Several factors need to be considered when determining the proper size equipment for your home. Ceiling height, type of construction, window size and placement, and dozens of other variables all need to be considered to size a heating and/or cooling system properly. The best way to determine the proper size to maximize the efficiency of an HVAC system is to have a professional conduct a load calculation.

If your existing system is old, in need of repair or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit, which can be as much as 60% more efficient than a system purchased just 10 years ago, can offer long-term benefits.

There are many heating and air conditioning systems to choose from today. Your HVAC dealer can draw on a vast degree of heating and air conditioning knowledge and experience to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, local and regional utility costs, and utility incentive/rebate programs, are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system. Your dealer, utilizing the latest technology, considers all these factors while assisting you in choosing the best system for your home.

Consumers seeking to replace an existing system often choose a new unit with equal or higher efficiency ratings compared to their previous system. Replacing a unit that is 10 to 15 years old can reduce natural gas or electricity costs by 30 to 50%.

Proper maintenance is key. Maintenance and service play a key role in the life-cycle of a heating or air conditioning system. If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken, an air conditioner can last 12 to 15 years and a gas furnace 20 to 25 years.

Heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your household. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down a machine quickly and unexpectedly if the proper care and maintenance are delayed. However, by performing preventive maintenance, or servicing your system regularly, you can maximize the life-cycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many unexpected failures.

Preventive maintenance inspections performed regularly can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts.

At least once a year, we suggest that homeowners schedule a professional tune-up for the central heating and cooling system in their home. Inspections on boiler and furnace systems should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, the chimney, registers, radiators, pumps, blowers, fuel lines, the gas meter, oil tank and every part of the actual furnace and boiler.

Meanwhile, heat pump and air conditioning unit inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils and refrigerant lines.

Variable-speed cooling (and heating with heat pump models) is driven by a variable-speed compressor providing premium cooling performance which can result in considerably lower energy bills and improved indoor comfort compared to heat pumps with a single-stage compressor.

In many homes, it's too much to expect one thermostat to provide perfect conditions to every room in your home. What is comfortable for the sleeping area may be uncomfortable for the living area and vice versa. Zoning divides your home into areas with common heating and cooling requirements using additional thermostats and zone dampers installed in the duct system. Zoning gives you the ability to leave unoccupied areas without heating or cooling, in some cases saving money on energy costs. A properly designed zoning system allows you to set the temperature in each zone to your desired comfort level and the equipment and zone dampers will do the rest.

AFUE is the abbreviation for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well fuel, gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, lowering your fuel costs. Furnaces manufactured in the United States are required to have at least an 80% AFUE.

R-22 is the common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the United States Clean Air Act set a target date for January 1, 2010, on which date HVAC manufacturers were required to cease the production of products that use R-22.

R-410A is the common name for hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC), which is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is the most common replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufacturers.

R-22 is a pure HCFC (hydro-chlorofluorocarbon) refrigerant which has properties that make it a good heat transfer medium. The EPA barred this refrigerant from being used in new systems effective January 1, 2010. Production in the United States shifted to R-410A refrigerant, which is a binary blend HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) that also has good heat transfer properties. R-410A operates at approximately 50% higher pressure than R-22.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of heating, cooling, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment. AHRI is an internationally recognized advocate for the industry and develops standards for and certifies the performance of many products.

In the case of a “split system” air conditioner or heat pump, an AHRI-matched system represents a combination of a given outdoor unit, indoor unit, and/or furnace listed on the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance. AHRI’s voluntary certification programs conduct third-party laboratory testing to confirm manufacturers’ claimed performance ratings. The ratings associated with such combination are certified in the form of an AHRI Certificate of Product Ratings.

ENERGY STAR® certified products have higher efficiency ratings than standard models, will cost less money to operate and are generally better for the environment. ENERGY STAR products are third-party certified by an EPA-recognized Certification Body. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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