Furnace FAQ

Do you have questions about your gas furnace?  Read our FAQ below to find answers to commonly asked questions.

Efficiency and cost savings

At Auchinachie Services we realize that purchasing a heating or air conditioning system is no small matter. However, if your existing system is old, in need of repair or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit, one which can be as much as 60% more efficient than a system purchased just 10 years ago, can offer long-term benefits.

Rather than continuing to pay for ongoing maintenance and costly monthly bills, invest in a new system today that will save you money for years to come.

Get the facts from an expert

There are many heating and air conditioning systems to choose from today. Your home comfort experts at Auchinachie can draw on a vast degree of heating and air conditioning knowledge and experience to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, local and regional utility costs, and utility incentive/rebate programs are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system. We use the latest technology and consider all these factors while assisting you in choosing the best system for your home.

Consumers seeking to replace an existing system often choose a new unit with equal or higher efficiency ratings compared to their previous system. Replacing a unit that is 10- to 15-years-old may reduce natural gas or electricity costs by 30 to 50%.

 

Schedule a free consultation with an Auchinachie home comfort expert.

Factors affecting the size of your new system include the climate in your region, humidity levels, the number of windows in your dwelling, total square footage of your home, the direction your home faces, the number of heat-producing appliances in your home, the type of insulation you have and the number of people that live in your residence.

An Auchinachie technician can perform the proper calculations to determine the appropriate heating or cooling unit for your home and lifestyle.

It's all about the ductwork.

Putting a new system in a home that has not had central air and heat before will require the installation of ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil. Beyond equipment, the most important component installed with a new system, however, is the ductwork.

Ductwork is composed of two parts, supply and return. Supply duct is attached to the outflow of the new system, delivering air to each zone in a home. The amount of air reaching each zone is determined by the size of supply ductwork connecting it to your system. Your dealer will help you determine the size of all the supply ductwork in your home.

The second part of the ductwork, the return duct, attaches to the inlet of the new system and draws air out of the spaces to be heated or cooled. Attached to the return duct is the filter. The filter should be placed as near to the furnace or air handler as possible. Ductwork can be either fiberglass or metal and must be properly sized in order to evenly distribute the proper amount of air to each room.

Start with a detailed inspection

To install the most efficient HVAC system in your household, a detailed inspection will first be performed by our installation experts. The inspection by your contractor should include, as a minimum, the inspection of your home's ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil.

Proper maintenance is key

Maintenance and service play a key role in the lifecycle of a heating or air conditioning system. If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken, an air conditioner can last 12 to 15 years and a gas furnace 20 to 25 years.

It is generally a good idea to replace the indoor coil if you are also replacing your air conditioner or heat pump. There is a correlation between the efficiency of your heating or cooling system and the performance of the indoor coil and changing out the current indoor coil for a new one may be critical to optimizing the performance, the efficiency and the savings potential of your new system.

You may have options based on your home's design

The system can actually be located in several different places. A system with up-flow application might be located in the basement, while a system with a horizontal application may be found in your attic. A self-contained, or single package unit, could be located outside on a slab or on the roof. Your garage could house an up-flow, down-flow or horizontal application system.

It's all about variability

Humidity levels can be reduced by using a variable-speed furnace or air handler as part of your HVAC system. Variable speed units run longer, at lower speeds, allowing air to constantly circulate against the cooling coil and remove more moisture.

Variable-speed motors also use less electricity than regular motors, reducing your energy costs.

HVAC systems are complicated networks of machinery that should be serviced by a certified professional. However, if your HVAC system seems to be malfunctioning, you can try a few basic steps, which may correct your problem, prior to calling a service professional. If you do not feel comfortable performing any of these tasks, however, do not hesitate to call an HVAC contractor.

  •   Disconnect and reconnect your indoor and outdoor switches.
  •   Make sure your circuit breakers are in the ON position.
  •   Make sure your filters are clean.
  •   Open supply and return vents and make sure they are unobstructed.
  •   Check the settings on your thermostat.
  •   Make sure the system switch is on the appropriate COOL or HEAT setting.

AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs. Furnaces manufactured in the United States are required to have at least an 80% AFUE.

HSPF is the abbreviation for the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, which is a rating of the efficiency level of the heating operation of a heat pump. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the heating performance of a heat pump. New units in the United States have HSPF ratings from 7.0 to 9.4.

R-22 is the common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the United States Clean Air Act has set a target date for January 1, 2010, on which HVAC manufacturers must cease the production of products that use R-22.

R-410A is the common name for an emerging hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that is being used as a refrigerant in the HVAC industry. R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is being seen as the most likely replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufacturers. At the beginning of 2010, the use of alternate refrigerant will be required in HVAC manufacturing.

ENERGY STAR is a program that was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help businesses and individuals make energy efficient purchases.

This program places the ENERGY STAR label, a small blue and white logo, on items that meet superior energy efficiency standards. This label provides an easy way for consumers to identify quality, high efficiency products.

For more infomation about the Energy Star program, please view their website at www.energystar.gov.

 

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