Home Improvement

The Heat Is On!

January 21, 2014, 10:53 AM

Furnace maintenance will keep you breathing easy this winter.

In this cold climate, winter means spending most of our time in the cozy confines of home. Your furnace isn’t something you generally think about, unless something goes wrong – but it can impact your comfort, your bank account and your health in a big way. 

Consider this:

  • A 95% efficient furnace uses less energy so saves you money every month, while also being environmentally responsible. 
  • Our homes are built tighter these days, which restricts the flow of fresh air into the house, creating poor air quality and allowing pollutants and toxins to build up.
  • Simple furnace maintenance can help you extend the life of your system, while keeping you warm and toasty during these long cold months.

Chances are if your furnace was purchased recently it is rated as high-efficiency - 95% or greater efficiency - which means it consumes less fuel to operate. 

Still, its not surprising to find furnaces that are rated only 80%, and even if they are in good working order, it may be worthwhile to upgrade to a high efficiency system.

Consider the benefits of electronic air filtration as an added measure to keep the air as clean as possible. In addition, the heat emitted by forced air systems is so dry and arid, it really helps to install a humidifier directly to your furnace in order to help keep moisture in the air. 

In addition, the extra moisture will keep your hardwood floors and doors from contracting and cracking, and help keep your skin from cracking too. Humidifiers require a water line to the furnace, which typically is not difficult as the mechanical room is often very close to the water main in most homes. Humidifier systems, as with most equipment, range in price but can be purchased and installed for less than $300. It is smart to look for a name brand, even if the price is a bit higher.

Electronic air filters are up to 95 percent effective in removing fine particulates like dust and pet dander from the air- HEPA filters go up to 99.9 percent efficient!

And because homes are sealed tight during the cold season it is the most effective way to keep the air inside your home fresh and allergen free.

All furnaces come equipped with single cell filters that separate the furnace from the ductwork. These single cell filters are certainly less expensive than an electronic air filtration system but also higher maintenance as manufacturers suggest replacing these filters every month.

The average cost of a single cell filter ranges from $10 to $20 per filter, while many electronic filtration systems start at $250. However, amortized throughout the life of the furnace, the electronic system more than pays for itself and is more effective in removing particulate matter.

If you live in an older home with a boiler system, including baseboard heating and radiators, you know that humidity tends not to be a problem because the heat is generated from steam. It may be a wise investment for those with breathing difficulties to invest in a portable air filtration system to keep dust at bay. Look into a HEPA filter system here as well.

Because air filtration and humidifiers are not standard equipment on forced air furnaces, it is necessary to call an HVAC professional to have the systems installed.

As with any home repair or upgrade, the most important step for homeowners is to do your homework first, compare prices and companies, and most of all, start your search with Hire It Done!   We’ll send you up to four qualified contractors for your project.

Just like you would want a second opinion with medical issues, your home is something that should last you a lifetime if properly maintained. That means don’t take the first number you get. By talking to several contractors,  you will have a better idea of the pricing, service and recommendations available to you.   At Hire It Done,  we’ve already done the homework for you! We’ll recommend up to four heating and cooling experts in your area who will bid on your job immediately. Keep warm and healthy this winter!

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Photo Of The Day 

Potd__mg_9613-2_155 Metal sculpture in the Hart Plaza Civic Center, Detroit

By: Michael Lucido