Frequently Asked Questions
HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning. The three functions of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning are closely interrelated. All seek to provide thermal comfort, acceptable indoor air quality and reasonable installation, operation and maintenance costs. HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. Your heating and air technician goes by the name of HVAC contractor and can provide heating repair and expertise.
A fan draws indoor air in through vents called return grills located throghout your home. The air travels through ducts that run to your systems’ air handler, where it is returned into the conditioned space through supply vents or registers in your wall, ceilings or floors.
There is no one size fits all answer. The frequency of filter changes is driven by how much your heating and air conditioning system operates, which is also driven by your individual climate. Start by checking the system’s filters at least once a month. Hold the used filter up to the light and compare it to a clean “spare air filter.” When light is obscured by captured dust and dirt particles, the old filter should be changed. Keep a record for one year and replace the filter on that basis. At a minimum, it is always a good idea to change filters at the start of the heating and cooling seasons and then in between according to your needs. Also, it is a good idea to have your heating and air system checked at the beginning of heating and cooling season to insure proper operation and efficiency.
Although your present furnace or air conditioner may be working, if it is more than 12 years old you should consider replacing it with a new high efficiency system. A new heating and air conditioning system could save up to 50% on energy costs, and save you money in the long run on heating repairs. While these products save you money on your utility bills, they also offer a better degree of comfort within your home.
Since January of 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have at least a 13 SEER. SEER is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it is a U.S. government standard energy rating. It reflects the overall system efficiency of your cooling system. An EER is short for Energy Efficiency Ratio and doesn’t take into consideration the time of year, but rather the system’s energy efficiency at the peak operating use. Both ratings should be considered in choosing cooling products. The rating is a ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption and measures the cooling performance of the system. The federal government developed an Energy Star program for high efficiency central air conditioning systems that in order to qualify must have a SEER of at least 14.
Replacing your system is one of the biggest financial decision you will make. The reason for this is that the life expectancy of a system is around 12 years. When choosing a contractor, pick a company to install the unit based on quality and customer service along with price. The name brand of the equipment is not as important as the installing contractor. Another thing to keep in mind when replacing a system is that the duct system you are connecting to is sealed tight with the proper amount of return air. With the new higher efficiency units, you also have to be careful that you replace your system with the proper sized unit so you don’t end up with a house that is cool but has high humidity. Do your homework and pick a quality contractor you can trust and you will have a successful installation that will bring you years of comfort at the least amount of overall cost.
Confusingly, the unit has little to do with weight, as used in everyday language. One ton of regrigeration is the term used to refer to 12,000 BTUs/hr (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. Thus, a condensing unit with a cooling capacity of 60,000 BTUs/Hr is said to have a capacity of 5 Tons.
Since July 1, 1992 it is illegal to release refrigerants into the atmosphere, either intentional or accidental, because they can cause severe damage to the ozone layer. When refrigerants such as Chlorofluorocarbon’s (CFCs) are removed, they should be recycled to clean out any contaminants and returned to a usable condition.
The portion of the Clean Air Act that applies to the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry encourages the development of ozone-friendly substitutes for chemicals that contain ozone destroying chlorine, which are called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The chemical refrigerant of choice for more than four decades, referred to as R-22, is in the HCFC category. R-22 is widely used in heat pumps and AC condensing units to heat and cool homes. Today, a refrigerant called R-410A is used because of its ozone-friendly properties.
Radon is an invisible, radioactive atomic gas that results from the radioactive decay of radium, which may be found in rock formations beneath buildings or in certain building materials themselves. Radon is probably the most pervasive serious hazard for indoor air quality in the United States and probably responsible for thousands of deaths from lung cancer each year. Proper testing can be done for the presence of radon and measures taken to minimize it’s affects.