Now may be the time to replace your furnace with a high efficiency system. There are many factors to consider when thinking about replacing your older furnace system.
Has your furnace reached “retirement age”?
Furnaces last an average of 18-20 years, depending on whether they have been professionally maintained or not. Age isn’t everything, though. The cost to keep the furnace running will give you additional concrete reasons to consider replacing vs. repairing.
Increased cost and frequency of furnace repairs
Like an old car, an old furnace that requires costly repairs is signaling that it’s near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced soon. The question then is, “How expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth it?” Even for less expensive repairs, depending upon how old your furnace is, you should consider replacement vs. repair.
Your heating bills have risen dramatically over the years
Even if your furnace has a few years left in it, it may not be cost efficient to keep it if your energy bills during the heating season are high due to the furnace’s poor efficiency. A new law is expected to provide significant savings for homeowners by cutting the electricity consumption of furnace fans. After July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, which are expected to save homeowners billions of dollars on electricity bills and reduce carbon pollution. ECM motors will also keep occupants more comfortable, too. First, they provide more efficient airflow. Second, they reduce temperature swings in the home by allowing the fan to run for a longer time at a reduced speed. You need to assess how much it’s costing you just to keep the current furnace you have versus how much you’ll save on a new furnace. The Energy.gov AFUE chart can do just that, and we will help you decrypt it.
Weigh the factors together
As you can see, none of these factors (age, cost to repair, energy efficiency) alone can tell you if you need to replace your furnace. They should be weighed together. To help you make the best choice possible, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will help you assess whether you should replace your furnace or not. Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO. For more information on furnace replacement read our blog: Eight Things You Should Know Before Replacing Your Furnace.
Sure, you have a water heater, and it gives you hot water. But that’s just the first step! Getting that water hot enough, to the faucet soon enough, and lasting long enough, isn’t guaranteed without a little help. Tankless water heaters, tank boosters, hot water recirculating systems and instant hot water dispensers are just a few of the great products available that can bring warmth to your water and save you money as well.
Tankless Water Heaters Provide Endless Hot Water at Less Cost
The main benefit of a tankless water heater is that you never run out of hot water. Water enters the heater only when a hot water faucet is turned on somewhere in the home, and is heated as it passes through the heater. As long as you have water, you will never run out of HOT water!
Another benefit of a tankless water heater is efficiency. Tankless water heaters use energy to heat water only when needed, as opposed to keeping an entire tank of water hot like a traditional, tank-style water heater.
Tankless water heaters also last twice as long as traditional tank-style water heaters, about 20 years as opposed to 10. Because water is not collected in the system, corrosion is not an issue, so leaks do not force replacement of the water heater.
Maintenance is required approximately once a year to descale the minerals that build up on the heating elements of tankless water heaters. The harder your water the more often you will need to have the heat exchanger descaled to keep energy usage low and the lifespan of the water heater long.
For more information on the benefits of tankless water heaters, see our blog at https://www.anthonyphc.com/blog/tankless-water-heater-101/.
Tank Boosters Save Hot Water and Prevent Scalding
Tank boosters are an easy and affordable way to make your traditional tank-style water heater work better. They work by mixing cold water from the input valve with the heated water that comes out of the hot water valve. This allows your water heater to store water at a higher temperature of 140 degrees and still come out at a desired 120 degrees. Therefore, less hot water needs to be released from the tank, which boosts your tank’s storage capacity.
Tank boosters increase the safety of your water heater, too. By mixing heated water with cold water, scalding is prevented. And by allowing water to be stored at 140 degrees rather than 120 degrees, legionella bacteria, which thrives in water temperatures less than 122 degrees, is eliminated. Legionella bacteria can cause a respiratory illness known as Legionellosis, and a rare but more severe lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease.
Recirculating Systems Reduce Wait and Prevent Wasted Water
Depending on the distance water has to travel from your water heater through your plumbing pipes, some fixtures may need to run for several minutes before hot water is delivered from the water heater. If you are tired of waiting for hot water or don’t like the idea of wasting water, then a hot water recirculating system is the answer.
There are several types of recirculating systems, but the principle behind these is simple. A recirculating pump installed in the plumbing pipes creates a loop that circulates the water in the hot water pipes back into the water heater for reheating, rather than letting this water go down the drain as you wait for warm water. This means that as soon as you open a faucet or turn on a shower, warm water is already present in those pipes.
Instant Hot Water Dispensers Provide Boiling Water on Demand
When installed in your kitchen, an instant hot water dispenser quickly becomes the most popular feature in your home. Imagine instant hot water for coffee, tea, cocoa or hot cereal without waiting for water to heat in the microwave or boil on the stove.
An instant hot water dispenser is a wonderful timesaver with a multitude of uses. Homeowners commonly use the near boiling water to clean pots and pans without soaking, loosen jar lids, blanch vegetables, remove wax residue, polish silver, warm baby food or make a quick compress for first aid.
Instant hot water dispensers can also be installed with filters to ensure you are getting the best quality water. But even without filters, the super-heated water kills parasites that might otherwise elude filtration.
Because instant hot water dispensers deliver water at over 200 degrees, safety is an issue that must be considered before installing these devices.
Put Extra Warmth into Your Water by Calling Us Now
Whatever your budget or home needs, we have a solution that will bring warmth to your water and save you money. Let us help you explore the options! Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
It’s the Warmth of the Sun In Your Garage
Add more comfortable living space to your home instantly! It’s easy with the installation of our Auto-Ray infrared garage heater. Our garage heater uses NO electricity. It runs on natural gas, using infrared technology, and can heat a 2-3 car garage for pennies a day. Just think, no more frozen blocks of snow still on your wheel wells in the morning. No more warming up the car for 10 minutes before you leave. Our garage heater is also a great idea for an out-building or a detached work shed. It also helps those rooms above the garage stay warm. We invite you to visit our showroom to see the garage heater in action. Beat the cold!
Call us today to schedule a free estimate at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (286-4669) KS or MO. Or click here to schedule a visit.
- Efficient Infrared Heat – Directly heats people and objects which in turn heats surrounding air to desired temperature.
- Economical – No electricity required
- Instant Heat – Includes adjustable thermostat for individually controlled warmth
- Large Capacity – Heats 500-600 sq. ft. (2-3 car garage)
- Convenient – Easy to operate
- Quiet, Clean, Odor-Free Operation – natural gas or propane
- Maintenance Free – No moving parts to service
- CSA Certified
- Limited 1 Year Warranty – On gas control
- Limited 3 Year Warranty – On burner
WHY INFRARED HEAT?
Infrared heaters work just like the sun. Infrared rays heat the object directly, not the air around it. When the object becomes hot, it heats the surrounding air and any other objects. With infrared heat, people, machinery, objects and floors all become heat reservoirs — leading to greater fuel and cost efficiency.
Should I Repair or Replace my Air Conditioning System?
When deciding whether to repair or replace your AC system, there are really three things you need to consider:
1. Which is the most Cost-Effective route?
2. What is my family’s Comfort level?
3. What are my Convenience needs?
At some point in the life of an AC system, repair costs outweigh the long-term cost savings of replacement, and it depends upon the unique circumstances of each homeowner as to when that tipping point is designated.
But Cost, though a huge consideration, is not the only one; Comfort and Convenience can be the deciding factors if you are trying to avoid the time and headaches associated with routine repairs on older equipment, or if you have family members in your household who cannot tolerate stretches without comfortable conditioned air.
1. COST CONSIDERATIONS
At some point replacing your AC system will be more effective in the long run, and there are several factors to consider when pulling the trigger to replace. The experienced Comfort Advisors at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are best equipped to help homeowners through this decision-making process, and homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of the free consultations we provide.
There are two instance, however, when replacement is almost always recommended:
when your system uses R-22 refrigerant
when your system is 15 years or older
If Your AC System Uses R-22, Plan your Replacement Strategy Now
If your cooling system uses the refrigerant known as R-22 and you’ve had to add refrigerant recently, then it is time to replace. Refrigerant doesn’t get used up – the only time you have to add refrigerant is if you have a leak. And if you have a leak, you will have to add more and more refrigerant each year.
Also, the price of R-22 is climbing every year. R-22 refrigerant contains chlorine, which eats away the ozone layer when leaked into the atmosphere. Because of this, R-22, also known as HCFC-22, will be illegal to produce starting in 2020, and the only way to acquire it will be through recycled or stockpiled supplies which will be prohibitively expensive to purchase.
The last AC systems using R-22 were manufactured in 2010. So if your AC system is one of these, it is already old enough to consider replacement. Refrigerant leaks likely happen to systems as they age. Refrigerant circulates under high pressure and therefore wears down the inside of the tubing. Because AC systems last only 10-15 years on average, it is time for your R-22 unit to be replaced, especially if it is leaking refrigerant.
How Do I Know if My AC System uses R-22?
Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends homeowners have an HVAC technician inspect their system to determine what kind of refrigerant it uses. Age of the system is one determinant – no R-22 units were manufactured after 2010. But systems using R-410A, the ozone-friendly refrigerant, have been manufactured since 1996, so just because your unit is old it doesn’t mean that it uses R-22.
It is occasionally possible to determine what type of refrigerant your system uses by locating its manufacturer’s data plate. These are labels found either on the side of the condenser (outside unit) or air handler (inside unit). Some manufacturers make it easier for you by putting a separate sticker on the condenser with the refrigerant spelled out in tall letters; R-410A also goes by the name Puron®, which is the name Carrier uses.
Can I Wait One More Year?
If you want to wait it out one more year and try to save money by pumping R-22 into your old unit until it is no longer available, you may end up spending a lot more next year than you save this year, as the cost of R-22 is increasing significantly every year until the 2020 phase out.
Waiting will also put you in the same boat as all of the others who are waiting until the last minute, and prices go up when demand is high. And even if you are lucky enough to get a reasonably priced replacement system, the wait for available technicians to install it might be long. And the last thing you want to do is be faced with weeks without air conditioning during the summer heat.
What if I Can’t Afford to Replace Right Now?
Replacing a central AC system can cost several thousands of dollars, more than many of us have saved up. This is where financing comes in. Fortunately, there is financing available for just about any credit score. The one bright side to incurring an extra monthly expense is the reduction in energy costs that you will receive when a new system is doing the cooling. New cooling systems outperform old ones significantly, no matter what their Energy Star rating is. Click here for financing options at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
Can I Get Away with Purchasing a Lower Cost AC System?
The cost of AC systems depends upon cooling capacity and SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how much cooling a system puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. In theory, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the system operates. But paying for a higher SEER rating does not necessarily mean that you will incur enough reduction in energy costs to make up for the higher price.
Size matters – if an HVAC company says you can get away with the same size system as you currently have, be skeptical. If you just purchased your home, don’t assume the AC system installed is necessarily the best size for your home. Size requirements can change when changes to your home are made as well, such as additions, insulation changes, and asphalt roof shingles.
If your cooling system is too small it will run constantly and not lower the temperature to your desired set point. Alternatively, if you install one that is too big, it will turn on and off constantly, and not dehumidify the home. This makes the home feel like a cave – cool and damp. It is most cost-effective to purchase a unit that is the correct size for your home.
Homeowners should use the assistance of well-trained experts like those at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in order to choose the most cost-effective AC system over the long run.
If Your AC System is More than 10 Years Old, Consider a More Efficient Model
Cooling systems wear out just like any other household appliance. A well-maintained AC system will last 10-15 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If your system is older than 15 years, replacement is recommended. But even if it is only 10 years old, replacing can save you money and peace of mind over waiting for it to fail over the next 5 years.
It is important to know that even AC units younger than 10 years old can fail if they have not been maintained properly over their lifespan. Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends having your cooling system tuned-up by a professional HVAC technician annually to keep your system in good working order. The technician can inspect the unit’s components, identify and fix any issues, and clean the indoor and outdoor coils. This will increase a system’s efficiency as well. If you have just purchased your home, try to obtain maintenance records, as they will inform you on the system’s potential either to fail soon, or last another several years.
Rising Energy Bills are a Red Flag that Your AC Could be Failing
Before you blame global warming for your rising energy costs, consider whether your high energy bills could be the result of a faulty, failing or inefficient AC system. An AC system that is working inefficiently will run more frequently, using up more electricity while not adequately cooling your home. Once an AC system reaches this point, its chance of failing completely increases rapidly.
Many utility companies provide comparison charts of how your bill has changed year over year. They also provide an average temperature for each day of the month, information that can help you identify whether higher utility costs are associated with outdoor temperature or something else.
Repeat Breakdowns – Another Indicator to Cut Your Losses and Replace
Whether your AC system has reached the end of its lifespan or not, having multiple serious repair jobs in a row could indicate it is close. Recall that systems last only as long as they’re maintained well, and some simply don’t last as long as others. If you’ve already fixed one issue and more are popping up, it might be best to cut your losses and replace.
Older AC systems will also have more aesthetic issues. “Rust is a major problem, along with being noisier than newer models,” says Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. “People with AC units that are near windows or backyard patios could benefit from the newer and quieter AC units built today.”
Climbing R-410A Refrigerant Costs – Bad News for Those with Leaking AC Systems
If you thought R-22 was the only refrigerant with a rapidly increasing price, think again. The price of R410-A has doubled in the last year, and price is expected to keep increasing. If your system has a refrigerant leak, your needle has just moved toward the replacement side of the decision making equation.
As stated above, leaks don’t go away, they get worse over time. And since the cost of refrigerant is ever-climbing, keep in mind that you will be paying a lost more next year than you paid this year to keep your system cooling. Not only will the refrigerant price be higher, but the amount you need will be greater due the leak getting bigger.
There are a few reasons for the rapidly increasing refrigerant prices. One is a tariff on Chinese imports imposed in 2017; most refrigerant is manufactured in China. Another reason is a worldwide shortage of R-125 that occurred in 2017, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of R-410A and other refrigerants. And prices for refrigerant naturally raise in hotter weather due to increased demand, so homeowners that needed refrigerant added to their systems during the summer of 2018 were shocked to find the price increased significantly.
Although it doesn’t look like R-410A AC systems will be discontinuing anytime soon, it does look like the cost of R-410A will continue to increase, making replacement a more affordable option in comparison.
2. COMFORT CONSIDERATIONS
For some families, no amount of cost savings is worth putting their family at risk of being without adequate air conditioning. For homeowners with pets, children, or adults who are elderly, pregnant or have health issues, it doesn’t make sense to save a few bucks and hope your AC system will last another year with no major repair downtime.
Heat Can Harm Kids, Pets, Pregnant Women and Elderly
The temperature inside your home rises at an alarming rate when your cooling system stops working. It is no secret how miserable it is to be inside a 90-degree home, but to some it can be dangerous.
Pregnant women are understandably susceptible to overheating during pregnancy, but it is worth noting that the unborn child is at a higher risk of experiencing low weight and birth defects when subjected to extreme heat. Individuals with breathing problems and heart conditions experience a great deal of distress when subjected to heated air, especially when coupled with humidity.
The younger the child and the older the adult, the more susceptible they are to heat stroke and heat exhaustion and dehydration. These populations, like pets, cannot always discern or verbalize their discomfort until it is too late.
3. CONVENIENCE CONSIDERATIONS
Rather than take time off work and move all of your pets and family members to a hotel while your AC is down, or worry about them being home alone while you are away at work during an AC system failure, replacing your cooling system will do more than save money, it will save worry as well.
Even if you are a healthy adult who can easily “take the heat,” chances are you live a busy life and cannot afford to take a day off work to deal with a “hot house.” Nor are you willing to return from a long, tiring vacation ready to jump back into a busy work week and come home to an unpleasant sauna.
AC Systems Only Break Down in the Heat
As obvious as this sounds, this is worth remembering, because it is easy to forget how critical air conditioning is to your life during the cooler months. Whether your cooling system quits working because a simple repair is needed or because it has reached the end of its lifespan, NO time is a good time to be without air conditioning during a heat wave.
It is important to remember that HVAC technicians are their busiest during heat waves as well, so you might be facing more than the usual 24-48 hours without cooling if you have to wait for technicians to become available during the busy season.
Plan Your Replacement in Advance
By scheduling your AC replacement well in advance, you can plan your installation for a time when it is convenient for you. Some replacements can even be completed over the weekend if planned well enough ahead.
It is often best to purchase a new cooling system during the off season, when demand is less and installation technicians have more time. Look for AC clearance sales and have financing paperwork completed for when the perfect deal arises. Don’t make a heatwave-related AC emergency dictate the cost and timing of your AC replacement. Also, a complete system includes a furnace or air handler that moves the cooled air, so furnace replacement should be considered anytime cooling systems are replaced.
4. One More “C”… CALL if you Have Questions!
For more information on how to recognize when your cooling system needs replacing, contact Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in the Kansas City metro area. We have Comfort Advisors willing to share their wealth of experience and expertise with you for free. We will make the Repair vs. Replace decision-making process a breeze, and make the AC replacement process a happy one – GUARANTEED. Call us 24/7 at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
Americans are aware of the dangers of heart disease and stroke and the all the messages encouraging us to eat right and exercise to reduce the risk of these deadly events. But research is now showing that air pollution is another cause of heart disease and stroke – and it is not something people can control as easily as their diet. But as the average person spends 90% of their time indoors, eliminating air pollution is a reachable goal.
“ZONING saved my marriage!” Anonymous, Overland Park
By giving homeowners more control over how they heat and cool their home, a zoning system enables the creation of comfort zones that are customizable for each room or “zone,” which keeps all family members happy while saving money on energy bills at the same time. Instead of sending the same amount of heated or cooled air into all rooms when the furnace or air conditioner is turned on, multiple thermostats allow the system to send conditioned air only to the zones that need it and only when they need it.
Nothing tests the limits of your AC unit like a heatwave, and when a heatwave hits, it spares no one! That is when heating and cooling companies like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling get slammed with calls from suffering homeowners all at once, and not everyone can be helped immediately. These tips are good to know when you are waiting on the phone, or in your hot home, for an HVAC technician to save the day!
Your sump pump system is your main line of defense against indoor flooding, but only if it is working! If you have a finished basement, or if you are storing valuables in an unfinished basement, you should take regular steps to ensure that your sump pump system is working.
To be well protected against the devastating financial losses associated with indoor flooding, you need to do the following:
- Test your sump pump now, before the torrential rains and power outages do it for you, AND
- Invest in a Battery Back Up Sump Pump if you don’t already have one.
Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental threats to human health. Considering that most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, this is a major concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher than the levels of pollutants outside. No wonder your eyes are itching!
When preparing to leave your home for extended spring and summer vacations, one of the smartest things a homeowner can add to their prep list is installation of an indoor flood and water damage prevention system. Indoor water damage is one of the most common reasons people make claims on their home insurance, and repairing the leak and then the damage to walls, floors and furniture is a complicated and time-consuming process. The best way to address indoor flooding is to avoid it altogether.