A furnace is an appliance or device that is used to provide homes as well offices with the warmth and thermal comfort needed every time outdoor temperatures begin dropping during the fall or winter seasons.
Your furnaces would be an essential companion that will bring you joy and comfort amidst that cold weather. That is why it is very important to find the one that will keep you comfortable while not even costing you an arm or a leg to use.

When it comes to furnaces, there is no such thing as lack of options. Many industrial and residential big brands have varying and competitive products which make it hard for clients and customers to choose.
As such,the following topics would help you be equipped with the knowledge, terms and ideas that would essential to always have the right decisions for your home and business.
Understanding Furnace Energy Efficiency
In an overview, if one heating system operates efficiently and only would be needing just an annual tune up, one would not need to think of replacing the unit.
Every new gas furnace in the United States has an assigned Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)before it is made available to the product.
This is a whole number percentage format and refers to the amount of fuel in a heating system. For example, a heater with an AFUE rating of 85% percent uses that percentage on fuels and wastes 15% of it.
Based on market surveys, the most efficient heaters in the market is at AFUE ratings of 98%.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently requires a minimum energy efficiency rating of 78 percent for all heating systems except for those used in a mobile home.
The next question is, how do I determine if a furnace is highly efficient?
The Department of Energy or DOE mentions that there are several ways or techniques in determining the efficiency level of furnaces. The very first one is of course, via AFUE rating.
Ranges 56-70 percent in AFUE are considered low efficiency units whereas the most efficient ones range from 90-98. Mid efficiency units often settle at 80 to 83%.
Other than the rating, how would you set High Efficiency Units apart from the Mid efficiency furnace?
A. Mid Efficiency Furnace

AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating ranging from 80-83
Venting mechanism – Includes traditional metallic piping and/or chimney liner;
Utilize Venting on current remodel or upgrades
Fan Assisted draft and works and should be through roof
The Basic Operation Enhancements include electronic ignition, fan induced draft
It has a fan induced draft and also includes a small diameter flue.
Advantages of Mid efficiency are the retrofits that are simple, less expensive and late maintenance.
Disadvantages include Connection on and cannot be direct vent.

B. High Efficiency

AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating ranging from 90+ and above.
For the venting part, this must be vented according to the manufacturer’s instructions
This type often requires PVC
The venting can be direct vent or fan assisted draft and can be placed through walls
The Basic Operation enhancements include sealed combustion chamber, utilization of second heat exchanger to extract heat from the flue gas, lower temp flue gas, condensing and many fan pr burner controls
Advantages of High efficiency includes lower fuel consumption, produces less unwanted by products and easier installation.
Though it is more expensive compared with lower efficiencies, more maintenance is needed, the newer designs in the market are still not proven, more parts to break, condense disposal and more parts to break.

A mid efficiency furnace has an average fuel utilization efficiency running from 80% to 85%. This type of furnace works well on mid climate where it does not usually grow cold. It also will work from a cost perspective if one only plans to reside on a certain home or area of less than 5 years.
On a high efficiency rating for furnace on the other hand works with not so mild winters. High efficiency rated furnace has a rating of at least 90% or higher. In this field, the higher the efficiency rating, the more money you will save for energy costs.
As we proceed in distinguishing the different types of furnace, we highlight the different stages of each furnaces from single, to Two Stage and Modulating. As you view your furnace options in the market, it is best that you have a good idea on the distinguishing factors that sets one furnace with another apart from the manufacturer or brand.
This is common if you do not work in the HVAC industry or have not purchased a new furnace in the last 10 years. You would probably add these to the list of jargons that manufacturers use:

Single Stage
Two Stage
Modulating furnaces

Different Stages of Each Furnaces
A. What is a single stage furnace?
A single stage furnace has 2 stages or settings.
The thermostat in the house triggers the house to capture heat which eventually turns the furnace on and in maximum power. The furnace will continue to run until it reaches full capacity and the thermostat satisfied, then shuts off.
This is the cycle which somewhat gets uneven heat throughout the house. The furnace hits you with blasts of warm air that will deliver temporary thermal comfort, but unfortunately would not have the mechanism to maintain the heat which tags it as not very efficient.
B. Two stage furnace
The burner in a two stage furnace can run at two different levels. Different burners are programmed differently, at 60% and 100% for example.
Working with a two stage furnace is quieter and generates more even heat through the house. The longer and slower heating cycle gets rid of the abrupt heat flow which the single stage produces which can be quite uncomfortable as it provides better air filtration and air quality.
Two stage furnaces give buyers the best balance between cost and value. They are more expensive to purchase initially than a single stage, but run more quietly and efficiently.
C. Proceeding to the Modulating Furnace
Modulating furnaces run in very precise increments. Some models can run at 40% capacity and increase by .5% if the thermostat calls for it. Because they can manage temperature so precisely in your house, they usually run continuously at a very low setting.
The temperature in every room of the house remains consistent because of this continuous operation. The air isn’t blasting in then settling, then blasting. It’s constantly flowing.
Modulating furnaces can achieve up to 98% efficiency, meaning 98% of the fuel that goes into the system returns as heat.
A single stage furnace or 1-stage furnace means exactly what you think.  The furnace has only 1 setting (high) so whenever it’s operating, it’s running at full capacity-no matter how cold it is outside.  A single stage furnace is not as efficient as every time it turns on, it’s working at full blast to produce as much energy as possible.
With a variable speed furnace, the variable speed doesn’t refer to the furnace itself but to the furnace’s indoor blower motor.  Variable simply means that the blower motor operates at different speeds to more accurately control the flow of heated air to your home.  Its advanced technology is able to constantly monitor and adjust its blower settings to account for things in your home that restrict airflow, such as your ductwork, furnace location and even dirty filters.
With all the items and topics discussed about the furnaces, whether you need to replace a dead furnace or install an entirely new heating system, it will definitely entail a significant amount of investment.
Before even starting to shop for a shiny, high tech furnace, it is important to consult with a licensed HVAC technician or expert. The HVAC professionals would be able to identify the dimensions and specifications of the appropriate furnace for your house based on its size and configuration balance cost effectiveness and efficiency.
The first recommended question to throw to a HVAC technician would be the kind of fuel the furnace use which range from gas, electric or oil. Majority of the homeowners would stick to whatever they already had to minimize the labor and costs associated with extra installation of things such as duct work or running electric lines.
Other considerations include the location, size of the house and energy bills and will add to the factors on one’s decision of which furnace type, model and size is fitting to your house.
Average furnace prices
There are a lot of brands out there to choose from, and it’s important to do your research ahead of time before deciding which furnace brand you will go with. The one that works best for your house might not be the one that you recognize from radio or TV ads.
You will need to factor installation cost into your overall price if you plan on having it installed by a professional, which is recommended unless you have specific HVAC training.

Gas Furnaces – these are the most commonly used furnaces especially for areas with severe winter conditions. For an average house with average needs, which is an 80,000 BTU furnace with a 3 Ton blower that is installed in a first floor utility of a 2,000 square foot house. gas furnaces also has that option to be converted to a propane powered for a minimum fee. The average furnace cost for gas furnaces from brands like Bryant, York, Payne and Carrier runs from $650 to $1,200 while installation averages from $1,800 to $3,000.
Electric furnaces – these are the types of furnace that are predominant in areas that don’t endure harsh winters and are less in-demand versus that of gas furnaces. Electric furnaces themselves can operate at a high efficiency; however they are usually more expensive to operate since they use a lot of electricity to heat a home. For electric furnaces, brands really do make a big difference in pricing, and often the more well-known brands also attract better qualified HVAC professionals, so installation for top brands will be at a premium. Average furnace cost stands at $665 while the average installation costs is at $1,950.
Oil furnaces – Oil furnaces have been used longer than gas or electric furnaces, and they are commonly used in parts of the country that have a high availability of oil. Due to current oil prices, they are generally considered obsolete. As with gas and electric furnaces, installation costs are generally higher for the pricier furnaces since they are installed by HVAC professionals with more experience. Average oil furnace cost stands at $1,836 while the average installation costs is at $5,780.

Once a homeowner is already decided to get the most appropriate and fitting furnace, looking for the best person to install the unit will be the next activity. Knowing who to trust can be difficult though. Most especially since these are dozens of heating contractors you can choose from.
So how do you choose the best heating contractor?
Below are the three tools and resources that will help you be guided in finding a quality contractor to install your furnace:

Make use of the ACCA’s contractor finder – ACCA or the Air Conditioning Contractors of America is a non profit association that helps contractors work together and promote professional contracting, energy efficiency and comfortable indoor environments. The ACCA contractor finder helps you find an ACCA contractor member for any purpose in your zip code area. For furnaces, you should click on heating and put in your zip code.
Know the qualities of a good HVAC contractor and furnace installators – ACCA has put together tips for choosing the right contractor. These tips include a quality contractor performing checks and explaining changes necessary in your duct system, presenting options to help make better decisions in replacing your old HVAC system. Ask the contractors about his or her license. Verify if they are NATE certified technicians and have proven their knowledge of modern HVACR systems.
Ask the right questions to ensure quality installations – Questions including estimates, timelines and overview of the process prior installation. Make sure to get at least three estimates. This will help you find a quality contractor that is also within your budget.

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The heating system in every homes is becoming if not has already become a priority for many families.
It starts by having high awareness on the important details and information about furnaces, identify the most appropriate furnace for your homes through its energy efficiency ratings and output coinciding with the dimensions and characteristics of the project area and constantly coordinating with a resource person or a HVAC expert for repair and installation.
Let us not leave behind the fact that as a homeowner, one has that essential responsibility of ensuring constant maintenance of the system for the furnace to operate and fulfill its role assigned.
 

How the HVAC System Works

HVAC which stands for Heating, Ventilating or Ventilation and Air Conditioning is the technology of indoor and also for vehicular scope has the goal to provide thermal comfort and indoor air quality.
It makes use of different principles ranging from mechanical engineering, thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics and has been an important and integral part of residential and commercial establishments where safe and healthy building or structure conditions are regulated in accordance to temperature and humidity using fresh and regulated air.
Different HVAC units do their role in integrating and utilizing the three central functions of the system which includes heating, ventilating and air conditioning. It also includes certain means of air delivery and removal from specific spaces and reduction of air infiltration and maintains pressure relationships between spaces.
Know that we already know that controlling the temperature of air as well as the humidity in homes and buildings plus maintaining high air quality are the basic functions of the HVAC system but how HVAC works?

Below are several types of systems we would look at to determine how exactly the HVAC system works:

Split Air conditioning system

Let’s identify as to why it is called a Split air conditioning system. Since the unit includes components located inside and outside of the home, it is literally split into two components. Some terms associate it with Central air conditioning.
An outdoor unit comprised of the condenser and compressor, and an indoor unit with a fan and an evaporator coil, typically, a split air conditioning functions to remove the warm air from inside a home or structure and cycling it back as cooler or lower temperature air through a system of supply and return ducts or passageways.
The compressor pumps powered by electricity pumps refrigerant through the system to collect heat and moisture from the inside space. The heat and moisture is then carried away from the inside and is blown over the cooled indoor coil which cools the air. The heat collected in the coil is then pumped and distributed outside of the home while the cooler air cycles back inside.
This is particular in warmer climates and is very effective in doing its role. Some units feature a lower indoor noise level compared to free standing air conditioning units. It also ensures quality air as the air returns drawn out of rooms and filtered through an air filtrating mechanism. This removes airborne particles and the output would be cleaner and filtered air distributed to homes.

Mini-Split/Ductless system

Unlike traditional split HVAC systems that a HVAC technician installs, the ductless system does not rely and utilize ducts to carry and route air throughout the home. It is designed to heat or cool a single room. Space, zone or an addition to your house that may lack or cannot accommodate any ductwork.
A mini-split/ductless system is powered by electricity and comprised of a relatively small outdoor condensing unit and a compact indoor evaporator unit, which hangs on the wall to control and direct airflow. The mini in this type of HVAC system’s name is a direct reference to the indoor unit’s diminutive size and inconspicuous appearance. The indoor and outdoor components are connected via copper refrigerant tubing and electrical wiring, requiring an opening just three inches or less in diameter.
As per HVAC trainings and studies, these types of system are recognized as energy efficient and extremely popular in the United States.

Furnace

Misconceptions on furnace include the thinking that these are old technologies from the early 20th century which features a large gravity fed structure. However, in modern times, this presents a large contribution in indoor comfort all year round. Linking it with the mini split system as its counterpart, it does a great job in keeping the home or office warm during winter. The furnace fan or blower is also used to assist air conditioning system in circulating cooled air during warmer seasons.
From a gas furnace, heat is produced as an outcome of the combustion of natural gas in its burner. The heat is then distributed as the air passes from a heat exchanger blown and passes through certain ducts of the home.

Heat Pump or Air handler

A heat transporter which extracts warm air from your home during summer and then in turn reversing the operation to bring warm air during the winter.
HVAC explained through this system involves A heat pump is installed outside the home, similar to a central air conditioning unit the unit’s compressor circulating the refrigerant between it and the indoor air handler in turn absorbing or releasing heat en route, depending on the season. Unlike the furnace, it does not burn fuel to produce heat rather; it just uses electricity to move heat into or out of your home.

Thermostat

This technology ranges from the very basic and functional to the extremely sophisticated and feature rich ones.
In general terms, the thermostat controls the operation of the entire HVAC system and provides precise temperature regulation which has been an integral concept in HVAC training for contractors and service providers.
Newer digital, programmable thermostats such as ComfortNet™ Controlling Unit, feature both comfort- and efficiency-enhancing functionality. Programmable thermostats may be set to optimally regulate the temperature in any given spaces based on your preferred schedules and routine.

HVAC systems installed in homes and offices create thermal comfort and provide the needed air quality for healthier living, greater productivity and happy living. Of course, all units and technologies in place require a certain deal of maintenance and check every so often to ensure continuity of doing its role and to ensure having a longer life span.
It is a good idea to immediately call a HVAC company or service provider understand what the HVAC maintenance meaning is and to do the work mainly to inspect and do maintenance on the system ideally every fall and spring. They will make sure to check all wirings and mechanisms of the unit, which will be a bit complicated and challenging for home and business owners.
Regular HVAC preventive maintenance is the best and most effective way to ensure trouble free operation and sustaining optimum HVAC unit performance. It can help avoid the system from experiencing any system failure especially during the seasons when you needed these the most. It can definitely save considerable amount of money instead of waiting for that unfortunate event to transpire.
One has to do his or her respective role in prolonging the life and increasing efficiency of the system through HVAC maintenance.
That can be achieve by simply following the HVAC maintenance tips below:

Purchasing a filter if you have not secured one

The new high efficiency pleated filter available in the market now contains an electro static charge that works like that of a magnet attracting dust, dirt and the tiniest particles even those bacteria carrying particles. Check any local hardware stores or online for more details on this.

It is best to replace filters every 90 days

Though it is also best to check this on a monthly basis, if the original filter already looks dark and clogged, be proactive in replacing this already. Having pets inside homes may also increase the chances of replacing the filters at least every month.

Ensure that there is at least two feet of clearance around the outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps to create better output and optimum performance.
Remove and take away any debris which includes dried and fallen leaves, pollen, twigs and branches weekly especially during spring, summer and fall from the top and sides of outdoor air conditioning units as well as heat pumps. When using the lawn mower, prevent grass cuttings and clippings from getting into the unit which would create blockages and clogs which will in turn affect its efficiency.
On a monthly basis, regularly inspect insulation and refrigerant lines leading into the houses and ducts. If there is a considerable change in terms of the circulated cold air, immediately turn off the unit and inspect the tubes and channels. Replace these if missing or already damaged.
On a yearly basis, pour a cup of bleached mixed with water into the air conditioning units and drain to help ooze out build up of mold and algae which can in turn clog the system.

HVAC Maintenance Checklist for Outdoor units

Inspect and do a routine maintenance on the base pan for restricted drain openings and remove clogs and debris
Check the fan motors and fan blades for any wear and tear damages. Ensure that you lubricate older models as needed
Inspect the control box, linked with the controls or accessories, wiring and connections. The controls include the following:

Contactors and relays
Circuit boards
Capacitors
Heat pumps

HVAC Maintenance Checklist for indoor unit inspections

On older units and models, lubricate the motor and check if the fan belt is already up fro replacement
Check the combustion blower housing for lint, clogs or debris and clean as necessary
Make sure to inspect and check for any gas leaks in gas furnaces which would definitely smell big trouble if taken for granted.
Inspect flue system—check for proper attachment to the furnace, any dislocated sections, and for signs of corrosion. Replace if necessary.
Inspect control box, associated controls, wiring and connections
Monitor air conditioning and heat pump systems for correct refrigerant charge
Measure outdoor dry bulb temperature
Measure indoor dry and wet bulb temperature
Measure high and low side system pressures
Monitor gas furnace for correct line and manifold gas pressure—make adjustments as needed
Measure temperature rise and adjust airflow as needed
Check vent system for proper operation
Monitor system for correct line and load volts/amps

 

How to Set Up an HVAC System

 
HVAC systems are crucial to keeping us comfortable. They circulate air and provide temperature control. What makes a great system, though? As HVAC experts, we know that it’s all in the details. Here, we lay everything out, from planning the system to putting it together to checking its ultimate performance.
Requirements for an HVAC System 
If you’re looking for quality, you’ll want to be sure of the following things.

Check each room for heating and cooling loads. The size of a room is a big consideration when determining proper air flow.
Get a duct that will bring air into the room. You’ll also need a return system that will ensure proper circulation.
You’ll want to be able to satisfy those computed loads from step one. For that, you’ll need a handler that monitors the air pressure so that it stays within the requirements that it was designed for.
You need to make the return and supply systems work in harmony. Balance is key to keeping pressure neutral in each room and throughout the home.
Make sure you’re not losing (or gaining) any heat around your handler and register.
A funky odor can ruin your hard work. Check that no car exhaust or stale attic air is getting into the air conditioning. A good seal on your ducts can help with this.
Pressure gauges will help you know if your refrigerant is charged. You’ll also want to double check your burner.

Putting it Together: Your HVAC System
Grab your ACCA manuals and handbooks (or whatever guides you prefer; we’ll reference ACCA literature here) – you’ll need them for putting together and maintaining your air-conditioning system.

Determine the loads and airflow in each room that you are servicing (refer to Manual J).
Handbook D will be your friend when it comes to sizing up your potential duct system.
You’ll want to consult Handbook S to get your practical load just right.
You may run into construction jams when putting together your HVAC. By laying your duct system out, you can properly anticipate potential issues given the various limitations of the space.
Manufacturer’s specifications will come in handy when installing everything. As you’re going about it, make sure there’s nowhere that might leak air.
Before you really turn up the heat, see to it that your furnace burner and firebox are operating correctly.
Refrigerant charge comes down to properly tuning your superheat and subcooling. Measure them with care.
To keep your HVAC system humming, do one last look around for leaks, as well as spacing and air flow return. Finish up with a static pressure check.