Frequently Asked Questions

Refrigerants are what make air conditioning possible.

Contained within the coils of an air conditioner, these liquid agents cool and dehumidify indoor air. For years, the most common refrigerant used in air-conditioning systems was R-22.

In response to growing environmental concerns, production of systems using R-22 refrigerant is being phased out.

Because R-410A contains no chlorine, it is considered ozone-friendly.

Covering the unit is not necessary, especially if you have a heat pump that runs all year long.

In fact, covering an entire unit may actually trap moisture and cause issues.

Also, never run a unit with a cover on, as it will cause damage.

In ducted systems, zoning divides your home into areas with common heating and cooling requirements, by using secondary thermostats and zone dampers installed in the duct system.

Zoning allows you to adjust heating and cooling in parts of your home when they are not used, helping to save money on energy costs.

A properly designed zoning system allows you to simply set the temperature in each zone to your desired comfort level.

The equipment and zone dampers do the rest.

A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.

During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner.

It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air.

In colder weather, however, the process reverses – the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.

Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat.

The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home.

When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home.

Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace.

With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time.

Each system operates when it is most cost effective.

The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system.

However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

Anything that prevents airflow from making its way to the outdoor coil may affect the efficiency and performance of your system.

To avoid this, keep the space around the equipment clear.

To determine if your unit is suffering from inadequate airflow, contact us to schedule a maintenance.

Blocked air flow to air conditioners and heat pumps can lead to larger problems.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your HVAC system running efficiently…

1. Change the air filters every month or as directed by your system’s manufacturer.

2. Cut back foliage and remove any leaves, grass trimmings or debris left by nearby dryer vents that might be blocking air flow to the air conditioner or heat pump.

3. Have your system serviced by a licensed professional HVAC contractor before peak season.

Standard furnace filters work well to keep your system and its duct work clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality.

To do that you need a media filter.

The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal by seven times that of a standard furnace filter.

However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything (from insecticide dust to airborne viruses) from the filtered air.

A media filter can have a life exceeding two years, and its only drawback is that its tight fiber weave can cause your furnace to have to work harder to blow air through the house.

Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity.

Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation – high for hot summer days and low for milder days.

Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control.

Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air.

This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.

Variable-speed cooling (and heating with heat pump models) is driven by a variable-speed compressor.

It provides high-efficiency cooling performance, which can result in lower energy bills and improved indoor comfort compared to air conditioners and heat pumps with a single-stage compressor.

A high-efficiency gas furnace with modulating gas valve and variable-speed blower, provides outstanding efficiency and economical heating performance.

Unlike single-stage gas furnaces that operate ‘all ON’ or ‘all OFF,’ a modulating, variable-speed gas furnace is designed to minimize energy use by running at its low fan speed setting to meet the temperature you selected at the thermostat or control system.

It produces the right amount of heat to help maintain a steady, comfortable temperature inside your home.

Two-stage heating means the furnace has two levels of heat output – high for cold winter days and low for milder days.

Since the low setting is adequate to meet household heating demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and provides more even heat distribution.

Longer, low-capacity operation has many advantages…


1. Consistent comfort

Two-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with standard furnaces, regulating temperature to within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting.


2. Quiet operation

Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, when the amount of heat required is lower, instead of reaching full capacity all at once.

That means there’s no sudden “kick” or blast of air.


3. Improved air filtration

Low-speed operation allows your filters to capture more contaminants (because air is constantly passing through them), so you can breathe easier.


4. Efficient performance

Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a standard furnace, which always runs at full capacity and shuts off when the heating demand has been met.

AFUE is the abbreviation for ‘Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency’ ratio.

AFUE is the percentage assigned to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input.

This measurement describes how well fuel, natural gas or propane is consumed to produce heat by a furnace.

As the AFUE percentage rate increases, the efficiency of your furnace also increases, which can help to lower your fuel costs.

HSPF is the abbreviation for the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor.

The HSPF number identifies the heating efficiency of a heat pump.

The higher the HSPF number, the more efficient the heating performance of the heat pump.

1. Efficiency Ratings

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).

This is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment.

It is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity of a continuously operating air conditioner by the electricity power input.

The higher the SEER, the less your unit will cost to operate.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).

This measurement is similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of your heat pump.

Like SEER, HSPF industry minimums have risen in recent years.

The current industry minimum is 6.80 HSPF.


2. Sound Ratings

In recent years, HVAC equipment has not only got more energy efficient, it has become quieter too!

Although sound does not affect the efficiency of a unit, it can certainly affect your comfort.

If your unit has a low-level sound, you (and your neighbors) will hardly notice when it is operating.

  • Decibel (db).

A term used to describe the relative loudness of a sound.

Typically heat pumps and air conditioners fall somewhere between the sound of a human voice (70 db) and a blender (88 db).

  • Sound Rating Number (SRN).

A unit based on ARI tests. Average sound ratings range from 74 to 80 db.

The lower the SRN rating, the quieter the unit.

The AHRI directory (your directory assistance of heating and cooling) contains rated values for air conditioners and heat pumps.

These explain how a “split system”, which is an outdoor unit matched with an indoor unit and/or furnace, works.

The AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance provides information for all models still being sold, including those currently in production (“active”) and those that are no longer currently in production but are still available (“discontinued” or “production stopped”).

AHRI is the abbreviation for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, a trade association representing manufacturers of heating, cooling, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment.

AHRI is an internationally recognized advocate for the industry. It develops standards and certifies the performance of many products.

In the case of an air conditioner or heat pump, an AHRI-certified system confirms the performance ratings of specific combinations of the outdoor unit, indoor unit, and/or furnace listed in the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance.

AHRI’s voluntary certification programs conduct third-party laboratory testing to confirm performance ratings.

The ratings associated with such combination are certified in the form of an AHRI Certificate of Product Ratings.

There are some basic strategies for outsmarting indoor air pollution…


1. Eliminate

The first step toward better indoor air is to identify the sources of air pollutants and remove as many as possible from your home.

You can decrease the amount of dust and dirt in your home by cleaning and vacuuming at least once a week.

You should also regularly wash bed linens and stuffed toys.

If someone in your family is sensitive to fumes, you should safely store household products and use them only when necessary.

If you need help determining if you have a problem with pollutants, contact us to evaluate your home and indoor comfort system.


2. Ventilate

Today’s modern homes are well insulated and sealed to conserve energy, which means airborne pollutants have no way to escape.

Ventilation systems help remove allergy-aggravating particles and germs by exchanging stale, recirculated indoor air with fresh, filtered outside air.


3. Clean

Although cleaning and ventilating helps reduce indoor air pollutants, these simple fixes are not cure-alls.

Some contaminants are so small that they may escape through the vacuum or never land on a surface.

Air cleaners and high-efficiency air filters capture even the smallest of particles and germs.

Germicidal lights kill them, while an air purification system goes a step further; it removes particles, germs and odors, and it destroys chemical vapors.


4. Monitor

Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can actually increase concentrations of particles and germs.

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers with proper controls regulate moisture levels and temperatures to improve indoor air quality and enhance comfort.

Lack of humidity in a home can be the cause of numerous respiratory ailments.

Improper moisture levels can cause dryness in the membranes of the nose, throat and bronchial tubes.

Respiratory infections, repeated attacks of winter colds and airborne infections can also stem from inadequate humidity.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep your home environment healthy and comfortable.

All you have to do is install a whole-house humidifier, which puts moisture into the air, making dry air easier to breathe in.

There are a few factors you should take into consideration when purchasing a humidifier for your home…


1. Size

A humidifier’s capacity, or the amount of moisture it can dispense in a given time, should match your particular household’s needs.

The capacity is measured as gallons per day of operation.

One method that is used to determine the correct-size humidifier for your home is multiplying the total floor area in square feet by the ceiling height.


2. Cost

Consider not only the purchase price of the unit, but also the operating and maintenance costs.

Some products consume more energy than others, so choosing a model that is right for your home and budget is extremely important.


3. Type

We offer both power and bypass whole-home humidifiers, both designed to help maintain proper moisture levels.

For more information on humidifier selection and installation, contact us.

You may have tried to get rid of odors in your home by spraying air fresheners or lighting candles.

The problem with these methods is that they only mask the odors – they don’t get rid of them.

In fact, the chemical ingredients in the mist they produce may further contaminate your home.


1. Improve ventilation

Sometimes, poor ventilation in a home causes unpleasant odors.

We can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is indeed the problem.


2. Clean the air

Air purification systems uses advanced technology to remove and destroy odors from sources like cleaning supplies, solvents used in carpeting or furniture, paints, cooking smells and pets.

Media air cleaners can control odors as well.

A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) system can also clear away odors when equipped with its optional carbon canister.

Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home’s odor problem.

You can reduce these odor-causing contaminants with a germicidal (UV) light, which inhibits the growth of germs by sterilizing surfaces in your heating and cooling system.

With an ever-growing focus on organic foods, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can sound like a good thing.

What makes them “organic” is the fact that these chemical substances contain carbon, which is found in all living organisms.

“Volatile” means the chemicals give off gases, or vapors, at room temperature.

When inhaled, VOCs can have serious health consequences.

As with other types of pollutants, the severity of symptoms depends on the level of exposure and duration of contact.

VOCs are found in a wide variety of household products and materials, including everything from paints and varnishes to cleaning supplies and new carpeting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that concentrations of VOCs are greater indoors than outside.

Easily installed inside your ductwork, these solutions emit powerful rays of ultraviolet light.

These penetrate the cell walls of biological contaminants on surfaces, damaging their physiological structure so they can no longer grow, multiply and spread throughout your home.

Even when your heating and cooling system isn’t running, Healthy Climate germicidal lights work continuously.

Whether it be Bypass, Fan Powered or Steam humidifiers, choosing the right humidifier can be a challenge.

A variety of factors need to be considered including the square footage, space available for installation and cost.

Steam humidifiers offer the best humidification possible but are the most expensive.

Ask us about which type of humidifier will be the best option for you.

Indoor air that’s too damp feels sticky on the skin and requires more heating or cooling to feel comfortable.

Excessively moist air can also serve as a breeding ground for dust mites, mold, mildew and fungus.

It can also ruin furniture, books, clothes and leather items.

When inhaled, carbon monoxide combines with red blood cells and displaces the oxygen our bodies need to survive.

Carbon monoxide bonds with blood 200 times faster than oxygen, creating a condition known as carboxyhemoglobin saturation.

As carbon monoxide is carried to the vital organs through the bloodstream, our bodies start to asphyxiate or suffocate.

It takes the body much longer to eliminate carbon monoxide than to absorb it, which is one reason why exposure can be so dangerous.

The answer is most likely YES, but this is mainly due to four main reasons…


1. Matched system design

All outdoor cooling units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance.

Air conditioners and heat pumps may “work” with other indoor units, but the result is a definite compromise in overall system performance.


2. Design advances

In recent years, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances. especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels.

A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.


3. Higher cooling and heating efficiency

The cooling and/or heating efficiency rating assigned to a given air conditioner or heat pump is based on matched system performance.

While you may gain higher efficiency by replacing only the outdoor unit, the efficiency levels (and savings) will not be as high as with a matched system.


4. Equipment age

If an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear.

Replacing both units means you won’t have to replace the indoor unit in a short time, instead you’ll have years of service from both units.


5. New warranty

A new unit also gives you a new product warranty.

Replacing the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit gives you added peace of mind, knowing the new warranty covers the entire system.


6. Cost savings

At first, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain.

That is, until you consider the lower efficiency, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership associated with single-unit replacement.

It may cost more to replace an entire system, but this gives you more efficiency, reliability and comfort.

We offer a variety of financing options to fit your budget.

With our flexible financing options, we provide you with affordable monthly payments and online account management.

Learn more here.

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