Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Choose The Righ High Efficiency Furnace For Your Home

When your old inefficient furnace is nearing the end of its days it is time to start looking for the best high efficiency furnace available to replace it. By best we do not mean the most expensive but simpl;y the furnace which will do the best job for you when every factor has been considered. There are high end furnaces which give great comfort from very even heating and low operating noise levels. If this is what you desire several manufacturers make such furnaces which have AFUE ratings of up to 97%. If cost is the most important factor to you there are budget priced high efficiency furnaces which cost consideranly less and have efficiency ratings of 90% to 92%. You can obtain information about these furnaces online or from local suppliers in your area. when you have made up your mind about the furnace you want to install you should get written quotations from several suppliers for the total installed cost of the furnace.Here is material quoted from the government of Canada website which is pertinent to this:

Condensing gas furnaces are the most energy-efficient furnaces on the market today. They are an ideal choice as a new or replacement furnace for virtually any home serviced by natural gas or propane. Here is why:
Condensing gas furnaces have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of between 90 and 97 percent, compared with AFUEs of about 60 percent for old furnaces and of 78 to 84 percent for standard efficiency units. (AFUE is the yardstick for rating furnace efficiency.)
Because of their increased efficiency, condensing gas furnaces use, on average, 33 to 38 percent less energy than old models and 10 percent less energy than a standard efficiency model. This helps conserve Canada's natural resources and reduces harmful environmental emissions that contribute to climate change, urban smog and other air pollution problems.
Any extra cost associated with purchasing a condensing gas furnace will be quickly recovered through energy savings. For example, a homeowner with an old gas furnace could save about $300 a year by switching to a condensing gas furnace with an AFUE of 96 percent.
Condensing gas furnaces are available in a range of sizes. They can be installed in the same location as the furnace that is being replaced, by the same technicians and by using the same ductwork.

The above is quoted directly from the Government of Canada website. 

Installation of a high efficiency condensing gas furnace will reduce your fuel bills considerably compared to the cost for your old furnace which usually has an efficiency rating of about 60%. You will also have a more comfortable home when you have the right high efficiency furnace installed. For more information go to gas furnace prices and also to high efficiency furnaces.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Is The Most Economical Fuel For Home Heating?


When your old furnace has reached the point where you obviously must replace it very soon the question arises as to which fuel is going to be best, and cost the least for heating your home. Most consumers find that natural gas is the least costly fuel to use for home heating, but there are some questions which may arise before making a final decision.

In years past electricity was always the most expensive home heating method. Oil heat cost less, and natural gas was always the lowest cost fuel. That is no longer always the case due to the present high and rising cost of both fuel oil and gas. In addition to this oil and gas prices can fluctuate widely depending on supply questions. Any crisis in the Middle East sparks an immediate rise in prices, and any full scale war in that area would be disastrous for oil suppliers. The gap between costs for these fuels and the cost of electrical heating has narrowed.

If oil and gas costs continue to escalate in future years, which is a likely scenario, the cost of heating with electricity may no longer be highest of the three. The cost of electricity has risen less than that of oil and gas over the past two decades, and it is likely that the gap will lessen even more. Eventually it may even be cheaper to heat with electricity. How long it will take for this to happen is a big question. At present it still seems best to use natural gas with a high efficiency furnace, and most consumers make this choice.The following material is quoted from the CMHC website and shows how to calculate fuel costs:

Calculating Fuel Costs

Here is a rough comparison of the relative costs of heating an older house in Ottawa. You can put in your own fuel prices and the efficiencies of the appliance that you are choosing to compare relative costs

Calculating fuel costs.

Note: It is often difficult to isolate the cost per unit of fuel, be it gas or electricity. Include all the costs that relate to the m³ of consumption for gas (for example, gas supply charge, gas delivery charges, gas surcharges). Electric utilities often also have a bewildering range of charges. Apply all the charges except fixed charges (for example, $10/month connection charge).
For oil appliances, use an energy content of 38.2 MJ/litre of oil. For electricity, use 3.6 MJ/kWh and 100-per-cent efficiency.
Note: 80 GJ (or 80 gigajoules) is the energy required for heating the example house over the winter (heat load). Your own house will likely be different. However, the relative costs calculated for alternative fuels and furnaces in the example house should help you make a selection for your house.

The above material is quoted directly from the CMHC website.

This calculation can be performed to find the present day figures for heating your home by various methods. By substituting higher prices for fuels in the future the cost of heating your home under various scenarios can be calculated.

For more information check out gas furnaces prices and high efficiency furnaces.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Insulation In Your home Will Save You Money


When you have decided to replace your old inefficient heating system with a modern high efficiency furnace it makes sense to first of all make sure that thye insulation in your home is up to modern standards. Twenty or thirty years ago fuel was very cheap and houses were often poorly insulated . There was no need to have top grade insulation when you could buy fuel for pennies a gallon. Nowadays it is a very different story and fuel is expensive whether you burn gas or oil. It makes no sense to spend money on a high efficiency furnace if heat is leaking through the walls of your home to an inordinate extent.You should first bring the insulation up to standard in order to take advantage of the fuel savings you get with the new furnace. Here is the official details of the correct way to insulate your home. This is quoted directly from the CMHC website.

Wall Insulation for Existing Construction
The two most common wall types are wood-frame and solid brick. In a wood-frame wall, insulation (loose fill and some foams) is typically blown into the cavities through holes that have been drilled through the drywall or siding. In solid brick, the largest cavity is usually 25 mm (1 in.) wide, which is not enough for any significant increase in R value. The builder must create a cavity. Usually, a new cavity wall is built inside and insulated as a new wall, or board stock and new siding are applied to the exterior. When planning a cavity wall retrofit, remember the following:

The cost of getting at and repairing the walls is a significant part of the work and cost of the project.
Both air and vapour barriers are required. The interior painted drywall can be both an air and vapour barrier, but details at windows, electrical outlets, floors and other penetrations must be done carefully to reduce air movement through the wall as much as possible. Air movement can lead to mold growth and decay of the walls, as well as loss of insulation efficiency.
An insulation must be selected that will completely fill the cavity and not settle. Some insulations, such as foams, can provide reasonable air barriers themselves.
Attic Insulation

The attic is often the most cost-effective place to add insulation. Usually, a contractor blows loose fill into and over the top of ceiling joists. For the do-it-yourselfer, batts laid sideways on existing insulation are an easy alternative.

The air barrier at the ceilingline must be tight to ensure warm moist air from the house does not get into the cold attic and condense in the winter. Check ceiling light fixtures, the tops of interior walls and penetrations such as plumbing stacks for air leakage.
Ensure that soffit venting is not blocked by added insulation; baffles may have to be installed.
Basement Insulation

Basement walls are unique because they must handle significant moisture flows from both inside and outside the house. The preferred method, from a building science perspective, is to insulate the wall on the outside with rigid insulation suitable for below-grade installations, such as extruded polystyrene or rigid fibreglass.

The advantages are as follows:

Insulating the outside of the basement works well with dampproofing and foundation drainage. Rigid fibreglass or mineral wool acts as a drainage layer, keeping surface and ground water away from the foundation.
The basement walls are kept at room temperature, protecting the structure, reducing the risk of interior condensation and increasing comfort.
The disadvantages are the disturbance of landscaping, the need to cover the insulation above grade, and the relatively high cost.

Interior insulation can be used. This can be done when finishing the basement by using batt insulation in the stud cavities or by installing extruded polystyrene and strapping on the face of the perimeter walls. If the basement won't be finished, you can install rolls of polyethylene-encapsulated fibreglass over the wall. The advantages of interior installation are cost and ease of construction. The disadvantages of interior installations are as follows:

The basement walls are now at the temperature of the soil or the outside. Any moist air moving through the wall from the inside will condense on the wall.
Usually, there is a moisture barrier against the foundation wall and a vapour retarder on the room side of the insulation. As a result, the wall has poor drying potential.
Never apply interior insulation to a basement with moisture problems. Fix the moisture entry problems before insulating (see CMHC’s publication A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement).

Is it Cost Effective to Insulate?

The right insulation system can save you money, reduce the amount of energy you use and make your home more comfortable. Keep in mind that installation costs (including changes to the framing, cladding, and finishes) are usually the most expensive part of an insulation project. The local climate has an impact on the cost-effectiveness of any insulating project.

Check the cost, heat loss and heat gain of all available options. Review all details to ensure that moisture movement is handled correctly. You can then select theThe Final Analysis

If your home is poorly insulated, it usually pays to upgrade the insulation. If you are building a new home, it makes sense to insulate well now, so you don't need to retrofit later.

The picture is quite clear when you read the above material which is quoted from the CMHC website. Insulating your home is definitely a priority when it comes to saving money on your heating bill. With good insulation and a high efficiency furnace your fuel bill will be cut by 35% or possibly more, compared to using a low efficiency furnace in a poorly insulated home.
See our website for more information about gas furnace prices
At high efficiency furnaces you can obtain information about how to buy new furnace

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Calculating Furnace Size For Your Home




How can you calculate the correct size for your new furnace? This can be done by the contractor who calculates the heat loss for the home  using a method which is available from government as well as private sources. This takes a number of hours to do and is fairly costly.

If you have your fuel bills from past years the heat loss for your house can be determined using the method shown below. This method is published by  The Canadian Mortgage And Housing Association  (CMHC) and is quoted from their website

    "Calculating House Heat Loss from Utility Bills

    Here is a sample calculation, using a three-month meter reading for a typical house. You can use any period (but at least two weeks of winter weather is necessary). You can read the meter yourself for the information, look at your furnace bills or phone your utility to see if they have appropriate records. The natural gas usage of other gas-fired appliances in the house is estimated from gas utility data and subtracted from the total for the period in question, so that the gas requirement for heating can be isolated. (Oil furnaces are harder to size using this method, but it may be possible using oil fill-up intervals and the number of litres delivered.)

    The goal is to find a relationship between the gas consumed and the heating degree days (HDD). A heating degree day is essentially the number of degrees of heating required over the course of 24 hours, compared to a reference temperature of 18°C. For example, if the average daily outside temperature is 10°C, then the number of heating degree days for that day is 18°C - 10°C = 8 HDD. You can get the approximate HDD for your calculation period from the Environment Canada website. Use the data from the “Degree Days: Below 18°C” row.

    Once the relationship of the HDD and gas consumption is established, then you can calculate gas consumption for the design temperature in your area. This temperature is usually available from a mechanical contractor or your local building officials. It is not the extreme minimum temperature; it can be estimated from the average temperature over 24 hours on the coldest day of the winter. To approximate the design temperature: go to the historical weather data for your community on the Environment Canada website; find the coldest January over the last several years; then pick out the lowest daily average temperature in that month; and use that as the design temperature. Being a degree or two out will not make a huge difference in the calculation.

    The example below uses a design temperature of -35°C. At that temperature, the maximum HDD per day is equal to 53, which is the difference between 18°C and -35°C. Calculating the size of the furnace necessary on the coldest day of the year will mean that the furnace has the capacity to handle any expected local temperature. You can find a furnace’s efficiency rating on its EnerGuide label or in the product documentation.


    Total gas consumption from December to March = 1,320 m3
    Estimated consumption for other gas appliances (data from utility) = 306 m3
    Therefore, gas consumption during the period for heating = 1,320 - 306 = 1,014 m3

    Heating degree days for that period (from Environment Canada data) = 2,840 HDD
    Heating consumption by degree day = 1,014 m3/ 2,840 HDD = 0.3570 m3/HDD
    Heating consumption at 53 HDD/day = (53 HDD/day)(0.3570 m3/HDD) = 18.9 m3/day

    Where gas has an energy content of 37.5 MJ/m3, and the existing furnace has an efficiency of 72 per cent, then:
    Heat loss at 53 HDD/day = (18.9 m3/day) (37.5 MJ/m3)(0.72) = 510 MJ/day or 21.3 MJ/h*
    According to the energy content of electricity, 3.6 MJ/h = 1 kW, then 21.3 MJ/h = 5.9 kW

    This heat loss would require a furnace that produces an output of 5.9 kW or about 20,100 Btu/h (1 kW is approximately 3,412 Btu/h).

    If we allow the CAN/CSA F280 permissible oversizing of 40 per cent, then the proper furnace sizing would be (1.4)(20,100 Btu/h) = approximately 28,100 Btu/h.

    If you are calculating for an oil furnace, heating oil has an energy content of 38.2 MJ/litre.

    * Note: This calculation is correct, although many people think the efficiency factor is in the wrong place. It is not. We are calculating the house heat loss based on fuel used and furnace efficiency. A more efficient furnace will have delivered more heat to the house, and the heat loss will be higher."

The source of the above material is the  CMHC website.

A less formal method of sizing your furnace can be carried out by a local contractor who will use the size, type and insulation qualities of your house to make the calculation. Most contractors know the local area well and can determine the size of furnace you will require fairly accurately. If you are buying a high efficiency condensing natural gas furnace the correct sizing for the furnace is not nearly so important. A condensing furnace even if it is over-sized the furnace still operates at full high efficiency. At our website you can find out more about high efficiency furnaces



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Budget Priced High Efficiency Natural Gas Furnaces


Furnaces commonly last for about 20 years although some may need replacement in as little as 15 years,particularly if they have not been well cared for with regular maintenance. If you have a furnace which is about that age you can expect to replace it before very long. You definitely don't want to wait wait till the appliance finally breaks down, forcing you to purchase a new one immediatel,y with little time to research what is best for you.The last thing you want is to have your furnace break down in the middle of winter on a really cold day. It is wise to install a new furnace in the warmer Spring and summer months, when contractors are not so bus,y and you can possibly bargain for the best price.

Budget priced high efficiency furnaces are available priced from about $1,000 to $3,000. The price varies according to the size of furnace required. If your home is small, a furnace with 60000 BTU output may suffice, but a big house could require 100000 BTU and up to heat it. The price also varies with the AFUE efficiency rating of the furnace. Top of the line higher efficiency furnaces of perhaps 97% AFUE are more complex, resulting in more flexibility in the fuel systrem and blower. These high end systems make the furnace more costly, but they do add more flexibility, producing the most even heating in all areas of the home, as well as making much less operating noise. Ask for written quotations, including installation cost, from three or more contractors in order to get the best available price.

High efficency furnaces have an AFUE (efficiency rating) of 90% to 97%, and will reduce fuel costs by 30% to 50% compared to the old furnace they replace. This results in a cost saving which is sufficent to completely pay for the new furnace over a period of time. Natural gas is the most popular fuel now but propane may be a necessity in places which are well away from a gas supply. Propane fuelled furnaces are pretty much the same as natural gas fuelled models, with just small differences in the system.

For more information checkout high efficiency furnaces and take a look at gas furnace prices

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keeping Your Furnace Clean And Smooth Running


Good old fashioned dirt can do a lot of harm when it builds up in a high efficiency furnace ( or in any other furnace). It can lower operating efficiency and waste fuel. If it gets bad enough it may even cause overheating of the furnace. Your high efficiency furnace needs to be regularly maintained to keep its efficiency as high as possible. Cleaning the furnace is important during regular maintenance. The fan, the motor and the air filter should all be cleaned regularly as needed.

The air filter needs to be replaced at the start of every heating season, and again replaced or cleaned monthly during the period of time the furnace is in use. Remove the air filter and examine it. If it is full of dust and dirt it should be replaced with a new compatible filter of the correct size. The air filter is a glass fiber meshing  framed in cardboard with the size printed  clearly on it. The arrow on the frame indicates the direction that air flows in passing through the filter. Air comes from the return-air duct to the fan, and the arrow  should point toward the fan and away from the duct..

Permanent filters should be cleaned and sprayed with the special chemical material sold for the purpose at home centers. The permament filter is cleaned as specified by the manufacturer's instructions which are usually on a label on the furnace. To replace a filter: open the metal door under the return-air duct.  It is often  marked "filter," or may be just a lid on your furnace housing.

Remove the filter.This is done in different ways on various models of furnace but will be fairly obvious usually.
Check and clean  or replace the filter as required.

Next you should clean the fan, the belts and the pulleys to the fan and motor. Cleaning the fan properly is very important since some types of fan can become badly clogged with dirt. To clean the fan, remove the panel on the furnace. This panel may be attached with screws or can be a slip off type. The fan unit can usually be slid out on its track. After thorough cleaning reassemble the unit and the furnace is ready to go again.

For more information about high efficiency furnaces see our website.Or go to high efficiency furnaces for further details.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How Do I Know When To Replace My Older Furnace?


It can be a difficult decision when it comes to replacing your old furnace. A large expense is involved,and it needs good decision making.

When  you are deciding on whether or not to replace an older furnace the age and the working condition of the unit are the most important factors involved. Furnaces which are fuelled by natural gas or oil frequently last for some 15 to 20 years, when they have been properly maintained.

Heat exchangers in older furnaces are less efficient than those in new machines, and produce less usable heat from the fuel they burn. Fan motors are of single speed construction, and are therefore considerably less efficient then the state of the art motors in new furnaces.

The old furnace may not have been well maintained, or air filters serviced regularly. This shortens the useful life of the furnace, and necessitates earlier replacement. It is very wise to have your furnace serviced every year, and to routinely inspect and replace air filters which are dirty.

Many old furnaces were oversize for the home they were installed in. Fuel was dirt cheap years ago and efficiency was the last thing people thought about. The correct sizing for your new furnace should be worked out by an experienced installer, and will very often be smaller than the size of the old unit.

 Less fuel will be consumed because of its smaller size, and also due to the fact that it has a very much better efficiency rating (AFUE).  Furnaces manufactured 20 years ago or earlier are commonly about 60% efficient or even less.

The new high efficiency furnaces of today have 90% to 97% AFUE ratings, and consume a lot less fuel to heat a home properly. Most high efficiency furnaces can be installed making use of the same ductwork  the old furnace used. So there is no extra expense for new ducts.

Exhaust gases are normally vented through a side wall of the home and the chimney is no longer needed. The exhaust gases are at a quite low temperature, and can be vented to the outside using plastic piping through a side wall. Fresh air to fuel the furnace is pulled in through plastic piping from outdoors also.

Your new  high efficiency gas furnace will dramatically cut your fuel bills, and this considerable saving  will pay for the new furnace. The length of time needed till this payout takes place will depend on fuel consumption of the furnace. In cold climates more fuel is used to heat the home and the saving will be bigger than in warmer climates. Over time you will get back the cost of the furnace from the fuel savings. The price of natural gas as with all fuels is likely to increase in the future which will make the savings even bigger.

Take a look at our website to get gas furnace prices

Have a look here to find out more about high efficiency furnaces