Frequently Asked Questions About Heating and Cooling

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What does HVAC stand for?

FAQs: HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. The 3 parts of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are closely interrelated. The goal of all of these are to provide 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 from Superior Co-Op HVAC goes by the name of HVAC contractor, and can provide heating and cooling repair expertise.

How often should I replace an HVAC filter?

FAQs: The frequency of filter changes is determined by how much your HVAC system operates, which is driven by your individual use of the system.  Check the system’s filters at least once a month. Hold the used filter up to the light and compare it to a clean filter. When light is blocked by dirt or other captured particles, the old filter should be changed. For 1 year keep track of how often you changed your filter and this will give you an idea on how often you should be changing your filter in the future. At a minimum, it is always a good idea to change filters at the start of the heating and cooling seasons. 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.

What is a SEER and EER?

FAQs: Since January 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 and 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.

How does my ducted heating and air conditioning system move air throughout my home?

FAQs: A fan draws indoor air in through vents called return grills located throughout 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.

We are replacing our AC unit this season, what are important things to consider?

FAQs: Replacing your air conditioning system is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make. The reason for this is that the life expectancy of a traditional air conditioning system is about 12 years. When choosing a contractor, pick a company to install the unit based on quality and customer service, not solely on price. Keep in mind 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 some research, pick quality contractors, and find someone you trust and you will have a successful installation that will bring you years of comfort at the least overall cost. There are also new technologies avaialble which last longer and provide heating and cooling from the same system at a much lower cost than traditional air conditioning units. Feel free to contact us directly for what might be best for your specific region.

Why can’t you ad coolant to my system without checking for a leak or repairing an exiting leak?

FAQs: 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.

What is meant by a ‘ton’ of refrigeration?

FAQs: Confusingly, the unit has little to do with weight, as used in everyday language. One ton of refrigeration is the term used to refer to 12,000 B.T.U.s/hour (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. Thus, a condensing unit with a cooling capacity of 60,000 B.T.U.s/hour is said to have a capacity of 5 tons.

How does the Clean Air Act impact heating and cooling systems?

FAQs: 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.

What is radon?

FAQs: 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 affects.

What is a Cold-Climate Heat Pump?

A cold-climate heat pump is a type of heating and cooling system that is specifically designed for use in areas with extremely low temperatures. Unlike traditional heat pumps, which may struggle to provide efficient heating in very cold temperatures, cold-climate heat pumps are equipped with advanced features and technologies that allow them to provide efficient heating even when the temperature outside is below freezing.

Cold-climate heat pumps work by using a refrigerant to absorb heat from the outdoor air and transfer it inside your home. They can also work in reverse to cool your home in the summer. The efficiency of a cold-climate heat pump depends on the outdoor temperature, with efficiency decreasing as the temperature drops. However, the advanced features and technologies used in cold-climate heat pumps help to maintain efficiency and provide comfortable heating even in the coldest temperatures.

Some of the features and technologies that can be found in cold-climate heat pumps include:

  1. Dual-fuel capability: Some cold-climate heat pumps are equipped with a dual-fuel capability, which allows them to use a secondary fuel source, such as natural gas or propane, to supplement the heat pump when the outdoor temperature is extremely low.
  2. Improved compressor design: Cold-climate heat pumps use compressors that are specifically designed to operate efficiently in cold temperatures.
  3. Advanced defrost technology: Cold-climate heat pumps are equipped with advanced defrost technology that helps to prevent the buildup of ice on the outdoor unit, even in extremely cold temperatures.
  4. Insulated outdoor units: Some cold-climate heat pumps use outdoor units that are insulated to help prevent heat loss and maintain efficiency.

By providing efficient heating in cold temperatures, cold-climate heat pumps can help reduce your heating costs and provide a comfortable indoor environment, even in the coldest climates.

Why should I replace my working furnace or air conditioner?

FAQs: 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 percent 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.

What is an Air Source Heat Pump?

An air source heat pump (ASHP) is a type of heating and cooling system that uses the outdoor air as a source of energy. It works by using a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air outside and transfer it inside your home. In the summer, the process can be reversed to cool your home.

ASHPs are considered to be highly energy-efficient because they do not rely on burning fossil fuels to produce heat. Instead, they simply move heat from one place to another. This means that they can provide comfortable heating and cooling while using less energy and reducing your carbon footprint.

ASHPs are also relatively simple to install and can be a good choice for homes that do not have access to natural gas. They can be used as a primary heating and cooling system, or in conjunction with other heating and cooling systems, such as baseboard heaters or a furnace.

Some of the advantages of ASHPs include:

  1. Energy efficiency: ASHPs are highly energy-efficient and can help reduce your energy bills.
  2. Environmentally friendly: ASHPs do not emit harmful pollutants into the environment, making them a more environmentally friendly option.
  3. Low maintenance: ASHPs require relatively little maintenance and can provide reliable heating and cooling for many years.
  4. Versatility: ASHPs can be used for both heating and cooling, making them a versatile option for year-round comfort.

It’s important to keep in mind that the performance of an ASHP can vary depending on the climate and the specific model you choose. In very cold climates, an ASHP may not be able to provide enough heat to keep your home comfortable without the use of a secondary heating source. Additionally, the efficiency of an ASHP can be impacted by factors such as the insulation of your home and the placement of the outdoor unit. Consulting with a heating and cooling professional can help you determine if an ASHP is the right choice for your home.