HVAC 101

Switching to high-efficiency yields long-term savings

It’s no secret that a new, high-efficiency HVAC unit, like a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump, is a major investment. When upgrading to high efficiency, however, it’s important to consider those up-front costs from a long-term perspective.

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Save on utility bills
Chances are, by the time you’re looking to replace your HVAC unit, it’s at least 10 years old. Not only have manufacturers almost certainly made significant improvements in energy efficiency since your old unit was purchased; it’s also a sad fact that the efficiency of any HVAC system can decline over time. This means that even if your existing furnace is a high-efficiency unit with an AFUE of 90% and the new one is rated at 96%, the actual discrepancy is likely much higher – and so are the potential savings in monthly energy costs.

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Save further with other upgrades

It’s a good idea to consider additional improvements in order to get the most out of your new investment. Sealing leaks in your ductwork or upgrading to a smart thermostat, for instance, can go a long way to help your new HVAC equipment save you money each month.

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Look for rebates

Governments and manufacturers will sometimes offer rebates on new, high-efficiency products as an incentive to purchase a new HVAC system and reduce home energy consumption. Ask a Home Depot Installer and visit Home Depot’s Value Centre to find out if any rebates are available in your area.

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Don’t fret the up-front cost!

The Home Depot can help. We offer flexible, low-interest financing options to help make your new Trane high-efficiency HVAC system more affordable. Book a free, in-home consultation with a Home Depot Installer today and find a home comfort solution that’s right for you.

5 simple home HVAC troubleshoots

Nobody wants to be left in the cold, scrambling to find someone to fix their furnace in the dead of winter. When it’s time for a new HVAC system, speak with a Home Depot Installer about upgrading to a top-rated Trane high-efficiency system. But the next time your HVAC system appears not to be working, try these simple troubleshoots first.

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Check switches and breakers
It’s the first thing to ask: is your HVAC system switched on? Check the furnace on/off switch, for instance, or safely check the circuit breakers to make sure they’re on. You should also make sure the front cover of your furnace is securely shut. On some models, the front cover has a switch that is tripped if it’s not closed properly.

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Check your thermostat

Sometimes there is a simple solution. When your HVAC system stops working, it’s often because the thermostat is either not programmed to the desired temperature – or perhaps not even set to run at all. Make sure your system is set to “heat” or “cool”, as need would dictate, and that the programmed temperature is high or low enough to trigger the system to kick in and restore comfort to your home.

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Replace your dirty air filter
A dirty air filter prevents air from circulating through your HVAC system. With restricted air flow, a furnace’s heat exchanger can overheat, causing it to switch off. This means a cold house for you, and a furnace in danger of wearing out its parts sooner. The good thing is that air filters are affordable, available in all sizes from Home Depot, and easy to install yourself. To keep the air flowing and your equipment functioning, you should replace your air filter at least 3-4 times a year.

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Check your humidifier settings
If it’s not a temperature-related issue, but humidity levels in your house are too high or too low, you need to figure out if your humidifier is working properly. Check the humidistat to see if the settings are where they should be. Generally speaking, it should be switched off in summer. Check the humidifier damper switch, too: it should be set to the “Summer” (closed) or “Winter” (open) position, depending on the season.

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Check your ductwork and air registers
If heating or cooling is not being evenly distributed throughout your home, the first thing to investigate should be your home’s ductwork and air registers. Leaky ductwork prevents your HVAC system from distributing air effectively to all corners of your home. Blocked or closed air registers can cut off entire rooms from air circulation, while underused rooms with open air registers can divert heating or cooling away from where it is most needed. By sealing gaps in ductwork with duct tape and making a few simple adjustments to your registers, you can significantly improve airflow in your home.

Must-haves for any new home HVAC system

When you purchase a new HVAC system, much of the conversation centres around the main heating and cooling units – furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. But these aren’t the only things you’ll need. Book your free in-home consultation with a Home Depot Installer and ask about some of the other key system components you’ll need to maximize the level of comfort for your home.

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Air filter
It’s important to remember that air filters do more than remove dust from the air; they can remove pollen, dander, and even some harmful microbes as well. A Home Depot Installer can tell you more about the types of air filters available to install with your new Trane home comfort system, each offering slightly different air-cleaning capabilities to address the particular needs of your home.

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Humidifier
While a furnace provides heat through the chilliest months of the year, it cannot address dryness in the air. This can especially affect people who experience dry skin in colder months, and can even damage wood flooring or furniture. By regulating humidity levels, a humidifier is an essential component to any home comfort system. But here’s the best part: running a humidifier can save you money. By adding moisture to the air, it helps make your home feel warmer, thereby allowing you to set your thermostat at a lower temperature while still ensuring optimal comfort.

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Smart thermostat
Whether in summer or winter, one temperature setting definitely does not work for all times of the day. Programmable thermostats can help address this issue, allowing users to table a full schedule of weekly temperature settings. But “smart” thermostats take this capability to the next level, allowing homeowners to adjust temperatures according to an infinite number of daily variations. And because the thermostat is controlled from an app on your smartphone, you don’t have to be home to check the settings or make changes! This added flexibility is certainly nice, but the potential for maj or energy savings with a smart thermostat is even nicer.

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Zoned system

In most homes, temperatures can vary significantly from one room, floor or hallway to the next. In a so-called “zoned” system, the home is divided into different “zones”, each with separate temperature controls. A zoned system contains electronically-controlled dampers in the air ducts to regulate air flow and pressure. A central control panel connects to thermostats located in each zone and allows the user to adjust temperature settings based on the needs of each, even as the entire home is served by a single HVAC system. Doing so can improve comfort by delivering the right amount of warm or cold air to the hardest-to-reach corners of the house.

When replacing your furnace is a matter of safety

With a regular, annual maintenance schedule, your furnace can continue running smoothly for many years. Eventually, however, all systems wear down. And while it’s tempting to keep an old gas furnace for as long as it can still manage to heat your home, there’s a point when doing so can become not only unwise, but potentially dangerous.

We’re talking about carbon monoxide. It’s invisible. It’s odourless. It’s toxic. And your aging furnace maybe leaking this deadly gas into your home’s air supply. If left undetected, it could even lead to tragedy.

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What causes carbon monoxide to leak from an old furnace?
Furnaces generate heat by burning fuel, and a small amount of carbon monoxide is an inevitable by-product of the combustion process. Normally, any carbon monoxide is expelled from the home through the furnace’s exhaust system. However, wear and tear on an aging furnace can cause small cracks to form in the heat exchanger or the flue pipes, which in turn allows carbon monoxide to leak into your home.

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Detecting carbon monoxide in your home
It’s important to schedule those routine service visits every year. A qualified Home Depot Service Provider will conduct a full slate of standard system tests on y our furnace, including one to detect carbon monoxide. You should also make sure your home is fully equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, and test them regularly to ensure they’re in working order.

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What should you do?
Repairing or replacing a cracked heat exchanger can be costly, and it can be significantly more expensive if your aging furnace is no longer on warranty (as is often the case for units older than 10 years). When weighing the cost of repairing an aging furnace versus purchasing a new one, the better option is more likely the latter. Investing in a new Trane high-efficiency furnace can significantly lower your utility bills, saving you money in the long run and providing lasting comfort to your home. Book a free, in-home consultation with a Home Depot Installer today and find a home comfort solution that’s right for you.

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