Information Library

  • What Are Furnace Stages?

    Single stage furnaces have just stage of heat output: high. A single stage furnace will output 100% at all times, regardless of the temperature outside or inside the home. Imaging always driving your car at highway speeds, regardless of the recommended speed limit or road conditions. That's how a single stage furnace operates: the gas valve is either on or off.
  • Best Gas Grill of 2019

    There is something different about cooking over an open flame. Something primal. Whether you enjoy a T-Bone Steak or Asparagus spears, you want an appliance that is going to cook evenly and will last you a long time without a lot of maintenance. The most important things to look for when shopping for a grill are the size, the equipment and materials used, and the flexibility and features. After going over the criteria, we will go over the grill we selected as the best grill to purchase in 2019.

    The Size.

    How many people do you cook for? Do you typically cook for your family or are you someone that likes to entertain? The more people you cook for, the larger the grill you will need.

    What’s Under The Hood?

    You want to make sure to use an appliance that has heavy duty cooking grids. It has to have well-engineered heat distribution plates between the burner and your food. These minimize flare ups so you don’t burn your food. It has to have quality burners that will last you a long time.

    What Do You Like To Eat?

    Do you enjoy rotisserie chicken? Why not make it at home? Look for a grill with a rotisserie and a rotisserie burner. If you like to cook steak, look for a grill that has an infrared burner option. An infrared burner can exceed temperatures of 1000 degrees. This can create a wonderful sear on a steak in only 1-2 minutes per side. While you may want it to cook hot, make sure it is able to turn down so that you can cook more delicate foods as well such as fish and veggies.

    Who is the winner?

    It was a tough call but the winner is the Lion Premium Gas Grills Model L75000. This 32” gas grill has some of the best features in its category. It comes standard with cast stainless steel burners that get hot enough to sear a steak and have a convenient turn down ratio to cook more delicate foods. The flame tamers really do minimize flare ups you get with other grills. The cooking grids feel very beefy (pun intended). The grill also comes standard with a number of extras that you have to pay extra for with other grills. Standard features include: Rotisserie motor and infrared searing rotisserie burner, interior lights, a griddle to fry on, and a smoker box to add that smokey flavor everyone loves

    Not only that but at over 170lbs it is the heaviest model in its class. That is due to the fact that it is made out of 16-gauge 304 stainless steel- the “good stuff”.

    Lion backs their grills with a very robust warranty. The grill body, cooking grids, and cast stainless steel burners are all backed by a lifetime warranty.

    It is made as a built-in model for creating an outdoor kitchen

    Built In Grill

    (Lion also manufactures islands and all the necessary equipment for an outdoor kitchen)

    It also has an optional stainless steel cart with double doors.

    L-75000 Cart

    All of these features and options make the Lion L75000 the grill to buy this year.

  • What is the Differrence Between Millivolt and Standing Pilot

    Whether looking at gas fireplaces, gas logs, gas inserts, or freestanding gas stoves, you will most likely come across the terms- Millivolt and Intermittent Pilot (also commonly referred to as electronic ignition). These are two different ignition systems gas appliance manufacturers use to light the burner of the appliance. They also include safety features so that you can feel safe in knowing that in the rare chance that something malfunctions, the unit will shut down before anything negative can happen.
  • What is the Best Direct Vent Fireplace in 2019?

    This is a tough call because there are a lot of quality fireplace manufacturers out there to choose from. From Majestic, Kingsman, Napoleon, Superior, Empire fireplaces. The list goes on. The most common size of gas direct vent fireplace sold is a 36”. This is the size we will be looking at for this competition.
  • Top 8 Mistakes When Purchasing HVAC

    Top 8 Mistakes When Purchasing HVAC

    Incorrect Sizing

    Logic would tell you that having an under sized HVAC system would be a bad thing, but bigger is not always better in the HVAC world. The absolute best way to size a system would be to have an HVAC technician perform a task called a Manual J which will consider a multitude of variables that would affect a heating or cooling system. Unfortunately, a Manual J does cost money and trying to do one your self may cost even more. You can still get a close estimate for most residential homes with an online calculator. These calculators will take into consideration at least the square footage of the space as well as your location. Some of the more sophisticated calculators will add things like insulation type, desired temperatures, or how many floors there are. There is real science and math behind these calculators and you can find out more about that here.

    Here are the problems with an undersized system; it will struggle to keep the temperature where you desire it to be, if it cannot achieve the desired temperature it will run constantly, and this will wear the system parts down quickly. This ultimately leads to a premature and costly replacement.

    Frozen Pipe

    Under sizing can be a problem in both AC units and furnaces. An under sized AC unit will mostly just result in discomfort and the aforementioned premature system failure. An undersized furnace can lead to discomfort as well or to frozen pipes in extreme cases.

    An oversized unit will turn on and off in short periods of time, known as short cycling. Short cycling can cause excess wear on parts of the system. Imagine flipping a light on and off constantly, consider how long it would last when compared to a light that is used normally.  Another issue with oversized systems would be how they heat or cool an area. For this example, I will use a furnace. If a furnace turns on and heats up the area in 10 minutes most of the heat will be in the air (that passed through the furnace) which means all the objects that do not heat up as fast as air will still be cold and will cool the room down quickly when the furnace turns off. A properly sized system will heat (or cool) for a longer period of time allowing objects to change temperature as well. Getting the right size system is important for keeping your home comfortable.

    Inadequate Efficiency

    Another common mistake when purchasing HVAC systems is selecting a unit with efficiency below what is required for where you live. That’s right! The efficiency of the unit is not just about how much you will spend running it, but it is actually illegal to install a system if the efficiency does not meet requirements.

    • Northern states can install a 13 SEER AC or higher while heat pumps are 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF or higher.
    • Southern states must have at least 14 SEER AC or higher as well as 8.2 HSPF for heat pumps.
    • Southwestern states in addition will need 12.2 EER for systems under 45,000 Btu and 11.7 for systems over 45,000 Btu.

    Below are how the states are broken up

    Efficiency Map

    Mismatched Venting

    Furnaces can be separated into two different categories. High efficiency and low efficiency. A high efficiency furnace would be any furnace rated 90% or above and it would use a PVC venting. A low efficiency furnace is any furnace rated lower than 90% and uses metal venting. Metal venting must go up and out the roof, while PVC Venting can go up and out a side wall.

    If you currently have an 80% furnace, then it is recommended to stay at that efficiency unless you plan on having the extra PVC vent work done as well. If you currently have a 90% or higher efficiency furnace, then make sure the new furnace is over 90% as well so you can reuse the PVC vent

    Mobile Homes

    Systems in a mobile home are different than in a residential stick-built home. The reason for this is that mobile homes typically utilize a smaller duct work system. This means the furnace or air handler will need to have a different size blower to accommodate this change. If you are in a mobile home, make sure you check to that the system you are looking at is compatible with mobile home ducting.

    The reason smaller duct work is an issue is because of static pressure. This is a fancy term for how much pressure the air is pushing against the blower motor. For example, if you took a marshmallow and pushed it into a cup, easy right? That is like a regular furnace pushing air through a residential home’s ductwork. Now take the marshmallow and push it through a straw, did you do it? The straw is like the smaller ductwork and will take more force to push air through which is why you would need a blower designed for a mobile home

    Air Flow Misdirection

    It is important for you to select the air flow direction that will best fit your home. If you already have a furnace check and make sure you get the same air flow direction in the new furnace.

    There are three air flow directions. Upflow, Downflow, and Horizontal (as pictured below)

    System Configuration

    The most common type is the upflow direction. If your furnace is in a basement or on a main floor, then there is a good chance it is upflow. Downflow furnaces are very common in mobile homes but can also be found in residential homes as well. Horizontal furnaces are mostly found in crawlspace or attic applications where a vertical furnace would not be able to stand up.

    There are many furnaces that are multi positional which means they can be used in all three air flow configurations. There are also furnaces that can be used in just two directions like upflow and horizontal or downflow and horizontal. Just make sure when you select a new system it matches the air flow you currently have.

    Package or Packaged?

    A package unit usually refers to the single piece unit that sits on a roof or next to the building and connects through ductwork. A package unit is a great option for homes that do not have the space to put an indoor air handler or furnace.

    This is not to be confused with a split system that is packaged together for compatibility purposes. Split systems will have an outdoor unit and an indoor unit connected by copper refrigerant lines.

    There are quite a few differences between these two types of unit’s installation process, so it is important to check that you are getting the correct one for your application.

    Total Costs

    If you have been shopping for HVAC for any sort of time, I am sure that you have received shocking quotes for many thousands of dollars to get it done. Typically, an HVAC contractor will upsell the system they want to install quite a bit. They can do this because they have somewhat of a hold on the market, but! It does not have to be this way. You can purchase HVAC systems online and have it shipped to your house from a site like ours HVACDirect.com and it’s a great price.

    On the other end of the spectrum you may see the prices on our site and expect to get it all installed for that price. Unfortunately, that is not the case, you will still need to pay an installer to put it in for you properly. Installation costs can vary but an average cost for a furnace, air conditioner, and coil would run around $1500 while just an air conditioner or furnace would run around $750 plus material costs. This may sound like a lot, but it can save thousands compared to the bids some contractors put out.

    I’ll Do It Myself

    There are many DIY’ers out there and you may be thinking “why not put in this HVAC system myself if the install cost is so much”? It is not impossible to do yourself, but it is definitely not recommended. Many parts of the installation process take special tools that home owners do not usually have. For instance, you need tools that are used for the copper line set charging process that would cost around $800 as well as the knowledge of how to use them.

    Common mistakes like connecting the lines through the wrong means, incorrect gas line connection, improper return sizing, electrical issues, or poorly designed draining can all be costly and sometimes dangerous. Sizing ducts can definitely be an issue, if you do not get it right. There are charts that can help give you an idea of what you need like this one, but it really is best to save yourself the hassle of installing and get it done professionally. You only get 1 real mistake with gas or electricity. Many manufacturers of HVAC systems even offer a warranty if it is installed by a licensed HVAC technician which will protect you if there are any manufacturing defects.

    Recap

    • Make sure you pick the right size system for your home
    • Check the efficiency requirements of your area
    • Check your furnace venting type
    • If you are in a mobile home, verify the system is compatible
    • Select the correct airflow configuration
    • Verify that your system is a package unit or a split system
    • Get it done professionally
    • Don’t let contractors pull the wool over your eyes and buy direct

     

  • What Does NFI Certificate mean

    NFI is an abbreviation for the National Fireplace Institute. The National Fireplace Institute is an accredited government entity that is responsible for testing and certifying installation and service professionals in three appliance categories- Gas Burning Appliances, Wood Burning Appliances, and Pellet Burning Appliances.

    Why is it important?

    Appliances in the fireplace industry differ from other construction related products. There is specific criteria that has to be taken into account from the selection process to installing the product. The last thing anyone wants is to have a product installed only to find out the building inspector will not pass it.

    What types of products are an NFI certified professional certified to work with?

    Gas Fireplaces, Gas Stoves, And Gas Fireplace Inserts- An NFI Gas Certified Professional will be tested on things like: The differences between natural gas and propane, gas supply line sizing, safe clearances to combustible materials, proper venting methods, the standards that each product type is tested to, and troubleshooting. The testing also covers the various ignition systems used by these appliances. This knowledge gives the NFI Certified Professional to help you select the product that is right for you. It also gives him or her the knowledge to be able to help you in case something goes awry.

    Built-In Wood Fireplaces, Wood Stoves, And Wood Inserts- A car won’t run properly on poor fuel. The same is true with a wood burning appliance. A significant portion of this course is dedicated to the combustion of fire wood. The principals of wood burning can be applied to any appliance type. The fire needs proper incoming air for combustion. It needs good fuel. It needs to be burned in an appliance that is listed and tested to be safe. It needs to be vented with proper venting and in a safe manor. The appliance also needs to be installed with safe clearances to combustible materials. These are crucial elements that will make sure the appliance operates safely and will perform as expected.

    Pellet Burning Appliances- Pellet burning stoves are very intricate. From the time the unit is turned on, a series of mechanical events begin to occur. The auger begins to drop pellets into the burn pot. The igniter increases in temperature to ignite the pellets.  The exhaust fan turns on. Once the fire is ignited, the thermocouple shuts off the igniter. There are a number of other types of switches, vacuum hoses, and motors used in a pellet stove from turning it on to it shutting down. Having a NFI certified professional on your side though using a pellet appliance is essential.

    What is a Master Hearth Professional?

    An NFI Certified Master Hearth Professional is someone that has past all 3 tests given by the National Fireplace Institute. They are aware of all of the different types of appliances available. They will be able to help you select the right appliance based on your heating needs. They will know the proper questions to ask you when you decide on an appliance type. They will know based on your answers how to get you the right product that you will heat your home and allow you to enjoy one of if not thee most important human discovery- FIRE!

  • Get The Most Efficient Furnaces For Your Home

    Get The Most Efficient Furnaces For Your Home

    The best furnace that you could buy for your home isn’t just one that keeps you and your family toasty and comfortable in the winter, but one that provides a certain level of efficiency. Such furnaces should be dependable, low maintenance, and energy efficient. HVACDirect.com specializes in providing homes and businesses with state of the art, dependable heating and cooling options, including our premium line of Goodman furnaces and air conditioners. We proudly stand behind our Goodman heating and cooling systems, made right here in America and designed with integrity and reliability. At HVACDirect.com, you can find Goodman furnaces at the most affordable prices on the market.

    But what makes Goodman furnaces so great?

    Goodman earned their high reputation in the industry by choosing to focus not on brand recognition and consumer targeted advertising, but on designing, engineering, and manufacturing dependable, affordable heating and cooling systems that are available to millions of homeowners, no matter the size of their budget. The most popular brand of American made heating systems in the nation, here are some of the reasons millions and millions of homes are now using Goodman furnaces for their home heating:

    • Cutting edge, energy efficient technology is used during the manufacturing of every Goodman product, ensuring that each unit is energy efficient and reliable.
    • Variable options that help homeowners choose a unit that meets their needs, based on price, home size, and included features.
    • High scores in Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings, year after year.
    • Reliability and extended lifespan compared to similar heating units, which means less maintenance and less replacements.

    What You’ll Get With a Goodman Furnace

    Higher Energy Ratings

    • High efficiency gas furnaces have a rating of 90%+ on the AFUE scale, meaning that homeowners have used 90% of each dollar spent heating their homes. Goodman’s energy efficient furnaces are considered highly efficient by the EPA, garnering a rating of 97%. What this means for homeowners? A reduction in heating and energy costs.

    Multi-Speed PSC Blower

    • Compared to single-speed motors, the Goodman Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) electric multi-speed blowers offer lower energy consumption, saving you money on your electric bill. With multiple speeds to select, it ensures that your furnace will meet every comfort level with lower system noise than other brands.

    Multi-Speed ECM Blower

    • Expect higher efficiency from Goodman’s electronically commutated motor (ECM), which gives you longer lasting components and more efficient energy consumption when compared to multi- and single-speed motors. The ECM motor will switch between speeds, depending on the system requirements, helping you save even more on utility bills.

    Tubular Heat Exchangers W/ Wrinkle Bend Technology

    • It is a system designed for durability and lossless heat transfer, the primary heat exchanger being designed with tubular aluminized steel. Using wrinkle bend technology protects the tubular design from stress, keeping Goodman® furnaces in top condition. This technology also helps with efficient heat transfer.

    Goodman energy efficient furnaces are designed for efficiency and a longer lifespan. With lower energy costs throughout the year and an extended period between upgrades, Goodman® has become a symbol of affordability for homeowners, irrespective of their budgets. Investing in a more efficient heating system is sure to not only keep your family comfortable all year round, but to save you money.

    Contact Us

    Buy from our secure online shopping checkout experience, or purchase with a familiar service like PayPal. Our dedicated staff will handle all your orders quickly and efficiently. Contact us by Phone: 800-397-1392 Toll-Free and via email at info@hvacdirect.com.  Visit our website at https://hvacdirect.com/goodman/goodman-furnaces.html for more information on our products.

  • Single Stage vs. Two Stage Condenser

    Single-Stage, Two-Stage?

    What does it mean when someone uses these terms? Well there are two things they could be talking about. One is a furnace with different stages, and the other is a compressor in an air conditioner (or heat pump). A single stage unit will have 2 settings, on… and off. This means it will run at 100% capacity when turned on until it raises or lowers the temperature to the desired amount and then shuts off. A two-stage unit will have two on settings as well as off. This means it will turn on to less than full capacity for the first stage: If this does not get it to the desired temperature it will turn on to the second stage at 100% otherwise it will turn off.

    Stages in Compressors Motors

    A two-stage compressor runs at 40% in the first stage and 100% in the second stage. This allows you to have more control over the temperature in your home which would make it more comfortable. It will also help in the cost savings department. For example, if you have a 4-ton two stage air conditioner and the first stage (40%) can handle the temperature then you are only using the electric of a 2 ton.

    Here are a few graphs demonstrating the benefit of multiple stages

    Stages in Compressor Motors

    On high end models you may see the term Variable Speed. They use this term in reference to motors, which is why you see it for both compressor motors and blower motors. Another meaning would be multi stage, for example on the Air Quest model HVA936GKA here is the breakdown

    Stage Capacity dBA
    1 25% 56
    2 50% 60
    3 69% 65
    4 88% 66
    5 100% 67

    Variable speed also means that it can run at a quieter noise level. Unfortunately, the variable speed option can only be controlled by expensive thermostats. You can use a 2 stage cooling thermostat with these variable speed condensers but you will not get the full benefits of the 5 stages they are capable of.

    For a variable speed blower motor, it functions like a Rheostat for example in model AVPTC25B14AB

    AVPTC25B14 Flow Chart

    It has a CFM range of 395 to 1105

    Stages in Furnaces

    A single stage and two stage furnaces will operate in a way that is like the single and two stage compressors. Two stage furnaces will operate at 70% capacity and then 100% capacity if the first stage does not bring up the temperature enough. This capability allows the furnace to keep the temperature closer to the desired amount.

    Gas furnaces also have a modulating option which is like variable speed but even better. It would be comparable to the gas pedal in the car, push a small amount and very little gas is used, press all the way down for full capacity, or press anywhere in between for desired amount. With the ability to keep and hold the temperature closer to the targeted amount and the furnace can save quite a bit of energy by only using the amount of gas it needs.

    This means lower energy bills!!

    Here is an example of modulating furnace temperatures

    Temperature Curve

    Two stage and single stage look very similar to the two stage and single stage compressor. Multi stage furnaces also have the benefit of lower noise levels. With a modulating furnace you would not even hear it most of the time.

    Some of the modulating furnace models need a special thermostat to work. As technology progresses furnaces and compressors will be increasingly pre-programmed for modulating or variable speed so you can use a normal thermostat.

    Costs

    The most efficient models are the variable speed and modulating. They come with the drawback of a high upfront cost, up to $1000 more than a regular single stage furnace. This can be a large pill to swallow but it is a long-term investment.

    If you plan on staying where you’re are for a long time, then a multi stage system may be right for you. Your wallet will thank you later, and so will your spouse. If you have any questions contact us here at HVACDirect.com and we will help you pick the system that is right for you and at a great price.

  • What You Need to Know About Filters

    A Filter is a very important part of an HVAC system. Replacing regularly will not only improve the quality of air in your home but will also prolong the life of your furnace. Not taking care of the filter will result in greatly increased health risks due to air contamination and a shorter life span of the furnace.
  • What is the Difference Between and Insert and Built in Fireplace?

    There are several different types of fireplaces and several types of fireplace inserts. The primary difference is that a fireplace insert is an appliance that can be installed into an existing wood burning fireplace to make it more efficient. A built in fireplace is new installation into a home where you do not already have a fireplace. There are inserts that burn wood, gas with a direct vent system, and gas inserts that do not require a vent.

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