All About High-Efficiency Furnaces

If you continue to repair your oven on a regular basis, then you will be able to make more significant savings in the long run by just investing in a more efficient model.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), heating costs drive homeowners’ energy costs up to about 30 percent. In cold climates and northern states, this percentage can be even higher! Here are some of the ways that a problematic or inefficient old furnace can cost you a lot of money and why you should abandon it for a different model:

The cost of an obsolete oven

In 1992, the US Department of Energy introduced a new rule for heating manufacturers: their furnaces could not be sold to the American public without being at least 78% efficient. If your current heater is older than that, it is probably very inefficient!

Of course, it would be ideal to have an oven installed in 2013 at the latest, with a minimum efficiency of 80%. Did you know that the models on the market today can be up to 98% effective? This means that almost all the energy it consumes is fed directly into your home in the form of heat!

Meanwhile, people keep their old forced air ovens, which can be less than 50% efficient. Also, furnaces with a permanent pilot light rather than transverse electric ignition are ineffective. You could count on burning logs for all your heat energy!

An inquiry is recommended. You can quickly look in the oven and find an installation date or at least not the model number and do the research on its age online. If you can not find a reliable manufacturing date, then consider it a sign to replace your furnace.

What makes a heater efficient?

Like all machines, furnaces require energy for there to be output. A sewing machine needs the power of turbulence with a pedal so that the needle works. Similarly, a heater involves fuel to distribute heat throughout your home.

The Annual Fuel Efficiency Rating (AFUE) measures the efficiency of the furnaces in an obvious way: it creates the ratio of the annual fuel consumption of the oven and the air outlet hot usable.

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The HVAC Systems

Air quality, health and energy efficiency

In Mexico, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems (HVAC & R) are expanding rapidly. To discuss the importance of air quality, and the challenges facing the sector, Your Business Interface interviewed the graduate Marisa Jiménez, President for Mexico of the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) and the engineer Sofanor Alarcón, President from the Monterrey chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

This issue is significant for companies, because “90% of our time is spent indoors, with buildings closed and little natural ventilation, so that the air quality depends increasingly on the air conditioning equipment that if they are not handled properly, they can generate health problems, absenteeism, and low productivity, “says Marisa Jiménez.

One of the significant challenges facing these systems worldwide is the reduction in energy consumption, “commercial buildings consume 40% of the energy produced on the planet, and of that, between 40 and 60% the air conditioning systems consume it; the proportion with the cost of lighting is 15 against 1, “says engineer Alarcón.

Thus, both experts agree that a fundamental aspect is a power in HVAC & R systems. Beyond the equipment, the key is incorrect operation. You have to think about air conditioning systemically, where a specific design should be developed for a particular purpose, which includes passive elements such as thermal insulation, the location of equipment, air intakes and other factors; and active features such as the selection of a technology and equipment in particular, that are adequate for the needs raised. “In Mexico, the design is given away, and it is usually not very good, that is a vice that we have to correct, because before thinking about a particular team, we have to consider the whole operation of the system as a whole, including ventilation, which it is an essential element “,

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Heat Pumps

Is The Heat Pump The Most Efficient Heating System?

In its latest report, Energy 3.0, the environmental organization Greenpeace opted for heat pumps the best option for heating from energy efficiency. These electrical devices, not very well known to most citizens, are the same system that exists inside our refrigerators or in air conditioners: they absorb the heat from one place and pump it into another. With this type of heating, it is possible to heat homes in northern Europe with much colder temperatures than here. Are they the best alternative to air conditioning? From a country like Spain? The truth is that there are many different modalities. There is ultra-efficient equipment, but others may not be as efficient or not suitable for some areas.

Until now it was understood that to generate heat in a house it was much more efficient to directly burn fuel in a domestic boiler than to produce electrical energy in a power station and transport it to an outlet in which to connect an appliance that heated the house. The reason is the energy losses that occur in power plants that run on fossil fuels (the performance of a combined cycle plant is just over 50%). However, this changes with the increase in the share of renewable energies in the electrical system (1) and with equipment such as the heat pump. According to Greenpeace, already with the current distribution of technologies of the electrical system of the country more advantageous to give heat with an electrical device such as a heat pump than with a boiler.

Is the heat pump the most efficient heating system? The answer is: it depends, “says José Porras, representative of the Association of Energy Services Companies ( ANESE ), the companies whose business lies precisely in achieving improvements in the energy efficiency of third parties (since their profits come from the savings achieved). As he explains, there is a huge variety of heat pumps, from the reversible air conditioning equipment that also heat the geothermal installations that extract the heat from the subsoil. “There are heat pump systems that do exceed the efficiency of a natural gas condensing boiler and others do not. Unfortunately, most of the ones sold right now in Spain are the bad ones. “

A first significant difference between these devices is where they will extract heat for heating (or purified water). There is quite simple equipment that will pump it from the outside air of the house. However, it must be taken into account that the performance of these devices (the COP) will change depending on the temperature outside. “It will be difficult to extract heat from frigid air that is a few degrees above zero,” says Porras. This does not matter too much in many temperate zones of Spain in which the thermometers will not go down much (and where the reversible equipment that offers both heat and cold are at the same time fascinating), but in many others where these devices can fail just at the moment when more they need.

It is also true that in other northern European countries, highly reliable heat pump systems are often used even for extreme temperatures of many degrees below zero. For this, geothermal systems that extract heat from the subsoil are better (see image). Of course, they are also much more expensive.

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Gas Fireplaces

Chimneys: Firewood, Biomass, Gas Or Bioethanol Which Model Suits Me?

Nothing brings more warmth to a room than a good fire around which to relax. Beyond its aesthetics and how to integrate it into the environment, it is worth taking into account other practical issues such as the calorific performance of the chimney chosen, its installation requirements, the most appropriate type of fuel in each case or the ease of use, cleaning, and maintenance. The good news is that there are more and more options that we can find, with better benefits and a much more efficient performance than traditional homes.

Experts consulted

False beliefs. A traditional open fire offers low performance, since a significant percentage of the heat produced escapes through the chimney along with the flue gases and combustion gases. That is why it is recommended to choose watertight models, with glass doors, to increase the calorific performance, which will always be much higher than the open models. “Without any doubt, homes must be closed,” says Antoni Massanet. The open do not exceed yields of around 50%, while the closed ones exceed 80% in firewood and more than 90% in gas and pellet systems “. The latter also allows controlling the fire with greater precision. Even, among the technological innovations that incorporate, stand out the systems of double combustion that, when using the gases generated to produce more heat, not only reduce the polluting emissions, but they save fuel.

The wood burning fireplaces are the most popular. But despite the unparalleled elegance of its flames, the wood fireplaces pose some problems, such as the price of fuel, the weight of firewood or, as Massanet say, “that it is not possible to program the temperature or the opening times.”

Vintage revival: Wood stoves return to the country house

With all the advantages of a wood model but an energy efficiency of up to 95%, biomass models, fed by pellets (small cylinders made of residual wood, sawdust and pressed chips without any additive or agglomerate). It is an entirely green fuel that is considered neutral regarding CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Also, as this type of fuel hardly generates waste in comparison with those of firewood, these are chimneys that greatly simplify the cleaning and maintenance tasks.

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