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5 HVAC Questions Our Technicians Get ALL the Time

 

Throughout our 35+ years of service to Grass Valley and the surrounding communities, we often find ourselves answering the same questions about HVAC systems over and over again. No matter what type of home you have and what your heating and cooling needs are, it is important to keep your HVAC system working properly and running efficiently to keep your family healthy and comfortable. Today, we are going to answer some of your questions about HVAC maintenance and repair.

5 Common HVAC Questions Answered

Over our years of experience, we have put together a list of the 5 most common HVAC questions we get from our customers:

1. How often should I change or clean my air filters?

This is probably the question that we get most often. Some people change their filter at the start of each season, while others replace it once every month. The best answer to this question is that you should change your air filter when it is dirty. The frequency depends on a number of factors including the type of air filter, home air quality, pets, number of people in your family, and the level of outdoor pollutants and allergens in the area. To keep your system running efficiently, check your filters once a month and change them when they become dirty or clogged.

2. How often do I need to have my HVAC system serviced?

Your HVAC unit is a mechanical device with a motor and electrical components that require routine maintenance. Just like an automobile, your HVAC system needs to be serviced regularly to keep it running smoothly and working efficiently. If you do not have your system serviced regularly, you may experience complications and the unit may become less energy-efficient overtime. Aim for an annual tune-up where an HVAC expert will clean and lubricate your HVAC system components to keep your system working effectively year-round.

3. Why is my AC unit freezing up?

This is a common problem that homeowners face. There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing a frozen AC unit. As a homeowner you can make sure that the air filter is clean or replaced and the airflow is not restricted. Beyond that, you will need to call an HVAC professional to diagnose and fix the issue. Some potential issues that may be causing your AC unit to freeze up are low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil, or a defective blower motor or relay, all of which can be diagnosed and fixed by an HVAC technician.

4. Do I need to purchase an indoor air quality system (humidifier, dehumidifier, air purifier)?

No two homes or comfort levels are exactly the same. The answer to this question really depends on the needs of the individual and their family. Whole-house humidifiers can help reduce moisture for homes in humid climates while humidifiers can help add moisture to homes in dryer climates. As for air purifiers, they can be beneficial to those who have severe allergies or asthma, but it depends on the person’s threshold for irritants and allergy triggers.

5. How can I increase the efficiency and life of my HVAC system?

There are many ways that you can increase the energy-efficiency and longevity of your HVAC system. One of the best ways to increase energy efficiency is by adjusting your thermostat to a temperature closer to outdoor temperatures when you are not home and using the space. You should also make sure that your home is well-insulated and you are replacing or cleaning your air filters regularly so that your HVAC system is not working harder than it has to.

Have a question that we didn’t cover? Contact us today for help with your heating and cooling concerns.

Reduce Home Heating Costs This Winter

Everyone wants to save money and finding ways to reduce home heating costs during the winter is a great place to start. Fuel costs vary by region but regardless of where you live, a substantial portion of your household budget goes toward maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.

If your home’s HVAC system is more than 15 years old, it is time to start thinking about purchasing updated equipment. This is a good time to consider switching to an alternate fuel source. Natural gas is the least expensive fuel, followed by oil, propane and electricity.

Even if your system is up-to-date, you can improve its efficiency by making sure it is properly sealed. Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of heated and cooled air leaks through ducts. Aerosealing is a new technology that blows sealant particles into the ducts. The particles produce airtight bonds over any leaks in the system.

Lowering your thermostat can also improve your home’s HVAC system efficiency. Set the thermostat for 68 degrees Fahrenheit for occupied rooms during the day. At night, set your thermostat to 60 degrees for optimal efficiency.

Making sure you have adequate attic insulation is another way to save money on energy bills during the winter. Your attic should have eight inches of cellulose insulation or a minimum of 11 inches of rock wool or fiberglass insulation. You can hire an HVAC technician to add more insulation if you have less than the minimum required. A technician can also make sure all openings in the attic floor, including those near electrical boxes and plumbing vents are sealed to eliminate drafty rooms.

It is a good idea to have a qualified HVAC technician service your system at least once per year. Many companies offer affordable service contracts. This saves you the hassle of trying to remember when to call for annual service. The technician will inspect the entire system and can save you money by finding small problems before they become big ones.

Throughout the year, you can reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs by changing or cleaning the air filters approximately once per month. Following these tips can help any homeowner save money and extend the lifespan of the home’s HVAC system.

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How Important Is It To Get The Right Size Of Heating And Cooling Equipment?

HVAC sizing is one of the trickiest things to get right when designing a new home. Going overboard has its pros and cons. Being too conservative also brings its own share of problems. The knowledge of seasoned professionals will help a lot to determine what size is just right given all of the pertinent factors surrounding the installation. A good match means that the following are all given proper attention:

Comfort

The reason HVAC systems exist is to bring comfort to the inhabitants of a structure whether it is a house or a large building. The air conditioner should be able to have enough power to offset the heat brought in by the warm weather. The heater should keep people warm in the midst of winter. An underpowered system will not suffice when the peak of the seasons hit. An overly large system, on the other hand, may bring too much heat or fail to deal with humidity because they get cold too fast.

Cost

No one wants to spend more than they have to. Overestimating the size of the HVAC units will inevitably lead to higher costs than is actually necessary. Of course, trying to lower the cost should not be an excuse to grossly underestimate the requirements either as this has a negative impact as well. Professionals must estimate the perfect HVAC sizing using scientific and rigorous standards so that homeowners can find their ideal system at a reasonable price.

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, less is more. The smaller systems are easier to manage than the large ones that have complicated configurations and greater needs. There are just more things that can go wrong with bigger systems like central air conditioning compared to tiny window units.

Energy Use

Proper HVAC sizing will guarantee that the system will not draw more power than it actually needs. Heating and cooling appliances are already responsible for much of the household expenditure. Both environmental and economic concerns make it vital for people to limit their energy consumption.

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The Raising Of Current Efficiency Standards Is Placed On Hold

Over the years there have been many amazing developments in the HVAC industry. Many of these developments concentrate on preserving energy and natural resources. In 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy partnered with several experts in the HVAC industry to improve on HVAC Efficiency.

As a result HVAC equipment manufacturers have been developing equipment that is far more efficient. Creating the annual fuel utilization efficiency, or the AFUE, rating system helped the DOE to measure the efficiency of fuel powered furnaces and boilers. HVAC manufacturers responded by creating the condensing furnace that has an AFUE rating of 90. A condensing furnace with this high rating is estimated at being the most efficient because it only wastes ten percent of the fuel it uses to heat homes.

Most of the existing combustion types of furnaces installed in homes located in the northern states have a meager AFUE rating of just 78. In fact, the current minimum required AFUE rating is set at 78 in states like New York. After the development of the efficient condensing furnace, the DOE made a move to raise the minimum HVAC Efficiency Standards to 90 in northern states.

In 2013 the DOE was ready to enforce the new efficiency standard of 90. Experts in the HVAC industry stood up for homeowners and their fear of this new efficiency standard and have stopped the enforcement of it, for now. They fear this enforcement because thousands of homeowners will have to make expensive modifications in order to add a condensing furnace into their HVAC system when their existing furnace wears out. The condensing furnace requires a different venting system than what most existing HVAC equipment uses.

The cost of purchasing the new furnace, a new venting system, as well as paying for the modifications and installation of the new furnace will far exceed what many homeowners can afford. However, for some homeowners, installing an AFUE 90 rated furnace was no issue financially and they are already enjoying the rewards of lower heating costs. The best way to learn more about efficient furnaces and to keep up with all that is transpiring in the court system about the raised efficiency standard is to contact a local HVAC company.