Frequently Asked Questions
What does the “SEER” rating stand for, and what does it mean?
“SEER” stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Think of it as “miles per gallon” for your air conditioning system. The higher the SEER rating of your equipment, the bigger return you will see on your investment. Energy costs have rapidly increased over the last several years, with no sign of slowing down. You can drastically reduce your utility costs by investing a little more upfront. The savings you will see on your utility bills by investing in a high efficient system versus an entry-level system will usually pay for the cost difference within 5 years. After that, those savings stay in your pocket!
What is “two-stage cooling”, and how does it benefit me?
Two-stage cooling offers multiple benefits. A properly sized system is designed to maintain 75-degrees on a 95-degree day. Since we only reach those temperatures a few weeks out of the year, that means the rest of the time your system is technically oversized. A system with two-stage cooling can operate at 70% capacity during those times. This leads to longer run times, increased dehumidification, and a higher level of comfort throughout your home. Most importantly, a 2-stage system will also significantly reduce operating costs.
What is a “two-stage gas valve”, and how does it benefit me?
When we do a load calculation, we size the equipment based on the cooling load of your home, due to our geographical location. This determines what size indoor evaporator coil is needed to match up with the outdoor air conditioning unit, which determines what size furnace is installed. Almost every gas furnace is oversized for the conditioned space. A gas furnace with a two-stage gas valve will come on at 50% capacity and will only run at 100% capacity if the thermostat set-point is not reached within 10-15 minutes. As long as you keep your thermostat set at about the same temperature, the furnace will almost always run in the first-stage. This leads to a more consistent temperature, keeps the furnace from cutting on and off so frequently, and will noticeably reduce your gas bill during the colder months of the year.
What is a variable-speed motor, and why do I need it?
Most systems only deliver air at full-speed all the time. This can lead to drafty rooms, wider temperature swings, higher humidity levels, and noisier operation. A variable-speed motor adjusts to the duct system it is applied to and delivers the same amount of air to all of the vents. We like to compare it to a gas pedal in your vehicle. A variable-speed motor slowly ramps up until it adds the right amount of air to keep your home just the right temperature. And, since a variable-speed motor can run at lower speeds, it better circulates the air and removes more humidity during the summer months. An added bonus is the variable-speed motor helps your system operate more efficiently, again saving you money!
What is “IAQ”?
The Environmental Protection Agency lists “Indoor Air Quality” as one of the top five modern day health concerns. Studies have linked unhealthy indoor quality to ailments such as asthma, allergies, headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, fatigue, and even pulmonary disease. Homes built today are better insulated, tightly sealed, and use less energy. However, this also seals in humidity, dust, and pollutants. In fact, the air quality inside your home is probably worse than it is outside! A 1,500 square-foot homes generates approximately 40 lbs. of dust per year, and up to 72 trillion allergens find their way into your home every day. An American Standard “AccuClean” whole-house filtration system removes 99.98% of the allergens that pass through your duct system. This is 100-times more effective than a standard, 1” throw-away type filter. No air filtration system comes close to the clean-air delivery rate this technology achieves. It traps allergens the size of 0.1 microns, particles so small that up to 20 million of them could fit in the period at the end of this sentence!
Should I have my ducts cleaned? What is “duct sealing”?
Your duct system is the connection between your HVAC equipment and your home. An HVAC contractor’s job is relatively simple. We pull the air from your home through a return air grille, clean it up, send it through a duct back to the unit, heat it, cool it, dehumidify / humidify it, then send it through another duct and back into your home. A heating and cooling system is designed to be a closed loop. If you have a leaky duct system, you are wasting a lot of energy and allowing infiltration into that closed loop. Research has found that a one-inch square hole in your duct system has the same impact as a 30” square hole in an outside wall of your home. It’s almost like leaving a window open, in regards to energy costs. This is due to the fact that there is a large amount of pressure in the ducts caused by the fan motor. The TVA says that taking steps to seal your existing duct system as much as possible can save you more than $200 a year in utility costs! If the inside of your ducts are dirty, it is because you have a leaky duct system. Seal your duct system first, THEN consider having your ducts cleaned.
Why should I invest in preventive maintenance?
The industry highly recommends having your HVAC equipment inspected regularly. This is typically twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. Modern equipment is far more technologically advanced, increasing the need for proper maintenance. Would you buy a new car and never change the oil or brake pads? If you choose not to maintain your equipment, you are going to have higher operating costs and more frequent break-downs, just like a vehicle. It may even void the equipment’s manufacturer warranty, as most of them require proper maintenance. Your heating and cooling system is a machine, and requires proper maintenance to ensure peak performance and longevity.
Why should we choose your company to take care of our indoor comfort needs?
Listen carefully, THERE ARE ALWAYS MORE ISSUES THAN SIMPLY CHANGING YOUR EQUIPMENT! A true, knowledgeable, quality HVAC contractor will address issues such as humidity, sound, hot & cold spots, air flow, and make sure your existing duct system is properly designed and sealed. Your return air may be too small. If the equipment cannot get the air it needs, it puts a major strain on the equipment, and costs you money. Ninety percent of the systems out there were never installed correctly to begin with. Simply changing out that box is almost never a complete solution. Invest your money wisely and address all the problems. The keys are properly sized HVAC equipment and a properly designed, properly sized, and properly sealed duct system!