Q: What Is The Average Lifespan Of A HVAC System?
Most HVAC systems have a life expectancy of between 10 and 20 years. However, as your equipment gets older, the level of efficiency in which it operates decreases making it necessary for you to replace or upgrade. As your system ages, there are certain characteristics that will become evident such as the frequency of repairs and the noise that comes out during operation. Because heating and cooling technologies change with time, it is possible for you to get a newer system that is energy efficient and which will serve you for a long time.
Q: How Can I Reduce My Energy Bills?
As a homeowner you can significantly reduce your energy consumption even as you enjoy the comfort of an air conditioned home. However to achieve this, you need to have certain measures in place amongst them:
Upgrading to a High Efficiency System – By changing your old inefficient HVAC system and install in its place a high efficiency unit, you can cut your utility bills by almost 30%.
Adjusting the Temperature – On a typical sense, adjusting your temperature either up or down by about 5 to 8 degrees can help save energy. For instance, while you are away during winter, you can lower your unit temperature setting and in summer raise it.
Installing Ceiling Fans – When you change the rotation direction of your ceiling fans, you can significantly change the direction of airflow. During summer, the blades should rotate in a counter-clockwise direction while during winter, they should rotate in a clockwise direction. This will help in pushing the warm air in the ceiling down into your indoor space.
Having An Annual Maintenance Plan – Your HVAC system should be checked by a professional at least twice in a year. During spring, your cooling units should be tuned up while during fall your heating system should be inspected and repaired where necessary. The main aim of annual maintenance plans is to ensure your system operates at peak efficiency. Tune ups help in identifying and resolving potential issues before they balloon into major issues and affect the operation of your system.
Installing a Programmable Thermostat – Programmable thermostats enable you to exercise control over your indoor temperature settings while you are away or even when asleep. You can easily save your energy consumption by lowering your thermostat settings for the hours you are away. These thermostats also allow you to zone your indoor space so as to have specific settings for different rooms depending on how engaged or idle they are.
Q: Does a Bigger System Necessarily Mean Higher Performance?
By design, life has taught us the bigger the better. However, in HVAC this may not hold true in all circumstances. Air conditioning units and other HVAC systems are normally measured to fit the needs of the space under consideration. Normally, a HVAC expert will do a calculation of the square footage in every room to get the best system for you. Air conditioners enhance the comfort of your home by cooling the indoor air and removing any traces of humidity. Inasmuch as an oversized AC unit cools your home faster, it consumes lots of energy and doesn’t adequately remove your humidity. Additionally, your ductwork may not have the capacity to support airflow from a larger system.
A larger system also has short run cycles. It takes a shorter time to cool your indoor air but the unit often shuts off before enough air blows across the indoor coil. This leaves lots of moisture thereby creating an environment for the growth of mold and mildew. The series of on and offs can also damage your system due to wear and tear. An AC unit operates best in long run cycles.
Q: How do I know when to replace my HVAC System?
Many homeowners tend to be confused on whether to repair or replace their systems. As a rule of thumb, units that are 7 years and over, and which frequently require repairs or fail to heat your home adequately may be more economical to replace rather than repairing. Other factors that you may need to look at include your utility bills and the frequency with which your system turns on and off during operation.
Q: How Do I Know the Right System for Your Home?
It is the goal of every homeowner to get a system that serves them right. Since working out the calculations and the technical aspects of the system you need may be a little bit challenging for you, you may have to engage the services of a HVAC expert. Normally, the expert will do a load calculation and evaluate the heating and cooling needs of your home and advise you accordingly.
Q: Can You Give Me an Estimate Without an In-Home Consultation?
We don’t encourage over the phone quotes because every home has unique needs and conditions that we have to assess. This ensures that you get an appropriately sized system in the event you want an installation or an upgrade. In the case of repairs, having an expert assess your system ensures every detail is captured before giving a quote.
Q: Is It Necessary To Have My Ductwork Replaced?
According to industry experts, almost 70% of homes with central air conditioning have an improperly installed ductwork. When your ducts are not properly insulated or sealed, they may not efficiently direct the hot or cold air where you want it. This will cost you money both in the short term and long term due to increased utility bills. Before investing in a new HVAC system, it is important you consult an expert who will check your ducts as well as other supporting components. This will ensure you don’t spend money on a brand new super-efficient system only for the efficiency gains to be eroded by poor ductwork.
Q: What Specific Advantages Does HVAC Equipment with Variable Speed Fans Have?
The basic rationale under which variable speed fans operate is that they can rotate at different speeds depending on the cooling and heating needs of your home. Under normal circumstances, these fans operate at lower speeds thereby delivering a steady and reliable stream of cool and warm air into your home. In extreme conditions, the speed of the fan increases to meet the increased demand. This guarantees homeowners comfort even during the coldest or hottest days.
Q: What is a Tune-Up?
A tune-up refers to a procedural undertaking where HVAC professionals check the components of your system and make adjustments to ensure it operates efficiently. There are several things that are done during a tune-up amongst them:
Checking carbon monoxide emission
Checking gas valve, connections and lines for leaks
Inspecting burners and heat exchangers
Checking visible ductwork and flue pipe for leakages
Checking the system for peak efficiency and making adjustments where necessary
Inspecting indoor blower wheels and motors as well as recording amp draw
Checking crankcase heater
Checking and calibrating thermostat
Q: Are Tune-Ups Covered by an Extended Warranty?
Extended service agreements and warranties do not cover regular maintenance cost of your system. Since tune-ups are categorized as regular maintenance procedures, most manufacturers require them to be done or else the warranty is voided.
Q: When Should I Have My System Serviced?
Professionals in the HVAC industry require that you have your tune-up twice every year; at the beginning of the cooling season and the heating season. This will guarantee you an efficient system before the weather gets too cold or too hot. This said, you can schedule your tune-ups at any time of the year.
Q: How Often Should I Change My Filter?
Filters whether disposable or washable, should be changed or cleaned once every month. However, in areas where the conditions are moderate and dust particles are not as many, you may change or clean your filters once every three months. Filters are designed to trap dust particles and remove them from the indoor air you breathe. If you leave them unchanged for long, your system may be affected and operate inefficiently thereby costing you more. In extreme cases, it may fail completely.
Q: How Do I Keep Track of My Heating and Cooling Expenses?
The only way to know you are spending too much on your heating and cooling needs is by tracking your expenditure. Comparing previous bills for corresponding months gives you a rough estimate but does not accurately tell you whether your costs are too much. The best way to know your expenditure curve is by dividing your energy bill by the square footage in your home. The square footage calculation should cover all livable space apart from areas like basements and unfinished garages. Your energy provider can give you the average cost per square foot within your region for the specific period of time so that you can make realistic comparisons.