If you are in need of handyman repair for something like a damaged furnace or A/C unit than knowing how to find a good HVAC service is important. Maybe you want a new heating system or central air system to be installed at your home? There are better ways to find a local heating and air conditioning service company than searching the Yellowpages and they are much quicker too. The below tips will certainly help you find the right contractor or service in your area.

1. The first place you ever want to look for a dependable and reliable HVAC company is on the internet. Particularly speaking it’s best to search Google or another big search engine because the most relevant and experienced service providers are listed on the front page.

2. To find out how a certain company will complete your new heating or air conditioning installation you can read about them on their websites. This is a convenient way to do a quick background check on the company. The right tools and equipment are always important to have for any repair man so contacting them to ask is easy with the information online.

3. If you hire a local A/C repairman than you probably should ask about product warranties, furnace brands, and air conditioning system efficiency. These items are important when having a new system installed because not all central air controls and timers are the same and the more efficient brands and setups may cost a lot more. If your local heating and cooling workers can’t provide answers to simple questions than you should not hire them.

As any expert in heating and air conditioning will tell you there are a couple of ways to reduce your fuel consumption and corresponding costs.

4. Ventilate your attic properly. Heat rises in a home and gets absorbed by the attic. If it is not properly ventilated the heat will remain there increasing the need to keep your system on. Installing an attic ceiling fan is a relatively inexpensive solution that will keep your home cooler in summer. You could also look into the cost of installing an attic vent. Get a couple of different quotes from contractors in your area. Most companies providing heating and air conditioning may also provide this service or will put you in touch with the appropriate people.

5. Try setting your thermostat a degree higher. People automatically put the system on to the coolest setting. How many times have you walked into a home that is freezing? This is not comfortable so why not try setting the thermostat one degree higher. It will save you money and you probably won’t even notice the difference. You can also look at reducing the amount of time the system runs for. Installing a timer will save you money as you will avoid those times when people forget to turn off the system running up fuel bills when there is no one home.

6. You will have heard it before but in order to reduce fuel costs your system must be running efficiently and that means having it serviced by a licensed Vancouver heating and air conditioning repair contractor. You cannot afford to miss these annual appointments even if you do change the filters on a regular basis. Follow the guidance provided by the experts in heating and air conditioning and your fuel bills will be lower.

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.