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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.

How to find quality HVAC contractors

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

Repair Your HVAC System

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.

Checking air filters is a necessary step of HVAC system maintenance

How to Take Care of Your HVAC System by Cleaning the Air Ducts

 

Clean the Air Ducts in Your Home HVAC System for a Better Cooling Effect

Getting the perfect temperature in your home is impossible without a quality HVAC system working without a glitch. In the process of keeping your system in working order, cleaning the air ducts in your house is an important step you should not skip. In order for your cooling and heating system to run smoothly and preserve energy, make sure you keep your air ducts in top shape by following our tips.

Why should you clean the air ducts?

Dirty filters on air ducts slow down the airflow throughout your home and hinder the operation of the HVAC system itself. Clogged up filters cause dirt, hair, and debris to build up in the air ducts and significantly reduce the quality of air in your home. Bad airflow creates a humid environment that serves as a fertile ground for mold development and potential pest and rodent infestations. Your HVAC system will work extra hard in order to cool your home, draining and wasting more energy than necessary. Overexertion due to the lack of maintenance can lead to system failure and a bigger financial burden you did not expect.

How often should you change your filter?

Every three months to make sure your system is operating without difficulties.

Every two months if you own pets because of the increased amount of dirt and pet hair circulating in the air.

Even more often, especially if you notice that your filters get really dirty quickly.

How should you clean your ducts?

Professional duct cleaners thoroughly clean all unapproachable nooks and crannies of your home air duct system, not just the filters themselves.  So, pay attention when you hire someone to do this task for you. If you want to prolong the period between professional cleaning, make an effort to vacuum your home frequently and take care of your system.

If you need expert advice, feel free to contact us at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling and schedule a consultation.

Repair Your HVAC System

Most Common Reasons for HVAC Failure and How to Avoid Them

Avoid These Common Mistakes and Prolong the Life of Your HVAC System

Nobody likes to be in desperate need of cooling, only to realize his or her costly HVAC system is not working. In order to avoid this unfortunate turn of events, it is useful to know what are the most common reasons for HVAC system breakdown!

Incorrect Installation

If you want to have a new HVAC system installed in your home, do proper research, and follow these useful steps on how to choose the right professional for the job.

Inaccurate Sizing

Not all HVAC systems are appropriate for all spaces. If you install a system that is too powerful, it will turn on, cool your home too quickly, turn off and then repeat the whole process every couple of minutes. If you choose a system that is too weak, it will struggle with keeping the desired temperature of your home, draining too much energy in the process and decreasing the life of your unit.

Checking air filters is a necessary step of HVAC system maintenance

The air conditioning filter in the ceiling needs to be checked regularly in order to avoid clogging.

Lack of Maintenance

Besides doing simple adjustments in order to keep your system working properly, it is important to schedule professional maintenance to prepare your system for the changes in temperature. Check your air filters often and replace them if necessary.

Incorrect Usage

Be sure to close all doors and windows to the outside when your AC is working, and turn it off when you are not at home.

Technical Difficulties

Refrigerant leaks, broken thermostats, blown capacitors, and tripped breakers are all technical reasons HVAC systems tend to fail. These problems can be resolved with a thorough and professional checkup.

Physical Obstacles

Heat pumps and external units require a clean surrounding area. Give your unit some breathing room in order to achieve unobstructed airflow and frequently remove excess grass, leaves, and pollen off your unit.

If you encounter any difficulties or have any questions, contact us at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling to schedule a consultation with our team.

Extend the life of your AC

5 Simple Ways to Extend the Life of Your AC

Prolong the Life of Your HVAC with These Easy Steps

When the streets start to sizzle from the heat and you get the urge to stand in the shower for hours to cool down, using the air conditioning system in your home can be a real life-saver. To keep your AC in perfect condition and operating in full capacity, you need to take care of your unit and the space around it. Besides the usual advice about cleaning the filters and doing an annual checkup before the summer starts, here are five simple ways you can help your AC work better when you need it the most.

1. Take care of your outdoor unit

Before using your AC, make sure nothing is blocking your outdoor unit. Clean the space around it and eliminate excess grass, weeds or even flowers growing next to it. After periods of poor weather and strong winds, check for debris and clean the unit.

2. Give your floor registers some space

Be careful while decorating your house and try to avoid putting furniture directly above your floor registers. If you cover them, you will prevent the air from circulating, and your HVAC will not heat nor cool your space correctly. Forcing the air back into the register will create additional problems in your ducts.

3. Use your window blinds

Just because you are cooling your space with your AC, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to use additional methods to reduce the temperature of the air coming into your home. One of the best ways to prevent your home from overheating is to pull down the blinds on your windows. That means your AC will need less energy to cool the interior of your home to the preferred temperature.

Adjust the thermostat for optimal temperature

4. Adjust the thermostat

Be careful not to exaggerate when lowering the temperature inside your home, in comparison to the situation outside. Most homes have less than ideal insulation which means the AC will not be able to sustain a temperature difference of 30 degrees or more, even though it will keep trying. Instead of forcing your AC into overdrive, invest in a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature of your home under control.

5. Choose when to turn on your AC

Avoid using the AC in cases when the perfect temperature of your home is easily achievable by opening the windows. Instead of using a lot of energy, simply create a light breeze and enjoy the nice weather without racking up an enormous electricity bill.

In case you discover that your HVAC needs thorough maintenance, feel free to contact us at 

Total Comfort Heating and Cooling to schedule a consultation with our team.