4 Tips to Save on Heating Costs

Heating can get costly during winter, whether you use a heat pump or a furnace. Fortunately, you can do several things to make your home more comfortable all winter long and still save on heating costs. Read on as Schmitt Heating and Air Conditioning shares some tips on how you can do this:

Hot Water Circulator Pumps: Important Things You Should Know

If you always find yourself having to wait too long in the morning for hot water before you can run a bath or take a shower, you should consider getting a hot water circulator pump. It can help you get the most out of your existing water heating system, as well as help you save on your water and energy costs. Schmitt Heating and Air Conditioning lists some of the important things you should know about it. Read more

Heat Pumps 101

Heat pump systems are designed to last for decades without needing frequent air conditioning or heating repairs. The reason behind their incredible efficiency is because unlike other HVAC systems, heat pumps move the heat around, instead of producing its own heat like boilers or furnaces.

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Common Problems Anyone With a Heater Should Know About

When you own a heater, you should know when something’s wrong and how you may be able to fix it. Before you call a professional, it’s good for you to know what the problem is so you can better describe to your technician the problem before they repair it.

Typical Central Heating Costs

Initial Costs and Extras

If you’re purchasing a new home or remodeling from a tear-down, the initial cost for a central gas furnace, or heat pumps, can be 10,000-20,000 dollars, with high efficiency models being slightly more expensive. The large range takes into account heating models purchased, number of registers, and system complexity. Being able to use existing ductwork and not having to dig into walls to run new venting can save 10,000-14,000 dollars on installation costs.

For simply replacing a gas furnace you can expect to pay around 1,700-4000 dollars. For an oil furnace about 2,000-5,000 dollars. And for a heat pump around 2,000-5,000 dollars. These costs are calculated for using existing ductwork, too. For new ductwork you can expect to pay significantly more. High-efficiency units can add between 1,000-2,000 dollars on top of those costs, too.

Keep in mind that these costs are for using existing ductwork and not having to replace or install any new ventilation. Doing so will significantly raise the costs of the installation. In some jurisdictions you will need to apply for a building permit in order to replace a furnace. The costs can range from 50-300 dollars. That may or may not be included in the price the contractor is charging you.

You will also want to discuss if there will be a fee for trash/debris removal after the installation. The other areas that you can rack up costs is with programmable thermostats, smart controls, and dividing your home into heating zones. But be aware that a home with zones is less efficient than a home without zones so you’ll need to weigh the benefits vs cost.

When shopping for a new central heating system look at several different models and different methods of heating to be sure that you’re choosing the best option available for you at the best price point, both for initial costs and operating costs.

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How Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps Work

Ductless mini-split heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, due to their efficiency and comfort. These compact units can be installed anywhere and are an excellent choice for just about any homeowner who is replacing an old and outdated air conditioner or furnace. It is also a wise choice when transitioning from boiler-based or electric resistance systems.

Benefits of Ductless Mini-Splits

HVAC equipment takes up a lot of space, and metal ducts have to connect from the HVAC system to each room in the house. Ductless mini-splits don’t require either ducts or an area reserved for large equipment. Instead, each room has a compact ductless unit that is installed directly onto the wall. The units connect through 1-inch conduits that extend to the outdoor units, either through the wall or the floor.

One of the biggest benefits of using ductless mini-splits is that you have zoned control over your heating and cooling. Each room’s unit is able to be controlled through a remote device. One area can have higher temperatures, while another can have lower. Additionally, you can completely turn off a device in a room that isn’t being used.

Ductless heat pumps are more efficient because they can bypass ductwork. Twenty to 30 percent of energy loss occurs through ductwork, due to cracks and portions that aren’t insulated. Some ductless systems can function with up to eight indoor units that connect to just one outdoor unit. This gives homeowners many options for deciding how to heat and cool their homes.

Benefits of a Heat Pump

Some ductless mini-splits only offer air conditioning, but ductless heat pumps deliver both air conditioning and heating. In addition to the benefits of using a mini split, the system’s air-source heat pump also provides many benefits, including:

  • Consistent air flow and temperature—Unlike a forced air furnace that blasts heated air intermittently and between 90 and 100 degrees, heat pumps release air continuously, and between 120 and 125 degrees
  • Higher efficiency—Air-source pumps only move heat around, but heat pumps find both warm and cool air and transfer it to where it needs to go.
  • Natural dehumidifying capabilities—Since heat pumps run at lower speeds continuously, they dehumidify a home better than a standard air conditioning unit during the summer.

Ductless mini-split heat pumps lose efficiency in extremely cold weather, so they are not ideal for certain areas of the country. If you live in the Southwest, South, Northwest, and in parts of the West, you will most likely benefit from installing this system.

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Tips For Selecting Heating Systems For Your Home

When remodeling or if one has an ageing furnace, they could consider installing a more efficient model. Most new furnaces have an efficiency rating of over 80%. There are several factors that need considering when choosing home heating systems.

 

Considerations

The existing insulation, heat usage pattern of the house and area of residence all determine the potential payback benefit of installing a new furnace. One also needs to consider whether the renovations will bring in the need for a larger furnace or moving the existing one. If future installation or window installation is planned, one could install furnace that’s more efficient.

New devices have different blower motors which are more efficient than conventional ones. These are ideal in areas where it’s necessary to run the furnace round the clock for comfort purposes. One also needs to calculate the potential savings to be realized with devices of a particular efficiency rating.

The potential savings are calculated by taking into account what one currently spends annually on heating. This needs to be weighed against the cost of purchasing and installing the new equipment. While more efficient models usually cost more, they could be ideal for homes whose annual expenditure on heating is higher. Better HVAC units could also increase the home’s value.

 

Size

Besides efficiency, the size of the furnace is also essential. Proper sizing means the equipment will cost less to operate. To determine the required size, a heat-loss, heat-gain assessment needs to be done. This needs to take into account the size and configuration of the home, its orientation relative to the sun, as well as the number and type of windows.

Some models are equipped with two-stage burners which allow the equipment operate at lower burn rates when the home’s heating demand is low. The second stage burner is deployed when the demand rises. Such features could be of great benefit for larger houses.

New furnaces have varying flue and venting requirements. The contractor needs to access the existing flue and adhere to code requirements for venting water heaters and furnaces. The necessary local permits and inspections have to be observed.

 

Choice of Contractor

The contractor’s credentials, including licensing and liability coverage, need to be reviewed. The entire project should be outlined in a written contract. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Decision On Whether To Repair Or Replace Your Air Conditioner

You may find yourself in a dilemma where you do not know whether to replace or repair your air conditioner. You may feel that you really need a new conditioner and yet you may not have the money to. Repairing on the other hand may be cheaper but there is no guarantee that the machine will last long afterwards. So what do you so? Well, this decision can be made based on several factors.

Energy bills
If there is an upward trend in your recent energy bills paid, then you may need to reconsider your decisions. Rising energy bills shows you that the equipment is not running as efficiently as it used to before. Therefore, it is time you took it up and prevent a further upsurge in the utility bills.

The level of temperatures in summer
If your air conditioner is working at full capacity and yet the temperature in the house still allows profuse sweating, it is time to reconsider repair for replacement. This shows that it has outlived its useful life in your home and thus you may need to replace it. If you are not sure about this, consult your technician for some advice.

Frequency of repairs
Is your air conditioner breaking down every few weeks? Do you have to call your technician every other month for some repair? Are you wondering “should I replace or repair my equipment again?” well reality check seems to incline on the replace. The amount of money you will spend repairing the conditioner is substantial and if you do not replace it, you will continue spending a lot on its repair. So it is better to just replace it.

Age of conditioner
How old the conditioner is determines whether to repair it or to replace it altogether. There is a rule called the $5000 rule. This is derived by multiplying the average cost of the repair by the number of years you have used the equipment. If it is less than $5000, then it is falls in the category of those that require to be repaired but if it is way higher then you need to replace it.

There are times when we let our systems become so outdated that they cannot get spare parts. Such equipment is up for replacement. Other times, your machinery is relatively new and thus you will just need to repair it since it has not exhausted its useful life.

Energy Efficiency Tips (ie. What Temperature To Set My Furnace)

Overview

We are a trusted and licensed HVAC company. In addition to providing our esteemed clients heating and air conditioning services (inspections, repairs, maintenance, installations and replacements), we regularly give our clients HVAC-relevant information through face to face interactions, as well as blogs. We give our clients home energy efficiency tips to help them reduce their furnaces’ energy consumption while receiving sufficient heat, as well as save a percentage of their utility bills. The temperature to set a furnace depends on several factors including efficiency of the furnace, loss of heat through surfaces and loss of heat through gaps on surfaces

Furnace-related energy efficiency ideas

Lower furnace’s temperature degree or switch it off

Furnace users can save a significant amount of energy by lowering their furnace temperature degree or switching the furnace off when premise/ rooms are not in use. To enjoy warm air, people should wear warm clothes or cover themselves with heavy/ warm clothing to complement the heat emitted by the furnace. Running the furnace at high degree increases energy consumption, and does not necessarily ensure indoor air warmth. Furnaces should be switched off when premises are not in use since no warm air is required.

Clean, repair or service furnace parts

Dirty filters, clogged/ blocked vents, and damaged furnace parts reduce the efficiency of a furnace; resulting in high consumption of energy to keep the air warmed sufficiently. Furnace parts’ repairs, cleaning or replacement should be scheduled to prevent furnace inefficiency. Premise owners may be able to do some of the furnace parts’ servicing, such as filter replacement, but advanced servicing requires professional HVAC intervention.

Insulate surfaces and seal drafts

Furnace’s energy consumption may also be saved by insulating walls, floors, roofs, doors and windows with materials that do not allow conduction of heat to the exterior of those surfaces. Insulating such surfaces ensures that the already accumulated indoor heat does not escape, and that the furnace can be operated at a lower degree to provide the needed warmth. Drafts cause warm air to escape, therefore, requiring the furnace to be run at a high degree and for long to keep indoor air warm. Sealing those drafts ensures maintenance of the heated air indoors; eliminating the need to run the furnace at a high degree or longer than necessary.

Conclusion

People can enjoy ample heating of their indoor air while saving energy and utility bills. While some home energy efficiency tips can be implemented by premise users at no cost, some tips need professional HVAC servicing. Call us for all your HVAC needs.

You Should Never Ignore These Furnace Warning Signs

When it comes to a residential heating system it is important to be able to recognize the signs that signal underlying problems. Many of the usual causes and signs of an improperly working furnace are easy to figure out and fix. Even though a lot of the common Furnace Warning Signs are related to minor problems, some of them can signify more serious issues.

When first noticing anything abnormal homeowners need to contact a professional HVAC company to discuss the symptoms their furnace is displaying. Some of the problems could easily lead to further damages as well as put a home and its occupants into danger. Ignoring the signs that a furnace gives off can lead to leaks and other serious issues.

Among the most common signs a homeowner will notice are strange sounds when the furnace is turned on, and gas odors. When a running furnace is making noises such as a rattling or creaking noise, or if the smell of gas is present, a homeowner should shut their heating system off immediately. These signs are often indicators of a serious problem, so contacting an HVAC expert is important.

Another serious sign is one that can be seen but not heard. The furnace’s burner should have a steady blue flame, if that flame is yellow to orange in color it could be a sign of a dirty or clogged burner. Though the burner may be dirty, a yellow flame can also indicate an improper mixture of gas and oxygen. Additionally, when a yellow flame is ignored, it can quickly turn into a gas leak or other serious problem.

A homeowner should always seek professional help when seeing any of the above mentioned signs. Though a sign may point to a less serious issue such as Obstructed airflow, or a faulty thermostat, no sign should be ignored. Using guesswork is simply not good enough, nor is it safe when it comes to the warning signals a furnace sends out. Many issues can be avoided by having an annual Furnace Inspection. However, some issues can still arise and when they are noticed, homeowners should contact a reputable HVAC Contractor as soon as possible.