For a homeowner, being comfortable in their home is important. This makes the heating and cooling system one of the most vital components of the house. Whether it’s a new home that’s just been built or an older home, it’s important to understand how HVAC systems work and how your particular heating and cooling system functions. There are a number of new trends in this area that are worth paying attention to. Here are a few of these new trends that you don’t want to ignore.
There’s More to Comfort than your Furnace and Air Conditioner
It’s important to realize that there’s more to being comfortable in your home than the capabilities of your furnace or air conditioner. Unfortunately, if you have an older home, it may simply not have been built to be energy efficient. The walls may not have much insulation, and the windows may not be designed to hold in the heat or cool air. If you do an air leakage test, you may find that your home is losing a lot of that nice, comfortable air that you love and that you’re spending a lot of money on nothing.
Even if you have great insulation in the walls, if you have old windows or windows that are energy-efficient, you may still not be as comfortable as you want to be. This means you may need to look at putting in double-paned windows or even consider adding new insulation to your walls. That can quickly become more costly than you’d like, but it may need to be done if you have an older home that simply isn’t insulated very well.
Look for a Great Furnace
New furnaces are smaller than old models, and they’re designed to run for longer periods of time while using less energy. This is great news for those building a home or putting in a new furnace. Most are designed to be 95% efficient. New furnaces also operate a little differently than older models. Older furnaces ran until the temperature hit the desired level, then stopped. Today, though, furnaces often run longer, but at a lower level. Instead of cutting on and off so much, they run longer on a lower setting. That saves energy plus keeps the house warmer.
Look at a Two-Stage Furnace
Most homes have a single-stage furnace. That means it only has one method of heating your home. With a two-stage furnace, however, you basically have a furnace that normally operates at one level, but on really cold days, you can kick it up a notch. This is great when it gets very cold outdoors because that higher level will keep the home warm. It’s not as energy efficient when it’s in this higher gear, but it doesn’t run as long, either. Instead, it quickly heats up the house, then the first stage keeps the home at that temperature. These two-stage furnaces can be 96% efficient or higher.
Another option is a modulating furnace. This furnace is more expensive than one or two-stage furnaces, but it’s 98% efficient. It adjusts itself as needed to keep the home at the temperature you want. However, due to the cost, many people opt for a two-stage furnace.
Air filtration impacts how comfortable your home is. A standard furnace filter is around an inch thick and has to be replaced regularly. Most homeowners would recognize these filters and know to replace them monthly. However, these filters aren’t the best for keeping the air you’re breathing clean. Instead, you really need to go with a media filter, which is thicker. These filters look like an accordion and feature ribbed areas that catch hair, fibers, and other debris. This prevents debris from getting into the HVAC system and gumming it up, making it work less efficiently.
While better filters are more expensive, they will also help keep your HVAC system working at its peak efficiency. Ones that are rated MERV 11 or higher are the best. For those with allergies or breathing difficulties, a MERV 13 or higher may be necessary.
Another option that not many people have is a filtration system that includes a UV light. UV lights can kill a number of different things, including some bacteria and mold, that filtration simply can’t deal with. UV lights are often used in hospitals and other places to sterilize the air. Those who have breathing conditions may want to look into adding this type of filtration system to their home HVAC.
Add a Humidistat
Today’s houses are built so well that they’re almost too tightly sealed. This can lead to the air getting stale. A humidistat helps keep the humidity of the home at comfortable levels. You need to have a little bit of humidity in the house so the air isn’t too dry, but you don’t want too much humidity. A humidistat controls how much moisture is in the air, keeping it comfortable.
These are just a few of the trends in heating and cooling that you may want to consider adding to your home’s furnace and air conditioning in order to save money and keep your home as comfortable as possible.