What is an HVAC Hybrid Heating System?

The trouble with using a single-method heating system is that each individual method is going to have it’s own advantages and disadvantages. For example, solar is wonderful in that it’s totally free energy once the costs are recouped. But the disadvantage is that you’re going to need to live in a place where having that is feasible and practical. Whatever the method is, they will have certain conditions that are most favorable for them to operate in.

The Hybrid Heating System

This is where the hybrid system comes in. HVAC system designers saw a need for a method of heating a home in a better way. One with higher efficiency and lower operating costs.

A hybrid system is composed of two separate, heat-producing, components: a furnace and a heat pump. By using these two machines to produce heat depending upon environmental and utility cost factors, the costs associated with heating a home can be drastically reduced.

The first part of the system is the furnace. Most everyone knows what a furnace is or has used one. It is a machine that uses natural gas to sustain a fire that heats the air before it’s blown throughout the house. The furnace is capable of operating in even very cold weather and provides potent, fast, heating. Their downside is the cost of natural gas in running it, and simultaneously needing to use electricity for its operation.

The second part of the system is a heat pump. Whether or not you’re aware, you know what a heat pump is. Do you know how the coils on the back of your refrigerator are hot? That’s a heat pump. Your AC unit is a heat pump. People are usually just used to them working in one direction – bringing cold air inside and moving warm air outside.

However, with a reversing valve, that same unit that pushes cold air into the house can also push warm air inside, by simply reversing the refrigerant cycle. Heat pumps are incredibly efficient machines since they don’t actually generate any heat. They merely transfer it from one place to another. Their downside is that they do not work very well in cold weather.

These two systems together can cancel out much of each others drawbacks and come together to provide one efficient and cost saving system.

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Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Furnace or Air Conditioner

In most climates neither heating nor air conditioning can be considered optional. Once you suffer a permanent breakdown you will need to act quickly to purchase replacement equipment.

But you should proceed with caution. When shopping for HVAC systems and contractors there are pitfalls you must be careful to avoid, and if you take a casual approach to the process you may end up holding the bag—and it’ll be an empty bag because all of your money will be gone.

What are these pitfalls, you ask? Let’s look at a few…

Buying equipment of the same size and capacity as your old equipment

If you’ve done any type of remodeling, changed your insulation, added heat-generating appliances or altered your exterior landscaping to include more or less shading or wind protection, your heating and cooling needs may have changed.

To get an estimate of your true needs, ask any HVAC contractor you’re considering to send a technician to your home to perform a heating and cooling load analysis, which will establish an accurate baseline to guide your selection of equipment.

Ignoring SEER ratings

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, which is used to measure the heating and cooling capacity of your furnace or air conditioner. A unit that carries a 16 SEER rating is considered highly energy-efficient and will produce energy at half the cost of an older model with an estimated SEER of 8.

A high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner will cost more. But for an additional investment of $500 you might get $200 of extra savings in energy costs each and every year, for the entire life span of your new system. That’s nothing to sneeze at, obviously.

Missing out on opportunities for rebates or financing

All reputable companies offer good financing options and will connect you with manufacturer rebates, some of which can be quite generous. In addition states offer dozens of rebates for the purchase of appliances that promote energy-efficiency, which you can investigate for yourself at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website.

Falling for the pitch of an unreliable HVAC contractor

Most HVAC companies are reputable, but you still have to be careful. Before hiring any contractor, check online to see if they are registered with the Better Business Bureau, or if any complaints have been filed against them with that organization. Read any online reviews you can find, and ask around to see if anyone you know has done business with that company in the past.

Be sure any company you consider employs trained, certified technicians, only sells equipment from manufacturers with excellent reputations and is willing to give you a firm deadline for completion of the installation.

Failing to ask about a maintenance plan

These plans are frequently offered by HVAC contractors. Technicians will be regularly dispatched, at no cost, to perform inspections and routine maintenance procedures, including cleanings and tune-ups. Maintenance plans also offer discounts on parts, equipment and service calls, which can keep your costs down significantly if something should go wrong in the future.

superwriter.ru Delivers the Goods

If you live in Houston of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and need to update your HVAC system, please contact superwriter.ru. right away. We’ll give you super-competitive estimates on equipment and installation, and we offer maintenance plans and financing options among many generous benefits.

When you need a high-quality HVAC contractor you can always trust superwriter.ru—our impeccable reputation speaks for itself.
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5 Common Home Heating Myths

Winter is coming and when the cold weather settles down, heating costs have nowhere to go but up. Although there is never a lack of advice, there are still some very persistent home heating myths that do not help at all, or may even do more harm than good to your wallet. To help you avoid mistakes and keep your costs down, here are some of the most popular home heating myths you need to know:

Fireplaces Make Excellent Heaters.

A fireplace offers ambient warmth and a pretty backdrop but that’s about it. It can only heat up a limited area in a large room and you need to spend on firewood. The fire also feeds off the oxygen from the heated air indoors (that you paid for) and releases it through the chimney. A fireplace is only a good option if you intend to heat a closed room.

Programmable Thermostats Can Save Money.

Programmable thermostats have to be programmed correctly to heat the house at the right time. Otherwise, it will keep using up and wasting energy. Set the thermostat at a higher temperature when you are at home and schedule a lower temperature when you are asleep or away.

Cranking Up the Thermostat Will Heat Up the House Faster.

The only thing you will achieve from cranking up the thermostat is getting a higher energy bill. Not only will you waste money, you will also waste energy. Best keep the thermostat at the usual temperature and wait for the heating system to do its work.

Keep the House at an Even Temperature to Save Money.

As long as the heating system is running, it will consume energy. A better option would be to set the thermostat at a higher temperature upon waking and set it at a lower temperature when sleeping or away. Setting the thermostat 1 degree for 8 hours will translate to a savings of as much as 1% every year on heating bills. If the thermostat drops by 10 degrees, that translates to as much as 10% savings.

Energy-Efficient Windows Save Money.

The problem with energy-efficient windows is that they are so expensive that you probably need to wait several years or even decades to enjoy your return on investment. If you must prioritize repairs and replacements, consider insulation, air sealing and improvements in system efficiency first. If you must replace windows, however, changing to energy-efficient ones is a good bet to maximize the heat efficiency of your home.

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Tips For Selecting Heating Systems For Your Home

If you are considering a replacement of an old heating system, be sure to find an efficient one. Several factors must be highly considered like energy consumption patterns, the amount of insulation as well as any additional feature that may improve energy conservation. The following tips are crucial when selecting home heating systems.

The Level of Efficiency

Furnaces have different efficiency levels. An efficient furnace must have high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. According to the US federal government, all manufacturers are required to produce heating systems with more than 80% AFUE rating. When choosing a furnace to install in your home, be sure to consider efficiency level. Therefore, select a home heating system with an ECM motor. As compared to a standard fan blower motor, a furnace with ECM motor is five times efficient and cost effective.

Furnace and Heating Costs

To determine your average heating costs, compare your utility bill when the furnace is frequently working and when not in use. If you are using a 60% energy efficient system, switching to 80% efficiency will see a 25% reduction in heating cost. A further 96% will raise energy savings to 35%. For this reason, select a system that will lower the costs of heating. Depending on your willingness to spend and budget constraint, it is better to invest in a 96% energy efficient system. Factors such as the size of your home and the amount of insulation put in place, affect the selection of home heating systems.

Size of the Furnace

Selecting the right size if crucial for efficient heating of your home. Bigger or smaller furnaces compared to the size of the home, may compromise the efficiency and cost of operating the heating equipment. For correct sizing, be sure to ask your HVAC contractor heat-loss or heat-gain calculators. Factors like, the size of your house and energy conservation measures also play an important role.

Choosing a Contractor

Consider working with licensed and insured contractors. Having found a suitable type of furnace to install, do not sign the contract until you know the costs in detail and inclusion of a comprehensive work plan. Shop around while comparing prices before making your final decision.

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Heat Pump Freezing Up? What Do You Do?

481723049Heat pump freeze up is a problem that can occur at any time, regardless of the outdoor temperature. With a little bit of knowledge about how your heat pump works, you will know exactly what to do the next time yours freezes up.

Your heat pump keeps your home warm by using refrigerant to absorb heat from outside air. The absorption process leaves behind excess moisture on the coils. If the air temperature is cold enough, the water freezes and can interfere with the unit’s performance. Under normal circumstances, the unit goes into automatic defrost mode to melt the ice. If the ice has not melted away after 30 minutes in the defrost cycle, you should have a qualified HVAC technician check your system because it may have a faulty control or sensor.

Anything that restricts airflow across the coils can cause the system to freeze up. Inspect the area around your outside unit and clear away any brush, branches, leaves, snow, grass and other debris that may be blocking airflow to the unit. Make sure no furniture, doors, wall hangings or other objects are blocking your indoor vents. If you have floor vents, make sure the carpeting is not blocking them.

Inspect the area above your outside unit for leaking or clogged gutters. Excess water from a blocked or damaged rain gutter could freeze on the coils in frigid temperatures.

Sometimes the slab supporting the unit shifts or settles in a way that interferes with the unit’s drainage system. Water condensed by the unit should be free to flow away. If you cannot figure out why the water will not drain away, an experienced HVAC technician can diagnose the problem and offer an affordable solution.

Following a regular maintenance routine will help you avoid problems with your heat pump. You should check the filter every month and replace it or clean it as necessary. Having a reputable HVAC specialist inspect your unit for faulty or worn components can save you a significant amount of money in future repairs.

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Tips For Winterizing Your Water Heater

If you live in an area that is prone to cold winters and you want to enjoy a winter holiday away from home, you should take steps to make sure that your water heater does not freeze over while you are gone. The process of Winterizing Your Water Heater is an easy one, but only if you follow the instructions carefully.

To start this process, you must cut off the power supply to your water heater. If is works with electricity, you should simply unplug it. If it works with gas, you should use a crescent wrench to turn the valve clockwise unto the pilot light goes off. You must then locate the control box, situated at the bottom right hand corner of the tank and switch it off. You should then turn off the incoming water line for the house. You will probably find this outside the house or in the basement. Once you find it turn the wheel shaped valved clockwise until it is closed. The next step is vital and in involves draining the tank of all the water. You can open the tank by turning the handle in a clockwise direction until the water starts draining out. You can either attach a hose and direct it to an area outside the house for the water to drain or you can drain the tank one bucket at a time. You may open the drain by turning the handle in an anti-clockwise direction and the air vent can be opened by turning the handle all the way into an upright position. Expect to wait at least half an hour for the tank to drain. Open all the sink faucets in the house and let the remaining water drain out.

The last step to winterizing your water heater should be done at your discretion. Some choose to do it, while others don’t think it is necessary. This step involved using insulation, duct tape and a blanket to keep your water tank from freezing. All pipes connected to the tank must be insulated and bound by duct tape and the blanket should be wrapped around the tank to keep the cold out. Follow us for more interesting tips in how to keep your water heater tank from freezing.

Replacing A Furnace? 3 Things To Think About Before You Do

Replacing your furnace may seem like the only solution when you are unable to get your heating needs. On the other hand, it’s not the answer to all heating problems. Sometimes, complex problems have simple solutions and problems that look very small may need big solutions. It’s hard to tell right away what needs to be done, particularly if you don’t have professional experience in furnace maintenance. If you want to make certain that you are doing the right thing, here are 3 things that you can think about before replacing your heater.

When was the last time I had my furnace checked?

If you can’t remember your furnace being checked by a professional for the past ten years, there is a possibility that it needs to be replaced. On the other hand, if your furnace has just been installed a couple of months ago, you need to have it inspected immediately to see what options are left. You wouldn’t want to replace your furnace right away, especially if it is still covered by warranty.

How many times was my furnace fixed in the past?

If your furnace always needs to be fixed, you may want to look for better options in the market. Avoid going with cheap deals without looking at reviews. It’s hard to invest on something that you will have to replace after a short period of time. Choose from quality furnace brands and create a budget plan when buying one. When you invest on a good furnace, you can have peace of mind knowing that it will last for many years.

Did an expert confirm that my furnace should be replaced?

If you don’t have enough knowledge to decide whether your heating device needs to be replaced or not, you need to call an expert to help you out. It will be easier to get something that you know you need, rather than keep guessing without really understanding what’s going on. When you call us to discuss your furnace replacement options today, you can also get tips about furnace efficiency and how to keep your furnace in good condition.

Should I Replace Or Repair My Equipment?

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.

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How Do I Know The Technician Is Qualified To Do The Job?

When hiring a technician to check out your heating and cooling system, it is essential to ensure they are not only qualified but also competent enough for the job. The HVAC service provider you hire should be knowledgeable on how to deal with in inherent safety issues in heating systems. Many jurisdictions have it as a requirement that an applicant is licensed after they have completed a minimum working experience of 2 to 5 years.

Checking licenses

Technician qualifications are taken very seriously as most states require technicians to have licenses and offer look up websites where you can check the status of someone you are about to hire. Some states even have their own technical qualification requirements such as holding a specific type of license for repairing or installing plumbing to supply oil or natural gas to heating equipment.

Questions to ask

It’s always worth taking your time to hire an individual who will do a good job. When carrying out interviews, be sure to ask about:

Licenses, bond and insurance

In order for some companies to continue holding their licenses, many municipalities and states mandate that heating and cooling contractors meet minimum on the job experience and education requirements as well as minimum levels of insurance and bonding. Also, check that anyone working in your home has sufficient liability insurance in case of injury or damage to property.

References

A competent technician should at least have a couple of references you can talk to. It’s important to call the references and get details of how their previous projects fared.

Brands carried

It also pays to make inquiries about the specific brands carried by the technicians. Carry out some research and base your choice on technicians that specialize in your equipment brand of choice.

Having your equipment professionally maintained may extend the lifespan of your system, but always know what you are paying for. The qualifications of technician have a very important role to play in the overall hiring process.

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Making Your Heating Costs Manageable

The cold weather has put a damper on everyone’s pocket. Despite the fact that there have been transformations in the energy sector, energy prices have been getting higher. While people in the Northeast have to contend with escalating costs arising from a shortage of natural gas, those in the Midwest are now paying double for propane.

According to a report released by the Energy Information Agency, only a mere 10 percent of the over 100 million homes in America will be safe from the puffed up heating expenses expected this winter. Those using oil will be affected most with a bill of approximately $2114, followed by propane users at $1666. Electric heat and natural gas customers will come after at $914 and $665 respectively. Apparently, these figures show a 13% rise from the payments made by households last year.

Taking these statistics into account, Americans will have a hard time maintaining their indoor temperatures at comfortable levels this year. A one degree increase on the thermostat will for instance translate to a 3% rise in heating costs, and setting the thermostat at extremely low temperatures will not help either because it could make the pipes freeze. In connection with this, on the one hand, experts propose leaving the doors on kitchen sink cabinets open to enable better airflow around the pipes. Conversely, those using space heaters in their homes are advised to be extra keen on handling them to avoid the risks of fire accidents. The heaters should be placed no less than three feet from flammable items.

To cut back on heating costs, homeowners can employ the services of a professional HVAC technician in order to find and install new furnaces. Modern heating systems have been designed to offer extra efficiency and households only require the services of a HVAC expert to evaluate their expected savings and subsequently make an upgrade. In general however, the professional HVAC technician will assess the efficiency of the system, the home’s heating requirements, and the overall fuel costs before determining whether or not there’s need for a new installation.

Heating systems can go for as long as 20 years; so, if you are a homeowner with one that is yet to complete its lifespan, you can hold onto it but also devise ways to improve energy efficiency in your home. The chilliness of winter easily finds its way into houses with too little or poorly installed insulation, thus making the bills shoots up. Ensuring proper insulation on your walls and attic can therefore go a long way into keeping your expenses manageable. To get the most out of the insulation, you can go a step further and get a home auditor to conduct an energy audit so you are able to tell where leaks are occurring.