furnace maintenance

Heating

How to Transition Your Home and HVAC into Heating Season

Cooler fall temperatures are a welcome relief after the summer heat and humidity, and they are also a sign that Broken Arrow residents need to think about switching from cooling to heating their homes. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can ensure the comfort and safety of your family throughout the winter months while saving money on the cost of heating and repairs, using these tips.

Enhance Airflow

Supply and return vents are an important part of your HVAC system and those which are closed or obstructed can upset the pressure balance and cause a loss of efficiency or equipment malfunction or breakdown. Check your registers to ensure they remain open and they are not blocked by drapes, furniture, area rugs, or other items.

Turn Off Your A/C at Night

Milder daytime temperatures translate into colder nights, so rather than leaving your A/C running and burrowing under the covers, set the temperature several degrees higher or turn it off altogether. Ceiling and floor fans can help to circulate the air while you sleep without breaking the bank.

Clean Your Air Filter

An air filter is the first line of defense to prevent particulates such as allergens, dander, dirt, and dust from traveling throughout your HVAC system, and it should be cleaned or changed before you first turn on your heating system each fall, and again every four to six weeks as needed.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

Annual preventive maintenance each spring and fall can help make transitioning seasons easy, by ensuring your HVAC equipment is cleaned, tuned, and optimized for maximum efficiency and performance.

Change Direction on Your Ceiling Fans

During the summer months, your ceiling fan should be set to rotate counter-clockwise to push the cool air towards the floor, but in winter, your ceiling fans should be set to rotate clockwise at a slower pace to create an updraft that redistributes rising warm air back down the walls.

Contact Air Assurance for expert assistance with transitioning seasons, with services that include residential HVAC installation, replacement, and repair. We have been proudly serving Tulsa area residents for more than 30 years.

Featured, Furnaces, Preventative Maintenance

Why Get Furnace Maintenance Before the Heating Season Starts?

Why Get Furnace Maintenance Before the Heating Season Starts?

While it's still early in the fall, it's not too early to begin thinking about scheduling furnace maintenance. If you wait until the busy late fall/early winter HVAC season, you may have trouble scheduling a timely appointment. A professional furnace maintenance tuneup will provide multiple benefits, including energy efficiency, safety, and comfort.

Why Is Regular Furnace Maintenance So Important?

  • Energy efficiency - The technician will check every component of your furnace, as well as the ductwork and registers. He or she will check the air filter, lubricate moving parts in the blower, make sure the burner(s) are clean, and check the ignition system for proper operation. Any worn or malfunctioning parts will be repaired or replaced. A cleanly burning, efficiently operating furnace will save energy every month, ensuring that it's operating at or near its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.

  • Safety - The technician will examine the furnace and exhaust system to make sure nothing poses a risk of fire or toxic emissions. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of fuel combustion and in a properly operating furnace will be safely removed from the home. However, if exhaust pipes are not connected properly or the furnace heat exchanger is cracked—among other issues—CO may escape into the home, threatening occupants with injury or death.

  • Comfort - The more efficiently your furnace operates, the quicker and more evenly your home will heat. Problems with air distribution and ductwork can erode comfort in a home.

  • Long-term savings - An efficient combustion furnace will save on utility bills over the long haul. Plus, having a trained technician inspect the furnace annually will ensure that small problems won't develop into large ones and extend the service life of your furnace.

At Air Assurance, we offer an Extended Service Plan that includes annual maintenance on both your heating and cooling systems. This offers a number of benefits and savings. However, you're also welcome to schedule a fall furnace maintenance appointment on its own. To discuss proper care for your home's heating system, please contact us at Air Assurance, serving Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Globalphotogroup/Shutterstock”

Furnaces

Furnace Installation Coming Up? 3 Points to Ponder Prior

Furnace Installation Coming Up? 3 Points to Ponder Prior

If you're in the process of shopping for a furnace replacement, there are a few things you'll want to consider. Selecting the wrong type of furnace will result in energy waste, excessive fuel and repair costs, and can also compromise your indoor comfort and air quality.

Make sure you discuss the following three points with a licensed HVAC contractor before moving forward with your furnace installation.

Sizing. Many homeowners automatically use their old furnace size as the guideline for their replacement. That can be a huge mistake. Since furnaces have an average lifespan of about 20 years or so, chances are the original HVAC contractor used "rule of thumb" measurements to determine the furnace size. These days, knowledgeable contractors use Manuals J, D, and S to get accurate load calculations and to determine the most energy-efficient HVAC equipment and design for your home. Among other things, accurate furnace sizing requires an inspection of your current HVAC system, building materials, insulation R-values and a conversation regarding typical home occupancy and furnace usage.

Energy and Cost Efficiency. Modern furnaces can have AFUEs as high as 97 or more. However, your contractor may recommend one with a slightly lower AFUE depending on your needs. The key is to find the best system in terms of energy consumption and fuel costs, as well your household budget. Your contractor can use a series of calculations based on your home's energy efficiency, current fuel prices and projected fuel costs to select a furnace with an AFUE that will pay for itself, and possibly more, over time.

Fuel source. Fuel prices are always fluctuating. The most affordable fuel when your original furnace was installed may not be the most cost-effective option now. Talk to your HVAC technician about your options, including wood pellets or geothermal heat pump, which may be wiser investments in today's market.

Once your new furnace installation is complete, make sure to observe annual maintenance appointments, or sign up for a maintenance plan to reduce lifetime repair costs.

Need a new furnace installation in your Broken Arrow area home? Contact Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace installation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Furnaces

Efficient Furnace? Get the Most Out of the System in Your Tulsa Home

Efficient Furnace? Get the Most Out of the System in Your Tulsa Home

Winter can mean high heating bills here in Northeastern Oklahoma. Purchasing an efficient furnace is a great decision, and can result in a lot of energy and money savings over the lifetime of the system. You may find, however, that the efficient furnace isn't enough- it needs an efficient household to operate at peak efficiency. If your efficient furnace isn't at its best, there are a few things you can do to reduce your energy use and give your furnace a boost. These tips can also help to improve the performance of an older, less efficient furnace if you aren't quite ready to replace it.

The first step in boosting your furnace's heating power is making sure to schedule routine maintenance. Even if there doesn't seem to be a problem, have a professional give your furnace a check-up every year. This habit is fairly low-cost, and will catch small problems before they become major issues. You should also be sure to change your furnace's air filter routinely. It's recommended that you change it every three months, but you can replace it monthly if anyone in your home has air quality concerns. Blocked filters can overwork your heater and waste energy.

Once you've done the maintenance on your furnace, it's time to to make sure the house itself is well-sealed. Check around the house for leaks, or hire a professional to do an energy evaluation. Seal any gaps that you find around windows and doors, and fill in any gaps in insulation. It's also important to check your ductwork, as duct leaks are often a major culprit in home heat loss.

To save even more on energy costs, change your heating habits. Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees, or install a programmable thermostat, which will heat the house based on your schedule and preferences, even when no one is home. Be careful not to change your thermostat settings too often. Frequent temperature adjustments can put undue strain on your furnace.

Contact Air Assurance for more expert advice on using your efficient furnace and increasing household efficiency in Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Furnaces

Installing a New Furnace? Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor

Installing a New Furnace? Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor

If you’re planning on installing a new furnace or air conditioner, arm yourself with these questions to ask your HVAC technician before the installation process begins.

  • Are you licensed and insured? Ask for the contractor’s license number and verify it with the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board. Then, ask whether the contractor has liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Odds are the job will go smoothly, but just in case, insurance guarantees you are not responsible for any accident or injury.

  • Are you NATE certified? While you certainly want a contractor who is licensed and insured, take it one step further by asking about North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification. This is the only third-party certification program for HVAC technicians recognized across the industry.

  • Can you give me references and a written bid? Check with references and compare bids from three or more contractors before making your choice.

  • How will you size my new furnace? If the contractor says they plan on installing a new furnace based on square footage alone, look elsewhere. This inaccurate rule of thumb won’t provide the accurate sizing you need for efficient performance and maximum home comfort. Formal calculations are found in Manual J, and that’s what you want your contractor to refer to when sizing your new HVAC equipment.

  • Are there any rebates available? Many companies consider this a hassle. Paperwork, delayed payment, etc can deter them from doing the right thing. Always ask or do your research. WIth the many rebates available currently, you can purchase higher efficiency units at the same cost as the lower efficient units for the same net cost!

  • What energy efficiency should I choose? Discuss all your options with the contractor and figure out your return on investment for more costly but also more efficient furnaces so you can make an informed decision.

  • What about warranties? Compare warranty options between units. Get any guarantees from the contractor in writing.

  • Will someone come and inspect my system? It’s common practice for the contractor to revisit your home about one month after installation to verify the furnace is working correctly.

  • What maintenance should I perform? Taking good care of your furnace after it’s installed will help it perform efficiently and last years longer. Learn about changing the filter and sign up for a maintenance agreement.

Air Assurance is a reputable, affordable contractor in Broken Arrow. To start the process of installing a new furnace, contact us today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Furnaces, Service & Maintenance

Furnace Replacement: An Easy Buyer's Guide

If you’re facing a furnace replacement this year, you can use this easy buyer’s guide to help you through the process. Homeowners can get bogged down in the details when selecting a furnace, but with these three key factors in mind, you can confidently select a system that will work with your home’s needs, and provide energy savings and comfort for many years to come.  For 2012, you can even take advantage of the money given by ONG, PSO, and Lennox to help with the investment cost.  This can be upwards of over $3000 on furnaces alone.SizeIn the past, most furnaces were over-sized to accommodate for drafty homes. That means that your current system might actually be too large for what you now need, especially if you’ve taken steps to increase the seal around your home’s exterior. In any case, under- and over-sized systems cost you, because neither will keep your home comfortable, nor ensure energy efficiency. Make sure your contractor conducts a load calculation to size the system to your home before installing a furnace replacement.EfficiencyWhen choosing a furnace, you should pay close attention to efficiency ratings, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). These ratings are designed to show homeowners how efficiently a system operates, through a percentage that reveals the converted-energy-to-heated-air rate, and how much energy is lost. A high-efficiency system, above 90 AFUE, will get better energy savings, but requires a higher initial investment.FeaturesHigher-efficiency systems include features that allow them to get better AFUE ratings, which ultimately translate into more dollars in your pocket every month. Look for systems that include:

  • Variable-speed blowers, which will evenly deliver heated air, and help to manage humidity in the summer.

  • Dual- or multi-stage furnaces that have a valve which meters the delivery of fuel to optimize efficiency, depending on the demands of the weather.

  • Advanced ignitions that have abandoned the inefficient pilot light in favor of intermittent, hot-surface or direct spark ignitions, which don't carry standby losses.

Selecting a furnace replacement can be easy, if you keep sizing, efficiency, and features in mind. For expert help selecting your next furnace system, contact the area’s leading HVAC experts at Air Assurance Heating, Cooling & Air Quality -- serving homeowners in the Greater Broken Arrow area for over 30 years.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our current promotions and get started today!