3 Reasons to Change Your Furnace Filter More Often

Wondering why it’s so important to replace those filters? Check out the top three reasons why you should change furnace filters regularly:

1. Clean systems last longer

Dirt accumulates in filters over time, especially during summer and winter months when your heating and cooling systems are in peak use. Dirty build-up causes clogs in filters, and when air can’t pass through easily, the system must work harder, causing overheating. Overheating can cause serious damage, and may even result in needing to replace the furnace. Clogged filters can cause dirt to build up in other areas of the system as well, causing pollution and extra repairs that wouldn’t normally be necessary.

2. Reduce energy costs

Remember how we mentioned a clogged filter can cause your system to work harder? That means an increase in your energy usage. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for almost half of the average home’s utility bills! Replacing your air filter regularly means that fan motor doesn’t have to work as hard, and you won’t be blowing tons of money on unnecessary energy costs.

3. Healthy air

Poor indoor air quality can cause symptoms such as eye irritation, sneezing, dizziness, and respiratory problems. People suffering from asthma and allergies are significantly affected by poor indoor air quality. Homes with pets experience extra dirt and dander in the air. Changing the air filter in your furnace regularly will prevent dust, dirt, mold spores, soot, bacteria, and allergens from building up in the air inside your home.

The life of your furnace and the health and safety of your family depend on regular heating system maintenance. Changing your furnace filter is a very simple way to keep your indoor air clean and avoid costly repairs to your heating system.

Need to get in touch with us or schedule an appointment? Schedule online or call us at 770-253-2665 today!

Information courtesy of Pronto Air


Save $$

As the weather turns chilly, improve your home’s comfort, and save energy and money all while doing a good thing for the environment. By using energy efficiently at home, you not only lower your energy bills, but prevent air pollution too. Here are ways to save, offered by the ENERGY STAR program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

1. Know the Facts – The average family spends $1,500 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, installed alongside a well-sealed duct system, can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs.
2. Keep it Clean – A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system regularly. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
3. Bundle Up – Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. When heat escapes, your system must work harder and you use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope” – the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors — and
can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation, while paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
4. Tighten Your Ducts – If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent, causing your equipment to work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable. Ask your HVAC contractor about improving your ducts.
5. Don’t Oversize – When replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct sizing will ensure that your equipment works efficiently. Make sure your HVAC contractor uses Manual J or an equivalent sizing tool to determine what’s right for your home.
6. Consult a Professional – Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit http://www.natex.orq to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program.
7. Shop Smart – If your heating equipment has not been regularly maintained and is 15 years or older, it’s probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:

  • Furnaces – Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
  • Boilers – An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be seven percent more energy-efficient.
  • Heat Pumps – When installed in a home with a well-sealed envelope, heat pumps provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $400 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient.
  • Programmable Thermostats – Regulate your home’s temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.

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Source: ENERGY STAR


Is Your Home Air TOO DRY?

One major problem we face in the South – is dry air during the winter time. An easy way to see if this affects you is static electricity. Adding moisture to your home helps to raise your indoor humidity level, which can fall dramatically in the wintertime as a result of constant heating. By restoring an idea humidity to 45-50% [the level recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency], your indoor environment may feel warmer, lessening the need to crank up the heat, and any moisture-senstive furnishings in your home will be better protected from damage.

Think about how much HOTTER it feels in the summer when humidity is high. Sounds logical, right?

Some of the physical effects of dry air includes dry skin, sore throat, bloody nose, cracked lips, respiratory irritation – even colds, flus and sinus infections. According to the National Institute of Health, increasing the humidity in your home will help moisturize your nasal and throat passages so you can breathe better and clearer.

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Give us a call at 770-253-2665 or visit us online for more answers to the above, and many other questions!


Is Your HVAC System Under Warranty?

Warranties give most of us peace of mind when making a big purchase like a car, a home – even on an air conditioner. Let’s face it, your HVAC system is no small investment. But – same as a warranty on your car – lack of maintenance could is one major factor that could jeopardize your warranty. If you don’t have documentation that your system has been maintained according to manufacturer’s requirements, your necessary repairs may not be covered. This is especially true regarding home and extended warranties.

Another factor are parts ordered from the internet. Don’t do it! Only order parts and have them installed through a licensed contractor. Saving a few dollars on a part may void the entire warranty.

Lastly – keep a proof of purchase near the owners manual and warranty information so you can’t misplace it. Proof of purchase may be required if your system needs a repair done under warranty, and your current service provider did not install the job. Keep in mind, new systems must be installed by a licensed HVAC contractor – or the warranty for the entire system could also be null and void.

We are always hear for any questions you have. Before altering anything on your system, give us a call at 770-253-2665 – we can help!

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Fall Tips

Have your Heating system tuned-up for the season, so that you are running at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save money because the system doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job.

Replace your furnace or air handler filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the number one cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.

Keep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, lower the thermostat 2-3 degrees during the day while you’re away to save money. For every degree you lower the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3-5%.

Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the “fan on” mode when heating the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.

Consider a Heat Pump if you are going to replace your outdoor unit. Although a Heat Pump cannot produce air as hot as your gas furnace, when you combine a Heat Pump with your gas furnace you have a system that is much more efficient and still able to deliver the warmth we all love.

Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 45 percent of the heated air. This will help even out the temperatures from the first to the second floor of the home. (Remember, hot air rises)

Open the shades and curtains to help produce radiant heat of the sun.

Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the heat loss of your homes HVAC system. Also, keep storm windows closed. This saves money and extends the life of the system.

Run humidifiers to help maintain the warm feeling in your home. Proper humidity can make the air feel up to 3 degrees warmer. Which means you can turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees and save money on your utility bills and still feel the warmth that we all love on those cold days in winter. (Depending upon your environment, you may still need a dehumidifier running in the basement)

Clear or cut back shrubs and bushes from the outdoor Heat Pump unit. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.

Keep fallen leaves, grass clippings, foliage and other dirt and debris away from your outdoor Heat Pump unit. And keep the indoor coils clean, following manufacturers’ instructions.

Don’t block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.

Caulk and install weather stripping
around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.

Consider use of a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease temperatures during day and night to suit a family’s lifestyle and reduce energy cost.

Keep windows and doors closed to help with the homes natural heat loss.

Progressive Heating & Air Conditioning can help you with any heating and air problem as well as diagnose your whole house and recommend solutions that will provide you and your family with the most energy efficient home possible.

Questions? Concerns? Feedback?

Also, visit us on our website.


Planned Maintenance for your Business

Progressive Heating and Air offers Preventive Maintenance Service Agreements for all brands of rooftops units, compressors, air-handlers, cooling towers, heat pumps, variable speed drives, controls and accessories.

Each agreement is tailored to meet the budget and operating needs of your facility and can include both preventive maintenance to keep your equipment running in peak condition and predictive maintenance services to identify potential problems before costly breakdowns occur.

It will help you:

  • Maintain the efficiency and reliability of all equipment
  • Minimize downtime, repair bills, and loss of use
  • Ensure continuous care with our after hours call center staffed with trusted employees

Our planned maintenance options include:

  • Inspection and reports
  • Inspection with seasonal adjustments and preventive maintenance
  • Full maintenance, including preventive maintenance plus service calls
  • Predictive maintenance, including eddy current test, combustion analysis, and vibration analysis
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Maintenance of cooling towers, compressors, air handlers, rooftop units, air-side distribution equipment, and controls.

Rebates! Rebates! Rebates! Part One: Federal Credits

And you thought federal rebates for your home’s HVAC were gone….well, they’re BA-ACK!!

Below are the exact products that qualify for a federal tax credit.

  • Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan

    An Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan is an efficient fan, or blower motor which blows the air that your furnace heats up through the duct system.

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    Tax Credit Amount: $50
    Requirements

    Must use no more than 2% of the furnace’s total energy.

  • Air Source Heat Pumps

    Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners in moderate climates. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space into a warm, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house; during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume.

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    Tax Credit Amount: $300
    Requirements

    Split Systems:
    HSPF ≥ 8.5
    EER ≥ 12.5
    SEER ≥ 15

    Package systems:
    HSPF ≥ 8
    EER ≥ 12
    SEER ≥ 14

  • Central Air Conditioning (CAC)

    The best way to find tax credit eligible CACs is to ask your HVAC Contractor (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning). To verify tax credit eligibility, ask your HVAC contractor to provide the Manufacturer Certification Statement for the equipment you plan to purchase. Or, search the Manufacturer’s website.

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    Tax Credit Amount: $300
    Requirements

    Split Systems:
    SEER ≥ 16
    EER ≥ 13

    Package systems:
    SEER ≥ 14
    EER ≥ 12

  • Gas, Propane, or Oil Hot Water Boiler

    These are heating units that use water circulated throughout the home in a system of baseboard heating units, radiators, and/or in-floor radiant tubing.

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    Tax Credit Amount: $150
    Requirements

    AFUE ≥ 95

    Tax Credit includes installation costs.

  • Natural Gas, Propane or Oil Furnace

    A furnace uses the combustion of fuel and air to create heat.

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    Tax Credit Amount: $150
    Requirements

    AFUE ≥ 95

    Questions? Ask! Email us, submit a form online, or call us at 770-253-2665.

    All information courtesy of EnergyStar.gov.


Benefits of Gas Heating

Gas furnaces use natural gas to power the heat source for a building’s heater. A gas furnace has a higher running temperature than many other heating sources such as electric. The average running temperature of a gas furnace is around 125 to 140 degrees F. Gas furnaces can either be installed as a floor or wall unit. Usually the structure and ductwork in the house determine which system should be used. Gas furnaces are unique because they use external air for combustion and venting.

A higher running temperature ensures that houses are kept warmer and at a more consistent temperature. The ability to offer a consistent heat can also cut down on operation costs and heating bills. Gas furnaces also have a longer lifespan than most electric furnaces. This means that the yearly cost of owning a gas furnace is more economical than owning an electric furnace. Repairs and maintenance on a gas furnace are also less expensive than electric.

The cost of gas furnaces can vary by model, type and location. Additional factors such as the age of the unit, the installation costs, the price of natural gas and how cold your geographic location is can also affect the final cost of a gas furnace.

While there are many benefits to owning a gas furnace, there are also some drawbacks. The price of natural gas is not a steady price, and the fluctuation of gas prices can cause gas furnace operation costs to skyrocket during peak times of use. Natural gas can also leak causing fires or inhalation sickness.

Each gas furnace has many of the same components. Gas furnaces operate through the use of combustion air intakes. Gas furnaces use gas to fuel the small burner flame that heats the air. Each furnace also has an intake and exit vent to keep the fire lit and to provide ventilation for the system. A motor is included to push and pull the heated air to heat exchangers and into the air duct system to heat the entire house. Air filters are important to keep dust and other particles out of the system which can cause fires and blockage to the valves.


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 3, Gas!

Part three of our commonly asked questions….this post is all about gas furnaces.

If I smell gas, what should I do?

– If a gas odor is noted inside your home, the following steps are recommended: All phone calls should be made from outside the home. Do not use the phone inside the home or turn any power or light switches off or on during this time. Then contact 1) the local Fire Department [911], 2) your gas company, and 3) your heating contractor.

I’ve had a gas furnace for many years. Everything seems fine, but I have been getting headaches after being in my home for short periods of time. What should I do?

– Contact one of the three above. A service call may expose a furnace problem needing correction. The single biggest concern is possible carbon monoxide exposure. Fire departments, gas suppliers, and heating contractors should all be able to use testing instruments to verify this problem. Provide an opening [crack window or door] to provide fresh air inside your home while waiting for this to be done.

I’ve always had an electric furnace, but I’m considering replacing it with a new gas furnace. Are they safe? Are they efficient?

– When installed correctly and inspected properly, a gas furnace installation should be safe. The highest efficiency we can offer at this time is 98.2%, which means less than three cents of every dollar spent going out the exhaust. This is a significant savings when compared to teh twenty cents of every dollar loss in an 80% efficiency model, the industry minimum.

How does the furnace type affect the ‘feel’ of the air blowing from the vents?

– All fossil fuel-type furnaces [i.e., gas, oil, coal] produce the warmest air coming out of the registers. Fossil fuel furnaces are more comfortable than heat pumps.

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