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Here are some questions and answers we can share to get you started.
Checking your air filters is one of the easiest, important and most cost effective things you can do for your furnace and air conditioning systems.
We recommend checking your filters each month. You should be able to see at a glance if they are dirty or plugged. If you have disposable filters (they usually have cardboard around them), they are not designed to be cleaned, so save yourself a headache and just replace them. Some higher efficiency filters can go a few of months before they need to be replaced.
However, in peak seasons, it is still good to check monthly. When in doubt, have us come out! One of the number one reasons we are called out during the hot summer months on No Heat calls is for plugged filters that have been neglected to the point of causing serious, and now expensive, damage.
Your home comfort system is the largest consumer of power in your household. Your filter is one of the most important components to keeping that system humming along comfortably.
The best carry a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating, which indicates their effectiveness not a % this seems more reliable but in fact only gives part of the story.
For the best indoor air quality, you should choose an air filter with a MERV rating of at least eight to 10. High-efficiency pleated, electrostatic or HEPA filters may remove more contaminants, but they may be too restrictive, too large or otherwise incompatible with your HVAC system.
Check your owner’s manual or consult your HVAC provider for more information.
Generally speaking, you can expect about 15 – 20 years of use from your furnace or air conditioner.
That figure varies depending on operating conditions and equipment type.
Meanwhile, equipment that isn’t properly cleaned and maintained can wear out much more quickly. If your furnace or air conditioner is older than 15 years but still running, it may still make financial sense to consider a replacement. HVAC equipment is significantly more energy-efficient than it used to be, and the difference in fuel consumption could pay for your investment in just a few years.
The rule of thumb is that switching to a programmable thermostat will lower a homes utility bills by 20% which would lead to an average savings per year of $180.
Essentially paying for itself in the first year allowing the homeowner to enjoy the future savings.
Even if that sounds optimistic to you it makes sense that your heating and air conditioning not running for eight hours a day for five days a week will lower your utility bills. That adds up to 2,080 hours a year that your furnace and air conditioning will not be running extending the units life expectancy.
Research shows a good starting point for heating your home is about 70 degrees. To cool your home, it’s recommended to set your thermostat at about 75 degrees. Temperature settings should be what feels the most comfortable to you. One thing you want to avoid is turning the temperature way up and way down in an effort “save” money. Running your thermostat up when you leave the room or building, only to turn it back down the next day seems like you are saving money during the night. However, that is actually the opposite of what is happening. Think of it like your car… when do you use the most gas? When you are accelerating to get “up to speed.” Your furnace and air conditioner work vary similarly. When you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature the system will accelerate to that temperature. By running the temperature up or down dramatically when you leave the building then resetting it when you return, you force the system to once again accelerate to temperature and now probably from an even distance. So your system will be putting the pedal to the medal so to speak to get you to the temperature you are now asking it for. That is an inefficient and expensive way to run your system. Today’s systems are designed to work best when you set them with in a few degrees and forget it.
Variable speed motors have become very popular in heating and colling systems for good reason. A variable speed furnace works best when you run it 24 hours a day in your home to circulate the air. That would be very cost prohibitive with a traditional blower. But with the variable speed motor using only about 60 watts of electricity in the continuous fan mode you’ll spend barely $5 a month to pull the hot air from the top of your home where it gathers and mix it with the cold air gathering at the bottom of your home. Running at a low airflow in that mode your furnace will be quietly working to guaranty a consistently comfortable temperature in every room and at all times. And a bonus feature of the variable speed furnace is cleaner air in your home. Not bad, right? Circulating air 24 hours a day means you are filtering the air in your home 24 hours a day as well. Add to that the benefit of moving the air slowly, allowing your filter to capture more airborne particles and the result is far fewer airborne allergens in your home.
You may not be familiar with two stage technology, but that’s OK, we are! Most homes utilize a single stage furnace. A two stage furnace allows your furnace to use a lower stage on days when it isn’t as cold and reduce energy consumption. Then on those really cold days, the second stage kicks in to keep your family comfortable in any weather. Not only is this far more energy efficient, but the lower blower speed allows the furnace to operate more quietly at the lower stage. A two stage furnace is great for balancing out hot and cold spots throughout your home. Best of all, this energy saving feature is a simple upgrade that usually isn’t too expensive.
The energy efficiency of your home doesn’t just affect the environment; it could also impact your checkbook. Heating and cooling your home or business with faulty or lower efficiency HVAC equipment wastes energy that may cost you hundreds of dollars a year. A high efficiency system is designed to use the minimum amount of energy needed to regulate your home’s indoor temperature throughout the year. Several utility companies offer rebates for residential customers who install energy efficient furnaces or water heaters in their homes. The variety of loan programs, rebates, and financial incentives available makes obtaining high efficiency equipment funding easier than ever. Here’s a quick payback example: a high efficiency air conditioner that costs $2,3400 and a comparable conventional air conditioner that costs $2,000. With a conservative estimated monthly electric bill savings of $13 with the high efficiency air conditioner. We can evaluate the payback for the high efficiency model by dividing the difference in upfront costs of the two air conditioners by the expected monthly savings.
($2,400 – $2,000) / ($13/month) = 31 months
With a payback of less than three years, you can easily see that the energy savings alone makes it a good investment if you plan on being in the home or business for more than three years. And let’s not forget, after that three years you will still be saving $13 each month on your electric bill. Over the possible 20 year life span of that air conditioner, that adds up to a whopping $3,120 savings.
And if that doesn’t help you see the value enough… those incentives and rebates on high efficiency equipment range from $200-$500, depending on your utility company, which make the payback time even shorter. With some of our local utility companies, the rebate alone will pay for the upgrade to energy efficient equipment. Then the savings are yours immediately.
SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rates how much energy the system requires to operate. It’s similar to miles per gallon for your automobile. A truck that gets 12 miles per gallon is going to be a lot more expensive to operate than a car that gets 30 miles per gallon. Likewise, an air conditioning system with a lower SEER rating is going to be more expensive to operate than one with a higher SEER rating. Most incentives and rebates from utility companies are based on SEER ratings, so before you purchase any home comfort equipment, check to see what your utility company is offering and at what SEER rating those kick in to make the most of your investment. For many home owners, the rebates can be enough to cover the cost of going with higher efficiency equipment allowing them to enjoy the benefits while minimizing the investment costs.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Most of us spend much of our time indoors. The air that we breathe in our homes, in schools and in offices can put us at risk for health problems. Some pollutants can be chemicals, gases and living organisms like mold and pests. Air cleaners can remove particles down to .1 microns or 1/1000th of a millimeter in size! They can help protect your family from many airborne illnesses, such as influenza. For many asthma and allergy patients, an air cleaner is a great investment in reducing medical costs and making home a more comfortable place to live.
HVAC (pronounced H-vac) stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It refers to the different systems, machines and technologies used in indoor settings such as homes, offices and hallways, and transportation systems that need environmental regulation to improve comfort.
“Heating” covers a wide range of services. Utah winters can be tough, and without a proper heating system for your home, your life is sure to be tough as well. Heating services include the selection, sizing, and installation of new heating systems for homes and businesses; the replacement of older heating systems with newer ones; repairing heating systems of all shapes and sizes; planned maintenance and check-ups to make sure your heating systems are working efficiently and to avoid the stress and strain that often lead to repairs or breakdowns.
“Ventilation” is the vehicle your comfort system uses to circulate the air being heated or cooled. Most homes and businesses have an intricate network of ducts that handle air circulation. Proper care of this system with repairs, sealing, cleaning, and installation of indoor air quality appliances is essential for home comfort, energy efficiency, and family health.
When summer hits in Utah it can feel every bit as tough as our winters, and that is when you truly appreciate the “AC” part of HVAC. Central air conditioning units are one of the most common forms of AC systems. These units cool everything from large buildings and homes to small shops and trailers. While central air conditioning units run on electricity, what makes the magic happen is the refrigerant they are charged with. The refrigerant is what “chills” the air. It is also why servicing and installing central air conditioners should always be left to the professionals. Federal and state laws prohibit anyone other than an EPA certified technician from installing, repairing, or maintaining any cooling system that contains a regulated refrigerant. The regulations regarding which refrigerants can be used and how they can used change regularly, so make sure you call a professional to help make sure you AC is keeping you cool and safe.
Think of preventive HVAC maintenance in the same way as the preventive maintenance for your car: If you don’t change the oil and replace belts and filters, the engine will lock up and the vehicle won’t operate. The same holds true for HVAC systems.
The purpose of preventative maintenance is to keep your HVAC system up and running all season long with no surprise breakdowns, while operating at top efficiency. You rarely see your HVAC system face to face, so it’s easy to forget about it and neglect it.
Some of the benefits of planned maintenance on your HVAC system:
* Lower energy bills – A neglected system slowly loses its ability to keep your home comfortable at the same level of efficiency it once did. Just as a car tune-up delivers better gas mileage, your HVAC system consumes less fuel after receiving professional maintenance.
* Fewer high cost repairs – Do you hear a strange sound or notice an odd odor coming from your furnace? Calling for a tune-up right away could help catch problems before they become disastrous. For example, a fraying belt could result in strange operating noises. If a technician replaces it in time, you can avoid the expensive repair that results from a snapped belt whipping around inside. By preventing future repairs, planned maintenance pays for itself.
* Longer equipment life – As much as you enjoyed purchasing you home comfort system through us… I’ll bet you’d like to avoid having to do it again any time soon. Air conditioners, furnaces and other HVAC equipment function best when they’re regularly serviced and cleaned. One malfunctioning part can cause a domino effect that causes the entire system to break down. Regular maintenance prevents this from happening and adds years to your equipment’s life span.
* Safer equipment operation – A failing HVAC system does more than cost a lot of money to repair; it also can endanger your family. For instance, if the furnace develops a crack in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide gas can escape and poison the air you breathe. Also, electric HVAC systems can develop a short circuit, which is a serious fire hazard if ignored. Play it safe with planned maintenance and make sure your family’s comfort includes their safety.
When you do a simple cost benefit analysis it’s easy to see that planned maintenance is a great investment in making sure your comfort systems do what they are suposed to do… keep you comfortable.
It is normal for an air conditioner to produce condensation when it runs. This water should flow out of your home through a drain line; however, the line can become clogged with debris or a leak can develop in the drain pan. This can allow the condensation to pool around the system. You should call an HVAC professional if you notice this occurring since it can cause water damage and allow mold and mildew to grow.
If you have additional questions that we haven’t addressed here, you’re welcome to contact us.