To help you navigate through the world of residential air conditioning and heating, we’ve prepared a list of commonly asked questions. It’s important to us that you become educated about the investments you make in your home, so you can make intelligent decisions.
Efficiency and cost savings are the biggest reasons to consider a new system.
Purchasing a heating or air conditioning system is no small matter. However, if your existing system is old, in need of repair, or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit, one which can be as much as 60% more efficient than a system purchased just 10 years ago, can offer long-term benefits.
Rather than continuing to pay for ongoing maintenance and costly monthly bills, invest in a new system today that will save you money for years to come.
ENERGY STAR is a program that was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help businesses and individuals make energy efficient purchases.
This program places the ENERGY STAR label, a small blue and white logo, on items that meet superior energy efficiency standards. This label provides an easy way for consumers to identify quality, high efficiency products.
For more information about the Energy Star program, please view their website at www.energystar.gov.
There are many heating and air conditioning systems to choose from today. Your Alps Comfort Technician can draw on a vast degree of heating and air conditioning knowledge and experience to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, local and regional utility costs, and utility incentive/rebate programs are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system. All of these factors should be considered to help you choose the best system for your home.
Home-owners looking to replace an existing system usually choose a new unit with equal or higher efficiency ratings than that of their previous system. Replacing a unit that is 10- to 15-years-old may reduce natural gas or electricity costs by as much as 30 to 50%.
Factors that dictate the size of a new system include the climate in your region, humidity levels, the number of windows in your dwelling, total square footage, the direction your home faces (morning or afternoon sun), the number of heat-producing appliances in your home, the type of insulation you have and the number of people that live in the home.
You can schedule a complimentary in-home estimate with an Alps Comfort Technician. They will perform the proper calculations to determine the appropriate heating or cooling unit for your home and lifestyle.
It’s really all about duct-work.
Putting a new system in a home that has not previously had central air and heat before will require the installation of duct-work, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil. Beyond equipment, the most important component installed with a new system, however, is the duct-work.
Duct-work is composed of two parts, supply and return. Supply duct is attached to the outflow of the new system, delivering air to each zone in a home. The amount of air reaching each zone is determined by the size of supply duct-work connecting it to your system. After taking some measurements and performing some calculations, your Alps Comfort Technician will help you determine the size of all the supply duct-work in your home.
The return duct, attaches to the inlet of the new system and draws air out of the spaces to be heated or cooled. Duct-work can be either flexible or metal and must be properly sized so that it evenly distributes the proper amount of air to each room.
Start with a detailed inspection.
To install the most efficient HVAC system in your household, a detailed inspection should first be performed by your installation contractor.
This inspection should include, as a minimum, an inspection of your home’s duct-work, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil?
Proper maintenance is the key to a long-lasting system.
Just like your car, maintenance and service play a key role in the life-cycle of a heating or air conditioning system. If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken, an air conditioner can last 12 to 15 years and a gas furnace 20 to 25 years.
It really depends.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to replace the indoor coil if you are also replacing your air conditioner or heat pump. Because there is a correlation between the efficiency of your heating or cooling system and the performance of the indoor coil, changing out the current indoor coil for a new one may be critical to optimizing its performance. The new system is really about efficiency and the potential utility and maintenance savings of your new system.
Based on the design of your home, you may have some options.
The system can actually be located in several different places. A system with up-flow application might be located in the closet or basement, while a system with a horizontal application may be found in your attic. A self-contained, or single package unit, could be located outside on a slab or on the roof. Your garage could house an up-flow, down-flow or horizontal application system
A heat pump allows air movement from point A to point B.
A heat pump is a device used for either the heating or cooling of a space by transferring hot and cold between two reservoirs.
A heat pump can act like an air conditioner, transferring heat from inside to out, or like a heater as it transfers exterior heat to the interior. A winter day with a temperature of 32º Fahrenheit still produces enough heat to warm a space when the air is transferred by heat pump.
Humidity levels can be reduced by using a variable-speed furnace or air handler as part of your HVAC system. Variable speed units run longer, at lower speeds, allowing air to constantly circulate against the cooling coil and remove more moisture.
Variable-speed motors also use less electricity than regular motors, reducing your energy costs.
AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil, is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs. Furnaces manufactured in the United States are required to have at least an 80% AFUE.
HSPF is the abbreviation for the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor.
This factor rates the efficient operation of the heating portion of the heat pump. As the HSPF increases, the unit functions at a more efficient level. New units in the United States have HSPF ratings from 7.0 to 9.4.
R-22 is the common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the United States Clean Air Act set a target date for January 1, 2010, on which HVAC manufacturers ceased the production of products that use R-22.
R-410A is the common name for a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) being used as a refrigerant in the HVAC industry. Some brands refer to R-410 as “Puron.” R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is the replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufacturers. At the beginning of 2010, the use of alternate refrigerant was required in HVAC manufacturing.
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