Need an new furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump but don’t want to go to your local HVAC dealer yet? An easy way to see which unit is right for you and your family, without ever having to leave your home, is to try our Product Selector tool on our website. Just click the Product Selector tab on the top an answer a series of questions. It will supply you with some possible options.
In the quest for cleaner, fresher air, two main types of air cleaners have become popular: single-room and whole-home.
How they work
Single-room air cleaners cover small areas
Single-room air cleaners are just like their name implies. They’re small, portable, localized devices that are placed in individual rooms or areas to clean the air. They usually incorporate a fan to move air, some kind of filter to remove particles, and often an electronic component that electronically charges the air to increase filtration.
Whole-home air cleaners are a more complete solution.
Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are more of an “installed” solution, permanently integrated into the heating and air conditioning system in your home. They rely on your furnace or air handler to move air through, instead of using their own fan.
Advantages of whole-home air cleaners
Whole-home air cleaners offer a serious advantage over single-room air cleaners because they affect all the air in your home. Attaching an air-cleaning solution to your heating and cooling system will allow it to filter every bit of air in every room.
Disadvantages of portable air cleaners
A single-area air cleaner may solve air quality issues in one room, but your home heating and air-conditioning system is still going to be circulating air from that room throughout your home. So whatever air issue you’re facing in that one area will eventually spread to every other room.
If you’re going with an installed, whole-home air cleaner, you have several options.
- Disposable filters: Most furnaces accept a 1” or 5” pleated or fiberglass filter that is thrown away when it becomes dirty.
- Washable filters: Usually made of foam or plastic fibers, these filters are washed when they become full of impurities.
- Electrostatic filters: Remove impurities from the air by putting an electric charge on them as they pass through the air cleaner, causing dirt and dust to stick to a collection area for later vacuuming or washing.
- UV lights: As air passes through your air cleaner, ultraviolet lights kill germs and bacteria so they can’t make you sick.
The only whole-home solution to everything.
A whole-home air cleaner makes sense. And no whole-home air cleaner is more effective than the PureAir™ air purification system made by Lennox. In fact, PureAir cleans the air in your home better than any single solution you can buy, using three different types of technology. And it generates no ozone.
- Filtration: A CarbonClean 16 filter removes up to 95% of particles ranging in size down to 0.3 micron*, while its carbon component captures any latent ozone in your home.
- UV lighting: Removes OVER 90% of bacteria, fungi and germs ranging in size down to 0.01 micron*
- Catalyst plate: Removes and destroys approximately 50% of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period**
New for 2015
PureAir was already the leading whole-home filtration solution, but for 2015, Lennox has added three new advantages.
- Better filtration: Carbon Clean 16 filtration is now standard.
- Tighter cabinet seals: With virtually no air leakage
- More energy efficient: The new PureAir uses less electricity than ever.
Get your air quality consultation today
We at J & R Heating can tell you more about the quality of the air in your home, and help you deal with the specific problems you face. Schedule your consultation today.
If you’ve ever shopped for a new air conditioner, furnace, or even a window unit, you’ve probably seen energy rating data listed somewhere on the product. Knowing what those numbers mean, and how to compare them, can save you a lot of money over the life of your equipment.
Making sense of the numbers
Ratings help you make smart choices
Energy ratings were established to provide a baseline for comparing heating and air conditioning equipment based on the energy it uses to keep you comfortable. In a sense, you can think of energy ratings like miles-per-gallon in a car.
The more gasoline it takes you to go one mile, the more you’ll spend for every mile you need to travel. So if you’re looking at a large SUV that gets 15 miles per gallon, you know you’ll need to plan a larger fuel budget every month than if you’d chosen a subcompact or hybrid car that gets 38 miles to the gallon.
What the ratings mean for your home
With home heating and cooling equipment, the efficiency numbers tell you how much energy you’ll have to spend to get the same performance out of similar products.
Ratings are different for each type of heating and cooling equipment, simply because of the energy source used to power it. In other words, you can’t use the same rating to compare a gas furnace to an electric heat pump, because they don’t use the same type of fuel.
However, when you understand the numbers behind the ratings, you can get a good idea of how much money you’ll spend to run your equipment, whether it uses gas, electricity, or both.
SEER, for rating electric cooling
SEER is one of the most common rating systems for home cooling equipment. It stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it gives a pretty good indication of your energy costs because it measures performance over an entire cooling season.
To calculate SEER, you simply take the total cooling output that the equipment will generate over the summer, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU), and divide it by the total amount of energy you’ll have to expend (and pay for) during the same time period.
What you’re really measuring here is how much cooling power the unit will provide, and how much it will cost you to enjoy that cool comfort. The Lennox® XC25 is currently the most precise and efficient air conditioner you can buy*, offering a SEER of up to 26.
Federal law currently mandates a minimum SEER of between 13 and 14, depending upon where in the country you live, and any air conditioner over 14.5 SEER can be eligible for ENERGY STAR® qualification, meaning it’s a smart choice for energy-efficient cooling.
AFUE, for rating fossil-fuel furnaces
AFUE is a different way to measure efficiency, because it deals with a different type of fuel. The AFUE of a furnace, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a measure of how much heat is generated over the course of the heating season, compared with how much fuel is burned.
AFUE is a fairly straightforward number. The higher the number, the more heat you will actually feel for a given amount of natural gas or oil burned. A furnace with an AFUE of 80 will turn 80% of its fuel into useable heat, while wasting about 20% of its fuel through either air leaks, inefficient burners or a less-advanced design.
On the other hand, a furnace with an AFUE of 95 will convert 95% of the gas or oil it consumes into useable warmth. Any furnace with an efficiency of 90% or higher is considered high-efficiency.
The Lennox SLP98V furnace currently offers an AFUE of 98.7, meaning it converts 98.7% of its fuel into useful heat for your home. With less than 2% fuel waste, it’s a very efficient way to weather the winter.
*The most precise and efficient air conditioner and heat pump you can buy (XC25/XP25)
Efficiency claim based on comparison of air conditioning and heat pump products’ SEER as published in AHRI (January 2013). Actual system combination efficientcy may vary; consult with us (J & R Heating) or AHRI for exact system efficiencies. Precision claim based on the cooling capacity range of the XC/XP25-036 units as compared to equivalent-sized competitive variable capacity compressor units.
HSPF, for rating electric heating and cooling
In the simplest terms, an electric heat pump is an air conditioner that can run in reverse. During the summer, it moves heat out of your home into the atmosphere. Then, during colder weather, it reverses the process and draws latent heat from the outside air into your home.
Since it doesn’t use fossil fuel, AFUE really doesn’t apply. So heat pumps actually have their own comparative efficiency rating, known as HSPF, or Heating Season Performance Factor. This is a measure of how efficiently an electric heat pump can warm your home when it’s in heating mode, over the course of an entire heating season.
HSPF is calculated by dividing the unit’s heat output over the course of the season by the amount of electricity required to produce that heat. Anything over 8 is considered high-efficiency, and may be eligible for utility rebates or tax credits.
When shopping for a heat pump, it’s important to remember that since it uses electricity to heat and cool, it will have both a SEER and an HSPF rating since it runs during multiple seasons.
- Curb your cooling costs: Close your closet doors. By reducing the amount of square footage that has to be cooled, you can save on your energy bill.
- Consumer electronics continue to draw power even when they are switched off, adding up to about $200 in yearly energy costs. Advanced power strips can significantly reduce these costs.
- A dirty AC filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. Be sure to change or clean your filter every 60-90 days to avoid your system failing and to save energy.
- A house that is 30% more energy efficient can save up to $20,000 in utilities over the life of a mortgage. A home energy audit is the first step to improving your home’s energy efficiency.
- Highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45% when closed.