[toggle title=”What does the acronym HVACR stand for?”]Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Should I have regular maintenance on my heating and air conditioning system?”] The most important part of HVACR maintenance is maintaining unrestricted air flow. Dust, dirt, and debris are a system’s worst enemies. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor unit, you must keep your filters clean and coils free of any and all restrictions. Get your furnace and your air conditioner checked at least once a year by an HVAC specialist and change your filters regularly. This can eliminate many of the most common problems and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious service call. A clean system saves significant dollars in energy and maintenance costs over the life of your system.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”How long should I expect my HVAC system last?”]
Preventative maintenance and service, if performed on a regular basis, an air conditioner should last 12-15 years and a Natural Gas furnace could last as many as 20-25 years, according to industry averages.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Do I need a Zoning system? What is a Zoning System?”]
Zoning systems divide your home into separate areas of comfort. It allows your equipment to operate more efficiently by cooling or heating only the areas that need it. As an example, if you have a game room with large windows, it may need more heating in the winter than a bathroom that has no windows. A zoning system will provide more air to the specific area that needs it in order to keep your rooms at the desired comfort level. There are many different designs to accomplish an efficient zoning system. Ask an HVAC expert for the best approach to your situation.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”When will I know that I need to replace my existing heating or AC system?”]
Typically you should consider replacing your AC or heating system if it is inefficient or in need of major repair. Today’s systems are as much as 60% more efficient than those systems manufactured just ten years ago. Continuous use, wear and tear and neglecting preventative maintenance can reduce efficiency of your system.
Replacing your system may be the more economical path than paying for a major repair. Consult an experienced, certified HVACR specialist before deciding.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Does the indoor unit need to be replaced if I replace the outdoor unit?”]
More than likely you will need to replace the indoor unit as well. All outdoor AC units and heat pumps are designed to operate with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance.
Efficiency ratings on air conditioners and heat pumps are based on their performance as matched systems. If you choose to change one component only, the efficiency rating will not be correct. Therefore all the benefits of the new unit will not be realized. When an old outdoor unit needs replacing, most likely your indoor unit is the same age and must be replaced, at the same time.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”I haven’t shopped for a new heating and cooling system for quite some time. Are there any specific changes in technology and equipment I need to be aware of?”]
Absolutely, today’s comfort systems offer an incredible amount of options and combinations. These range from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or “hybrid” systems. Systems can now monitor conditions and adjust automatically, which is a dramatic increase from the past. A wider variety of IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) add-ons are also available more so now than ever before. Developing a system for your situation and budget, due to these changes, is a more complex decision than ever before. That’s why it is important to find an HVACR company that will work with you and for your specific needs.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”When purchasing a new furnace, heat pump or AC unit, are there specific things I should look for?”]
You should always do research by talking with neighbors, getting free estimates and surf each companies website. Below are a few ideas to get started:
• The Mfg. you choose should have a good reputation for quality and durability.
• The higher the efficiency rating the better the comfort. You will also see a lower seasonal energy bill.
• With the help of a certified HVACR contractor, you will choose the correct size equipment for your needs.
• Make sure the contractor you select is licensed and insured. Ask them for references.
[toggle title=”My HVAC system appears to have a leak. What is a condensation leak?”]
When your AC unit is running, it pulls water out of the air, for humidity control, through what is called the evaporator coil. This air is blown across a cold coil causing condensation to form. This water goes down a pipe and into your sewer. Dust, mold, and mildew will eventually build up in the pipe and it will stop the flow of water. If you have an emergency drain, the condensation will now run out of your house dripping out of the eaves. This is a warning sign that you have a problem and need to fix it right away or you can risk water damage. To unclog the drain, you will need to call a reputable HVAC company.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Should I change my filter every month, quarter or bi-annually?”]
Unfortunately, there is no set answer to this question. It varies depending on the size of the home and how many people/pets live in the home. It could be anywhere from each week to 6 months. You should make a habit of checking the filter every week or two. If it is noticeably dirty then you should replace the old one.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”What can I do to increase the life of my system?”]
Below are a few ideas:
• Check and change your filters on a regular basis.
• During the cooling season, clean your outside coils. Always turn off power to unit before doing this. You want to be careful not to use high pressure or you risk bending the coil fins. Do not use any chemicals on the coils as some can corrode copper and aluminum.
• Set up a maintenance contract with your HVAC company.
[toggle title=”Will a programmable thermostat help my electric bills?”]
Yes, among other things. A programmable thermostat provides savings, convenience, and extra comfort for most consumers.
For people with a set schedule and prefer different temperatures when sleeping versus being awake, you will appreciate what a programmable thermostat can do for you. One of the more popular benefits is the ability to set this type of thermostat to drop to a cooler temperature when sleeping yet have the house warmed up by the time you start your day. You can also set the thermostat to automatically turn the unit off while you are at work and then bring the temperature back to a normal, comfortable setting by the time you get home. This saves you money by not having the unit running an unoccupied house all day. If you do not have a set schedule, or if you always keep the thermostat at the same setting, a programmable thermostat may not be the best choice for you.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”What is the difference between the old and new refrigerants?”]
The old refrigerant is commonly referred to as R-22. The new refrigerant is called Puron by Carrier and R-410A by Trane. Puron/R-410A works exactly as R-22 does but does not contain the chlorine that supposedly can destroy our ozone layer. Puron/R401-A uses a different type of oil and runs 50% higher pressures with the same temperatures as R-22. This is why you need to change the refrigerant piping, evaporator coil and the metering device when converting from an old system to a new one.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”What do I need to know about a SEER rating?”]
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Electricity is purchased in a unit/measurement called Watts. The amount of air conditioning is expressed in BTUs(British Thermal Units). The SEER lets you convert watts to BTUs. For example, if you had a 13.0 SEER unit, you would get 13 BTUs for every watt of power, so the higher SEER the better. Currently the lowest SEER is 13.0. The higher the SEER, the higher the cost will be to install the equipment. You should take into account your return on investment before you decide what SEER you should buy. An HVAC comfort advisor can assist you with this.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Does my gas furnace need to be serviced every year?”]
Yes, it is highly recommended. A maintenance contract will take care of this. Gas furnaces that are not in proper working order kill hundreds of people every year through fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. All homes should have working fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. However, having these is still not enough, your furnace should be inspected by a qualified technician every year. The technician will test to ensure the furnace will shut down if it has any problems, check gas lines for any leaks, check the vent work for proper flow, and the heat exchanger for any cracks.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”What can I do to to keep the air in my house clean?”]
IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) is becoming more and more of a concern to homeowners. The air in your house is filled with a host of bad things: dust, mold, pollen, virus, bacteria, dust mites, pet hair and dander, and spores to name a few. Standard throwaway and electrostatic filters trap only about 15% of the pollutant particles in your home’s air. To clean the air even further, air cleaners that utilize ultraviolet light and special filters can be installed. These will clean your house to hospital standards but the price can be prohibitive. You will need to work with a HVAC comfort advisor to determine which is best for your needs. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”What is variable speed equipment and what do I need to know about it?”]
A variable speed furnace and fancoil are the latest in comfort technology. The variable speed motor is able to adjust its speed to accommodate whatever is required for it. Unlike motors of the past which had at most four speeds, and each speed was locked in for cooling and heating, the variable speed motor is able to adjust its speed to give the maximum amount of comfort, and the quietest operation possible. When a humidistat is used in conjunction with the variable speed furnace, you are able to control the humidity in your house during the cooling season. When the humidistat finds that there is a higher humidity than desired, the variable speed blower motor slows down, enabling the system to pull more moisture out of the air. Typically the most often heard complaint after installing variable speed equipment is that the customer thinks the unit never runs, because they never hear it.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”What are signs that my compressor valves are leaking?”]
This means the seals inside the compressor that keep the high pressure and low pressure sides apart are leaking. This will cause excessive electric bills, high humidity in the house, and the system will be unable to keep the house cool. Unfortunately the only cure is to replace the entire compressor.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Does a larger air conditioner cool my house better?”]
AC units are meant to cool and dehumidify. An oversized unit can quickly cool a home. However, this results a unit frequently cycling on and off. This doesn’t allow it enough time to remove moisture and may make the house feel clammy. A properly sized AC unit will operate for a longer period of time during the hottest days which will remove that uncomfortable moisture. Although a properly sized unit will run longer, it will be more efficient and use less energy. Over sizing a residential AC unit by 50% will cause a 10% increase in energy consumption. Not only do oversized units consume more energy, but they also remove less moisture from your home.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”If I set my thermostat to its lowest setting will my air conditioner cool my home faster?”]
No, understand that the thermostat is not a throttle. Setting it lower than necessary will not cool the home any faster. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”How do you determine the size of an AC unit? Does square footage play a role?”]
Your HVAC comfort advisor will conduct a load calculation. A good load calculation program takes into account window types, orientation and shadinig; insulation of ceiling, walls and floor; air leakage and many other factors such as the color of the roof and the number of occupants. Using the square footage of a home to size an air conditioner is outdated and will almost always yield an oversized system. Be skeptical of a contractor who wants to size your unit solely on the square footage of your house. Require a Manual J or equivalent analysis before purchasing. [/toggle]