ACI Northwest Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Harrison’

Pros and Cons of Various Heating Systems in Worley

Monday, December 12th, 2011

When it comes time to install a new heating system in your Worley home, there are a lot of options to consider. Many people get overwhelmed when confronted with all of the furnaces, boilers and heat pumps on the market these days. So, to help you get a handle on what each has to offer and which will offer you the best benefits, here is an overview of the modern heating system market.

Furnaces

Furnaces are the core of a forced air heating system and use gas, oil or electricity to heat air which is then circulated through your home by a blower in your air handler. Furnaces are among the most fuel efficient heating systems on the market today with options available at up to 95% AFUE (meaning it uses up to 95% of the fuel consumed to produce heat). They are also inexpensive to install and while they don’t last quite as long as boilers, they are highly efficient when well cared for.

Boilers

Boilers use gas, oil or electricity to heat water or steam which is then circulated through your home into radiators or baseboard heaters. The heated water or steam releases heat into your home and heats it in turn. While not quite as energy efficient as a high efficiency furnace, boiler heat is perfect for homes with existing radiators and no room for vents and ductwork. It also has less of an impact on indoor air quality since there is no air movement and boilers tend to last a very long time when well maintained.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates where it rarely gets below 40 degrees F. A heat pump uses the same technology as an air conditioner to extract heat from outside using a compressor, evaporator coils, and condenser coils with refrigerant.

It is most efficient in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, but it uses much less energy than either a boiler or furnace and it can be used in the summer to cool your home. When properly maintained, a heat pump will last 10-20 years and save quite a bit of money, though it is recommended that you have an emergency heat source for days when the temperature outside gets below 40 degrees F.

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Common Furnace Problems: A Tip From Harrison

Friday, October 7th, 2011

When it comes to the furnace in your Harrison home, you simply want it to work all of the time. But just like any other piece of equipment, your furnace will have problems from time to time. A few of these are relatively simple to fix on your own, but for the most part you’ll need to call in someone to take care of the repairs for you.

However, before you can do that, you’ll need to recognize that a problem exists at all. And the earlier you notice the warning signs, the better off you’ll be. It’s always better to get a furnace problem taken care of right away than to wait until your furnace stops working completely.

It’s also good to remember that quite often the problems you’re having with your furnace are really originating with your thermostat. This is usually welcome news, as thermostats are much cheaper and easier to repair and replace than many other parts of your furnace. In fact, even if your furnace isn’t working at all, it may only be the result of a faulty thermostat.

Another problem you may start to notice is that one part of your house is being warmed more than another part. When this happens, it can be a sign that there is something wrong with the furnace, but it may also be that the pressure in your duct system is not balanced properly. A simple rebalancing of this system can have your house heating evenly again in no time.

You may also realize that your furnace seems to be cycling on and off too often. When a furnace is working properly, it will come on for a considerable period of time and then shut off until the temperature in the house drops below the desired level. However, some problems can cause your furnace to complete many short cycles rather than fewer short ones.

If this is happening to your furnace, there are several possible causes. Something might be wrong with the blower on the furnace or the thermostat might not be feeding the furnace the correct information. Another possibility is that your furnace’s air filter is dirty or clogged.

While there are sometimes simple and straightforward solutions to these types of common furnace problems, it’s best to call in a professional to have them take a look if you’re not sure where to start searching for a problem. In most cases you’ll need them to come out and make the necessary repairs anyway.

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Installing Automatic Thermostats – Quick Fix to Energy Savings in Harrison

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

While you probably spent a lot of time researching your Harrison home heating and cooling system to make sure you got one with great energy efficiency ratings and all of the other features you were looking for, one thing you may not have thought a lot about is your thermostat. The thermostat in your home is your direct link to your home comfort system, and the type and quality of the product you have in place can have a much bigger impact on the performance of that system than you may initially realize.

Of course, any thermostat will get the basic job done. You set it for the desired temperature and it will communicate that information down the line to the heating and cooling system. But the better the thermostat you’re using, the better the communication and coordination between the two devices will be. And many advanced thermostats come with all types of special features that can both enhance the quality of your indoor environment and save you some considerable money in the long run.

Saving Money with a New Thermostat

So how can a thermostat save you money? There are actually a couple of ways. For instance, an automatic thermostat can be programmed to switch your heating and cooling system on and off at different pre-set times of day. That means you can have the heat or air conditioning turned off during the day and still come home to a comfortable house. Simply set the thermostat to come on right before you get home and you’ll be able to walk into a perfectly temperature controlled environment without having to keep the heat on all day.

Automatic thermostats can come with other great features as well. For instance, some of them are equipped with zone control, so that you can set them up to maintain different temperatures in different parts of your home. That way, your home comfort system doesn’t have to work harder to keep your whole house warm or cool when only part of it is in use. And when your home comfort system is working less and using less energy, it will last longer so you won’t have to pay for repairs or a new system nearly as frequently as you might otherwise.

You’ll also pay less on your monthly energy bills the whole time, adding up to a great deal of savings. It might never have occurred to you that a new thermostat could save you so much money, but with all of these benefits, it’s definitely worth looking into.

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How Do I Choose an Appliance? A Question From Laclede

Friday, September 9th, 2011

There are a lot of responsibilities you’ll face as a Laclede homeowner, but one of the most important is the selection of good appliances that will keep your energy bills down and improve the value of your home. But, what factors should you consider when choosing a new appliance to ensure you get the very best? Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Capacity – First, make sure you know the capacity you need for your new appliance, along with the size available for installation. Choosing the perfect refrigerator or dishwasher is great, but if it doesn’t hold enough or doesn’t fit the space you have available, it might not be a good selection.
  2. Energy Efficiency – Next on the list should be energy efficiency. Be aware that this will directly affect the price. So, if price is a major issue for you, move it up on the list by at least one spot. However, if you want to save money in the long term on electricity and water and you want to do your part for the environment, look for Energy Star labels and the highest efficiency ratings on the market.
  3. Cost – Cost is a big deal for almost all homeowners. Unless you have very specific needs, you should break down your search by budget range. Most of the time, you can contact an appliance salesperson or contractor and give them a budget with which to work. If researching online, use ConsumerReports.org or Amazon.com to review specific models by price range (you may even find a good deal).
  4. Noise Factor – Many people forget just how much noise an appliance makes until they install it and realize they can’t hear a person from three feet away in the laundry room. Noise cancellation costs more, but in some instances, especially for appliances in the living space like a refrigerator, air conditioner or bathroom fixture, it’s a major plus.
  5. Digital Controls – Most new top of the line appliances have digital readouts and LCD displays that allow you to review your options, reduce energy consumption and make quick adjustments. However, digital readouts and expert controls are not always necessary to get an efficient, affordable device, so this becomes a convenience factor.

Review your options carefully before selecting an appliance for your home. Organize the above five factors by importance to you and review the options in that range accordingly. You’ll hopefully find the perfect appliance for your needs.

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How to Use AC Most Efficiently: A Tip From Sagle

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Air conditioning is definitely something most of us wouldn’t want to try and get through the summer in Sagle without. And for a lot of people, because of medical or other conditions, it’s an absolute necessity. But just because you need to run your AC unit all summer doesn’t mean you need to suffer under the weight of high cooling costs.

So if you’re interested in ways to save on cooling without sacrificing comfort, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Get a Programmable Thermostat – When you come home at the end of a long day, you want your home to be cool and comfortable. But if you only have a basic thermostat, you would have to leave your air conditioning on all day in order to make this possible. Paying to cool an empty house is probably the last thing you want to do. But what is the alternative?

    Programmable thermostats offer the best solution in a case like this. These devices can be easily integrated into just about any home air conditioning system and they allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. That means you can have your air conditioning off while you’re not home and set it to come on a half hour or so before you get there. This way, you get the pleasure of walking into a cool, comfortable house without paying extra to keep it that way when you’re not home.

  • Incorporate Passive Cooling – The design of your home and how you use it can also have an effect on how hard your air conditioning system needs to work. Taking steps as simple as closing the blinds to block out the afternoon sun, putting up awnings and making sure that the exterior of your home is painted a lighter color to reflect sunlight rather than a darker one that will absorb it are all excellent ways to reduce the load on your air conditioner.
  • Supplement Your System – You can also take a good chunk out of your cooling bills by using things like ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner. A ceiling fan can effectively lower the indoor temperature several degrees on its own, allowing you to set your thermostat a little higher.

Air conditioning is a major expense that most of us are paying, but there’s no reason to pay more than necessary with so many strategies available to save money.

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How Does Central AC Work? A Tip From Spirit Lake

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

We pretty much just take the fact of central air conditioning for granted these days in Spirit Lake. It is present almost everywhere and it is hard to imagine getting through a long hot summer without it. But if you are like most people, you probably do not actually know how central air conditioning works. While you can certainly take advantage of it without understanding it, the basic concept is pretty simple.

Basically, central air conditioning systems are composed of an outdoor unit that typically houses the compressor and condenser and an indoor unit that manages the flow of air throughout your house or other building. This indoor unit is typically either an air handler or a furnace, and it directs the flow of air through a series of ducts that feed into the various rooms of the house.

The cool air originates in the outdoor unit and is blown into the house, gradually absorbing heat as it goes, and that air is then returned to the outdoor unit to be re-cooled. What actually happens in the outdoor unit involves the cycle of a type of refrigerant from a gas to a liquid and back. In the condenser area of the outdoor unit, the pressure on the refrigerant is lessened and it is able to absorb heat from the air returning from the house.

This gas, while warmer than the liquid refrigerant, is still quite cold and acts to cool the air being passed back into the house. As that refrigerant moves along to the compressor area, the gas is converted to a liquid and is forced to release the heat it had been holding. In that way, the air conditioner is able to remove heat from the inside of your house and release it outside.

Your air conditioning system is also generally hooked up to a thermostat, which is what controls when the unit switches on and off. You can set the thermostat at the temperature you would like to maintain inside your house and the thermostat will signal the air conditioner to switch on when the indoor temperature rises above that level. And once the indoor temperature is again below the preset level on the thermostat, the air conditioner will switch off again.

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How Much Will a High Efficiency Air Conditioner Save You?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

When it comes to your air conditioning system, the energy efficiency rating really does matter. While you may be paying a bit more for products with higher energy efficiency ratings to begin with, you will certainly save a significant amount on your monthly cooling bills in the years to come.

Before you can evaluate your options in terms of energy efficient air conditioners, however, you will need to know how their efficiency is represented. Most air conditioners come with what is called a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). A higher SEER means a more energy efficient model, and likely a higher price tag as well.

But how much more energy efficient is a SEER 10 air conditioning unit as opposed to a SEER 11? Well, the truth is that it is about 7% more efficient. However, a SEER 14 will be 23% more efficient than a SEER 10, but only 5% more efficient than a SEER 13 model.

While all of these numbers can help give you some context in which to evaluate the various air conditioners out there, they can only go so far. Turning these percentages into dollars is what you really have to do when you are trying to figure out what your monthly or yearly savings will be.

So to give you a bit of perspective, imagine that your annual cooling costs come to around $480 with your current SEER 10 air conditioning system. If you choose to upgrade to a SEER 13, you will save somewhere in the neighborhood of $110. But if you opt for the SEER 14 instead, you will gain an annual savings of closer to $140 compared to your current bill.

Of course, the SEER of a particular air conditioner is not the only thing that will cause the price of the unit to rise, nor is it the only thing that can cause your monthly cooling costs to rise. Air conditioners also need to be matched to the size of the space they will be asked to keep cool.

If the unit you have is too small to effectively cool the area in question, you are likely paying more than necessary in terms of cooling costs for less than ideal results. Similarly, if your unit is too big, you will be paying too much no matter how high a SEER rating it has.

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