Do you have a list of emergency numbers? If you’re like most Americans, you probably have three lists — one for genuine emergencies (hospital, poison control, dentist, etc.), one for household emergencies (plumber, electrician, landlord, etc.), and one for “emergency” emergencies (cupcake boutique, the movie theater’s automated showtime listings, late-night pizza delivery, etc.).
The number of a reliable heating repair company falls somewhere between the top two lists, depending on the season and the demographic of your household. Having an infant or an infirm person in the house makes a smoothly-functioning HVAC system more of a priority in the height of summer and the depths of winter. But even in the spring and fall, when you might have the HVAC off and the windows open, your local cooling and heating repair company’s phone number should always be close at hand.
When a system sits dormant, as most home cooling and home heating systems do during the spring and fall, its efficiency could suffer. And any drop in efficiency means a surge in your energy bills. In a typical American home, heating and cooling accounts for well over half of the total energy costs — simply put, you can’t afford inefficiency anywhere in your HVAC system.
The spring and fall are the ideal times to have your system inspected. Not only will your local home heating and cooling repair specialist be able to make sure your system is in top running order, but they can keep youinformed about new updates, new regulations, or new products to help you get the most out of your HVAC system — while also keeping your energy bill manageable.
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If you don’t have the number of your local cooling and heating repair company handy, go find it right now. Put it on your fridge, scribble it into your address book, or add it to your phone’s contact list. They’ll be there when you need them most, helping you to keep your home comfortable and healthy all year long.
Space heating is the largest energy expense in most homes, accounting for two-thirds of annual energy bills in cold climates.
Heating is the largest energy expense in most homes, accounting for almost two-thirds of annual energy bills in colder areas of the country. Heating systems in the United States emit a billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and about 12% of the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emitted by the nation. Reducing energy use for heating is the single most effective way to reduce your home’s contribution to global environmental problems.
Conservation efforts and a new high-efficiency heating system can often cut your pollution output and fuel bills in half. Upgrading your furnace or boiler from an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of 56% to 90% in an average cold-climate house will save 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions if you heat with gas or 2.5 tons if you heat with oil and will cut your heating bill by almost 40%.
If your furnace or boiler is old, worn out, inefficient, or significantly oversized, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model. Old coal burners that were switched over to oil or gas are prime candidates for replacement, as well as gas furnaces without electronic (pilotless) ignition.
A central furnace or boiler’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). AFUE is a measure of how efficient the appliance is in using fossil fuel (gas or oil) or electricity (for an electric furnace) over a typical year of use.
An all-electric furnace or boiler has no flue loss through a chimney. The AFUE rating for an all-electric furnace or boiler is between 95% and 100%. The lower values are for units installed outdoors because they have greater jacket heat loss.
The efficiency of manufactured furnaces is governed by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 and regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy. The minimum allowed AFUE rating for a noncondensing, fossil-fueled, warm-air furnace is 78%; the rating for a fossil-fueled boiler is 80%; and the rating for a gas-fueled steam boiler is 75%. A condensing furnace or boiler condenses the water vapor produced in the combustion process and captures the heat released from this condensation. The AFUE rating for a condensing unit can be much higher (by more than 10 percentage points) than a noncondensing furnace. Although a condensing unit costs more than a noncondensing unit, the condensing unit can save you money in fuel costs over the 15 to 20-year life of the unit.
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