Buyers’ Guide for Furnaces: Electric Furnaces

Heating El Cajon

This is part of our series of articles aiming to offer you buyers’ guidelines for furnaces.

How does an electric furnace in an electric heating El Cajon system work?

An electric-resistance furnace works on the principle of many small house appliances, like hair dryers or toasters. The blower pulls the air from the room through a cold-air return grille into the air handler cabinet and then pushes it through the heating elements. The blower then distributes the warm air through the house via ducts. This is called a forced-air system. The components are:

  • Heating elements
  • Transformer
  • Sequencer
  • Breakers
  • Thermostat
  • Blower
  • Electric motor and belt
  • Air filter and the control box
  • Ducts
  • Switch

When do people choose an electric furnace for their heating El Cajon?

Electric furnaces tend to be considerably cheaper than gas furnaces. This is because the system is simpler. The heating elements in an electric furnace are electric coils, whereas in a gas furnace you need burners, ignition and heat exchanger.

Another factor that contributes to lower upfront costs of electric furnaces is simpler and cheaper installation. Electric furnaces don’t require a flue and gas lines, like in the case of gas furnaces. This lower disruption is beneficial for retrofit applications.

A significant upside about electric furnaces is that they don’t give off carbon monoxide, which is more eco-friendly. (However, if you use the electricity that was produced in a power plant, it’s highly likely that fossil fuel were used to produce it, which is not very environmentally friendly.) But the fact that there’s no carbon monoxide or byproducts of gas combustion means increased safety in that respect.

Electric furnaces often last longer than comparable gas furnaces, which could be attributed to the simplicity of their design. The lifespan of an electric furnace can run between 20 and 30 years.

How are they maintained?

As far as maintenance goes, there are things that you can do and things that only a qualified HVAC technician team can do.

What you can do is keep dust away from the system and manage indoor humidity levels. Changing the air filters regularly will ensure high quality of indoor air and peak performance of the furnace. Blower blades should also be regularly checked for dust and wiped over. Changing air filters and wiping down the fan blades should be done while the system is down. A dehumidifier will ensure that excess moisture doesn’t cause premature degradation of the furnace.

These maintenance measures cannot replace an annual check-up by a heating El Cajon expert.

Are electric furnaces efficient?

Yes, electric furnaces are 100% efficient. However, that doesn’t mean they are cost-effective. How?

Well, electric furnaces convert 100% of the electricity they consume into heat. But, if that electricity comes from a power plant which burns fossil fuels, only around 30% of that fuel was converted into electricity. So, even though they are highly efficient, the cost of operating all-electric furnaces is not economic in most cases.

Call heating El Cajon specialists for all your furnace needs, questions and concerns

Action AC, Heating & Solar is here for everything you need when it comes to heating. Whether you want to service or repair your system, upgrade it or replace it – call us. We have over 40 years of experience and numerous awards and recognitions, making us a proven choice for all El Cajon and San Diego residents. We’re just a call away!

Your Pet(s) and Indoor Air Quality

Pets are often treated like loved members of the family and bring happiness and companionship into your home. Unfortunately pets also bring dander, dirt and hair – causing unwanted allergens to circulate through your house, in turn decreasing your indoor air quality.

It is estimated that over 70% of all American households are home to a pet. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your home healthy while sharing it with your furry loved ones.

Pet Dander

Pet dander is composed of microscopic flakes of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers, which can trigger allergic reactions in people. Humans can also be allergic to proteins found in pet urine, saliva, and feces. When these become airborne, it gets circulated through an HVAC system like dust and accumulates on surfaces throughout the home, resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, rashes, watery eyes, and other respiratory complaints.

Every time your HVAC system kicks in, pet dander blows through the system and redistributes in other areas of the home, causing your family and guests to breathe it in. It can settle in a person’s respiratory tract and can cause allergic reactions and medical problems such as asthma.

Pet Hair

In addition to the problem of pet dander, pet hair poses a unique challenge to any HVAC system. When your system blows conditioned air into a room, it also sucks up the stale air to re-condition for later use. Pet hairs end up being sucked in along with the stale air. Even if you have a pet with short hair, it doesn’t take long for pet hair to clog up your filter and hinder your system’s efficiency.

A clogged filter will not only decrease your indoor air quality, but it causes your HVAC system stress. A stressed HVAC system will have to work harder to keep your home comfortable – dwindling the HVAC’s lifespan, functionality, efficiency and increasing your energy bills.

What You Can Do About It

Fortunately, there are other safeguards against pet dander and hair. Here are some tips on how to protect your home and health from poor indoor air quality:

Tip #1: Invest in a Whole Home Air Purification System.

Air Filtration Systems can remove as much as 99.9% of all allergens and 90% of all infectious agents. As a Lennox Certified Dealer, Action Air can direct you to the best Air Filtration product for your family and home’s unique needs.

Tip # 2: Get your ductwork cleaned.

No matter how efficient or clean your air filter is – hair, dander, dirt and debris will collect in your ductwork – especially households with pets. If your ductwork has not been cleaned or maintained regularly, your indoor air quality and health will suffer as a result.

Tip #3: Maintain your HVAC System Air Filters.

Your air filter is an essential component in keeping your HVAC system running efficiently and breathing clean air. During heating and cooling seasons, owners with pets should check their air filters at least once a month, and change out quarterly.

Tip #4: Keep your home and pet clean.

Brush and bathe your pet regularly to keep dirt out of circulation and prevent dander build-up. Vacuuming your home with a HEPA filtered model will also help prevent the circulation of pet dander and clogged HVAC air filters from pet hair.

We Can Help

As a homeowner, you want to ensure that all members of the family are safe and healthy, including pets. Contact Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar today at 1-800-400-4152 to learn more about our indoor air quality solutions. Our expert technicians will be happy to discuss a plan for improving your home’s air quality to make the indoor space as comfortable as possible.

How Your Heating System Impacts Indoor Air Quality

In Southern California, when temperatures start to quickly decline, it’s time to get your heating system back in gear. It’s important to consider how running your home’s heating system will affect your indoor air quality, especially when your furnace has been stagnate for the better half of a year.

How Your Heating System Works

heating system repair

  • When the temperature in your home falls under the thermostat setting, a low-voltage signal is sent to the furnace to activate the motor
  • Once the motor is activated, all the gas that is left over in the heat exchanger is purged
  • Ignition occurs to light the burner inside the combustion chamber, creating heat
  • Once your indoor air temperature reaches that of your thermostat, the gas valve will close and the burner goes out
  • The blower fan will continue to run until all the heated air is expelled through your ductwork

Furnace Filters

If your furnace filter is dirty during a heating cycle it will restrict the airflow, which means it won’t do a very good job pulling from your indoor air supply. Additionally, a severely clogged filter can stress your system components – reducing the functionality of your heating system and increasing your energy bills. Your air filter should be checked at least once a month and changed regularly during heating season.

Dirty Ductwork

If your ductwork has not been cleaned or maintained regularly, your indoor air quality – and health – will suffer as a result. Ductwork in your home has two systems; supply ducts that blow heated air into rooms and return ducts that inhale indoor air and return it to the blower. Moisture, debris, and dirt in your home will get stuck in your ductwork and become a breeding ground for molds, allergens, toxins, and other infectious compounds. Particles can end up inside your heating system, making it less efficient and degrading your indoor air quality.

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality during Heating Season

Breathing clean, fresh air can make the difference between good health and constantly fighting colds, allergies, and respiratory problems all winter. The good news is there are several preventative measures you can take to protect your home and family’s health.Buy High Quality Air Filters

You can check the quality of an air filter by the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The higher the MERV rating, the cleaner your air will be. You should consult a certified HVAC contractor to make sure the filter is compatible with your heating system and it is properly installed. heating installation

Invest in Whole Home Purification Systems

Air Filtration Systems can remove as much as 99.9% of all allergens and 90% of all infectious agents. As a Lennox Certified Dealer, Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar can direct you to the best Air Filtration System for your family and home’s unique needs.

DuctWork Cleaning & Preventative Maintenance

Heaters enjoy a longer functioning life if they’re properly maintained, and if the air passages are not clogged with dirt and dust. Action’s NATE-certified HVAC technicians use NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association)-approved duct cleaning techniques to ensure your furnace is running at optimal efficiency and improving your indoor air quality as a result.

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!

This Winter, Don’t Fear Your Furnace!

It’s important to understand the health and safety hazards of your furnace. Our team of experts provide some valuable information below so you don’t have to Fear Your Furnace this Winter!

Age Risk For Your Furnace

furnace repair

Furnaces 10 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. Newer furnace models with pilot lights have sensors that will automatically shut down if a problem is detected, however having a pilot light still poses a significant safety concern. Older furnaces are also at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, breakdowns, house fires, and higher energy bills.

Today’s furnaces are designed with new, high-tech heating systems whose greater efficiency helps homeowners save money, conserve natural resources and decrease the likelihood of HVAC hazards. Action Air wants to help you replace your outdated furnace – enter our Scariest Furnace Contest to win a New Furnace or WiFi Thermostat!

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. Modern 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.

furnace installation san diego 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.

The oxide required for older furnaces is known to destroy valves, cause gaskets to leak, and make bearings 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 expensive utility bills. Our furnace experts will handle all stages of a furnace replacement to ensure maximum comfort and savings – from choosing a new heating system that’s right for you, to quality installation with Action Air Certified Technicians. We are here every step of the way.

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!