How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home’s heating and cooling systems?
The most important thing you can do is clean and replace your filters frequently. Also, a system heats and cools more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration. Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or screens should be installed on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight.
How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?
The S.E.E.R. (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity. For example, a 3-ton unit may have a S.E.E.R. efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the S.E.E.R. the more efficient the system will be. The S.E.E.R. rating of any given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 21.
How long should my system run in a cycle?
There is no exact answer for how long your system should run during each cycle. The average air conditioner is sized to remove the heat from your home as fast as it comes in, on a 92° day. Therefore, ideally, on a 92° day the system should be able to keep up with the incoming heat, but not gain on it and be able to turn off. The cooler it is below 92°, the more the system will cycle on and off.
Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?
No. Closing the registers will decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Your system will work harder, to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.
Should I try to keep my system from running too much?
Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. Usually a system that is too small to cool the home is more economical to run but delivers less comfort. Even though it runs nonstop, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off. As a rule of thumb, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one cycling on and off.
How often should I change/clean my filter?
It’s recommended to change your air filter regularly, about every month if possible—especially if you have pets in your home. On the longer end, air ducts should be cleaned every few years. A clogged air filter not only restricts airflow, but also forces your air conditioner to work harder to maintain a temperature.
How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?
You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system twice a year. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future. Our planned maintenance program (PMP) plan is specifically designed to keep your air conditioning system running at its peak efficiency year-round.
How often should I replace my filters?
For optimum efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.
How often should I service my unit?
Your A/C unit should generally be serviced twice a year during the transitional seasons (Spring & Fall) to ensure it’s working at peak performance for Summer & Winter. Call us for our Energy Savings Agreement Plan and our 21-Point preventive maintenance inspections.
Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?
Yes. Check to be sure that the air handler or furnace is turned on. Check that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly.
Understanding merv rate on filters and choosing the correct one
MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. A filter with a higher rating lets fewer dust particles and contaminants through. Filters are tested for their ability to stop particles such as pollen, mold spores, dust, dander, tobacco smoke, bacteria, and carpet and textile fibers. To keep your filter operating at peak efficiency, you must change it at least once every month.
What maintenance should I do on my air conditioner?
The most important maintenance you can do is to change your filters regularly. Ground mounted outdoor units need to be kept clear of debris, clutter; weeds or landscaping that can grow too close and reduce the airflow to the unit. Also, keep pets away from the unit because pet urine can cause expensive damage. Use caution with a weed trimmer around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring. Any additional maintenance should only be performed by qualified personnel.
Indoor Air Quality and Comfort
Are there any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment?
Yes. Several manufacturers have developed new systems that contain the environmentally friendly R410A, or Puron, refrigerant. Visit our products page to view our entire line of Puron products.
Do electronic air cleaners really work?
Yes, they can actually play a big part in your complete home comfort. We have a variety of whole-house filtration devices. Some electronic air cleaners can even remove dust particles and pollen as small as .10 micron. Visit our products page for more information about the electronic air cleaners we offer.
Do I need a dehumidifier? Or are they even worth it?
A dehumidifier can play a big role in changing the way you live. Leaving in a high humidity environment can be unbearable and extremely dangerous. If the damp issues are left unattended, It can be a breeding spot to mold, dust mites and other microbes. Worse still, it will cost thousands of home repair damage where the money could be put into better use instead, the simple answer is yes in most cases.
What air temperature should my air conditioner produce?
The air temperature your system produces depends on the temperature of the air going into the system. Generally, the air produced should be 18°-20° below what enters the system. So if the air entering the system is 80°, the air exiting should be about 60°-62°. However, that only works on a system that has been running at least 15 minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that is about 80° inside. On a mild day, with an indoor temperature in the low 70’s, or during humid conditions, the air coming out may only be 15°-17° cooler than what enters.
What are the benefits of a whole house dehumidifier?
Whole-house dehumidifiers are a great way to keep your home comfortable year round, but some of their most important benefits are delivered in the hot, humid summer months. Running in tandem with your home cooling system, a dehumidifier pulls air through its return ducts where it removes moisture and returns the dry air to your home. By controlling moisture in the home during the summer, you’ll benefit by getting:
- Cleaner air: If your indoor air is overly muggy, it could mean that dirty, moist summer air is leaking into your home. Dehumidifying the air will remove some of that pollution while also removing most musty smells.
- Better health: High humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can aggravate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Overly moist air also irritates the nasal passages and skin. Removing moisture reduces these problems and can help you sleep better by clearing stuffy rooms.
- Lower bills: High humidity can make the air feel warmer than it really is – which means you’ll probably turn up your air conditioner to be comfortable. Properly humidified air feels comfortable, so you’ll spend less cooling it.
- Home protection: Excess moisture in the form of condensation can leave stains, damage walls and window frames, and even compromise the structure of your home. Running a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air to keep condensation from form
What are the benefits of ultra violet lights?
UV lights can be very effective at killing viruses, mold, and bacteria. The two working together can make your home or office building a much healthier place.
Smart Home Technology
Are Smart Thermostats with WIFI connectivity worth the investment?
A Wi-Fi Smart thermostat can turn itself down when you're away, to avoid heating or cooling an empty house. The more advanced models will even produce reports telling you how much energy you're using and how you can utilize your system better, a feature well worth the slightly higher investment.
What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Different programmable thermostats offer many different features. However, because they are electronic, they are all more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With programmable thermostats you can control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own.
How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?
The heating and cooling systems are sized according to their tonnage. One (1) ton equals 12,000 BTU/H. Residential systems can range from 1 to 5 tons.
How close should I put plants near my outdoor unit?
To operate efficiently, your unit needs space to take in air as well as blow it out. It’s ideal to plant shrubs, plants and anything of the likes no closer than 18 inches to the unit.
How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?
Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly. Our representative will provide a heat load calculation to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation. Remember, bigger is not always better.
How much does a new replacement system cost?
Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. There is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.
Is a system with more capacity better?
No. A larger system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when first turning on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well.
Is it normal for my heat pump to deliver warm air (not hot) and operate for long periods of time?
Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally produces air that is 80°, which is considered warm, and will heat the house evenly. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.
Is it normal for my heat pump to make a whooshing sound and deliver cool air from the supply registers?
Yes. During the cold weather months, frost will accumulate on the outdoor coil. This will cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. The system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.
What does zoning mean?
Zoning means sort of what you’d think. It’s a method of dividing a home into different areas so each area can be independently controlled for respective heating and air-conditioning needs.
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps are also known as “reverse cycle air conditioners.” And despite what the name implies, it actually heats and cools your home by moving heat in or out of the space as desired. This is different from a Straight Cool air conditioner which uses an external element to create heat—typically from natural gas, oil or LP gas furnaces.
What setting should I leave my thermostat on?
Obviously the time of year becomes a big factor for desired temperature settings. In the summer months the average temperature setting is 76°-78°, in the winter 70°-72° seems to be the most common setting. Remember, when leaving your house, try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.
What size HVAC system should I have?
Contrary to popular belief there, is no rule of thumb for sizing a system to a home. Depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.
What size system is right for my home?
This can be a tricky question. Many factors come into play to determine the size capacity system your home requires—like square footage, climate, humidity insulation, direction of home etc. Let Armstrong do a simple energy analysis to help you decide what’s right for your home.
When should I replace my air conditioner?
Like most machines, air conditioners don’t last forever and tend to wear out over time and become inefficient—which results in higher electrical costs. Any system over 10 years old is likely in need of maintenance or a replacement.
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