Dale's Refrigeration & Heating and Custom Heating and Cooling HVAC News & Helpful Hints
This page contains heating, air conditioning & ventilation news and helpful hints.
Check out our HVAC section for a list of all the products we sell & service.
Single-Stage, Two-Stage or Modulating Gas Valve?
Choosing a single-stage gas valve. two-stage gas valve. or a modulating-gas valve:
A single-stage gas valve runs at full capacity all the time. Even when your home only requires very little heat you’re furnace will run at full capacity, which uses more gas, which will reflect on your gas bill.
A two-stage gas valve starts at 65% capacity, only when required does the 2nd stage gas kick in (full capacity). On an average day, your 2nd stage-gas valve will usually turn on during the cold morning, but the sun will come out and your furnace will usually run on the 1st stage for the reminder of the day. This will save gas, and save you money.
Another benefit of a two-stage gas valve is quieter operation from the furnace, and a more consistent temperature with no temperature swings.
A modulating-gas valve introduces more stages, this allows precision temperature control. The benefits of a modulating-gas valve are they are among the quietest furnaces on the market; they reduce gas bills a little more, and are capable of controlling the temperature in your house to within .03 degrees
The Differences Between Single Stage, Two Stage, and Variable Speed Furnaces
Single Stage Furnace
Single stage furnaces, also known as single speed furnaces, only have one stage of heat output - high. They continually disperse the maximum amount of heat that the furnace is designed for, regardless of the temperature outdoors or in certain areas of your home. Imagine yourself going from a walk to a full out sprint every time you wanted to work out. This is how a single stage furnace operates - there's an "off" speed, and then an "on" speed with nothing in between.
This can be extremely costly for your energy bills in the winter since every time your furnace turns on, it's dispersing the most amount of energy it possibly can.
Two Stage Furnace
Two stage furnaces, also known as two speed furnaces, operate much more efficiently than a single stage furnace. The first stage of this type of furnace operates the majority of the time in most climates, and runs at about 65% of the furnace's full capacity. When the temperature outside becomes extremely cold and the first stage is not sufficient enough to heat your home, the second stage kicks on to provide the additional heat requirements. A 2 stage furnace provides the right amount of heat to efficiently satisfy your home and family's needs.
In addition, a 2 stage furnace is much quieter since it doesn't operate at 100% capacity every time it runs, and creates less carbon dioxide emissions for the environment.
Variable Speed Furnace
Unlike a single stage furnace and 2 stage furnace, a variable speed furnace doesn't actually refer to the number of stages your furnace goes through to provide heat; rather it refers to the fan motor in the furnace. In variable speed furnaces, the fan motor can move at different speeds to control the amount of heated air dispersed throughout your home. Better airflow results in a more comfortable environment in regards to both temperature and humidity.
Even when the furnace is not "on," the motor in a variable speed furnace can still operate to continually circulate air throughout your home. This feature allows for healthier indoor air quality since your air is constantly passing through the filter in your HVAC system and being cleaned of such things as bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. In addition, this advanced control over airflow can eliminate the need for the furnace to operate as often since air is constantly being distributed throughout your home. This can result in less energy consumption and lower utility bills every month.
Some of the variable speed furnaces available are the most intelligent on the market. Though they may cost slightly more upfront, their savings can quickly be realized in saved energy costs over the lifetime of the equipment.
Important News concerning the Department of Energy Regional Standard on heating equipment:
This is from a press release we received from our Lennox Corporate office, this is in part & not the full release, but you will understand why we feel it is so important to make the public aware of this.
In a Guidance Document released on July 2, 2012 the Depart of Energy announced the May 1, 2013 regional efficiency standards implementation will be regulated by the contractor "installation date."
1. May 1, 2013 Northern region contractors (meaning ANYONE) will not be able
to install any gas furnace below 90% efficiency levels.
a. Northern regions states are defined by a population-weighted heating
degree days equal to or greater than 5,000. (Meaning of course Wisconsin is included in this region)
2. Reporting and record keeping requirements have not been defined, and are not
expected until February 2013.
3. Cooling standards will not be addressed until January 1, 2015.
This was the letter in part!
What does this mean for you? If this law gets past and you need to replace an aging furnace whether it be in your home or in a cabin you will NOT be able to replace it with anything less than a 90% efficient furnace. So no matter where you prefer to shop you might want to start looking into replacing your aging unit now. If you want to stay with an 80% unit I would seriously consider replacing it NOW. I am also pretty sure that prices will be going up because of the new regulations that will be coming out. Call for your free estimate now.
HVAC helpful hints:
Servicing your heating system: Did you know that not having your furnace serviced for maintenance every year will void your furnace warranty. Extended service contracts DO NOT cover regular annual maintenance of your heating and cooling systems. If you have not kept up with your regular maintenance and your furnace has, for example, a 10 year plenum warranty, it will be null and void due to lack of proper maintenance. Don't believe us; read your owners manual under warranty or call or write to your furnace manufacturer. Give us a call to set up your annual maintenance on your HVAC system and help protect one of your homes MOST valued assets.
Furnace Filer changes a must! Have you changed your furnace filter? Depending on the type of filtration system you have in your home, you should change your furnace filters monthly. Don't forget to do this during the cooling season as well. Your cooling system uses your furnace blower to circulate the cool air throughout your home. Not changing your furnace filter regularly will end up costing you more money in the long run with such things as new motors, plugged furnace and more.
Furnace Reset: If you have to keep hitting the reset button on your furnace, call your local HVAC company immediately for service. This is a built in safety feature on your furnace for a reason. Your heating equipment is in need of maintenance, and this is your furnaces way of telling you and keeping you safe. Call for service.
Central air condition tips: Don't place lamps, TV sets, or other heat producing appliances near your thermostat. The thermostat senses the heat causing the air conditioner to no longer run in the summer and your heat to no longer run in the winter.
Dial for dollars: Remember that each degree you dial below 78 degrees increases your energy consumption by about 8 percent. If your monthly electric bill is about $100.00, you'll save $8.00 a month with EACH degree you can stand above 78 degrees.
It is hard to remember to tweak your thermostat before you leave, so consider buying a programmable thermostat, BUT remember not to have extreme changes or your central air unit may fall behind and not be able to catch up!
If your home has ceiling fans, switch your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise in the summer. That will push the cool air down. Remember to run the ceiling fans clockwise for the heating season!
Avoid landscaping with lots of rocks, cement or asphalt on the south or west sides of your home. If it's not shaded it will INCREASE the temperature around your home and radiate heat. Keep plants, shrubs, and other landscaping about two to four feet away from your outdoor unit to ensure adequate airflow.
Check back soon for more helpful hints and information.
Winter: This time of year with everything getting snow covered, don't forget to check your furnace vents to be certain they are not blocked. Blocked vents will cause your furnace to lock out. Be careful not to blow, plow or shovel snow so that you are blocking the vents on your furnace PVC vent pipes.
While out shoveling snow don't forget to remove snow from the top of your air conditioner or heat pump and away from the bottom of the unit as well.
Your heat pump draws air from the bottom & exhausts out the top & removing show will help it to work more efficiently. It will also save on the life of both types of units.
Also, if you are in a mobile home, be certain to remove snow from your roof vents. If snow piles up or blows into vents, you will have no heat.
Any further questions don't hesitate to call (715)284-5931 and we will be glad to answer all the questions we can. Stay warm and thank you for shopping local!
What's a MERV? The measure of a filter's effectiveness is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Most filters are labeled with a MERV rating number, which measures a filter's ability to trap particles ranging in size from 3 to 10 microns. Residential filters commonly have MERV ratings of 1-12. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is, and the more particles it can filter. MERV is an industry standard rating so it can be used to compare filters made by different companies. Below is an explanation of what a few of the MERV rating numbers mean:
* A MERV rating of 6 means the filter is 35-50 percent minimally efficient at capturing the measured particles.
* A MERV rating of 8 means the filter is 70-85 percent minimally efficient at capturing the measured particles.
* A MERV rating of 11 means the filter is 85-95 percent minimally efficient at capturing the measured particles.
The information was taken from the free online manual Indoor Air Quality and Mold Remediation Service Techniques - A Desktop Reference and Training Guide for IAW and Mold Remediation, by Robert P. Scaringe.
Before you buy:
If it’s time to replace your furnace before cold weather moves in, talk to an HVAC professional to determine the correct size system you’ll need. If the heating unit is too large for your home, it will waste energy by frequently cycling on and off. Choosing an ENERGY STAR® qualified system will allow you to save money on energy bills by heating or cooling your home more efficiently. Here’s a guide to some of the common terms you’ll encounter when shopping for a new heating or cooling system.
What does AFUE mean? Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: Like your car’s miles per-gallon rating, a higher AFUE rating means a higher efficiency unit. A furnace’s AFUE of 90% means 90% of the fuel is used to heat your home, while the other 10% is wasted in gases vented outside. Choose a higher AFUE to save more energy.
What is a BTU? BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, the unit of heatenergy that’s necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit, from 58.5 to 59.5. How does this apply to your home? Well, a 10,000 Btu air conditioner can remove 10,000 Btus of heat per hour.
What does EER mean? The EER, or energy-efficiency ratio of a cooling system, measures how efficiently the system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (usually 95F). A higher EER means a higher efficiency.
What is the difference between EER and SEER? The SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency ratio) is a measure of air conditioning system’s efficiency over an entire
cooling season, as opposed to a single outdoor temperature.
What is HSPF? Heating System Performance Factor: This is the measure of a heat pump’s estimated seasonal heating
output during spring and fall. Heat pumps with higher HSPFs are more efficient than heat pumps with lower HSPF ratings