HEATING AND COOLING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How do I choose a heating or cooling contractor?
A: The contractor that you select may affect your satisfaction more than the brand of equipment you choose. Choosing the right contractor is important as you want to have some that has the knowledge and expertise to recommend the right equipment for your home. Properly sized equipment is very important. To start with make sure that the contractor is licensed, insured and has a physical address. Make sure that you can contact their office and that it’s not just someone with a cell number. Next make sure their training and credentials are up to date. Air heating and air equipment increases in efficiency and features, it gets more complex and requires better technicians. Select an HVAC contractor whose technicians are certified a. Due to rapid advances in the industry, technician updates on equipment are essential. You’ll want to look for someone with credentials such as: HVAC Excellence, NATE (North American Technician Excellence), RSES (Refrigeration Service Engineers Society or UA Star. And remember, it’s okay to ask for referrals. A quality HVAC contractor will be happy to provide them.
Q: How do I know which brand to choose?
A: What’s more important is getting the correct size of air conditioner or furnace. . The goal should be to get the optimum size and features for your climate and your home. Bigger is not better.
Q: How will I know what the right size of equipment for our home?
A: This is where choosing the right contractor makes all the difference. A qualified contractor will consider 3 main areas: the amount of area you have to heat and cool, the amount of heating and cooling required for your climate, and the condition of the “envelope” or part of your home or building that interfaces with the outside air. Within each of these categories, there are many factors that affect the load and equipment size. Know that we will factor in all the above and recommend a piece of equipment that will serve you well for years to come.
Q: How do I make sense of the efficiency ratings?
A: It’s important to have some understanding of ratings. The most common ratings are SEER, AFUE, and HSPF/COE. For central air conditioners, efficiency is rated in SEER. The heating industry uses a rating called AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) to measure the efficiency of converting gas into energy for heating. Heat pump efficiency gets expressed in a couple of ways, either HSP or COE. We’ll discuss the ratings with you and help you determine the relationship between higher up-front costs and long-term saving through lower utility bills.
Q: How often should I change the air filter on my furnace?
A: Changing your filters on a regular schedule is a good practice to adopt. Keep in mind that households are different so it is hard to give one hard rule. For example; if your household has pets and more occupants in the house, you’ll probably want to change your filters more frequently than a household that has on 1 or 2 occupants and no pets. AND keep in mind that the quality of the filter makes a big difference. Remember “you get what you pay for” applies to air filters. Trying to save money on cheap filters means that you’re not getting the filtration that you need and you’ll probably spend a lot more on cleaning and maintenance. So make sure to use a high quality filter. A good tip is to check your air filters once a month when you pay your utility bill.
Q: I’ve heard that it is important to check duct work periodically. Why is that?
A: Leaking ducts cause more than 20% of the losses of heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you are on a maintenance program with your air conditioning and heating company, leak detection could be included. If air ducts are located in a hot or cold space such as an attic, have the outside of the ducts insulated to reduce heat loss. Having leaky ducts saves wear and tear on both your heating and cooling equipment and lowers your monthly bills.
Q: What is a ductless heat pump?
A: A ductless heat pump is a new technology providing excellent energy savings. A ductless heat pump has no duct work. Also referred to as a mini-split system, the ductless heat pump operates with two functioning units: an outside unit in conjunction with one or more inside heat. The ductless heat pump provides hot or cold air directly to your room without duct work.
Q: Why would I choose a ductless heat pump?
A: A ductless heat pump offers extremely efficient operation, quiet operation, provides both heating and cooling and is very simple to install. Also, many local and regional rebates are available making it a superb choice for many home owners.
Q: Is a ductless heat pump new technology?
A: No. The ductless heat pump has been used with great success commercially for over 20 years. Most of the rest of the world heat with ductless heat pump technology because of its reliability and high efficiency. Also, a ductless heat pump requires no duct work so installation is quick and easy.
Q: When is a good application for a ductless heat pump?
A: A ductless heat pump can replace existing electric baseboard/wall heaters and woodstoves. Often referred to as “the new electric heat” the ductless heat pump provides substantial cost savings to traditional forms of electric heat. Home remodeling and room additions are another application for ductless heat pumps. Rather than extending the existing home’s ductwork or pipes, the ductless heat pump can provide effacing heating and cooling. New construction is a perfect application for ductless technology. Typically one or more systems might be installed in various “zones” of the house. And many existing homeowners when given the choice prefer a ductless heat pump. We are happy to do a side by side comparison for you to determine if a ductless system will fit your needs.
Got a question about heating and cooling? Or about equipment? Give us a call, we’ll be happy to help you sort things out: