Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heat pumps are one of the most misunderstood

Heat pumps are one of the most misunderstood and often times most cost effective options to heat your home. There are many types of heat pumps. The most common type and the type being discussed here is an air source heat pump. A heat pump performs the same function as an air conditioner in the summer time, in fact unless you know what to look for internally you cannot tell them apart. The difference with a heat pump is that in the winter time the cycle is reversed, instead of absorbing heat from the indoor air and rejecting it to the outdoor air as it does in the cooling season, it absorbs heat from the outdoor air and transfers it to the evaporator coil to warm the home. Typically the heat pump can accommodate the heating demand for an average home down to about 40 degrees and below that temperature the heat pump must have an auxiliary heat source such as a gas furnace or an air handler with auxiliary heat strips. The balance point of a home is the temperature the heat pump can heat the home down to without any back up heat source. The balance point varies depending on heat loss of the structure and the size of heat pump installed.
  Over the years poor installation practices have given heat pumps a bad name. A heat pump is not the best solution for every home there are many factors that need to be taken into account such as duct insulation and sizing, air infiltration, etc.. One drawback for some people is that the heat pump can sometimes produce supply air temperatures lower than your body temperature making the air coming out of the ducts feel cool if it blows directly on you.
   With the costs of propane skyrocketing to as much as $3.65 per gallon in the southwest Missouri area this winter a heat pump is a great solution to people looking to save money on their propane bill. A heat pump can save propane customers from 50% to as much as 75% of their heating cost. A heat pump is also up to 360 times more efficient than an electric furnace making it a great solution to those with all electric homes. Natural gas prices on the other hand are relatively cheap currently so the cost savings are not as drastic as it is for someone heating with propane or electric resistance heat. A properly installed heat pump can be a great solution to save energy dollars for many years to come.

Jeremy Grisham 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Replace or repair your heating and cooling system.: Buying a New Furnace

Replace or repair your heating and cooling system.: Buying a New Furnace: Are your energy bills skyrocketing as the bitter cold of winter knocks at your door?  One way to save on energy costs is to replace an old ...

Buying a New Furnace

Are your energy bills skyrocketing as the bitter cold of winter knocks at your door?  One way to save on energy costs is to replace an old furnace with a newer, more efficient unit.  Do you know how old your current furnace is?  If it’s more than 10 years old, chances are that you’re sacrificing a substantial portion of your budget on wasted energy.
You can lower your utility bills and maximize comfort by upgrading to a new, efficient furnace.  There are many options to choose from, so here are some things to consider before making your investment…
Price Doesn’t Always Equal Value
Do your research before you buy.  You can ask a professional installer, contractor, or credible salesperson for recommendations.  Try to get estimates on annual operating costs so that you can compare the short-term investment up front to the long-term benefits.  Furnaces that are extremely efficient can cost more to purchase, but can save you a ton of money over the years by significantly lowering your energy costs.  Reliability is another thing to consider with value.  Paying a ridiculously low price for a furnace could mean risking reliability and suffering through the cold while you wait for a repair.
Higher energy efficiency means lower emissions and minimized environmental impact.  You can save money and reduce your carbon footprint by choosing a new furnace with low emissions ratings.  There are several heat source options to choose from including wood, oil, natural gas, and electric.  Advanced technology has also led to the creation of ‘hybrid’ furnace units that can be the ultimate solution for comfort and environmental consciousness.
Have a professional installer evaluate the size of your home or business to determine the correct furnace capacity for the job.  If a furnace is too large, there can be gaps in temperature as the unit cools down which overwhelms the thermostat and can create inconsistent temperature control in the space.  Likewise, a furnace that is too small for the space needing to be heated will make it difficult to stay comfortable.  Choosing a furnace that is the correct size will give you consistent comfort and maximum efficiency.
Installation and Maintenance
Have your new furnace installed and inspected by a trained professional.  It isn’t worth risking the safety of your home and family to save a few bucks by going with someone who is inexperienced.  Besides making sure the equipment operates safely, a professional installer will also ensure that you get the highest efficiency possible to save you the most money on energy usage.  You can also arrange regular maintenance on your new furnace to extend its longevity and keep it in optimum working order.
Request All Records and Documentation
You should ask to receive a copy of all papers from the installer and manufacturer of the furnace.  Make you get records of purchase agreements, warrantee information, and clear and complete explanations of the product and services provided.
The most important thing to remember is that a new furnace is an investment.  Do your research and ask reputable professionals for advice and recommendations.  Your final decision should keep you more comfortable and keep your wallet fuller for many winters to come.