Gas Furnace vs Electric – Pros & Cons

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gray gas furnace installed in garage

Gas Furnace vs Electric – Pros & Cons

Category:General,Tips

When it comes to the gas furnace vs electric furnace debate, there are supporters on both sides. But is there a clear cut better choice? To answer that I would say that the majority of people, and experts, would say that gas furnaces are the better choice.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best choice for you though.

To help you decide for yourself, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of both gas and electric furnaces. We will start with availability.

Availability

Determining what fuel sources are available in your area is the first step in analyzing which setup is best for you.

In the US, natural gas is not an available source of heat for every city. Thankfully, here in the Jackson, TN area it is! But, on the other hand, electricity is available in every city. If natural gas is not available in your area, then obviously a natural gas supplied furnace would be a “con” for you. You could always go with propane gas though if you really wanted to go the gas route. Although, understand that it probably isn’t going to be as cost-effective as natural gas.

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young happy couple smiling at their reduced heating bill

How to Reduce Heating Costs – 4 Tips

Category:Tips

At Cagle Service, we spend a lot of time sharing helpful information on how to save energy when it comes to our heating and air systems. We do this for a good reason. For most of us, our heating and air conditioning expenses make up the largest portion of our utility bills. So why not try to save in this area with strategies such as reducing our heating costs?

But how do you reduce your heating costs?

Some of the most effective solutions are improving insulation, reducing drafts, increasing the efficiency of your heating system, and lastly, adjusting the thermostat. Now that we’ve answered the question, let’s get into a little more detail for each solution.

Improving the Insulation

The most foundational solution for cutting into your heating bill is to evaluate and improve the insulation where necessary. Insulation is meant to keep the indoor heat within the home and to keep the outside cold air from entering. This will also improve your cooling system’s effectiveness as well.

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picture of a house on a blackboard showing how much a high efficiency furnace can save

How Much Can a High Efficiency Furnace Save?

Category:General,Tips

The main reason that people consider a high efficiency furnace is savings. Savings on our energy bill typically translates to savings in our bank account. Who doesn’t want that? I know I do!

But how much savings can be expected by switching to a high efficiency furnace? A savings of at least 10% can be expected. This is because a standard furnace has anywhere between a 60% to a 80% AFUE rating while high efficiency furnaces start at 90%. Today’s standard models have a minimum rating of 80%. The older models can be as low as 60% efficient. So determining the amount of savings you can expect starts with knowing the efficiency of your current furnace.

How to Determine the Efficiency of Your Current Furnace

To determine the efficiency or AFUE rating of your current furnace, there are a couple of ways to figure it out.

1) The most convenient method is simply finding the AFUE rating on the furnace itself. Find the sticker on the furnace that contains the model and/or serial number. The AFUE rating should be located on this sticker as well. You will find “AFUE” next to the number or the “%” symbol. This number will reveal the AFUE rating of your furnace. It will also likely be listed in the furnace’s manual if you still have it.

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gray monkey pondering if he should buy a 80% or 95% efficiency furnace

Should I Buy an 80% or 95% Efficiency Furnace?

Category:General,Tips

When it comes to buying a new furnace, or a new anything for that matter, it seems like going with the newer, more efficient option would be the wisest choice – especially if savings is the goal. But, that’s not always the case. It really depends on your current situation and determining if a 95% efficiency furnace is right for you. When buying a new furnace, there are more factors at play than we might notice initially.

At first glance, most of us think that a furnace with a 95% efficiency rating (AFUE) is going to be a better option than a furnace that is 80% efficient. After all, that’s a 15% increase in efficiency! Well, there is truth to that, but let’s observe some other factors and elements that need to be considered before pulling the trigger on that high-efficiency furnace.

Other Factors That Affect a Furnace’s Efficiency

When determining a furnace’s efficiency, the AFUE rating is usually the measurement used to determine the efficiency. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization rate. This is simply a measurement of how efficiently the furnace uses the fuel to actually produce and deliver heat. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80% means that 80% of the fuel that is used contributes to delivering heat to where it’s needed. The other 20% is lost during the process. A furnace with a 95% efficiency rating uses 95% of the fuel to produce and deliver heat to where it’s needed. The same amount of fuel is used in both cases. The same amount of money is spent on that fuel being used. But, in one scenario 80% of the fuel is used to contribute to delivering heat, whereas in the other scenario 95% of the fuel is used to contribute to delivering heat.

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large home with snow winterized while vacant

6 Tips to Winterize a Vacant Home

Category:General

In the South, we don’t have to worry about temperatures falling below freezing too much, but it does happen. We do have times when the temperatures can drop into the 20’s and even lower at times. In other parts of the country, such as the Northern states, below freezing temperatures are the norm. In both instances it’s important to know how to prepare and winterize your home for these conditions, especially when it is vacant.

Let’s go over some tips that will help winterize your home and also provide you with peace of mind while you are away. After all, who wants to worry about their home while they are enjoying time away on vacation, for example?

1) Do NOT Turn Your Thermostat Off

In the name of saving money, most of us would love to just turn our heating and air systems off while we are away. After all, we aren’t in the home, so why waste the energy and money that comes with letting the system run?

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white dog under white blanket because the temperature is too cold inside the home

What Temperature is Too Cold for a House?

Category:General

In the Winter months, most of us like to lower the temperature in our homes in order to save money. This is especially true when we are away at work or on vacation, for example. Some of us even like to keep the temperature lower than normal when we are at home to really maximize savings on our energy bill. But, is there a certain temperature that we shouldn’t surpass? Can it actually get too cold inside of a home when people are present? What about when the home is vacant?

Let’s go over some of these questions below.

Recommended Temperature When You Are Home

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends setting your thermostat no lower than 64 degrees (F) in the Winter months while people are in the home. If there are infants or elderly individuals, they recommend keeping the temperature at 70 degrees at a minimum.

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man adjusting the winter thermostat setting in his home

Winter Thermostat Setting to Save Money

Category:Tips

Since our heating and air conditioning systems occupy the largest portion of our energy bills, finding ways to reduce it’s cost is paramount for those of us who want to save money. One way to do this is by finding the most optimal thermostat setting for the Winter months. In a previous post, we went over the best thermostat setting for Summer months in order to save money. But, what about Winter?

Let’s get into this question and more!

What Temperature Should You Set Your Thermostat to in the Winter?

In our post covering the thermostat setting for Summer, we shared that the Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature to 78 degrees (F) to start saving money. Most of us like the keep our AC operating anywhere from 70-74 degrees, so you can see how savings would begin to take place if we set it to 78 degrees instead.

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what is afue question mark on blackboard

What is AFUE for Furnaces?

Category:General,Tips

When it comes to understanding the numbers and traits of a furnace, there is probably nothing more important than AFUE or the AFUE rating. In short, this term determines the efficiency of the furnace. The AFUE rating is similar to the SEER or EER rating for an air conditioner. “AFUE” stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It is corresponds to how efficiently the furnace utilizes and uses it’s fuel – whether it is propane, natural gas, electric or oil. The most efficient furnaces use the smallest ratio of usable fuel to wasted fuel that is needed to heat up the targeted space.

But how exactly is it calculated? And what is a good AFUE?

Let’s get into those questions below!

How is AFUE Calculated?

Annual fuel utilization efficiency is calculated by determining the percentage of fuel that is actually used in producing the heat that is applied to the targeted area in your home or business. In other words, it states how much of the fuel is actually applied towards heating the indoor environment. It states how much of the fuel is being utilized.

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buying a new furnace

4 Tips for Buying a New Furnace

Category:Tips

It can be exciting to buy something new, right? Whether it’s a new car, a new house, new clothes, or even new appliances. The same can be said when it comes to buying a new furnace! I personally enjoy the pre-buying experience of doing research, finding good deals and prices, and so forth. So, in this post, I’m going to share some tips with those of you who are looking to buy a new furnace for your heating and air system. We will go over some tips and recommendations to help you in your journey to buy a new furnace!

Let’s get right into it with our first tip!

Tip #1: Take Your Time

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when buying something new is “jumping the gun”. What is usually the main cause of this? Our emotions!

For example, if your furnace has gone out in the Winter and you need a new one immediately, your emotions and feelings are probably going to be the main force driving your search. And that’s understandable. Who wants to be cold inside? But, don’t let your emotions control you. Take time to think through the process. Let your emotions be a signal, but not your guide. You be in charge, not your emotions.

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the best and most energy efficient air conditioner award in gold with black background

What Is the Most Energy Efficient Air Conditioner?

Category:General,Tips

Today, energy efficiency is a very popular topic. And, with good reason. The more energy efficient a system or appliance is, the more money that is saved. And, since our heating and cooling systems make up the largest portion of our energy bills, finding the most energy efficient air conditioner is a wise pursuit.

So what is the most efficient air conditioner? Is it a split unit? A packaged unit? A heat pump? A Trane ac unit? A Carrier ac unit? Don’t worry, we will get to that. But first, let’s go over some important information to grasp and understand.

How to Determine an Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

One way that an air conditioner’s efficiency is documented is by it’s SEER rating. The SEER rating is determined according to the indoor cooling ability of an ac unit divided by how many watts it used (energy) per hour to maintain the set temperature. While the indoor temperature during these cycles stays the same, the outdoor temperature varies from cooler temps to high, hotter temps in order to provide realistic results.

It’s important to understand that a SEER rating doesn’t necessarily mean that the ac unit performs at this number on average or at a constant rate. It’s actually the maximum rate of efficiency that the unit can perform at. Since this is the standard across the board, it is still a great way to determine an air conditioner’s efficiency and a great comparison tool for you and me.

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