Month: August 2021

What is an air scrubber and why do I need one?

When you clean your home to remove dust and germs, how often do you think about cleaning the air? Air scrubbers are a new development, but they have quickly built a reputation as the workhorses of air purification for your home.

Considering the air inside your home could be two to five times more contaminated than outdoor air, improving your indoor air quality should be a priority. Poor air quality can lead to sick building syndrome (SBS), a condition where you have cold or fever symptoms in a particular building, only for the symptoms to pass as you leave that space. Air scrubbers can help you avoid SBS and other dangerous, unnecessary illnesses. 

woman-breathing-deeply-in-home

How does a home air scrubber work?

An air scrubber is an HVAC appliance that purifies the air of contaminants. The breadth of the air scrubber’s germ-killing ability is impressive. This device can kill particulates like dander and pollen, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that create odors like smoke and organisms like mold and viruses. 

Air purifier vs. air scrubber

The cleaning scope of an air scrubber also goes beyond the capabilities of competing devices. While an air purifier is limited to airborne particles, some whole-home air scrubbers can kill germs on surfaces like doorknobs or countertops. These air scrubbers release particles that travel through your home, attract the germs off of surfaces and pull them back through the HVAC system to be filtered out of your indoor air. 

Types of Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers come in both whole-house and portable varieties. All air scrubbers work by passing contaminated air through filters, but the specific filters they use can vary slightly by model and brand. 

With a whole-house air scrubber, the process starts when air gets pulled through the HVAC system. The air scrubber’s inner chamber has a mosaic of rods that are coated in titanium oxide. Centered within those rods is a germicidal UV light. When the air passes through the air scrubber, titanium rods and UV light alter the air’s DNA and kill the contaminants. 

Finally, clean air is transferred out of the HVAC ductwork and back through your home. Some whole-house air scrubbers create negatively charged ions that attract the positively charged contaminants off of surfaces. In simpler terms, the air scrubber creates healthy particles that are sent into your home to grab unhealthy or harmful particles and pull them back into the filtering process. 

In a portable model, dirty air gets sucked into the air scrubber and passes through a series of filters. The first filter, or pre-filter, captures large particles like animal fur or lint. Next, the HEPA filter removes smaller airborne pathogens like mold spores and asbestos. Finally, most models have a carbon filter that tackles odors like smoke and mildew. Between the array of filters, up to 99.97% of pollutants are killed.

Whole-house vs. Portable Air Scrubbers

Both whole-house and portable air scrubbers deodorize and sanitize the air, but they differ in factors like price and installation method. Let’s break down the differences between the two types of air scrubbers. 

Whole-House

  • Attaches directly to HVAC system’s ductwork
  • Permanent fixture
  • Can disinfect both air and surfaces
  • Covers up to 3000 sq. ft. 
  • Uses titanium oxide rods and a UV light
  • Ideal for homeowners
  • Must hire HVAC technician to install
  • UV germicidal light should be replaced every 12 months
  • Same-day installation

Portable

  • Can be moved, doesn’t attach directly to HVAC system
  • Disinfects air, but not surfaces
  • Covers anywhere from 500-900 sq. ft. 
  • Can be daisy chained with other portable air scrubbers
  • Uses a series of 2-4 filters 
  • Ideal for construction, homeowners without HVAC ductwork, offices, etc. 
  • Can set up and plug in yourself, no extra tools or certifications needed
  • HEPA filter should be changed once yearly, pre-filters changed monthly

To ensure that your air scrubber is cleaning effectively, we recommend getting an air quality monitor. This device will measure your indoor air quality, then report it back to you. Monitors run between $80-110, but this worthy investment helps keep you in the know while your air scrubber is hard at work. 

Are air scrubbers loud?

Many homeowners worry about their HVAC appliances’ noise, and for good reason. Nobody wants loud whirring or ventilation keeping them up at night. Thankfully, both varieties of air scrubbers are relatively quiet. Most whole-house models measure under 20 dB, the approximate volume level of a soft whisper. However, some portable models can get up to 60 dB, about as loud as a restaurant conversation, when running at their highest settings. 

Do air scrubbers have filters?

Since portable air scrubbers’ filtration systems vary widely, you may have to change out each filter at different times. 

Check your air scrubber’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for the most accurate time estimate. The manufacturer can tell you when to replace your filters and keep your device running at its smoothest.

If you have a whole-house model, the filter is a UV light. To ensure the UV germicidal light is working optimally, replace the bulb every 12 months. The UV lights typically cost between $10 and $15.

Best air scrubbers

Best value air scrubber

XPower X-2580 Professional 4-Stage HEPA Mini Air Scrubber | $570

Portable air scrubbers are more affordable than whole-home models, but some buyers call their effectiveness into question. The XPower X-2580 strikes a beautiful balance between high quality and budget friendliness. This air scrubber boasts four-stage filtration, going above and beyond the two or three-stage filtration norm of comparable options. The X-2580’s dual nylon filters help catch more dust and dander than other air scrubbers in its price range. It also weighs in at 26.6 pounds, making it considerably more portable and accessible than the market’s 35 to 40-pound standard. 

The X-2580 is most commonly used in the commercial sphere, but its mold remediation capabilities and versatility also make this model a great option for homeowners. It has five adjustable speed settings that you can customize to fit your needs, and it can clean up to 550 square feet. While some portable models cost over $1000, many online retailers list the X-2580 for under $600. With an impressive array of filters, high speed, and lightweight design, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a portable air scrubber with more features for the price. 

Best comfort air scrubber

Air Scrubber by Aerus | Price varies by dealer

Aerus has emerged as a leader in the air purification industry, and for good reason. Aerus and its affiliate brands, including ActivTek, use technology developed for NASA and make it accessible for consumers. The Air Scrubber by Aerus attaches to your HVAC system’s ductwork, and has the power to cover 3000 sq. ft. of space. This model uses a honeycomb-shaped matrix of rods and a UV light to alter the DNA of the air that it encounters. 

Aerus explains that its proprietary ActivePure technology helps to clean up to 99% of airborne and surface germs. With this dual sanitation, you can reduce your time spent cleaning your home. Additionally, the Aerus model operates at less than 20 watts. This home air scrubber pairs powerful cleaning with impressive energy efficiency. 

Another perk of the Aerus Air Scrubber is that it’s low maintenance. You’ll need to hire an HVAC specialist to come out and install the device, but it’s a one-time setup that takes about half an hour. The UV bulb can last for years, but an indicator will tell you when it’s time to replace it. It’s recommended that a UV germicidal light be changed every 9,000 hours or about once a year to maintain optimal germ-killing powers.

There’s also no need to change out filters, which is an inconvenient necessity with portable models. Installation of a whole-home air scrubber will likely fall between $500 and $4,520. The cost will vary depending on the size of the unit needed and any additional work to get the system up and running.

With a slightly higher price tag comes unmatched convenience and ease of use. You can get the Aerus installed once and not have to worry about your indoor air quality for months to come.  

Best air scrubber for dependability

COLZER 1800 Industrial Air Scrubber | $499

The Colzer portable air scrubber’s heavy duty design and cutting edge features make this a reliable choice, especially for homeowners. One unique feature of this model is that it comes equipped with an air quality indicator. After determining the status of your indoor air, it tells you which speed is best for your air’s needs. With this convenient indicator, you will have the peace of mind that your air scrubber is working efficiently to tackle the specific contaminants impeding your home’s air quality. 

A 1-year product warranty gives the Colzer air scrubber extra points in the dependability department. The device is California Air Resources Board-compliant, meaning that it produces minimal harmful toxins and emissions during the cleaning process. Ultimately, this air scrubber delivers a reliable and efficient purification process, and if it fails during your first year, Colzer will work with you to resolve the issue. 

Is an air scrubber right for me?

Poor indoor air quality can pose a threat to you and your family’s well-being. Thankfully, air scrubbers help clean your space so you can breathe, sleep and live easier. 

Whether you’re looking for a portable air scrubber or a whole-house model, air scrubbers are an invaluable investment that keep you and your loved ones comfy at home. 

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Best battery powered heaters of 2021: Reviews and buying guide

When you’re deciding on a safe supplemental heating source for your home or outdoor exertion, battery powered heaters are one of the most searched for options. Unfortunately, quality heaters that operate on traditional batteries, like the kind you likely have packed away in the junk drawer, don’t exist.

In our guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the top battery powered personal heaters as well as battery powered heater alternatives. Consider your space and portability needs to decide which heater is the best choice.

woman-sitting-next-to-space-heater

Best battery powered heater alternatives

What is a battery powered heater?

Battery powered space heaters do not run on batteries alone. Many of them use a fuel source like kerosene or propane for heating and the battery is used to operate other features on the device.

Rechargeable battery powered heaters are typically powered much like a cell phone, with a USB cord. These small heaters are also called hand warmers or pocket warmers. The charge can last for several hours, but the heat generated isn’t much more than what will keep your feet or hands warm.

Pros vs. Cons of battery powered heaters

Battery based heaters, or hand warmers, are a great portable option for sporting events, camping, or being outdoors during cold weather. The heaters are safe to operate and can usually hold a charge for 8 to 12 hours.

These personal warmers, or rechargeable battery powered heaters, will keep your hands or feet warm, but not much else. The devices aren’t designed to heat any type of space, other than a glove, and certainly won’t keep you warm if you’re in need of a battery powered tent heater.

How efficient are battery powered heaters?

Whole-home battery powered space heaters do not exist, so we’ve developed a list of products that can be used indoors or out and serve as a battery powered heater alternative. There are many options on the market today that are safe to use indoors and stronger than battery powered heaters. These heaters can also provide supplemental heat to your house in winter at an economical cost. 

Propane heater

Propane is commonly used for furnaces and HVAC systems, but it is also used to power small, portable heaters. Propane is a clean burning fuel, and these heaters are available in both vented and vent-free forms (the latter is prohibited in California). Instead of using a battery, propane heaters have a fuel tank and an ignition system. There are several types of propane heaters, including radiant, convective, cabinet, tank top, and forced air to name a few. 

  • Radiant and convective heaters distribute warm air in all directions, delivering a balanced warmth throughout the space.
  • Cabinet heaters are portable and can be moved to a specific space to warm the immediate area. They often come on wheels for easy mobility and typically do not require electricity.
  • Tank top heaters connect directly to a propane fuel tank and are great for outdoor use at campsites, tailgating, or outdoor gatherings.
  • Forced air heaters distribute warmth in the direction you choose. They come in a range of sizes and should be operated according to the user’s manual when it comes to indoor vs. outdoor use.

The BTUs a propane heater is capable of producing will depend on its size and the capacity of the fuel tank. Smaller heaters produce anywhere between 4000 and 8000 BTUs an hour, capable of heating 200 to 300 square feet of space. Larger heaters with a bigger fuel tank can produce up to 18,000 BTUs an hour, enough to heat 500 square feet of space. Your choice should be based upon the area you are planning to heat and how much you are willing to spend on fuel. A propane heater is one of the best alternatives to battery powered heaters for camping, fishing, traveling, and for use in outdoor areas such as the patio and garden.

Electric heater

Another popular alternative to a battery powered space heater is the electric heater. It is the cleanest and safest of all portable heaters, produces no exhaust or fumes, and works with the press of a button. Most electric space heaters produce forced hot air and some can even be turned into an air cooler in summer. As long as you have a power outlet, you can take an electric heater with you anywhere.

Electric heaters come in all sizes and prices. You can place them on a table, put them in a corner or have them wall mounted. Depending upon the size of the heater, it can heat up to 250 square feet of space, without requiring any kind of ventilation. A standard electric space heater has a wattage of 1500 and can produce up to 5000 BTUs per hour. This is usually sufficient for heating a small room, the inside of a car, a tent, or outdoor spaces such as a garage or a patio.

Kerosene heater

If you are looking for a low-cost, portable alternative to a battery powered space heater, a kerosene heater could be the answer. Similar to propane heaters in many ways, a kerosene heater has a fuel tank, an ignition system, and a wick. 

Kerosene is relatively inexpensive, so using it to heat up cold rooms or outdoor spaces could be an affordable solution. Compared to propane heaters, kerosene has a very high BTU output. For every gallon, a standard kerosene heater is capable of producing 75,000 BTUs, enough to warm a large room. These heaters come in either convective or radiant forms.

On the downside, kerosene produces fumes and requires adequate ventilation. Only specified models of kerosene heaters should be used indoors and all ventilation guidelines should be followed to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Kerosene heaters are ideal for warming up outdoors spaces, for travel, and for keeping the inside of a tent toasty.

Safety considerations

Regardless of the type of portable heater you select, there are safety considerations that must be taken into account. Proper safety tips must be followed to prevent fires, burns, electrical shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Only buy a heater that has been tested by an accredited laboratory
  • Do not leave the heater unattended, especially in the presence of pets or children
  • Make sure to have proper ventilation if using a heater that produces fumes
  • Purchase a heater with an auto shut-off function and a thermostat to prevent overheating
  • Always check the heater for loose connections, broken cables or plugs before use
  • Never leave the heater running while sleeping at night or when no one is home
  • Clean the heater regularly to prevent buildup of dust or debris
  • Consider the size of the heater, careful to not use a large heater for a small room
  • Always store the heater in a clean, dry place when not in use
  • Do not use a heater near flammable substances such as clothes, upholstery, wood, or cables

It’s also important to properly store your heater fuel and know how long each lasts.

How to store propane

Propane tanks are best stored on a flat, outdoor surface that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Storing propane tanks in a work shed or garage should be avoided as those spaces are often closed off. If the propane tank valve is left open, vapors could fill the space, creating a dangerous environment.

How to store kerosene

Kerosene should be stored in a specified kerosene container on a flat, outdoor surface that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Too much sunlight can degrade the fuel, rendering it useless when you need it for heat. Do not store kerosene in your heater. Kerosene is best used within six months of being opened. 

Best battery powered heater alternatives

Best indoor/outdoor portable heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy | $95

mr-heater-space-heater

The Mr. Heater F232000 is a propane radiant heater that is safe for indoor and outdoor use. When you simply want to be warm, this is the reliable and sturdy device you want. The heater operates between 4,000- to 9,000-BTU and can warm a space up to 225 square feet. It is a propane heater that’s safe for indoor use and burns at nearly 100% efficiency. 

With just a one pound propane cylinder, the heater can burn for more than five hours on a low heat setting and nearly two-and-a-half hours on high heat. The heater comes with several safety features, including an auto shut-off if tipped over, if the pilot light goes out, or if it detects low oxygen levels. At just nine pounds and with an easy-grip handle, this unit is perfect for outdoor adventures and can serve as a great alternative to a battery powered tent heater.

Best battery powered heater alternative for large space

Sengoku KeroHeat CV23K(H) | $225

When you have a space up to 1,000 square feet to heat, the Sengoku KeroHeat CV23K(H) kerosene heater is the best choice. This indoor kerosene space heater is an ideal solution for an emergency heat source. The push-start button and easy flame adjuster mean you can start warming up quickly and customize the heat to your needs.

The 1.9 gallon fuel tank will provide up to 12 hours of warmth. We especially like that this unit is backed by a limited 2-year warranty. It will heat well beyond that of any battery powered heater, even in spaces with tall ceilings or limited insulation, like a garage or warehouse.

Best features on battery powered heater 

DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater | $199

If you’re in the market for more than just heat, the DeWalt DXH12B should make the top of your list. This rechargeable battery powered heater uses the DeWalt 20V MAX or FlexVolt batteries and propane. The rechargeable battery is necessary only if you want to use the LED light bar that’s built into the handle, one of three USB charging ports, or the fan that distributes heat in your desired direction.

Otherwise, the unit only needs a single “AAA” battery for the electronic ignition to work. The heat itself is powered by propane. At its highest setting, the unit puts out 12,000 BTUs of heat and 6,000 BTUs on a low setting. We love this device as a multi-purpose solution while you’re tailgating or camping.

Best cordless battery powered heater alternative

Mr. Heater Hero 35000BTU Cordless Propane Heater | $182

The powerful battery fueled Mr. Heater Hero offers 35,000 BTU, heating up to 850 square feet of space. The heater requires a specific battery or electricity to ignite the propane and run the fans that blow out the hot air. Even while distributing a large amount of heat, the Mr. Heater Hero stays cool to the touch.

The battery offers up to 8 hours of use and the heater can be used while the battery is charging. A 20 pound propane tank provides up to 12 hours of warmth. At 17 pounds, the unit is relatively easy to transport and is built with a sturdy handle for a good grip. We especially love that it is equipped with an accidental tip-over safety shutoff and flame safety shutoff.

Best battery powered camping heater alternative

Campy Gear 2 in 1 Portable Propane Heater & Stove | $59

The Campy Gear Portable Heater is a small but mighty device. This unit can produce 9,000 BTU and operates with a unique 360° radiant heating design. The heating of this device allows you to stay warm while you enjoy the outdoors. Plus, the one year warranty means you can get help if anything goes wrong in the first 12 months.

One of our favorite features of this unit is the dual-functionality of heating and cooking. Settings allow you to choose “heat” or “heat and cook” to meet your needs. The stand supports a single 12-inch pot or pan. When completely fueled, this unit will burn for up to 2 hours, but can work for longer if a 1 lb propane cylinder is added.

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

8 Reasons Your Hot Water Heater is Only Lukewarm

While it certainly is disappointing to hop in the shower, fully expecting a comforting cascade of hot water, only to be greeted with a pour of lukewarm water, this is actually a pretty common issue in many homes. 

If your hot water heater is only lukewarm—a new hot water heater that’s only lukewarm—there are a few possibilities behind this maintenance issue.

Showering, washing dishes, doing laundry, and plenty of other household tasks and chores can’t be done as well with lukewarm water. 

Here are a few possible reasons why your hot water heater has lukewarm water only so you can get back to steaming hot water fast.

Causes of a Lukewarm Hot Water HeaterResidential Water Heater

If your hot water heater has only lukewarm water, the problem could be caused by one of the following issues:

  1. Sediment build-up
  2. Thermostat is broken
  3. Gas hot water heater is out of fuel
  4. Electric hot water heater doesn’t have power
  5. Broken dip tube
  6. Depleted hot water supply
  7. Clogged pipe
  8. Faulty heating system

Keep reading to learn more about why your hot water heater has lukewarm water only, how to fix the issue, and hopefully how to keep the problem from happening again in the future.

1. Sediment Build-Up

If you realize the water coming from your hot water heater is only lukewarm, it’s likely due to sediment build-up somewhere in your unit. 

Now, if your new hot water heater is only lukewarm, then it may not have been used enough yet for sediment build-up—but if the unit isn’t new, sediment build-up is the most common cause.

As water collects inside your hot water heater to be heated, it’s common for debris in the water—like sand, dirt, and minerals—to settle at the bottom of the tank. 

As the particles collect on the bottom of the tank, the water heater can’t effectively heat your water, resulting in lukewarm water only.

To resolve this issue, open the drain valve on your water heater and see if there is sediment. The water will not be clear if there is sediment build-up. Half-fill the tank with cold water to help loosen up the rest of the sediment, and then drain the tank again. 

Repeat until the water flushes out clear. A better water filtration system can help prevent sediment-build up in your hot water tank.

2. Thermostat is Broken

Another common reason your hot water heater is only lukewarm is because of a broken thermostat. 

If the thermostat on your hot water heater cannot read the temperature correctly, it will heat water to an incorrect temperature and result in you only getting lukewarm water.

Water Heater in Home

To test if the thermostat is broken, turn it to a higher temperature and see if the heater turns on. If it doesn’t respond to the higher temperature and begin heating, then there is likely a problem with the thermostat. 

Generally, this only happens to older hot water heaters, but it can happen in a new one if regular maintenance isn’t performed on your unit (a broken or incorrectly set thermostat could also cause your hot water heater to overheat).

To fix this issue, you’ll need to get the thermostat replaced. To prevent it from happening, be sure you get your hot water heater serviced by a professional at least once per year.

3. Gas Hot Water Heater is Out of Fuel

If the gas is shut off in your home—or if your gas supply runs out—then a gas hot water heater won’t be able to operate, thereby cooling the water inside your hot water tank. 

Check your gas supply if you think this may be the issue. If you have plenty of fuel, then check to see if your hot water heater is getting any of that fuel. 

The pilot light on your hot water heater should indicate if it’s getting fuel or not.

4. Electric Hot Water Heater Doesn’t Have Power

If your electric hot water heater is only lukewarm, then it’s obviously not due to a gas issue. It could, however, be due to a power issue. In most cases, this is because the power source has been cut, most commonly because of a tripped breaker. 

Fix this issue by flipping the appropriate breaker back to “On.” 

Depending on how long the hot water heater has been off, it could take a little while to fully heat the water, but your hot water heater should kick back up again and start heating your water like normal. 

If your hot water heater doesn’t start up again or if the breaker keeps getting tripped, there is likely an electrical problem with your unit that needs to be addressed. Call in a professional to repair the issue.

5. Broken Dip Tube

A dip tube is attached inside your hot water heater, and it directs cold water into the tank from the top, then down to the bottom where the hot water heater warms it up. 

Water From Tap

A broken dip tube can lead to issues with your hot water supply since it can’t properly direct water to the bottom of the tank.

If this is the case, the dip tube will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, replacing the dip tube isn’t always worthwhile, and it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire hot water heater

Getting your hot water heater serviced regularly can help prevent the dip tube from breaking, but often it breaks simply after years of regular use. 

6. Depleted Hot Water Supply

Hot water heaters typically have a tank where they keep hot water until the water is used. If it seems like your hot water heater has only lukewarm water, it might be that you’ve depleted your supply of hot water and your hot water heater needs some time to heat up more.

To prevent this from happening, you can get a larger hot water heater tank or stagger the use of hot water in your home. 

Try scheduling showers at different times, and be mindful when you run appliances that use a lot of hot water (such as the dishwasher and washing machine).

7. Clogged Pipe

Sometimes a supply of lukewarm water isn’t the fault of your hot water heater, but rather an issue with your pipes. 

If you have a clogged pipe, something could be preventing hot water from making its way to your faucet. Check your water supply in different sinks and showers to see if they all are dealing with a hot water shortage or if it’s just one of them. 

Bryant Water Heater

If it’s just one, consult with a plumber to help identify the source of the clog. Once the source has been identified, a plumber can help you figure out if the pipe needs to be replaced or simply cleaned. 

8. Faulty Heating System

In some cases, a hot water heater has lukewarm water only because the heating system itself is faulty. If this is true for your hot water heater, there, unfortunately, isn’t much you can do to fix the issue or prevent it from happening in the future. 

A broken hot water heater will need to be replaced altogether.

Schedule Your Hot Water Heater Service Appointment Today

Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your hot water heater working optimally. Don’t settle for a hot water heater with lukewarm water only

Keep your unit tuned up and your hot water supply full by working with our expert team at John C. Flood. Schedule your service today.

The post 8 Reasons Your Hot Water Heater is Only Lukewarm appeared first on John C. Flood.

5 Strange AC Sounds and What They Mean in Ocala, FL

As the warm season in FL continues, your AC system could start making some strange noises as it works to keep you cool. Air conditioners make noise for a variety of reasons, so it’s not always cause for alarm. However, the following AC sounds could mean a problem for your home in Ocala, FL.

Rattling

A rattling sound could mean a piece of the assembly motor or blower is loose and tumbling around. The rattling sound is from a loose piece hitting around the condenser in the outdoor unit. A technician will shut off the HVAC and check to see if there are loose components in the outdoor unit.

Screeching

A screeching sound in your AC could be from the fan motor or the compressor. A loose belt around your fan motor means the screeching will be constant.

Hissing or Bubbling

If a hissing or bubbling sound is coming from your AC, the refrigerant line might be leaking. That hissing sound means that the refrigerant, which is used to cool the air, is leaking from the pressurized coils. Our NATE-Certified HVAC professionals can service your AC and fix the refrigerant leak.

Because refrigerant is toxic, a leak can be dangerous for pets and people. Issues often emerge due to leaking outdoor or indoor units and damage to the lines.

Humming

A humming sound isn’t necessarily serious, but it does signal your AC is not working properly. The sound is usually due to loose components or vibrating pipes, which you shouldn’t ignore. Humming sounds can also be the start of electrical problems as well.

Pulsating

An AC making a pulsating sound is usually normal, but you should not be able to hear the outside unit from inside. The outdoor unit making a loud pulsating sound means that something might have come loose. Any loose panel can make this sound, but common loose parts include fan blades or the motor.

When your AC makes weird sounds, you should waste no time in making sure it’s not serious. Some common debris that could cause sounds are seed pods, leaves, and shrub clippings clogging up components. If you or a neighbor are hearing strange AC sounds and need HVAC maintenance in Ocala, FL, call us at Senica Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment today.

Image provided by iStock

This post appeared first on Senicaair.com

Electric furnaces: Reviews and buying guide

Furnaces are often considered the best heating source for regions with harsh winter weather. While natural gas has long been the most popular fuel choice to heat homes in the U.S., electricity is gaining ground as a close second.

Electric furnaces are becoming popular in many regions because they do not use non-renewable energy and are cleaner to run. Choosing the right kind of electric furnace for your home can save you money and keep you more comfortable. 

What is an electric furnace and how does it work?

An electric furnace is a type of heater that uses an electric heating chamber and a blower fan to evenly distribute heat throughout your home. The components work much like that of a gas furnace, but are powered by electricity. Use this guide to help you determine what type of furnace you have.

An electric forced air furnace works in the same way as a hair dryer. The heat exchanger sucks air into the system and the electric heating chamber warms it up. The blower fan pushes out the hot air through the ductwork into your house. 

Parts of an electric furnace

An electric wall furnace has several components that come together to make the equipment function smoothly. These include:

  • Heat chamber: The most important component of an electric furnace, the chamber is made of nickel or chromium or both, and produces heat when fed with electricity.
  • Thermostat: Regulates the heat and turns the heating elements on or off as demanded by the user.
  • Blower: A motorized fan inside the furnace blowing cool air over the heat chamber, forcing the air into the ducts to produce hot air. 
  • Filters: Prevent dust and debris from entering the furnace or circulating with the heat.
  • Plenum: This is a small air chamber inside the furnace that helps the heat circulate more efficiently.
  • Transformer: This component brings down the input voltage to the standard used by the furnace.
  • Return air ducts: This sucks the cool air from the room into the furnace, helping the blower force it towards the heat chamber.
  • Sequencer: When a furnace has multiple heating elements, a sequencer controls each of them, turning them on or off as needed.

How much does an electric furnace cost?

Home Advisor reveals that the average furnace replacement cost falls between $2,640 and $6,396, with the average cost landing at $4,512 for equipment and installation.  

A standard electric furnace can be priced anywhere between $700 and $3,000, while the installation cost can range between $1,000 and $2,000. Making the switch from a gas furnace to an electric model comes with a few benefits, but it will likely create a higher monthly energy bill. 

One benefit of an electric vs. gas furnace is that an electric furnace does not require ventilation, so the upfront costs are lower than that of a gas or oil furnace because there is no need for a chimney. An electric furnace can last upto 15 years, while the higher end models can last over 20 years.

Gas vs. electric furnace operational cost

When it comes to the gas vs. electric furnace debate, one of the most significant considerations is the cost. Compared to the cost of running a gas furnace, the cost of using an electric furnace is several times more expensive. 

The average price a residential customer in the United States pays for electricity is 13.31 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Homes in America use an average of 877 kWh of electricity per month, creating an estimated monthly energy cost of $117. If you live in a region where temperatures are naturally cooler and winters are more extreme, you can plan to pay more each month.

The cost to operate a gas furnace, however, is typically far less. Natural gas suppliers sell gas in therms or Ccf units. One therm equals 100,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) and Ccf refers to the volume of 100 cubic feet. Companies may differ in how they price gas, as natural gas can be priced in units of dollars per therm, dollars per MMBtu (One Million British Thermal Unit), or dollars per cubic feet. The average monthly gas bill for American homeowners is $72.10, but could be more for those in colder climates. 

How to choose the right electric furnace

Investing in an electric furnace means considering a number of elements to ensure you select the right heating unit for your home. When choosing the best electric furnace, be aware of these factors:

  • Energy efficiency: Electricity is more expensive than gas or oil, so you will ideally want an electric furnace that is energy efficient. Every furnace comes with an efficiency rating, and higher rating means the appliance uses less electricity to produce more heat.
  • Climate: If your geographic location experiences only mild winters, you could afford to run the electric furnace full time without risking skyrocketing bills. However, if you live in a region that battles freezing, sub-zero temperatures, then you should look for furnaces with stronger heating capacity and stricter efficiency standards. Refer to the Energy Star website to find out how to pick the right electric furnace for your climate.
  • Brand: Not all brands of electric furnaces have developed the same reputation. Before you buy the unit, make sure to read customer reviews to learn more about homeowners’ experiences with each brand. Browse the top furnace brands to determine why buyers like each one.
  • Size: The dimensions of your house must be taken into account before choosing an electric furnace. An improperly-sized furnace will fail to provide adequate heating. All states are classified into zones that determine the type of climate and the energy they require for heating. For instance, if your state falls into zone 50, you multiply this number with the square feet of your house to get the number of BTUs your furnace should be capable of producing.
  • Zone heating: If some rooms in your house are better insulated than others, you could consider zone heating, which essentially means you can control the amount of heat each room gets. This is achieved by installing zone dampers in the furnace’s ductwork and then the control panel of the unit regulates temperature for each room by using directions from the thermostat.

Best electric furnace brands

Do not confuse brands with manufacturers. Even though there are over 20 electric furnace brands, there are only three or four manufacturers that own these brands. Some are older and better-known, while others may be regional and smaller-scale. Keeping an open mind when surveying the market is the best way to find the most suitable brand for your needs.

  • Goodman: Some of the most affordable furnaces are made by Goodman, serving those who want the best value for their money.
  • Trane: One of the most recognized brands in the HVAC industry, Trane is a more considered purchase but is backed with one of the comprehensive warranties.
  • American Standard: For homeowners who value high standards, long-lasting quality, and quality equipment, American Standard furnaces are a good choice.
  • Carrier: Electric furnaces by Carrier offer an impressive energy-efficiency and value for homeowners.
  • Lennox: One of the longest-standing companies known for quieter HVAC systems available for a wide range of prices.
  • Daikin: One of the oldest HVAC companies, Daikin is not only known for value but also for excellent customer service.

When picking an electric furnace model, do not forget to read customer reviews from homeowners who live in a similar climate as you. This will give you insight into the unit’s functionality in your specific climate. Customer reviews will also tell you about the experience they had with the company, after-sales support, and resolution of complaints. 

Electric furnaces could be an eco-friendly alternative to gas or oil furnaces, if you do not mind the higher cost of electricity. Choosing the right furnace type for your house and getting professional installation are some of the starting steps to ensure your furnace lasts for years to come. 

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HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor Ratings — What You Need to Know

Choosing the right heating devices for your home and location can be challenging. There are a lot of acronyms used by the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) industry. With a better understanding of these terms and what they mean, you’ll be better prepared to choose the best heating devices for your situation.

One of the key acronyms used is HSPF. So, what is HSPF? It stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. It is a measurement that indicates the energy-efficiency of your heating unit. One with a higher rating will be more efficient and could lead to lower electricity bills.

woman-adjust-thermostat-with-tablet

What is HSPF?

The HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a rating of the energy efficiency for all heating devices, including heat pumps, furnaces and water heaters. HSPF provides a numerical representation of the total heat delivered by the device during normal usage divided by the amount of electricity it takes to deliver that heat. 

It tells us how much heat, in BTUs (British Thermal Unit), is delivered per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The higher the rating, the more efficient the device will be.

For example, a heat pump with a rating of 9 will deliver 9 BTUs in 1 kWh, while one with a rating of 10 will deliver 10 BTUs in 1 kWh. The rating will be shown on the yellow EnergyStar label that appears on every system. Currently, the label shows a bar graph between 8.2 and 13.5. 

What is a good HSPF rating?

In determining what is a good HSPF rating, the U.S. Department of Energy has helped by setting minimum requirements. In 1992, when the federal government first set the standards, the minimum HSPF rating allowed was 6.8. In 2006, the energy department raised the standard to 7.7. 

In 2015, the government raised the minimum once again to its current rating of 8.2. However, the U.S. Department of Energy has already determined that in 2023 the minimum required rating for HSPF will be 8.8.

 

This means that anyone shopping for a heat pump, furnace or water heater should look for a system with a rating of at least 8.2. To keep up with the new standards, a system with a rating of 8.8 would be better. 

If energy efficiency is driving your purchase, opt for a device with an HSPF rating of 9.0 or higher. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint and potentially save more money on monthly energy bills.

 

Why raise the HSPF standards?

Heat pumps with a higher HSPF rating are a good investment that can lead to significant monthly savings on your energy bill and more precise humidity and temperature control. 

Heat pumps come in both single package and split system units. The heating and cooling for a package unit are housed together in a single device that is located outside. 

A split system has two components: the compressor in the outside unit and the air handler in the interior unit. The Federal Energy Management Program has set different minimum requirements for each type. 

Currently, the single package heat pump has a minimum HSPF rating of 8.2, while the split system has a minimum mark of 8.5. A heat pump that meets these minimums could result in an annual savings of more than $1,200 when compared to a heat pump with a lower rating. 

 

Using an HSPF savings calculator 

While a heating device with a higher HSPF rating will be more energy efficient, it will typically cost more to purchase than one with a lower rating. So how do you decide whether to go with the energy efficient device or the lower priced one? You can take advantage of an HSPF calculator to determine the lifetime cost of using each device.

 

With an HSPF savings calculator, you can determine your average energy cost each year to come up with the approximate annual savings generated by the more efficient device. Consider the example below:

 

8.2 HSPF 7.7 HSPF Savings
Annual energy cost $1,386 $1,770 $384
Annual energy consumption (kWh) 11,453 14,624 3,171
Purchase price $6,700 $5,700 -$1,000
Lifetime energy cost $13,006 $16,607 $3,601
Lifetime energy consumption 137,437 175,493 38,056
Total cost $19,706 $22,307 $2,601

 

The above example uses an electric rate of $0.121 per kWh and a lifetime usage of just over nine years. Despite spending an extra $1,000 to purchase the more energy efficient unit that has a HSPF of 8.2, over the course of the device’s lifetime, you could end up saving more than $2,600. It would only take 2.6 years to earn back the extra $1,000 spent through the annual savings achieved by the more energy efficient model.

 

How to convert HSPF to COP

Another industry acronym, COP, stands for coefficient of performance. It is another way to measure the efficiency of a heating device. COP is the ratio of the heat that is output compared to the amount of energy needed to deliver that heat. If a heat pump has a COP of 2.4, then the system delivers 2.4 times as much energy as it consumes. As with HSPF, the higher the COP rating, the more efficient the heating device will be.

 

Some devices have an HSPF rating, while others have a COP rating. In order to compare the two devices, you need to know how to convert HSPF to COP. This can easily be done by multiplying the HSPF number by 0.293. So, a heat pump with an HSPF of 8.2 will be equal to a COP of 2.493 (8.2 x 0.293). If you’re comparing that device to one that has a COP of 2.93, the second device with the 2.93 COP rating will be more energy efficient.

 

In general, whether shopping for a heat pump, furnace or water heater with an HSPF or COP rating, the higher the rating, the more energy efficient the device will be and the more savings you could achieve.

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What temperature should I set my air conditioner to in summer?

As summer settles in and the temperature and humidity rise, a cool home offers comfortable relaxation. A properly working air conditioner can make a major difference in your ability to enjoy your space.

While comfort is key, you also want to budget your monthly energy cost. Considering a good temperature to set your thermostat in the summer will help you regulate your spend over the hot summer season.

Ideally you are looking for a balance between comfort and affordability, and this is possible by knowing the best thermostat setting for summer.

woman-adjusting-thermostat

Best AC temperature settings while you are home

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests that people set their air conditioners to 78 degrees in summer for maximum savings on their utility bills. However, comfort is subjective and what works for one household may not work for others. 

As you consider the most comfortable room temperature for your lifestyle and family, keep in mind that for each degree that you set your thermostat above 72 degrees, you can save up to 3% on your utility bill. It may take you some trial and error to learn which temperature setting offers the best balance between cooling and affordability.

Best AC temperature settings while away

When you’re away from home, increasing the indoor temperature by 5 to 7 degrees can support your energy-efficiency and lower your monthly energy spend. The suggested temperature setting by Energy Star is 85 degrees when no one is home. Using a programmable thermostat will help you manage your indoor temperature by time or modify the settings from your smartphone if you’re away.

Is 72 a good temperature to set your AC to?

Homeowners may think setting the thermostat to 72 degrees is the best way to keep their home comfortable, but there are a number of ways to stay cool and keep your energy costs within budget. 

If you’re used to keeping the thermostat at 72 degrees in summer weather, try notching the temperature up by one degree at a time. Combine our cooling efforts for your home with the gradual thermostat increase, and you may find that your space remains comfortable even if the setting is higher than normal.

How to maximize cooling efforts in your home

The best AC temperature for summer will always be different across households. But instead of making your AC work harder, you can use other methods to maximize cooling efforts in your house. 

Use fans and personal coolers

Circulating air throughout the house is a good way to keep it from getting too hot. Fans and coolers help create a cross flow and are beneficial in cooling the indoor temperature when you increase the air conditioner setting. Types of fan or personal coolers to consider:

Ceiling fan

A ceiling fan has the power to cool a room up to four degrees, which means you can turn up the thermostat and save on your energy costs without sacrificing comfort. Most ceiling fans cost as little as $0.15 a day to operate for 12 hours. We like the Hunter Dempsey Indoor Low Profile Ceiling Fan because it’s design is perfect for all rooms, even those with low ceilings. 

Close blinds and curtains 

Brightness increases heat, so keep the curtains and blinds drawn during the day to keep it cooler. Blackout curtains can reduce the amount of heat that enters a room by up to 24%, so as you head out for the day, pull the drapes closed. Tinted windows are also useful in preventing the sun from heating up the house during the day. 

Avoid running the oven

When it is already hot inside the house, try to avoid using the oven as much as possible. The oven heats up the house quickly and in summer, this takes only a few minutes. If you have a yard or patio, grilling out can create an enjoyable summer meal and keep your house cool.

Benefits of a programmable thermostat

Whether you want precise temperature control throughout the year or to make zoned heating and cooling more convenient, a programmable thermostat could be the key. These devices are automatic, and a smart way to control the temperature inside your house all year round. A programmable thermostat offers:

Higher efficiency

Once you program the thermostat, you do not have to constantly set it to the right temperature throughout the day. The device will be able to do so on its own using the programming it was fed. It knows when to raise the temperature, when to turn it down, and when to completely shut off because no one is home. This ensures that your house automatically has the right temperature settings all day without adjustments.

More savings

When your indoor temperature is optimal all the time, it lessens the load on your HVAC system and saves you money by lowering your energy bills. The thermostat controls the temperature more efficiently, helps your HVAC conserve energy, and maximizes savings for you.

Better zoned temperature control

Different rooms require different temperature settings and a programmable thermostat helps you do it conveniently. Simply program the thermostat to control the temperature in a different way for each room, resulting in optimal heating or cooling for the whole house. A programmable thermostat will only heat or cool the occupied rooms without wasting energy for rooms that are not used. 

Smarter options

A programmable thermostat is intelligent, often equipped with Wifi capability that allows it to track weather patterns and set the temperature accordingly. Some programmable thermostats can be controlled with a smartphone, letting you change settings even when you are away from home. 

Frequently asked questions

How to find the ideal AC size?

To find the right size AC for your home, multiply your home’s square footage by 25. This number gives you the British Thermal Units (BTUs) needed for efficient cooling. For instance, if the size of your house is 1,200 square feet, you need an AC with 30,000 BTU for the perfect cooling.

Should you set your AC to 78 degree Fahrenheit?

When you are trying to find a balance between comfort and savings, it needs some trial and error to find the best AC temperature in summer. Although 78 degrees is the recommended setting for the maximum energy savings, you could raise or lower the temperature according to your needs.

What is the average house temperature in summer?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average house temperature in summer hovers around 78 degrees. Depending upon your exact location, it can be as low as 70 degrees or as high as 80+ degrees at the peak of summer. 

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MERV Ratings: Merv 13 vs Merv 11 vs Merv 8

Indoor air quality may not be something that crosses your mind until you start sneezing or the asthma or allergies of family members become irritated. Ensuring that your home’s HVAC system is properly cleaning your indoor air means using the correct filter. The MERV rating is a good place to start.

Dust, pollen, allergens, spores, and other microorganisms affect the quality of your indoor air each day. There are many different types of filters, each providing a different level of capture.

three-stacked-air-filters

What is MERV rating?

HVAC air filters are rated by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV. This is a simple system for rating a filter’s ability to capture particles based on their size. 

The rating is given based on a method of testing developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and is helpful in determining which system will work best for you.

The MERV rating is set on a scale from 1 to 16. The number is assigned based on a filter’s ability to capture particles that range in size from 0.3 and 10 microns. For most homes and commercial buildings, filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 will sufficiently filtrate the air. 

The air filter MERV rating indicates whether the filter will capture particles at a rate of between 84.9% to 90%. While that doesn’t sound like a huge difference, it is quite significant.

When shopping for a home air filter, most people will review a MERV 8 vs. MERV 11, or, for homes where allergies and asthma is a consideration, MERV 11 vs. MERV 13 may be more beneficial. Let’s break down what separates these filters and which one is right for you.

What does a MERV 8 filter capture?

A MERV 8 rated filter captures at least 84.9% of particles between the sizes of 0.3 and 10 microns. This is typically good enough to get the job done for the average home. 

However, a MERV 8 filter captures less than 20% of particles smaller than 0.3 microns. That means things like pet dander, smoke, and some airborne bacteria are likely to get through a MERV 8 filter.

What does a MERV 11 filter capture?

A MERV 11 rated filter captures 85% or better of particles between the sizes of 0.3 and 10 microns. This may not seem like a significant difference compared to the MERV 8 filter, but a MERV 11 is also more capable of capturing between 65% and 79% of smaller particles. 

For pet owners specifically, a MERV 8 vs. MERV 11 filter can make a noticeable difference.

The MERV 11 filter is better at capturing pet dander and bacteria from sneezes. It also provides additional protection against smoke, smog, or automobile exhaust fumes that may seep in from the garage.

What does a MERV 13 filter capture?

A MERV 13 rated filter captures 90% or better of particles between the sizes of 0.3 and 10 microns. The higher rated filter also captures up to 90 percent or better of smaller particles floating through the air. 

The primary benefit when comparing a MERV 11 vs. MERV 13 filter is that the latter includes stronger protection against airborne bacteria and viruses that spread through droplets in the air.

Best MERV rating filter for home

The airborne pollutants in most homes will be captured in a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 13. There are three ways to be more specific in determining your needs:

Evaluate your family’s lifestyle

If you have pets, opt for at least a MERV 11 filter. You’ll want a filter that captures the pet dander as well as loose hair. If there’s smoking in the home or allergies or asthma affect your family, go for a MERV 13. 

Consider environmental factors

Living in Los Angeles comes with environmental challenges that those in Cumberland, Rhode Island don’t face. If you live in a smog city or otherwise poor air quality space, install a higher MERV rated filter in your home. Homeowners in rural areas are often shielded from pollutants with a MERV 8 filter.

Ask an expert

If you’re still unsure which filter MERV rating is best for your home, speak with an HVAC expert who can guide you to the right selection. 

What MERV rating filter is right for my commercial property?

Strict building codes and an increase in foot traffic generally mean commercial properties should opt for a filter with a higher MERV rating. To protect the well-bring of your employees and patrons, install at least a MERV 13 rated filter in your commercial building. 

MERV 13 filters help protect against the spread of bacteria, sneeze particles, smoke, and virus carrying germs. If your commercial space offers any type of health or medical services, speak with an HVAC specialist about your special needs.

In some instances, medical facilities benefit from filters with a 14 or 16 MERV rating. In surgical rooms and other spaces where absolute cleanliness is mandated, filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 20 are used.

Best MERV rating filter for viruses

Using a MERV rating 13 filter is best for shielding against virus spreading bacteria, but adding air quality solutions to your home should also be considered. An air filter alone is not a guarantee against airborne viruses like COVID-19, the flu, or the common cold.

For spaces where a higher indoor air quality is needed, consider adding a portable air purifier. Many of these devices can create cleaner air in a large space in a relatively short amount of time.

If you’re trying to fight mold and other allergens in your home, check out our guide on the best air purifiers for mold to see our picks for keeping your air clean.

Should I use the highest MERV rating filter available?

The heating and cooling system that supports your home needs an adequate amount of air flow to operate smoothly. Using the highest MERV rating filter in your home would restrict that air flow, making it difficult for your HVAC to function properly.

Filters with a MERV rating above 13 are woven together tightly to capture potentially harmful pollutants. That restrictiveness would make it hard for the air to circulate from your home into the unit.

Stick with a MERV 8 to 13 filter, depending on your family’s needs and environment, and begin using an indoor air quality monitor to help you determine if a separate air purifying system is needed.

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R22 Refrigerant – What is R22 and why is it being replaced?

One of the most commonly used refrigerants over the past several decades in heating and cooling systems in America became illegal to import or manufacture as of January 1, 2020. R22 refrigerant, or R22 Freon, is used in a number of AC systems built before 2010.

It was discovered that the chemicals that make up R22 are detrimental to the ozone layer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a 10-year plan in 2010 to phase out ozone-depleting substances.

For homeowners with HVAC units that were built prior to 2010, it’s likely that the equipment relies on R22 for the cooling process. Because R22 refrigerant costs continue to rise, HVAC repairs that require this type of coolant are more expensive than years prior. Here’s what you need to know about units that rely on this restricted refrigerant.

What is refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a chemical compound that creates the cooling and heating process in your HVAC system. The coolant can take a liquid or gaseous state. It is responsible for absorbing heat and carrying it to the HVAC evaporator coil where the heat energy is released. The air is cooled and returned to your home to lower the indoor temperature.

Without refrigerant, your HVAC system would not work properly. A refrigerant leak or low refrigerant level is the leading cause of an AC blowing hot air. When a repair or seasonal maintenance is performed on your unit, only an EPA-approved technician can handle the refrigerant.

The danger the chemical poses to the handler and the environment helps explain why R22 was restricted from use. While the substance is now phased out of production, those with systems that rely on Freon 22 face a problem. 

Why was R22 phased out as of January 2020?

In the 1980s, scientists found mounting evidence that the ozone layer, an important barrier between the Earth and harmful solar rays, was growing dangerously thin. The connection was drawn that certain man-made chemicals, including common refrigerants, were partially to blame. 

R22 refrigerant became one of the primary chemicals of concern, and for that reason, a phaseout plan was born. The challenge was for homeowners who recently purchased on HVAC system or utilized one that had no apparent issues. 

Throwing another $2,000 to $10,000 at an HVAC system to replace one that works perfectly fine but operates on R22 would be an unfair ask of the homeowners. The EPA mandated that no other HVAC units that rely on R22 be built after 2010.

R22 refrigerant replacement

Between 2010 and 2020, the production of the coolant slowed and a R22 refrigerant replacement was needed. There are three viable options for an R22 substitute:

  • R438A
  • R422D
  • R421A

These three refrigerants are compatible with mineral oil, which is used in air conditioning compressors that call for R22. Modern units use a synthetic oil. Refrigerants are designed to be used with specific types of oil, so skip the DIY project and call in an HVAC expert for this change.

The primary difference between R22 Freon and its replacements is that the substitute chemicals are not made with chlorine. This eliminates the ozone-depletion impact of R22.

Another (much more expensive) way to operate a system that was built for R22 is to obtain recycled Freon. The Clean Air Act requires that EPA establish standards for the recovery, on-site recycling and off-site reclamation of refrigerants. These regulations make Freon 22 recovery and recycling a time-consuming and costly process.

Even if your local HVAC dealer can find a supply of reclaimed R22, it’s likely to cost hundreds, even thousands to refill and recharge your unit with the refrigerant. 

Does my HVAC system use R22?

Many AC units that were manufactured before 2010 use R22 as a refrigerant, but you can check to be sure. There are three ways to verify if your HVAC uses Freon 22:

  1. Read the owner’s manual. The manual that comes with the unit may specify R22 as HCFC-22, so look for either reference.
  2. Look at the unit. The nameplate is usually found on the compressor, or outdoor unit. Similar to the owner’s manual, the nameplate may reference HCFC-22 or R22.
  3. Ask an HVAC technician. If neither of those options answers your question, get help from a pro. An HVAC technician will be able to tell you what type of refrigerant is used in your unit.

What to do if my hvac system still uses R22?

R22 refrigerant isn’t a danger to your family or home when it is enclosed in your HVAC system and working properly. However, if the system experiences a leak, the refrigerant is not only harmful, but will also be extremely costly to replace.

To determine your best option if your HVAC system still uses R22 refrigerant, perform a cost-benefit analysis. The R22 refrigerant price continues to rise since the entire supply is made of recycled refrigerant and dwindling quickly.

There are three options to consider if your home utilizes an air conditioning system that relies on R22 coolant:

Pay the R22 refrigerant price

The first option is to simply pay the high repair bill. The fee you pay will vary depending on your HVAC technician’s availability to R22 and the supply of the refrigerant nationwide. If your unit uses R22, it was likely built before 2010. 

Depending on the make and model, you could be coming to the end of the operational expectancy of the system. It may make better financial sense to invest in a unit replacement vs. repair.

Replace the HVAC system

No homeowner wants to face the unexpected bill of a complete HVAC system replacement, but it offers a better long-term solution than continuing to pay expensive repair fees. In fact, as access to R22 becomes more limited, the repair bill may be comparable to a system replacement. 

Ask your HVAC technician the cost of a system replacement vs. a repair. If your system is more than 10 years old and the repair is close to a third the cost of a new unit, it’s time for a new HVAC.

Retrofit the current unit

Another very costly option is to have your current HVAC system retrofitted to use a different type of refrigerant. This task should only be performed by an experienced and certified technician.

You’re essentially replacing the primary components of your old system with newer parts that function with an approved coolant. The price is likely comparable to an entirely new system. In addition, if the work isn’t completed properly, you could void the warranty of your original unit.

Where can I buy refrigerants?

The purchase of some home HVAC refrigerants, like R22, mandates certification. Without completing the certification process, you are not able to purchase the coolant.

In accordance with EPA regulations, refrigerants can only be sold to technicians based on their completed certification programs. While you may discover it’s possible to purchase coolants online or elsewhere, only a certified technician can recharge your HVAC unit.

It’s also important to note that you cannot just “top off” HVAC R22 refrigerant with a replacement coolant. Mixing the two refrigerants can wreak havoc on your unit, possibly disabling it completely.

If you’re faced with a HVAC repair or replace dilemma and your unit uses R22 coolant, explore the top HVAC brands and perform a cost analysis with the unit that’s best for your home.

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Kerosene Heaters: Reviews & buying guide

Whether you want to enjoy crisp fall evenings outdoors or need a supplemental indoor heating source, a kerosene heater can be a great option. The heaters are available in a variety of models. 

To understand the best kerosene heater for your needs, we’ll explore pricing, safe use, and how to replace the wick in a kerosene heater. Based on thousands of online reviews, we’ll also guide you on the best kerosene heater options for indoor and outdoor use.

What is a kerosene heater?

A kerosene heater is a unit that produces warmth by using kerosene as fuel. A cotton or fiberglass wick is fed into the burner piece that is positioned above a fuel tank that’s filled with kerosene.

Kerosene is pulled from the tank through a capillary effect. When the kerosene heater wick is lit, the kerosene heats until it converts to a gas that’s used to heat the surrounding air. Some kerosene heaters rely on electricity to force the warmed air throughout a space while others have an easy-to-use push button start and don’t require an outlet.

Modern styles also offer an installed thermostat-controlled function and do not require a match to light. The ignitor in these units is operated by batteries, but if the device fails to ignite, it can be started manually.

Types of kerosene heaters

Consider how you plan to use the heater before making your purchase. We discuss the differences between the types of kerosene heaters below.

Convective

Convective kerosene heaters use the convection process to warm a room. The warmer, less dense air created by the heater rises while cooler air sinks to be pulled into the heater and warmed. These heaters are known for their even distribution of warm air and quiet operation.

Radiant

Radiant kerosene heaters are best suited for small spaces. They project heat outwards, warming the objects and space around them. Use this type of heater when a targeted area, like a sitting space, needs to be warmed.

Forced Air

For large outdoor spaces like event tents or open venues, a forced air kerosene heater is best. They work similarly to a furnace in that they force air into a designated space. These units are also referred to as torpedo heaters and can be quite loud. 

Portable

The majority of kerosene heaters are portable to some degree. Small kerosene heaters are usually built with handles to be carried from room to room and weigh between 12 and 30 pounds. Larger models are designed with wheels to offer mobility when needed.

How to choose a kerosene heater

When shopping for the best kerosene heater for indoor use or one to take on camping or hiking trips, it’s best to research the features of the unit. Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Size: When using a kerosene heater indoors, the size of the equipment should be in proportion to the room. A larger size is best for bigger spaces, like heating a worksite or warehouse space. A small kerosene heater is ideal for a room inside your home (see our tips below for how to safely use a kerosene heater indoors).
  • Capacity: The more fuel the tank can hold, the longer it will produce heat without having to be refuelled. Most indoor kerosene heaters hold up to two gallons of fuel and will operate for 8 to 12 hours on a full tank.
  • Safety features: Regardless of where you want to use the kerosene heater, you must be mindful of the safety features. Auto shut off, electrical ignition system (that allows you to turn on the heater with only a button), thermostat, fuel gauge, and anti-tip switch (for leak prevention) are some of the must-have safety features of any kerosene heater.
  • Warranty: Most manufactures typically offer a one-year warranty for kerosene heaters.  If you plan to use your heater infrequently, it may be smart to pay extra and get a two-year warranty.

Best kerosene heater for indoor use

HVAC.com receives compensation from Amazon for listing the following products. This helps us operate our site. We do not receive any funding from the listed manufacturers and we work to bring you quality and unbiased reviews.

The best kerosene heater for indoor use is the Sengoku KeroHeat CV23K(H) Convection Kerosene Heater. This unit is designed to warm a space up to 1,000 square feet without electricity or a match.

Sengoku KeroHeat CV23K(H) | $224.99

sengoku-kerosene-furnace

Best features of the Sengoku KeroHeat CV23K(H):

  • Push-button start
  • Easy flame adjuster to regulate heat output
  • Fuel capacity of 1.9 gallons
  • Provides approximately 12 hours of heat without needing a refuel
  • Automatic safety shut off

If you don’t need 23,500 BTU (British Thermal Unit) power that comes with the Sengoku model, other choices on the market may fit your needs. We also like:
Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater | $274.99

dynaglo-kerosene-heater

Heats up to 500 square feet with 10,000 BTU. The automatic ignition offers an easy start and no electricity is needed.

World Marketing of America KW-12 Convection Style | $252.99

world-marketing-kerosene-heater

Heats up to 450 square feet with 10,500 BTU without electricity.

For even smaller spaces, like an office or workshop, a radiant kerosene heater may be more ideal. These heaters will push warmth to a specific area.

Best kerosene heater for outdoor use

The best kerosene heater for outdoor use is the REMINGTON REM-80T-KFA-O Kerosene Heater. This unit is designed to warm a space up to 2,000 square feet and can operate for up to 10 hours on a full tank.

REMINGTON REM-80T-KFA-O | $195.99

Best features of the REMINGTON REM-80T-KFA-O:

  • High-temperature limit shutoff 
  • Flame-out protection 
  • Circuit breaker protection 
  • Heat sensor safety label indicator
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Multiple fuel options

The Remington unit is best for construction sites, ventilated warehouses, open barns, and other outdoor work environments. We also like:

Depending on the size and power you need from your outdoor or indoor kerosene heater, the price will vary. 

How much is a kerosene heater?

The cost of a kerosene heater typically ranges from $150 to $200 for an indoor unit. A larger unit that’s designed for outdoor use is more expensive, ranging from $250 to $400+.

Unlike other fuels, the price of kerosene is on the cheaper side, with a gallon averaging at around $3. When stored properly, the fuel can last for a long period of time.

Kerosene can last up to five years without going bad, but it must be stored in the appropriate container in a cool, dry space. It’s recommended that you keep the kerosene in its original packaging. If that’s not possible, kerosene storage containers are the safest option.

The best kerosene heater should operate smoothly for 10 years or more. With regular cleaning and maintenance, one kerosene heater can offer long-lasting service for a pocket-friendly cost.

How to use a kerosene heater

Safety is of utmost importance when using a kerosene heater indoors. Improper use of the heater will produce excess carbon monoxide and increase the risk of fires and burns. 

If your heater came with a user manual, read it thoroughly to get a good understanding of how the equipment works. Always clean the heater and replace the wick before each use.

Using a standard kerosene heater starts with filling the fuel tank. After the wick has soaked in the fuel for at least an hour, your heater is ready to be lit. If your heater has an automatic ignition system, you can light it with a press of the button. If your unit does not have an ignition system, you’ll need to lift the burner chamber and light the kerosene heater wick with a match. 

Kerosene heaters must be vented when being used indoors. They consume oxygen and produce a number of harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulphur dioxide. 

When burning kerosene, use these safety precautions to protect yourself and your home:

  • Clean the kerosene heater regularly
  • Do not operate the heater near furniture, drapes, or combustible fuels
  • Place the heater in a space with little foot traffic to avoid accidental burns
  • Never move the heater while it’s operating
  • Never leave a burning heater unattended
  • Follow device instructions for proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide build up

Another safety measure to be aware of when operating a heater is how to replace wick in kerosene heater unit.

How long does a wick last in a kerosene heater?

It is recommended that the kerosene heater wick be replaced every year. This helps the heater run smoke-free and keeps the air cleaner. 

The wick burns after soaking up fuel, and when the heater is cleaned regularly and the kerosene is properly maintained, the wick should work without problems for years.

If the heater begins to produce smoke when you ignite it, then you should dry burn the wick. Dry burning the kerosene heater wick is a process of cleaning the unit by allowing your heater and wick to burn completely out of kerosene. Complete dry burning outdoors because it’s likely the unit will smoke.

The dry burn process rids the wick of carbon deposits. Old or contaminated kerosene can ruin a wick much quicker, so it is advised that you replace the fuel when you see smoke.

If you are wondering how to replace wick in kerosene heater, the process can be a little tricky sometimes. The steps for a standard kerosene heater are as follows:

  1. Make sure the fuel tank is empty and the wick has been dry burned
  2. Remove the screws and the batteries
  3. Remove the cabinet base, wing nuts, and the adjuster assembly
  4. Remove the wick cover and take out the existing wick
  5. Install new wick
  6. Lower the adjuster back onto the base and put the cabinet back together

All of these steps must be performed with the utmost care and precision for your safety and to avoid damage to the heater. If needed, you may get a professional to clean and replace the kerosene heater wick. 

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to use a kerosene heater indoors?

Unlike propane, kerosene produces fumes when burned, and requires ventilation. If using a kerosene heater indoors, proper ventilation must be ensured to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The size of the room also matters. A large heater should never be used in a small space. 

What is the BTU of a standard kerosene heater?

The heat generated by a kerosene heater is measured in British Thermal Unit. A standard kerosene heater generates 75,000 BTUs per gallon, but you can also find smaller heaters whose output varies between 11,000 and 25,000 BTUs.

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