The Heating Basics You Need to Know
A Cool Breeze Heating and Air, our professionals are here to help you find the heating system that fits your needs, your home, and your budget. You can save money and increase comfort no matter what type of heating system you have. There are many diverse heating systems on the market. Some of the most common include:
Boilers – Rather than using air, these systems heat water by using gas or oil. They deliver hydronic heat (water or steam) through piping to radiators. Radiant systems like in-floor heating require boilers, and they usually last 15-30 years depending on the model of broiler.
Furnaces – These run on gas or oil and are forced-air systems that burn fuel to heat air through a home’s ductwork. Furnaces are among the most common type of heating systems and last for 15-18 years.
Heat Pumps – These units can function as both heating and cooling systems. They transfer energy from the ground or air to either warm or cool your home. Much like an air conditioner, the air is carried through the ductwork and can last anywhere from 10-15 years.
Understanding a System Rating
In the U.S., an efficiency rating is required on all heating equipment, and most other household appliances. This rating is a reflection of the amount of energy that is being used efficiently; the higher the rater, the greater the efficiency.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – This indicates the percentage of energy your boiler or furnace is converting to heat. For example, a 90% rating means 90% of energy is being efficiently converted, while the remaining 10% is wasted.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) – This rating measures how effective air filters are at capturing airborne pollutants. The higher rating means the air filer is capturing more particles because of the smaller pore sizes.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) – Shows the amount of energy a boiler or heat pump requires to increase or decrease the temperature in one pound of water by a single degree. Unlike efficiency, these ratings give an indication of the system’s size as well as its overall heating capacity.
Frequently Asked Heating Questions
Why won’t the pilot light stay on in my gas furnace?
Try cleaning the socket where the thermocouple was connected during replacement. If all the connections are properly secured, try cleaning the pilot tubing as well. There could be dirt and insect nests blocking the tubes. If blockage occurs, a flame could be big enough to warm the thermocouple which can cause the pilot light to go out.
What is the difference between a package unit and a split system?
A package unit contains outdoor and indoor components within itself. These units are normally installed in commercial buildings and apartment complexes. A split unit uses both an indoor component (furnace/coil) and an outdoor component (condenser) that provides a complete home system.
What size of heating unit does my house require?
You should always consult a licensed and insured heating specialist if you are installing new equipment or adding on to an existing system. Many factors are taken into consideration when making a proper calculation like the square footage of a space, the number of windows, insulation, and the climate.
If I’m replacing an outdoor heating unit, should I be replacing the indoor unit as well?
Usually both the indoor and outdoor units should be replaced together and vice versa. New EPA requirements are trying to get rid of R-22 refrigerant by 2020. It is possible to replace just one component; however, more states are basing efficiency ratings on condensers as if the entire system is being replaced.