Northern Utah homeowners.
Air Conditioning & Heating Systems
and Other Indoor Comfort Equipment
Heating systems are much more efficient today. They are rated by % of efficiency of gas input vs. heat gain in the home. The AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is the standard measure of your heater's efficiency. See the glossary for more information on AFUE. The closer to 100%, the more efficient the heating system is. Older, less efficient systems used to be as low as 50% efficient. As systems age, their efficiency even goes lower. New systems are at least 78% efficient and can be up to 95% efficient.
All winter long, you depend on your furnace to meet the heating needs of your home and your family. Beyond quality installations, we also provide you with options for energy-efficient operation.
Things to know when considering a new gas furnace
Do you know what to ask when it's time to replace or upgrade your gas furnace? Most homeowners don't since it's something they may do only once or twice in their lifetime. If you're thinking about a new furnace there are many factors to consider, but here are five of the most important.
- Size: The size of a gas furnace refers to its heating capacity, not its physical dimensions. The capacity of a heating system is measured in Btu's (British thermal units) per hour. In general, a unit that's too small will lack the ability to give you the comfort you want. A unit that's too large will cost more to buy and operate. Air Conditioning and Heating Service can recommend the correct size for your new furnace.
- Venting: The heating contractor can also tell you if any changes are needed in the venting of the furnace. In most cases, the new furnace is placed in the same location as the old and uses the same venting system. However, many of today's high efficiency gas furnaces can be vented out a side wall in the same manner as gas clothes dryers.
- Efficiency: The efficiency of a gas furnace is indicated by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE rating. This simply means The Federal government requires that all new furnaces have a minimum efficiency level of 78% AFUE. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace. The more efficient the furnace, the lower the heating bill. Cost: In general, higher efficiency units will cost more than lower efficiency units. However, over the life of the unit, a high efficiency gas unit will help pay for itself because of the annual savings in operating costs. These savings could easily pay for the extra cost of moving up in efficiency.
- Final cost can also be affected by a number of installation factors such as the correction of venting or ductwork problems, and the difficulty of removing the old furnace or installing the new furnace in the desired location.
- Contractor: Perhaps the most important step in replacing or upgrading your home's heating system is choosing the right contractor to do the job. The reason: no matter how well-made a furnace is, the comfort, reliability and energy efficiency it provides is in the hands of the contractor installing it.
Contractors affiliated with a nationally known manufacturer are usually a good choice because they've been factory trained in installation and service. They can also help you determine your comfort needs, make the right equipment choices and give you the best value for your money. Air Conditioning and Heating Service has extensive factory training.
Furnace Model choices - good, better and best
There are different furnace models available, each with different options. Good furnaces today come with a high 90% efficiency. Step up to a better furnace, and get a two-stage design which makes an already efficient system even more efficient. See the section on two-stage heating below for more information about this innovative design. To get even more efficiency, choose the best model, one with a 93% efficiency, a two-stage design and a variable speed blower. Ask Mike about the different models you can choose from.
New furnaces have a two-stage design to save on utility bills
Ever wish you could just take the chill out of your home's air without being overwhelmed with a full blast of heat from your furnace? Well, now you can, thanks to a new development in gas furnaces called two-stage heating. A two-stage heating means the gas furnace can operate at either high or low to provide the correct level of comfort with the most efficiency.
You'll feel the benefit of two-stage heating most during those transitional times such as a cool autumn night when you just need a little heat to make your house comfortable. Rather than hitting you with a full blast of heat, the furnace responds with a pre-heat stage, warming the heat exchangers before circulating air throughout the house. Then, the two-speed blower starts at low speed, quietly and gently warming your home.When colder temperatures set in, the two-stage gas valve automatically increases the fuel flow and the blower switches to high speed for maximum comfort.
Added Benefits of two-stage heating
Increased levels of indoor comfort, however, aren't the only benefits two-stage heating provides. Higher levels of efficiency and the lower operating costs that accompany them are others.
Operating costs go down for two reasons. The first is the elimination of short-cycling, which is the frequent starting and stopping common to many single-stage furnaces. Compare it to the operation of a car, and it's similar to the difference in fuel economy between highway driving and stop-and-go driving.
The second is better utilization of fuel. For example, at the end of the high-speed cycle, after the fuel shuts off, the furnace continues to run a few seconds, using the remaining heat in the exchangers before it shuts off. This helps ensure that you get all the heat you've paid for.
Take a look at your home comfort system. If you have an air conditioner outside, then you may also have an indoor coil and furnace inside. You might say the coil is the other, less visible part of your system. While a coil may be a component that you're not very familiar with, it's just as important to your home's comfort as your air conditioner. And, because the coil was designed to work in tandem with your outdoor unit and furnace, it's important that they match in both size and capacity.
New systems are much more efficient than even a few years ago. Air Conditioners have an efficiency rating called the SEER, or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. See the glossary for more information on SEER. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system is. A SEER rating of 10 or 11 used to be the highest with inefficient systems in the 6 or 7 SEER range, but today new systems are at least 13 SEER, and the most efficient systems are up to 20 SEER.
Is a whole house air conditioning system affordable and easy to install in my home?
Each year, more and more homeowners are looking to central air conditioning as a means of providing comfort throughout the entire house, instead of just cooling one or two rooms with window units. The reason is simple: a whole new generation of central air conditioning systems that feature higher efficiencies for lower utility bills, variable speed fans for quieter operation, and programmable thermostats for better temperature control are available. Add to this the increased resale value of the home and you can see why the addition of central air conditioning is such a popular home improvement.
If you find yourself thinking about this type of project, a question you're probably asking is, "How easy is it to install central air conditioning in an older home?" The answer depends on your existing heating system. If it is a "forced air" type, which has a blower and ducts, then addition of central air conditioning could be fairly simple. All that's required is the addition of an indoor cooling coil to your furnace, an outdoor condensing unit, and the proper thermostat. Modification or replacement of the furnace blower and existing ducts may be necessary if they're too small or inadequate.
If your existing heating system uses steam or hot water, there are no ducts or a central blower. In this case, ductwork will have to be installed in the attic, basement or ceiling.
Once you've decided you want central air conditioning there are four important factors to consider. The first is the efficiency of the unit. This is indicated by its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER rating. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. The greater the SEER, the lower the operating costs. Second is the capacity of the unit. Too large a unit will result in short operating cycles that will not adequately remove humidity. Too small a unit may not be able to maintain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days. Air Conditioning and Heating Service can help you determine the correct capacity. The third is the power supply. Your dealer can also help you determine if your present electrical power supply is adequate to handle the added load of a central air conditioner. Fourth, there's the overall energy efficiency of the home. To obtain the maximum benefit of a high efficiency unit, your home may require additional insulation and weather-stripping.
Air conditioner models available
A good air conditioner will save on utility bills due to high-efficiency models now available. A mid-range unit has a 13 or 14 SEER rating, with better units from 14 to 19 SEER. Just like two-stage furnaces, the more efficient 16 to 19 SEER air conditioners now come with two-stages. When the cooling requirements aren't as demanding, a two-stage unit will run more efficiently to save energy. When more cooling is needed, it runs at the higher capacity to ensure maximum comfort.
In today's world, with higher energy prices and larger homes, it is a smart move to replace that old thermostat with a modern one. Digital programmable thermostats are more accurate than their predecessors. The benefits are more constant temperatures and cost savings of up to 33% when set back at night and when you are away during the day.
The thermostat of yesterday was reliable and trouble free, but today's thermostats (like the one pictured at the top of this page are reliable and trouble free and include many features for today's active families.
Digital setback thermostats can save on utility bills by automatically lowering the temperature at night and during the day when everyone is gone. They are designed to be set and forgotten.
Some setback thermostats also keep track of total blower run time to accurately tell you when your filter needs to be replaced. This is helpful because your furnace and/or air conditioner only runs when it needs to, and some seasons are more demanding than others.
Upgrading to a modern digital setback thermostat can save you money on your energy bills.
Thousands of different contaminants are in the air both inside and outside the home. Contaminants such as dust, mold and mildew spores, pollen, dirt, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, smoke particles, water droplets, allergens, etc. invade the air we breathe and in some cases cause illness. The principle job of a filter is to remove airborne contaminants and improve the air quality as air cycles through the home by the heater or air conditioner. All filters do this by trapping airborne contaminants as air passes through them. There are many filters for you to choose from. This section lists the major filter types and general information about each type.
- Fiberglass filters. The least expensive filter is fiberglass. They cost about a dollar per filter. Fiberglass filters remove dust and other airborne contaminants by trapping them as air passes through the fiberglass material. They filter dust and large particles but are not very effective at removing smaller particles from the air.
- Filters with other filter material. There are many filters available that are similar to fiberglass but are made of different filter material. They vary in how well they filter the air. The better ones advertise their effectiveness on the package, showing how well they filter the air and even how small the particles are that are trapped.
- Filters with filter material that is pleated. Pleated filters are the same as those listed in #2 above with one added advantage. The material is pleated which increases the surface area of the filter. This means that there is more filter material for air to pass through and allows for less air to pass through a given point on the filter, increasing the filter's life and improving air flow. Pleated filters range from one inch to four inches wide; the wider the filter the more surface area there is for air to pass through.
- Electrostatic filters. Electrostatic filters are similar to all the above filters with one addition: they develop a static charge which attracts airborne contaminants. They are usually cleanable and can be reused many times.
- Electronic filters. Electronic filters are different than all the other filters above -- they don't have the traditional filter material. They contain metal plates that are separated by a specified distance. These metal plates are energized with an electric charge. As air passes between the plates, the charge attracts airborne contaminants to the plates. Electronic filters are reusable. The plates are cleaned periodically to remove the contaminants.
As filters do their job cleaning the air, they eventually become filled with what they are removing. Depending on the type, they must be replaced or cleaned. Most filters should be replaced monthly to keep a good supply of air flowing. Keeping the filter clean will keep your heater or air conditioner running more efficiently. This will save on utility bills.
Your filter is the most important part of the heating/air conditioning system for keeping the air clean in your home. There are lots of filter options.
Better home construction increases the need for effective air cleaners. Today's homes are more tightly constructed than ever. This means less fresh air infiltrates the home from outside. However, it also means dust, grease, pollen, mold spores and other airborne particles that already exist in a home can't get out and are re-circulated over and over again. To remove these particles, which may cause unnecessary physical discomfort as well as damage furnishings, more and more homeowners are turning to high efficiency air filtration systems.
New filters can provide up to 99.98% cleaner air for your home. They use patented, breakthrough air cleaning technology to remove up to 99.98% of airborne allergens from the air that pass through the filter, without significantly reducing the air flow, making it 8 times more effective than even the best HEPA room air filter and 100 times more effective than a standard 1" filter. These new filters are so effective that they trap allergens down to .1 microns, the size at which allergens cause the most irritation because your nose, mouth and throat can’t filter them and they get trapped deep in your lungs.
How these filters work to improve your indoor air. They can remove up to 99.98% of airborne allergens from the air that pass through the filter. Current electronic air cleaners can remove some of the dust, pollen, mold spores and other microscopic irritants that make life miserable for people with allergies and respiratory problems. These same contaminants can also harbor harmful bacteria and viruses. New filters clean more air at a higher efficiency so they have a clean air delivery rate twice as high as a standard electronic air cleaner. The air in your home stays cleaner because air cleaners remove the dust particles that over time settle on walls, floors, drapes, upholstery and other furnishings. Air cleaners also remove dust particles that may cause damage to home entertainment equipment and computer hardware. New filters operate as part of your total home comfort system.
These new filters can be a whole-house air cleaning system, meaning they work in conjunction with your heating and cooling system to remove up to 99.98% of airborne allergens—down to .3 microns in size—from every room in your home. After a pre-filter traps the large particles, the incoming air passes through a series of electrically charged corona fields which charge the airborne particles that are then collected in a patented, cleanable collection filter. With layers that are only 0.08 inches apart, the filter has 8 times the collection surface of a standard electronic air cleaner.
Electronic air cleaners work on a few simple principles.
Electronic air cleaners are usually installed in the duct carrying air back to the furnace or air handler. A typical disposable furnace filter captures only 10% to 15% of the contaminants, while electronic air cleaners can remove many more of the undesirable airborne particles from the air it filters.
Operation of the unit is fairly simple. First, air passes through a mesh-type filter that catches large airborne particles. Smaller particles that get through the filter pass through an ionizing section where they receive an electrical charge.
These charged particles then pass through plates that have an opposite charge that attracts the particles like a magnet. The particles remain on the plates until the air cleaner elements are washed. The result is a healthier, cleaner indoor environment.
Whole-house air cleaners operate efficiently and make a major impact on your home’s comfort.
Air filtration systems and electronic air cleaners use only about the same amount of electricity as a 40-watt light bulb. However, to do their job, the heating and cooling system must be running.
New technology in the field of electronic fan motors and controls is drastically reducing the cost of running a fan continuously. Setting your thermostat to run the fan continuously helps filter your air and gives you even temperatures from room to room. Consult with your Trane dealer if you live in a particularly humid area before running your fan on continuous. And they say this new generation of motors and controls not only allows more economical air cleaner operation but also lowers overall operating costs, reduces noise and provides greater levels of comfort.
In the winter the air along the Wasatch front is very dry. Humidifiers add moisture to the air which eliminates dry skin and makes our homes more comfortable. There are advantages to humidifying the air in the home which are listed below.
- When the air is dry, our skin dries out. This makes it itchy and in some cases makes the skin crack. Humidifiers keep the skin from drying out. People that use more lotions and creams in the winter find that they don't need to when their homes are humidified.
- Some people suffer from nosebleeds or other medical conditions due to dry air. Humidifiers can help mitigate these conditions.
- The temperature in the home can be lowered slightly when it is humidified, with no loss of comfort. When moisture from the skin evaporates, it has a cooling effect on the skin because evaporation draws heat from the body. With a more moisture in the air from a humidifier, the moisture from the skin doesn't evaporate as fast, reducing heat loss. This tends to make people feel warmer, even when the temperature is lower.
A humidifier can add a lot of comfort to the home during the winter months. Save your family and your home from the damaging effects of over-dry air. Dry nose and cracked, itchy skin. Aggravated allergy and asthma symptoms. Painful static shocks. Chipping paint and plaster. Warped or damaged wood floors and furniture, trim and molding. Sound familiar? Why go through another season with these problems when there is a solution—a whole-home humidifier.
Turning your temperature up in the wintertime will keep you warm but won’t increase your home’s humidity. Daily activities like showering, cooking, and doing laundry won’t produce enough moisture to keep your home’s air from being too dry. According to medical experts, many viruses thrive in low humidity and can increase the likelihood of getting colds, flu and upper respiratory ailments. The American Society of Otolaryngology reports that it is important to prevent an overly dry environment because it makes people more susceptible to infection.
A whole-home humidifier, installed professionally by Air Conditioning and Heating Service, will deliver the perfect amount of moisture to your air making you feel more comfortable at lower thermostat settings. In fact, the EPA states that you can save up to 4% on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat! Increase your family’s level of comfort and protect your valuable furnishings by adding just the right amount of moisture with a Whole-House Humidifier.
“If too dry an environment is your problem, consider a humidifier. Clues like awakening with a sore throat, dryness in your nose, or even a nose bleed are signs of too little humidity.”
How It Works
A whole-house humidifier is installed directly to your central heating and cooling system. Humidity is introduced into your home’s air in the form of water vapor, which prevents minerals from entering the air in your home and potentially into your lungs. Water is supplied to the distribution tray, allowing it to flow evenly across the water panel. The resulting humidified air is then distributed via your heating and cooling system ductwork throughout your home.
Whole-Home Humidification vs. Portable
Too much humidity can be as much of a problem as too little humidity. Unlike portable units a whole-home humidifier continually monitors relative humidity levels in your home, then works to deliver the right amount of moisture, never too much or too little, to your entire house. Humidifiers don't require daily cleaning and disinfecting that many portable units require and you never need to worry about the risk of microbial organism growth due to standing water.