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How Efficient is Your Furnace?

Category: Heating

New Yorkers spend over half of their household energy expenditures on space heating, according to the Environmental Information Administration (EIA). Wouldn’t you feel better about that cost if you knew for sure that your furnace was as efficient as it could be? Do you know how efficient your furnace is compared to what’s on the market now? We’ll walk you through the steps to check how efficient your furnace is.

FER Regulations

In general, newer models make better use of their energy than older models. Of course, the higher price of installation for more efficient models may not be worth it for some, so it’s something you will have to factor in. One reason that a brand new furnace will be a better energy saver is the latest FER regulation enforced by the government.

This regulation is short for the fan energy rating requires that new furnace fans utilize energy conserving motors that are projected to reduce CO2 emissions by 180 million metric tons over the next thirty years! That means less fuel use and more savings for consumers, too!

AFUE Rating

The AFUE rating stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” The rating is essentially the percent of your furnace’s fuel that is used for heating. Particularly with gas and fuel oil powered heaters, a small amount of the fuel ends up as exhaust. Many old models have a rating in the 70s or low 80s, while some newer models can reach over 90 percent.

Oil to Gas Conversion

A full-on replacement may not be the only way to achieve greater efficiency. Another route is retrofitting. Master offers oil to gas conversion to change your furnace over to a more efficient fuel. There’s plenty of ways to save money and also help with carbon emissions and the environment.

If you’re thinking of installing a new furnace, give us at Master Plumbing Heating Cooling a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out an online contact form!

If your furnace is blowing cold air, it could be a sign of a serious problem or could be fixed by the average homeowner.

Easy Solutions

Your Thermostat Fan is “On”

Thermostats have fans that can be controlled by a toggle on even the most low-tech thermostats. Most have only two different settings, on and auto. “On” means that the fan is constantly circulating air throughout your home, even when your home is not being heated or cooled.

This has some benefits for homeowners, particularly for indoor air quality since the air in your home will cycle through your filters more regularly. However, if you but can cause confusion for some homeowners, who expect their vents to only dispense warm air.

Change Your Air Filter

If you don’t remember the last time you changed your air filter, it’s most likely too dirty. When your air filter becomes clogged, it can restrict airflow, in turn, causing your furnace to overheat. Your furnace will shut off for safety in this scenario and your vents may blow cold air. You should be fine after replacing the filter but monitor your furnace in the next few weeks to ensure that the cold air in your vents isn’t being caused by a more serious issue.

Serious Problems

Pilot Light Problems

The pilot light is the small flame that ignites your burners. If it is out that means you have an ignition problem, which explains why you aren’t getting warm air in your vents.

Gas Supply Issues

You may have a problem with your gas supply. Whether you have a leak or your gas line has been turned off, you’ll need to figure out what the possible issue could be.

Duct Leaks

Your furnace may be blowing cold air because all of the heated air is leaking out of your ductwork. It wouldn’t hurt to check the ducts if the other potential causes do not seem to fit.

If you are having any issues with your heater or furnace, give us at Master Plumbing Heating Cooling a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out an online contact form!

It’s getting cold outside, so we have to do what we can to stay as warm as possible inside. Don’t be afraid to inspect your furnace every month or two. You could notice something that saves you money or even saves your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

#1: Strange Smells

Furnaces can smell like gas when they first run, but the smell should go away over time. If your unit is older, a strong smell can be indicative of a gas leak. Have a qualified technician check it out.

#2: Soot Buildup

When you inspect your furnace, look for any dark soot buildup. If you see this, especially around the ducts coming out from the furnace, then your family could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If this is the case, you shouldn’t delay in asking for help. Our hotline is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (631) 391-9292.

#3: Pilot Light Issues

The pilot light is what allows your furnace’s burners to burn. If you notice that it shuts off randomly, it will affect your furnace’s performance.

Additionally, pay attention to the color of the pilot light in your furnace. It should be a steady blue. If it consistently flickers or is orange, there is likely a ventilation issue caused by dust buildup within the unit. Your home won’t heat as well as it should, and the discoloration might be a sign of carbon monoxide as well.

#4: Not Heating Up Well

Your heater has one job—to heat your home! If it’s not doing that well, then, of course, there is a problem. If you notice cold air coming from the unit, it might be a simple fix like switching your thermostats fan to auto, or there could be an issue with your furnace itself. Read our blog on furnaces blowing cold to learn more about this potential issue!

If you’re experiencing any issues with your furnace, give us at Master Plumbing Heating Cooling a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out an online contact form!

It’s the age-old question—boiler or furnace? There are pros and cons to both. Furnaces last longer cost less to install, and can start heating much quicker, but lose out on some energy efficiency due to ductwork. Boilers have been preferred in New York for a long time, but aren’t as common in other parts of the country. A boiler’s pipes don’t lose as much heat as ducts, so they are more energy-efficient, especially with newer models. You’ll likely have to replace it a few years sooner than you would a furnace.

As Master Plumbing Heating Cooling, we offer both furnace and boiler installations. If you’re still not sure what might be best for your family, just give us a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out an online contact form!

The cost of living in New York and Long Island is ridiculous and seems to go up every single year. We all want to save money, but we can’t cut back on the essentials. Our families need heating and cooling throughout the year and if you’re feeling the urge to leave your winter coat on inside your home to save money on bills, you probably don’t have a system as efficient as it should be. It’s possible that a ductless mini-split heat pump is exactly what you’re looking for.

What is it?

A traditional New York heating system consists of a fossil fuel burning boiler or furnace that heats air and distributes it throughout your home through your ductwork or radiator. During the 1960s and 70s in Japan, engineers thought of a way to do it better that eliminates the efficiencies of the old way. The mini-split heat pump was born.

A heat pump doesn’t generate its own heat like a furnace or boiler, but instead extracts heat from the outside air and pumps it into your home. It can also extract heat from inside your home and pump it outside, effectively doubling as an air conditioner. In order to accomplish this, the system is “split” between an indoor and outdoor unit.

You can use a mini-split to heat and cool just one room in your home or you can have multiple indoor units throughout your home to effective control your whole-home temperature.

Benefits

Efficiency

The primary benefit of a ductless mini-split heat pump system is the added efficiency. The more energy-efficient an appliance in your home is the greater the savings in your end of the month bills. But how can a mini-split be so cost-effective in the long term?

No Ductwork

Central heating systems rely on ductwork to distribute warm air throughout the home. Having ductwork in your home means more require maintenance and expensive installation costs. That would be fine if your ductwork benefited your system. Unfortunately, no matter how efficient you build your ductwork, you can’t change the fact that heat will be lost when hot air travels through it. That heat loss forces your central air system to work that much harder. The same principle applies to air conditioning if you use that as well.

Since a ductless mini-split will simply blow warm air into the room the unit it is located in, there is no issue of heat loss through ductwork. The lack of ducts also allows a mini-split to be extremely quiet. This makes it perfect for a home office that needs to be quiet to help with your concentration.

Runs on Electric

This may seem like a negative at first due to New York’s high electricity prices. However, electric heating solutions like a ductless mini-split are going to need a lot less energy because they aren’t heating up air and merely transferring heat. In fact, they use so little electricity that they can reach easily reach efficiency levels over 100%. A typical boiler is 80% efficient, while a heat pump is 300-400% efficient. This added efficiency makes electric cost-competitive.

Great With Solar

With high electricity costs in New York, a great way to increase your savings is by generating your own electricity on-site. A solar panel array at your residence can easily generate electricity at cheaper rates than your utility company. This is because most solar panels generate electricity during non-peak hours such as in the morning and can store that energy for later use. Additionally, you can receive a tax credit from the state for your solar panel installation.

Go Green

As we mentioned earlier, the most common heating source in our state is natural gas and oil, which are both fossil fuels. These have a huge effect on our environment and are a big reason people are looking towards electric heating as an alternative. Going green is important to a lot of our customers and installing a mini-split is a great way to ensure your home is comfortable, while also not damaging the environment.

No Carbon Monoxide

Any fossil fuel burning heating system can malfunction and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Hundreds of people die from it every year and it is more common than you may think. If you still have a fossil fuel burning system, make sure you get annual maintenance and that you inspect your system at least once a month for soot deposits.

Rebates

To help with the cost of installation and to encourage more people to switch to a mini-split system, your utility company may offer you a rebate. Click the link and find out if you qualify for some potential savings.

Great Opportunities to Install a Mini-Split

Additional Room Constructed

Mini-splits don’t have to be an all in one solution for your home heating. This makes them extremely versatile. If you have recently added to your home and don’t want to install expensive ductwork, a mini-split is an elegant solution. The same logic applies to any particularly remote rooms in your home. As we mentioned above, a workspace or office in your home can benefit from the quiet heating and cooling that a mini-split can provide.

To Help with Main Living Area

This applies particularly if you don’t have an air conditioning unit installed in your main living area. Window AC units are very common in New York but are noisy and inefficient. If you were planning on replacing yours soon, or if you don’t have one installed, a mini-split could be the perfect solution. It can provide both heating and cooling and can be used in conjunction with your current heating system if you like it. It’ll provide the cooling you’ll need in our summers that seem to get hotter every year and make your heating overall much more efficient.

If You Don’t Have Ductwork in Your Home

New York has a lot of older, historic homes that may not have ductwork installed. The same applies to new homes being constructed. Ductwork is expensive to install and can lead to uneven heating and cooling, or poor indoor air quality if done wrong. While a mini-split system can be more expensive to install than a furnace or boiler, when you factor in the cost of ductwork installation mini-splits throughout the home can be cheaper. When you add in the additional month-to-month savings on bills, a mini-split is most likely much more cost-effective.

At Master Plumbing Heating Cooling, we believe in the benefits of a ductless mini-split, but at the same time, our goal is to ensure our customers are comfortable in their home. It may not be the right heating solution for every single home. For example, if you have a furnace that’s eight years old, it still has a long life ahead of it. There’s no sense in shopping for a new heater solution for at least 2 more years. If you’re thinking about switching to a mini-split then, we’ll be there to help. In the meantime, we offer repair services on furnaces and boilers and we install them as well.

If you need to switch your heating system or haven’t had your system maintenance in a while, give us at Master Plumbing Heating Cooling a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out a contact form online.

Saving for WInter Heating Costs

You probably know people who have switched from oil to natural gas for home heating. Maybe you’ve wondered if it’s a good idea for your Long Island home. Here are six good reasons why the switch may do you-and your wallet-a lot of good.

1. Say Goodbye to High Heating Bills

Natural gas is the clear choice for energy savings. For the past 16 years, the cost of oil heat has averaged 30% to 50% more than gas. A recent statistic from the US Energy Information Administration states that heating a house with oil has cost an average of $1,700, while natural gas averages less than $900.

2. Increase Your Fuel Efficiency

A new gas-burning furnace will have the highest efficiency ratings, providing high output while using less fuel. Checking your current ductwork to ensure there are no leaks and it’s properly sized will ensure there’s no energy wasted there for added fuel efficiency. The more efficient your heating system, the less fuel it will burn to maintain optimal comfort in your home.

3. Enjoy Worry-Free Maintenance

Gas burns cleaner than oil, eliminating concerns about dirt and soot buildup on filters and in your chimney. That’s why oil furnaces require more repairs and service visits than their low-maintenance natural gas counterparts.

4. Never Look at the Fuel Gauge Again

You don’t need to worry about an empty tank, calling for delivery or shoveling a path through the snow so drivers can get to your tank-in fact, you won’t even need a tank anymore. Natural gas is continuously piped directly to your system from the street.

5. Stop Worrying About Price Fluctuations

Natural gas is produced in the U.S., so the U.S. controls the price, reducing dependence on other countries for both the fuel and the cost.

6. Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, so your gas furnace will produce lower carbon emissions and release fewer impurities into the atmosphere.

Oil-to-Gas Conversion Is Simpler Than It Sounds

The best place to start is with an energy audit to see how your home can benefit from the utmost in energy efficiency, home comfort and energy savings. When you’re ready to convert from oil to gas, the team at Green Homes Long Island will be with you every step of the way, from choosing the best furnace or boiler-including the appropriate size for your home-to removal and disposal of your old equipment, communicating with the utility company and safety testing.

With the efficiency and energy savings of your new heating system, it will pay for itself in just a few years. But if you have cost concerns, we have several financing options available. And National Grid offers gas furnace rebates of up to $1,000.

Modernize and save with an oil-to-gas conversion. Contact us or call (631) 391-9292 for a free estimate today.

The best comfort on a cold day

It’s every Long Island homeowner’s worst nightmare: You wake up on a cold morning listening to the wind and snow beat against your windows. You step out of bed so that you can go out and start shoveling your driveway, only to realize that your bedroom is as cold as ice. Somehow your heating system broke down over the course of the night, leaving you having to schedule an expensive emergency repair.

Your heating system doesn’t have to leave you in this kind of a lurch this winter. Many heating system issues are preventable with just a few smart and simple measures. To help make sure you and your family stay warm at home all winter long, here are our top tips for avoiding costly emergency heating repairs.

Schedule Annual Heating System Maintenance

Scheduling annual heating system maintenance is the number-one way to prevent your heating system from breaking down unexpectedly. Whether you have a furnace, boiler, or mini-split, just one tune-up a year will keep your heating unit clean, optimize your unit for better efficiency, and address smaller issues before they escalate into larger ones.

Check Your System’s Filter Monthly

If your heating system has a filter, it’s important to check them monthly. An old and dirty filter doesn’t just undermine your home’s indoor air quality; it can also cause your furnace or mini-split to break down due to overheating. During your annual heating service visit, your heating expert will replace your heating unit’s filter. However, it’s also important to clean or replace this filter in between visits. Make it a goal to check your furnace or mini-split’s air filter once a month, especially during the heating season.

Replace Your Equipment After 10 to 13 Years

If your furnace, boiler, or mini-split has been heating your home for 10 to 13 years or more, it may be time to consider a replacement. Replacing your heating equipment before a breakdown happens will help you avoid frequent repairs, minimize heating system downtime, and even save you money on your energy bills due to more efficient heating. If you need new heating equipment and have been relying on oil to heat your home, it’s also a good idea to consider oil to gas conversion.

Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Home

At Green Homes Long Island, we like to remind our customers that your heating system is just one of many things that work together to keep your home comfortable in the winter. If your home is full of inefficiencies that make it difficult to heat, your heating system is going to be put under undue stress all winter long. Home improvements like air sealing and insulation will go a long way in making your home more comfortable while supporting your heating system. An energy audit can help you locate inefficiencies and determine which improvements will be most effective for your Long Island home.

Not sure whether your heating system will last through the winter? Call (631) 391-9292 or contact us today to schedule heating maintenance!

Technician repairing the combi gas boiler with Screwdriver in hand

We rely on our boilers to heat our homes and make us comfortable. However, to do that, we need our systems to work! Every homeowner can do their due diligence to ensure that their boiler is in excellent condition by catching problems before they require full-on replacements. Here are the main signs your furnace needs repairs.

Noise

Your boiler won’t be silent, but it also shouldn’t be super loud! A quiet whirring or the occasional click is perfectly normal. Loud bangs or whistling are not typical. They should be relatively easy to hear throughout your house, but especially if your boiler is in a more remote area of the home, you should check on it every once in a while.

Smell

Boilers typically run on fossil fuels like natural gas. This is why strange smells emanating from your system can be so dangerous. Watch out for the smell of sulfur, which is similar to rotten eggs. This is indicative of a gas leak. Natural gas is odorless, but your gas company adds a foul-smelling compound called mercaptan so that leaks can be more easily detected.

Higher Costs

Your utility bill is like a report card for your home’s vital systems. If costs spike, it means that something has likely gone wrong. Please keep track of your expenditures month to month and compare them so you know what your baseline amount should be. If things stray from the norm and you don’t know why it’s probably worth investigating.

Leaks

Your boiler can have gas leaks, but it can also be subject to water leaks. If you notice puddles or other signs of a leak near your unit, wipe it up and wait a few hours. If the pool reappears, you likely have a water leak on your hands.

If your boiler needs repairs, give us at Master Plumbing Heating Cooling a call at (631) 391-9292 or fill out an online contact form!