Are you gifting yourself a high-efficiency furnace in 2018?
The best way to increase comfort while decreasing utility bill expenses is to make an upgrade to your heating and cooling system.
That being said, the process of buying a new HVAC system can feel a bit daunting. After all, they are not an everyday purchase. Since we are currently in the throes of the heating season, we’re going to talk about gas furnaces right now. Here are some things you would be wise to keep n mind while searching for the right furnace for your home.
- Efficiency. If you want a snapshot into the performance benefits of the new unit you’re buying – consider the efficiency rating. Furnace efficiency is measured with a percentage called the “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” or “AFUE”. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient the equipment. For example, a 96% AFUE gas furnace will convert 96% of the fuel you put into it into useful heating power for your home. Furnaces over 90% AFUE are considered “condensing” models.
- Sizing. Did you know why it is so important for your contractor to come over to your house before giving you a quote for a new system? Your home is unique – you are going to have certain requirements that don’t necessarily fit into a predetermined package. Sizing is one of those factors that is going to be specific to your home. Different sized homes need different sized equipment; however, square footage is not the only factor that determines the size of your heating equipment. Your contractor will take into account your home’s insulation, the number of rooms you have, your windows and more.
- Rebates and Financing. Afraid that you can’t afford the efficiency you want? Make sure to ask your contractor about current promotions and financing options. For example, a manufacturer rebate could bring the price of a high-efficiency furnace down to a point that is within your budget.
- IAQ Additions. Your heating and air conditioning equipment is your first, and main, line of defense against poor indoor air quality. Don’t forget to ask your contractor about IAQ additions (such as whole-home humidifiers, UV light systems or air cleaners).
- Maintenance Agreements. Annual maintenance is the best way to make sure your new equipment runs smoothly year after year. In fact, many manufacturers require maintenance as part of the warranty. A great way to make sure you never miss a maintenance appointment is to ask your contractor about a maintenance agreement. This way, you will be sure to get your cooling equipment checked every spring and your heating equipment checked every fall.
- Paperwork. Make sure you keep all of the paperwork that came with your equipment and was given to you buy your contractor. This way you are covered for the future should anything happen.
- Warranty. Is it your responsibility to register your warranty? Does your contractor take care of it? Make sure you ask your contractor about who registers your equipment for warranty coverage. Most manufacturers have an “out-of-the-box” warranty and a longer warranty that goes into effect after a piece of equipment is registered.
Ultimately, the most important thing you are going to do is choose the right contractor for the job. It is worth your time to research your local contractors. Here are a few red flags to look for when you are searching for a contractor.
- Quotes over the phone
- Little to no presence on the web
- No credible recommendations
- Gives you a quote before visiting your home
Need a good starting off point? Visit the Maytag local contractor finder.
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Do you have any resolutions for the New Year?
Are you ready to leave 2017 behind and ring in the New Year? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish over the past year? While you’re contemplating your personal resolutions for 2018, consider setting some home improvement goals.
Here are some examples of positive changes you can make around your home that can help make you happier, healthier and more content.
- Lower energy use. You can make little adjustments here and there to make sure that you are using the least amount of energy possible. Lowering energy use may be as simple as turning off the lights when you aren’t in the room, or unplugging things when you aren’t using them. There are also some big changes you can make that can have a major impact on how much energy you consume during the year. Here are a few:
- Replace older windows with new, energy-efficient windows.
- Invest in a high-SEER air conditioner or high-AFUE gas furnace.
- Lower utility bill spending. This resolution goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Your heating and air conditioning equipment makes up about 60% of your utility costs (on average). If you make some adjustments to how you operate your HVAC equipment, you could see major savings on your bills – like turning down your thermostat a few degrees during the winter and up during the summer, sealing windows and doors to prevent drafts and investing in a programmable thermostat for customized comfort. Here are some smaller changes you can make around your house to lower your utility bills.
- Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Invest in a timer for your Christmas lights.
- Avoid using space heaters for supplemental heating during the winter.
- Improve indoor air quality. You spend a lot of time indoors – especially during the peak cooling and heating seasons. You want to make sure that the air you breathe in is as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it may seem. Did you know that your indoor air is often more polluted than the outdoor air? here are some things you can do to make that fact not apply to your home.
- Invest in IAQ products like a whole-home air cleaner or UV light system.
- Set a reminder to change your furnace filter every month.
- Invest in a filter with higher filtration power – like a HEPA-grade filter.
Are you adding any of these to your home to-do list? You can start by calling your local contractor and scheduling a consultation for that new high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.
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What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
‘Tis the season for winter coats, holiday cheer and, hopefully, reasonable gas bills. Maytag HVAC wishes you a happy holiday season. With these well wishes in mind, here are some tips that can keep you warm and healthy this holiday season (and may even leave you with a little more cash for holiday festivities).
- Change your furnace filter.
- Invest/gift yourself a high efficiency HVAC system. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
- Keep vents unobstructed – no tree skirts blocking registers please.
- Invest in weather stripping or caulk to block air leaks around windows and doors. Don’t let a cold draft ruin your holiday party.
- Speaking of parties… Turn the thermostat down if you are having a group of people over. More bodies = more heat!
What are you looking forward to the most in 2018?
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Are you already sick of the cold weather?
The official first day of winter is the 21st of December. Chances are, the worst is yet to come weather-wise. Winter brings about parties with friends and family, holiday lights and assorted decor, but it also brings about cold drafts and slippery, snowy roads (unless you are fortunate enough to live in a place with mild weather). You want to make sure that your furnace is ready to tackle that cold weather when it rolls around.
Here are some winter home upkeep tips that can assure a comfortable, healthy holiday season.
- Keep your outdoor furnace vent free from snow and winter debris to make sure your furnace is properly venting out the byproducts of combustion.
- Turn off your holiday lights during the day and before you retire for the evening.
- Change your furnace filter to make sure your indoor air quality is high and it’s not blocking airflow.
- Talk to your local heating and air conditioning contractor about entering a maintenance agreement so you never forget your preventative maintenance appointment during the fall.
- Check for air leaks. If you find any, seal them up with caulk or weather stripping to achieve maximum comfort and efficiency.
- Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature. The Department of Energy recommends a setting of 68F during the winter.
Want to squeeze in a last-minute maintenance appointment? Get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like…
WINTER! That frightful winter weather has crept into many areas of the country already. While some homeowners are blessed with mild winters, others need to prepare for subzero temperatures and snow.
We’re not talking about temperatures in the 40s…we’re talking about temperatures that hurt your face as soon as you step outside. Here are some things you should have on your mind before, during and after an extreme cold front roll in…
- Be prepared for chillier indoor temperatures. There is only so much your furnace is going to be able to do to keep your home warm. There will come a point when even the best furnace is going to struggle to keep up with demand. Break out the sweaters and blankets, and drink a cup of hot cocoa.
- Don’t crank the heat. As mentioned above, it may feel like your home just can’t get warm enough. Resist the temptation to blast the heat. All you’ll achieve is a higher utility bill.
- Don’t be afraid to turn the thermostat down a degree or two. If your furnace is constantly running trying to reach the temperature you have your thermostat set to, consider a lower temperature setting. This way, your gas furnace will turn off sooner – saving money on utility bills and reducing wear and tear on your unit.
- Consider weather stripping around your windows and doors. Drafts during extremely cold weather may also be making your home feel like the inside of an igloo. You can pick up weather stripping at your local hardware store to help combat these drafts.
- Make sure your outside vents are clear. Do you know where your gas furnace vents the byproducts of combustion? Make sure your vent is clear from snow and winter debris to make sure those byproducts are exiting your home correctly.
- Registers and vents indoors should also be clear. Make sure furniture and rugs are not blocking your indoor vents either. You also want to make sure they were not accidentally closed. Blocked vents and registers can result in cold rooms and system damage.
- If you’re going out of town, have a neighbor check your home. During extremely cold weather, there could be too much strain placed on your gas furnace. This may cause a malfunction. If you aren’t home, the lack of warm air circulating through your home could result in frozen pipes and a number of other health and safety issues. Have a neighbor pop into your house each day to make sure everything is running smoothly.
- If you’re using a space heater, make sure you practice proper safety. During extreme cold, you may feel like you need supplemental heat. Temporarily using a space heater isn’t necessarily a bad thing (although it can result in a higher electric bill), but you must make sure that it is properly attended and that it is nowhere near flammable materials.
Feel like your furnace isn’t ready to tackle extreme cold? Get in touch with a local heating and air specialist.
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How do you plan on heating your home this winter?
Are you prepared for winter? Having a proper method for heating your home is critical during the colder months. It’s important for comfort and for making sure things like your pipes don’t freeze and burst.
Whole-home heating systems, like furnaces and heat pumps, are the best way to assure that your home is going to be set at the right, most comfortable temperature. However, there may be times when your central heating system is not available. Here are some alternative heating methods you can use for a short time while you are waiting for your heating equipment to be ready to use.
This is probably the most common alternative heating method. These smaller pieces of equipment can be powered by a variety of different fuel sources, such as: electricity, gas, propane, oil or wood. If you’ve decided to use a space heater, make sure you employ proper safety techniques. While they can provide a significant amount of heat, there are some drawbacks.
- Make sure they are monitored at all times.
- Keep them away from flammable substances like paper or fabric.
- Don’t run them too long. They can overheat and (if they are electric) raise your electric bill.
There’s nothing better than cozying up close to a lit fireplace during the winter. They can heat a room and create a festive environment. However, there are some things you should keep in mind so that you stay safe and comfortable while using one.
- Use an appropriate screen to catch embers and debris.
- Make sure to OPEN your damper when it is in use.
- Make sure to CLOSE your damper when it is NOT in use. A fireplace can act like a giant vacuum when the damper is open – all of your warm air is lost up the chimney.
- Keep flammable materials far enough away from your fireplace (e.g. paper, rugs, furniture, etc).
DO NOT use your oven.
We do not recommend using an oven or stove to heat your home, although this has been cited as an alternative heating method. This is incredibly dangerous and can, if natural gas or electric, raise your bills.
Remember, the best, most-efficient way to heat your home is by using a central heating system. If you are having issues with your gas furnace or need to replace your old one, make sure you get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor.
Are you upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace this winter?
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Is your furnace ready for the heating season?
The first day of winter is less than two weeks away. Chances are cold temperatures have already started sweeping into your area. Have you made sure your gas furnace is ready to tackle Old Man Winter?
It’s important to know best practices for heating your home during the winter. You want to make sure you take steps to stay happy and healthy. See our tips below to make sure that you spend less time thinking about the comfort of your home, and more time choosing the ugly sweater you are going to wear to your next holiday party.
Winter HVAC Tips
Worried that your gas furnace isn’t going to reach your set temperature fast enough? Resist the temptation to dramatically raise your temperature settings! Raising the temperature your thermostat is set to does not make your home heat any more quickly. All you’re doing is raising your heating bill and damaging your equipment.
Do you have a portable space heater for supplemental heating? Make sure you turn off any portable heating equipment when you aren’t in the room. An unmonitored space heater is a major safety hazard.
Speaking of safety… make sure your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. Test all of the detectors in your home to make sure they are ready to alert your family if there is a fire or the presence of CO in your home.
Do you have a fireplace? Make sure you close the damper when you aren’t using it. When your damper is open, your chimney acts like a vacuum. it sucks up the warm air in your living quarters. This can raise utility bills, cause longer system runtimes, and lead to increased system wear and tear.
Proper airflow is key to the efficiency of your HVAC equipment. Make sure you change your furnace filter before the start of the heating season. Not only is a dirty furnace filter a way to decrease airflow, but it can also dramatically lower the quality of your indoor air. Noticing more dust around your house? This could be due to a dirty furnace filter.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for a cold winter heating season is schedule preventative maintenance with your local heating and air conditioning contractor. They can make sure that everything is in working order and running as efficiently as possible.
Are you ready for winter?
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Has warm weather officially moved out of your area?
Fall is ending, and the first day of winter is going to be here before you know it. Are you ready to put away the cooling equipment for the winter? If you have an air conditioner, this may be a question you want to ask yourself before the first snow falls.
Here are a couple things you will want to do to get your air conditioner ready for a long, cold winter.
- Make sure you clear any leaves or debris away from your outdoor equipment. When it comes to the efficiency and longevity of your heating and air conditioning equipment, airflow is key. Restricted airflow can cause many problems such as decreased system lifespan, increased utility bills and decreased comfort during the summer. Clearing autumn leaves and debris away from your air conditioner before the start of winter can make the process of turning your air conditioner back on during the spring simpler.
- If you noticed issues with your air conditioner during the cooling season, consider replacing your equipment during the winter. This way you won’t spend days during the hotter months without your air conditioner. Just make sure you have your contractor come out before the start of the cooling season to make sure your system is properly charged.
While you’re preparing for winter, don’t forget to give your local heating and air conditioning contractor a call for preventative maintenance. This will ensure that your heating equipment is ready to tackle the cold weather.
How do you prepare for winter? Have you changed your furnace filter yet?
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Have you already experienced your first snow of the year?
Are you hoping for a snowy holiday season? There’s nothing quite like snow around the holidays. However, while it can create a festive atmosphere, there are some things you’re going to want to keep in mind when it comes to your home comfort equipment – particularly if you have a heat pump.
Some of these tips are geared at keeping you safe, while others are focused on keeping your utility bills low. Ensure you have a happy holiday season by following the tips below.
Advice for heat pump owners:
- Don’t have your unit installed directly on the ground. This is to avoid potential air restriction and blocked drainage due to snow and ice build-up.
- Consider planting shrubbery to block heavy winds. Just make sure to allow clearance for service calls and proper airflow – at least two feet.
- Don’t be alarmed by defrost mode. When your heat pump is in defrost mode, it will temporarily reverse operation so that warm air is being supplied to your outdoor equipment. This is to melt any ice or snow that may have accumulated on the system. This is perfectly normal and should not last too long.
- If it gets particularly cold, consider pairing your heat pump with a gas furnace. This way you can always use the most fuel-efficient source for the temperature.
Advice for gas furnace owners:
- Make sure your exhaust pipes are clear or snow and debris. The waste materials produced by your gas furnace during operation need to go somewhere. Make sure your flue is not blocked.
- Resist the temptation to dramatically raise the temperature in your home. This will not warm your home more quickly, will raise your utility bills and may damage your unit.
- Change your furnace filter. A clean filter is good for maintaining premium air quality and maximum airflow. Try to remember to change your furnace filter once-a-month.
- Don’t forget your annual maintenance appointment. This is the best way to make sure that your gas furnace of heat pump is ready for the heating season. Also, before your appointment, make sure that if it has snowed or iced outside, your walkway is clear. Your contractor will greatly appreciate it.
Have you scheduled your annual maintenance appointment with your local HVAC contractor yet?
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Are you ready for colder weather?
The holiday season is fast approaching. What does that mean? Well, colder weather will be arriving sooner rather than later. Is your home ready to keep you comfy during the winter?
There are many things you should do to get your home ready for winter. If you don’t take these steps, you could end up with an uncomfortable home or astoundingly high utility bills.
- Seal air leaks around your windows and doors. Air leaks can hurt comfort and your wallet. There are products out there than can quickly seal up air leaks around your windows and doors – like caulking or weather stripping.
- Clean your gutters. Don’t forget to have all the leaves removed from your gutters before the first snowfall.
- Close your chimney damper when it isn’t in use. Did you know that your chimney acts like a big vacuum when your damper is open – warm air rises. If you have a chimney, make sure you close your damper after each use.
- Make sure your attic is insulated. Again, warm heat rises. You want to make sure that your heated air is not escaping out of cracks in your attic or roof.
- Don’t be afraid to turn the thermostat down a degree or two. Small adjustments can make a world of difference. Turning your thermostat down a few degrees is not going to affect comfort too terribly.
- Have someone come out and perform an energy audit on your home. Find out where you could save money on your monthly heating costs.
- Schedule preventative furnace maintenance with your local heating and air conditioning contractor. Ultimately, preventative maintenance is going to be the best way to keep your home safe and comfortable this winter. Your contractor may also catch small issues that could be causing higher utility bills.
What are some of the other things you do to get ready for winter’s chill? Have you scheduled your preventative maintenance appointment yet?