Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Archive for September, 2012

Why AFUE Ratings Matter When Installing a New Furnace

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When you are in the market for a new furnace for your Alpharetta home, there are several reasons you should pay attention to the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. All newer model furnaces get an AFUE percentage, which measures how much fuel a particular model converts into heat. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings are more efficient, but the size and type of furnace will also factor into how much you’ll save on energy costs.

Understanding the AFUE Ratio

The minimum AFUE rating for new furnaces is 78%. This means that seventy-eight percent of the fuel is turned into heat, and the remaining percentage is lost either through poor insulation, air leaks, or the ventilation system in the home. Because there’s no heat loss through a chimney flue, some all-electric furnaces can have an AFUE rating as high as 98%. However, if the cost of electricity used to meet your normal heating needs is higher than the efficiency savings, you may want to consider other options. Talk to a qualified Alpharetta heating contractor for advice about the most cost-efficient heater for your home.

Furnace Efficiency Features

Furnaces manufactured 15-20 years ago have significantly lower AFUE ratings (between 55%-70% for most older models) because they are typically single-stage, or single-speed systems. Single-stage furnaces are less efficient because they are designed to cycle on at full capacity and shut off when the desired temperature is met.  Newer, two-speed models have a second setting that runs consistently at a lower speed, which saves energy by burning less fuel. Multispeed furnaces that have variable-speed blowers are the most efficient because they operate at various levels and automatically adjust to the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature.

If you look at the AFUE ratings for multispeed and variable-speed furnaces, the ratios should be above 80%. Keep in mind that this only determines the efficiency levels for the furnace itself. You’ll need to factor in whether or not your home has proper insulation and other upgrades, such as double-paned windows and doors.

Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to speak with one of our qualified HVAC technicians about a furnace upgrade for your Alpharetta home.

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Why Is My Furnace Making Noise?

Monday, September 17th, 2012

It is easy to take our Bryson City furnaces for granted, but without proper maintenance, they can become noisy. There are a few ways you can prevent this. At the beginning of each season, scheduling an annual inspection and filter change with Premier Indoor Comfort Systems ensures a longer life and more comfort.

Rattles and Bumps in the Night

At the first sound of trouble, checking the filter can often be a quick fix.  As air passes through the furnace, a filter picks out much of the dust and some heavier particles that have come along, gotten snagged and accumulated over time to create a solid blockage.

This filter can become clogged and force the furnace to work much harder to push the air through the blocked passage. Located just inside the front panel of the furnace, the filter is very accessible and easily exchanged for a clean one.  This should be the very minimum of regular maintenance and is simple enough to do that it can make anyone feel handy.

Deeper Trouble

Heated air and cold air returning to and from the furnace travel through ductwork which is often metal (those long, silvery boxes tucked up between joists in your basement and covered by a nasty layer of cobwebs).  The vibration of footsteps across the floor overhead or even of just the air movement through the ducts can loosen the fasteners and rattle the metal like a rumble of thunder.

Internally, there are fans and lots of moving parts in the motor.  A noise coming from this area portends a repair of a more complicated nature and should have the inspection of a certified technician, a service easily provided by Premier Indoor Comfort Systems.

With proper care and maintenance, Bryson City furnaces are built to last for decades, providing heat and comfort to the home or office and improving the quality of life for the people inside.  Consult with Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to ensure the efficient operation.

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What To Do If Your Furnace Keeps Turning On or Off?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Furnaces are designed to last decades without major problems so long as they are regularly maintained.  However, even the best systems have problems. An indication of trouble can be your Atlanta furnace continually turning off and on in short bursts.

Possible Problems

A furnace constantly turning on and off could often be a direct result of poor airflow through the system.  Heat builds up and the detectors sense the proper temperatures have been reached and automatically shut down.  In the room, the thermostat calls for more heat and starts the cycle over again.

A relay switch or control valve may also be worn and working improperly.  A crack in the heat exchanger might fuel the flame to burn too hotly and cause the sensor to misinterpret the information and shut down.

These problems not only impede the distribution of heat to the living spaces, decreasing comfort, but also create intense wear on the motor and controls, threatening the very life of the appliance.

Simple Solutions

Restricted airflow can be caused most often by a dirty or clogged filter.  At the furnace, there is usually a panel that can be removed to check, clean or replace the filter.  It is typically a single or series of cardboard and screen panels approximately 1′ by 2′, but varies by manufacturer and furnace output.

A vacuum to pull lint free or compressor to blow it clean are the recommended tools to use a few times each year.  It is a good idea to change the filters at the beginning of each heating season. The belts are also easily replaced.

The fan belts for the blower may also be worn loose and not pushing the air hard enough to get through the filters.  It is a good idea to check them regularly as well.

Call an Atlanta Heating Professional

When in doubt, call the experts out.  Scheduling an annual inspection and service with Premier Indoor Comfort Systems takes the worry out of living in a furnace heated home.

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Types of Geothermal Loop Systems

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

From the Greek word “geo” for “earth”, geothermal energy is generated by the natural process of heat gravitating toward cooler temperatures.  The by-product can be captured and utilized simply as heat or converted to electricity. In small, self-contained residential or large commercial applications in Atlanta, this typically happens in either closed or open looped systems.

Closed Loops

Systems using water or anti-freeze that run from the pump into the ground and back to the pump continuously are closed looped.  Most efficient for smaller residential systems where land is available, two or three horizontal loops are side by side just a few feet underground.  Sometimes the loops are spiraled underground to extend the overall length in a shorter area.

Where the need for length may be prohibitive to run alongside the building, large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems.  A series of holes four inches in diameter are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100–400 feet deep and filled with two pipes connected at the bottom to form a loop. Each loop is connected with a horizontal manifold pipe in a trench which connects to the heat pump in the building. Vertical loops are also the choice when the soil is too shallow for trenching.  This system minimizes the disturbance to existing landscaping.

If the site has an adequate water body, a pond/lake loop may be the lowest cost option where a supply line is run underground directly to the water and coiled into circles at least eight feet under the surface to prevent freezing before looping back to the building.

Open Loops

An open loop system takes surface water or a well to use as the heat exchange fluid that circulates directly through the GHP system instead of a piped fluid passing through the surface. Once circulated through the system, the water returns to the ground through the well or a discharge over the surface.

For more information about installing a geothermal system in your Atlanta home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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