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This Article Discusses Reducing Home Heating Demand

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Fall Is The Time For A Furnace Tune-Up.

Fall Is Time To Consider If You Need To Replace Your Furnace.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

What Does Home Heating Demand Mean?

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Home Heating Demand Is Based On:

  • Home Size
  • How Energy-Efficient The Home Is

EXAMPLE: The EPA estimates that (nationally) a 2,000 square-foot Energy Star Certified new home provides the Annual Savings shown below.  Today, all new homes are all built with high levels of Energy Efficiency.  To be Energy Star Certified, the home must use at least 10% less energy than an equivalent non-certified home.

The EPA Quotes These Energy Savings For An Energy Star Certified Home (versus not certified):

  • 2,000 kWh during Cooling season. At 10 cents per kWh = $200 Cooling Season savings.
  • 3.500 kWh for an Electrically Heated home Annual savings.  At 10 cents per kWh = $350 Annual savings.
  • For a gas heated home, 130 therms of natural gas are saved during heating season.
  • For a Gas Heated Home, Annual savings: $45 (winter savings) + $200 (summer savings) = $245 Annual savings.

When comparing an Energy Star Certified Home to a home that is not Energy Star Certified.

Source: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=bldrs_lenders_raters.nh_cost_effectiveness

 

What Must Be Done When Replacing A Furnace In An Older Home

With High Heating Demand Due To No Energy-Saving Upgrades 

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Older DFW Homes Leak A Lot Of Air As Compared To Newer Homes

A poorly air-sealed & insulated home + leaking ductwork creates high home heating demand and requires the HVAC System to oversized in order to quickly meet the high home heating demand (and cooling demand).   Then then HVAC shuts off and the poorly sealed  & insulated house cools off quickly.  Meeting high home heating demand with an oversized HVAC system causes these problems:

An oversized HVAC heats the house very quickly, then turns off.  This is known as “short-cycling” — which makes occupants feel the house always too hot or too cold.  Short-cycling also creates frequent changes in indoor noise-level due to HVAC System turning on and off more frequently.

Short Cycling Increases Energy Usage.  A furnace must run a certain amount of time before it reaches its maximum efficiency.  When a furnace first turns on, it must warm the heat-exchanger (inside the furnace) before the blower-fan can turn on and start heating.  During pre-heating, no heat is delivered to the house.  Shortly after the heat-exchanger is warm, the furnace delivers maximum efficiency while it’s running.  Short cycling causes frequent furnace start ups (when no heat is delivered to the home)

Short Cycling Shortens Furnace Life.  Each time the furnace cycles, the Heat Exchanger’s metal expands & contracts as it heats up & cools.  More frequent cycling causes more stress on the Heat Exchanger, causing it to fail / crack sooner.  High home heating demand also generates overall higher levels of furnace wear & tear.

When a Heat Exchanger fails, the furnace is typically replaced because the cost of replacing the Heat Exchanger in an older furnace is typically not wise nor justified.  To spend 1/3 the cost of a new furnace to replace the Heat Exchanger results in the home owner with an older furnace with a new, quite expensive part. Other parts will likely wear out before the replacement Heat Exchanger does.

Newer furnaces have a Control Board.  It’s a computer-chip board that tells the furnace when & how to operate.  The Control Board & Blower Motor are additional expensive parts to replace, and can also present a situation of replacing a furnace before its time due to the cost of installing an expensive part in an older furnace.

HomeAdvisor.com Quotes These Estimates:

  • Replace A Gas Furnace:      $3,500-6500.
  • Replace Heat Exchanger is $1.200.00+
  • Replace Control Board =     $   600.00+
  • Blower-Fan Assembly =      $ 1,200.00+

Based on HomeAdvisor.com estimates, if an owner ends up replacing the: Heat Exchanger + Control Board + Blower Assembly,  they have spent as little as as $500 less the cost of a brand new furnace (depending on furnace size).

photo of heat exchanger in gas furnace

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SHOWN: Furnace Heat Exchanger

 

Reduce Home Heating Demand (& Cooling Demand) With

Attic Insulation & Energy-Saving Upgrades

Case Study

In 2015, San Antonio TX’s Electricity Supplier CPS Energy Subsidized

1,877 Residential Attic Insulation Installations (Upgraded To R-30)

measuring insulation level in attic

Existing                  Gas Heat         Electric Heat       Electric Heat Pump

Insulation                 Annual Heating Savings (Per Square Foot) Resulting From Increased Insulation

——————-       ———–       ————–           ————-

R-0                               $1.00              $4.40                        $2.14

R-1 To R-4                  .64                    2.81                            1.40

R-5 To R-8                  .32                   1.38                              .70

R-9 To R-14                .17                     .72                               .36

R-15 To R-22              $.07                 $.30                           $.15

 ^^ Upgraded To New Insulation Value: R-30

 

Click Here To Learn More About Attic Insulation: AlsPlumbing.com Lower Heating Costs With Attic Insulation

 

Reduce Air Leakage Into The Home

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An Unlocked Window Leaks More Air Than A Locked Window.  Locking the window forces the upper & lower window sashes more tightly together.

 

During 2015 Air Leakage Reduction was completed on 2,956 homes in San Antonio, Texas.   A “Blower Door Test” creates a vacuum inside the house to help identify where the home is leaking air.

A standard a “Blower-Door” Air Leakage Test showed Air Leakage Reduction Of -1,388 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) for the San Antonio, TX study.

Click Here To See A Blower Door Test Set Up: Blower Door Test Set Up

 

Over An 11-Year Period These Are The Savings Expectations 

For The Homes In San Antonio, TX.

(all heating systems’ savings were combined)

11-Year

ENERGY

SAVINGS

kWh  *        ENERGY-SAVING MEASURE:                             11-YEAR VALUE at 10 cents / Kilowatt Hour (kWh)

————-  ———————————————————-    ————————

4,818,129    Ceiling Insulation                                                       $4,800.00 (rounded).

2,623,604  Wall Insulation                                                              $2,600.00

1,896,726   Air Infiltration Reduction                                         $1,900.00

170,234      Ductwork Repair *                                                        $   170.00

* Measures Taken:  Replacing sections of flex duct,  Adding duct insulation, Adding mastic with mastic-compatible sealing-tape,  Sealing air returns with foam board.

498,482    Replace Refrigerator                                                     $   500.00

2,119,824  Change from Incandescent To LED Light Bulbs   Note: LED’s create 90% less heat (the a/c must remove).

                                                                                                                 $2,120.00

1,332,128   Change from Incandescent To Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs   Note: CFL’s create 65% less heat the a/c must remove).

                                                                                                                 $1,325.00

50,298     Water Heater Insulating Jacket                                 $    50.00

Source: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/Sustainability/STEP/CPS-FY2015.pdf   (See Page 44 For 11-Year Results)

 

 Energy Savings Compared To Cost Of Upgrade

Reviewing the savings generated for each measure above, the biggest Returns On Investment came from LED Light Bulbs and Adding Attic Insulation.  Wall Insulation be a mixed bag depending on the home’s exterior.  Injecting foam wall-insulation in brick homes is the only suitable upgrade due the size of holes required for blown-insulation installation.   A home with hardboard or vinyl exterior allows for either type of wall insulation.

Click Here To See Foam Wall Insulation Being Added To A Brick Home: Injecting Foam Insulation In A Brick Home

Click Here To See Blown Insulation Without Brick Exterior: Install Blown-Insulation Without Brick Exterior

This Study Above Provides Cost Vrs. Energy-Savings Guide For Several Energy-Saving Upgrades

NOTE: The study determined a Useful Life Of 11 Years for all measures.  For HVAC System, Refrigerator and Lighting — 11 years is an appropriate lifespan.  Insulation & Air Leakage Reduction measures don’t wear out.  Their return on investment will continue indefinitely

NOTE: Savings from Ductwork Repairs (in this study) were modest.  This is why a Ductwork Leakage-Test needs to be completed before considering ductwork sealing or repairs.   Your home may have a similar amount of ductwork leakage, or you may have far more leakage causing much higher home heating demand than the homes this study.

 

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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Murphy, Rowlette and Wylie.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.