Frequently Asked Questions's (FAQ) before purchasing an HVAC system
U.S. Department of energy (DOE) has implemented new federal regulations on residential air conditioning and heat pump units that have an immediate and direct impact on homeowners nationwide.
NAECA, National Appliance Energy Conservation act, energy efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps have been raised to a minimum of 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) beginning January 23rd, 2006.
Q: My current HVAC system is rated less than 13 SEER. Must I replace it?
A: No. You may keep your current system as long as it continues to meet your needs. Replacement parts for 10 and 12 SEER systems will be available for many years to come.
Q: Can I still buy an air conditioner or heat pump rated below 13 SEER?
A: Yes, however as of January 23rd, 2006 manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce air conditioners and heat pumps under the minimum NAECA rating. Therefore, new equipment rated 10 and 12 SEER will only be available as long as manufacturers and dealer inventories allow.
Q: Is higher SEER equipment more expensive?
A: Yes. However it’s important to consider overall value. The improved energy efficiency of systems rated 13 SEER or higher will save you money in the long run.
Q: My HVAC system includes both outdoor and indoor sections. Can just one section be replaced with new higher-SEER equipment?
A: No, this is an important consideration. In order to achieve the true efficiency, and to ensure system longevity, both the indoor and outdoor sections must match. In fact, with heat pump systems, the outdoor unit may not work at all without a matching indoor section.
Q: Is size an issue with higher SEER equipment?
A: It may be. To achieve the benefits of increased energy efficiency, 13 SEER equipment requires greater heat-transfer surface area. As a result, outdoor units and indoor units are larger than before. This could be an issue for homeowners with limited outdoor space and size-restricted access.
Q: Why can’t I just buy the equipment and put it in myself?
A: EPA clean air act, title 6 section 608, requires the individual/company be certified by the applicable governing body for any servicing or handling of CFC, HCFC, or HFC equipment. Also, electrical codes in your area may require a licensed electrician to perform the associated electrical wiring with a change out and/or a new installation.
Note: Central cooling and heating systems must be properly sized to fit your home by performing a professional heat loss and gain calculation. Improperly sized cooling and heating equipment will cause the equipment to run less efficient and will cause the house to be uncomfortable due to temperature and humidity swings.
Q: What kind of information is needed to select the proper equipment?
A: Information such as the current system location, attic, crawl space, basement and fuel source must be known to select the proper new model equipment for your application.
An analysis of heat loss and gain must be performed on the residence to determine how much heat the home gains or loses during the seasons. Items such as window surface area, window type, shingle colors, siding color, insulation value, and overall cubic feet of the residence affect the heat loss and gain of the residence.
Central heating and cooling equipment comes equipped to accept accessories to control air quality in your home. Knowing this before hand can help plan for these items prior to the installation helping control cost if you decide to add accessories at later time.
Q: Why is all this information needed?
A: Over or under sizing the equipment will have a drastic affect on comfort level, energy efficiency and the systems overall life expectancy. The duct system must be properly sized to the new equipment for maximum performance and efficiency.
Q: What kind of accessories is available for a central system?
A: Accessories are available to control whole house humidity, air cleaning, air purification, individual room zone controls, air balancing for uneven room temperatures, and programmable controls to fit your daily schedule so you save money on fuel and electric costs.
Q: Can I add other accessories at a later date?
A: Yes, the equipment is accessory ready, although, it is best to plan ahead if you plan on adding an accessory at a later date. A simple item such as a ductwork correction can be made at the time your new equipment is installed to help facilitate the future addition of an accessory. This will help reduce cost of making the correction later which can cost more.
Q: I want to add central air and have an old furnace; do I need to replace the furnace?
A: It depends, in general no, although a quick air flow test needs to be done to determine if the furnace can supply enough air so the central air system will perform correctly.
If the furnace will not deliver enough air, the circulation air blower will need to be upgraded in the old furnace if possible, if not the furnace will need to be changed also.
Q: What are the 3 most common sources of heat?
A: Natural Gas, Propane Gas, Electric or Heat Pump.
Q: I do not have ductwork in my home, what will I need to add central air?
A: If you currently have baseboard electric or a boiler system with radiators, a ductwork system will need to be installed to add central air. Once this is done other accessories, such as air humidity control, air cleaner, and air purification may be added that were not available on the boiler or electric baseboard system.
Q: How long does it take to do the work?
A: In a common replacement of a furnace and adding or replacing air conditioner using existing ductwork, it generally takes about 2 to 3 days. In a complete install of all ductwork and equipment where no equipment or ductwork existed before, it can take up to 5 days.
Q: Will I have to pay for an estimate to have the certified contractor come out and look at my system?
A: You will need to confirm this with your selected contractor.
Q: After my equipment is installed and I should need service, who takes care of my warranty work?
A: An authorized contractor will perform any necessary warranty work.