The more informed you are as a consumer, the better decisions you can make for you and your family. At Great Works Heating & Air Company, we strive to make your experience with us educational, easy and beneficial for your needs. Below are some basic heating and cooling facts, tips and articles for your review.
Properly Sized Equipment
Is your current system properly sized for your home? We will perform a Manual J Load calculation to determine the right size equipment for your home. This calculation takes into consideration your homes size, orientation to the sun, building materials, location of windows, attic insulation and other factors which limit the amount of heat or cold that can enter your home.
High Efficiency Units
Significant advances have been made in the last few years allowing air conditioning systems to operate at high levels of efficiency. Replacing older equipment with these new high SEER models can have a big impact on your home’s energy consumption.
Adequate Levels of Insulation
Most homes have inadequate amounts of insulation in the attic. Adding insulation can dramatically reduce the amount of heat or cold that can enter your home which in turn reduces the load on your heating and cooling system.
Have Your Duct System Inspected
A poorly designed or damaged duct system will cost you money and minimize the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Make sure that your ducts are connected and that there are no gaps. Otherwise, you could be wasting money heating or cooling non-essential space. Over time duct work can deteriorate and fall apart. Cracks and even gaping holes can form allowing conditioned air to be diverted to your attic instead of your home. New duct work can solve air flow problems and ensure that your operating at maximum efficiency.
Let us inspect and clean both the indoor and outdoor coils
The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt build-up and cleaned if necessary.
Have Great Works check the refrigerant charge
The circulating fluid in your air conditioner is a special refrigerant gas that is put in when the system is installed. If the system is overcharged or undercharged with refrigerant, it will not work properly.
Reduce your cooling load
Do this by using cost-effective conservation measures. For example, effectively shade east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities, such as dish-washing, until the evening on hot days. Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. If practical, ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
Perform regular maintenance
To optimize the energy efficiency of your HVAC System, it is important to follow a regular maintenance schedule. If you have been using your system without regular maintenance for over 10 years, there is a good chance that you are not receiving optimal energy efficiency. Give us a call today to schedule a maintenance tune-up.
Change your filters
To take full advantage of your heating and cooling system, your filters should be changed every three to six months in your home and every three months in commercial buildings. Various manufacturers sell reusable filters, which need to be cleaned. Vacuuming and rinsing these filters regularly will ensure longer life and greater efficiency from your system.
What does MERV or MERV Rating mean?
Your filters MERV Rating is a good way to help judge the effectiveness of the filter. MERV means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Engineers – ASHRAE. MERV values vary from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV value is the value the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles. Another consideration is air flow through the your HVAC system. Leaving a dirty air filter in place or using a filter that is too restrictive may result in low air flow and possibly cause the system to malfunction.
ASHRAE recommends MERV 6 or higher
US Department of Energy recommends MERV 13
LEED recommends MERV 8 at a minimum.
See the chart below for filter MERV descriptions.
Plug the leaks
Seal places in your home with weather stripping and caulking. Caulking and weather stripping lets you manage your ventilation, which is the deliberate controlled exchange of stuffy inside air for fresher outdoor air. Sealing Your Attic - A test can be used to determine if your home has a considerable amount of leaks, allowing hot dirty air to enter your home through your attic. If needed old insulation can be removed and all cracks and crevices in your attic can be sealed to create an airtight layer between your attic and your living space. New insulation can then be installed creating an optimal barrier between you and the heat above.
A programmable electronic thermostat provides automated control for the cooling and heating of your home. It automatically reduces the heat during night-time hours when your family is asleep and during the day when you are at work. It can raise the temperature in the hour before you wake-up or return from work. By installing and using a programmable thermostat you can significantly save on heating and a/c utility bills.
Improve Air Quality
Indoor air pollution is now considered by the EPA to be American’s No. 1 environmental health problem. Tightly sealed buildings and homes may be more energy efficient but can trap pollutants and microbes indoors causing allergies, odors, mold and illness. Let us provide you with an estimate for a high-efficiency air cleaner to protect the air in your home.
Hire an HVAC Contractor Who Fits Your Home with the Right Conditions
The design and maintenance of your home’s central heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) can be complex. Hire a qualified HVAC contractor—and enjoy a safe and comfortable environment, which is both energy and cost-efficient. Hire the wrong HVAC contractor (who is usually the cheap contractor)—and you will pay the price over time in higher energy bills and lower air quality, which is uncomfortable and likely hazardous to your health.
Choosing, installing and servicing heating or cooling systems, is not for do-it-yourselfers. From furnaces to heat pumps and ductwork to air conditioners, HVAC work is specialized and varied—with a wide range of possible solutions for customizing your home’s unique system.
You can tell the difference between a quality HVAC contractor and one who cuts the wrong corners. A trustworthy contractor makes thorough calculations of your home upfront, before ever recommending your system solution. With thousands of models of HVAC equipment on the market, you need an expert who understands the intricacies of design and installation to provide the right system for your home.
A home’s heating and cooling requirements change over time. Whether you want to outfit an entire home, retrofit an existing home or fix an old furnace, the performance of your HVAC depends upon the HVAC contractor.
Compare to Qualify Your HVAC Contractor
Before shopping price, contact several contractors to compare their services and warranties. Ask about the experience and expertise of the technicians. Learn about the company and the value built into the prices.
Professionals with HVAC companies will come out to your home and provide an itemized estimate for free. Ask about specials or rebates for purchasing ENERGY STAR rated equipment.
Verify the contractor is state licensed and protected with liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Not all states require a license, so be diligent about researching background history and checking references. Laws regulating contractors are problematic for consumers—so do your homework before you hire.
Hire only an HVAC Contractor Who Performs a Heat Load Calculation
In order to properly design and size your heating and cooling equipment, a contractor must first do an upfront procedure—known in the industry as a Heat Load Calculation design or “Manual J.” If your contractor wants to give you an estimate, or begin installation, without first performing a Load Calculation—get another contractor.
The data, which a contractor gathers from performing a Load Calculation, is valuable. It can save you money and make your home safer and more energy efficient. You might find you actually need a smaller furnace than your old one or that some rooms will run more effectively with different sized piping or ductwork. A Heat Load Calculation analyzes your system needs based upon many factors—the size, layout and location of your home, as well as materials, insulation, windows and other considerations.