Do You Need to Replace Your Furnace? 5 Warning Signs

The days are getting shorter, leaves are changing colors, and Jack Frost is getting ready to visit. It’s a perfect time to make sure your furnace can get you through the winter. Below is a checklist below to help you determine if it may be time to replace a furnace or at least make some tune-ups to your existing furnace.

1.) Your equipment repair costs and energy bills are steadily increasing

Older furnaces work harder to provide the levels of heating they did when they were new. This means higher energy bills and more frequent repairs. A slight increase in both is OK for an older furnace but once you begin seeing significant bill increases and your furnace repairman knows you by name, it may be time to look into getting a new furnace. The amount of money you will save in the long run from a more efficient unit will be worth the short-term investment.

2.) Your furnace is more than 15 years old

If your furnace is past its 15-year mark and beginning to have maintenance issues, there is a very likely chance it will need to be replaced. It may be working, but it is likely not operating at maximum efficiency and your utility bills are probably at all time highs as a result.

Furnaces are like cars; the older they are, the more maintenance they need, usually incurring the most breakdowns in the last two years of their lives. If your furnace is roughly 15 to 20 years or older and you have a repair costing more than 15 percent of a new furnace, you should go ahead and replace it (because it is more likely to break down again soon).

If your furnace is operating with little to no maintenance issues but you’re noticing a higher utility rate and you’d like to get your bills down, there may be some lower cost solutions for you. Some alternative options may be updating your thermostat to a programmable one, cleaning or updating your duct system, purchasing an electric fireplace or portable heater, or just adding some extra blankets around the house. Call one of our HVAC experts to help you determine which option is best for you.

3.) The rooms throughout your home are different temperatures

An inefficient and old furnace can result in some rooms being colder or warmer than others. This is likely the result of an old furnace and outdated duct system losing its ability to distribute heat evenly throughout the house.

4.) Your home has soot around the registers

An older furnace may begin spewing out dust, dirt, or rust particles, which can be not only irritating for those who aim to keep a clean house, but dangerous to everyone’s health. When you spy soot or rust around the furnace or registers, this is a sign your furnace has too much CO2. It can also cause excessive dryness, affecting the walls, wood flooring, furniture, and plants in your house. If you notice plants starting to wilt, or family members are experiencing dry eyes and itchy throats, or headaches, it may be time to replace a furnace.

5.) Your furnace is noisy

Furnaces tend to make some noise when they turn on and off, but if those noises start to get progressively louder, it may be time to replace your unit. These sounds may come in the form of popping, banging, humming, or screeching. This could be a telltale sign that you may need to replace a furnace or some parts within the furnace. The reason for some of these sounds could be:

  • Rattling: Unsecured ductwork, loose screws or sheet metal can be the cause of this sound. It may also mean the lower motor is not properly balanced.
  • Popping: This sound can happen when parts within your furnace warm and cool in response to temperature changes within your system.
  • Humming: Your fan motor may produce electrical humming sounds, but the fan should never be loud or disruptive. If it is, your inducer motor or blower fan motor could be starting to fail.
  • Screeching or Squealing: These noises are a sign there is an overall issue with your blower motor or inducer motor. Possible issues could be a loose bearing, deteriorating belt, or an issue with the pulley that holds the belt.

Why Your Old Heating System Could be Costing You More Than Just Maintenance Costs

As technology advances, new and improved models are introduced to the market that offer many advantages above what their older counterparts produce. This is true with just about everything — including your heating system. While an older furnace or heater may still be functioning fine, chances are that it is more expensive to operate than a newer system.

Loss in Efficiency

As heating equipment ages, it loses efficiency. Plus, newer heating equipment has a much higher efficiency than your older system was in its prime, thanks to new regulations. Operating an older, less efficient system costs you far more in energy expenses than operating a new system — enough so in many cases that it can pay off the cost of installing the new unit in a short period of time.

Not as Effective System Control

Older heating systems don’t have the control options which are available on newer models. This lack of control can’t keep you as comfortable and can cost you more in energy use. It’s not just your old furnace or boiler that’s the problem; an outdated thermostat is a major control problem. If your system or thermostat has a simple “on/off” option, you should look into upgrading now. New technology, such as zoning, offers additional control over home comfort and energy use which older systems don’t.

Use of Expensive Fuels

The price of various heating fuels has fluctuated over the years. When your heating system was originally installed, the fuel source used may have been a cost-effective choice; now, it may be costing you much more than alternative energy sources. Upgrading to a new heating system that utilizes a cost-effective energy source will help you lower your heating bills throughout the colder months.

Natural energy is becoming a popular choice for heating equipment. Heat pumps extract energy from the outdoor air, the ground, or a water source to provide the heating your home needs. They keep your home comfortable for a fraction of the cost of an older, inefficient system and are considered to be an environmentally friendly option.

Do you think it’s time to replace your furnace? Call us for a FREE estimate: (707) 400-6975. Remember to Like us on Facebook (click here) and follow us on Twitter (click here).

What Homeowners Need to Know About HVAC and Home Automation

As technology evolves, it’s important to stay on top of ways in which you can utilize smart tech and home automation to your advantage as a homeowner. This is especially the case for your HVAC unit in terms of performance, maintenance and energy efficiency. The ability to get real time data on how your HVAC system is performing and control your unit remotely from your smartphone, gives homeowners the power to maximize their home’s energy efficiency, but only if they understand how. Here is what you need to know about how home automation can benefit your HVAC system.

It allows for the most efficient energy use

A smart thermostat can be programmed in a number of ways to save you money and help your system perform better, longer. From timely starts and stops at hours in which you are and aren’t home, to only running in certain zones of your house while you are home, a smart system can take away the burden of constantly monitoring your HVAC system to cut costs.

Home automation makes remote HVAC control possible

Wondering if you forgot to turn down your thermostat before you left for the office, or for a long vacation? Having a surprise visit to your unoccupied home? From your mobile device, you can check on your system and, if necessary, adjust your thermostat from anywhere in the world. This is not only great for the frequent flyer, but it gives homeowners the versatility to live whatever lifestyle they want, while being a responsible homeowner.

If you forgot to program your system, you can change your system’s settings as you enter your vehicle and by the time your commute is over, your home will be set to your desired comfort level.

Homeowners are given real time reports

The Côr™ Home Automation System is the heart of a smarter, more secure home. This easy-to-use, professionally installed system teams three industry leaders, providing comfort, safety and security that you can take with you. If cutting costs means more to you than home comfort, your system will be able to tell you ways in which it could operate more efficiently. Humidity is a major contributor to home comfort and home entegrity. A smart thermostat can read your home’s humidity levels to ensure that your home is as comfortable as possible and that humidity is not slowly damaging the wood inside of your home.  The Bryant® Housewise Wi-Fi thermostat is our recommendation.

At All Weather Heating, Air & Solar, we’re dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and informing our customers on how the latest technology can improve their home’s comfort, air quality and energy efficiency. If you want more information on how home automation and HVAC come together to make your life easier and more comfortable, call our office to speak with one of our expert HVAC technicians at (707) 400-6875. We would be more than happy to send one of our Vacaville HVAC experts out for a FREE estimate to install an automated HVAC system in your home. 

 

 

 

 

Spring is a Week Away, but the Heat is Already Here

Have you “felt the heat” recently? In 2017 Spring Equinox starts on Monday, March 20, bringing with it rising energy bills for air conditioning and home comfort.

You can save money, reduce energy usage and be ready for summer when the heat really hits us by installing or upgrading to high-efficiency rated heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and going solar to power it all.

Depending on factors like the age of your current system, lifestyle, etc., you could cut your monthly energy bill in half.

Tax Credits

Tax credits are available for purchases made in 2017. ENERGY STAR products eligible for tax credits are independently certified to save energy, save money and protect the environment. Use up to 30% less energy in your home by outfitting it with ENERGY STAR products available across more than 70 categories. Click Here for more details.

Solar Energy in California

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30% federal tax credit for solar installations on both residential and commercial properties, reducing the tax liability for individuals or businesses that purchase qualifying solar energy technologies.

In addition to the federal ITC, California also has state and municipal incentives that can be seen via the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). We can provide most up-to-date information on solar incentives when you schedule a FREE estimate with us. Click Here for links with more information.

More Ideas for Savings

Most importantly, you should practice preventative maintenance on your systems, new or old, for optimal performance.

We recommend getting a tune-up before the summer to make sure everything is in proper working order. Like an oil change on a car, you really should do it to help make sure that the engine won’t break down.

Check the air filter often for dirt, pet hair, grass and other debris. Shutting the system off when mowing the lawn can help prevent clogging, and will help those who have allergies in your home.

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The Latest in Home Automation

Now you can monitor and control components of your home from virtually anywhere. This remarkable new system puts remote access to your thermostat, lighting, home security and more right in the palm of your hand. Optional add-on equipment and over-the-air software upgrades make this system highly customizable, expandable and future-proof. Watch this brief video, then call us to schedule an appointment for a free estimate: (707) 400-6875.

All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning goes Solar!

 

 

All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning has now added “Solar” to its installation services. We are now a SolarWorld dealer. Installing a complete Solar, Heating, and Air Conditioning systems is the best, most efficient option for the long run. If you would like a FREE estimate for a complete system or for just the solar system, call us at (707) 400-6875.

Myth Busters: 8 Ideas About Energy Efficiency Debunked!

Many people wonder if the so-called ‘facts’ they hear about energy efficiency facts are true or not. In reality, there are many energy efficiency myths hiding among these statements. Most of these need to be debunked in order to bring in some degree of clarity.

Common Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked

There have been claims that turning the lights on and off in the course of the day takes more energy as opposed to leaving them running. This is false, in light of modern technology. Previously, commercial lighting used fluorescent bulbs that took a long time to turn on completely. These consumed a lot of energy in the process. Modern fluorescent bulbs take much less time to light up. Unless the fixture hasn’t been replaced for more than 5 years, any light that’s not being used for more than 10 seconds should be turned off.

Leaving Ceiling Fans on While not in a Room

There have been claims that this helps in cooling. However, the fact is that these fans cool people rather than rooms. Unlike AC units, fans simply recirculate air and create a draught, but don’t actually change air temperature. One can save money by turning off the AC and using the ceiling fan only when the room is occupied.

Turning Thermostats up/down Several Degrees Heats/Cools a Building Faster

The role of a thermostat is simply to regulate temperature. This involves telling the heating/cooling system when to turn on/off once a certain room temperature is attained. As such, the device doesn’t work harder when the temperature is changed; it only makes the HVAC unit work longer. A programmable thermostat would help in saving energy because one can set it based on their schedule. Shades can also be used to regulate room temperature by controlling sunlight.

Turning a PC on and off Wastes Energy

Like light bulbs, older computers experienced wear and tear from constantly being turned on and off. Modern machines are however okay with being used this way. When using a desk top, one needs to remember that the monitor uses more energy than the hard disk. Such components thus need to be shut off when not in use.

Electric Space Heaters Help Save Money

This depends on whether one uses the device correctly. Typically, electricity is more expensive than natural gas. This hence makes the use of electrical heating devices more expensive than using furnaces.

Leaking air is Caused by Doors and Windows

While these play a significant role in securing indoor air, severe leakages are usually due to holes in the ceiling and air ducts. These thus need to be checked constantly and repaired if faulty. One may however install weather stripping around doors and windows to increase efficiency.

Some also think that more energy is used to cool a building when the HVAC unit has been turned off during the weekend than it would to keep it running at a slightly higher temperature. The fact is that shutting such units down completely always saves energy. A programmable thermostat would be more helpful in saving energy in such cases. If the thermostat doesn’t provide an option to turn off in certain times, one can add a step to the opening and closing stages that includes switching off the device when necessary. In the cold season, it’s more important to keep a building warm enough to avoid frozen pipes. In warmer climates however, it’s safe to completely switch off the cooling devices.

A number of people also carry the notion that they can only decrease their energy consumption by buying a new set of equipment. Energy use is however one of the costs that are more controllable in most homes. Shifting the inhabitants’ behavior can help one realize this. Such include remembering to switch off lights, closing shades, shutting computers down and adjusting the thermostat. Follow our blog for more great HVAC information.

How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The Winter?

Many homeowners are thinking of ways to lower winter energy bills. One in ten families say winter utility bills are already a cause for concern, but how do we safely reduce energy cost in winter? It’s expensive to heat the home, but any winter electricity reduction must be planned carefully. Make a few simple home adjustments to lower the amount you spend on utilities. Here are some tips to lower winter energy consumption:

Maintain your Furnace

A clean, unblocked furnace reduces annual energy usage. Service the furnace in spring and fall, replace the furnace filter monthly.

Insulate your Home

Buy inexpensive insulation from the DIY store. Insulate areas where heat can escape, for example, install foam weather stripping on the windows and doors. Energy is expensive and a home without insulation uses more power.

Heat the Rooms you Use

Heat the rooms used daily to reduce winter energy bills. Close vents in guest rooms and storage areas to make the home more energy efficient. Heat the main room with a space heater, set the thermostat to sixty degrees.

Turn the Heating Down During the Night

The Department of Energy says homeowners who turn the heating down overnight have lower winter heating bills. Turn the thermostat down ten degrees at bedtime and buy warm bedding to keep the family comfortable.

Buy Warm Clothing

Treat the family to warm sweaters and woolly socks. Ask family members to dress warmly to reduce energy cost in winter. Buy cozy throws for the couch and encourage the family to use the blankets during winter.

The Sun Provides Free Heat

Warm winter sunlight will penetrate South-facing windows. Open the blinds to let the free warmth into your home. Shut the curtains as soon as the sun sets to retain the heat.

Homeowners must maintain comfortable temperatures when making plans for winter electricity reduction. There are many ways to reduce home energy usage, but these simple tips will save energy and lower winter power bills. We have a wealth of tips on how to reduce your winter energy charges. So, call us to learn more about energy savings.

Curious About HVAC Efficiency Standards?

In 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy made great efforts with HVAC Efficiency experts and utility workers to improve the HVAC Efficiency standards for HVAC equipment. Sadly, this is still something ongoing in court and was unable to be started in 2013 as planned. The reason for this pause was due to the increased standards possibly harming the finances of people who installed the broilers and gas furnaces in their homes.

To put this into motion and start the process the Department of Energy segmented the country in terms of climate and raised the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) minimum to 90 for those installed in northern states. The current minimum is only at 78, meaning only furnaces that have an AFUE of 90 are the ones known as condensing furnaces. This means that these ranked 90 wastes only 10 percent of the used fuel, making them remarkably sustainable.

These do improve the HVAC efficiency standards. However, the downside is that they may be challenging in terms of fitting them into certain styles of homes, making them expensive as they use different venting. A condensing furnace is different then a standard one because it uses two exchanges instead of one. The second one takes the heat from heated water vapor and uses it to warm your home. This is different because it does not send it into the chimney and outside. The vapor helps condenses and drains into the plumbing of the house instead. One problem with fitting these into a home is that they need access to an exterior wall. This can prove to be very expensive and problematic for certain people. HVAC Efficiency experts argued this cost might be too high for some people.
As this case is slowly making its way through the court system, the minimum will remain at 78 AFUE. This means that homeowners can lower their fuel costs and consumption by changing to higher AFUE equipment such as condensing furnaces. If you wish to learn more about the HVAC Efficiency standards, you should contact your local HVAC experts. They will be able to answer questions about AFUE and many other things to get you started on your way to better heating for the home.