​WHAT IS AFUE?


AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and can be thought of as being something like SEER or EER ratings for your air conditioner.  AFUE is used to measure the efficiency of your furnace.  But unlike SEER, which has an arbitrary rating associated with it (like SEER-16, etc), AFUE is actually far simpler to read and understand.  A furnace’s AFUE rating is listed as a percentage of how much fuel it can convert into usable heat, with a scale ranging from around 30-100 (anything less than around 30 would be useless).  For instance, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 85 would mean that 85% of it’s fuel is translated into usable energy that can then be used to heat your home.  The remaining 15% is lost through the exhaust.

AFUE AND MOST EFFICIENT TYPES OF FUEL

AFUE is important, but if it is price that you are concerned with, your type of fuel has a bigger affect on your annual expenses.  Different fuels can be combusted at different efficiency rates though, as you can see in the graph below.  Electricity is the only means of heating with a 100 AFUE rating.  This is a general guide to AFUE by fuel type so you can get an idea of which fuels are most efficient: (Courtesy of Wiki – Annual Fuel Utilization)

WHAT SEER RATINGS MEAN AND HOW MUCH CAN A HIGHER RATING SAVE YOU MONEY

What is SEER rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement that was defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and is the standard by which the HVAC industry measures the efficiency of air conditioners.

Similar to an AFUE rating, a SEER rating is calculated by measuring the cooling output (in Btu) of an air conditioner during a typical cooling season in relation to the total amount of energy used to power that unit (in watt-hours) over the same time period. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.

In order to meet Energy Star requirements, air conditioners must have a SEER rating of 14 or better. A good SEER rating would at least meet the Energy Star minimum, but many units are available with SEER ratings as high as 21.


The main thing you have to take into account is that the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the unit. In order to calculate the value of upgrading to a higher efficiency unit, you’ll want to take into account the efficiency of your current unit and how expensive of an air conditioner you can fit into your current budget. That way you can weigh the cost of installation vs. how long it will take to make up for the upgrade in future energy savings.

If you have any questions about what a SEER rating is, or if you would like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Accurate Air, Inc. at (919) 365-9994.




HEATING CHECKLISTS FOR HOMEOWNERS


GAS FURNACE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
It’s a good idea to perform basic annual furnace maintenance each fall to ensure your heating system is running efficiently. Basic maintenance can include each of the parts that make up your heater system.

First, the thermostat determines when the heater should come on by measuring the temperature of the air in the room. The thermostat will signal to the heater and blower to turn on. The heater uses combustion to create heat while the blower pushes the air to the heat exchanger where it is distributed through the heating ducts into the home.

By following a yearly furnace maintenance schedule, you can help each of these parts run smoothly and keep your home comfortable throughout the winter.

VISUAL INSPECTION
Start by looking at your furnace. Is there any black soot around the furnace? If so, contact Accurate Air, Inc. for service. Next, turn on the thermostat and set it above room temperature so the furnace comes on. Look at the flames in the burner. You want to see a steady, blue flame. If you see yellow or orange flicking, call Accurate Air, Inc. to determine whether anything other than natural gas is burning. Also listen for questionable noises or vibrations while the furnace is on, and smell for any gas leaks.

TURN YOUR FURNACE AND GAS OFF
After the visual inspection, turn the thermostat off and flip the power switch off on the furnace (or turn off the breaker if the furnace doesn’t have a switch). It’s very important that if you are performing any kind of gas furnace maintenance that you turn off the gas line. The gas line should have shut off valve near your gas meter.

CLEAN AND DUST
Once the furnace has cooled, open the furnace door. Use a vacuum with a long nozzle to clean out the furnace base. For areas your vacuum can’t reach, such as the fan blades, use a damp cloth to wipe away dust.

CHECK YOUR FAN BELT
If your blower has a fan belt, inspect it for cracks or fraying. You can also check the tension by pushing down in the center of the belt. If it deflates by more than half an inch, it will need to be tightened. Accurate Air, Inc. can assist you with tightening or replacing the fan belt.

FINISH YOUR MAINTENANCE AND CHANGE THE FILTER
Replace the furnace panels and turn the furnace power and gas pack on. You may need to relight the pilot light. The final item on our gas furnace maintenance checklist is to inspect and change the filter. Your filter may need to be changed as often as once a month during heating season. Be sure to check it often to keep your air clean and your family breathing easy. 

HEAT PUMP MAINTENANCE FOR HOME OWNERS
Like any heating or cooling system, proper heat pump maintenance is the key to efficient operation.
~Clean or change your filters once a month or as needed.
~Clean outdoor coils whenever they appear dirty.
~Remove foliage and clutter from around the outdoor unit.
~Clean the supply and return registers in your home and straighten their fins if bent.

HEAT PUMP MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Call Accurate Air, Inc. to perform heat pump preventative maintenance at least once a year. We will inspect the following:

~Ducts, filters, blower, and indoor coil for dirt and other obstructions.
~Duct leakage.
~Adequate airflow.
~Correct refrigerant charge.
~Refrigerant leaks.
~Electric terminals, and, if necessary, clean and tighten connections, and apply non-conductive coating.
~Lubricate motors, and inspect belts for tightness and wear.
~Correct electric control, making sure that heating is locked out when the thermostat calls for cooling and vice versa.
~Correct thermostat operation.

PACKAGED SYSTEM PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

You should have Accurate Air, Inc. examine your packaged system at least once a year. We will inspect the following:

~Ducts, filters, blower, and outdoor coil for dirt and other obstructions.
~Duct leakage.
~Adequate airflow.
~Correct refrigerant charge.
~Refrigerant leaks.
~Electric terminals, and, if necessary, clean and tighten connections, and apply non-conductive coating.
~Lubricate motors, and inspect belts for tightness and wear.
~Correct electric control, making sure that heating is locked out when the thermostat calls for cooling and vice versa.
~Correct thermostat operation.                

The best solution to all of your

Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Electrical needs!

WHY IS MY A/C LEAKING WATER?

It's fairly common for your air conditioner unit to leak throughout the hot summer months. The trick for homeowners is to know when it's normal and when the unit needs some professional attention. The causes of a dripping A/C unit are varied. While some leaking water needs immediate attention, other instances are normal results of hot temps and other factors.

Condensation
The evaporator coil within your A/C unit works to dehumidify the air within your home on those sultry days that seem to last longer than a mere 24 hours. As your A/C pulls all that hot air, it's natural for condensation to build-up around it, causing a few drips here and there. That moisture should empty into a drain pan where it will eventually drain. Sometimes the pan gets a little too full on really hot days. This is completely normal and doesn't signal a problem with air conditioner leaking. However, if you notice the leakage occurring on a regular basis, it's time to call Accurate Air, Inc. for help. 

Dirty Filter
Dust, debris, pollen and air pollutants quickly build up on your air conditioner's filter. When the filter becomes clogged, it leads to moisture build-up on the evaporator coil which quickly forms into ice. The melting ice then spills over the edges of the drain pan, causing air conditioner leaking. To prevent leakage due to a dirty filter, check and change your A/C filter regularly. If you know how, you can change the filter yourself. Otherwise, call Accurate Air, Inc., your A/C service professional.

Old Insulation
Your air conditioner consists of copper pipes connecting the outside compressor to the inside A/C unit. Condensation can occur as cold refrigerant runs through the warm pipes if they are improperly insulated. Sometimes older insulation begins to deteriorate, causing the condensation to drip water out of your A/C unit. If this is the case in your home, it's important to call Accurate Air, Inc. to re-insulate those pipes.

Clogged Drain Hole
The drain that removes water from the air conditioning unit can sometimes clog with debris. Clear any blockage and the leaking should stop.

Improper Installation
If an air conditioner is improperly installed, it can become unlevel and cause excess water to leak. Check your unit to make sure it’s level.
 
When To Call a Professional
Although a leaking A/C unit can be cause for alarm, sometimes it's a natural thing that will pass as fast as the hot weather. If you have a concern, your best bet is to call ACCURATE AIR, INC at (919) 365-9994 and we will send a professional service technician to come and take a look.