What a difference a decade makes.
Older furnaces may deliver only 50%-60% efficiency. If your heating and cooling system is over 10 years old, you might be surprised to find out just how many advantages there are to the new systems.
A properly installed furnace can provide 90+ AFUE heating efficiency. In fact, many of our furnaces exceed the EPA Energy Star rating. And with energy savings of up to 40%, the investment can be financially worthwhile. The savings on monthly utility bills will pay back the cost several times over the life of the equipment.
Other advances like computerized programmable thermostats, variable speed air handlers and the new scroll compressors on select models make newer systems quieter, more efficient and more comfortable than ever.
Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions which generally include these instructions:
- Keep air-supply outlets and return inlets clear of obstructions.
- Clear leaves, brush, and dirt as they accumulate on the outside unit. If there's a pipe for draining condensate water, check it for blockage.
- Check the air filter once a month during the operating season. Replace it if it looks dirty (some are washable).
Invest in a digital thermostat to program temperatures for your system to follow throughout the day. For example, if no one is home during the day, a programmable thermostat can run the air conditioner or furnace at a temperature that will require less energy, then the program can adjust itself to a temperature to your liking one hour before you come home.
Routinely have a professional contractor perform a pre-season check-up. Having your furnace inspected and serviced regularly is the best way to make sure you get the most from your investment. Depending on your area's climate, things like clogged filters, sooty flues and unlubricated fan motors can reduce your system's efficiency by up to 25%. Plus a trained technician can spot trouble--before you're left out in the cold. A check-up can save you time, money and keep you comfortable during the coldest days. Here are some of the services your technician will perform during a system check:
- Inspect your heat exchanger, unit wiring, flue pipes and all components.
- Check air filter, safety controls, fan switch, fuel line and shut-off valves.
- Clean burners, ignition components and blower wheels.
- Lubricate motors to ensure smooth and efficient operation.
- Secure all panels.
- Calibrate thermostat for accurate and efficient performance.
- Record system performance.
Energy efficient accessories can significantly enhance your total home comfort. Electronic air filters and humidifiers improve your indoor air quality.
Indoor air is often even more polluted than outdoor air. Pollen, dust, smoke from cooking and tobacco, animal dander and hair can collect in stagnant indoor air. Mold, the cause of almost 100% of chronic sinus infections, can infect duct systems.
Ask your dealer about electronic air cleaners. Much more effective than disposable and electrostatic filters, electronic filters can eliminate up to 99% of all household irritants.
Humidity is another important factor in your comfort - and your health. The low relative humidity of winter has been cited as a factor in throat and nose irritation. A whole house humidifier can solve the problem.
The new programmable thermostats can also increase your comfort and save you money.