Natural Gas Furnace in West Plains

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Geothermal Systems

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Are there any incentives offered for installing a geothermal system?
Yes! As part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, tax incentives for homeowners are now 30% of the total installed cost with no cap for those installed after January 1, 2009 and before December 31, 2016. 
GeoComfort Geothermal Systems logo
How efficient is a ground source heat pump, also known as, a geothermal system?
Ground source heat pumps are some of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today, with heating efficiency 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiency 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners. That directly translates into savings for you on your utility bills.

Can one system provide both space heating and cooling for my home? And what about heating hot water?
Yes. A geothermal system can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system. You can change from one mode to another with a simple flick on your indoor thermostat. Using a desuperheater, some geothermal systems can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water.

How does a geothermal system heat water for my home?
Using what is called a desuperheater, geothermal units turn waste heat to the task of heating hot water. During the summer, when the system is in cooling mode, your hot water is produced free as a byproduct of the thermal process. In winter, with the heating mode, the desuperheater heats a portion of your hot water. Desuperheaters are standard on some units, optional on others. Stand-alone systems that will heat water all year around can be purchased.

What about comfort?
A geothermal system moves warm air (90-105(F) throughout your home or business via standard ductwork. An even comfort level is created because the warm air is moved in slightly higher volumes and saturates the building with warmth more evenly. this helps even out hot or cold spots and eliminates the cold air blasts common with fossil fuel furnaces.

How much does a geothermal system cost?
The initial investment for a geothermal system is greater than that of a conventional system. However, when you consider the operating costs of a geothermal heating, cooling, and water heating system, energy savings quickly offset the initial difference in purchase price.

Are geothermal systems difficult to install?
Most units are easy to install, especially when they are replacing another forced-air system. This is known as a retrofit. Geothermal heat pumps can be installed in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces because there is no combustion and thus no need to vent exhaust fumes. Ductwork must be installed in homes without an existing air distribution system. Butler Heating and Air can assess the cost of installing ductwork.

How far apart are trenches and vertical boreholes spaced?
Trenches are spaced four to five feet apart while boreholes are spaced ten to fifteen feet apart.

How long does it take to install a horizontal system vs. a vertical system?
In regards to a horizontal system, this depends on soil conditions, length and depth of pipe, and equipment required. A typical installation can be completed in one or two days. For a vertical installation, time varies with conditions on the site such as type and depth of the overburden, type and hardness of the bedrock, and the presence of aquifers. Typical drilling times are one or two days; total installation can usually be accomplished in two days.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the horizontal and vertical installations, respectively?
Horizontal installations are simpler, requiring lower-cost equipment. However, they require longer lengths of pipe due to seasonal variations in soil temperature and moisture content. Since a horizontal heat exchanger is laid out in trenches, a larger area is usually required than for a vertical system. Where land is limited, vertical installations or a compact Slinky horizontal installation can be ideal. If regional soil conditions include extensive hard rock, a vertical installation may be the only available choice. Vertical installations tend to be more expensive due to the increased cost of drilling versus trenching, but since the heat exchanger is buried deeper than with a horizontal system, vertical systems are usually more efficient and can get by with less total pipe. Butler Heating and Air will be able to help you decide which configuration best meets your specific needs.

What are the environmental benefits of geothermal systems?
Currently installed systems are making a huge difference in our environment! The systems are eliminating more than three million tons of carbon dioxide and is equivalent of taking 650,000 automobiles off the road. Geothermal systems conserve energy and, because they move heat that already exists rather than burning something to create heat, they reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the atmosphere. They use renewable energy from the sun, and because the system doesn't rely on outside air, it keeps the air inside of buildings cleaner and more free of pollen, outdoor pollutants, mold spores, and other allergens.

Will an underground loop affect my lawn or landscape?
No. Research has shown that loops have no adverse effects on grass, trees, or shrubs. Most horizontal installations require trenches about six inches wide. Temporary bare areas can be restored with grass seed or sod. Vertical loops require little space and do not damage lawns significantly.

My yard contains many shade trees. Will this affect ground temperature and my ability to use it as an energy source?
Not at all. The system is installed deep enough that it utilizes constant ground temperatures.

Can a geothermal system be added to my fossil fuel furnace?
Yes. Called dual systems, they can easily be added to existing furnaces for those wishing to have a dual-fuel heating system. Dual-fuel systems use the geothermal system as the main heating source, and a fossil fuel furnace as a supplement in extremely cold weather should additional heat be needed.

Trane Heating and Cooling

What is a SEER rating and how does it impact my energy costs?
SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Like its "mpg" counterpart in the automotive industry, the SEER gives an indication of the performance efficiency of the system. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. And, the more efficient the unit, the lower the operating costs. According to the experts at Trane Home Comfort Institute, purchasing a system with a high SEER rating means you'll use less energy to cool your house, resulting in lower electric bills. In many cases, these savings are enough to partially or fully offset the cost of the new equipment withing a few years.
I need a new outdoor unit, but my indoor unit works fine. What are the advantages of replacing my whole system at the same time?
We recommend that you replace the indoor coil or air handler when replacing the outdoor unit. Both of these components are integral to the closed refrigerant loop and together determine the capacity and efficiency of your system.

What size system do I need for my home?
It is important that new or replacement equipment is not sized by "rule of Thumb" or by duplicating the existing equipment capacity. The only accurate way to determine the correct capacity of heating and air conditioning equipment for your home is to have a load calculation performed on your home. Butler Heating & Air used the heat gain and heat loss data from your home to select the appropriately sized air conditioning or heating system for you home, based on equipment-performance data.

What factors are are used to in determining the load calculation for my home?
There are many factors used to determine the capacity or size system your home requires. 
Some of these are:
Square feet to be cooled and heated
Number of windows
Insulation factors
Which direction your home faces
Heat producing appliances, and
Number of people who will be in the home
What problems can occur if a load calculation is not figured on my home?
By not figuring a load calculation, you run the risk of having equipment installed that will not run efficiently and could potentially cost you more in the long run. Over-sized air conditioning systems will not remove adequate moisture from the indoor air due to short cycling. Also, over-sized systems quickly cool the indoor air temperature, but they do not run long enough to remove the humidity. 
An over-sized furnace is similar in that its run time is short, creating uncomfortable air stratification and less air filtration. Also, the frequent cycling of the unit on and off can cause undue wear and tear on internal working components.
An undersized air conditioning system will not adequately cool your home on the hottest says and an undersized furnace will not adequately heat your house on the coldest day.

What is a heat pump?
The heat pump is an air conditioner that reverses the process of removing heat from the inside of the house in summer to absorbing the heat from outside air and moving it inside in winter. It is effective by itself down to temperatures around 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, either a gas furnace or an air handler with supplemental electric heat will kick in and help heat your home. The Auxiliary heat light on your thermostat will help heat light. The heat pump will continue to operate along with the electric auxiliary heat. It will shut off when a gas furnace is energized. Emergency heat is a manual override option in the event your heat pump needs service.

Is a heat pump the right choice for my home?
The heat pump is effective in many geographies. In all electric applications, the heat pump may consume less energy than an electric furnace or air handler using resistance heat. Why? Because it can deliver the same amount of BTUs as electric heaters using less electrical input than the electric heat. In moderate climates the savings that natural gas yields may not be as advantageous as in colder climates, since there is less frequent use of the furnace in milder climates. Of course, the heat pump can be matched with a gas furnace where preferred. The heat pump can operate in the milder temperatures when the gas furnace may tend to short-cycle.

How often should I change or clean my filters?
Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning.

The air coming from the registers feels cool when my new heat pump is set for heating. Is there a problem?
While a heat pump is perfectly capable of effectively heating your home, the temperature of the air coming out of the registers confuses some people. The air is heated to about 90 to 95 degrees, depending on the outdoor temperature. This temperature is approximately 20 to 25 degrees warmer than the indoor air temperature and will warm your house. It is, however, below body temperature (98.6 degrees) and can feel cool when someone puts their hands in the airflow.

What are the differences in Trane's single-stage, 2-Stage, and variable-speed gas furnaces?
A single stage furnace will deliver the same amount of heat and airflow no matter what the temperature is outside. a 2-stage furnace with a 2-stage thermostat will begin in first stage (low burner, low airflow) and only go to second stage if the indoor temperature drops during first stage. This makes the furnace run longer, providing greater air circulation, temperature distribution, and air filtration. This also provides a more consistent indoor environment. The second stage will only come on when the need is there. The more your system starts and stops, the less control you will have of your home's environment-and the less efficiently it works, partly due to duct heat loss.

How much will a new new Trane system cost?
That depends. There are many factors that must be considered. These include:

The efficiency of the equipment
The size of your home
Is the ductwork installed and in good condition?
Do you need a thermostat or electronic air cleaner?

In most cases, replacing your whole system, including both indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer-lasting system but will also cost a little more. Butler Heating & Air can provide you with an indepth, no obligation quote, while addressing all questions and concerns you may have.

What is an air handler?
The major components enclosed in an air handler's cabinetry are the blower and motor, controls, heater compartment, and an evaporator coil. This is why it is also sometimes referred to as a fan coil. A standard air handler, like the single stage furnace, delivers the same amount of airflow no matter what the temperature inside. Trane's variable-speed air handler has Comfort-R Enhanced mode, like Trane's variable-speed gas furnace, allowing the coil to cool down quickly and the blower to slowly ramp up and ramp down or to operate at 50 percent of the cooling air speed in the FAN ON position. This provides greater humidity control, quieter operation, maximum air circulation, temperature distribution, and air filtration for greater control of your home's indoor environment.
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