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Frequently Asked Questions
What should I ask my dealer about when evaluating a new heating or cooling system?
Factors to consider when you are purchasing a new furnace include:
Purchase a brand name that has a reputation for quality & reliability.
Check standard ratings which tell how efficiently the unit uses fuel and/or electricity (see question below about how energy is measured).
- Comfort features
Some units offer additional features that provide greater comfort as well as energy savings. (e.g. zoning, two-speed units, variable-capacity furnaces).
- Sound levels
To enjoy peace and quiet outdoors as well as indoors, look at the sound level (measured in bels) and compare. The lower the level, the quieter the unit (average air conditioner is 8 to 9).
- Total system
By matching a furnace and air conditioner with the right products for air cleaning, ventilation, humidity and system control, you can make your home a much more comfortable place to spend your time-- and save money on energy bills.
Ask about the manufacturer's warranty that comes with your new heating and cooling system-- the length of time equipment is covered, what specific components are included under the warranty, and whether additional extended warranties are available.
How is efficiency measured?
The efficiency of gas and oil furnaces is measured by a rating known as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel (gas or oil) into heat.
The cooling efficiency for air conditioners (and heat pumps) is measured in a rating known as Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is at using electricity (less electricity used to cool your home).
Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings, indicated as a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). In general, the higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the unit is at using electricity (less electricity uses to heat your home).
Are there new refrigerants available that are safer for the environment?
- Puron: The most promising new refrigerant is Puron. The traditional refrigerants (R-12 and R-22) contain chlorine atoms that are bad for ozone. Puron contains no chlorine and will not damage the ozone layer. The chlorine-containing refrigerants began being phased out in 1994 in cars and in 1996 in central air conditioners. Click here to learn more about Puron.
How can I improve my indoor air quality & comfort?
- Keep air filters clean.
Filters should be cleaned or replaced at least twice a year, or more frequently if you have pets or someone in your house smokes.
- Install an air cleaner.
Consider adding a whole-house electronic air cleaner, media air filter, or a portable HEPA air cleaner to remove pollutants.
- Have your ducts cleaned.
The removal of contaminznts from the duct system is an effective way to eliminate air duct pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, dust, dirt, and debris.
- Keep humidity set at a comfortable level.
Humidifiers will help you breathe easier by adding moisture into dry air during winter months.
- Check your ventilating system.
A ventilating system solves the problem of stale air by bringing fresh air into tightly constructed homes without wasting precious energy.
- Take advantage of zoning.
Heat just the rooms you're using at any given time, and not the others. Maximize your comfort while saving on utility bills.
How often should filters be cleaned or replaced?
- Filters should be cleaned or replaced at least twice a year, or more frequently if you have pets or someone in your house smokes.
Can the indoor coil be cleaned without calling a service technician?
- You can clean the coil with a vacuum cleaner and soft-brush attachment. Remove any dust from the top and underside of the coil. Make sure you do this only when the coil is dry.
Can shrubs or flowers be planted around an outdoor coil?
- Manufacturers generally recommend that plants should not be closer than 18 inches from the outdoor unit. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. Also, keep your outdoor unit free of debris (e.g., grass clippings, leaves, etc.).
Does the outdoor unit need to remain level?
- The unit needs to remain level in order for water and ice to drain away. If the unit shifts or settles, re-level it promptly.