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HVAC FAQ Information
The sizing capacities can be listed in BTUs, Tonnage, and CFM to name a few.
The best way to determine this is by having a heat load or Manual D & J done up for your project. Most cities require this to be submitted before they will give building permits. This will calculate the size of equipment needed based on the way that the structure is built, the number of doors and windows, the insulation values, etc. These calculations and reports are very in depth and can be up to 150 pages long.
In simple terms, for gas heaters it is measured in percentages. The higher the percentage the more efficient the equipment is. For air conditioners it is measured in an EER and, more commonly, an SEER number. The higher the number the more efficient the equipment is. There is a great calculator at www.hvacopcost.com that can be used to compare different energy costs and savings between types of equipment. We are also happy to assist with this.
Having annual maintenances performed on your system can play a big role in maintaining the efficiency and lengthening the life expectancy. We often find systems that have been neglected which can cause them to work much harder than a system that has been properly maintained. This results in higher energy costs as well as more system failures and can even shorten the life of your system.
More capacity is not always better. In fact, it could cause more problems depending on the situation. You can also start to lose efficiency and shorten the life of your system if it is not sized properly.
There isn’t really a universal answer for this because it depends on the structure’s insulation values as well as numerous other factors. Obviously, we want the system to be able to keep up with the demands of the structure and at the desired temperature. A long run time is generally more preferred because it can extend the life of the equipment by having less starting and stopping. You could compare it to a car driving in the city vs. driving on the highway, there will be much more wear and tear on parts with a vehicle driving in the city compared to the highway. A longer run time can also create less hot or cold spots in the structure because it gives a chance for the air to circulate more, which will more evenly bring everything up to temperature as well as clean and filter the air for longer periods. High end, two stage, and modulating systems are great because they do this exact thing. They will run on the lowest stage until it determines that it isn’t keeping up with the demand and it will kick in the next stage and so on.
It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are concerned with wear and tear on the equipment, then it is better that the equipment run for longer periods of time rather than a lot of starting and stopping. Just like the analogy of a car driving in the city vs. driving on the highway, the city mileage causes more wear and tear on the vehicle compared to the highway mileage. If you are concerned about energy usage, then I like to recommend a smart Wi-Fi thermostat that can automatically setup the most energy efficient schedule for you and your home based on how long it takes your system to heat or cool the home as well as your occupancy schedule.
The actual temperature coming out can vary depending on the temperature inside the home and outside the home. Most manufacturers recommend around a 20-degree indoor temperature split. This means that the temperature coming out of the supply air vent should be between 18-22 degrees colder than the temperature of the air being sucked into the return air grille. It is a common misconception that turning the thermostat down colder will make it blow out colder air, this simply is not true.
This is entirely personal preference. For some people it is more important to use less energy and save money on their utility bill, and for others it is more important to feel more comfortable and relaxed. Keep in mind there are limitations to how hot or cold your system may be able keep your home.
The main benefit is energy savings. You can set a schedule according to when you will be home or at work and adjust the temperatures during those times to assist in energy usage, or maybe you like a different temperature during different times of the day, like when you go to bed for example. You can easily set it up to do that as well. They also have smart Wi-Fi thermostats available that will learn your daily habits, the current and upcoming weather, and the heating and cooling needs of your home to create a custom schedule for you to help you get the best energy savings. Many utility companies offer rebates for these thermostats such as the Nest, and Ecobee to name a few.
Simple maintenance that can be done is first and foremost make sure your air filter is clean. A dirty air filter can cause all sorts of problems including energy efficiency loss. The second thing that can be done is make sure that the outdoor condenser coil (condensing unit) is clear of debris such as weeds, grass, shrubs, pet hair etc. If air can’t easily flow through the coil, then it won’t work as efficiently, or it could stop working altogether. We often find them clogged with pet hair, if you find this you can turn the power off to the condensing unit and spray the coil from top to bottom with a hose to clear it out while being careful not to spray near the electronics. When we do this service, we also use a special foaming agent and tear the system apart so we can do a more thorough job.
Most manufacturers recommend at least once a year.
Yes, it is often to find the cause of the issue to be a dirty air filter, low batteries in the thermostat, too many vents being closed, return air grilles being blocked, a power issue such as a breaker or power switch that is turned off, or a gas issue such as the gas being turned off by the gas company. We always recommend checking those items if you are safely able to and comfortable with doing so.
These prices can range greatly depending on the equipment that you decide is best for you, the size of the equipment, and the accessibility of the system. We provide free estimates all the time and are happy to do so. Give us a call to set one up.
In the case of refrigerants, they are always improving, changing, and developing better and safer systems. The EPA also has guidelines that they implement to better the environment that require manufacturers to do the same.
Yes, and some of them work extremely well. There are also some that will kill bacteria and germs not only in the air but on surfaces as well including COVID. Call us today to find out more.
Closing vents in rooms that you do not use could potentially save some energy by lessening the area that your system is heating or cooling. Keep in mind that you do not want to close too many of them because your system was designed to flow a certain amount of airflow and if too many vents are closed then it can cause issues and more wear and tear on your equipment.
Heating naturally takes humidity out of the air which is part of why homes can become drier in the winter months. We highly recommend a humidifier for our climate. It can make a huge difference in your skin moisture especially for people with skin conditions, as well as your throat and lungs and people with asthma or winter allergies.
The best way is to give us a call and we can look at it to determine if there is a sizing issue or if there is a different issue.