AFUE and HSPF: Heating Efficiency Ratings

March 25th, 2015

How energy efficient is the heater that warms your home? There’s an easy way to determine how energy efficient it should be: look at the efficiency rating listed on the cabinet. If you use a furnace, the efficiency rating is listed as AFUE. If you use a heat pump, it has two efficiency ratings: SEER and HSPF, one for cooling mode and one for heating mode respectively. Understanding what these ratings mean will help you understand how your heating system works, as well as help you pick out a new unit when it’s time for a replacement installation.

No matter if you use a heat pump or a furnace in Anderson, OH, the team at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning can help you receive the best quality performance from it with our repair and maintenance services. We are also expert installers and will see that you have a heating system with the ideal energy efficiency for your home and budget.

AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The energy efficiency rating of a furnace is AFUE, which is the percentage of heating fuel that the furnace converts into actual heat as measured over a year. If, for every 100 units of natural gas, a gas furnace generates 85 units of heat, it has an AFUE of 85%. Most modern furnaces fall in a range between 80% and 97% AFUE, with high-efficiency condensing furnaces scoring the best ratings. Higher AFUE usually translates into a costlier unit, but it will also mean significant energy savings over time. Let your furnace installer help you determine the AFUE rating that will work best for your current and future needs.

HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor

Because heat pumps do not burn fuel to generate heat the way that furnaces do, instead using electricity to move heat from one place to another, they have a different type of efficiency rating. HSPF is a ratio of the amount of heat a unit produces to the amount of electrical energy it uses as measured over a season; the higher the number, the more efficient it is. A standard HSPF rating for a heat pump is around 9 or 10. HSPF is similar to SEER, which measures a heat pump’s cooling efficiency, but is usually lower. When purchasing a new heat pump, you will need to take both ratings into consideration.

Keep in mind that energy efficiency isn’t the same as energy output. A system may work at high efficiency but still not produce enough heat to keep a home warm. When you are in the market for a new heating system, make sure that you have heating professional, such as those at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning, assist you with determining the right balance of efficiency and heating power to meet your needs. We are here to help you with new installation, repairs, and maintenance for furnaces or heat pumps in Anderson, OH.

Open Loop vs. Closed Loop Geothermal Systems

March 20th, 2015

Are you considering investing in a geothermal heat pump for your home comfort? You are not alone: more and more households every year are converting from using standard air-source heat pumps to ground-source geothermal heat pumps. The benefits are excellent: efficient heating even during the coldest winter temperatures, energy-saving performance, long system lifespan, and a reduction in emissions that can harm the environment.

When you are considering a geothermal installation for your home, you must also make a number of important decisions about the type of geothermal system you want. One important choice is between an open loop and a closed loop system. RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning will help you make the right decision for your home, and you can trust our Cincinnati, OH geothermal specialists to give you the best installation possible.

What’s the difference between closed loop and open loop systems?

  • Closed loop: The geothermal system consists of buried piping that circulates a mix of water and anti-freeze. This solution absorbs or deposits heat from the ground, and then enters a heat exchanger in the home that transfers heat with the refrigerant in the heat pump. The loops are either laid in a horizontal configuration (if there is sufficient space) or placed as vertical loops through drilling.
  • Open loop: The piping doesn’t carry refrigerant, but instead uses nearby groundwater for the heat exchange process. The water does not circulate but is sent into drainage after it is used.

Of the two, closed loops systems are the more common. An open loop system must have access to a significant source of ground water, and are therefore not suitable for all homes. Open loops can also pick up debris inside their piping that can lead to repair issues. Ask a geothermal installer about some of the specific differences between the two that relate to your home; in some situations the less common open loop system is the better option.

We encourage many customers to investigate the possibilities of going geothermal in Cincinnati, OH. You might think it’s impossible for your home to benefit from a geothermal heat pump, but you may be pleasantly surprised. Give RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning a call and ask to speak to our geothermal specialists. They will help you make the best choice when it comes to setting up your home to use the power of the earth for year-round comfort.

Why Is My Boiler Rumbling?

March 11th, 2015

Unusual sounds coming from a heating system are often a warning sign that the heater needs to have professional repairs. You will have a good idea of what kinds of noises the system makes during regular operation, and when it deviates from this pattern, don’t hesitate to call on technicians to take care of it. If you let those strange sounds continue, it can mean larger repairs later on, elevated energy bills, and even an unsafe heater.

The experts at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning provide heating repair for Anderson, OH and the surrounding areas. One type of warning noise that we’d like to point out is rumbling coming from a boiler. This sound can often cause people to feel panicky that their boiler is about to burst; if that gets them to call for repairs right away, it’s positive—although it is extremely rare for a boiler to actually burst. But rumbling sound often indicates a number of different problems that need attention.

Frequently, the cause of the rumbling noise is a malfunction in the mixing valve in the tank. This will cause hot and cold water within the tank to mix, which is what creates the rumbling sound. The valve will need to be repaired to prevent the boiler from performing inefficiently.

Another cause is a rise in pressure inside the tank. There are different causes for this. Excess sediment building up along the bottom of the tank over time will decrease the volume of water in the tank and cause the pressure to rise. The expansion valve, a device above the tank designed to provide a cushion for air pressure without allowing air into the tank itself, can malfunction and cause the pressure to spike. Or it could be a problem with excessive limescale along the interior of the tank, which acts as an insulator that will cause the water to overheat and increase pressure. A professional heating technician will analyze the boiler and determine what is causing the problem, then provide the repair work necessary (tank flushing, repairing the expansion tank, descaling the tank interior).

You can trust that the experienced technicians at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning can provide the heating repair in Anderson, OH you need. Never try to troubleshoot the problem on your own: give us a call, any time of the day or night, and we will take care of the problems with your boiler.

Are Geothermal Systems Better at Heating or Cooling?

March 4th, 2015

Among the many options you have for heating and cooling your home, one of the most efficient and environmentally beneficial is the geothermal heat pump (also known as a ground-source heat pump). Although geothermal systems are major installations, and they will not work for all properties, they provide immense benefits in terms of cost-effective heating and cooling and are more dependable than standard air-source heat pumps.

If you are interested in installation in Cincinnati, OH of a geothermal system for your home, call the specialists at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment.

Heating vs. cooling with a geothermal system

Because people tend to link the concept of “heat” with geothermal energy (the earth grows warmer the deeper down you go), they often imagine that a geothermal system is only good for heating a home. Even if they understand that geothermal systems are heat pump that can also provide cooling, it still seems sensible that they would work better in heating mode than in cooling mode.

The truth is that a geothermal heat pump operates as effectively as an air conditioning system as it does a heating system. A ground-source heat pump uses the stable temperature of the earth as a heat sink to deposit the heat absorbed from the indoors. The temperature in the earth about 6–10 feet below the frost line (the standard depth at which the geothermal refrigerant loops are laid) remains stable at around 55 degrees. This is cool enough to make it easy to release heat from indoors, and also warm enough to make it easy for the heat pump to operate the reverse direction and draw warmth into a home.

It is true that geothermal heat pumps have an advantage as heating systems over standard air-source heat pumps. If the outdoor temperature drops below freezing, an air-source heat pump will start to lose efficiency. A geothermal heat pump won’t suffer the same issue, because it always has the stable underground temperature. So a geothermal heat pump isn’t better at heating than cooling, but it is certainly better at heating than a standard heat pump.

We definitely suggest that you look into geothermal in Cincinnati, OH for your next heating and cooling installation. Our skilled and knowledgeable technicians are glad to talk to you about the possibilities, so give us a call today.

Is a Heat Pump Installation Sufficient for My Needs?

February 25th, 2015

Among your options for heating installation in Anderson, OH is a heat pump. Unlike other popular types of heaters, such as furnaces, heat pumps are capable of serving the dual function of also cooling down a home. If this makes a heat pump sound immediately appealing to you, then please give our technicians at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning a call. A heat pump may be just the right new installation to provide your home and family with year-round comfort.

However, a heat pump is not always the best choice for an individual home. Although heat pumps are extremely effective when it comes to working as air conditioners, they can sometimes experience trouble when it comes to heating in some situations. The reason for this is that heat pumps work through the process of heat exchange: the system draws ambient heat out of the air through refrigerant coils and then shifts the heat to another set of coils where it releases it. In cooling mode, a heat pump absorbs this heat from the indoor air, providing lower temperatures inside. When a heat pump switches over to heating mode, it draws the heat from the outdoor air and brings it inside.

This immediately brings up the question in people’s minds: “If I run the heat pump in heating mode during the winter, how is it drawing heat from the cold outdoor air?” The answer is that there is always some ambient heat in the air, no matter how cold it gets outside. If there molecular motion exists, then heat exists. Heat pumps do not experience difficulty drawing effective levels of heat from outside when the temperature is still above freezing. As the temperature drops below freezing, a heat pump may begin to perform less efficiently, although it will still provide heat.

Whether a heat pump will work for your specific needs is something you need to take up with heating and cooling professionals. They will perform a heat load calculation for your home to determine the level of heating it needs for comfort, and then figure out if a heat pump can match these requirements.

The heating and cooling technicians at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist you when it’s time for a new heating installation in Anderson, OH. If you are interested in a heat pump for your home, give us a call and we will set up an appointment to find the ideal new unit to serve your needs. No matter what heating system you eventually have put in, you can trust us to deliver excellent service.

When Should I Install a New Heating System?

February 16th, 2015

The decision whether to install a new heating system or not can be a tough one. After all, you’re going to have to deal with a pretty sizeable upfront cost that you wouldn’t have to otherwise. Then there’s the inconvenience of scheduling an appointment, and having the old system torn out and the new one installed. However, you know as well as anyone that your old heating system can’t last forever. Sooner or later, you will need to replace it with a new one. Let’s take a look at some of the signs that you need to install a new heating system.

Rise in Repairs

Even newer systems need a repair every once in a while. It’s impossible to completely protect against the occasional random problem, after all. However, older systems will start to need repairs more and more often as their various parts wear out. This problem is compounded by the fact that older systems use parts that are often no longer manufactured, making repairs difficult and costly. If your heating system keeps breaking down, you should consider installing a new one.

Rise in Operating Cost

As a heating system gets older, its parts will begin to wear out. Before they actually break, however, they will slowly lose their ability to fulfill their roles properly. This decreases the efficiency of the heating system by forcing it to work longer to maintain the same heat output. The extra energy spent is passed on to your heating bill, causing a consistent rise in operating cost from month to month. Your heating bill should rise and fall between months as your demand for heat fluctuates. If you notice your heating bill start to rise consistently, however, it may be time to replace your heating system.

Age

Most every issue that necessitates replacing an old heating system has to do with its age. For that reason, if your heating system is older than 15 years you should consider options for replacing it. If your heating system is younger than that, you can probably get a few more years of use out of it. Of course, it’s best to consult with a professional before making any permanent decisions.

If you think you need to install a new heating system, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide professional heating installation services throughout Cincinnati, OH.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at RineAir hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Is My Boiler in Danger of Rusting?

February 5th, 2015

If you have a boiler that you rely on for home or commercial heating, you know that it’s one of the most comfortable methods of delivering heat. Boilers are not like forced air heating systems that warm the air before pushing it out into your home. Instead, a boiler is a tank of hot water with a piping system that leads to various areas of your home. In each room, there may be a terminal unit for heat delivery—like a radiator or a baseboard unit—or there may be an in-floor piping system for radiant floor heating.

Boilers have been around for many years, and a long time ago, rusting was a major concern. And it still is, to an extent. If you’ve had a boiler in your home for a very long time, there’s a much higher risk for rusting than with a new one. Rust can lead to corrosion and holes that may force you to replace the entire tank prematurely. The only things that must be present in order for rust to form are oxygen, water, and iron or any of its alloys. Since water and steel come into contact frequently within a boiler system, it seems as though a boiler would be prone to rusting. However, most manufacturers take preventive measures against rust and corrosion, so it’s rarely a problem with newer boilers.

First of all, boilers are kept sealed tight so that air cannot get in. There is an expansion tank that provides somewhat of an air cushion so that water can expand as needed. However, most modern expansion tanks have a rubber diaphragm that helps maintain low oxygen levels. And if the expansion tank does begin to rust, only this part will need heating repair or replacement. However, a major concern is that condensation will form on the outside of the tank and corrosion will begin to take place. But the high operating temperature of a hot water boiler generally keeps this from happening.

There is always the chance that something can go wrong and that your boiler will rust anyway. This may be due to poor installation, flooding, or leaks inside of the home that affect the boiler unit. Or, it could be that the return temperature of the water is too low, allowing condensate to form anyway. A boiler that is at risk of corroding, or one that has already begun to develop holes, will likely need replacement. But if it’s caught early enough, you may only need to replace a single part.

For professional heating repair in Anderson, look to the experts at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning, who are committed to quality work, respect, and honesty about the state of your heating equipment. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

How to Keep Your Furnace Working Safely

January 30th, 2015

Your furnace may be a remarkably sturdy heating system, as most furnaces are. However, it will not stay healthy or live a long life if you neglect to take care of it. Furnaces that don’t receive proper care and maintenance tend not to last long, incurring all sorts of problems and repair needs before being replaced altogether sooner than they could have been. If you’d like your furnace to last as long as possible, there are a few things you can try. Read on to find out how to keep your furnace working safely.

Clean Your Air Filter

The air filter is a part installed in the air return duct of your furnace. It is designed to catch any dust and debris that might blow out of the ducts and into the furnace. If not cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months, however, the air filter can become so clogged that it restricts air flow into the furnace. This can trap heat inside the furnace, causing it to overheat. Cleaning or replacing your air filter is really easy, but if you don’t know how to do it you can have any HVAC technician do it for you.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

It is never a good idea to just leave your furnace alone until it presents some sort of problem. Preventive maintenance is just as important, if not more so, than reparative maintenance. It is a good idea to have your furnace receive regular maintenance at least once a year, ideally during the fall season. This can identify any problems before they progress to being more severe, as well as ensure that your furnace can stand the increased strain of heating during the winter season. Annual maintenance will save you money, and help your furnace to last a long time.

Call a Professional if you Suspect a Problem

As with most problems, the longer you ignore a problem with your furnace, the worse it’s likely to get. If you think your furnace has a problem between annual appointments, don’t wait to call an HVAC professional. The faster you react to a problem with your furnace, the more likely it will be fixed before becoming more severe.

If you’d like to know more or want to schedule a service, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide professional furnace repair in the Cincinnati area.

Are Geothermal Systems Prone to Leaking?

January 22nd, 2015

Geothermal systems are the most efficient heating and cooling systems available and because they have few moving parts, are not prone to a lot of repair. However, one major concern regarding repairs to geothermal system is leaking from the ground loop. The good news is that geothermal systems are not prone to leaking; secondly, should a leak develop with your geothermal ground loop, there is a way technicians can detect it fairly easily.

Durable Tubing

The first reason geothermal systems aren’t prone to developing leaks is that the tubing is very durable: it is made of a high density polyethylene material that is extremely durable but also allows heat to transfer easily. The average lifespan of a ground loop is 25-50 years, so it’s safe to say that ground loops are made to withstand the elements. Additionally, all joints are fused, strengthening the loop throughout.

Leak Detection

In the case of a geothermal loop leak, the entire loop doesn’t have to be extracted from your yard. The process for detecting a leak in a geothermal loop is quite simple: a technician will inject dye into the loop and wait for it to circulate; once the dye reaches the leak, the solution from the loop, with the dye, bubbles to the surface of your yard. A couple of days after injecting the dye, the technician will inspect your yard for the dye so he/she knows where to dig. Once the dye is found, he/she will dig down, seal the leak, and re-cover the loop.

If you have concerns about your geothermal loop leaking, it’s good to be aware of the signs that can indicate a leak has developed:

  • Soggy/wet spots in your yard where loop is buried
  • Noticeable decrease in performance
  • Problems with the heat pump

Geothermal repairs require expertise; as such, any kind of repair to your geothermal system should always be handled by a professional with training and experience. For professional geothermal system services in Anderson, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment with us.