HVAC Systems – Factors That Impact Installing a Heat Pump vs. a Furnace

When considering home HVAC heating and cooling options, homeowners will find two popular choices – a heat pump system and a furnace heater – each with advantages and installation considerations.

Heat pumps, particularly electric heat pump systems, are known for being energy efficient. These HVAC systems transfer heat from one place to another, making them highly effective for both heating and cooling a home. While the cost of installing a heat pump can be higher than a traditional furnace installation, the long-term energy savings can make up for the difference. Heat pump air conditioners are often bundled with these systems, providing year-round comfort.

For homeowners considering furnace replacement, there are other factors to think about. High-efficiency furnaces are known for to be reliable and effective in providing consistent heat. Gas furnaces are a popular due to their efficiency and lower operational costs. In addition to the furnace install cost, ongoing furnace maintenance can add up over time.

Homeowners should also consider the climate when choosing between a heat pump and a furnace. Heat pumps are typically more efficient in milder climates, while furnaces, including wood-burning furnaces and gas options, work the best in colder regions.

There are several factors that impact selecting a heat pump versus a furnace, including the higher up-front cost of a heat pump, higher energy costs to operate a furnace over time, lower maintenance costs for heat pumps, and heat pumps tend to have a longer lifespan than furnaces. Learn about heat pumps and furnaces and considerations that could impact which type of HVAC system you install.

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2023-10-05T01:27:00+00:00October 2nd, 2023|

What Are Safe Radon Levels in a Home?

Radon, is a radioactive gas released from water, soil, and rocks, is invisible and has no odor. The gas can enter a home through cracks or holes in the foundation or siding, and since radon is invisible and has no smell, there is no way to detect it without performing a test.

Radon gas poses a serious health and safety threat. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 1 out of every 15 homes has an unsafe radon level – and, no level of exposure to radon gas is considered safe. Interior radon levels vary and can fluctuate over time.

Radon levels are typically highest during winter months. One reason why that snow and ice can form a temporary barrier over the ground, and as a result, seeping into a basement of a home is the easiest way for the gas to travel. Additionally, during winter the warm air inside a home rises and as the warmer air escapes the home, colder air is pulled into the home from below ground, meaning that any radon gas present below the home will also be pulled in with the colder air – this is known as the thermal stack effect.

Basement radon levels are typically the highest, but the gas can be present in the upper levels of a house. Solutions to addressing radon in a home include installing a radon mitigation system, increasing natural ventilation and airflow, sealing foundation and basement wall cracks, and installing an air purifier.

Learn about radon gas, common levels found in a home, and ways to mitigate the issue.

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2023-06-30T11:03:48+00:00June 26th, 2023|

How Much Does Furnace Repair Cost?

According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, furnace repair cost ranges between $131-$486, with an average cost of $308. A service call for a simple furnace repair on an electric furnace can cost as little as $65, however, a substantial repair for a gas-powered furnace can run in excess of $1,250. Factors that impact the cost of furnace repair are the price of parts, labor costs, the cause of failure, the complexity of the repair, and type of fuel the furnace requires.

Common furnace repairs include replacement of the thermostat, blower motor, draft inducer motor, ignitor, thermocouple, flame sensor, gas valve, control/circuit board, and capacitor. Signs that a furnace requires a repair include heat loss, water leaks, strong fuel orders, a noisy furnace, the furnace short cycling, and a recent increase in utility bills.

To prevent repairs and keep a furnace running smoothly it is best to replace furnace filters regularly, schedule yearly inspections, and use a programmable thermostat.

Learn about costs for furnace repair, as well as steps to take to reduce the likelihood of furnace failure and how to detect an issue with a furnace.

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2022-11-07T02:33:35+00:00October 27th, 2022|

Who Installs Bathroom Exhaust Fans?

Who should install a bathroom exhaust fan is more complex than a homeowner might think. A licensed electrician, plumber, or HVAC technician can likely replace an existing exhaust fan or install a new one in a bathroom. However, who should install a bathroom exhaust fan depends on how the bathroom is set up and whether the job is a simple replacement or requires new ductwork or access to the roof.

Depending on the complexity, a bathroom fan installation may require an electrician, HVAC technician, and roofer, although a highly-skilled handyman or general contractor may be able to complete the project. Learn about the complexities of installing a bathroom exhaust ran and which licensed professionals may be required.

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2022-09-20T03:42:19+00:00September 13th, 2022|

Water Heater Upgrade and Other House Projects to Consider if the Climate Bill Passes

The climate bill that recently passed for 2022 offers rebates and tax breaks for qualifying homeowners who install energy-efficient products such as an energy efficient water heater. Estimated savings are approximately $1,800 in annual costs for gasoline and utility bills and can exceed $30,000 after 10 years and $140,000 after 25 years, if a household invests their energy bill savings from making energy efficiency upgrades.

There are many ways to make your home more energy efficient, including upgrading to an energy efficient water heater, installing an HVAC heat pump, adding insulation, installing rooftop solar panels, replacing drafty windows and doors, and more. For example, an energy efficient water heater will use approximate one-third of the electricity of a conventional water heater and would qualify for up to $1,750 in rebates.

Learn about home improvements that can reduce energy costs and quality for tax savings and rebates.

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2022-08-14T14:15:06+00:00August 12th, 2022|

Does a Home Warranty Cover HVAC Repair?

With some exceptions, HVAC systems are usually covered by home warranties that include home systems. The HVAC systems covered under the warranty depends on the type of warranty purchased. Appliance coverage typically includes appliances only (including kitchen and laundry appliances), systems only (including whole home systems like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC), or combination policies that cover both appliances and whole home systems. The home warranty policy will specify which HVAC components are covered, which typically include central air conditioning units, heating systems, some wall heaters, and water heaters. Some home warranties for HVAC will cover ductwork, pipes, and controls such as thermostats. Typical exclusions include portable appliances such as window units. Learn more about home warranty coverage for HVAC systems.

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2022-02-01T17:11:00+00:00January 31st, 2022|

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last?

HVAC systems are manufactured to withstand high use and last an average of 15-25 years. Climate and frequency of use impact an HVAC system’s longevity and while improvements in insulation and sealing a home reduces heat and cooling, it traps chemicals, dust, and other particles which can have a negative impact on HVAC appliances and controls. HVAC maintenance, including annual cleanings and tune-ups, can extend system life. Air conditioner maintenance is best performed in early spring while furnace maintenance is best performed in early fall. Typical HVAC system service includes cleaning condensers and coils, checking overflow valves, tightening connections, and a general inspection. Learn about HVAC system longevity and maintenance that could extended HVAC system life.

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2022-02-01T17:08:22+00:00January 31st, 2022|

Ways to Warm Up a Cold Finished Basement

When planning a finished basement project, be sure to consider that basements can be chilly in winter. There are several options for keeping a finished basement comfortable without major renovations. Low cost ideas for creating a warm and inviting space in a basement include a space heater, portable baseboard heater, an area rug, a throw blanket, and a ceiling fan that can run in reverse. Options for increasing the temperature of a large space in a basement include an electric fireplace, radiant floor heating, and radiant wall heaters. Learn about options for keeping your finished basement warm during colder periods.

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2022-01-21T17:57:42+00:00January 19th, 2022|

Does a Home Warranty Cover Plumbing Systems?

Typically, a home warranty will cover repairs to pipes and other plumbing fixtures. A home warranty is a service plan that provides coverage for service, repair, and replacement of systems and appliances listed in the warranty policy. These policies usually include a deductible but will cover the majority of the service or repair cost. Warranties can provide different types of coverage, including major home systems such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing as well as appliances.

Plumbing is considered a service, so most warranties provide coverage for indoor pipe and other plumbing repairs. Covered repairs usually include leaks or breaks in pipes, fixing or replacing faucets and valves, fixing or replacing built-in motors and pumps, and basket strainers, and clearing of tub, shower, and toilet blockages and stoppages.

Learn about coverage offered by a typical home warranty.

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2021-11-02T21:39:02+00:00October 29th, 2021|

The Cost for Radiant Floor Heating

Unlike other forms of heating, such as radiators or forced air, radiant heating provides consistent heat throughout a room. These floor heating systems used to be considered a luxury feature, but today, homeowners are realizing the benefits of a radiant floor heating system, especially in bathrooms and kitchens.

There are two types of radiant floor heating – electric and water-based. Both provide consistent, efficient heat, can save as much as 15 percent on a home heating bill, are compatible with all types of flooring, and are relatively easy to install.

The cost for radiant floor heating depends on the system installed, but the cost is typically between $1,717-$6,047. Factors impacting cost include floor type and size, type of radiant heating installed, materials, labor, installation location in the home, and site preparation and cleanup.

Learn about radiant heating systems and the potential cost for installation.

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2021-10-29T16:24:33+00:00October 28th, 2021|
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