn’t hold quite the same priority as in colder regions, you still need something to keep you warm in cooler weather. There are several home heating systems that work well in our area, but each has its pros and cons.

Heat Pumps

These are among the most energy efficient heating systems for mild climates, so they’re perfectly suited to our area. Their efficiency comes from the fact that they move heat instead of producing heat like most systems do. In winter, they draw warmth from the air and move it into your house.

In summer, they act just like an air conditioner, pulling heat out of your house to cool it. Heat pumps are even better at controlling humidity than standard A/Cs.

Fuel-Burning Furnaces

By burning natural gas, oil or propane, these home heating systems produce heat to warm the air. The warm air is blown through a duct system out to each of your rooms. While they’re among the cheapest systems to buy, furnaces are most efficient in cold climates.

Radiant Systems

A boiler paired with radiators is the most commonly used of these systems. The boiler produces hot water or steam, which is then supplied to the radiators. An alternative system, radiant flooring, is also gaining popularity. In this system, hot water is pumped through tubing under the floors.

Because it warms people and things, not just the air, radiant heating provides a gentle, enveloping warmth many find more comfortable than the heat from ducted systems. They also don’t kick up air contaminants by moving the air, which makes them healthier for those with respiratory concerns.

Electric Resistance Systems

This group includes furnaces, storage heaters, and space heaters that run on electricity. They’re the most inefficient way to produce heat, so unless you only need heat a few weeks out of the year, a heat pump is a better choice.

 

If you could use some help choosing from among the home heating systems on the market, talk with us at Powers Heating & Air in the Peachtree City area.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

 

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