4 Things to Check Before Installing a New High Efficient Furnace Heating System

We had just completed a home energy audit and learned that insulation levels and air sealing measures were up-to-speed. After crawling into the attic, performing a duct blaster, checking the temperature of the hot water, and a bunch of other things, I had come to the educated conclusion that this home’s best chance for improved energy efficiency and lower energy bills while heating the house would include replacing the heating source.

The 80% gas furnace is in the garage right next to the gas water heater. The home is built on a sloping hillside so the ceiling in the garage is about 16 feet up. The furnace sits out-of-the-way under the stairs. It’s a down draft furnace with an Electric Air Cleaner sitting in the return air plenum over the furnace.

The Electric Air Cleaner has not worked in several years and the metal plates have been removed and replaced with 4 inch thick media filters. The door to the Air Cleaner opens facing the side wall of the garage. The wall is so close that the media filter must be cut into two pieces to manage the opening.

Removing this 26 year old furnace and installing a 96%, two stage, variable speed gas furnace should produce noticeable energy savings and lower heating and cooling bills. To get the most out of the $3,800 that the new furnace and installation will cost, there are a few things to check first before you start heating the house.

Number One – Heating Duct Air Leakage

Before installing the new furnace and allowing the new efficiently heated air to escape unused, the heating duct system should be checked for air leakage and then sealed as needed.

Numerous test homes have shown that sealing heating ducts is the most cost effective, energy saving, retrofit you can install. Do you need to have a pro with a Duct Blaster test your ducts and then have a duct sealing company seal them? Well, no, not exactly.

If your brother-in-law is an energy auditor with a duct blaster, invite him over. If your Power Company, gas or electric, has a duct sealing program, sign up. Your power provider may test your heating ducts for free. Otherwise, I suggest you handle the possible leaky duct system this way: Don’t test, just seal them. They probably need it anyway, and the more duct mastic the better.

If you have insulated flexible vinyl ducts, go ahead and check the connections where the flex ducts attach to the metal plenum or the metal register boots. Seal all the joints in the metal plenum and seal the boots to the floor. To seal the boots to the floor, you might need to have a hammer and some medium sized nails.

If you have metal ducts, whether they are round or rectangular, seal all the joints and connections with duct mastic. Remember, duct mastic can be applied with a gloved hand and works best when it’s applied nickel thick.

Duct sealing goes for both the supply and return air ducts. This means that you may need to spend some time in both the attic and the crawl space.

Remember, sealing the supply and return heating ducts is one of the most cost effective and successful retrofits you can do to your home that will save energy and lower energy bills.

Number Two – Room Air Balancing

Well, here’s a good one you might not of heard of before. The heating system is simply more efficient when it operates as a balanced system. That means, when the interior doors are closed, like they often are, the air pressure in each room should stay about the same.

If you have a bedroom door closed and the furnace comes on to warm the home and the warm air is forced into the room by the heating ducts and the air cannot get out of the room as fast as the heating duct is supplying the air, then you have a room with increased air pressure and you have a home that has lost energy efficiency.

The air that comes out of a heat register needs to find its way back to the return air duct system without having to squeeze through too many restricted channels.

As the pressure builds up in the room, the air you just spent money to heat up may find its way through the small draft hole between the wall and the window and end up being lost to the great outdoors. The higher the pressure, the more air is forced through the hole.

You can get a pretty good idea concerning air pressure in a room by conducting this do-it-yourself test.
◾Turn on the furnace or turn just the furnace fan on – if your thermostat will turn just the fan on.
◾Close the door to the room in question.
◾Light a stick of your favorite smelling incense.
◾Crack open the door until you can just peek into the room.
◾Hold the stick in front of the opening.

If the smoke blows back into your face like a Mack Truck just went by, you have a serious problem. If the smoke floats gentle back towards your face, you have a small, perhaps insignificant problem.

There is several good fixes that will add balance to the room air pressure. Consider one of the following:
◾Remove the door
◾Cut the bottom of the door off so there is a larger air passage between the door and the floor.
◾Install a pass through vent by cutting a rectangular hole through the wall over the door and installing a heating register over the hole on both sides of the wall.
◾Install an additional return air duct and register in the ceiling of the room and connect it to the return air plenum.

Anyway, if you’re installing a new high efficiency furnace and your rooms are not pressure balanced, you will lose some of that desired efficiency.

Number Three – Furnace Filter

Since the heating contractor will be making adjustments to the duct system that connects to the furnace, now is a great time to address the furnace filter.

Servicing the furnace filter is an important part of energy efficiency. Once the filter begins to restrict the flow of air, the furnace must work harder to accomplish the same heating and cooling results.

To have a filter that is in a location that is easy to get to is very important for ongoing maintenance. It is also important that the cabinet or plenum that holds the filter is easy to open and close.

Since you have scheduled the installation of a new high efficiency heating source, talk to the Heating Contractor about the filter and addressing any concerns at the same time. A good contractor may even throw in a little filter work for free.

Number Four – The Air Conditioner Heat Exchanger

If you have a gas furnace with whole house air conditioning, you have a heat exchanger sitting in the furnace duct work somewhere that connects to the outside air conditioning unit. It would make sense to me to have this heat exchanger accessible like the filter is, but most often, the exchanger is hidden away behind inaccessible sheet metal.

The heat exchanger looks a little like the radiator on a car. Thin, closely mounted fins, transfer the cool temperature to the passing air. The problem is the small channels of the heat exchanger can become clogged and then restrict the air from passing through.

Similar to a clogged filter, when the heat exchanger becomes clogged, energy efficiency is reduced. The furnace ends up working harder and longer.

While the Contractor has the old furnace removed and the plenum opened up, be sure the heat exchanger gets cleaned. If your heating system is 20 years old, I will guarantee you the exchanger needs cleaning.

Getting the most out of your new high efficient furnace is important if you are going to realize the energy and cost savings that are possible. To insure the efficiency you’re looking for, before you fire up the new furnace, check these four system items that affect how the new furnace will perform.
◾Check for heating duct leakage and seal up those leaks.
◾clean the air conditioner heat exchanger.
◾make adjustments to the filter and the filter cabinet.
◾add passages for return air that will balance the room pressure.

In the home that I spoke of at the beginning of the article that is getting the 96% efficient gas furnace, the filter cabinet was turned 90 degrees to increase accessibility, the heat exchanger was cleaned, the heating ducts were tested and found that leakage-to-the-outside was less than 200 CFM, and a new return air register was installed in the ceiling of the family room addition. With the new efficient furnace ready, it is now time to start heating the house.

For High Efficient Furnace Installations in Houston Click HERE.

Efficient Furnace Installation Payback

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Here are some facts from a standard furnace that operates at around 65% efficiency (standing pilot furnace) compared to the new 95% efficient furnace models utility costs during the winter months.

* The numbers below were comprised of differences in costs when the high gas or energy bill for the 10 year period was 210 and the lowest utility bill in a 10 year period was 90 dollars.

YEAR—OLD FURNACE COST/MO.—NEW FURNACE COST/MO.—DIFFERENCE

1 $575.45 $393.73 $181.72
2 $1,150.90 $787.46 $363.44
3 $1,726.35 $1,181.19 $545.16 $
4 $2,301.80 $1,574.92 $726.88 $
5 $2,877.25 $1,968.64 $908.61 $
6 $3,452.70 $2,362.37 $1,090.33
7 $4,028.15 $2,756.10 $1,272.05
8 $4,603.60 $3,149.83 $1,453.77
9 $5,179.05 $3,543.56 $1,635.49
10 $5,754.50 $3,937.29 $1,817.21

There are saving almost immediatly. And depending on you high and low prices of gas or utility costs were for your home the savings could be even more dramatic.

For more information regarding high efficient furnace installations or high efficient furnace repair service in Houston, TXlinois please click our link to get in touch with a HVAC Professional.

Furnace Installation, Maintenance Houston

Houston Furnace Installation and Maintenance by Heating Repair Houston

For years, the friendly experts at Heating Repair Houston have provided quality heating services throughout the Houstonland area. We’ve worked with many customers to help them find a new furnace that matches their particular home’s size and their budget. Call the Houston furnace installation specialists at Heating Repair Houston if your furnace does not work the way you would like or if you need a heating system for your new home. One of the best things that you can do for the efficient and consistent operation of your furnace is professional installation. Here at Heating Repair Houston, we are dedicated to your complete satisfaction and to the level of work that we do. We’re so confident in the skills of our technicians that we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty. If your furnace is old or requires frequent repairs, call the Houston furnace installation and replacement specialists at Heating Repair Houston.

Houston Heating: Gas Furnaces vs. Electric Furnaces

Here at Heating Repair Houston, our expert technicians have the experience and training to install both gas and electric type furnaces. There are tremendous advantages to both types of systems and you should always talk with a professional furnace contractor before you make a decision about which one you want in your home. While gas furnaces tend to be bigger and need to have a flue installed to exhaust combustion gases, they tend to cost less to run because the price of natural gas is almost always cheaper than electricity. Electric furnaces are a great option for homes that don’t have an existing gas line and they are 100% efficient, but they normally use more energy to heat your home and tend to cost more up front. Call the Houston furnace installation and replacement experts at Heating Repair Houston if you have any questions about getting a new furnace.

Benefits of Professional Houston Furnace Installation

When you need to have a new furnace installed, make sure that you work with the Houston furnace installation professionals at Heating Repair Houston. We have years of experience working with all different types and brands of furnaces—both electric and gas furnaces. One of the most important parts of the furnace installation process is to make sure that it is the right size for your home. If your new furnace is too big or too small it could cause serious problems, including overheating and, in some cases, carbon monoxide poisoning. Contact the Houston furnace installation technicians at Heating Repair Houston to talk with us about how we can help you keep your home comfortable and safe.

Why Get Houston Furnace Replacement?

There are a few very important benefits for replacing your home’s furnace. Here are a few of the most important benefits of furnace replacement.

Increased efficiency
New furnaces can have AFUE ratings of up to 98%, which means that only 2% of the fuel they consume is wasted. Some older furnaces have AFUE ratings of around 60%, which means that they waste almost half of the fuel that they consume.
Greater consistency
If your furnace isn’t heating your home enough or if it turns off and on frequently, you would likely stand to gain more consistent and comfortable heating in your home with a new system.
Safety
New furnaces have a wide range of safety features that can potentially protect your home from damage.
Reduced repair
If your furnace has started to require more frequent repair, you may be able to reduce the need for those repairs with a new furnace.
Call the Houston furnace replacement experts at Heating Repair Houston if you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you achieve comfortable heating in your home.

The Houston furnace experts at Heating Repair Houston offer quality repair, installation and other heating services throughout the North Houston area including Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park.

Call or visit our website for more information!

What’s the Difference Between 80% and 90% Efficiency Furnaces?

Lets look at the differences in the two furnaces:

When you look at a Furnace you will see their ratings measured by their AFEU. (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) Which Represents how much energy your furnace actually uses to heat your home and how much gets wasted. So basically an 80% efficiency furnace only heats 80% where as a 90% heats 90% of your home. While both heat your home that extra 10% really does make a difference in your home and your budget.
Another major difference between the two furnaces is how they are vented. The 80% efficiency furnace has a higher exhaust temp so it must be vented through a chimney via chimney liner. Where as a 90% efficiency furnace has a lower exhaust temp and are normally vented through PVC Pipe and are placed along side your home.

So if you happen to be in need or possibly thinking of switching your furnace don’t make it a horrible experience. 90% of your heat used efficiently, hassle free installation, and lower heating costs or 80% heat used, complicated install, and higher heating bills. This is one of those instances where bigger really is better, for your home and your pockets!

For more information, Install, or Repair go to our website or call Today!

Benefits of Furnace Maintenance

Every year, at about this time, you probably receive several adds from different Houstonarea heating and cooling companies telling you to schedule a furnace tune-up. What many companies fail to tell you (and the reason most of those offers are ignored) is exactly why furnace maintenance is essential. Here are a few things about the importance of furnace maintenance.

Insuring proper airflow:
During the furnace tune-up, the heating technician should check your heating system to ensure it is receiving the proper airflow. Restricted or limited airflow places an unnecessary strain on your furnace that can lead to increased repairs and a shorter lifespan.

Keeping You Safe:

Furnaces burn fuel to produce heat. The combustion process must be precise to maintain efficiency, and safety.  A small simple problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Don’t take a chance with the health and safety of your family.

Reducing repairs:
Every winter we receive calls from Houston-area residents with heating problems that could have been easily prevented with regular maintenance. A furnace tune-up not only includes cleaning that keeps your furnace running efficiently, but it also catches small problems before they turn into major repairs.

Getting a furnace tune-up now, before the weather is cold, is a wise decision that keeps you, and your family, warm. Rather than waiting for a repairman during the winter in a cold home without heat. It is also much cheaper.

Improving energy efficiency:
A furnace tune-up should include, the cleaning and inspection, of the furnace burner and heat exchange. This will keep your furnace running efficiently all winter.

Maintaining manufacturer’s warranty:
If your heater is under a manufacturer’s warranty, it is especially important for you to get an annual furnace tune-up. Most manufacturer’s stipulate that their warranty becomes void if the heater is not regularly maintained. A furnace tune-up can satisfy that requirement and maintain your warranty.

Furnace Maintenance Service Houston, TX

Heating systems are usually trouble-free and pretty easy to maintain. Efficient operation is a function of good regular maintenance.

No matter what type of furnace you have, there are several things you can do to keep your heating system in top condition. In this article, we will tell you how to service and troubleshoot your furnace, regardless of the type.

When a heating or cooling system malfunctions, any one of its three components — heat/cold source, distribution system, or thermostat — may be causing the problem. If the furnace or air conditioner doesn’t run, the malfunction is probably at the source. The furnace or air conditioner may have lost power. Fuel may not be reaching the unit. If the fuel is gas or oil, it may not be igniting. If the furnace or air conditioner turns on but the warm or cool air isn’t reaching the rooms of your home, the problem is likely to be the blower or distribution system. And a bad or faulty control, or thermostat, could keep the system from turning on or could cause it to turn on and off repeatedly. Whatever the problem, start with the simplest procedures. In most cases, all it takes is patience and common sense.

Before you start work on a heating or cooling system, take these preliminary steps: Make sure the unit is receiving power. Look for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers at the main entrance panel. Some furnaces have a separate power entrance, usually located at a different panel near the main entrance panel. Some furnaces have fuses mounted in or on the unit. If the unit has a reset button, marked RESET and near the motor housing, wait 30 minutes to let the motor cool, then press the button. If the unit still doesn’t start, wait 30 minutes and press the reset button again. Repeat at least once more.  If the unit has a separate power switch, make sure the switch is turned on. Check to make sure the thermostat is properly set. If necessary, raise (or, for an air conditioner, lower) the setting 5º. If the unit uses gas, check to make sure the gas supply is turned on and the pilot light is lit. If it uses oil, check to make sure there is an adequate supply of oil.  There are also several important safety factors to remember:

Before doing any work on any type of heating or cooling system, make sure all power to the system is turned off. At the main electrical entrance panel, trip the circuit breaker or remove the fuse that controls the power to the unit. If you’re not sure which circuit the system is on, remove the main fuse or trip the main circuit breaker to cut off all power to the house. Some furnaces have a separate power entrance, usually at a different panel near the main entrance panel. If a separate panel is present, remove the fuse or trip the breaker there.  If the fuse blows or the circuit trips repeatedly when the furnace or air conditioner turns on, there is a problem in the electrical system. In this case, do not try to fix the furnace. Call a professional service person. If the unit uses gas and there is a smell of gas in your home, do not try to shut off the gas or turn any lights on or off. Get out of the house, leaving the door open, and immediately call the gas company or the fire department to report a leak. Do not reenter your home.  To keep your heating and cooling systems in top shape, have them professionally serviced once a year. The best time to have a furnace serviced is at the end of the heating season. Because this is the off-season, you can often get a discount, and service is likely to be prompt. Have your air conditioner checked at the same time.  The heat/cold source is the most complicated part of the heating and cooling system, and it’s the part most likely to suffer from neglect. Problems in this area may also lead to distribution problems. Whatever heat/cold source your system uses, give it regular attention to prevent problems.  Dirt is the biggest enemy of your home’s heating and cooling system. It can waste fuel and drastically lower efficiency. Dirt affects all three basic components of the system, so cleaning is the most important part of regular maintenance. Lubrication and belt adjustment at the furnace are also important.

To keep your system working properly, there are some simple general procedures you can follow. To start, get a professional to clean your furnace. We’ll show you how by clicking here.