Monthly Archives: July 2012

High Efficiency HVAC Products Are Better for the Environment

Thanks to our government making our environment a priority, the development of new and exciting technology, and an overall higher consciousness on the part of the consumer, we’ve made some big strides in the HVAC industry when it comes to being environmentally responsible. New products like high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners are using our resources more wisely and emitting less waste into the air.

High-Efficiency Furnaces
Older furnaces, those manufactured in the 1970s and 80s, are typically only rated at 65% efficiency compared to today’s models that must have a minimum rating of at least 78%, but can be as high as 98% efficient. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE is a rating given to furnaces based on the percentage of fuel that is turned into heat and the amount that goes out the flue. A furnace with an AFUE of 98% uses 98% of the fuel for heat and only releases 2% into the environment. These efficiencies are gained through better technology including sealed combustion, condensing (exhaust gases are run through a second heat exchanger to remove all the heat possible), improved gas valves, variable speed motors, and electronic spark ignition which only lights the pilot light when needed.
 
High-Efficiency Air Conditioners
High-efficiency air conditioners also use less fuel and are more eco friendly. Central air conditioners are rated for efficiency by a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and energy efficiency ratio (EER). New Energy Star rated models are about 14% more efficient than standard units. Another area in which the government has taken a hard stance is the refrigerant used in air conditioners. The US government has banned the production of R-22, sometimes known as Freon, and has severely limited its use because it was proven to cause damage to the ozone layer. All new air conditioning units are manufactured for use with the more environmentally friendly refrigerant and old units are being phased out because they are not compatible with the new refrigerant.
 
Lower Energy Bills
Besides being better for the environment, there is another upside to these new models. Because they are more energy efficient, you should see some significant savings on your energy bills. You’ll save 25-30% on heating and cooling bills depending on which system you replace. If you replace both, you’ll save on both year round. The savings really add up and you’ll have those savings for as long as you live in that home. If you need to replace your furnace or air conditioner soon, call us and an expert Getzschman Heating technician will help you decide on the unit that’s right for you and your budget. We have excellent financing options to make it easy on your wallet.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Your Air Conditioner

This time of year when temperatures soar into the triple digits in the Midwest, we get a lot of calls from people who think there is something wrong with their air conditioner. What most people don’t realize is that air conditioners are designed for a 20 degree differential. That means that if the temperature outside is 100 degrees, your air conditioner will only cool your home to about 80 degrees. So if your thermostat is set at 72 degrees and your home is actually reading 78 degrees, your air conditioner is not broken. It’s actually performing better than it’s designed to.
So what are you supposed to do if you want your home to be cooler? There are some things you can do that will help your home retain the coolness your air conditioner creates.First, make sure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency. Change your filter more often to make it easier for your air conditioner to push the air through the system. Surprisingly, dirt is one of the worst enemies of air conditioning systems.
If you haven’t had your system tuned up recently, we highly recommend it. A tune-up will ensure that your outdoor unit, your indoor unit, your blower motor, fan, etc. are all cleaned, lubricated and running smoothly. Dirty parts don’t run efficiently. We will also check your system’s refrigerant level and charge it if it is low. If your system has a leak, we can find it and fix it.
Also, make sure you are doing everything you can to keep heat out and cool air in. Some big items to pay attention to are air leaks around windows and doors. Make sure they are insulated properly. Also insulate any duct work that runs through unconditioned spaces like attics, crawl spaces, garages, etc. Keep blinds and/or curtains closed during the day to reduce solar gain. Run ceiling fans to help circulate the air and increase the “wind chill” effect.
Zoning is another option you can look into. Zoning allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms better by using a system of automatic dampers. An electronic monitor that listens to multiple thermostats in different areas controls the dampers individually. This will allow you to focus more cool air on the family room if everyone gathers there in the evening, for instance, and less on the dining room, kitchens, and bedrooms. Then, when everyone goes to bed, you can lower the temperature in the bedrooms. Zoned cooling is ideal for homes with multiple levels, expansive glass, or vaulted ceilings, lofts or atriums. For more information on zoned cooling and heating, give us a call.
If your air conditioner just isn’t doing the job, try implementing some of the tips from our blog. If you’re still not satisfied, one of our technicians can come to your home to run a whole-house analysis. Just remember that an air conditioner is only expected to keep your home 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature, so don’t expect too much from it when temperatures are in the hundreds.