Furnaces, Boilers, and Heat Efficiency: A Guide to AFUE Ratings

energy guideThe measure of a boiler or central furnace’s efficiency is determined by what’s known as “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency”, or an AFUE for short. An AFUE, as the name implies, looks at how well boilers and furnace models use fuel to heat a home on a yearly basis.

Currently, manufacturers of either boilers or furnaces are required by the Federal Trade Commission to display their AFUE. This move towards transparency allows prospective buyers to know what they can expect in terms of heating efficiency as they seek to make informed purchasing decisions.

A Little More About AFUE Ratings

AFUE is a ratio that’s determined by weighing the total heat produced by the appliance against the total amount of fossil fuel energy it consumes each year. An AFUE rating of 90% tells an individual that approximately 90% of the fossil fuel energy used will be converted into heat for home while the remaining 10% is displaced or sent elsewhere.

Despite the convenience of efficiency being condensed into a single number, it’s worth noting that AFUE isn’t a percentage that factors in losses associated with pipes or the duct system, although these can account for up to 35% of the energy. This is especially true when ducts are situated in unconditioned areas such as garages and attics.

What About Electric Furnaces and Boilers?

A major strength associated with boilers or furnaces that run purely on electricity is that there are no heat losses via chimneys and the like. Typically, with all-electric appliances of this nature, the AFUE rating is in the range of 95% to 100%. At the lower end of this range are outdoor units which are associated with larger amounts of heat loss. Another concern is the expense of electricity in certain cities, which in turn makes all-electric boilers and furnaces impractical. Those who are intrigued by electric heating may be better-served with heat pump technology, or the new tankless hot water on demand systems.

What’s the Minimum AFUE Rating?

The lowest allowable AFUE rating allowed for a home furnace is 78% unless the purchase is for a mobile home in which case the threshold is 75%. It’s expected that in the future AFUE minimums for furnaces will be decided on the basis of a number of factors such as indoor or outdoor installation, fuel usage, and whether the furnace is designed for use in a mobile home.

In the case of a boiler, AFUE minimums depend on both the means of heating and the fuel used. For example, a gas-based water boiler the AFUE minimum is 82% while a water boiler that’s oil-fired has a number of 84%. Meanwhile, an oil-based steam boiler has a minimum AFUE rating of 82%. Further conditions include hot water boilers needing the ability to automatically adjust the water temperature while a gas-fired boiler isn’t allowed to burn constantly.

Condensing v Non-Condensing

The difference a condensing boiler or furnace makes is in the way that it takes water vapor and uses it to provide heat. AFUE ratings for this type of appliance are often significantly higher than other types. These furnaces and boilers are often more costly than their non-condensing counterparts, but they pay-off over time and are often more economical in places with harsh winters.

The efficiency of a system can also be discovered by examining a unit’s equipment features.

Older and less efficient:

  • Constant-burning pilot
  • AFUE of 56%-70%
  • Use of a natural draft with combustion gasses
  • Heat exchange

Mid-Efficiency Heating:

  • Ignition uses electricity
  • Flue pipes in smaller size
  • AFUE ratings of 80%-83%
  • A more precise exhaust fan has a greater degree of control over the combustion process
  • Smaller unit size and reduced weight leading to more efficient cycles

Higher-Efficiency Heating:

  • Combustion is a sealed process
  • AFUE ratings in the range of 90%-98.5%
  • A second heat exchanger allows the system to further condense flue gasses

For more information on this subject visit the appropriate government page on heat and energy for furnaces and boilers.

Helpful Tips for Maintaining The Furnace

Maintaining a furnace is a do-it-yourself task that does not require technical expertise. Its effectiveness and efficiency can only be determined by the level of care offered. When maintaining a high functional burner, it is important to subject it to regular cleaning and maintenance. This can only be ensured by knowing each component and how it should be handled during cleaning. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with all its components and the right measurements you should have for your burner. The main components in a cleaner are discussed below, as well as, how they should be maintained.

Oil and Gas Burners

Using gas or oil in burners depends on the type of furnace you are cleaning. Normally, oil burners are known to involve less complicated technology and tools in comparison to oil burners. Gas burners require more maintenance owing to the high level of technology and equipment associated. Therefore a professional technician should do such maintenance techniques as inspecting flames and pilot mechanism. However, simple practices like cleaning the burners can be done at home yourself to maintain a longer span of the cleaner. Before checking it is imperative to turn off the burners, gas supply line and the pilot light.

Brushes for Cleaning

Not all brushes are suitable for cleaning soot, especially for oil. In order to figure out which brush to use, you should first know which model is you are using. By using the recommended brush, cleanliness is maintained, and this increases its efficiency and span. Grainger illustrates different brushes suitable for different furnaces. For instance, a pin boiler requires a wire bristle brush with a diameter of 1/2″. Safety gear as goggles are indispensable in this case, and then you can slowly brush it diagonally until all the soot is removed.

Combustion Compartment

This is the most essential part you should consider cleaning. The compartment is subject to getting dust, cobwebs, and rust. These contaminants are dangerous for the functioning of the compartment, and should be eliminated as soon as possible. It is recommended to use a long nozzle that can penetrate the long wires and cabinets. By using the nozzle, one will be able to trap cobwebs, rust and even dust. Always make sure that there is adequate supply of oxygen around the combustion compartment to avoid lint. Lint is mostly found in those furnaces that are located in a room since it uses the air in the room, which has limited oxygen to allow full combustion.

It is imperative to clean furnaces and eliminate any traces of dirt. Dirt is regarded as harmful because it reduces its efficiency, and prompts high drains of fuel usage. You do not need plumbing skills to clean or maintain one. Other parts that you should take care of include the blower, motor, filter and power cord. For example, always ensure that all cords are connected appropriately to prevent short circuit. It is important to maintain plumbing machines for long in order to avoid repair and replacement expenses on your furnace.

If you feel this is beyond your skill level and you are not comfortable preforming these tasks then it is recommended that you set up a regular maintenance schedule with a reputable Kelowna furnace cleaning company in the city you live in. If your home uses a boiler for radiant heat instead of a forced air furnace, no need to worry because most contractors that handle furnace repair also service boilers.

Furnace Cleaning Tip

Thinking of Painting the House Yourself

One of the easiest ways to touch up an old house’s look is by giving it a paint job. Considered to the best way to give your home a makeover, house painting is the best option you can use. Nonetheless, how does someone start the task of painting their house?

Heritage Painting LogoHouse painting is usually best left to a professional. Even if you do choose to undertake the task on your own, it is almost impossible to complete the task without errors. While there are many skilled amateur painters, it is still better to not risk it owing to the fact that there is a possibility of ending up with a bad paint job.

A house that is painted well will have a durable coat of paint that will last for years. It is possible to have a paint job go bad. In such scenarios, it is possible for the house to look ugly and the paint job would require you spend more time than you normally would on a paint job to make it look right. However, before you choose to start such a project, here are a few facts that you should consider.

Preparing the House

Preparing the house for paint is one of the most important basic steps that should be done before you start applying the paint. Make certain that all areas are secured and made paint-proof. These areas include portions of the house which are susceptible to damage and are sensitive. Plus you will not suffer any splatters, paints and other accidents whether it’s an interior or exterior house painting job. By going the extra mile this way, you can avoid incurring semi-permanent or extensive damages which could have been avoided very easily.

Painting Sensibly

Try focusing on one wall at a time when you’ve started painting. While it is always easier to multi task, don’t risk your wall corners and other nooks and crannies to a bad paint job while you’re painting your wall. By taking the project one wall at a time, you’ll not only be able to apply the pain coat evenly but you’ll also be able to focus on the brush and rolling techniques for your paint job that can produce the best results and ensure a seamless finish.

Getting an Even Tone in the Paint

Sometimes, it is possible for paint of the same color to have slight differences in hue owing to their canning conditions. Although this change in hue is not always noticeable to see, it can be visually jarring to see, particularly if you’re switching cans halfway through painting a wall. In order to avoid such situations, you can get a 5 gallon bucket and mix in two or three cans of paint. Stir the paint well together and you’ll have even toned paint. Nonetheless, while paint in a can is easier to carry around, this method ensures your walls all have a nice even color tone.

Call for Help

Don’t be afraid to call in a professional for help when looking for house painters Vancouver. Hiring a team of professional house painters ensures your paint job will be done under the care and expertise of seasoned professional painters. Furthermore, the end result of a professional paint job speaks for itself. You’ll not only find messes kept to a minimum, you’ll also end up with a nicer finish well worth the cost for most people.

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Choices for Kitchen Countertops

It can be challenging to look for the right material for your countertops that are the hardest-working surfaces as part of your kitchen. Also, there are considerations you should address before selecting a countertop in accordance to looks alone. A countertop ought to be durable, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, water-resistant, stain-resistant, easy to clean, as well as attractive. This brief guide reviews five material categories selected for his or her perfect mixing of practicality and beauty. There are various material options – natural, manufactured or engineered – to get on counters that can easily be installed as a strong surface or targeted against a backing just like a veneer.

Here is a Video Showing a Re-cycled Glass Countertop Installation

Your material of preference can impact the sort of sink you want, whether it is integrated, drop-in or under-mount, A built-in sink will only work with chrome steel or solid-surface materials, like Corian. A drop-in sink is essentially the most versatile and can be used with various types countertop material, and an under-mount sink also works for any material apart from wood.

It is vital to consider textures and edges as the material choice will impact these as well. You’ll want to investigate all the edge styles for your option and look the sharpness and thickness whatever the profile.

A combination of two materials could be a solution if you thinking about tasks that is going to be performed for that countertop. Whilst you may choose granite or ceramic for almost all of countertops, it’s your decision a element of wood for chopping, cutting and slicing, or marble for rolling out pastry and candy making. The mix of two materials may be worked into the look and supply the best solution, where one type of material is perfect for a piece area, and one more for clean-up or eating. The truth is, countertops affect the feel and appear of the entire kitchen and could make a dramatic design statement.

1. Stone: Granite, Marble and Limestone

Granite, marble and limestone could also be the costliest choice but they simply are the highest choice when it comes to beauty and practicality. They’ll last forever with proper care. Granite is the leading choice through this category. The stone could be installed as an intense surface except a more reasonable installation could be made as granite or limestone tiles with tight grout lines.

Granite exudes elegance in an inside and because the the utilization of it becomes more widespread, prices have learned down. Stone upgrades even the most modest kitchen. It stands up to heat and comes in a few of colors. It is substantial and will endure a lifetime. It can have a mat finish as “honed” or perhaps a shiny polished finish. New sealers are almost maintenance-free but granite can require some periodic sealing and some stones, particularly marble, can absorb stains despite being properly sealed. Granite has the second highest hardness rating after diamonds but any stone can crack whether it is stressed in transport or installed improperly. Stone supplies a high value to home buyers and, particularly, granite kitchen countertops are elegant and timeless.

2. Quartz- and Acrylic-Based: Engineered Stone and “Solid Surface”

Countertops product of engineered stone are made up of 93% quartz particles. Engineered stone supplies a wider range of colours than granite and also have a nonporous surface that resists scratches. Engineered stone, or Quartz is not similar to common as granite and is commonly confused for granite but the normal consistency whatever the patterning gives it away as being man-made. Actually, engineered stone has all the benefits of granite but is simpler to take care of, without using the annual sealing required by natural stone. It is costlier than granite or stone. Engineered stone brands include Silestone, DuPont Zodiaq, LG Viatera and Cambria Quartz.

Just like the quartz-based engineered stone countertops are the seamless, manufactured acrylic-based ones that have been called “Solid Surface” counters. Though they include a large selection of colors, patterns and finishes, they don’t have the natural physical appearance of stone. They certainly resist stains, moisture, sunlight and heat, and inhibit the expansion of mold and bacteria. However, they’re vulnerable to hot pans and stains which may damage the surface. Solid Surface countertops are custom-made and also their acrylic material could be formed to incorporate an integrated sink with seamless installation. Brands of Solid Surface countertops include Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.

The words “Solid Surface” involving this acrylic-based material category is confusing, These countertops is so-named since they are what actually they’re called, “solid.” However, they’re solid and custom-made, manufactured, designer quartz countertops as are the quartz-based engineered stone countertops. As well as, the term is doubly confusing since stone countertops (granite, marble, limestone) and wood (butcherblock) may also be seamless, “solid” countertops, versus veneer-like countertops as laminate or tile.

3. Tile: Ceramic, Aluminum and Copper

While ceramic tile seems old-fashioned for being countertop material, it several other pluses. It is durable, inexpensive and easy to clean. Ceramic tile counters are often installed one section at a time and most of the people can easily help the materials. Ceramic finishes are great as they take hot pans, are easy to wash you can get them in particular textures. The one downsides are the fact that the grout in between the tiles might be difficult to clean, tiles can chip and crack, and of course the surface can end up uneven. In addition to ceramic tile, tiles also are available in aluminum and copper for great new looks, whether in brushed or smooth textures. Also, tiles could be set in various sizes and patterns, as squares, subway block and angled as diamonds. Back splashes are capable of having unique designs and capping tiles.

4. Stainless Steel

To provide the kitchenette the style of a serious chef working, or a recent industrial design, then stainless steel countertops is wonderful for you. This material is incredibly heat-resistant and durable, and it is uncomplicated to construct the countertops precisely for your specifications to be the seamless surface. While they are easy to scrub, situated on the down side, they’ll dent and they can be very expensive.

5. Concrete

Concrete CountertopContemporary and industrial, concrete countertops offer another option that blends function and chic modern design. These can be constructed and cast just in your kitchen and they are often color-tinted. New treatments reduce the porous character and get rid of cracking. Concrete is heat and scratch resistant, and the style is exotic and unusual, a pleasant variant on the fashionable design theme.

To sum it up, these would be kitchen countertop options for each style and every budget. Any of these five material choices for your new or remodeled kitchen can offer character and wonder for your hardest-working kitchen surface. Your selection will define your property as the countertop is the focus of each kitchen. These choices have tested record of durability in addition to beauty. While you will find other choices, like laminates which scratch, lift up at their edges and looking cheap, or butcher block wood surfaces that can easily be porous, scratched and requires much maintenance, only these five categorical choices will boost your home’s selling price though they survive scratches, food and water spills to take care of a new looking, stylish, decorative appearance.

Flat Roof Ponding and Roof Drainage Problems

When you’ve got a flat roof and have found a pool of water up there you should be concerned because flat roofs are made to slope to the drains to keep the roof free from puddles.

You’ve got a low spot for a reason. The sagging could be happening on account of the joists being too far apart or improperly sized or worse yet, there could be a leak causing decay of the wooden joists.

For do it your self types, you need to pry up the plywood and look underneath it, check out the joists and find out if they are too far apart or if they’re decaying. Once you have sorted out the joist trouble, nail down new plywood and re-roof the area.

We know those who would do this on their own by adding material to raise the low spot, but the extra weight could result in more problems instead of fixing your original problem. If you wish to choose that route hire a structural engineer to make sure you have a green light for the added weight on that area of your roof.

The best thing to do obviously is hire someone familiar with this, like a roofing company. Most roofers offer a good work warranty and referrals you can check out.

Flat Roof Ponding

How To Find Professional AC Repair

Hiring a professional AC repair company is a very important decision that home owners need to make this summer. When it comes to your house, one of the most vital systems is your hvac system. For this reason it is necessary to regularly have your system checked by a professional ac repair work firm.

Any credible company concentrating on 24 hr air conditioning repair will certainly have the ability to provide you along with the routine maintenance your system has to try to keep running at a the best possible level. They will likewise be able to give you assistance on exactly how you can keep your system functioning effectively as well.

HVAC Systems

The hvac system is what takes care of the central air within your home. For this reason it’s important that it is consistently cleaned and examined. This will enable your system to operate successfully and keep your month-to-month costs down. It’s likewise crucial to take care of any kind of issues promptly by getting a cooling repair work business to come check out your system and see what the problem is.

Selecting Professional AC Repair People

There are some things you can do that could help keep your system going effortlessly between maintenance times. As long as your system is operating effectively and does not call for repair then there are some things you could do to keep it running hassle-free. This includes keeping your air filters tidy and changing them regularly. You likewise want to make sure that your condenser is constantly well-maintained– keeping it clear from fragments.

Your air return grill is likewise important; you want to make certain there is no dust as this is the air that will come back into your home. If you have an outdoor system you want to make sure it is calibrated correctly as this will assist optimize your systems efficiency. By keeping these things in mind and seeing that your system receives regular maintenance your system ought to last a very long time and continue to keep your place comfy.

AC Repair Maintenance

Every concerned homeowner will want to have the latest technology to help maintain the quality of the air in your home. This is especially valuable in the Flu Season. When systems are set up to aggressively combat any sources that can lead to sickness you have a healthier home.

We understand how important it is to maintain your AC system and keep the ducts clean and open, with proper maintenance harmful gasses, viruses, and odors can be reduced by up to 99%!

For just pennies on the dollar you and your whole family can be protected from illness causing microorganisms!

HVAC systems that aren’t properly maintained can actually cause more harm than good. Due to the nature of their inner workings they can be the perfect breeding ground for harmful microorganisms like mold and other allergens. We check systems and make sure they’re working properly and are cleaned properly to prevent this from happening. We want only the cleanest air for our customers!