Is A Heat Pump System Right For You?

T_XL20i_HP_COMM_CUTWhat is a heat pump?
A heat pump is a cooling and heating system designed to keep your home comfortably warm in the winter and pleasantly cool in the summer. Unlike a furnace, it doesn’t burn fuel to make heat-it moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, a heat pump collects heat from the outside air and transfers it into your home. The heat pump is able to collect heat from the outside air even at temperatures well below freezing. In the summer, it takes heat from inside your home and transfers it outdoors, leaving you cool.

Why are efficiency ratings so important?
Cooling-Heat pumps are rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio )SEER. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency and the less it costs you to cool your home. The rating is much like the MPG rating for an automobile. The minimum SEER rating on equipment manufactured today is 13 SEER. Higher SEER rated equipment is widely available and efficiency ratings will vary according to the BTUH size and brand selection. A unit with a high SEER rating may cost more initially but, because of its low operating cost, it will pay for itself over time. Heating-heat pump heating efficiency ratings are expressed as the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Just like SEER rating for cooling, the higher the HSPF rating, the greater the efficiency. HSPF ratings range from about 6.8 to greater than 9.

How does a heat pump operate?
Cooling-In the cooling cycle a heat pump operates the same as a conventional air conditioner. Heat is moved from the inside of a home to the outside. It works by transferring heat from the air inside the home to refrigerant that flows to the outside where the heat is expelled using the outdoor unit. Heating– There is always heat in the outside air even in the winter. A heat pump uses this heat to warm your home. It simply reverses the cooling cycle so that the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air and releases it indoors.

Dual Fuel Heat Pumps
A dual fuel heat pump system combines a high efficiency heat pump and an existing home furnace to create a system that heats, cools, and saves energy and money. A dual fuel heat pump combines a high efficiency electric heat pump with a natural gas, propane or oil furnace. A dual fuel heat pump can be added onto your present system and boost its overall efficiency. In this type of system, the heat pump offers both summer cooling and primary winter heating. The furnace serves as backup during extremely cold weather when a control automatically switches off the heat pump and activates the furnace. When outdoor temperatures begin to rise, the furnace is shut off and the heat pump becomes the primary heating source once again.

A heat pump saves money and provides peace of mind and is the most advanced and efficient heating and cooling system available today. Upgrading your old heating system to a new electric heat pump can save you up to $1400 per year on heating and cooling costs and most high efficiency models qualify for applicable rebates & tax credits. To see if a heat pump system is right for your home call Chase Heating  & Cooling at 503-254-1274 and speak to one of our Home Solutions Advisors to schedule your free in-home estimate.

Signs That Your Furnace May Need To Be Replaced

As we move into the last weeks of summer we can’t help but to start thinking of the colder days and nights ahead. Many of us don’t think about our furnaces until we need them most and for some it might be a little too late. This weeks article will focus on key indicators that could determine if its time to look at replacing your furnace.

1. How old is your furnace?
A good place to start is to compare your furnaces age to the national average. The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or failed. For starters, look at your furnace to see if you have a pilot light. If you do, it is almost certain to be over 25 years old!

2. Gas & Electric Bills Going Up?
Rising gas and electric prices are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age especially if they have not been properly maintained. As a result your furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat. This will cause your gas & electric bills to go up. The money you pay the gas & electric company every month could be used to pay for new furnace.

3. Any Furnace Repairs in the last 2 years?
Furnaces are like cars. As they age, you can replace one part only to have to replace another part next year. It doesn’t take long to spend $500 just to keep the old furnace running. Furnaces incur the most breakdowns in the last 2 years of their lives. Another repair sign is whether you had to wait to get parts replaced. As a furnace ages, it gets harder to get replacement parts. This waiting can really be cold on a below zero night.

4. Does your thermostat keep you comfortable?
Do you feel that some rooms are too cold while others are too hot? Or are you always trying to adjust your thermostat to make your home more comfortable? This is a sign that your furnace lacks the ability to properly distribute the air to keep you comfortable in your home.

5. Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?
A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace. Other possible signs of carbon monoxide are: Streaks of soot around furnace; Absence of an upward draft in your chimney; Excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces; Excessive rusting on flue pipes, other pipe connections, or appliance jacks; Small amount of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe; Rust on the portion of the vent pipe visible from the outside.

6. Is your furnace making strange noises?
Old furnaces often start to make some strange noises as they get toward the end of their life. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace? Another noise is when you hear the furnace blower running excessively. Does your blower turn on & off frequently or does it blow cold air sometimes? If so, this is a sign that your furnace may need to be replaced.

7. How have you & your family been feeling?
Furnaces as they age run the risk of developing cracks in the heat exchanger inside your furnace. Carbon monoxide, if present, could leak into your home undetected. Signs of this may be frequent headaches, a burning feeling in nose or eyes, nausea, disorientation, flu-like symptoms. Should you experience any of these, air out your house, open a window to the furnace room and immediately call a gas service technician. Cracks in the heat exchanger can occur undetected which is why no one advises waiting until they occur.

8. Is your house dry or dusty?
Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Your house air may feel stuffy or stale. Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies to airborne dust, mold, pollen, viruses or dander? Or does anyone suffer from dry nose, dry throat, or dry skin? Other signs may be frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments that do not stay in tune. These signs all suggest that your old furnace is not capable of providing you with the comfort you and your family may want.

For more information on servicing or replacing your old furnace contact our office at 503-254-1274 and our home comfort advisors will be glad to help.

This report is based on research undertaken by the federal Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Department of Public Service and electric and gas utilities.

Allergies & Indoor Air Quality

allergies_indoor_air_quality-300x300Most of the times due to an allergy you stay at home in order to escape from pollen, but the facts are that most Indoor Air Quality has more pollutants than there are outdoors!  New construction model makes houses extremely well sealed and insulated, which traps odors, pollen, pollutants like a bubble, which actually can itensify the trapped unhealthy air inside.

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), six out of ten homes and buildings are hazardous to our health. This means that almost no building is immune from the indoor air quality epidemic. The basic reason is that even when the indoor pollutants are already trapped inside, you also bring the outdoor pollutants along with your shoes, clothes and pets in your house.


Various Effects of Indoor Air Quality on Allergy:

1.  Environmental Protection Agency declared that indoor air is almost two to ten times more hazardous than outdoor air.

2.  Indoor air quality is one of the biggest environmental health problems according to the EPA.

3.   American College of Studies reveals the fact that 50% of all allergic problems relate to indoor air quality.

4.  In a super-insulated home the allergic level is 200% higher than in ordinary homes, according to a recent study.

5.  According to research done by Scientific America, out-gassing done by carpets, mold, fungi, dust miles etc. makes a crawling baby to inhale impure air, which is equivalent to almost four cigarettes a day.

6.  You spend almost 70-80% of your time indoors, which plays a vital role in the increase of allergic symptoms in your body.

Thus it is a proven fact that regardless of how neat and clean your home appears to be, it is prone to be affected by the indoor air quality epidemic. You can take the practical example of dust particles floating in the ray of sunshine entering your home. These are nothing other than dead human skin which contaminates your indoor air quality and effects allergy.

Call Chase Heating & Cooling Today for a review of your Indoor Air Quality.