Monthly Archives: August 2018

spring heating system maintenance

Key Terms for Understanding Your HVAC System

 

All complex systems have a defined set of important expressions and abbreviations that help both the professionals and the consumers understand how everything works. It is our job, as responsible users of the HVAC system to take some time and learn all the key terms that describe our units, in order to better understand how to use them in our everyday lives, how to compare and make informed choices when buying new units, as well as how to properly maintain our systems. Let’s get back to basics!

HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

The basic HVAC system is usually comprised of three elements: the heating system (a furnace or boiler), the ventilation, and the air-conditioning unit. There are simpler and more complex systems available, depending on the user’s needs. For example, more complex systems might include an air filtration and cleaning element, different humidifiers, radiant floors, swamp coolers, and so on…

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

This useful abbreviation informs users about the cooling efficiency of their units. The SEER rating is determined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute by dividing the cooling output by the total electric energy input of a particular unit. The higher the SEER rating, the better.

BTU – British Thermal Units

BTU is an abbreviation most often seen on units imported from outside the USA, signifying their strength. More precisely, one BTU stands for the amount of heat needed to increase or decrease the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

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AFUE – Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The gas furnace in your HVAC system turns gas into energy, and the AFUE tag helps you know the amount of energy you should receive from your unit. When considering the AFUE values, keep in mind that the higher the rating is, the more energy (and money) you will save. For example, if your appliance’s AFUE rating is 90, this means that 90 % of the energy created is used to heat up your home, while 10 % is lost during heating.

HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor

Heating seasonal performance factor lets you know the amount of heat created during an entire heating system. Just like SEER and AFUE, the higher the rating, the better efficiency your HVAC unit has.

EER – Energy Efficiency Ratio

Before the introduction of the SEER ratio, EER was the standardized way of measuring the cooling efficiency of the HVAC system. EER is measured by a set inside air temperature, as well as a set outside air temperature and a 50 % relative humidity.

MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value

Another older efficiency signifier, MERV was used on Energy Star approved appliances before being replaced by the SEER. As well as the SEER, a higher MERV rating means better efficiency.

If you have questions about your HVAC system, feel free to contact us at Total Comfort Heating & Cooling and one of our experienced technicians will be happy to assist you

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When to Repair Your HVAC System?

How to Decide When You Should Repair or Replace Your HVAC Unit?

Your home HVAC system is a bit older and technologically less advanced, but it still works rather well.  Determining if you should continue repairing your system every time you encounter a problem or simply upgrade to a newer and more efficient model is not always an easy task. There are several key factors you should take into account before deciding, especially if you have a unit older than ten years. Consider the following options when making an informed decision, and we at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling will take care of your home, whatever you decide.

Does your unit have minor issues like broken ductwork, electrical problems or drain lines that show signs of clogging?

You can try fixing the smaller problems yourself, but handle them with care or leave that to the professionals. If you’re having problems with the major parts of your unit, like the blower motor, the compressor or the condenser coils, opt for replacing your unit.

How many repairs has your unit required, so far?

If you repaired your unit less than two times in the last ten years and it’s still working properly, you should wait before a new purchase. If this is your third major repair, start shopping for a new unit.

care for your HVACsystem

For a more pleasant home, consider all the factors before deciding if you should upgrade or simply repair your old HVAC system.

How much would the repairs cost?

If your unit is still under warranty, or the repair costs add up to less than half of the cost of a new unit, proceed with the repairs. The costs of replacing important components like the condenser coils, the compressor or the blower motor might add up to more than 50 % of the cost of a new unit, meaning that it would be wiser to invest in a new system that would improve the efficiency of your entire HVAC system, and subsequently save you money.

Is your unit the right size?

If professionals installed an HVAC system that is in line with the size of your home, your unit should last longer and work more efficiently. An over-sized or an under-sized unit uses more energy because it needs to turn on and off more often, which leads to premature failure of the entire system. If you do not have the appropriate size unit, consult a professional and find a new option for your home.

Our team at Total Comfort Heating & Cooling will be glad to help, so contact us to request a consultation.