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
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.
Source: ENERGY STAR
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.
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.
Another post in our commonly asked questions series…more about gas that heats your home. Remember to ask questions in our comments section if we have not listed yours yet, and we’d be glad to help you!
What is AFUE?
– AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs.
I would like to put a propane gas furnace in my basement because natural gas is not available, but I was not allowed to. Why is this?
– Code requirements for furnace installations are a protection for homeowners. In this case, the concern is that propane gas [since propane is heavier than air] may accumulate in the basement and lead to a dangerous situation. Please discuss any installation questions with your local heating contractor or local building authority.
Which fuel type is the least expensive to operate?
– This is something that is constantly changing. Propane and oil fuel pricing are not regulated by the government so they fluctuate by market supply and demands. Electricity and natural gas are regulated by the Public Utility Commission, so those prices are more stable. A dual-fuel system [i.e., natural gas and a heat pump] is recommended so you are not dependent upon one fuel source establishing your cost of operation.
What fuel type is the least comfortable?
– A heat pump the least comfortable due to the tepid temperature of the air. The temp of the air changes about twenty degrees coming out of the registers. If you have your thermostat set at 73 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, the air coming out of the registers will be about 93 degree Fahrenheit. Since your body temp is about 98 degrees Fahrenheit, this air will feel cool. A home heated with a heat pump will often need a humidifier to feel warm in the winter.
- If your unit is not turning on, check your circuit breaker. Test them and reset – see if that makes a difference
- • Make sure your thermostat is set to the proper setting [cool in summer, heat in winter]. Check to see what temperature you have set your thermostat to kick on. Some thermostats will not kick on unless the temperature is outside of a two degree differential.
- If your thermostat screen is blank – check the batteries, change them out.
- Check your filter – if the filter is clogged, you are restricting air flow which will damage your system. Standard filters should be changed monthly, other filters – ask your HVAC company [that’s us!].
- Make sure your air is not escaping through doors, windows, fireplace – even your attic…make sure all openings are tightly sealed. •
- Preventative maintenance is the key to your unit running more efficiently. Make sure you have your thermostat checked and calibrated at that time.
- Keep your doors and registers open as much as possible. A properly installed and balanced HVAC system is designed to deliver and return hot or cold air evenly to and from all rooms in your home. Closing doors and shutting vents can cause certain rooms to become hotter and colder than others and decreases the units efficiency.
- Programmable thermostats can match your lifestyle while running your unit efficiently, if used correctly. You can program the temperature you want for up to seven days. This allows you to get the temperature you want, when you want at maximum efficiency.
- AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs.