S.E.E.R. stands for Seasonal Energy ,Efficiency Ratio, the standard measurement of air conditioning efficiency established by the U.S. Department of Energy. What does this mean to you? Higher S.E.E.R. ratings translate into greater energy efficiency which means lower summer cooling bills. The most important thing to remember is the higher the S.E.E.R. rating, the more money you save. hy a higher efficiency rating (SEER) saves energy: If your current air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old, it could be operating at lower than 8.00 S.E.E.R. Compare the estimated annual bill of an 8.00 S.E.E.R. system to that of a higher S.E.E.R., such as a 12.00 or 13.00. For instance, if the annual cooling bill of an 8.00 S.E.E.R. system in a particular area is $1,000, it would cost only $615 for a 13.00 S.E.E.R. system to operate at the same capacity in the same area. This is an annual savings of 38%.
Modulating Furnace Most furnaces are either “off”, providing no heat, or “on” at full capacity, with the burner and blower operating at 100 percent. This causes the temperature in your house to go up and down by several degrees – affecting both your comfort and your energy bills. Furnaces are designed to keep your home warm on the coldest of days. But in most cases, those days account for only 2-1/2 percent of the heating season. The rest of the time, your furnace is providing more heat than is needed to satisfy your comfort requirements. Modulating furnaces solve this problem by “”modulating”” between different capacities (40-100%), depending on the comfort requirements of the homeowner and the temperature outside. This results in lower operating costs, quieter operation and much more even temperatures throughout the home. It`s like having a separate furnace to handle the unique heating requirements of each day – all in one unit! Two-stage Furnace”
A two-stage furnace has the same concept in mind as a modulating furnace. The difference lies in the fact that while a modulating furnace can operate at any capacity between 40% and 100%, a two-stage furnace operates on a low-stage and a high-stage. The low and high stages have preset BTU outputs. On most days, the furnace will operate at its first stage to only provide the heat you need to stay comfortable. On those very coldest days of the year, this furnace will ramp up to its second stage and give the full BTU output of the furnace to keep satisfying the heating requirements of the home. It`s basically like having two furnaces in one – one for the warmer days and one for the very coldest.”
The efficiency of a furnace is measured in a rating known as A.F.U.E. (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). A lot like your car’s miles per gallon rating, A.F.U.E. tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel (gas, oil or propane) into heat. An A.F.U.E. of 80% means that 80% of the fuel is used to heat your home, while the other 20% basically goes up the chimney. In 1992, the government mandated a minimum A.F.U.E. rating of 78% for furnaces installed in new homes. (In contrast, many furnaces manufactured before 1992 had A.F.U.E. ratings as low as 60% — so nearly half the fuel was being wasted.) Furnaces with A.F.U.E. ratings of 78% to 80% are considered “mid-efficiency”, while those with ratings of 90% or higher are termed “high efficiency”. In general, a higher efficiency furnace usually means two things:
- lower monthly operating costs
- higher comfort levels
If you have an older furnace (10-15 years old with an estimated A.F.U.E. of around 60%), you could save up to 40% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high-efficiency furnace. So the cost to replace your older, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.”
Carbon Monoxide (CO) plug-in detectors have a limited lifespan – 10 years and some are fewer than five years if you purchased your detector somewhere else. Many people think they can just plug in their CO detector and forget it. What`s important is that all detectors eventually lose their sensory capabilities and must be replaced. If your CO detector is up there in age, it`s best to replace it. You can also test the detector using a CO test kit available at many retailers.”
A standard 1″” throw-away furnace filter is between 5-10% particle efficient. This means that across the particle size spectrum, these filters will only trap about 5-10% of what passes through them. You can improve the efficiency of the filtration of your heating and/or cooling system by upgrading to either a media or electronic style filter. Their particle removal efficiencies are 60-65% and 90-95%, respectively and either is quite an improvement over standard 1″” filtration capabilities. By doing an upgrade like this, you will also cut down on maintenance costs on the system as dirty systems are the #1 cause for malfunction. This will also boost the efficiency of the system as the heat and cooling transfer coils will be able to operate with the least amount of resistance.
You should change your standard 1″ furnace filter every 6-8 weeks. Believe it or not, a filter actually becomes more efficient as it get dirtier…up to a point. After peak efficiency is reached, the efficiency drops again. Make sure to inspect the filter and use your own judgment. Don`t let the filter get “”clogged”” as this can cut down on the efficiency and/or cause damage to the unit.”
Adjust the louvers inside the registers on the wall or floor in the room where too much heat/cooling is present so that the registers are partially closed. For example, to get more cooling upstairs during hot summer months, partially or fully close the registers downstairs to force more airflow to the upstairs registers. Another possible solution is a furnace equipped with a variable speed blower motor. These furnaces are designed to overcome airflow problems in a home and will keep the airflow steady all over the home. These types of furnaces also use about 1/3 the electricity of a standard furnace and can save considerable amounts of money in operating costs. An Arzel zoning system is also a possible solution to this problem. Zoning is the controlled delivery of heated or cooled air to a particular area of the home, without heating and cooling the entire home. Temperatures can be set and maintained indpendently throughout the home through the use of multiple thermostats.
We recommend 55 degrees. It`s low enough to save you energy and money but warm enough to protect your pipes and other vital parts of your structure. Also, it`s a good idea to turn your main water supply off even if you`re only going to be gone for a day. A water leak could cause serious and very costly damage to your home.”
Naturally, you would expect a heating contractor to recommend an annual furnace cleaning as we do. But we do so for a number of reasons. A cleaning means that your furnace will operate more efficiently, getting more heat for your fuel dollar. More importantly, however, the cleaning also includes a thorough safety check of the entire unit for cracked or defective/damaged parts. This annual maintenance check will assure you a carbon monoxide free winter. An annual cleaning is also recommended by all manufacturers as well as utilities. (ie. Union Gas).
The two positions are usually used in conjunction with a central air cleaning system. The normal setting is on ‘automatic’ and the fan`s cycle will be controlled by the temperature in the room. However, if your home is equipped with an air cleaner (media or electronic) or you wish to keep a continuous flow of air, switch the setting to “”on””. Remember, central air cleaning devices only work when the furnace is circulating air. If you wish to get the most from your air cleaner, you should keep the setting to ‘on’.
The arrow should point in the same direction as the air flow. In most cases, it will point towards the furnace and should fit between the return air part of the system and the furnace. The filter screens out the dust and other impurities before the air is warmed in your furnace and then distributed through the duct system.
Always have your system checked annually to make sure that the unit is safe. In many cases, tiny cracks or perforations in the heat exchanger occur. If your furnace is burning inefficiently or incompletely, carbon monoxide can escape and fill the house causing serious health problems and/or death to those inside.