4 Heating Mistakes That Are Costing You Money

4 Heating Mistakes that are Costing You Money

Winter is here and with it brings chilly homes, high heating costs, and leaving people to wonder if there are any money-saving steps they could take. The key to improved home comfort (and more money in your pocket) is understanding common heating mistakes you might be making and how to fix them.

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Why Won’t My Heating System Work?

Why Won’t My Heating System Work?

A heating and air conditioning system is one of those pieces of equipment that we all take for granted and expect to be working to cool or warm our home whenever we need it. However, like all pieces of equipment, HVAC systems are susceptible to issues every now and again. One of the more troublesome problems that homeowners may face is a lack of adequate heating. To further complicate matters, this lack of heating may occur after a summer season where the air conditioning worked just fine.

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What Are My Heating Options in St. Augustine?

St. Augustine enjoys the same pleasant winters that attract visitors to everywhere in the state when the temperatures drops elsewhere in the country. However, we can’t escape cold weather entirely here in Florida, and it’s important that you have a heater in your house that is ready to go to work when necessary.

Below are some of your options for quality heating in St. Augustine, FL. If you need to have a new heating installation for your home, call AC Designs Inc. today. You’ll need the help of our professionals to make certain that you receive the ideal system for your needs. We will handle the installation work so that the new heater provides you with many years of trouble-free comfort.

Some Choices for Heating

  • Heat pumps: For Florida weather, a heat pump is a terrific option. These systems work as both heaters and air conditioners: essentially, they are ACs that can reverse the direction they move heat so that instead of shifting heat out of a house, the shift it into a house. A reason that heat pumps are an excellent idea for Florida is that they work most efficiently as heaters during mild cold weather. A heat pump will struggle in sub-freezing temperatures—but how often do those occur in Florida? When heat pumps are providing warmth during mild cold, they obtain energy efficiency superior to most other heating systems. And, of course, a heat pump will deliver fantastic cooling during the rest of the year.
  • Gas furnaces: The most common kind of heating system in the U.S. is the gas furnace, and for some excellent reasons. Gas furnaces can produce high levels of heat, able to keep even the draftiest of homes warm. Because natural gas is less expensive an energy source than electricity, gas furnaces are also one of the less costly heating systems to run. Modern gas furnaces are also safer than older units, so you should have few worries about dangers due to carbon monoxide.
  • Electric furnaces: If your home does not have access to a natural gas line, you can choose instead to have an electric furnace installed. Although they cost more to operate than gas furnaces, you won’t need to run the system often during a Florida winter. They have a number of advantages, such as long service lives, small size, and few repair needs. If you are concerned about using natural gas in your house, an electric furnace is a good alternative.

Call Us for a Great Heating Installation

Our technicians at AC Designs Inc. are glad to help you with your needs for heating in St. Augustine, FL. Let us look over your home and find the right system that will keep it warm and match your budget plans. You can count on our more than 10 years of experience keeping the greater Jacksonville and Daytona areas comfortable.

Furnace Guide: 3 Important Components

Here in Jacksonville, FL, furnaces are a common home heating system, providing reliable and inexpensive warmth by blowing heated air through a system of ducts. The process used to create that heat is actually fairly straightforward, but like a lot of mechanical systems, it requires multiple components working in conjunction to create the heat. Understanding those components is a big step towards understanding why a furnace develops problems from time to time.

Here are 3 important components you should be aware of:

  • Ignition/thermocouple. The ignition system used to be the pilot light in older furnaces, and is now usually an electrical ignition system designed to ignite the flow of gas. The thermocouple is a valve that controls the flow of gas into the furnace, and will only do so if it detects the ignition system functioning. (That keeps your home from being flooded with gas if there’s a problem.) Many times, the ignition and the thermocouple are part of the same component.
  • Burners. Once the gas is lit, it moves to the burners which channel the heat into the heat exchanger. Burners can become clogged with dirt, which may restrict their functioning, and can also suffer damage and wear-and-tear. Most furnaces have multiple burners, which means a damaged burner won’t shut off your heat. It will lower the heating potential, however, and force your furnace to work harder to do its job.
  • Heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is essentially a long metal tube with openings at either end. Heated gas passes through it, heating the surface and passing the heat along to the surrounding air. Trace toxins in the gas are removed through a venting pipe, while the heated air can then be blown into your house with a fan. Heat exchangers don’t have moving parts so they rarely suffer damage, but when they do, it usually means you have to replace the entire furnace.

If you detect a problem with these important components or you need repairs in some other portion of your unit, it pays to call on someone who knows. Here in Jacksonville, FL, furnace repairs can be made by the experts at AC Designs, Inc. Call us today to make an appointment and let us show you what we can do!

Ways to Lower Your Heating Bills

In Jacksonville, FL, heating doesn’t concern us nearly as much as air conditioning does. We’re a warm weather city and heat tends to cause more discomfort and worry than cold does. Even so, our heaters get called into service on those winter nights when temperatures drop, and our nonchalant attitude about the issue means that many homeowners just accept higher heating bills without taking steps to reduce them. This can be a costly mistake. With a little care and foresight, you can save money on your monthly bills without skipping on a warm home during those cold winter days. Besides the obvious solution of lowering the thermostat and dressing warmly, here are some ways to lower your heating bills.

Start by programming your thermostat to lower or eliminate the heat when you leave for work each day. There’s no need to warm an empty house and with a programmable thermostat, you can schedule it to turn the heat on ten minutes before you arrive home, eliminating the need to wait. You can also lower your thermostat at night before you go to bed and bundle up with extra blankets and comforters.

You might also look into installing insulation in your home, or if you already have insulation, adding more. Not only does this help retain warm air in the winter, but it keeps cool air inside in the winter, lowering your air conditioning bills as well as heating bills.

Finally, you should schedule a regular maintenance session at the beginning and end of each heating season in order to keep your heater running as efficiently as possible. A technician will clean dirty components, tighten loose bolts and run the heater for a period to look for any specific problems. That allows you to catch small problems before they become big ones, as well as reducing friction on moving parts and other key components.

For more ways to lower your heating bills, or to schedule a repair or maintenance visit, call AC Designs Inc. today. You’ll be glad you did!

Choosing Between Gas and Electric Furnaces for Heating

Jacksonville, FL residents have a lot of different options when it comes to heating their homes. Our mild winters and variety of housing types mean that homeowners can choose a system that works best for their budget and circumstances. Gas and electric furnaces rank among the most popular choices for homeowners in our area. If you’re looking to install a new system, choosing between gas and electric furnaces for heating is one of your first and most important choices.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each one:

In terms of cost, you’re looking at a question of up-front investment vs. long-term savings. Electric furnaces usually cost less to install than gas furnaces, and often last longer to boot (sometimes as many as 10 to 15 years longer depending on how well you maintain it and other conditions particular to your home). On the other hand, natural gas costs less than electricity, which means that a gas furnace will save you money month to month over an electric furnace used for the same period of time. Because they have fewer moving parts, electric furnaces tend to break down less frequently than gas furnaces, necessitating fewer repairs.

Then there’s issues of performance and overall comfort. Gas furnaces work faster than electric furnaces do: heating your home more quickly and effectively. They tend to be noisier than electric units, however. Electric furnaces tend to be quieter and they also don’t have any of the potential safety concerns that some people might have about gas furnaces.

All of that is a roundabout way to saying that both systems offer their share of advantages and disadvantages. Choosing between gas and electric furnaces for heating in Jacksonville, FL means weighing the pros and cons of each one against your particular circumstances. At AC Designs Inc. we can provide sound advice on the best type of furnace for you, as well as providing top-notch installation and repair services once you’ve made a decision. When it comes to heating, Jacksonville FL residents can count on us. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

AFUE: How Your Furnace’s Efficiency Is Measured

Furnaces come in all shapes and sizes, which means there are many different options to choose from. There needs to be a base line to measure your furnace’s efficiency: to tell you that one model functions more effectively than another (and thus may be worth a more expensive sticker price). That baseline is called the AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, and it’s how your furnace’s efficiency is measured.

The formula for deriving the AFUS rating is fairly simple. You divide the amount of energy the furnace uses by the amount of energy of useful heating it creates. The result is a number, measured as a percentage, that shows you how much of the furnace’s energy is actually being used to heat your home.

So obviously, the higher the AFUE rating, the better your furnace will perform and the more it will save you money on monthly costs. You’ll need to weigh these savings against the initial cost of the unit itself, which is bound to be higher for more efficient furnaces. With good advice from a trained, you can likely find a unit that hits the right combination of efficiency and affordability to match your circumstances.

If efficiency is all you’re after, there’s a handy cheat sheet you can use. The EnergyStar sticker denotes furnaces that have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher, giving you a quick answer to how your furnace’s efficiency is measured. As for the good advice, in Daytona Beach, furnace questions of all kinds can be answered by the professionals at AC Designs Inc. We know you want the most efficient furnace you can get and we’ll work with you to find the proper size and model to suit your unique circumstances. We’re dedication to your complete satisfaction during every step of the process, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

3 Benefits of Scheduling Regular Maintenance for Your Furnace

In St. Augustine, FL, our summers are long and hot, which means homeowners tend to focus on air conditioners without worrying about their furnaces. That, in turn, means that your furnace can suffer from big problems right when you need it the most: faltering during a cold front, or when the winter rains drive the temperatures down. You can prevent that with a regular maintenance from a trained technician, designed to keep your furnace clean and correct big problems while they’re still small.

Here are 3 benefits of scheduling regular maintenance for your furnace:

  • Increased efficiency. Dirty components often suffer from efficiency problems, and dusty moving parts increased friction which can make your furnace work harder. Worn parts and loose bolts do much the same thing. A maintenance visit from a qualified technician can alleviate many of those problems, helping your furnace run more smoothly. In other words, it will save you money on your monthly heating bills.
  • Longer life. Going hand in hand with increased efficiency is a longer lifespan for your furnace. By replacing worn part with newer ones before they become a problem (as well as reducing the wear and tear than grinds down those parts in the first place) you can postpone the day when you have to replace your furnace and ensure that you get the most out of your investment.
  • Reduced repair bills. While a maintenance visit won’t prevent all problems, it can identify them while they’re still fairly small: giving you a chance to get a jump on them when it won’t cost as much to repair them. That’s definitely preferable to simply waiting for the problem to disable the furnace: damaging additional components and requiring more extensive repairs in the process.

For other benefits of scheduling regular maintenance for your furnace or to schedule an appointment, call upon the professionals at AC Designs Inc. to help. We offer furnace service in St. Augustine, FL and the surrounding areas.