Design Comfort Blog: Archive for October, 2012

Salt Lake City Furnace Tip: What Is AFUE and Why Should I Care?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If you’ve been shopping for a furnace in Salt Lake City, chances are you’ve noticed that each furnace has its own annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. These generally range from 80% to the high 90% s and the higher the number, the more fuel efficient that particular furnace is.

But what does this number really mean and just how much should you care? Well, the AFUE rating should actually have a significant impact on your furnace purchasing decision, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll always choose the furnace with the highest efficiency rating either.

For one thing, you’ll have to recognize that not every type of furnace is capable of running at the highest efficiency levels. Oil furnaces, for instance, can’t compete with the super high efficiency gas furnaces on the market today. That’s not to say that an oil furnace might not be the best choice for you under certain circumstances, but it does mean that you should take a close look at your furnace usage before you make a decision.

If you do choose a gas furnace, you will of course have the option of getting one that can reach up to 97% or so efficiency. However, that may not always be the best choice either. If you live in a place where with very harsh, long winters and you’re going to be using your furnace heavily, then it’s definitely worth investing in a higher AFUE furnace that can save you considerable amounts on your monthly heating bills.

But if you don’t use your furnace too often as your area has more mild winters it’s probably not worth it for you to invest in such a high efficiency product. That’s because the higher the AFUE of the furnace, the more expensive it is to purchase and install. Certainly you’ll save money every month because you’ll be getting more heat out of the fuel you’re paying for. But if you don’t use your furnace all that much, the savings really won’t be that substantial.

Don’t forget that a furnace with an 80% AFUE rating is still quite energy efficient. And once you get up that high, you have to use your furnace a lot for the difference between 80% and 90% to really become apparent. So if you don’t use your furnace heavily during the winter, it will take you many, many years to make up for the higher purchase price of the 90+% AFUE models.

 If you have any questioning regarding furnaces in Salt Lake City, Contact us today! Over the years, Design Comfort has provided Salt Lake City with quality heating services.

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Salt Lake City Indoor Air Tip: What Type of Air Cleaner is Best for People with Pets?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Lots of people in Salt Lake City have pets, and they are a great addition to your family. However, pet ownership has one very obvious drawback: dander. The fur, dry skin cells and other debris that pets carry around flakes off their bodies and onto your furniture and rugs. That also means they inevitably wind up in your air, recirculated through your whole house via your HVAC system.

Or at least, that’s what happens if you don’t have an air cleaner or some sort of air filtration system. This leads many pet owners to ask, “What is the best air cleaner for me?”

With all the choices in air cleaners, the choice can seem daunting. If the goal is specifically to filter out pet dander, it becomes somewhat easier.

Pet dander is quite large in size relation to other indoor air pollutants, so many air cleaners are equipped to do the job. You can use an air cleaner with a standard pleated HEPA filter, or one that uses electrostatic technology. You will want to make sure that the HEPA filter is rated to handle pet dander. A MERV rating of 8 or more is recommended.

Once you have an air cleaner installed, make sure to change or clean the air filter frequently, in accordance with manufacturer instructions. A clogged air filter won’t help eliminate pet dander from your household air and can actually degrade the operation of your HVAC system’s air handler.

In addition to installing a high quality air cleaner with a HEPA filter, you can also help reduce the amount of pet dander floating around your home by keeping the place clean. Vacuuming often and dusting hard surfaces weekly keeps pet hair and dander from being drawn up into the HVAC system, which reduces wear on the air cleaner.

If you have more questions regarding which air cleaner is best for you Salk Lake City home, Call Design Comfort today! Over the years, Design Comfort has been building a loyal clientele throughout the Salt Lake City area.

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Salt Lake City Heating Tip: What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

You’ve probably heard about the new lines of high efficiency furnaces being released by popular home heating companies, but what exactly is different about these high efficiency devices from your current furnace? Let’s take a closer look at what a high efficiency furnace offers and why it can save you money.

Added Features

A high efficiency furnace uses familiar technology in a new way to reduce the amount of energy lost when combustion takes place. This means:

  • Sealed Combustion – Instead of open combustion which allows heat to escape during and after the combustion process, a high efficiency furnace uses a sealed chamber with carefully measured and fed airflow to burn fuel and produce heat. Exhaust heat can then be recaptured and used to heat air transferred to your air vents.
  • Two Stage Gas Valves – With a two stage gas valve, your furnace can respond to the temperature outside. There isn’t just one “on” switch. The furnace will regulate gas flow based on how much energy is needed to produce heat for your home. So, if there is a sudden burst of cold outside, the furnace will respond accordingly, but for most days when heating needs are low, it will use only the minimum amount of needed gas.
  • Programmable – High efficiency furnaces are now programmable, meaning you can set specific time limits for operation, change thermostat settings digitally and inspect the device through an electronic read out. The level of control given to you by a programmable high efficiency furnace can greatly reduce gas or electricity consumption.

Cost Benefit

The real reason many people are interested in high efficiency furnaces is that they are so much less expensive to operate. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars to run through the winter, they operate the bare minimum needed to heat your home. Using up to 95% of the fuel they consume to produce heat and regulating gas to cut how much is consumed during milder days, these furnaces are built to save you money.

If you have an old furnace that chews through energy like nobody’s business, now might be the time to consider the benefits of a brand new, high efficiency model.

Over the years, Design Comfort has provided Salt Lake City with quality heating services. Contact us today!

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Salt Lake City Tip: Control Your Home’s Moisture – Humidity Is Key

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Most people in Salt Lake City don’t give a second thought to humidity until it is either much too high or uncomfortably low. And if you have a state of the art home comfort system, you’re probably comfortable inside all year long anyway. But there are several reasons to pay attention to the humidity level in your home and take action if you realize that it isn’t providing the comfort level you’ve come to expect.

Many problems arise from excess or inadequate indoor humidity levels. For instance, a lack of humidity causes your skin and nasal passages to dry and crack, which is obviously pretty unpleasant. But air that’s too dry can also make the symptoms of allergies, asthma and colds worse. Anyone in your home suffering from these conditions will be much more comfortable when the right level of humidity is restored. Another great benefit is that the indoor air quality will no longer contribute to longer and more sever colds and flus in the winter.

Too much humidity is a problem too, though. It promotes the growth of mold, which is a big contributor to indoor air pollution. Mold spores are a big time allergen. The more moisture there is in your home, the more mold there’s likely to be. High indoor humidity levels also promote the growth of dust mites, another major indoor air contaminant and allergen.

Of course, you probably have a great indoor air cleaner in place to get all of those contaminants out of your home’s air supply. But if the air inside your home is too moist or too dry, it can actually make it harder for the air cleaner to remove all types of contaminants. Not only are you putting a greater strain on your body and immune system, you’re asking your air cleaners to work much harder, which can cost you money in repairs and filter replacements.

For all of these reasons, it’s important to put in a humidification system to maintain the overall quality of your indoor air. Plus, a properly humidified environment is simply more comfortable to live in. A humidifier can easily be integrated into your current home heating and cooling system, so you don’t have to worry about high installation costs or equipment compatibility. All you have to do is sit back, relax and breathe in the fresh air that your humidification system makes possible.

Contact Design Comfort for any help with your indoor air quality today. Over the years, Design Comfort has been building a loyal clientele throughout the Salt Lake City area.

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Salt Lake City AC Tip: Why is My Air Handler Squealing?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

In Salt Lake City, unusual noises coming from your expensive HVAC system is never a good thing. It’s true that an unusual noise does often mean that something needs to be fixed; however, a noise emanating from your HVAC system does not necessarily mean a major repair. You should always have a technician check it out if you suspect a problem with your system, but not all problems are going to be an expensive to fix.

One common noise that homeowners notice and complain about is a squealing noise originating in the air handler. Usually, this noise is coming from the fan belt that connects the blower fan and the motor. Over time, the belt can stretch out and become worn or misaligned, which makes it slip and generate that aggravating squealing noise.

So, while the squealing can be annoying and unpleasant, a slipping belt is by no means major. A belt is an inexpensive part and a technician can install it in just a matter of minutes.

As long as the noise is a squealing and not a grinding, this simple fix will often take care of the problem. If you hear a grinding noise, however, immediately shut the unit down and call a Salt Lake City air conditioning technician. This may mean that your motor bearings are worn out and need to be replaced ASAP before further damage is inflicted on the motor itself.

Contact Design Comfort for any help with your HVAC system today. Over the years, Design Comfort has been building a loyal clientele through uncompromising service and integrity.

 

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