Carolina Heating & Air Design is here for you! Whether you are in need of a new heating system, having problems with your current system, or you are just in need of a tune up, our technicians will educate you on the situation and give you all options available. This allows YOU to make a decision that is right for your family and situation. If you are looking for a new system, we will have a detailed conversation about what you are looking for and give you options to fit your needs. During a service call, our technician will discuss the problem with you, diagnose the problem by completely going through the system, explain the problem, and then give you options. If we are servicing your system, the technician will first speak with you about any issues you may have. They will then go through the system thoroughly, explain everything they found, give you recommendations, and allow you to make the decision for what is right for you! Give us a try; we are confident you will be 100% SATISFIED!
The largest energy expense in most homes is heating. Heating accounts for 35-50% of annual energy bills in colder parts of the country. The single most effective way to save money and reduce your home’s contribution to global environmental problems is to reduce your heating cost.
A furnace works to keep a home warm in the winter and plays a critical part in the operation of an air conditioning system.
The efficiency of new furnaces is measured by the AFUE - annual fuel utilization efficiency. Most furnaces today are between 78% AFUE and 96% AFUE. Traditional "power combustion" furnaces are 80-82% AFUE. Above 90% AFUE, a furnace is "condensing," which means it recaptures some of the heat wasted in traditional systems by condensing escaping water vapor.
How does it work?
Furnaces produce heat through the combustion of gas in the furnace's burner. The heat produced then passes through a heat exchanger. Air from your home's return air ducts is blown over the heat exchanger, thus warming the air. The furnace's blower then pushes the warmed air into the duct work, which carries and disperses the warmed air throughout the home. During warmer months, the blower inside a furnace continues to circulate return air throughout the home--only this time, the return air has been cooled by being blown over the indoor coil portion of the home's split-system air conditioning system.
The gas furnace is the most common type of heating equipment. The gas furnace has the indoor evaporator coil attached to it. The furnace burns gas (natural or propane) to generate heat and then use exchangers to circulate the heat through vents.
Air-source heat pumps transfer heat between the home and outdoors. These are the most common type of heat pumps.
A dual-fuel heat pump uses a normal air-source heat pump and adds a gas furnace system for backup heat source. This allows the heat pump to operate extremely efficient in summer and winter, but can switch to the gas furnace if the winter becomes too cold.
Most geo-thermal heat pump uses water as a heat source instead of air. It can be more expensive to install. However the geo-thermal heat pump benefits from to the stable temperatures of water giving you higher efficiency.
In a packaged unit the condenser, evaporator coil, and furnace are packaged together in an outdoor unit. A package unit can be either a heat pump or a gas unit.
The oil furnace is a type of heating equipment that burns fuel oil instead of natural gas or propane. The cost of fuel oil in this area has risen dramatically, causing many owners to choose a different type of heating solution when it comes time to replace the equipment.
Boilers heat water with fire and distribute the water to radiators, which radiate heated air in the home. Boilers are rarely used in residential applications now, but some really old houses still have them.
How to make the most of your heating system.
Routine and proper maintenance can have a big effect on fuel bills and should be performed on a yearly basis. The following are things ACEEE suggests you do:
- Clean or replace air filters regularly.
- Clean registers. Warm-air supply and return registers should be kept clean and should not be blocked by furniture, carpets, or drapes.
- Tune up your system. Systems should be tuned up and cleaned every year. Regular tune-ups not only cut heating costs, but they also increase the lifetime of the system, reduce breakdowns and repair costs, and cut the amount of carbon monoxide, smoke, and other pollutants pumped into the atmosphere by fossil-fueled systems.
- Seal your ducts. In homes heated with warm-air heating, ducts should be inspected and sealed to ensure adequate airflow and eliminate loss of heated air. It is not uncommon for ducts to leak as much as 15-20% of the air passing through them. And leaky ducts can bring additional dust and humidity into living spaces. Thorough duct sealing costs several hundred dollars but can cut heating and cooling costs in many homes by 20%.
- Check for wasted fan energy. If your furnace is improperly sized or if the fan thermostat is improperly set, the fan may operate longer than it needs to. If you're getting a lot of cold air out of the warm-air registers after the furnace turns off, have a service technician check the fan delay setting.
- Thermostats. Turn down the thermostat at night and when you're away from home. In most homes, you can save about 2% of your heating bill for each degree that you lower the thermostat for at least 8 hours each day. Contrary to some common myths, it won't take more energy to bring your home back to the desired temperature than it would to leave it at your optimum temperature all day. Turning down the thermostat from 70°F to 65°F, for example, saves about 10% ($100 saved per $1,000 of heating cost).
Of course, you can use a good programmable thermostat to automate this process. IF it is programmed properly you can expect to recover the cost of the thermostat in the first year or so. If you have a heat pump, be aware that you need a special "adaptive" thermostat that will bring the temperature up from the setback point in winter without calling for the inefficient "emergency" electric resistance heat.
When should I replace?
If your furnace is older than 20 years, chances are it is a good investment to replace it with a high-efficiency model with the guidance of a good contractor. ACEE (American Council of Energy-Efficient Economy) also says to consider a replacement now if your system is one of the following:
An old oil furnace
- An old gas furnace without electronic ignition. If it has a pilot light, it was probably installed prior to 1992 and has an efficiency of about 65% efficient (the least efficient systems today are 80%)
- An old gas furnace without vent dampers or an induced draft fan (which limit the flow of heated air up the chimney when the heating system is off).
- If your furnace is 10–20 years old, and you are experiencing discomfort or high utility bills; you should have your furnace thoroughly examined by a qualified heating and air conditioning technician. The technician can help you evaluate your options for making your existing system more cost effective. Often you may be able to improve house insulation and air-tightness, repair or insulate duct work, or simply tune up your system.
For additional information: www.aceee.org/consumer
Carolina Heating & Air Design is here for you! If you need some of these items addressed at your home, give us a call! We are happy to make your system perform at its optimum efficiency!
Some information provided by ACEEE.