Q: What is an HVAC system?
A: HVAC is short for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning. The entire comfort system of a home or any other building is known as an HVAC system. And the three main comfort functions – heating, ventilating, and air conditioning are closely interlinked. They all work towards providing an internal environment necessary for thermal comfort, improved air quality, and pure and acceptable living conditions.
Q: What mechanism does an air conditioning and heating system follow for moving air throughout my living space?
A: There are return grills present throughout your living space that act as vents for drawing indoor air. This drawing of air is done by fans. This indoor air then reaches the air handler of your system passing through ducts. The air handler then throws it back into the condition space through registers or vents in ceilings, walls, or floors.
Q: How frequently do I need to replace the filter?
A: Well, the frequency of your filter replacements depends on both your individual climate and how much your HVAC system operates. Having said that, you should make sure that you check the filters once a month. And if you don’t feel the need to change filters during a season, then you must do it at the start of every season. And to make sure that your heating and cooling system is working properly, you should get it checked by a professional at the beginning of every cooling and heating season.
Q: Why do I need to replace my air conditioner or heating furnace?
A: Even though your air conditioner or heating furnace doesn’t have any problem in its operation, you should still replace it with a new system if you have been using your existing system for more than 12 years. The new system would help you save on your energy bills, and would also prevent you from spending money on repairs. In addition to saving your money in the short and long run, new systems would also provide you a better level of comfort.
Q: What is EER and SEER?
A: EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration. A SEER rating of 13 is mandatory for every residential air conditioning system sold in the US. Unlike EER that takes into account a system’s energy efficiency at the peek of its operation, SEER reflects its energy efficiency at a particular time of the year. It is important for keeping in mind both these ratings when buying an air conditioning system.
Q: Do you have any advice for people buying a new air conditioning system?
A: The decision of replacing an air conditioning system with a new one could be financially demanding for many. As you are now aware, a cooling system needs to be replaced every 12 years. So, when you look for a contractor to install it, put more emphasis on the quality of service offered and not the price you are being asked to pay. The reputation of your installing contractor is more important than brand of equipment you are buying. You need to be careful when buying new high-efficiency systems – the size of the unit you choose should be in accordance with the size of the space it is expected to cool. Do your research right and pick a contractor you have already worked with or someone you have heard a lot about. At the end of the day, you need a system which when installed in your home can offer you years of convenience and comfort.
Q: What does ‘ton’ of refrigeration mean?
A: Ton has nothing to do with the weight of the unit. So, one ton of refrigeration is a phrase that explains that the unit delivers 12,000 B.T.U.s/hour (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. A unit with a capacity of 5 tons delivers 60,000 B.T.U.s/hour of cooling effect.
Q: Why does a system needs to be checked for a leak before a coolant is added to it?
A: Refrigerants are known to cause great damage to the ozone layer. So, it is now illegal to deliberately or accidentally release them into the atmosphere.
Q: What impact does the Clear Air Act have on HVAC systems?
A: The part of the Clean Air Act that is directed at the HVAC industry promotes the development and use of alternatives that don’t impact the ozone layer just as chemicals containing chlorine do. R-22 is a chemical refrigerant that is being used in air conditioning condensing units and heat pumps for more than 40 years. It’s alternative – R-410A has ozone-friendly characteristics.