Information Library

  • What is AFUE & Furnace Staging?

    Now that winter is coming let us help explain the difference between AFUE & Furnace Staging. What is a multi-speed motor? What is a variable speed motor? Does this all sound complicated? It really doesn't have to be. Let us break it down so it is easy to understand.

    AFUE is Annual fuel utilization efficiency.
    In a nutshell, the AFUE directly relates to how much money you pay the gas company vs how much you pay actually heats you home. For example, lets use a 80% AFUE furnace. Lets say your gas bill at the end of the month was $1.00. Although this will never happen, let's pretend :) A 80% AFUE furnace will put $0.80 of heat in your home and $0.20 will be wasted heat going out the chimney. A 96% AFUE furnace will put $0.96 cents of heat in your home and $0.04 out the chimney. Long story short, the higher the AFUE the less you pay the gas company at the end of the month.
    Furnace Staging
    Single Stage Furnace A single stage furnace will have on burner rate. This is how almost all furnaces before 1980 were made and most furnaces operate. For example, if you have a 100,000 BTU furnace when the thermostat tells the furnace to turn on it burns 100,000 BTU's of gas. This is very straight forward.
    Two Stage Furnace A two stage furnace has two burner rates. For most furnaces on the market, it is a 70%/100% split. Let's use the 100,000 BTU furnace again for example. In first stage it will run at 70% or 70,000 BTU's. It will run at the rate for a period of 15 minutes. The idea behind this is when a furnace is sized for a home, it is sized that the outdoor temperature is at or near 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the winter, you won't be at that temperature... or let's hope not! :) Realistically it usually is well above that temperature, so you are burning more gas than necessary to heat your home. The two stage option helps with that. 70% burner rate on an average winter will run in that first stage about 70-80 percent of the time. If after 15 minutes the house still isn't warm enough, it will then go into second stage or 100% capacity.
    Modulating Furnace A Modulating furnace has a smart gas controller that can output 20-100% capacity based off what the house needs. There is no set burner rate and will require a smart thermostat that is made by the same manufacture as the furnace. This is the most efficient but also the most expensive option upfront. The thermostats from the furnace manufacture are also super expensive. This is the only drawback to a modulating unit.
    Now Lets talk Motor options!
    Multi-Speed Motor A Multi-Speed motor is just that. A motor that has more than one speed. This is the most common motor in most furnaces. It has a High, Medium, and Low setting that can be adjusted by your furnace installer to match your ductwork. These are a little expensive to run but work well.
    Variable Speed Motor A Variable speed motor can run between 20-100 percent similar to the Modulating furnace. It does not require a smart thermostat though. The logic for the speed adjustments are built into the furnace and will speed up and down based off the houses needs. When you close vents, as the filter gets dirty, or as the temperature changes, the motor speed will change as well. This is the quietest and most efficient motor option.
    I hope this makes things a little easier to understand and makes life a little easier when picking your home furnace needs this winter.
  • Choosing the Right Air Conditioning System to Install

    Choosing the right type of air conditioning system can be overwhelming, but we're here to make it easy for you.  The most common AC system out there is a split system.  You probably have one, but don't even know it.  The split system has indoor and outdoor components working together to regulate the temperature in the living areas.  Refrigerant is compressed in the outside unit, known as a condenser or compressor, and transferred via a copper line to the inside unit, which delivers chilled air to the rooms through a duct system. HVACDirect.com has a large variety of AC systems to choose from. This video will explain the different system available at HVACDirect.com and how to make an educated purchase.  If you need more assistance, you can always call our experts at 1-800-397-1392.

  • What is a Dual Fuel HVAC Home Heating and Cooling System?

    In this video we explain dual fuel HVAC heating and cooling systems and how it can efficiently cool and heat your home.

    With the best of both worlds, dual fuel systems provide you with the most energy-efficient home heating and cooling system by pairing an electric heat pump with a traditional gas furnace.   Shop dual fuel HVAC systems and start saving on your monthly energy costs.

  • What is a Heat Pump?

    A heat pump is an energy efficient way to cool your home in the summer and heat it in the winter. We often get the question of what is a heat pump and is it right for my home?  In this video, we explain how a heat pump works and which climates it works best.

    Ready to get a heat pump for you home?  Shop our energy efficient heat pumps!

  • Mobile Home AC & Furnace Buyers Guide

    There’s a lot to consider when updating your mobile home furnace system. To get started in understanding how to approach the buying process, our experts have put together this guide of questions and considerations. Write down the answers as you go and at the end you’ll have your list for what you need. 

     Mobile Home Heating and Cooling

    What do you have now? 

    Starting with your current system will allow you to have a baseline understanding of how your home is heated today. Even if you want to change or improve your heating, knowing what you’re currently using will help with targeting your search for a new system: 

    • What’s your fuel source? (Electric, natural gas, propane, oil?) 
    • Do you have Central Cooling or Heat only? 
    • What are the tonnage and BTU requirements for your house? 
    • How well did your current system preform keeping your home comfortable? 

    It’s recommended to get two sources of info on tonnage and BTU requirements so that you can double-check them to ensure accuracy: 

    • Check the specs on your current unit.  You can lookup the model # online to see the tonnage and BTU specs, and on many units it is printed right on the plate. 
    • Use an online sizing guide to double-check your home’s requirements. You can easily find out what kind of unit you need by visiting our sizing guide here. 

    The hope is that the sizing guide info and the specs on your current unit match. If they don’t, we recommend you talk to a professional: either a local installer or a representative at an equipment dealer, like HVACDirect.com 

     

    Are you changing to a new type of system? 

    After you’ve determined what you have today, you’ll need to determine what you want: 

    •  Are you happy with what you have now? 
    • Or do you want to change from heat-only and add central cooling? 

    If you are going to keep the same as you have now, then your hunt is easy … plug in the specs and go shopping for a new system! 

     

    If you’re not sure yet what you want, here are some questions and notes on the different kinds of systems available: 

    •  Do you want heat only or do you want central air? 

    It’s important to think hard about this one, as we always recommend putting in central air and heating together – you'll save on the installation and equipment by doing it all at once.  

    If you want air conditioning as well as heating, take a look at both heat pumps and traditional AC/furnace systems. 

    Heat Pumps Systems: Contrary to their names, heat pumps provide cool air in the summer by moving hot air out of the house to the outside. In the winter they do the opposite, moving warm air into the home. They are extremely energy-efficient compared to traditional air conditioning condensers, but require a backup heating source where outdoor temperatures drop below 35 degrees. This can be electric heat strips, gas, propane, or oil heat. 

    Furnace and Air Conditioning Systems: These systems provide heating and cooling via the traditional combination of a furnace, coil, and condenser. They are the most common in the Northern half of the US since the gas furnaces are able to efficiently keep homes warm and comfortable in the cold winter months. 

     

    • Do you have room for a split system? 

    Mobile home HVAC systems can come as either a packaged unit or a split system. Packaged units contain all the heating and cooling elements in one large unit that can either sit on the ground outside or on the roof. 

    A split system means that the heat pump or AC condenser sits outside while the furnace and air handler are inside.  

    Packaged units are easier to install than split systems, but if you have the room, we do recommend a split system since it is more energy-efficient.  

     

    • Does your home have ductwork or is it ductless? 

    Most mobile and manufactured houses have full ductwork that allow for both heating and cooling. There are, however, some newer and higher-end models available that do not have ductwork. For these models, you’ll want to consider a mini-split system. Able to handle both heat and air, ductless mini-splits do come with a bit of a higher initial price tag, but they are so energy-efficient that you’ll easily make up the costs and really save on your energy bills. 

    If your home is ducted, you can select any of the “traditional” mobile home heating and cooling units mentioned above. 

     

    Don’t Forget: Easy mistakes and the most-forgotten factors in mobile home HVAC shopping: 

    When we asked our techs what things most homeowners overlook when shopping for a mobile home heating or cooling system, their answers came quick: 

    •  Ensure the components you’re buying are made for mobile or manufactured homes. 

    Venting and ductwork for mobile homes is different than that of a regular home. The duct work is narrower and smaller so the blower fans are very different. Ensure everything you’re purchasing is made for your home. 

    • If you have a gas furnace, don’t forget the roof jack. 

    Roof jacks are used to cover and extend the venting outside of the house through the roof for gas furnaces because space is just too tight inside to give the furnace proper clearance for necessary ventilation. When measuring what you need, don’t forget what you need inside the house (from the top of the furnace), plus what you need to extend beyond the roof. Also take into consideration the pitch of your roof. 

     

    • If you have Central AC, make sure you have a coil cabinet. 

    The evaporator coil is what does all the work in making your heating and cooling system efficient. If you have Central AC you need an insulated cabinet (or case) so that condensation doesn’t form. Many mobile home AC and furnace options come complete with a cabinet, but it’s important to check before you purchase. (For example, HVACDirect.com includes cabinets in its AC/furnace systems and ends the SKUs with “C4” to denote the included cabinet.) It seems simple, but is easy to forget! 

     

    Now that you’ve gone through these questions, you’re ready to go out and find the right system for you. 

    As a rule of thumb, we always recommend that you have a professional come out and determine what you need. If you’ve done your homework (noted above) then you’ll be able to discuss their findings with them and ask the right questions. Then, once you know exactly what you need, purchase your system from an HVAC equipment provider, like HVACDirect.com in order to save on unit costs, and then have your installer put the system in. 

  • New Product Spotlight: Ventless Fireplace

    There are many various types of fireplaces, and each one operates uniquely, has specific safety features, and particular costs associated with it. Keep reading to learn more about today's spotlight product: ventless fireplaces.

    The Difference

    mThere are many reasons consumers are switching to a ventless fireplace; some of the features are:

    • No need for vent or chimney
    • No need for extra floor accommodations
    • No need for a toolset
    • Creates low-cost heat to warm the room
    • Beautiful natural flame look
    • Helps maintain an energy efficient home

    How It Works

    Also known as vent-free or unvented units, ventless indoor fireplaces are fueled by natural gas or propane. These fireplaces utilize gas pushed through a dispersing unit that allows flames to show through strategic gaps in artificial logs made of ceramic fiber.

    Each fireplace has a heat resistant box that has a control panel that runs the pilot line and a striker button.

    Unlike traditional fireplaces that vent smoke through a tube or chimney that goes outside, ventless gas fireplaces take in oxygen to help the fire burn and then return warm air into the room.

    Safety

    Ventless fireplaces are safe because they burn such a low quantity of gas that the emissions produced are not hazardous. Most ventless gas fireplaces have a safety feature back up called the Oxygen Detection System. This gas detector is a feature that will turn off the ventless fireplace if the oxygen levels in a room drop below a limit that is safe.

    The Costs

    jWhen looking at the costs of fireplaces, you want to consider the costs associated with the following aspects of each unit:

    • Installation:

    When looking to get a gas line put in for any gas fireplace, the price will depend on how much gas line will have to be placed in your home. The addition of a gas line can cost from $200 to $3000.

    • Maintenance:

    With a gas stove, there is no need for ash removal or added chimney cleaning fees. It can cost $60 to $300 each year to clean a vent pipe on a wood burning stove.

    • Running:

    The cost of running a gas fireplace will depend on the area in which you live. You can calculate these costs by utilizing the following formula: (BTU rating X gas cost per Therm) / 100,000 = Cost of running your fireplace per hour Let’s use the Vent-free Empire Cast Iron Stove as an example. It utilizes an average of 27,000 BTUs per hour, and the current national average of gas is just under $0.87/therm. (27,000 BTUs X .87/ Therm)/100,000=$0.23/hour This means that to run the Vent-free Empire Cast Iron Stove in an area where gas costs are around the national average, it would cost approximately $0.23/hour to run this model of fireplace.

    HVACdirect.com and Your Ventless Fireplace

    FireplaceInsertHere at HVAC Direct, we offer a variety of different fireplaces. Here are a few of the vent-free models that we offer.

    You can view our entire vent free fireplace selection on our website.

  • Five Tips: Getting Ready for AC Season

    air conditioning

    Summer is coming soon. Knowing a few steps to get ready before summer fully arrives will help you keep cool.

    1. Cleaning and Maintenance

    Before you ever turn on your air conditioning, you need to make sure that the unit is clean and free of any debris. This will apply no matter what type of unit you have. If your air conditioner is a larger outdoor AC unit, you will want to make sure that no leaves or sticks have accumulated on or near it. If your AC unit is one that is removed and put into storage, you will want to make sure that nothing has dropped into it or gotten into where the fan spins.

    You will want to make sure that your ducts are clean if you have them, and that your filter has been changed or washed depending on the type of unit that you have.

    2. Everything is in Working Order

    You will want to turn on your unit to make sure that everything is working correctly. Watch closely for any sparks or smoke and listen to ensure there are no strange or abnormal sounds coming from the air conditioner. If it makes a labored sound or has any smoke you may need a replacement or a repair.

    3. Evaluation of Function

    coolingIf you have the AC cleaned appropriately, all the filters are changed, and you have ascertained that the unit is working, you will need to leave it running for a while.

    After having the air conditioner on for 30 minutes to an hour, you should be able to tell if the unit is cooling the air. You will want to leave the AC on long enough to get a feeling if it needs to be looked at by a repairman to ensure that it can cool your home or room.

    4. Assessment of Your Home and What Steps to Take

    You need to evaluate the area of your home and how much energy your AC is going to require for cooling. After looking at the BTU per hour (British Thermal Unit) VS wattage used by your machine, you can determine the costs of running this machine and if it is time to update or upgrade to a more energy efficient model.

    5. Shopping for a New AC Unit

    If you will be looking for a new air conditioner, there are some things you will want to consider when looking to get a new model.

    Do you need an AC and furnace combo?

    Will you be cooling your entire home with one unit?

    What is the area of the space you will be cooling?

    How much will the new units cost to run?

    Compare BTU/hour vs. wattage/hour.

    If the unit face is seen inside, you will want to consider how it looks and if you like the way that it functions.

    HVACdirect.com and Your New Air Conditioner

    Variable Blower MotorsHere is a list of some of the different types of AC units that HVACdirect.com offers:

    • Furnace & Air Conditioner Systems
      • Combination units that have both heating and cooling.
    • PTAC Units
      • Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners are units that contain heating and cooling units. You typically see these machines in hotels or hospitals.
  • What You Need for a Multi Zone Mini Split!

    Have you considered buying a Mini Split system for you home but have been intimidated by their complexity? Mini Splits are a great option to cool and heat your home efficiently and it would be a terrible predicament for you to not utilize one for your home just because you are not sure how they work so I am here to help clear some things up for you.
  • Why Gas Fireplaces Need an Annual Inspection

    Since gas fireplaces are easy to maintain and burn clean, some homeowners presume that they don’t require an inspection. While it's true that they're low maintenance and efficient, it's also a fact that any appliance can become problematic if you neglect it. That's why we recommend a yearly inspection of your fireplace.

    Continue reading
  • Spring Cleaning for Your Wood Burning Fireplace

    Spring is finally here, and that means you need to be ready to give your wood stoves a good spring clean. Now that the weather is warming up, you won't need to use your fireplace as much making it the best time to give it a good cleanout. Here's how to clean your stove out to make it sparkle and ready for when you next need it.

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