The term “variable speed” refers to the furnace’s indoor blower motor, which moves at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated and cooled air throughout your home. Better airflow control has several benefits:
Variable speed motors can actually save you money on your energy bills, as they consume less electricity than standard motors.
Variable speed technology also means you will gain heating efficiency or AFUE.
Variable speed motors are excellent for zoning, which allows you to customize your comfort in different areas of your home and control your energy bills.
A variable speed motor can also help clean the air in your home. When the fan is in constant operation (indicated by the “Fan” setting on your thermostat), the motor will continue to slowly circulate air, allowing filters to capture more contaminants.
A variable speed motor combined with a Lennox ComfortSense® 7000 Series thermostat Home Comfort Control allows you to control the amount of humidity in your home for improved indoor air quality and comfort.
Two-stage heating means the furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household heating demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and provides more even heat distribution.
Longer, low-capacity operation has many advantages:
Two-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with standard furnaces, regulating temperature to within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting.
Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, when the amount of heat required is lower, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there’s no sudden “kick” or blast of air.
Improved air filtration
Low-speed operation allows your filters to capture more contaminants (because air is constantly passing through them), so you can breathe easier.
Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a standard furnace that always runs at full capacity and shuts off when the heating demand has been met.
Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.
Like the miles-per-gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. If your furnace is 10-15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy.
This doesn’t mean that you should only select a furnace based on its AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking for a new furnace.
Furnaces use electricity to run fans and motors. The amount of electricity used varies greatly depending on the type of furnace. Be sure to check electricity usage prior to making a purchase decision.
Furnace technology has advanced significantly in recent years. Modern furnaces are designed to provide more even and efficient heating than past furnaces, which can impact both how your system operates and what you notice about your system.
To better regulate temperatures and airflow, modern furnaces move more air over the heat exchanger than older furnaces. The air that comes out of your furnace registers may not seem as warm as the air from your old furnace, but overall airflow is improved. Better airflow means higher comfort.
Also, new furnaces are designed to integrate with high-efficiency air conditioners, so furnace blowers are more powerful to accommodate add-on cooling. Since cold air is much heavier than warm air, your system needs an extra boost from the blower to deliver cool air throughout your home. If you have an older home, this performance boost could produce unfamiliar sounds because air duct systems were originally designed for heating only. To minimize sound levels, choose a variable speed product which automatically changes speeds to meet the airflow needs of both heating and cooling cycles.
A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.
During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses: the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.
Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.
Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
“Indoor air quality,” or IAQ, is a relatively new topic in environmental safety. While a lot of attention has been placed on outdoor pollution over the past few decades, the focus on indoor air quality is just beginning. The quality of a home’s air mainly has to do with the amount of pollutants inside, but it’s also determined by humidity and ventilation levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that concentrations of pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90% of their time indoors, so clean indoor air is very important.
There are several everyday steps you can take to reduce the pollutants circulating in your home’s air, including:
- Store household cleaners, paint solvents and chemical products in tightly sealed containers. If possible, keep them outdoors.
- Clean and vacuum at least once a week.
- Regularly wash bed linens and stuffed toys.
- Keep windows closed when pollen, pollution and humidity levels are high.
- Ask your local Lennox dealer to inspect and clean your home’s heating and cooling system.
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated. (Modern homes are well insulated and sealed to conserve energy, which means airborne pollutants have no way to escape).
- Keep humidity levels within a healthy, comfortable range to prevent growth of mold and mildew (30% – 60%).
- Avoid using scented deodorizers and odor-masking air fresheners, which may cause toxic chemicals.
- Choose furnishings that emit the smallest possible amount of chemical vapors.
- Do not allow smoking inside your home and make sure all gas appliances are properly vented.
There are some basic strategies for outsmarting indoor air pollution:
The first step toward better indoor air is to identify the sources of air pollutants and remove as many as possible from your home. You can decrease the amount of dust and dirt in your home by cleaning and vacuuming at least once a week. You should also regularly wash bed linens and stuffed toys. If someone in your family is sensitive to fumes, you should safely store household products and use them only when necessary. If you need help determining if you have a problem with pollutants, contact your local Lennox dealer to evaluate your home and indoor comfort system.
Today’s modern homes are well insulated and sealed to conserve energy, which means airborne pollutants have no way to escape. Healthy Climate® ventilation systems help remove allergy-aggravating particles and germs by exchanging stale, recirculated indoor air with fresh, filtered outside air.
Although cleaning and ventilating helps reduce indoor air pollutants, these simple fixes are not cure-alls. Some contaminants are so small that they may escape through the vacuum or never land on a surface. Healthy Climate® air cleaners and high-efficiency air filters capture even the smallest of particles and germs. Germicidal lights kill them. And a PureAir air purification system goes a step further; it removes particles, germs and odors, and it destroys chemical vapors.
Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can actually increase concentrations of particles and germs. An icomfort Wi-Fi touchscreen thermostat or ComfortSense® programmable thermostat regulates moisture levels and temperatures to improve indoor air quality and enhance comfort.
To determine which indoor air quality system best meets your needs, contact your local Lennox Dealer.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, items inside the home that release gas are the primary cause of indoor air problems. The list includes carpeting, upholstered furniture, gas appliances, paints and solvents, cleaning products, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing and pesticides. If you have an attached garage, fumes from the gasoline, oil and antifreeze in your car can find their way into your home’s air. Harsh chemicals can also come from cigarette smoke and woodstoves.
Insufficient ventilation can worsen the problem because pollutants get trapped inside. Tightly sealed and well-insulated homes keep out fresher outdoor air, which can dilute the pollutants. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a filtration system, starting with sensitivity to allergens. The more sensitive a person is to allergens, the greater the need for a high-efficiency filtration system.
The efficiency of the air filter should be a top consideration. Efficiency is based on the size of the particles captured by an air filter. The higher the efficiency, the more effective it will be. Look for the filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) number, the industry standard for rating filters based on their performance. Residential filters typically have an MERV range of one to eight. Higher ratings ranging from 10 to 16 indicate more efficient filters. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) systems use hospital-grade filtration technology with a performance that’s equivalent to a MERV 17 filtration efficiency or higher.
Higher filter efficiency not only helps clear the air, but it also improves airflow. Generally, the more efficient a filter is, the less airflow reduction there will be.
Cost is another major factorâ€”both in terms of the initial purchase price and expense of maintenance and upgrades. Purchasing a filter of reasonably high quality can save you money over the long term. Inexpensive filters may not provide the level of filtration you need and may also require frequent filter replacement.
Among the many filtration products available are pleated filters, which are constructed of fiberglass or synthetic fibers woven into a more dense material. The pleats are arranged in V-shaped forms to increase the area of the filter material without increasing the face area. This increases the particle-holding capability.
Germicidal lights use intense ultraviolet light to sterilize surfaces. Each solution removes and destroys allergy-aggravating particles and germs.
Electronic air cleaners (EACs) take recirculated air and pass it through a prefilter that traps large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to remaining particles. A negatively charged collecting section captures the particles. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are also very effective at small-particle removal. An optional carbon canister can help control odors and chemicals.
Yes, wood is a renewable natural resource – well managed forests are a renewable, sustainable source of energy that helps us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be less dependent on oil & gas. Wood is also carbon neutral. This means that as trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When trees die and are left to decompose in the forest or burn in forest fires the carbon stored in the trees is released in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Burning firewood produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as it has absorbed during it’s life cycle – making wood burning carbon neutral.
A catalytic converter is a device through which wood smoke is channeled. It lowers the combustion temperature of the gases, allowing them to be consumed at lower firing. Secondary combustion mixes air with the exhaust gases, causing them to re-ignite and burn before going up the chimney.
Basically, a substrate material such as cordierite, is plated with two or more precious metals. During the combustion process, the gases that are released result in friction between the plating materials, which can create extremely high temperatures. Since smoke and other gases are load with energy, the catalyst coverts these into usable heat fro your home.
Yes. After a number of years, catalysts can loose their efficiencies. It is not uncommon to get up to 10 years or more service from a catalyst. Burning well-seasoned dry cordwood only can best prolong the catalyst life. If you are planning on burning boards with nail, paint or chemical treatments, or using your stove to burn household trash, you should not use a catalytic wood stove. Of course, all catalysts installed in Blaze King wood models are covered by a 6 year prorated warranty.
Dry, seasoned wood is best. The type of tree is not as important as moisture content. Wood must be allowed to dry for a minimum of 12 months, under cover, after being split and stacked. Popular firewood in the Kootenays are Douglas fir, spruce, pine, birch, larch & hemlock. Another good fuel source is pressed fire logs, manufactured by pressurizing sawdust, as opposed to wax-based decorative logs, which have limited heating value.
A chimney fire occurs when a build-up of soot and creosote ignites inside the venting system of a fireplace or woodstove. Wood-burning chimneys should be cleaned when a quarter inch or more of soot is present. Build-up can be more rapid in a woodstove than in a fireplace. In a woodstove vent, dangerous build-up may occur in less a month or may take much longer, depending on burn habits, fuel and other variables. New woodstove users should inspect their systems during the first season to learn their rate of soot build-up and determine cleaning frequency. Newer certified “clean-burning” stoves generate much less creosote than older non-certified stoves. Fireplaces do not need to be cleaned as often as wood-stoves.
First make sure your chimney is properly sized for both flue area and termination height. Try to avoid offset angles and keep the chimney as straight as possible. Try to size your woodstove correctly for the area you want to heat. This will ensure that you are able to burn it hot (efficiently) and avoid creosote build-up. Always warm-up your chimney by burning vigorously for the first 45-60 minutes before you reduce the air supply and burn slowly.
EPA Regulations are government regulations of wood burning appliances mandating that products sold after July 1, 1992, emit no more than 4.1 grams of particulate matter per hour for catalytic-equipped units and no more than 7.5 grams for non-catalytic-equipped units.
When starting a fire, use plenty of crumpled newspaper and kindling. As a guide, fill the firebox completely with loosely crumpled newspaper and hold it down with at least ten pieces of finely-split dry kindling. Softwoods make the best kindling. Find out where the combustion air enters the firebox of your stove and light the fire there so that the fire gets plenty of air. Open the air inlets fully.
- Use dry, split kindling and newspaper to set the fire
- Use a separate piece of newspaper formed into a torch and lit at one end to warm the flue, once the damper is opened
- When draft is established, light the kindling
- Once the kindling is burning, add pieces of larger wood. Be careful not to smother the fire with pieces that are too large
- Do not overload the firebox
- Burn fires of reasonable size
- Do not burn garbage or waste materials, especially highly flammable materials such as gift wrappings or evergreen boughs
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- The chimney flue should be the same size as the appliance flue collar. In the past, many chimneys were too large for the appliance they served. But bigger is not better when it comes to chimney size. Flue gas flows faster and has less time to lose heat in a smaller chimney flue. In planning wood-heating systems, some experienced installers even choose a chimney that has a smaller inside diameter than the appliance flue collar. They usually do this when the chimney runs inside the house and is fairly tall. Chimneys taller than 8 m (about 26 ft.) sometimes produce more draft than the appliance needs, so a smaller-diameter chimney doesn’t reduce performance. Only an experienced technician should decide whether the flue should be smaller than the appliance flue collar.
- Taller chimneys produce stronger draft. A rule of thumb is that the entire system (from the floor on which the appliance is mounted to the top of the chimney) must be at least 4.6 m (15 ft.) high. Most installations are taller than this, but those in cottages with shallow-pitch roofs or in single-storey buildings with flat roofs may not. If you experience draft problems with a short system, consider adding to the chimney’s height. However, if your chimney runs up the outside wall of the house, making it taller may not improve draft, because the extra heat loss cancels out any benefit