Furnace & Heating FAQs
Q: How often should I change my furnace filter?
A: Your furnace filters should be changed every one to three months. You can determine the exact frequency based on how often you use your furnace and how much you are heating your home. Changing your furnace filter improves the energy efficiency of your heating unit—meaning it won’t have to work as hard to keep your home consistently warm. In addition to a more comfortable home, if your furnace does not have to work as hard, you may lower your monthly energy bills, too!
If you often forget when you should change the filter, you can write the date you replaced it on the side of the filter. That way you won’t forget when your month is up and its due for replacement!
Q: Do I need a furnace cleaning and tune-up every year?
A: An annual furnace cleaning and tune-up not only extends the lifespan of your heating system, it also maintains the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers state that a professional heating technician must service the furnace annually to protect the warranty from going void. That HVAC technician will make sure your furnace is operating at maximum efficiency to keep your home warm for the approaching winter season.
At Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we offer a multi-point inspection and tune-up of all makes and models of furnaces and can provide repair services if we find anything that is not functioning properly—this can prevent future repairs in middle of winter that could drain your wallet and leave your home freezing cold. Your furnace will also be cleaned at this time and our technicians can recommend a frequency of changing your furnace filters, depending on your heating use.
Q: What does AFUE mean?
A: AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and it is the rating of what percent of heat produced goes toward heating the home in comparison to total energy costs—accounting for heat loss or waste.
When picking out a new furnace, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your energy costs should be. Today, all furnaces must have an AFUE of at least 78 percent—keep in mind, if you furnace is more than 10 years old, it may fall below this minimum and cost you money in monthly energy waste.
Q: When should I replace my furnace?
A: The biggest factor in determining when you should replace your furnace is how old it is. A basic rule for furnace replacement is every 10 to 15 years. While a new furnace may seem like a big investment, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of yours might need replacing to avoid a cold winter night in January when your unit decides to finally break down. Here are some signs that you need a new heating system:
- Your furnace is more than ten years old
- Your heating bills keep increasing
- Furnace repairs are becoming more frequent and costly
- There is uneven heating throughout your home
- Your burner flame is yellow
- Strange noises are coming from your unit
The only way to know for sure is to schedule an inspection by a professional HVAC company, like Top Notch! If you think it might be time to install a new, more energy-efficient model, contact us today!
Q: How can I prevent dry skin and static shock in the winter?
A: The air outside during the winter has a much lower humidity level, and thus causes dry skin. Heating the air inside your home also contributes to dry skin and static shock as it makes the air drier and decreases humidity.
Other air quality ailments in the winter include chapped lips, bloody noses, increased allergies, and more. To fix these, you can install a whole house humidifier to increase the moisture in the air and relieve those cold weather hassles. A whole house humidifier will raise the humidity levels by adding moisture to the air quality throughout your home.
Q: Should I install a natural gas or propane furnace?
A: In general, heating a home with a natural gas furnace costs a lot less than other fuel alternatives, such as electricity, oil, and propane. Natural gas is also a more environmentally friendly option as it produces less carbon dioxide and isn’t as harmful to the ozone.
Propane furnaces also have their benefits though. Furnaces that use propane heat homes faster and at higher temperatures. They can also continue to heat your home in the event of a power outage through the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Q: Why should I install a Lennox furnace?
A: Lennox gas and oil furnaces feature many benefits to help save you money on your monthly utility bills while your heating system runs as efficiently as possible. Examples of these innovative heating advancements include:
- Precise temperature and comfort control
- Variable speed technology
- ENERGY STAR ratings
- Quiet cycling
Over the years, Lennox has set the standard for home comfort, and continues to push that standard forward with a lineup of over 60 leading-edge products and a network of more than 6,000 full-service dealers. At Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we are proud to be one of those dealers with their Lennox Premier Dealer Program.
Click here to learn more about Lennox gas and oil furnaces »
Q: How does a furnace qualify for an ENERGY STAR label?
A: ENERGY STAR qualification is set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Qualified furnaces have proven steps to optimize performance, increase energy efficiency, enhance comfort of the home, all while saving energy. This helps to both save you money on your monthly utility bills and also protect the environment from carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases.
In the Kansas City region (including Olathe, Lenexa, and Overland Park), ENERGY STAR gas furnaces are up to 16 percent more energy efficient than baseline models and save an average homeowner $94 per year. With an oil furnace, they are up to 4 percent more energy efficient and can save an average homeowner $66 per year in energy costs.
Lennox is a leading manufacturer of furnaces and has many ENERGY STAR furnaces to select from.