Gas Furnace Buying Guide

Gas furnaces are definitely a wonderful addition to your home. In fact, they are already becoming widely popular nowadays because of the great convenience they bring

 

Replacing the old furnace in your central heating system with a new, more efficient model can offset volatile energy prices. Money aside, today’s furnaces pollute less and boost comfort by producing heat more steadily than older furnaces. Gas is the most common heating fuel and this report focuses on gas furnaces.

To find out which brands of furnaces are the most and least reliable, check our brand reliability report from the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

What We Found

How do most people go about buying a furnace? First, they call contractors and ask for estimates. To prepare this report, we did too. More than 500 specialists in residential heating and air conditioning told us about their experiences in installing and maintaining heating equipment.

Size Matters
The furnace’s specifications should fit your needs. A furnace that’s too small won’t keep your house comfortable during extremely-cold weather.

Partly to avoid that possibility, the furnaces in most homes are larger than necessary. Initial cost is only one of the drawbacks of that strategy. A furnace that’s too large will cycle on and off more frequently. That puts more wear on its components, wastes energy, and might cause the temperature to vary uncomfortably. Also, a larger replacement furnace might require larger ducts. Without the right size ducts, airflow can be noisy.

To be sure of correct sizing and a proper installation, choose a reputable contractor who will take the time to calculate your heating needs according to an industry standard such as in “Manual J HVAC Residential Load Calculation” of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Such calculations take into account the climate and the size, design, and construction of your house. Once the furnace is installed, maintain it regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Our survey helped to confirm this advice. When we asked about the most common reasons for service calls for furnaces, contractors cited human error, inadequate maintenance, for example, or improper installation, twice as often as defective equipment. Read our frequency of repair report for which brands or the most and least reliable.

Efficiency Also Matters
Gas is currently the most common heating fuel and most new central-heating systems use gas. How efficiently a furnace converts gas into heating energy is reflected in its annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating, which is measured as a percentage. The higher the number, the more heat the furnace can wring from each therm of gas. Since efficient furnaces generate fewer emissions, environmental considerations might also influence your decision.

Furnaces have become more energy-efficient over the years. A gas furnace made in the early 1970s typically has an AFUE of about 65 percent. The lowest efficiency allowed by law for new gas furnaces is 78 percent, and some new models achieve 97 percent, near-total efficiency.

The price of a furnace generally rises in step with its fuel efficiency. A furnace with a 90 percent AFUE might cost $1,000 more than a similar size unit with an 80 percent AFUE. But you can often recoup that additional cost through lower fuel bills over the life of the furnace, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Midwest, where winters can be harsh. How quickly you recover the investment depends on more than just AFUE. The electricity to run furnaces with different AFUEs can vary significantly. The climate where you live, how well your home is insulated, and your local gas and electricity rates also affect payback times.

As you decide, insist that the contractor select models in a range of efficiencies and calculate the annual estimated operating cost of each model you’re considering, rather than simply estimating it. The contractor can complete those calculations by plugging information on each unit’s AFUE and electrical consumption, local utility rates, and characteristics of your home into one of several computer programs designed to easily calculate estimates. Make sure that the quotes also include the cost of any changes to venting required by any appliances in the home.

Other questions to ask the contractor: Is the model you’re considering fairly new, introduced, say, two years ago or less, and thus relatively untested? If it’s an older model, has the contractor noticed any reliability problems with it?

You can make your home more energy-efficient in several ways. Turn down the thermostat in winter; just two degrees cooler will save you money and reduce emissions by about 6 percent. You might not even feel the difference, especially at night or when you’re out of the house—a programmable thermostat can help here. Draw the curtains at night to block the chill from a cold window. Keep the windows covered on sunny days during the summer, and uncover them on sunny days during the winter to benefit from some free solar heating. Reduce heat loss from ducts by sealing leaks and, where feasible, insulating ducts.

Repair or Replace?
If your gas furnace falters or fails, a few simple procedures may save you the cost and trouble of seeking professional help:

• If you’re getting low airflow, check the air filter on the furnace; a clogged filter could cut airflow to a trickle.

• See if there are loose wires or a malfunction in the thermostat. For an electronic thermostat that runs on batteries, try changing them.

Read more: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/gas-furnaces/buying-guide.htm

How Much Does a New Furnace Cost

One of the major expenses homeowners have to be deal with is when it comes to the heating system. A new furnace, most especially, is more expensive than a washing machine with dryer or a new bathtub. But then again, installing this in your home will let you enjoy big savings going forward.

 

furnace installation

If you have an aging furnace in your house and you’re considering replacing it, you’re probably wondering how much does a new furnace cost. While it may be tempting to just call up a local contractor and replace your existing furnace with a new one that is nearly identical, if you do your homework you could end up saving a fortune in the long run.

 

Only Considering How Much Does a New Furnace Cost

If you went online and reviewed the prices for furnaces, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest furnace you can find. The problem is that there are many types of furnace systems, and the retail price of the furnace doesn’t always tell you the whole picture.

Types of Furnaces

There are many different methods that you can use to heat your home and the water you use every day.

  • Natural Gas – Natural gas heat sources, such as propane heaters, use natural gas as a fuel to heat the water or air that is used to heat your home. While the price of natural gas isn’t always the lowest of all fuels, it is the most efficient. Since you can obtain more BTU (heat energy) from less fuel, the higher price is offset by the amount of heat you can obtain per volume of natural gas.
  • Oil – Oil furnaces are the most common in the Northeastern U.S. because of the lack of easy access to natural gas. An oil heating system includes

Common Types of Home Insulation

It is a common misconception that insulation is just to help keep warm air in and cold air from a house. This may not be true, it is also just as important in opposite. Insulation can help keep your home’s temperature down during the warm months which can help on your utility expenses. Your air conditioner does not need to function as hard in a well-insulated home.

In picking home insulation, the most crucial aspect to consider is its R-value. This value is represented by a number – the higher the number, the far better the material is at maintaining heat. For homes in cold environments, an increased R-value helps keep your utility bills low by maximizing your energy efficiency. There are 4 varieties of insulation you should know about if wondering about your property;

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1) Spray Foam Installation: The spray foam insulation is comprised of a type of foaming agent plus a polymer one. In most cases sprayed into tiny cracks or spaces. This sort of insulation is ideal for the areas that don’t have a regular shape. If it is applied it comes in liquid form, yet in a small amount of time it turns into a solid mass.

2) Rigid Insulation: Rigid insulation is made up of boards made out of polystyrene. It’s good for insulating roofs, ceilings, foundation basement walls and where you are planning to get a thin layer of insulation with a high R-value. As opposed to one other kinds of insulation, rigid boards are incredibly flammable therefore it is important to use where you can cover with a fire protection layer like drywall.

3) Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass is among the most common insulation in the United States and is made use of in both residential and commercial buildings. Fiberglass is available in two various forms; batt and blanket. Batt insulation is comprised of rock wool or the fluffy fiberglass you imagine. It often comes in 4 to 8 foot lengths with a variety of different widths. Blanket insulation can be quite a lot like batt except it comes in continuous rolls. This makes for less waste yet is harder to deal with.

4) Loose-Fill Insulation: It is generally made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose and also comes in small particles. It is installed by being blown in to the space utilizing a specific pneumatic blower. It is always good for putting insulation to existing areas, oddly shaped areas and around obstacles.

The Ideal Mobile Home Furnace

Should you own a mobile residence, may very well not be aware that you must have a special mobile home furnace. Don’t concern yourself, they are usually not any higher priced than a regular home furnace, they are simply made differently. You should be sure you buy the right furnace for your residence, or you will be having issues in the future for sure aside from the proven fact that it will cost you more.

First time everyone who is taking a look at this option should take the time to research the various brands of furnaces available before calling anyone to replace theirs. This happens because there are contractors that could benefit from you. As a result of unique location of furnaces in mobile homes, not to mention the tight spaces in which they are found, it is advisable to put in furnaces specifically created for mobile homes.

The ducting system, as a result of smaller available space, is of smaller proportions than in a regular house. Furnaces made for regular homes cannot be utilized in mobile homes, and if set up therein unknowingly, the result could be dangerous conditions. A sealed combustion vent system is made use of by mobile home furnaces. This is totally different from that utilized in ordinary furnaces.

The furnace needs to have the right temperature setting at all times. It needs to give you the ideal high quality of air comfort which is not too cold or hot. Vents should be sealed in order to avoid the air from escaping. With regards to the mandatory capacity of your mobile furnace, you should calculate your load calculation by factoring the size of your mobile home, insulation as well as other components.

When searching for a furnace, make sure that you consider your climate. If you live somewhere that gets into sub-freezing temperatures in the winter then you will want a furnace than a place that just goes into the 40’s. Make sure you do your homework just before purchasing a furnace. Speak with other mobile home owners and see what types they’ve got and find out should they have virtually any recommendations for you. Also call in professionals for free estimates, ask them tons of questions-if the estimate is free then you are under no obligation to buy! Also look online for consumer reports and such to get reviews of different types of furnaces to get a better idea of exactly what you need be looking for.

Should you decide to move into a mobile home community, it will be worth your while to check the web and conduct your own research.

How to Minimize Air Conditioning Repairs

Air conditioner repair can be expensive. Take preventative action to ensure that you are doing your part to keep your AC unit working smoothly year after year.

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If your air conditioning system breaks down in the middle of a heat wave, it can be a major inconvenience. You won’t have air conditioning when you need it the most, and you may have to cancel some plans to schedule immediate repairs. To avoid these problems, many homeowners look for ways to minimize air conditioning repairs throughout the year. Let’s look at a few ways you can keep your system running at its best and avoid sudden breakdowns.

Clean the Air Filters

One of the easiest ways you can help reduce the need for repairs is by changing your filter. The air filter keeps pollutants from entering your ductwork. If the filter gets too dirty over time, you won’t get enough airflow to the evaporator coil, an insufficiency that could lead to many repair needs including a frozen coil or reduced cooling capacity. Experts recommend you change or replace the air filter once every month, although this number may vary depending on usage.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Scheduling air conditioning maintenance with a technician once or twice a year is the best way to keep your unit running smoothly. During maintenance, a professional will inspect …

 

See more: http://www.honestabeheatingandair.com/blog/how-to-minimize-air-conditioning-repairs/

What are fireplace inserts?

The switch from traditional wood burning fireplaces to gas fireplace inserts can be tough, but there are many advantages to gas. Understanding more about these inserts can make the choice much simpler.

 

Fireplace close-up.

Ah, the crackle of a fire in the hearth. There’s nothing like a blazing fireplace to create a sense of warmth and comfort. However, there’s a major downside to the traditional wood-burning fireplace, whether it’s a factory-built fireplace or a masonry fireplace: heat loss.

Fireplaces are, by nature, not very efficient. They pull warm air out of the room and into the fire. A lot of t­hat energy — heat — is lost up the chimney and through the material that surrounds it. When temperatures drop below freezing, a fireplace exhausts more energy than it creates. The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association rates older fireplaces’ efficiency at 5 percent to 10 percent [source: Kaufman].

 

Most fireplace inserts are designed to increase a fireplace’s efficiency. An insert is basically a fireproof box that’s surrounded by steel or cast iron and fronted by insulated glass, creating a closed combustion system. The steel or cast iron helps to trap the heat. Some inserts have a blower that pushes the hot air back into the room through front vents. Properly installed, fireplace inserts can be a much more efficient supplemental zone heater than a traditional fireplace [source: Wood Heat Organization].

Inserts can be powered by electricity, gas, propane, wood, pellets or coal.

Electric, gas and propane inserts also offer owners a big timesaving advantage. Consider this: To build a fire, you have to gather the materials, which in some cases involve a tree, an axe and a great workout. Even if you buy wood, you­ still have to haul and store it. There’s also preparation involved in setting up a fire: You need seasoned wood, papers and kindling to get it going. Smoke might get in your eyes (especially if you forget to open the flue!) as you tend to the fire to keep it going. And afterwards, you’ve got to clean all the ash out of the fireplace.

With an electric or gas insert, all you have to do to start the …

 

 

Read more: http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/materials/fireplace-inserts.htm

Top Five Advantages Your Can Have From Biomass Boilers

Biomass Boilers are eco-friendly boilers that utilize of logs and wood pellets as fuel. They are incredibly popular amongst those with an inclination to utilizing environment-friendly and sustainable heating systems. Biomass heating systems may generate significant cost savings versus conventional heating. The degree of saving can vary depending on the particular system chosen. In addition the environmental benefits are a considerable reduction in carbon emissions. Buying and looking for Biomass boilers is straightforward; as long as you did your homework.”

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Now that traditional energy supplying approaches are escalating in price and people are getting more mindful of the effect they’ve got on the environment, alternative methods are getting increasingly popular as they are more eco-friendly and cost-effective. One popular alternative is biomass boilers.

Usage of organic products

Biomass boilers burn wood which is an organic fuel in comparison with fossil fuels that come from the ground (oil, gas, coal). The boilers burn untreated wood (such as logs, wood chips) and treated wood (most frequent being wood pallets). Fossil fuels are typically related to global warming and climate change. When fossil fuels are burned, they release CO2 as part of their natural chemical reaction. On the other hand, biomass boilers are eco-friendly.

Versatile in kind

A biomass heating system can be used as space heating of buildings, hot water production, steam production, or any kind of combination of these plus it largely uses biomass as a fuel, some systems can also dual-fire with a fossil fuel to meet peak demands for back-up. They could be utilized at almost any scale, from domestic through to ‘light’ commercial, to industrial or district heating systems.

Much cheaper source of heating

You’ll be less exposed to increases in energy prices. Right now, global energy costs are unstable and sometimes subject to political crisis. Conflicts in some oil and gas regions suggest that the energy market may be erratic and price rises inevitable. Budgeting for energy costs in this erratic market can be hard from one year to the next, with the expectation that energy prices will usually increase. Biomass fuel cost less than fossil fuel and is sustainable long-term providing a program is put in place to control woodland and resources.

Lower CO2 emissions

Another reason biomass is now very popular as it’s a very clean, renewable source for energy and fuel. There are numerous advantages to the utilization of biomass. It is not only a cheap source, but additionally, it won’t add any CO2 to the atmosphere. Biomass is a sensible notion as it uses trash and waste material in a manner that helps the environment and It decreases your carbon footprint.

Much safer

Compared to heating unit utilizing fossil fuels, biomass system release much lower number of pollutants in to the atmosphere. This guarantees very little health problems for users, and decreased risk of asthma, bronchial troubles and other medical concerns.

Biomass is used mainly as the fuel even though some of the systems may use biomass with a fossil fuel as a back-up for fulfilling peak demands. Biomass systems certainly are a much cheaper system for heating and even electrical power. In comparison with those utilizing fossil fuels, biomass boilers result in lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Five Types Of Heating Systems That You Can Install In Your House

There will come a time when you will either need to get a completely new home heating or change an existing one. What many people fail to realize is the fact there are actually a number of different types of heating systems. Many assume that’s there’s only the standard HVAC forced air system, however in fact there are many ways to heat your homeShould you be in the market to either purchase a brand new home heating or are trying to replace a broken system, you must become knowledgeable about all the types of heating options available to you. As always, knowing what is out there can have a big impact on your choice. Listed below are some few heating systems that you like to consider in your home.”

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If it is hot outdoors we’d like to be cool; and if it’s cold we wish to be warm. At some point even the best maintained system will break down and need to get replaced. It’s very easy to change your heating and ac system with the same type that you have but is it the best type for your home or business.

Heating and air systems cost a lot therefore you want to choose the best system to make your home or business comfortable. By understanding what type will work best for your home or business can get you on the right course to make your home or business a comfortable place. Here are just some of the more popular heating systems options you could have at home.

1. Forced Air System

Giving fast, trusted heat delivery, versatility, and economic use of fuel, the forced-air heaters are probably the most preferred heating selection for any situation. They can provide heat during the cooler months as well as air conditioning during the warmer ones. In addition, the forced-air heaters may be fueled by electricity, gas or fuel oil to enable them to easily be installed utilizing an existing fuel system.

2. Radiant Heating System

Radiant heating uses forced heated liquid or air through the panels that are located under your flooring. The floor alone soaks in radiant heat from its heating source till the floor itself becomes exactly the same temperature as the heat source. The heat rises and warms up the room equally. As there is no moving air, individuals with allergies to dust and other environmental pollutants will not suffer as much.

3. Hydronics

It is a similar concept to the radiant home heating system. The difference is, the hot water from the boiler runs into baseboard units placed on the wall. This method goes quietly, and the temperature may be controlled with accuracy and very quickly. However, the baseboard units should not be obstructed by furniture, making this not the best option for every space.

4. Steam Radiating Heating System

Also called a cast iron upright radiator, this approach isn’t very common these days. Basically, water is run in the unit and heated up by a pilot, which converts the water to steam. The steam heats the iron, dispersing warmth through the room. The steam condenses back into the water and is drained through more pipes. This can be a very efficient, quick system, and very comfortable. However, it can be an ugly unit, and it limits furniture placement.

5. Geothermal System

This system is currently the top-of-the-line. Basically, a ground loop pipe is utilized to move warmth from the earth and deposit it in a room. This may save an incredible amount of cash as time passes, up to 70 percent. However, because this is relatively new, it might be excessively costly to set up.

Top 5 Benefits of Biomass Boilers

Biomass Boilers are eco-friendly boilers which utilize of logs and wood pellets as fuel. They are incredibly popular amongst those with an inclination to utilizing environment-friendly and sustainable heating systems. We all need to become more environment friendly for we are to save our planet. Should you at the moment use fossil fuels then you should truly consider switching to biomass boilers instead. They’re less costly to run, you may get financial help to set them up and they quite literally don’t cost the earth.”

Photo by www.spheatingservices.co.uk

Since traditional energy supplying approaches are increasing in price and people are becoming more conscious of the effect they’ve got on the environment, alternative methods are becoming ever more popular because they are more eco-friendly and cost-effective. A very common alternative is biomass boilers.Usage of organic products

There isn’t any harm to the health or environment, considering the utilization of environmentally friendly organic materials. Apart from woodchip for biomass boilers, wood pellets and logs are utilized. Woodchip boilers are good for big and medium scale sectors. Wood Pellet boilers burn in a consistent way as a result of lack of adequate moisture. However, log boilers are rather essential, but they are very dependable and fairly advanced systems.

Versatile in kind

This type of heating system can be made use of for almost any goal, whether for steam production, water production or area heating in structures. Biomass is made use of mostly as the fuel although some of the systems may utilize biomass with a fossil fuel as a back-up for satisfying top needs. These can be utilized in about any scale, whether in district, industrial, domestic or slightly commercial heating.

Much cheaper source of heating

You can be less exposed to increases in energy prices. Right now, global energy costs are unstable and often subject to political crisis. Conflicts in certain gas and oil regions suggest that the energy market may be unstable and price rises inevitable. Budgeting for energy costs in this erratic market can be hard from one year to the next, with the expectation that energy prices always increase. Biomass fuel cost less than fossil fuel and is sustainable long-term providing a program is put in place to manage woodland and resources.

Lower CO2 emissions

In comparison with those using non-renewable fuel sources, biomass boilers cause lower co2 emissions. Currently, biomass boilers come fully automated. Naturally, the supply of air and fuel to the combustion chambers are controlled quickly. This leads of low-carbon emissions. It’s important to possess adequate spot for the storage of wood fuel, like pellets and chips, while setting a boiler up.

Reduced use of landfills


A portion of landfills consists of woody biomass from construction, lumber mill activities, disposal of wooden pallets, etc. Waste items from food processing, paper industries and home garbage additionally contain organic matter that can be converted to energy. Using these materials to make energy as biomass signifies much less landfill space is required as a result protecting our environment further.Biomass is utilized mostly as the fuel however some of the systems will use biomass with a fossil fuel as a back-up for satisfying peak demands. Biomass systems certainly are a less expensive system for heating and even electrical power. In comparison with those utilizing fossil fuels, biomass boilers bring about lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Types Of Air Purifier And Their Uses

Air purifiers help in keeping the air clean and remove all of its impurities. Don’t reside in a world in which the only filter you have from pollution is your lungs! Purifiers for the house are worth every single centAs there are different types of air purifiers out there nowadays, varying in dimensions, price and quality, take a good read of the common types below.”

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Hepa Filter Air Purifiers

HEPA air purifiers work on the basic principle of filtration. HEPA is an acronym for “high efficiency particulate absorbing” or “high efficiency particulate arrestance”. This type of air filtration gets rid of over 99% of dust, mold, pollen, bacteria and also other airborne particles. HEPA was initially a registered trademark, and today has developed into a common term for remarkably effective filters. The main disadvantage of the HEPA air purifier is that you ought to regularly replace the filter. The main gain: If it’s HEPA certified, then you already know it functions well. Not all HEPA filters are the same. Size matters: the more sq ft of HEPA filter, the more particulates it could be able to remove. The size, material, and construction of the particular filter media all lead to the air purifier’s performance and may account for why one HEPA filter is more costly than another.Ionic Air purifiers

Ionizer air purifiers work by electrically charging the air with positive or negative charges after which captures the formerly charged particles with collector plates that contain opposite charge. Most ionizers are fanless and noiseless, yet because of that they move reduced amounts of air with the collecting plates, leading them to be less powerful at cleaning the air. While they don’t kill viruses and airborne bacteria, they can capture most particles.Carbon Air Purifiers

Activated carbon has been treated with oxygen, opening up countless pores in the carbon. There are so many of these very small pores that particular pound of activated carbon has a surface area of 60 to 150 acres. This huge surface area causes it to be ideal for absorbing gases and odors that’s too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.UV Light Purifiier

This is basically a sterilization method using ultra-violet light. The UV light needs to be at the right wavelength which the most effective is 254 nanometers. On this wavelength the UV irradiation breaks the molecular bonds within DNA of organisms like airborne viruses and bacteria. This destroys them or renders them harmless. What’s more, it demolishes fungal spores and mold spores.Ozone Air Purifiers

When the term ozone air purifier is used, it really is generally describing an air cleaner that can cause ozone to sterilize the air or things within a room. Ozone air purifiers discharge ozone (O3) into the air. This reactive oxidant is effective against chemical vapours, smells and microorganisms yet cannot eliminate particles as well as other allergens. Yet, excess ozone may lead to the formation of new pollutants and therefore these purifiers should be used carefully.Do not live in a world where the only filter you have from contaminants is your lungs! Purifiers for any house are worth every dime.