Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for September, 2014

How is Furnace Efficiency Rated?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

When you’re in the market for a new heating system, you want to make sure you get the best unit for your home and individual needs. For many, this means choosing a system that is not too costly to install. If this is your main criteria, you may be able to find many relatively inexpensive furnaces on the market. However, this should not be your only consideration when deciding on a new unit for furnace installation.

Here in Lincolnwood, IL, furnace efficiency should definitely be a factor in selecting a new furnace, as a more efficient system may help you save hundreds of dollars a year. Many people who have owned furnaces in the past may not realize that today’s systems are far more efficient than they once were. Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to create furnaces with very little heat loss provided you have a well-maintained duct system.

The U.S. government mandates that every furnace sold in the country is required to display vital information about the efficiency of the unit. Furnace efficiency is measured with the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This is represented by a percentage which lets you know how much heat enters your home compared to the amount of energy it takes to run the unit.

This may be easier to understand by looking at some examples. All gas furnaces sold in the United States today must have an AFUE of 80% or higher. This is a step up from much older systems, which may sometimes have an AFUE closer to 50%. However, a furnace with an AFUE of 80% will still not be the most efficient system available. What this number means is that your unit uses 80% of the energy it consumes to heat your home, while the rest of the energy escapes elsewhere. And this number doesn’t even account for other sources of heat loss such as leaky ducts.

To find the most efficient furnaces, look for ones that carry the distinguished ENERGY STAR label. These meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s high standards for efficiency, and gas furnaces with this seal boast an AFUE of 90% or greater. For more information about efficiency and furnace installation service in Lincolnwood, IL, speak to one of our trained heating technicians at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. Contact us today to schedule service.

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Should I Install a New Furnace for the Coming Winter?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Installing a new heating system is a big decision that affects your entire home, not to mention your wallet. But if you’ve been struggling with your heating system for a while, it may be time to review whether repair or replacement is the better option. One thing to consider now: fall offers a great time for a new heating installation in Chicago, as the cold air hasn’t settled in yet. But there are some other factors to consider, and we’ll outline these below. Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has been helping Chicago-area customers with their heating needs for 4 generations, and our experience and expertise can help you with yours.

Reasons to Consider a New Heating System

Here are some reasons you may want to install a new furnace for this winter:

  • High heating bills – did you notice last winter that your heating bills shot up, but your fuel cost and usage hadn’t changed? A decrease in energy efficiency is a common sign that your furnace may not be keeping up with your heating needs.
  • Age of your furnace – a well-maintained furnace can last an average of 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is in that age range, it may be worth replacing the system rather than repairing it.
  • Constant repairs – did you have to schedule a lot of repairs for your furnace last winter? Unfortunately, problems will not go away on their own, and if yours are persistent, your money may be better spent on a new unit.

The winter is coming, and nothing is worse than waking up in a freezing cold house because the furnace died. A new heating installation for your Chicago home can be a big undertaking, but with the help of the trained professionals at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, you can be assured of installing a furnace that is a perfect fit for your home and family. Call us today and schedule an appointment!

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Why Boilers Are Still Popular for Home Heating

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

The word “boiler” can give an image of an outdated, large heating appliance, but the truth is, boilers are very energy efficient and provide comfortable radiant heating. Boilers can operate with different fuel types, and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate properties from average size to large. So why consider the installation of a boiler in Park Ridge, IL? We’ll get into more details below, but no matter what your heating needs may be, including repair, replacement or maintenance, call the professionals you can count on: Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

What Is a Boiler?

A boiler is part of a hydronic heating system in which water is heated to a temperature of 180 degrees and then circulated through a system of pipes where the heat from the water is released through radiators, baseboard or radiant tubing.

What Are the Different Types of Boilers?

There are 4 main types of boilers for your home:

  • Gas boiler – the most common type of boiler, a gas boiler uses natural gas to heat the water in the system. There are 3 kinds of gas boilers available: conventional, combination (also known as combi) and condensing. Gas boilers are very energy efficient and durable.
  • Electric boiler – electric boilers use electricity to heat the water in the system. These types of boilers are very energy efficient, using a small amount of electricity to work. They also tend to be smaller in size and do not emit any kind of carbon dioxide as gas boilers can.
  • Oil boiler – like the other two boilers, oil boilers are very energy efficient and durable. However, oil prices can vary greatly, which can make the operation of them more expensive.

Benefits of Boilers

No matter what type of boiler you choose, there are benefits to be gained:

  • Even heating – the heat from boilers is distributed through outlets that radiate heat rather than blow heated air; this makes the heating even and gradual, which can be more comfortable.
  • Quiet operation – the only noise a boiler makes is when it is heating the water; otherwise, the system is very quiet.
  • Piping system allows for easy zoning – the piping system of a boiler can make it easier to designate different heating zones inside your home.
  • No blowing dust – a boiler system doesn’t use air to deliver the heat, which helps to greatly reduce the circulation of dust particles in your home.

Boilers are very energy efficient and provide comfortable heating for your home. If you are interested boiler installation service in Park Ridge, IL, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today and speak with one of our installation experts.

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Choosing an Efficient System for Heating Installation

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

When it comes to selecting a heating system for your home, you must weigh a number of different factors in order to find the best unit for the job. Along with picking a heater that can provide the level of warmth necessary for your family’s comfort and which uses type of fuel best suited for where you live, you also must choose a heater that runs efficiently and will not create exorbitant utility bills.

Here is a tip on how to narrow down your heating systems choices based on their efficiency. For further assistance finding and installing the right heater in Chicago, IL, call the company that has kept the city warm for over a century: Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

AFUE and HSPF: Efficiency Ratings to Watch For

The best way to determine the efficiency of a heating system is to look for either the AFUE or HSPF rating. The latter is found only on heat pumps, while the former applies to all other systems, such as furnaces and boilers.

Annual fuel unitization efficiency (AFUE) is a measurement of how well a heating system burns its fuel source to generate heat. AFUE is written as a percentage that expresses what amount of fuel the system converts to heat; the higher the percentage, the more efficient system works and the less it will cost to run. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 85% would return 85 BTUs of heat for every 100 units of fuel it burns (gas, propane, electricity, etc.).

How high an AFUE should you aim for? That depends on your budget and the type of heater. For a gas furnace to qualify for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR label, it must have an AFUE of 90% or better. In general, you should look for units with ENERGY STAR certification when shopping for a heater.

Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) is different kind of efficiency measurement, and it only applies to heat pumps in heating mode. (For cooling mode, they have a separate rating, SEER.) HSPF is a ratio of the amount of heating provided to the amount electricity consumed in watt-hours. The HSPF rating for efficient heat pumps tends to hover in the range of 10–12 and is almost always lower than SEER for the same system.

Here’s something to keep in mind: an efficient heating system doesn’t necessarily mean that it is powerful enough for your home. A heater can efficiently consume energy, yet still fail to produce enough heat to effectively warm a space. This is why you must rely on professionals for installing a heater: they will assist you with balancing all the important factors so you will end up with a system that will save you money and keep out the cold.

Call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today for the Chicago, IL heater service you need to make the upcoming winter (and many after it) a pleasant and cozy one.

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How Maintenance Prevents the Need for Electric Furnace Repair

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

One of the advantages of electric furnaces for home heating is their flexibility. Because almost all homes are wired for electricity, electric furnaces are options everywhere. They are also safer than gas furnaces because they don’t pose any hazards from toxic or combustible gases. Although electric furnace models tend to be less energy-efficient than gas models, current technology is far superior to what it once was and makes electricity a competitive option for reduced energy use.

But perhaps the greatest advantage of electric furnaces is their longevity and durability. An electric furnace will often last 10 years longer than a gas furnace, and they need fewer repairs in general. However, they still require regular maintenance to help ward off repair calls. If you neglect regular maintenance for your electric furnace, you can’t expect it to give you a long and productive service life.

To help avoid unnecessary electric furnace repair in Northbrook, IL, arrange for annual furnace maintenance from HVAC professionals. The maintenance program at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning will see that your electric furnace is prepared for the winter. Call us today for more details.

The Importance of Maintenance for Preventing Furnace Repairs

Electric furnaces work through resistance heating: power runs through the coils of the heating elements inside the furnace cabinet, turning them hot, which in turn heats up the air which is then blown out through the ductwork. This places a great deal of stress on the heating elements, which can burn out if they are not regularly cared for and occasionally replaced. During maintenance, the technician will inspect the heating elements to make sure that none of them are in need of repairs of replacements in the near future.

The technician will also look over the whole electrical system that powers the furnace to make adjustments and tightenings. This will help ward off potential electrical failures that could shut down the entire system.

Another crucial part of an electric furnace that a technician investigates is the air handler: the blower fan responsible for sending the heated air from the cabinet and distributing it into the ventilation system. The technician will make sure the motors are lubricated and not dirty, and that none of the capacitors are on the verge of failing.

After the maintenance session is done, you will have a furnace that is in the best condition possible for the coming winter. If the technician does locate places that need preventive repairs, he or she will tell you about them and help you schedule the repair work that will fix them before the cold weather arrives.

Call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today and sign one of our Residential Maintenance Agreements. When you agree to have maintenance from us, you’ll actually need us less…since your furnace will keep working so well you shouldn’t need to contact us for repairs. However, in the event anything goes wrong, you can always count on us for fast electric furnace repair in Northbrook, IL.

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