Buyers’ Guide for Furnaces: Gas Furnaces

Heating Repair Escondido specilaists about gas furnaces Let’s see how gas furnaces compare to electric furnaces, which we have already written about in our previous post (continuing our buyers’ guide for new furnaces).

How do gas furnaces work?

Gas furnaces are also forced air systems, like electric furnaces. The system is set in motion when the thermostat sends the furnace a low-voltage signal that the temperature has dropped below the preset desired level. This prompts the gas to be delivered to the burner in the combustion chamber. Cold air is pulled from cold air returns situated on the floor, walls or ceiling of a room. It is filtered, and then taken through the metal chamber with the heat exchanger in it. The combustion creates heat in the heat exchanger, which heats the air moving around it. When the air is warmed, it’s pushed into the warm air plenum, and then warm air supply ducts thereof. The combustion gases are vented via flue through the roof or the wall.

What makes gas furnaces the most popular choice in the U.S.?

When home and business owners have gas mains running to their location, they generally prefer gas furnaces to other type of furnaces for a host of reasons.

The gas is supplied directly to the furnace through piping. With this constant supply, there’s no need to think whether you should top up the furnace, like with wood or coal. You are also relieved from having to stock up on the fuel.

For a fossil fuel, gas burns quite clean. The exhaust gases which are released are mostly vapor and a small amount of carbon dioxide.

Gas furnaces are easy to maintain.

What is gas furnace maintenance like?

Apart from doing a regular monthly check-up and maintenance yourself, it would be best to schedule a regular professional maintenance by heating repair Escondido experts (we also serve the rest of San Diego metro area cities). Professionals will perform inspection and ensure reliability of all system components. If anything’s worn down or broken, they’ll be able to fix it and prevent much more costly repairs.

What you can do yourself is visually inspect the furnace and replace the filters once a month or more often in the heating season. Clean air filters mean clean and healthy air for your family. When the furnace is on, look for signs of soot around. Check whether the flame is burning blue in the burner. If there are traces of yellow or orange, that means that there is something else besides the gas that is burning. Of course, this issue is something that calls for a professional. As far as cleaning goes, make sure the furnace is turned OFF. Either turn it off at the switch or the circuit breaker. You can vacuum the interior and wipe down anything that can’t be vacuumed.

Are gas furnaces energy-efficient?

Energy efficiency in furnaces is measured by AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Gas furnaces range from 55% (obsolete technology) to 98.2% AFUE. Since 2015, the standard has been 80 – 83% AFUE. Anything above 90% AFUE is labelled as energy-efficient and approved by Energy Star.

Action AC is Premier Dealer for Lennox, which produces currently the most energy-efficient gas furnace with AFUE of 98.2%. If you are interested in finding out more about this fantastic product, give us a call!

Energy Star rated furnaces are single- or two-stage, or modulating. They have a variable-speed blower, electronic ignition and two heat exchangers. The main one is used to condition the air, whereas the other condenses flue gases. These furnaces also have sealed combustion chambers.

If energy efficiency is what you are after, read up more on the subject in our posts about air leaks and duct sealing.

Want to talk more? Call heating repair Escondido experts!

Action AC is your trusted HVAC contractor when you need anything related to heating installation, service or heating repair Escondido or anywhere else in San Diego. Based in San Marcos, Action AC has been delivering top notch HVAC services to San Diego communities since 1975. Our growing customer base, steady referral business, excellent reviews and multiple industry-relevant awards testify to our commitment to customers. Call us today and tell us what you need when it comes to heating!

Complete Buyer’s Guide to a New Furnace

Buying a new furnace is a significant investment in your home or commercial building – and a big decision for owners. Furnace Replacement can be a big investment, so talk with our trusted professionals.

To get the results you want from your new furnace investment, you should put time and energy into scheduling an evaluation, researching available financing options (including HERO) and rebates, and comparing features, prices, and products. If the purchase process is done correctly, your new heating system should lower your energy bills, increase indoor comfort, raise the value of your home, and improve indoor air quality!

This guide from the experts at Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar aims to help you through this process and get you the results you want from your new heating system investment.

Step 1: 

Get Your Home Evaluated by a Certified HVAC Contractor

Have your home or building evaluated by a trusted HVAC contractor. The size of the living or working space, energy bills, microclimate, and existing duct work determine what type of furnace is best for your needs.

The big question the HVAC contractor should help you answer is which type of furnace and fuel you should use: gas, electric, oil, or dual system.

Most homeowners stick to whatever their homes already had to minimize the labor and costs associated with extra installation of duct work or running electric lines. However, there are several reasons changing the type of fuel system could be more beneficial. This is why an evaluation performed by a trusted HVAC contractor is central to your final decision on which furnace type, model, and size is right for your home.

Installing an oversized furnace is another risk of not having an evaluation prior to purchasing a new heating system. Oversized units are more expensive upfront, cycle on and off more frequently (increasing your energy bills) and make it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Make sure to request a copy of the evaluation, thoroughly analyze it, and have your HVAC contractor answer any questions you may have before accepting their recommendation.

Step 2:

Prioritize Your Home’s Heating Needs

Once a trusted HVAC contractor has evaluated your space, it’s time to explore your options for the new heating system. There are several factors to consider:

Step 3:

Compare Furnace Prices & Features

After you have determined what your furnace priorities are, and researched what savings are available to you, it’s time to start shopping.

Make sure you look at several different models and compare prices. The lowest bid that provides all the features you require does not necessarily mean it is best furnace for you.

Energy Star is an Environmental Protection Agency that helps businesses and homeowners protect the environment and save money through superior energy efficiency. An Energy Star endorsement on an AC model can give you peace of mind with your purchase.

Keep in mind that an energy-efficient system will cost more upfront, but it will eventually pay for itself and save you money in the long term on energy bills.

Step 4:

Research Furnace Financing Options

Research all rebate, financing options, tax incentives, and savings opportunities. Rebates and energy incentives are available through your utility company, state and federal government. Here are a few resources to research tax credits, incentives, and rebate options:

Step 5: 

Furnace Installation

Hire a trusted HVAC contractor to perform the installation of your new AC system. Systems that have been installed incorrectly can lead to a malfunctioning system, expensive repairs, and decreased product life.

Our team at Action AC is here to guide you through purchasing a new AC. Our NATE-certified technicians are experienced and trusted HVAC contractors, and our services are guaranteed to get you on your way to the best energy savings and comfort for your living or working space!

Energy Efficient Technology Helps Environment and Owners

The news about environmental pollutants, disasters and the greenhouse effect is increasing in frequency, but so is the rate of innovation with energy efficient technology. The use of clean and efficient energy systems can provide a solution to the impactful issue of environmental pollutants, and save home and business owners on energy costs. At the top of energy efficient technology is solar PV panels. Switching to solar energy power as an alternative energy solution for our every day needs can dramatically offset the negatives effects of fossil fuels, create independence from utility companies, and lower energy costs.

In addition to solar power, there are several more clean energy technologies that are helping the environment and saving home and business owners on energy costs:

Ultra Efficient Heat Pump Systems

The next generation of heat pump systems can reduce energy consumption as much as 30 – 45%. There will be several options for owners to chose from including fuel-fired multi-function residential heat pump, low-cost gas heat pump, natural gas heat pump and air conditioner.

 

Smart Thermostats

High tech thermostats automatically adjust room temperatures based on the individual’s lifestyle. The owner simply enables the thermostat’s settings to accommodate their comfort level and schedule, and high-tech sensors and algorithms will automatically adjust temperatures per those settings. Smart thermostats can also integrate weather fluctuations to insure your space is kept at pre set temperatures. This saves owners on energy costs, and allows for hands-free heating and cooling operation.

 

Carbon Fighting Heat Dryers

The same technological advances for next generation heat pump systems are being to create energy efficient heat dryers that will reduce energy consumption up to 60%. The dryer is fueled by a heat pump cycle that generates hot air to dry your clothes.

 

Next Generation Insulation

Keep your home insulted to it’s maximum capacity can save residential owners big on energy costs. New environmentally friendly foam has been developed that is made from composited materials and insures heat or cool air will no escape during peak seasons.
We guarantee the best service for solar installations, and our Solar Experts are here to help guide you through your transition to Solar. Additionally, Action Air is a Premier Certified Lennox Dealer and our team will help you find the best heating and cooling technology for your home or business. Call us today to get on your way to the best energy efficient technologies – and savings!

Gas or Electric Heating System? The Questions To Consider

When choosing a heating system for your home, you can’t put a price on comfort. But you can put a price on utility bills, repair costs, home insurance, and maintenance.

Deciding whether to use gas or electric depends largely on the individual’s budget and size of the home. While gas can save you a significant amount in energy costs, electric heating systems require less maintenance and lower upfront costs. When it’s time to upgrade your heating system you should be well informed on the differences between gas and electric to ensure you are adding value and efficiency to your home, while saving on utility bills.

Utility bills

To buy one unit of mains gas (measured in kWh) you pay about 4p / kWh. Conversely, 1 unit of electricity from the mains (also measure in kWh) will cost you about 15p / kWh. Meaning in most areas gas is up to 4 times cheaper than electricity per kWh. Using a gas heating system can save you a considerable amount on energy costs, especially during the winter months.

Impact on Environment

Coal represents one of the primary fuels used to produce electricity. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, natural gas production does release greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, however this fuel burns much cleaner than coal and poses much less damage to the environment.

Safety

Electric systems do not produce byproducts during the heating process, unlike the potentially deadly CO2 produced during the combustion process of gas heating. Maintenance is emphasized when purchasing a gas heating system since a small problem in the ventilation system can easily cause a CO2 leak and put you and your family at risk for CO2 poisoning. Fire hazards are also associated with gas heating considering the point of ignition requires a flame.

Suitability and Efficiency

Gas heaters are known to be extremely efficient. They heat bigger areas faster, and use less energy than electric to maintain a set temperature. Gas heating also provides better humidity control. The lifespan is approximately 20 years for a new heating system, gas or electric. Gas heating requires storage, and for households with several members the storage tank capacity should be equivalent to usage. If the store tank capacity is not enough to support all the heat usage at a given time, then gas heating becomes problematic. A good example is running out of hot water during a shower because the dishwasher is running.

Installation

The upfront cost of installing an electric heating system is much cheaper than gas. Electric systems are typically smaller in size and don’t require ventilation systems.

When it’s time to replace your heating system, our team at Action Air is dedicated to your safety and comfort. Our Nate-Certified technicians will provide the best service and guarantees convenient and efficient installation. Call us today at 800-400-4152. Let us help you!

Get Your Home Ready and Stay Ahead of El Niño’s Impact This Winter

The strong winds, rain, and thunderstorms created by El Niño is causing an unseasonably cold winter for Southern California. More recent reports have revealed that El Niño’s impact is stronger than originally predicted, and expected to last through Spring 2016. Southern Californian’s appreciate our usually warm environment, here are a few tips on how to keep your home cozy this winter.

Replace Your Outdated Heating System

Over time, furnaces, even those that are well maintained, will eventually need to be replaced. Furnaces wear down and efficiency levels gradually reduce, decreasing the comfort of your home and increasing your energy bills. Since all of Southern California will be cranking the heat this winter, replacing your outdated heating system with a more efficient model will, without doubt, save you hundreds or thousands on your energy bills annually.

Our San Diego area furnace replacement technicians can assess your needs and recommend a new gas, electric or dual fuel furnace for your home today and have your new heating system installed in a timely and professional manner.

Keep Your Home and Family Safe

Not only will you be saving big bucks with a new heating system, but you will also create a safer environment for your home. Replacing your outdated heating system is the best way to safeguard your home against fires, expensive repairs, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The flooding caused by excessive rain this winter creates a major concern for the many flood-prone areas in Southern California. Check the surrounding areas of your home for any issues such as potholes, rocks/mudslides, plugged storm drains, water flowing down your driveway, etc. These minor problems can quickly turn dangerous during a major flood without the proper precautionary action. Contact your County Department of Public Works Road Service to resolve any potential problems. Here are some useful resources about El Niño and Flood and Disaster preparedness:

http://www.ready.gov/floods

http://www.readysandiego.org/

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/faq.html

http://myhazards.caloes.ca.gov/

Hazards of Old Furnaces & the Importance of Preventative Maintenance

The season to fire up the furnace is among us, even for Southern California. With this year’s unseasonably cold winter (thanks to El Niño) you’ll be using your heating system more regularly.

That’s why it’s important to understand the health and safety hazards of an outdated heating system. Our team of experts provide some valuable information below on how to ensure your heating system is not putting your home, family ….and wallet at risk.

What is Considered an ‘Outdated Furnace’?

Furnaces 20 years or older are especially dangerous since they all have pilot lights. The average life expectancy of a furnace is between 16 and 20 years. Although newer furnace models with pilot lights have sensors that will automatically shut down if a problem is detected, having a pilot lights still pose a significant safety concern.

Health and Safety Concerns Related to Older Furnaces

Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially common with outdated furnaces. Older pilot lights are typically controlled manually, and even a slight adjustment defect can produce carbon monoxide gas. Today’s homes are built more “air-tight”, leaving furnaces starved of the necessary oxygen it requires to burn fuels completely. When this occurs, toxic gases build up inside the home.

According to statistics compiled by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200 people across the nation are known to die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by toxic gas build up produced by their heating systems. In addition, around 10,000 cases of carbon monoxide-related injuries are diagnosed each year- including headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and seasonal depression.

House fires caused by pilot lights, bad ventilation, and/or gas line leaks are another major safety hazard of an outdated heating system. The combustible materials or any flammable objects near a furnace create an increased possibility of fire or explosion. Gasoline, solvents, or other volatile substances emit vapors that can be ignited by the heat or flame inside a gas furnace. Additionally, natural gas which has no odor, taste, smell or color can be omitted from gas line leaks and are extremely flammable and could cause a catastrophic fire or explosion.

Keep Your Heating Cost Efficient With a New Furnace

The oxide required for older furnaces is known to destroy valves, cause gaskets to leak, and bearings to go dry, inevitably creating more risk of malfunctioning parts or total system breakdown. The older a furnace is, the more likely its parts will malfunction, causing repairs to become gradually more expensive. Older furnaces also require more gas to create heat. Replacing your furnace with a more energy efficient system will save you in long term repair costs…. And you might actually smile next time you get your gas and electric bill.

Furnace Repair & Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Not only do Action Air’s experts encourage you to maintain a safe heating system for your home, but several US agencies and organizations do as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association encourage regular maintenance of older furnaces and up-to-date of home heating systems in order to keep homes all over America safe.

If you are not ready to replace your old furnace, service and maintenance at least twice a year (every 6 months) is necessary to insure your home and family are not at risk, especially if you have a furnace operating on a manual pilot light. Our team at Action Air provides 24 hour emergency service and competitive pricing on HVAC service and maintenance agreements.

Talk to an expert at Action Air today for a free consultation on replacing or servicing your heating system!