What kind of air conditioning system is the best?
We get asked this question alot, and there is no one that answer fits all situations. It depends on the amount you may want to spend on a new system, the efficiency you may want (seasonal energy efficiency ratio, S.E.E.R.), how many people may be in the house or office, and other factors. The major brands out there are Heil, Carrier, Trane, and Lennox, but there are many others that offer quality and resonable pricing. We will discuss these systems with you and help you decide on which is the best choice for you.
What is S.E.E.R. and what does it mean?
S.E.E.R. stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio? This indicates the degree of efficiency a unit can produce on a given amount of electricity. Older units, 15 yrs and older, are at an efficiency ratio of about 8 or less. Newer models are required by law to have at least 13. Obviously, the higher the number the less power it will require to run. Your best bet is to buy the highest number efficiency system you can afford.
What type of duct work do I want?
The two basic types of duct work are metal and fiberglass. Fiberglass is referred to as ductboard. Ductboard usually has a higher thermal characteristic as well as air tightness although it is susceptible to damage by punchures or mashing. Metal duct work is highly resistant to damage but can be somewhat noisier. Installation cost of fiberglass is usually much less than metal. Cost wise, it depends on how long you are going to be in your house as to what type of duct work you may prefer.
What is a programmable thermostat?
The late model thermostat is electronic and has several time periods that allow you to raise or lower the temperature inside the house automatically while you are away or even sleeping. This saves energy and you money. The best part is they don't cost that much more than the standard thermostat.
What do I do if I find ice on the copper lines at the inside unit or the outside unit?
Several things can cause this to happen. The most common one is a stopped up filter. Indoor fan problems, low freon charge and running the unit in the A/C mode when the outdoor temperature is 65 degrees or lower are also causes of ice formation. A professional service tune-up will help prevent this from occurring.
Why does a heat pump sometimes make steam in the winter time?
Every so often, a heat pump will check it's self to see if it has ice accumulating on the outside coil. If it has some ice, it will go into a defrost cycle to get rid of it by melting it off when the humidity level outside is just right. The melting ice will turn to "steam" or really "fog" and sometimes will appear so heavy you might think the unit is smoking. This is quite normal as long as the unit returns to normal operation in a few minutes.
Why do the lights dim when the cooling or heating system starts?
Compressor motors require quite a bit of power to start turning. Usually, the devices that assist the starting process do a good job of preventing your lights from dimming. When one of them fail, however, you will notice this happening. Sometimes the unit will still start and run, but will not start the first time it tries. It is best to cut the unit off and call for service. Usually, a repair is not very expensive if you catch it in time.
Do ceiling fans really save money on cooling and heating?
Even though a ceiling does not actually provide heating or cooling they do help keep the air moving and keeps the air from forming different temperature "layers". If you run your fan in reverse in the wintertime, for instance, you help bring the warmer air near the ceiling down toward the floor which helps warm it and you.