frequently asked questions about Hvac

07/31/2010 04:22


What do rating numbers mean?The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a high rating indicating high-efficiency.

What is a SEER? There are special names for the efficiency rating of various types of equipment. Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER. The higher the SEER rating is, the more efficient the unit will be.

How can I be sure my unit is the right size? Clearly, an air conditioning unit that is too small will not keep your home sufficiently cool. What many don't realize is that an oversized system will cycle (turn off and on) more than necessary, wasting expensive energy and possibly putting undue strain on the compressor. Comfort Engineers can determine the most favorable size for your home and/or business.

What does AFUE stand for? There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Gas furnaces are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. The higher the AFUE rating is, the more efficient the unit will be.

Can shrubs or flowers be planted around an outdoor unit? Yes. However, we recommend that plants be no closer than 19 inches to the unit. This allows for plenty of room for air circulation in and out of the unit. Without this room for air circulation, the unit could overheat resulting in a premature need for service.

What is the difference between a split system and a package unit? A split system uses indoor and outdoor components to provide a complete home comfort system (see illustration to the right). A package unit or self-contained unit requires no external coils, air handlers or heating units.

How often should I clean my furnace or heat pump filter? Comfort Engineers recommends monthly changing or cleaning of the filter in any heating and cooling system. This applies to electronic air cleaners too. Insufficient filter changes usually result in poor system performance, poor comfort, higher bills, more frequent repairs and premature system failure.

Certain rooms in my house never get comfortable. How can I fix that? If some of your rooms are comfortable and others are not, what you have is a ductwork problem. In many cases, ductwork can be easily modified to accommodate dampers, deflectors and other means of balancing uneven air flow.

What is the best temperature settings for my thermostat? At the lowest (winter) or highest (summer) temperature at which your family is truly comfortable. There is no magic number. The highest purpose of a home comfort system is comfort. If you heat with a heat pump not equipped with a "smart" thermostat, or a programmable thermostat, you should find a comfortable temperature setting and leave it there. With any system, it is easiest to balance comfort and economy with the help of a programmable thermostat.

What is NATE? North American Technician Excellence, Inc. (NATE) is the leading certification program for technicians in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry and is the only test supported by the entire industry. NATE represents professionalism, proficiency, and pride - qualities which lead to trust. When you need HVAC help, call a contractor who employs NATE-certified technicians. They are among the very best.

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