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During the colder months, is your furnace cycling seemingly all the time? Are you noticing some rooms in your house feel really hot, while others seem drafty or cold? What about your skin… is it itchy, tight or dry? Do you get a shock when you hug someone or even touch a light switch? Maybe you’re even noticing a lot of sniffles, sneezing or runny noses in your house… These are all signs that your heating system needs a little TLC.
Let’s start with the furnace cycling on and off, on and off. This is a sure sign you need a tune-up.
Bigger picture, it could also mean that your furnace is actually too large for your home. Why does this matter? When your heating system is properly sized for your home, you’re going to generate heat at about the same rate as you lose it. Of course, more heat is lost as the temperature outdoors drop. In order to heat your home properly and efficiently, you need to know if your furnace is actually the right size. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to discover your furnace is oversized. An oversized furnace costs more to put in and it costs more to operate than a correctly sized furnace (because it’s constantly cycling on and off, on and off, on and off).
The ONLY way to properly size a furnace is to perform a load calculation – or load calc – on your home. A load calc takes into account the size of the house, the insulation value of the windows, the amount of insulation in the walls and roof, and many other criteria. The right load calc determines the proper size and capacity of your furnace.
Most older homes in Colorado have oversized furnaces, yet undersized and inadequate ductwork. Understandably, the average homeowner would never realize this, unless he or she’s working with a smart, experienced and caring HVAC professional. But if the wear and tear on your furnace is excessive, it makes things extremely hard on your equipment and significantly shortens the lifespan of your furnace. With an oversized furnace, you’re more vulnerable to breakdowns, and you bet your bottom dollar it’s burning up your utility bills. Never mind the fact that your house never seems quiet or a comfortable temperature.
One more thing about furnace sizing: If during our load calc, we identify areas with energy loss due to poor insulation or air sealing, we will absolutely work with you to kill two birds with one stone — if you decide it’s right for you to downsize to a new, high efficient furnace, you’ll get the insulation or air sealing you need, too, for one price. We want to make your energy solution as easy, convenient and affordable as possible.
Does It Seem Stuffy, Too Darn Hot or Drafty at Home?
So, what about those rooms that seem stuffy, obnoxiously hot, drafty or just too darn cold? You may want to think about some ductwork modifications or upgrading to a modulating, variable heat system. (See HybridHeat® below, then click here to learn more about our Infinity Heat Pump – on average, it saves homeowners heating and cooling costs up to $452 a year.)
These can be simple or robust, depending on your needs and budget. Or, if you’re planning an addition or remodel, we can fold our efforts into your bigger picture.
Our approach to ductwork is two-fold. First, we think triage: Where can we do the best, most affordable work for the biggest impact? Then, we talk with you about a more robust, holistic approach. And don’t worry, we’re happy to walk you through these seen and unseen spaces, so you can make the decision you’re most comfortable with.
You can outfit your heating system with Hybrid Heat®, Carrier’s dual fuel system, which automatically switches between an electric heat pump and your gas furnace – depending on the weather and your home’s comfort settings. Homeowners concerned about unpredictable utility costs really benefit from this product. Both your heat pump and propane or natural gas furnace operates according to Hybrid Heat’s smart system management, optimizing the efficiencies of each fuel source.
Dryness, Static, Colds and Allergies
If you’re having health issues such as asthma or even a never-ending parade parade of runny noses and head or chest colds, you might want to think about your Indoor Air Quality. According to the EPA, most pollutants may be 2x – 5x higher indoors than outside. That can be a big deal. Especially for infants and young children who don’t have fully developed respiratory and immune systems. It’s also a big deal for seniors, people with asthma or autoimmune concerns. When there are invisible air quality issues in play, even healthy people can experience fatigue, headaches, nausea, regular colds, scratchy throats, runny noses and annoying post-nasal drip.
Indoor Air Quality isn’t just about pollution or pathogens, either. It’s also about comfort. During the winter time, good air quality means no dry skin, no shocks or static electricity. It also means your home doesn’t feel drafty.
We have several recommendations to help you and your family breathe healthier and feel more comfortable at home. Click here to see some of the best options. And, as always, invite us in for a free, no obligation estimate.