How Does a Furnace Work?
Knowing the basics of how a furnace works is key to understanding your home's heating and air conditioning needs.
As you evaluate your home's heating and air conditioning system, it is important to have a basic grasp of how your furnace works. The better you understand your furnace's operation, the more equipped you'll be to choose the right furnace for your home and properly maintain it.
The basic functioning of your furnace relies heavily on what powers it: gas or electricity. Keep reading to learn more about how both types of furnaces work.
Gas furnaces have a programmed temperature setting. When the inside air temperature falls below that setting, the burner is lit inside the combustion chamber, creating warmth in the heat exchanger. This heated air blows into the plenum, a space that facilitates air circulation. Ductwork delivers heat throughout the home or building. Combustion gasses vent through the wall or a flue roof vent.
Electric furnaces are similar to gas furnaces, but they replace gas burners with electric heating elements. These heating elements mainly consist of tight coils of wires. Mounted inside the furnace cabinet, these wires possess high resistivity and operate at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Both electric and gas furnaces feature air drawn into cabinets via cold-air returns before flowing out through heat exchangers. In both gas and electric systems, ducts disperse heat throughout the home.
It takes a highly-trained professional to maintain a complicated furnace. To learn more about maintenance service for heating and air conditioning, as well as additional information on the furnaces available for your home, contact our team at Air Treatment, Inc. today.
How Often Should I Change My Air Filters?
Frequency of air filter changing plays a chief role in maintenance agreements and the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Frequent air filter changes are necessary for HVAC efficiency, which is why air filter replacement is a fundamental element of HVAC maintenance agreements. The frequency of filter changes varies considerably based on your climate, the type of filters you use, and whether you have pets or allergies. Keep the following factors in mind as you determine how often to change your air filters.
The frequency with which you change your air filters depends on the type of filter you use. Recommended frequency can vary based on the thickness of the filter and whether it has pleats or panels. When determining how frequently to change your air filter, keep an eye on the instructions listed on your preferred filter's packaging. At a minimum, you should change filters as frequently as the package recommends.
If you or a loved one suffers from moderate or severe allergies, you may need to change your air filter more frequently. Likewise, regular air filter changes are necessary if you have pets -- especially if shedding is a problem or you have several pets housed in a small space.
In most cases, changing air filters every two to three months will ensure a clean and comfortable home. However, your mileage may vary based on the factors outlined above. In general, frequent changes are better, especially if you or your loved ones are prone to allergies.
Regular air filter changes will help your furnace run more efficiently. To learn more about how you can enhance HVAC efficiency with maintenance agreements, be sure to contact the team at Air Treatment, Inc.
How Important Are SEER and EER Ratings?
SEER and EER ratings can tell you a lot about the energy efficiency of your home. Here's what you need to know about these important metrics and how they can help guide your major HVAC decisions.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures the amount of cooling a given HVAC system generates for every unit of energy consumed. In general, air conditioning units with higher SEER ratings are more efficient and, therefore, more cost-efficient to run over time. Typically, each air conditioner's SEER rating appears on the yellow Energy Guide sticker or near the serial number of the manufacturer label. The federal minimum SEER ranges from 13 to 14 depending on the region, but the rating can go up to 25.
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is similar to SEER, but older and intended to be more of a constant measure, as opposed to SEER's seasonal focus. EER calculations involve a constant outside and inside temperature, as well as a constant humidity.
SEER and EER are just two of many factors that matter when choosing an A/C unit. If you prefer eco-friendly cooling and wish to keep your long-term costs down, you'll want to steer clear of units with low SEER ratings. Bear in mind, however, that even air conditioners with 13 or 14 SEER ratings are vastly more efficient than old units, which typically have SEER ratings of just 8 or 9.
When evaluating an air conditioner based on its SEER rating, it is also important to remember that SEER represents a maximum value. A high SEER rating will not ensure efficiency if the unit suffers poor maintenance or if you frequently change the temperature. Higher SEER is better regarding efficiency, but you'll need to take your budget and personal habits into account.
The right air conditioner can promote greater comfort while minimizing energy costs and your impact on the environment. to learn more about A/C energy efficiency.
Which Is Safer, a Gas or an Electric Furnace?
As you select the appropriate heating and air conditioning system for your home, one of the main decisions you'll have to make is whether to invest in a gas or electric furnace. Both options have distinct advantages and disadvantages. In general, electric furnaces are safer, but that does not mean that gas furnaces are inherently unsafe.
Gas furnaces are less safe than electric alternatives simply because they hold the potential for gas leaks. Although leaks are rare, they can be fatal. Unfortunately, they are also difficult to detect.
The primary safety issue associated with electric furnaces is the potential for an electric shock; it is imperative to disconnect the furnace from the power supply before cleaning. This risk is avoidable, particularly if you rely on a professional for furnace maintenance.
Electric furnaces are generally safer than gas furnaces, but gas can be a safe option with proper maintenance. Maintenance should fall to a professional, who can ensure that all components fit properly and are in good shape. Additionally, it is important to check gas lines regularly and to install a carbon monoxide detector.
Gas and electric furnaces have benefits and downsides, but when it comes to safety, electric is the better option. If properly maintained, however, neither option will pose a significant risk.
What Should I Do to Maintain My Furnace?
Maintenance agreements can save you a lot of time and stress down the line if you find the right one.
You might be wondering: why would I want to spend more on maintenance agreements when I've already paid so much for my new furnace? But the answer is right there in the question! You've spent so much on the furnace that it makes sense to do whatever you can to take good care of it. There are many things you can do yourself to maintain your furnace, but a maintenance agreement can be the most important step of all. Not all plans are equal, however, so read on to learn more.
When it comes to the upkeep of your furnace, a professional will always be your best bet. At the same time, there are certain tasks you can do to maintain the unit, assuming you know what you’re doing. And whatever you do, always make sure you’re staying safe by shutting off everything before getting started. Here are some other steps you can take:
There are some tasks, like looking for a gas leak or performing a fan inspection, which are best handled by professionals. But you still might be wary of spending the money on a maintenance plan. In many cases they can prove to be well worth the price, particularly if you get the right kind of plan for your needs. Regular maintenance can help you stay efficient, while potentially identifying issues before they can become larger problems down the road.
Some plans cost more than the repairs themselves, but there are more reasonable options out there. To learn about maintenance agreements and how to pick the right one for your needs, contact our team at Air Treatment, Inc. today.
Why Does My Home Have So Much Static in the Winter?
Static might seem like a troublesome mystery, but it's linked to your indoor air quality.
You've likely encountered static electricity before, but you might not be aware of its relation to your indoor air quality. If you’ve ever walked down the hallway on a winter morning only to get zapped when you try to open a door, you also know how irritating and painful static shocks can be. They tend to happen more often during the winter months, but why? It all has to do with the properties of the air around us.
The zaps might seem to be the result of dragging your socks across a carpet, and while that can increase the likelihood of getting shocked, the real cause is the air. During the winter, the air in your home will usually be much drier compared to the summertime. The heaters that keep your home warm remove moisture from the air, and there is no water to break up the electrons that collect and cling to us.
The hotter months of the year come along with more moisture in the air, and by extension, fewer static shocks.
You aren’t doomed to another winter of being afraid of doorknobs. A humidifier can help make your air less dry, which can reduce the likelihood of getting shocked in your house. Dry air can also irritate your sinuses and make you feel dehydrated, so a humidifier’s benefits go beyond avoiding the wild hair you might get after slipping on a wooly sweater.
If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality, Air Treatment, Inc. is here to help. Contact us today with any questions you might have, and leave those annoying static shocks in the past.