FAQs

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HVAC Glossary

  • AFUE: Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of furnace heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.

  • Air Handler: The indoor part of an air conditioner or heat pump that moves cooled or heated air throughout the ductwork of your home. An air handler is usually a furnace or a blower coil.

  • Blower Fan: The blower fan moves air from the return duct over the coil / heat exchanger. The circulated air is then heated or cooled and sent through the supply duct, past the dampers and into your home.

  • BTU: British Thermal Unit. A measurement of heat energy. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the Btu rating, the greater the heating capacity of the system.

  • Compressor: The part of an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant to meet household cooling requirements.

  • Condenser: The condenser is a device in an air conditioner or heat pump where the refrigerant condenses from a gas into a liquid when it is depressurized or cooled.

  • Damper: A movable plate, located in the ductwork, that regulates airflow and directs it to areas that need it most. Typically used in a zoning application.

  • Ducts: The method by which air is channeled from the furnace or the blower coil throughout your home.

  • Forced Air HVAC System: Any HVAC system that uses a fan to blow conditioned air through air channels or ducts.

  • Heat Pump: An HVAC unit that heats or cools by moving heat. During the winter, a heat pump draws heat from outdoor air and circulates it through a home's air ducts. In the summer, it recerses the process and removes heat from the house and releases it outdoors.

  • Heat Strip: A supplemental heat source for the heat pump that is used when the heat pump can no longer pull enough heat from outside to meet the heating load of the house. The heat comes from electrical resistance heat.

  • HEPA Filters: High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filters. HEPA filters are the most effective air filters available and are commonly found in high-end air cleaners.

  • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. THe heating efficiency rating for heat pumps. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

  • MERV Rating: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Describes the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes in the filter and the higher the efficiency.

  • Packaged Unit: A heating and cooling system contained in one outdoor unit.

  • Refrigerant: A chemical that produces a cooling effect while expanding or vaporizing.

    • R-22 Refrigerant: The old standard for residential air conditioniners, now being phased out by the U.S. EPA.

  • Return Air: “Used” air that is returning to your HVAC system to be reconditioned.

  • Return Duct: A duct through which return air goes to be cycled back through your HVAC system.

  • Supply Duct: A duct through which conditioned air flows into your room

  • Ton: Unit of measurement for determining cooling capacity. One ton equals 12,000 Btuh.

  • Zoning System: A heating and cooling system that creates customized temperature zones throughout the home for increased comfort and efficiency.

 

What is a SEER rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures the efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system. The higher the SEER, the greater the energy efficiency, and the more efficient your system, the more cost-effective it is.

 

How often should I change my air filters?

 

We recommend changing your air filter every 4 weeks, especially during the peak seasons when your AC and heating system is running all day, every day. Of course there are many factors that affect how effective your air filter is and how often you should change it. If there are smokers or pets in the house, there are more pollutants in your air, and you may have to change your filters more often than someone who is a non-smoker or someone without pets.

How do I program my thermostat?

 

Programmable thermostats allow you to set schedules for the thermostat to follow. These schedules are set according to your schedule and set the air conditioning or heat to a specific temperature at specific times of the day. Each thermostat is different so, below are instructions for the two most commonly installed thermostats.

Why should I program my thermostat?

Programmable thermostats allow you to set schedules for the thermostat to follow. These schedules are set according to your schedule and set the air conditioning or heat to a specific temperature at specific times of the day. According to the Deparment of Energy, programming your thermostat can save you up to 15% a year on your energy bill. Not only can programming your thermostat save you money, but when your Home Comfort System is turned off for a long period of time, the temperature inside of your home may change drastically and in turn it takes a significant amount of energy to start your Home Comfort System back up and bring your home back to your target temperature. However, when you program your thermostat and leave your system on when you are not at home, your system has the ability to adjust to your target temperature much more quickly and efficiently. Programming your thermostat is also helpful if you have pets or elderly family members, who cannot adjust the temperature on their own. You can set the temperature for them while you are gone and ensure that they are safely being heated or cooled when you are not at home. You can also program your thermostat to match your life accordingly so that you are always comfortable. For example, you can program your thermostat to be 68 degrees at night so that your home is cooler while you are sleeping and then set it to 70 degrees at 6AM so that when you get out of bed at 6:30AM your house is a perfect 70 degrees.

 

What is air balancing?

AIr balancing helps you control hot and cold spots in your home. By opening and closing the damper on the ceiling register/diffuser/vent. By closing the dampers, you can restrict the air flow to that room which will divert the air to the other rooms that may need more air. Be careful never to close your ceiling registers completely, as it may affect the way the system runs. We recommend that you only close the dampers about 80%.

 

What is zoning?

Zoning systems are installed in your home to help you precisely control the temperature of your home in various rooms. There are multiple thermostats installed in your home which control the temperature in certain rooms of your home. The zoning system controls dampers in your home which open and close to restrict airflow to certain rooms. If you are watching TV downstairs, you may want the temperature cooler downstairs as opposed to cooler upstairs in your empty bedroom.

 

Why do I need regular maintenance of my Home Comfort System?

 

Your Home Comfort System is very similar to a car. There are a number of moving parts that need regular cleaning and that wear out over time. Regular maintenance is imperative for your Home Comfort System to function efficiently and effectively. Regular maintenance can ensure your family's safety, save you money and prolong the life of your equipment. Without regular maintenance, homeowners may face higher utility bills due to inefficiency or may encounter larger issues with their Home Comfort System, leading to costly repairs or even replacement of the entire system.

What is a SEA and why should I invest in one?

SEA stands for Safety & Efficiency Agreement. SEAs are an optional maintenance program that we offer to our clients which includes two regular visits from our professionally-trained technicians, 15% discounts on repairs, discounted service fees, a 15-point air conditioning tune-up, a 15-point heating system tune-up, a FREE pan treatment with your air conditioning tune-up, a FREE performance report, priority front-of-the-line service during peak times, and same day replacement on parts we stock in our vehicles. For a small fee, you no longer have to worry about remembering to maintenance your Home Comfort System. We will send you reminders to schedule your tune-ups and even remind you when your SEA is up for renewal. SEAs can save you money on utility bills, costly repairs, and even system replacement. How can you say no?

 

Why does my new furnace smell?

The first few times you run your new furnace, you may smell an odor such as that of a hair dryer. New furnaces occassionally have excess oil from the manufactuer that has not yet burned off the heat exchanger. The oil burning off is what creates that odor. Typically, when a new furnace is installed, it is run until the excess oil burns off. However, if there is oil still left on the heat exchanger, the odor will continue to smell upon start-up until completely gone. This should only happen the first few times you start your new furnace. If your new furnace continues to smell, please contact us and we will diagnose the issue.