Q How much will my new furnace or air conditioning system cost?
A A general price guide cannot be done because there are many factors which must be considered: the efficiency of the unit chosen, the size of your home and how many windows, the type and quality of ductwork existing, type of thermostat required, and if an air cleaner is necessary. In many cases replacing the whole system will result in a more efficient and longer lasting system, if at a higher initial cost.
Q Which type and size heating and cooling system do I need for my home?
A There are many factors which need to considered and assessed to determine an appropriate capacity system for your home: square feet of your home, your climate, humidity, number and size of windows, insulation factors, the direction your home faces, heat producing appliances, and also the number of people who live in the home. We must complete a heat loss / heat gain calculation on your home in order to properly design the correct system for you.
We can give you clear options by showing you a comparison between purchase cost verses the operating cost of a new furnace. For example, if your furnace is more than 15 years old, a new furnace will probably be more efficient and save money.
Q What is a single stage, two stage, and gas modulating furnace?
A A two stage furnace can run at two different BTUH capacities. One stage furnaces have one value of heating output, like 60,000 BTUH. A 2 (two) stage furnace rated at 60,000 BTUH will have a first stage heating value of 40,000 BTUH and a second stage heating value of 60,000 BTUH. A two stage furnace is preferable over a one stage furnace because it will run at the lower capacity of 40,000 BTUH most of the time and only increasing to 60,000 when necessary, again saving you on energy costs.
The most efficient unit available, a gas modulating furnace can variate the BTUH output between 35% and 100% at intervals as low as 0.5%. This benefits you in two ways: this furnace can run almost continually keeping your home comfortable while still making big savings on your energy costs.
A third benefit is the knowledge that your reduced energy consumption significantly reduces harmful emissions to the environment.
Q What is a variable-speed furnace?
A A variable speed furnace is a furnace that has an ECM (electronically commuted motor) blower motor. This type of blower can alter its speed to any specific speed in its range depending on how much airflow the furnace requires. The motor will adjusts its own speed in order to maintain a predetermined set speed (which is done by the technician during the installation set up procedures). The benefits of a variable speed blower motor are energy cost savings in the range of 1/5th of a normal blower motor, and improved airflow throughout the home, as the blower can run continually at lower speeds.
Q Why is it important to have regular maintenance on your furnace or AC?
A Owning a Furnace or Air Conditioner is like owning a car. There are different moving parts and components which need to be checked periodically for wear and tear. By maintaining your Furnace or Air Conditioner you will greatly prolong the life of the equipment and also keep things running at top performance and efficiency, reducing the overall cost of your energy bills.
Q When replacing the outdoor AC unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced?
A Air Conditioner systems today are matched to each other. So when you need the outdoor unit replaced the indoor unit will need replacing also, and vice versa. It can also be advantageous to match your air-conditioner with your furnace, which would improve overall efficiency and energy cost effectiveness.
Q What is a heat pump?
A A Heat pump is heating and cooling unit that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. A heat pump looks exactly like an air-conditioner, however not only can it cool your home but it can also heat your home by reversing its cycle direction. The heat pump is not a new technology; it has been used in Canada and around the world for decades.
Q Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?
A You do not need to cover your AC outdoor unit in the winter as they are designed to withstand all sorts of weather and temperature ranges.
Q What do all those rating numbers mean to me?
A The federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated as to efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating); heat pump heating is HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) and gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). All of these ratings can be compared by asking your dealer, utility or referencing the ARI Directory.
Q How can I control the humidity level in my home?
A Humidity is a problem in many homes, depending on the season. The best way to control the humidity is with the use of a variable speed Air Conditioner running at a low speed continually. This system removes moisture from the air much more effectively than a conventional system. Dealing with humidity in the winter months is often done by using a HRV (het recovery ventilator). This removes stale moist air from your home and replenishes your home with cool dry fresh air, all while saving energy in the process.
Q How much distance must plants and flowers be away from the outdoor unit?
A It is generally agreed by manufacturers that plants should not be placed closer than 18 inches to the outdoor unit. Air Conditioners need to take air in and exhaust air out to operate. If air is prevented from flowing properly, the unit could malfunction and need to be serviced.
Q What kind of energy efficiency rating should my furnace have?
A Furnaces before 1990 were between 55% and 65% efficient. The standard furnaces today are around 80% efficient. High efficiency furnaces can be up to 98% efficient. A high efficiency furnace will generally cost more, but will save up to 50% of the heating bill as compared to your old system.
Q What is the energy efficiency rating I look for in an air conditioner?
A Air conditioners’ rating system is the ‘SEER’ - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. In the past most air conditioners had about a 6 SEER rating. Currently the standard minimum SEER rating for all air conditioners is 13 SEER. An energy efficient air conditioner will have a 13 SEER up to 25 + SEER rating. We can show you a comparison of the extra initial price for the energy efficient air conditioner vs. the energy savings for that air conditioner. Then you can make an educated decision on which air conditioner to purchase.