furnaces are extremely efficient because they do not cycle on and off as normal
gas furnaces or heat pumps do. Every time a normal gas furnace starts, it uses
energy to heat the ductwork and the furnace itself. A variable-speed gas
furnace does not repeatedly start and stop because it continually adjusts the
speed at which heat is dispersed. While most furnaces and heat pumps maintain a
room temperature that is within three or four degrees of the desired
temperature, a variable-speed gas furnace, matched with the proper thermostat,
reduces the margin to one degree.
Additionally, because these
furnaces eliminate the noise and unsteady airflow associated with repeated
starts and stops, they are less noticeable to occupants. While most furnaces
and heat pumps use an AC electric blower motor, a variable-speed blower runs on
DC electric power. DC electric blower motors use about one tenth of the
electricity of an AC blower motor. It can cost as much as $350.00 per year in
electricity to operate a traditional AC furnace and as little as $35.00 per
year for a DC variable-speed blower motor.
Another cost savings advantage of
a variable-speed furnace is that it increases the efficiency of your overall
system. It can raise your air conditioner or heat pump's SEER rating by as much
as two rating points.
Finally, because the blower on a variable-speed gas furnace
continuously circulates the air through the filter, the air inside your home is
cleaner, especially if you have installed a high efficiency HEPA, electronic or
pleated media air filter system.
All-electric heat pumps
All-electric heat pumps combine air
conditioning and heating in a single highly efficient unit. While conventional
systems, such as furnaces, create heat by burning fuel or electricity, heat
pumps move, or "pump," heat from one area to another. In the summer, a heat
pump acts just like a central air conditioner; it collects heat on the inside
of the home and pumps it to the outside. During the winter, the reverse occurs.
The heat pump collects heat on the outside and pumps it to the inside. Because
a heat pump moves rather than creates heat, it can move
three to four times more heat than the energy it consumes. During especially
cold winter days, when an electric heat pump cannot sufficiently heat your
home, an auxiliary electric strip heater can make up the difference.
All-electric heat pumps can also come with variable-speed blower motors,
increasing your comfort and the efficiency of your system.
Energy Star Ratings
Energy Star rated equipment uses 10% less energy than other
equipment of the same type. You save GREEN!
|Dual Fuel / Hybrid
Dual fuel heat pumps are the most
efficient air source systems in the Metro Atlanta area today. They are
all-electric heat pumps, but instead of using electric strip heaters, they use
a traditional gas furnace to generate auxiliary heat. When it is very cold
outside and there is not much heat to pump, a gas furnace is more cost
effective than an electric heat strip heater. Again, the most efficient dual
fuel system would be one with a variable speed gas furnace.
furnaces. Gas furnace efficiency, or Annual Fuel Utilization
Efficiency (AFUE), indicates the percent of fuel burned that is converted into
heat for your home. A higher AFUE rating indicates higher efficiency and lower
gas bills. Modern gas furnaces are usually rated between 80% and 97% AFUE. In
comparison, AFUE ratings for many older furnaces fall between 50% and 60%.
Replacing an old 50% furnace with a new 80% furnace reduces fuel consumption by
more than a third.
Heat pumps and air conditioners.
The SEER rating is the primary efficiency rating of both heat pumps and
air conditioners. A higher SEER rating indicates higher efficiency and lower
electric bills. The U.S. Depart. of Energy mandated a minimum SEER rating of 13
for all systems manu- factured after January, 2006. For a comparison, a
15-year-old air conditioning system would likely have a SEER rating of around
6. Replacing that system with a modern 13 SEER system would cut your cooling
cost by more than 50%. Many homeowners find that new, highly efficient systems
pay for themselves in a short period of time through lower power and gas bills
and lower maintenance costs.
Sizing a system
Correctly sizing a gas furnace,
air conditioner, or heat pump system is extremely important. If the system is
too small, it will not adequately control the temperature of your house on
especially cold or hot days. If the system is too large, it will cycle on and
off frequently, creating excess noise, lower efficiency, and potentially
decreased humidity control. Since operating inefficiencies occur as the system
cycles on and off, additional cycles waste energy. For that reason, at Reliance
it is important to us to perform an in-home inspection before recommending any
new replacement system.
the name implies, zoning involves dividing your home into various heating and
cooling areas or zones. To increase the comfort and reduce energy consumption,
the system uses programmable thermostats and automatic zone dampers,
strategically placed in ducts to vary the temperature in different zones of the
house. For example, to ensure a comfortable sleeping temperature in the middle
of a hot summer night, the bedroom zone could maintain a cooler temperature
than the unoccupied living areas.
& the environment
The Environmental Protection
Agency has determined that CFC refrigerants harm the environment by
contributing to ozone depletion. Therefore, CFC's have been phased out in
automobile air conditioning systems and are being phased out of home air
conditioning and heat pump systems. The EPA has mandated that by the year
2010 manufacturers may no longer manufacture air conditioners and heat
pumps that use the current refrigerant, FREON (R-22) and must switch to making
units using environment friendly PURON
Refrigerant leaks on CFC systems.
Without refrigerant, a heat pump or air conditioner cannot pump
heat. In addition to damaging the environment, a leaky system loses its charge
and becomes very inefficient. An air conditioning system that has lost 10% of
its refrigerant is 30% more expensive to operate. Of course, recharging the
system results in further cost. However, any system losing its charge within
one year should be repaired or replaced and not simply
Environmentally friendly systems. Most
major companies now manufacturer HVAC systems that do not use CFC's. These
systems use alternative refrigerants, such as the new PURON (R-410a), that do not harm the ozone. When
you are ready to purchase a new system, consider installing a non ozone
depleting, environmentally friendly, PURON
Allergy to mold can cause serious problems, especially if it
infiltrates the ventilation system, which can help distribute airborne mold
allergens. There are various remedies that may help reduce the effects of mold
and other airborne allergens. The most effective method is to control the
amount of humidity in your indoor environment. Relative humidity should be kept
between 40% and 60%. Above 60%, mold begins to grow excessively and dust mites
proliferate. Below 40%, your nose may become dry and bleed, and your skin
becomes dry and flakey, food for those dust mites. In the summer months a whole
house dehumidifier is the best treatment to prevent excessive growth of mold
and dust mites, and in the winter, a humidifier can keep the dry skin and nose
bleeds under control. Ultraviolet lamps, placed in your ductwork, can kill
viruses, bacteria and allergens. Combined with a highly efficient air
filtration system the mold, bacteria and viruses, along with the dust can be
trapped and disposed of properly.
The Leader in
| Reliance carries the entire
line of Honeywell's Indoor Air Quality products; programmable thermostats, air
filtration systems from HEPA, Electronic to pleated media filters, humidifiers
& de-humidifiers, to Zone control systems.
|Things to consider before calling
Often, the seemingly worst problems have
incredibly simple solutions. Before calling our Service Depart, make sure the
problem is not one you can fix yourself. The following are quick fixes for
simple problems, and some advice for more complex problems.
Entire system does not run. A lack of electric power
is a common cause of system failure for an air conditioner, heat pump, or even
a gas furnace. Before calling the experts at Reliance, reset all circuit
breakers and check all fuses in the main electrical panel to ensure the system
Another common problem is the furnace door interlock switch.
Adjust the furnace door to insure the interlock switch is engaged. This may
happen after a filter has been changed.
Some systems are equipped with
a drain pan and cut-off switch. If the leaking water from the evaporator coil
fills the pan, a float switch will cut off the system to keep it from leaking
onto the ceiling or floor.
Water leaks around
the inside unit. Air conditioning units and heat pumps operating
in the Summertime condense moisture from the humid air onto the inside
evaporator coil. The system is designed to collect the water and transfer it
out of the house. A dirty drain pan or a blocked drainage tube can cause water
to overflow onto the floor or ceiling. Removing the dirt or clog may fix the
problem. See your owner's manual for specific instructions and safety
Temperature varies greatly from
room to room. This problem is an air distribution problem, not a
problem with the air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace. The problem is caused
by uneven airflow. Many homes are equipped with adjustable dampers inside the
air supply ducts to allow you to adjust the airflow yourself. Additionally,
each register is usually equipped with a damper to restrict the air entering
that room. Try fully opening the dampers in rooms with deficient air flow while
partially closing the dampers in other rooms. If the problem persist, zoning
may be a solution to air flow control.
flow from the vents seems weak. A dirty filter may be the cause. The
inside blower unit uses filters to protect the system from large dust, hair and
other airborne particles circulating throughout the house. The filter naturally
clogs and should be checked each month. Dirty disposable filters should be
replaced, while dirty washable filters should be cleaned with water and allowed
to dry before reinstallation. If a dirty filter is not changed or cleaned, the
entire system wears out faster and consumes more energy to maintain the desired
temperature you have selected.
When you do need expert assistance,
please call our Service Department at (770)
Since many minor air conditioning
and heating system problems lead to other, more expensive repairs, all problems
should be resolved promptly. Because many small problems go unnoticed, routine
system check-ups by one of our trained technicians are vital to your systems
efficiency and longevity.
Statistics show that nearly half of all emergency service calls
could have been avoided through routine service check-ups. Routine safety
checks on gas systems are especially important; each year many people in the
U.S. die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to
have one of our qualified technicians install a carbon monoxide detector near
your bed rooms where carbon monoxide would be most damaging.
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Regular service can also eliminate
the need for a service call during peak seasons, the first cold snap of winter
or the first hot spell of summer, when service technicians are in high demand.
Be sure to ask about our annual Planned Maintenance Agreement. We will service
your heat and air conditioning systems either twice a year or quarterly
depending on the plan you decide on.
Call our Service Department
at (770) 483-3850 for a system check-up.
entire Metro Atlanta area
and all of Central
For an in-home consultation
a Home Comfort Specialist
at (770) 866-1998