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HVAC Education & Tips

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This is a measure of how efficiently your furnace can utilize its fuel. The more efficient your furnace, the more heat you will get per unit of fuel.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a measure of the energy efficiency of the air conditioning system. SEER ratings permit consumers to compare operating costs of various cooling systems and products.

Energy Efficiency Ratio.

British Thermal Unit. This indicates the amount of heat it can remove from a room. A higher number means more heating/cooling power for a larger room

There are 5 basic items that make up a complete central air and heat system. These parts are the furnace, the evaporator coil, the condensing unit, the duct work, and the thermostat.

The furnace is your heating unit. Furnaces usually run off electricity and natural/propane gas. You can find your furnace hiding in your attic, garage, or utility closet. Your furnace’s main function is to heat up air and move it into your ducts to warm your house. This application uses 110 Volt electrical.

Air conditioners don’t actually “produce” cold air in the way a furnace produces heat. Instead, they use refrigerant, or coolant, to absorb heat from the air, carry that heat outdoors, and release it into the air outdoors. The refrigerant circulates continuously to remove more and more heat from your home until your indoor air temperature reaches the one you’ve chosen on the thermostat.

Your condensing unit serves a similar purpose as your evaporator coil, but you can find the condensing unit outside, usually on the side of your house or on the roof. However, as the evaporator coil absorbs heat, the condensing unit gives off heat. This application uses 220 Volt electricity.

Refrigerant lines connect your evaporator coil to your condensing coil. Refrigerant line sets are typically made of copper and are designed to hold refrigerant and to connect the indoor and outdoor units.

Your thermostat is that little device mounted on the wall somewhere inside your house that allows you to control your home’s temperature. Thermostats come in a variety of options such as non-programmable, programmable or Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi thermostats give you the luxury of programming the temperature of your home from your phone anywhere in the world!

Your home’s ductwork is what allows the conditioned air from your furnace or AC unit to be distributed around your house. Ductwork are usually found overhead, running through attic and ceiling space displaying vents from the ceiling or are placed in the crawl space and displaying vents from the floor. Ductwork are measured by the R value. Most common ductwork is named R-6 Silver Jacket.

Registers/Vents allow your heated or cooled air to enter your living space from the ductwork. This is what you will see inside of your home.

A air handler is a forced air unit (same as a furnace). This application does not have gas/propane usage and creates heat using electricity. This application uses 220 Volt electricity.

A heat pump works for both heating and cooling. In the summertime, heat pumps pump hot air out of your home and in winter, heat pumps do the exact opposite. Heat Pumps are typically used with air handler units. They have a reversing valve that does clockwise and counter clockwise operation. This application uses 220 Volt electricity.

The mini-split ductless system controls one room or zone by connecting one outdoor unit to one indoor unit. A multi-split ductless system can connect one outdoor unit to up to five indoor units - depending on the indoor and outdoor model - letting you control the heating and cooling in several zones or rooms independently of each other. These units are very highly efficient and run on 110 or 220 Volt depending on brand and capacity.

A system that is too large will cool or heat your house quickly, but you still may not feel comfortable. That’s because it will satisfy the temperature setting on your thermostat before it can adequately remove sufficient moisture from the air - which is what makes you feel so sticky and uncomfortable in summer. What’s more, the stress of short cycling (too many starts and stops) will shorten the life of your equipment and increase your heating and air conditioning bills. will run constantly in the summer and the furnace will do the same in winter, which may overtax your system and increase your energy consumption.

Many new homeowners are guilty of this one. In order to save energy, homeowners close the vents in rooms they don’t use thinking it will save them energy. In reality, this actually makes your HVAC system less efficient. Heat like to distribute itself evenly within an object. When that object is your home, heat will get into that closed-vent room anyway, but it means your HVAC system will work harder in order to create an even temperature around the house.

If you haven’t started using your air conditioning yet this year, go ahead and turn it on now. Set it to several degrees below the current temp to make sure it can get cool. Listen for strange noises and look for leaks or other obvious problems.

Change your air filter (or clean a disposable filter), because dirty air makes the equipment have to work harder and can lead to freeze-ups or breakdowns. Then mark your calendar so you’ll remember to clean the filter once per month during cooling season, or however often the manufacturer recommends.

Pick up leaves, branches, and trash that might have collected around your outdoor AC unit. If shrubs grow close to the equipment, prune them back to leave a few feet of space.

One of the best ways to maintain your AC is to use it a little bit less. A programmable thermostat can pay for itself by avoiding energy waste while you’re at work, while extending the AC lifespan.

California homes should have at least R-30 insulation in the attic. Consider adding more insulation wherever you can, and check window and door seals and weather-strips to replace or add them as needed. Insulation is used in attics, walls and crawlspaces.

Everyone likes letting in natural light, but you can maintain your AC better by avoiding excessive heat gain. Use blinds or heavy curtains on east- and west-facing windows or grow shade trees outside of them.

If everything seems fine, you might be wondering if professional AC maintenance is worth it. Tune-up includes more than just changing the filter and cleaning the air conditioner. Testing for airflow and efficiency, tighten electrical connections, and spot concerns early before something serious happens. Call us today to schedule your annual maintenance.

Repair Vs Replacement

Many home owners struggle with the dilemma of whether to repair or replace their current HVAC system. If the cost to get the unit back up and running is minor, then that may be a good option, but here are some factors you should consider before investing more repair dollars into your existing HVAC unit.

Consider replacing a HVAC unit that old with a high-efficiency model. Installed correctly, high-efficiency units can have a dramatic impact on your electric bill and actually pay for themselves over time. Smaller in design, lower dB levels, a new AC unit can be the smart investment for you.

Frequent repairs are a sign that your old unit has reached the end of its life expectancy and is on borrowed time. Continuing to pay for more repairs is only expensive and always puts you back at step 1. The sooner you replace your unit in this condition, the sooner your energy bills will improve, which can end up paying for the new system and saving you money in the future.

Your air conditioning system makes up as much as 60% of your utility bill each month. Older, inefficient systems use more electricity to deliver the same comfort level as current high-efficiency unit will. Daily we hear from our clients that they have been seeing dramatic drops in their energy bills after we upgrade their system. Although each home is different, you can be investing your money instead of throwing your money. Those savings can put your relatives through collage!

These kinds of problems are usually the result of an improperly engineered system when the home was built or when the last unit was installed. Our design team diagnose these issues in your house and determine if the problem is related to the unit's size (tons), insulation, improper duct work, system location or some combination of these. Construction District Inc will redesign all systems to ensure your home stays comfortable during these hot LA summers or cold winters.

Don’t blame someone for not cleaning the house that often! Old ducts, Unsealed ducts can pull particles from your attic and crawl spaces and distribute them throughout your home. Sealing existing ducts or, if the duct work in your home is in poor condition, replacing your ductwork can be beneficial. After replacing or sealing your duct system, we recommend doing a Title 24 HERS testing which will test the air leaks, air pressures of your system to ensure you are saving and not spending!

Weather you’re cranking up your TV or just can’t stand the noise when your system is on, Noisy systems can be caused by a variety of factors including an undersized duct system, not the correct return duct size (intake), location of your system or age of your system. Construction District Inc takes all these measures into consideration when giving you a free in-house consultation.