Repair or Replace: That’s the Question

When should you repair an aging HVAC unit and when should you replace? Great question!

According to the National Association of Home Builder’s Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components, residential furnaces last 15-20 years. Energy Star believes a replacement is necessary if a heat pump or a/c is more than ten years old, a furnace is more than fifteen years old, equipment needs frequent repairs, energy bills are going up, a home has humidity problems, a home has excessive dust, or the heating and cooling system is noisy. Something else to keep in mind is that HVAC companies should take sizing of the unit keeping different housing/environmental issues in mind. However, precise life expectancy is difficult to pinpoint due to numerous factors such as climate, usage, maintenance, rating and more.

Consider replacement if the equipment is beyond 3/4 of the life expectancy and repairs will cost more than a third of replacement. For example: if your furnace is 15 years old and you’re facing a $750 repair, you should probably replace the unit. Keep in mind that you can also take this opportunity to improve your home comfort and lower your utility bill. In other words, don’t just settle with a single-stage 80% efficient furnace and be done with it – consider things like multiple staging, 95% efficiency and variable speed blowers to maximize your savings and comfort.

While there may never be a singular answer on when it is time to replace an HVAC unit instead of repair it, the decision should always come down to HVAC contractors doing their best work. In the end it should be the company, not the equipment that you invest your dollars in.

Thanks to ACHR News for the great information in this blog post.

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Home Dry As A Bone?

Our bodies need moisture in the air to feel comfortable, help prevent illness and avoid those annoying static-electricity shocks. If dry household air is a discomfort you would like to live without, it may be time for a humidifier in your home.

Dry indoor air makes it super difficult to feel comfortable, and too easy to feel irritable, especially when you are suffering physical symptoms caused by dry air – like sore throat, cracked skin and a dry nose. Ways a whole house humidifier can help you:

  • They maintain 30-55% humidity throughout your entire home, which is optimal
  • May find relief from the above symptoms
  • Protects objects in your home from drying out, cracking, peeling, shrinking and splitting
  • Increases humidity in your home by providing a layer of moisture which protects against static electricity
  • The flu and other viruses thrive in low humidity.

Operating a whole house humidifier is much like operating the central cooling and heating systems. Humidifiers and central cooling/heating use the same air ducts. Where a thermostat is used to control the temperature, a humidistat is adjusted to control humidity levels. Some thermostats are capable of controlling both. Humidifiers are attached to the ductwork, and may use airflow from the heating/AC system to add moisture.

For questions or more information – visit us online or call us at 770-253-2665. We are happy to help!


Fall/Winter Energy Saving Tips, Pt 2

The following tips will save you energy and help your budget as the weather cools down.

  • Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in your attic, basement and outside walls. Also cover through-the-wall air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
  • Reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household’s monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are: floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets.
  • Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain heat.
  • Don’t block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free. Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
  • Have your heating system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters. During the heating season, change or clean furnace filters once a month.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use.

Save 10% on your service by scheduling online today.

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Heating FAQ: Part 6, Furnace Replacement?

Part six of our commonly asked questions series – furnace replacement questions.

The guy who fixed my parents furnace said “They don’t make them like that anymore, that furnace will last forever – you don’t need to change it.” Is this true?

– That person is probably right! We could make it run forever…providing you are willing to take the chance that parts are available for the older furnace and you’re willing to withstand the cold until a repairman can fix you up. The question that I have is: Are you comfortable in your home in every room, every floor? Are you happy with the noise level of your furnace? Are you happy with your utility bill in the winter while your furnace is running?

Most of today’s furnaces deliver an even, consistent flow of heated air to eliminate hot and cold spots throughout the home. Nearly continuous operation at very low speed means little sound from fewer start-up cycles. Some of the same technology that makes these furnaces so quiet makes them very efficient all year long. Low electrical combined with 96% combustion efficiency makes this choice much clearer.

What are the differences between mid efficient furnaces and high efficient furnaces? Are there ‘real’ savings and how does the price vary?

– Mid-efficient furnaces are in most cases eighty percent efficient. To translate, every dollar that you spend on gas, eighty cents is used to heat your house, twenty cents goes out the chimney. A high-efficient furnace is ninety-four percent efficient, ninety-four cents is spent on heating and only six cents goes out the chimney. 🙂

Mid-efficient furnaces draw air from the house to provide oxygen to the burner. This is accomplished by a power exhauster, drawing anywhere from 150 cfm [cubic ft of air per minute] to 200 cfm. This is warm air you have already paid to heat. A high efficient furnace has intake and exhaust piping directly to and from the outside. Therefore air is not taken from the house to provide oxygen to the burner. The payback on a hi-efficient over a mid-efficient would be less than two years in most cases.

What can I do to control the humidity levels in my home?

– Humidity levels can be reduced by using a variable speed furnace as part of your HVAC system. Variable speed units run longer, at lower speeds, allowing air to constantly circulate against the cooling coil and remove more moisture. Variable-speed motors also use less electricity than regular motors, reducing your energy costs.


Heating FAQ: Part 5, Thermostats

Part Five of our commonly asked heating questions, this time about thermostats – feel free to comment with anything that you have to ask!

Which type of thermostat should I have in my home?

– Programmable thermostats will save energy when properly used. Most are very easy to operate and some will control other equipment like humidifiers, HRV air exchangers and give filter change reminders. A digital thermostat starts low and has many levels of value depending on the features chosen.

I have an old furnace, would changing the thermostat do anything for us?

– Actually, the older thermostats are usually three to four degrees out in temperatures where as teh new digital thermostats are right on with accuracy! You should still consider upgrading your thermostat no matter how old your furnace is, this will help with efficiency of your existing unit. Digital thermostats are very affordable.

A thermostat is pretty easy to change – can’t I do it myself?

– You are much better off to have a qualified installer change it out. Thermostats are designed with built in variables this way the installer can set the thermostat up to your furnace as there are many furnaces out there, such as oil, propane, gas, old, new, etc. During the heating season and especially when the box malls have a sale on programmable thermostats, we have an excess of calls where this exact situation has occurred and transformers are being blown up on the furnace due to incorrect installations. This expense is much greater than the service call you will pay to have it properly installed and checked for proper operation.

How do the thermostats at the hardware stores compare to the ones you sell? Is there really a difference?

– There are several varieties of programmable thermostats on the market today. The big box stores have companies manufacture thermostats just for them so they may charge a cheaper price for the same name but different product. These thermostats often come without batteries and limited functions. The thermostats we sell are very dependable with options built in that let the user configure the thermostats to their home, not what the hardware store thinks your house is. Your home is different and unique from others and therefore needs to be treated that way to maintain comfort for the occupants.

You can find more questions and answers at our website, and we always update with helpful hints on Facebook. Connect with us!


It’s All About the HEAT.

Since January and February tend to be the coldest months around these here hills, every couple of days we’ll be coming out with some hints, tips, and tricks to help you get through the winter with your blood pressure in tact.

Here’s a little preview:

Q: What should I do if I smell gas?

A: Call the Fire Department immediately. You can also call the gas provider and your heating contractor…but MAKE SURE you do all of this from outside. You don’t want to do ANYTHING in the house at that point. Don’t turn any lights on or off, no power, NOTHING.

Q: How often should I change my furnace filter?

A: Depending on the type of filter you use, if you have pets, construction or renovations – the answer will change just that fast. The best solution is to buy a good filter and check it regularly. The best protection for your furnace is your filter. Not to mention how it effects the air you breathe – and don’t forget your utility bill!

You can always visit us at http://www.progressiveac.com for some of other other common problems and troubleshooting tips.

More to come – stay tuned!