• HVAC Installation Experience Matters

    How Important is Installation?


    Your TV remote control won’t work if the batteries are not aligned correctly, and your fence may fall over if the posts aren’t deep enough. Proper installation matters!

    There are 1000’s of possible examples! If something isn’t installed correctly, it won’t work as it should. This is especially true of heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) equipment. HVAC installation is much more complicated than installing batteries or digging a hole.  So, it’s important to make sure your local HVAC technician is experienced, qualified, and backs their work.


    Energy-Efficient HVAC


    If you install a high-efficiency system, the installation can help deliver the efficiency rating you expect. A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study says that if your high-efficiency equipment is installed improperly, it may not be running as efficient as you think!1  “Without proper installation, air conditioning and heating equipment will perform significantly below rated energy-efficiency levels,” says Piotr Domanski, who leads NIST research on the performance of HVAC and refrigeration equipment.  “Our measurements indicate that improper installation could increase household energy use for space heating and cooling on the order of 30 percent over what it should be."2  Homeowners must be sure they hire trained, qualified, and installation-experienced HVAC technicians.  But this isn’t always as easy as it sounds!

    Dealers, Technicians and Contractors, Oh My!


    For most homeowners, HVAC installation is not a “DIY” project. Creating comfortable indoor temperatures is a balancing act between equipment, air flow, and mechanics. Therefore, finding a qualified HVAC installer is crucial to a quality installation. But with so many companies, technicians, and contractors to choose from, finding the right person for the job can be difficult. How can you check high-efficiency equipment expertise of an HVAC technician?

    Spending time choosing the right dealer can pay off in the end. Homeowners should consider researching their dealer’s:

    • Qualifications
    • Technical certifications and training
    • Industry associations
    • Availability - What days/times are they available?
    • Labor limited warranty options

    You may find the most qualified technician in your area, but what happens if they don’t work weekends.  This can cause problems if a repair or maintenance is needed after installation!  If you can’t get in touch with your technician, you may be forced to wait for repairs. Hiring the wrong technician for installation can cost you time or more fees.

    Although residential HVAC licensing requirements vary by state, licensing can provide proof of professional training.  However, a license may not reflect actual installation expertise. If you have been or know a new teenage driver, you may understand the value of experience!

    You may want to consider getting HVAC technician recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors.  Be sure these recommendations are for the same type of HVAC work that you need to be completed.  “How to Select a Heating and Cooling Contractor” highlights some suggested evaluation tactics.

    There is a better chance that a dealer understands the high-efficiency installation process, manufacturer’s products, proven best-practices and possible site-specific challenges if they have both training and real-world experience.

    HVAC Certifications


    Bad reviews, excessive return trips, and unhappy customers are not good HVAC business practices! Dealers’ technicians must continually learn about the latest technology and high-efficiency products. Technicians can earn independent and manufacturer-based certifications as a way to increase their HVAC knowledge and confirm their understanding.  Homeowners may have a greater peace of mind during installation if their technician has been approved or recognized in the process.
    Some HVAC industry certifications include:

    • NATE: The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for HVAC technicians. The organization develops and tests real world industry knowledge. Candidates can earn installation and service certifications in multiple specialty areas.3
    • HVAC Excellence Certification:  The mission of the HVAC Excellence certification program is to improve skills by testing the technical education process. The Esco Group provides many types of certifications for technicians at all levels in their career, from Employment Ready Certifications to Professional Technician and Master Specialist Certifications.
    • EPA Certification:  All technicians who maintain, service, repair or dispose of appliances that contain regulated refrigerants, including air condition coolants such as R-22 or R-410A, must be certified in proper refrigerant handling techniques. HVAC technicians cannot buy refrigerants without the appropriate EPA Certification.

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    1, 2 Domanski, P. A., Henderson, H. I., & Payne, W. V. (October 2014). Sensitivity Analysis of Installation Faults on Heat Pump Performance. Retrieved from http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/TechnicalNotes/NIST.TN.1848.pdf

    3 NATE. (n.d.). Retrieved from North American Technician Excellence: http://www.natex.org/site/1/Home
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  • Which AC Features Can Save You Money?

    Unless you live off-the-grid and have cut the utility cord, you probably have a monthly electric bill. The bad news is that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that residential electricity costs will continue to rise into 2018.1 This is not the best news for homeowners who have enjoyed lower electricity prices for the past few years - especially for those with older central air conditioning systems!

    In July 2007, the average U.S. residential electricity price was 11.07 cents per kilowatt hour*. The EIA forecasts the July 2018 price to be near 13.33 cents per kilowatt hour* – that’s over a 20% increase in 10 years.1

    But there is good news too! If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, there are energy-efficient units with advanced features that can help reduce electricity bills and improve indoor comfort.

    The SEER Factor


    Before we get into the specifics of SEER, we need to understand what it means! SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It measures the annual energy consumption and efficiency of the unit’s cooling ability in typical day-to-day use.  

    The higher the SEER rating, the less energy an air conditioning unit will use to operate.

    Air conditioning systems in the U.S. installed before 2006 could have SEER ratings of 10 or less. Currently, the minimum U.S. SEER rating for central air conditioners and heat pumps is 14 in the South and Southwest regions and 13 in the North.

    There is good news for homeowners looking to replace their current AC! Higher SEER air conditioners may include features that provide premium cooling performance and money-saving efficiency.

    Let’s Shift Gears


    Imagine driving your car in the same gear, year after year, regardless of the driving conditions. There is a good chance that it won’t get the efficiency or longevity that you would like. The same concept can be applied to your central air conditioning system.

    The good news is that certain high-efficiency air conditioners use two-stage technology that offers part-load efficiency. This means that your central air conditioning doesn’t have to run at 100% in every circumstance, but can adjust to load requirements in an energy-efficient manner.

    If you lower your thermostat or control system more than a few degrees, your AC compressor and circulating fan will operate at 100% cooling capacity to reach the desired temperature. If your air conditioner only needs to maintain the set temperature, it may not need to run at 100%! This is where two-stage technology comes in! A low-stage demand from the thermostat can result in up to 35% speed reductions at both the compressor and indoor unit circulating fan. Two-stage cooling generally results in extended operation at a low speed, providing improved indoor comfort, and using less electricity than single-stage systems.

    Variable-speed cooling is driven by a variable-speed compressor that can adjust output to match the load requirement. This type of compressor provides premium cooling performance which can result in lower energy bills when compared to a single-stage compressor. Because the unit doesn’t have to start and stop as frequently, it uses less energy than a standard AC would use.

    Let’s Review


    Even if electricity is getting more expensive, it is possible to save energy while cooling your indoor spaces. But a high-efficient air conditioner with advanced technology is only one piece of the puzzle. If other key energy-efficient solutions are ignored, your energy bills may still be higher than you would like. Additional factors that can influence cooling efficiency levels include, but are not limited to:

    • Local climate
    • Thermostat or control system settings
    • Ductwork
    • AC installation and maintenance
    • Insulation and construction methods
    • Windows and doors

    If you want to trim costs associated with indoor cooling, talk to your local professional or licensed HVAC dealer. Or, you can always cut the cord and move off-the-grid!

    cta-outline_stay-cool


    1 Short-Term Energy Outlook, January 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved from US Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/electricity.cfm
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  • Eliminate Indoor Hypothermia – Furnace Repair or Furnace Replace?

    If you are reading this, you may be wearing a coat, scarf, hat and mittens inside of your home.  To ward off hypothermia, you probably placed an emergency call to your HVAC contractor! Whether your furnace is on the fritz or you are just looking for one that is more energy-efficient  to heat your home, there may come a time when you have a discussion with your independent HVAC contractor on whether to repair or replace your gas furnace.

    The decision may not be an easy one! Unless your furnace is a hazard or damaged beyond repair, there are no hard rules in determining whether to repair or replace your furnace. However, below are a few concepts that may help:

    This Old Furnace


    According to Energystar.gov1 , your older heating system may be less efficient and have an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 56%-70%. New energy-efficient furnaces are now required to have a minimum of 80% AFUE, meaning more energy is converted into usable heat – potentially saving you money on energy bills.

    As a furnace ages, it may likely need repairs or more than average maintenance service. The estimated cost to keep the furnace running, as provided by your local HVAC dealer, will give you more concrete reasons to replace or repair.  However, age isn’t everything.

    Repair Cost vs. Replacement Cost


    Homeowners should decide their repair cost cutoff point. How expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth it? Consumer Reports suggests that if the cost to repair your current furnace is 50% of the cost of a new furnace, you should replace it.2

    For example, if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger that is not covered by a limited warranty, the equipment replacement in addition to labor costs may exceed up to the 50% threshold.  At that point, it may be time to replace. Additionally, the long term energy bill savings of purchasing a high-efficient furnace may outweigh the price of a series of costly repairs.  On the contrary, if the problem is an easy, relatively inexpensive fix that restores peak efficiency, a repair may be the best approach.

    To get a more specific, cost vs. benefit assessment, a homeowner should discuss repair vs replace costs with their local HVAC dealer.

    Save Green


    Today’s systems can have an AFUE as high as 98.5%, meaning nearly all the energy purchased is used toward heating your home. An 80% AFUE gas furnace means that 80 cents of every energy dollar warms your home.1

    Energy efficiency standards vary by region. To determine your minimum standard, check with your local HVAC dealer.

    New Technology Offers a Consistent Temperature


    For some homeowners, their old gas furnace operates in either 100% ON or OFF. Historically, when the indoor temperature falls, the furnace kicks on at full capacity until the desired temperature is reached. This on/off cycle means that the indoor temperatures might continuously fluctuate.

    Advanced technology enables your gas furnace to reduce temperature swings while quietly running more efficiently. For example, a furnace with a variable speed indoor blower motor can operate at different capacities to more accurately control the flow of heated air to your home. This energy-saving feature can save you money on utility bills compared to single stage furnaces because the system doesn’t have to run at full capacity to reach the set temperature.

    Length of home ownership


    Typically, the longer you plan to live in your house, the longer you have to recover the cost of a new gas furnace. When determining to repair or replace your current unit, homeowners should evaluate their anticipated length of home ownership by asking themselves the following questions:
    • Are you living in your “forever home”?
    • How long do you expect your current home to fit your lifestyle? (getting married, having children, etc.)
    • Would a job change force you to relocate?
    • In how many years to you plan to sell your home?

    While there are a lot of variables to examine when determining whether to repair or replace your furnace, the best source of information can come from your licensed or professional HVAC contractor.  Because these local professionals understand the details associated with your particular system, they are the most qualified to provide repair or replace guidance.

    cta-outline_stay-warm


    1 Furnaces. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy Star: https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/furnaces
    2 Should you repair or replace that product? (2014, January). Retrieved from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm?loginMethod=auto
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  • What Is SEER and Why Does It Matter?

    If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or heat pump, you have probably noticed that each unit comes with a SEER rating related to the unit’s energy efficiency and performance for cooling.  But what exactly is SEER, and why should it matter to you?

    Higher SEER Equals Higher Efficiency


    SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it measures the annual energy consumption and efficiency of the unit’s cooling ability in typical day-to-day use.  The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the unit will use.  Many older residential air conditioning systems in the U.S. may have SEER ratings of 10 or less. The good news for homeowners in the market for a new air conditioner or heat pump is that current high-efficiency residential equipment can boast SEER ratings of 25 or higher. Higher SEER units typically cost less to run, which can save homeowners money on energy costs.

    Before the SEER rating was adopted, cooling equipment was rated based on how much energy was used while running at full capacity in a controlled environment.  The method was similar to calculating the average fuel efficiency of a vehicle while driving it 100 mph on rollers in a climate-controlled lab. The test results would not be an accurate measurement of the vehicle’s typical efficiency.

    As a result, the SEER rating was developed in order to provide consumers with a more accurate representation of the typical energy use of an air conditioning unit or heat pump in cooling mode. The SEER rating takes into account a number of important factors:
    • Climate zones
    • Part-load efficiency
    • Energy consumption in standby mode
    • Varying load requirements

    Minimum Efficiency


    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets energy efficiency standards for air conditioners, heat pumps, and other HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment. In 2006, the DOE raised the minimum SEER requirement from 10 SEER to 13 SEER nationwide in an effort to promote energy savings that benefit the consumer.  In 2015, the DOE again raised the minimum SEER requirement for central air conditioners and heat pumps installed in certain regions of the U.S.1 Currently, the minimum SEER rating for central air conditioners and heat pumps is 14 in the South and Southwest regions of the U.S. and 13 in the North.  

    What’s Right for You?


    Your air conditioning system may get a lot of use in warmer months. While in some areas of the country, these systems are running almost year round. For homeowners in these locations, you may want to consider an air conditioning or heat pump with an Energy Star rating to possibly save even more in energy costs. However, if you live in a more temperate area where you go much of the year without cooling; a minimum SEER rating may make the most financial sense.

    To reduce your energy costs and learn more about Goodman’s high SEER products, speak with an independent Goodman dealer in your area.


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    By Jen (Anesi) Roby, former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for
    Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. www.achrnews.com/publications

    1 Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. (n.d.). Retrieved from Appliance Standards Awareness Project: http://www.appliance-standards.org/product/central-air-conditioners-and-heat-pumps

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  • Is a High-Efficiency Furnace Right for Me?

    In North America, many homes are heated using forced-air systems. Your gas furnace, which is often located in the basement, attic, crawl space or utility closet, may use natural gas or propane as the energy source to create heat within the furnace’s heat exchanger.  Air is moved across the heat exchanger, which is then distributed through the ductwork to heat the home.


    What Factors Affect Efficiency?


    Each gas furnace model has an energy efficiency rating in the form of a percent. This number is its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), or the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace compared to the amount of annual fuel energy it consumes. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE of 80%, it means 80% of the energy in the fossil fuel is being converted to heat while 20% escapes and is wasted.1


    How AFUE Can Save Me Money?


    Many older furnaces may have efficiencies of only 56 to 70% AFUE, which can cost the homeowner more to heat their home compared to a higher AFUE model. Switching to a newer, more energy-efficient gas furnace that can reach upwards of 98% AFUE means nearly all of the energy from the fuel is effectively used to heat the home.1 As a result, the homeowner’s monthly heating bills can be reduced.

     

    Condensing Vs. Non-Condensing


    The gas furnaces available in North America can be put into two categories: condensing and non-condensing.


    • Non-Condensing Furnace: A mid-efficiency furnace (80% and 90% AFUE) vents exhaust gases out of the home, typically through the roof.
    • Condensing Furnace:A high-efficiency furnace (90% AFUE or higher) utilizes a second heat exchanger to heat the air from condensed exhaust gases in order to reach higher efficiencies. A high-efficiency condensing furnace requires specialized venting.

    Choosing a Furnace


    The initial cost of a high-efficiency condensing furnace can be more expensive than a less efficient model. According to The Department of Energy, homeowners will likely save more money on fuel bills over the life of a high AFUE product when compared to a lower AFUE or less efficient gas furnace. 1 However, when determining if a higher-efficiency furnace is cost-effective for your budget, homeowners should evaluate their anticipated length of home ownership to determine how long it would take to recuperate initial costs of a higher AFUE model.


    • Are you currently in your “forever home”?
    • How long to your expect your current home to fit your lifestyle?
    • Do you plan to sell your home in the near future?
    • Would a job change force you to relocate?

     

    Additionally, many states and utilities offer tax credits and other incentives to homeowners who install high-efficiency furnaces. An experienced local dealer can assist you in determining whether a higher efficiency gas furnace or a mid-efficiency model is right for your needs.


     

    To learn more about Goodman’s quality ENERGY STAR® certified furnaces, speak with a Goodman dealer in your area.



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    By Jen (Anesi) Roby, the former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly news magazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. www.achrnews.com



    1 Furnace and Boilers. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: http://energy.gov/energysaver/furnaces-and-boilers

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  • How to Select a Heating and Cooling Contractor

    Whether your home’s heating and cooling system is in need of routine maintenance, emergency repairs or a total replacement, selecting a qualified HVAC contractor is an important, yet often daunting task. To ensure you hire a qualified professional that best fits the job, there are several important steps to take.


    Do Research

     

    A little internet research can go a long way in weeding out subpar HVAC service companies. 


    • Heating and cooling manufacturers’ websites often provide an independent dealer locator with contact information and key details for contractors near your location.
    • Websites like Nextdoor and Yelp may make it easier to locate local contractors, identify recommended companies, and read customer reviews.
    • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), an organization that represents HVAC contractors, offers a searchable database of its contractor members.
    • Better Business Bureau provides accreditation and gives businesses a letter grade, from A+ to F, based on information it is able to obtain, including complaints received from the public.

    Referrals

     

    Ask neighbors, friends, and family for referrals. Referrals can give a homeowner insight as to the type of experience they can expect from a particular contractor. Similarly, you can ask contractors for customer references and contact them to gather more information. According to energystar.gov, homeowners should “ask [the references] about the contractor's installation or service performance and if the job was completed on time and within budget.”


    Read Reviews

    A quick glance at the number of review stars can often be misleading. Be sure to read the written comments and look for licensed contractors with a good reputation for value, quality and customer service.

    • Did the contractor address the problem?
    • Did the contractor provide clear details of the problem to the homeowner?
    • Did the contractor resolve disputes in a timely, thoughtful, and respectful manner?

     

    Reading reviews may provide a homeowner with insight as to a contractor’s commitment to customers’ satisfaction. Providing prompt solutions and addressing any errors is the mark of a good service company.


    What to Look For in a HVAC Contractor?


    Your state may require that HVAC contractors be licensed, bonded and insured. This information can often be found online. Once you have scheduled a service appointment, there are a few things to pay attention to:


    Communication:
      Does the technician or dispatcher stay in touch with you by phone, text, or email leading up to the service appointment? Do they communicate any schedule changes in a timely manner?


    Punctuality:
      Does the technician arrive within the specified time window?


    Appearance:
    Does the technician appear “work ready” or are they wearing a dealer
    uniform?


    Certification:
    Many technicians are certified through organizations such as NATE (North American Technician Excellence), and these patches are often displayed on their uniforms. Does your technician have any certification patches displayed on their uniform?


    Patience:
    Does the technician listen to your concerns, take time to explain their findings and answer any questions you may have?


    Thoroughness:
    Depending on the nature of the appointment (emergency vs annual inspection), a technician may perform a complete system evaluation and/or an inspection. This process can take time and should not just be a quick once-over. Upon completion, the technician should go over any concerning results.


    Documentation:
    The technician should provide written documentation of all the work done and/or provides quotes in writing.


    A good technician will be pleasant, professional, knowledgeable, courteous, patient and willing to answer your questions. Remember, they are a service company — their job is to serve you to the best of their ability. If you are not happy with something, do not be afraid to ask them to fix it.


    Value and Service Expectations


    It is important to seek the best value for your particular home’s need. If you are looking to purchase and install a new heating or cooling system (or both) from a contractor, be sure you are working with a professional or licensed HVAC contractor who is willing to provide a limited warranty for their work and products installed. Doing the job properly the first time may help eliminate the need for repeat visits, as well as ensure your system is running at peak performance.


    Many HVAC service companies offer maintenance agreements, which provide for scheduled maintenance of the HVAC system and equipment. This can be a worthwhile investment. Maintaining the efficiency of your equipment and components can help ensure peak performance and may extend the life of the system.


    Manufacturer Dealer Locator


    Most HVAC manufacturers provide tools to assist homeowners in finding an independent dealer. Goodman’s dealer locator lists independent HVAC contractors who offer professional and licensed HVAC services by location, services provided and certification. These contractors typically offer a value-focused, flexible and informative approach to heating or cooling maintenance, service or purchases.


    cta-outline_find-dealer
     

    By Jen (Anesi) Roby, former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. www.achrnews.com/publications

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  • Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

    Unless you are exercising – you do not expect to sweat inside your home. So when your air conditioning system breaks down, you want it fixed yesterday!  It’s time to call your AC contractor to get it fixed.


    But a time may come when you need to decide whether to repair or replace your air conditioner, and the decision may not be an easy one. Unless your air conditioner is damaged beyond repair, there are no hard rules in determining whether to replace or repair your system. However, below are a few concepts that may help guide your decision:


    This Old AC


    Even with proper maintenance and the dedicated efforts of a highly-skilled HVAC contractor, an aging air conditioner may start to show its age. If your unit is nearing its life expectancy, you may consider a replacement as an alternative to costly repairs.


    According to the Department of Energy, many older residential air conditioning systems in the U.S. have SEER ratings of 10 or less.1 Currently, the required minimum SEER rating of a residential air conditioning system differs by region, but ranges from 13 SEER to 14 SEER.


    SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures the annual energy consumption and efficiency of the unit in typical day-to-day use.


    Under similar working conditions, standards dictate that higher SEER air conditioning units are more energy-efficient than lower SEER units. “Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and taking other actions to keep your home cool could reduce energy use for air conditioning up to 50%.”2 Based on this logic, if your aging unit is a low SEER model that requires significant repairs, it may be beneficial for a homeowner to replace it with a more energy-efficient one.


    However, age isn’t everything when considering repairing or replacing your air condition unit.


    Repair Cost vs. Replacement Cost


    Air conditioning repairs come in all shapes, sizes and costs! Every repair-replace scenario is unique to the unit and the expectations of the homeowner. A professional or licensed HVAC technician can provide you with an estimate of repair cost, as well as supply equipment-specific reasons to consider a replacement unit.


    If a repair is necessary, homeowners should decide their repair cost cutoff point. How expensive does an air conditioner repair need to be before it’s worth it to upgrade to a new system? The long-term utility bill savings of purchasing a higher efficiency air condition system may outweigh the price of a series of costly repairs.  However, if your HVAC contractor provides repair estimates that come close to your predetermined budget threshold, it may be best to start researching new air conditioner models.


    On the contrary, if the air conditioner problem is an easy, relatively inexpensive fix that restores peak efficiency, a repair may be the best approach.


    Comfort and New Technology


    When deciding between an air conditioning repair or replacement, homeowners should consider if their cooling needs are being addressed by their current unit. You may ask yourself:


    1. Is my air conditioner unit loud?
    2. Do I notice inconsistent temperatures and fluctuations in my home?
    3. Is the AC cooling my house as I expect it should?
    4. Why are my energy bills higher than my neighbor’s house with similar square footage?

     

    But before you replace your current system because of cooling issues, have your HVAC contractor check for large air leaks, insufficient ducting and/or breaks in the duct seals.  There are times when the real source of a cooling problem is not a dying HVAC unit, but ineffective components of the system.3


    Technology is changing the way we live and AC manufacturers are taking note by applying advanced mechanics to their products to increase comfort. Advanced features, such as improved motor and compressor technologies, as well as smart home automation and communication may provide homeowners with more precise temperature control, noise reduction and energy efficiency when compared to their current model.

     

    However, if you want your air conditioner to simply work the way it’s intended to, air conditioner repairs and annual maintenance may help you get the most miles out of your current unit.


    Save Green


    Despite SEER rating, if your air condition system is not running at peak performance, you may be spending more money on utility bills than necessary. According to the University of Kentucky Biosystems Engineering’s Builders Guide, a poorly functioning high-efficiency system may cost more to operate than a well-designed, moderate efficiency unit.  Keeping your system at peak performance and running as intended can be financially beneficial!


    However, if your HVAC technician reveals that an aging, lower SEER air condition unit may be the primary culprit of your high utility bills, you should research the cost/benefits of a installing a higher SEER replacement unit.


    SEER ratings associated cost savings can be compared to the set MPG (miles per gallon) in your car. Under the same driving conditions, your gasoline costs to drive 30 miles in a 15 MPG car will be higher than one with a 30 MPG rating. The same goes for SEER ratings. Under the same cooling conditions, a 10 SEER unit will be more expensive to do the same workload as a 14 SEER unit.


    Length of Home Ownership


    Typically, the longer you plan to live in your house, the longer you have to recover the cost of a new high-efficiency air conditioning unit. When determining to repair or replace your current AC, homeowners should evaluate their anticipated length of home ownership by asking themselves the following questions:

    • Are you living in your “forever home”?
    • How long do you expect your current home to fit your lifestyle? (Getting married, having children, etc.)
    • Would a job change force you to relocate?
    • In how many years to you plan to sell your home?
    • Will a new energy-efficient air condition help sell your home if necessary?

     

    While there are a lot of variables to examine when determining whether to repair or replace your air conditioner, the best source of information can come from your licensed or professional HVAC contractor.  Because these local professionals understand the details associated with your particular system, they are the most qualified to provide repair or replace guidance. 


    cta-outline_stay-cool
     

     



    1Central Air Conditioning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: https://energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning

    2Air Conditioning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/air-conditioning

    3Heat & Cool Efficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy Star: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac

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  • The Air Conditioner Limited Warranty*- The Why, When & How?

    “We will revolutionize the Heating and Air Conditioning Industry with the highest-quality equipment, manufactured by the best-producing workforce and sold for the best value in the market.” -Harold V. Goodman

    When it comes to warranties, the Goodman® brand stands behind its products.

    Why Register?


    When you make a large purchase like an air conditioner, it can give you peace of mind if the manufacturer backs its product with a warranty.  But in order to receive the fullest extent of those benefits, you may have to register the purchased product!
    Equipment can either be registered by the homeowner or the installing dealer. However, be sure to confirm your product’s registration process with your dealer to limit any confusion about who will be registering the equipment.

    Without any action, your Goodman air conditioner comes with a 5-year parts limited warranty. But when you register your new Goodman unit and meet certain predefined conditions, your air conditioner will qualify for additional enhanced warranty coverage.
    With predefined registration conditions, Goodman will furnish a 10-year parts limited warranty that provides replacement part(s) for any part that is found to be defective due to workmanship or materials under normal use and maintenance. With predefined registration conditions, select models may include a 10-year unit replacement limited warranty** and lifetime compressor limited warranty** (good for as long as you own your home).

    For example,

    • Select higher efficiency Goodman brand air conditioners offer a lifetime compressor limited warranty to the original, registered owner. If the original registered owner should have a compressor failure, Goodman will replace the unit with a comparable Goodman brand air conditioner or heat pump.
    For specific warranty information, be sure to read your specific air conditioner model’s warranty certificate! To view the warranty certificate for a specific Goodman air conditioner, please select the air conditioner model of choice, and then the “Details” section. Under the specific model web page, you will find a link to the specific model’s warranty certificate.  You may also get a copy of the warranty from your local licensed or professional Goodman dealer.

    Register Within 60 Days!


    Why get a 5-year warranty when you can get a 10-year warranty? Aren’t a few minutes of your time worth that extra peace of mind?

    In order to receive the fullest extent of Goodman’s air conditioner warranty, online registration for qualified purchases should be completed within 60 days of the installation date. If you or your installing dealer has the product information on hand, the process is simple!

    (NOTE: Residents of California and Quebec do not need to register the product in order to get all the rights and remedies of registered owners under the limited warranty.)

    While registration is not required to obtain standard warranty coverage, the registration date may affect the length of your equipment’s limited warranty.
    • If the unit is not registered within the 60-day window of the installation date, the air conditioner’s applicable warranty period is 5 YEARS.
    • If the unit is properly registered online within 60 days after the installation date, the warranty lasts for as long as the original registered owner or his or her spouse own and reside in the home in which the unit was originally installed, for a period up to 10 YEARS.

    The installation date is defined as:
    • For units installed in a newly constructed residence, the installation date is the date the owner purchases the residence from the builder.
    • For units installed in existing residences, the installation date is the date that the unit is originally installed.

    How to Register for Your Warranty?


    Online registration requires the following information:
    • Homeowner name
    • Homeowner address
    • Contact number
    • Email address
    • Installation date
    • Model and serial numbers
    • Contractor’s name
    • Contractor’s phone number

    How to Confirm the Model and Serial Numbers?


    The model and serial number can be found on the rating plate of your air conditioner. This is generally found slightly above the refrigerant valves on the back side of the unit. The serial number is a ten digit code that helps Goodman identify the time the unit was produced, as well as the model number and many of the sub-components used on a specific unit. Your installing dealer can assist you in locating the unit’s serial number and model information.

    Additionally, many local Goodman brand dealers will affix the “traveler label” from the shipping box to your installation paperwork provided to you.  This label contains the unit’s information and makes it unnecessary to search for the serial number on the unit.

    cta-outline_peace-mind


    *Complete warranty details available from your local dealer or at www.goodmanmfg.com. To receive the 10-Year Parts Limited Warranty, online registration must be completed within 60 days of installation. Online registration is not required in California or Quebec.

    ** Complete warranty details available from your local dealer or at www.goodmanmfg.com. To receive the 10-Year Unit Replacement Limited Warranty, Lifetime Compressor Limited Warranty (good for as long as you own your home) and 10-Year Parts Limited Warranty, online registration must be completed within 60 days of installation. Online registration is not required in California or Quebec.
    ... Read More
  • What You Should Know about Carbon Monoxide

    It's instinct! When cold weather arrives, homeowners run to their thermostat or control system to switch on the heat. But they rarely consider the condition of their gas furnace, its exhaust system, and how it might affect their home comfort.

    Let’s Vent


    Overall, new homes can be more energy efficient than homes built as recently as the early 2000’s.1 Innovative insulation options, sealing of air gaps and other factors can create a more energy efficient home. But when fossil fuels are burned in a gas furnace, exhaust gases are produced. One of these gases is carbon monoxide.

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, practically odorless, and tasteless gas or liquid.2

    Exhaust gases must be vented away from indoor spaces so the occupants don’t breathe them in. But as homes become more air tight, there are not as many pathways for these gases to escape. To be sure the gas furnace components and exhaust system are working properly; the furnace should be routinely inspected by a licensed or professional HVAC contractor.

    The Facts


    • Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.3
    • Carbon monoxide is responsible for more than 20,000 visits the emergency room, and more than 4,000 hospitalizations.3
    • Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.3

    Prevent Carbon Monoxide Buildup


    In a properly functioning gas furnace, carbon monoxide gas is vented outside the home.

    When fossil fuels are burned in your home, it is important that the exhaust gases be vented to a properly sized flue or venting system that can eliminate them from indoor spaces. Gas furnaces are not the only source of carbon monoxide. “Carbon monoxide can be generated any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces.”4

    The Center for Disease Control offers the following HVAC-related tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
    1. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector and replace batteries often.  The CDC suggests replacing your carbon monoxide detector every five years.5
    2. Hire a professional or licensed technician. Any gas, oil, or coal burning appliances, including your heating system, water heater, or fireplace should be routinely inspected by a qualified technician.5
    3. Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.5
    4. Have your chimney inspected or cleaned every year. Blocked chimneys can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home.5
    5. Do not block, close or patch a vent pipe. Only a professional or licensed technician should evaluate and determine appropriate venting. Be aware of heavy snowfall that may block venting on roof or side wall.5

    Carbon Monoxide Detection


    “Half of all unintentional CO poisoning deaths could be prevented with the use of CO alarms.”6


    A functioning carbon monoxide detector can be a life saver if the gas is reaching the interior living spaces. However, the detector should only be used as a backup to properly maintaining your fuel burning appliances. The EPA has the following suggestions regarding carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Detectors should be placed on a wall about 5 feet above the floor or on the ceiling.6
    • Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or flame-producing appliance.6
    • Each floor needs a separate detector.6
    • Place a detector near the sleeping area and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake you up.6
    • Regularly test and replace batteries.6

    cta-outline_stay-warm


    1 Department of Energy. (n.d.). Retrieved from Top 4 Energy Department Inventions Saving You Energy & Money at Home: https://energy.gov/articles/top-4-energy-department-inventions-saving-you-energy-money-home
    2,4  What is Carbon Monoxide? (n.d.). Retrieved from EPA: https://iaq.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/212106787-What-is-Carbon-Monoxide-
    3,5 Carbon Monoxide. (n.d.). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
    6 Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. (n.d.). Retrieved from EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-08/documents/pcmp_english_100-f-09-001.pdf
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  • HVAC Maintenance Service Call: What to Expect

    Now that you’ve found an HVAC contractor to conduct contracted maintenance, it’s time to prepare for the technician’s visit.

    Before The Technician Arrives


    If possible, you should locate and write down the manufacturer name and model number of the equipment from your initial bill of sale so it is immediately available to the technician upon their arrival at your home. If this information is not available from your paperwork, a homeowner should not attempt to open any equipment in order to access this information.

    During The Visit


    Your HVAC technician may perform a complete system check. This can include looking over all parts of a system, cleaning it, and performing the routine maintenance specific to your system. Depending on the equipment being evaluated, a routine HVAC maintenance service call may include the following:  
    • Inspecting main HVAC components
    • Checking for adequate air flow
    • Inspection of refrigerant lines
    • Clearing drain lines and pans
    • Inspecting exterior fan
    • Tightening electrical connections
    • Inspecting system controls
    • Inspecting and lubricating moving parts
    • Replacing parts that are showing wear and tear
    • Replacing air filters
    • Checking electrical connections

    If the technician discovers that your ductwork is leaking, they may recommend duct sealing. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that a typical U.S. home loses 20%-30% of duct system air due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.”  A license or professional technician can seal your ductwork. According to the DOE, sealing HVAC air ducts can drastically reduce duct leakage and improve both IAQ and overall system efficiency.

    Follow Up


    Making sure your HVAC equipment is routinely serviced by a professional HVAC technician is as important as taking your car to a mechanic for its required oil changes and maintenance. If an extended service contract or agreement is not already in place, technicians may often offer to set up a maintenance agreement wherein the customer agrees to pay a set fee for standardized scheduled system maintenance. Routine maintenance may extend the life of your HVAC equipment and possibly prevent minor issues from turning into expensive major problems over time.

    cta-outline_find-dealer

    By Jen (Anesi) Roby, former Legislative Editor at ACHR NEWS magazine and current Chief Editor for Plumbing & Mechanical. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer.
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  • Three Good Reasons to Upgrade and Replace Your Air Conditioner

    The moment an air conditioner fails is typically when you need it the most! So if your AC is not cooling your home, it's time to call your air conditioner contractor.

    But despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you should replace your unit rather than repair it. Age, condition, and performance expectations are often three good factors to consider when deciding if you should replace your current AC unit.1

    Repairs, Repairs, Repairs


    Air conditioning repairs can be inconvenient, but continuous repairs can become expensive! Even with the help of a highly skilled HVAC contractor, an air conditioner may start to show its age.  To keep costs under control, you may want to establish a repair cost cutoff point - meaning that you will replace your air conditioner if repairs cost more than your set amount.  At that point, you may want to start researching new energy-efficient air conditioners.

    How expensive does an air conditioner repair need to be before it’s not worth repairing it? If a major piece of equipment fails or the repair cost is close to 1/2 the price a new air conditioner, it may be better to replace the system.2 Yet, you should always discuss repair vs. replacement options with your HVAC technician to get a better idea of repair costs and the predicted lifespan of your current AC unit.

    Energy Efficiency


    Who wouldn’t want to save money on their monthly energy bills? According to EnergyStar, your heating and cooling system may be responsible for up to half of your energy bill.  There could be many reasons for your high energy bills, but your air conditioning unit SEER rating, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, may a contributing factor. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the unit will use. Your professional or licensed technician should be able to let you know if a higher SEER unit is right for you.

    SmarterHouse.org states that replacing a furnace with a modern high-efficiency model may be a good investment. If your air conditioner is over 10 years old, you may save up to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.3

    Energystar.gov’s online assessment tool can be used to compare your home's annual energy use to similar homes in your area. The site suggests that if your home scores below a five, “you're probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.”4

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets regional minimum energy efficiency standards for air conditioners. Currently, the minimum SEER rating for central air conditioners is 14 in the South and Southwest regions of the U.S. and 13 in the North.  

    The Right Size for Cool Comfort


    People often believe that “bigger is better.” But, when talking about your air conditioner, “bigger” can be bad. An air conditioner shouldn’t be too big or too small; it has to be just the right size to cool your home efficiently.

    When sized and installed properly, an air condition unit typically reaches maximum energy efficiency within a few minutes after starting up.  But if cycle times are shortened, and the unit continuously turns on and off, it may not hit peak efficiency.  Oversized air conditioner units can create bursts of cold air, tricking thermostats or control systems into shutting off the system before the entire house is cool. This can end up causing excess wear and tear on the unit, affect your indoor comfort level, and influence your overall energy costs.

    Your home’s layout, ventilation system, and building materials play a major role in determining the proper tonnage needed to cool your home. An air condition unit is measured in tonnage, but it’s not based on the actual weight of the equipment. A ton measures your air conditioner’s ability to cool. In case you really want to know:

    One ton = the ability to cool 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) in an hour

    It sounds strange, but your AC’s tonnage may be different from your neighbor’s home with the same square footage. Your home’s details should be evaluated by your licensed or professional technician at when sizing your air conditioner.   “A right-sized air conditioner is an important part of an energy-efficient home and will result in improved comfort, durability, and lower utility bills.”5

    If your current aging air conditioner is the wrong size, the SEER rating is low, and it requires multiple or high-dollar repairs, you may want to consider replacing your system! To find out if your current central cooling system should be replaced, contact a local, independent HVAC contractor.

    cta-outline_stay-cool


    1 Buying Tips. (2015). Retrieved from Smarterhouse: http://smarterhouse.org/cooling-systems/buying-tips
    2 Repair or Replace. (n.d.). Retrieved from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm
    3 Air Conditioning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/air-conditioning
    4 When is it Time to Replace? n.d. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_checklist_consumers
    5 EnergyStar. "RIGHT-SIZED AIR CONDITIONERS ." n.d. EnergyStar.gov. https://www.energystar.gov/ia/home_improvement/home_sealing/RightSized_AirCondFS_2005.pdf
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  • Seasonal Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance

    It’s an annual rite of passage – flipping the thermostat or control system from “heat” to “cool” or “cool” to “heat!”   As the seasons change, so do your indoor heating and cooling needs. You want to be sure that your HVAC system is working properly and ready for that switch. No one likes to make that dreaded HVAC emergency call on coldest or hottest weekend of the year!

    Why Schedule Pre-Season Maintenance?


    HVAC systems strive to meet your desired indoor temperature expectations! Creating a comfortable temperature in your home is a delicate balancing act between equipment, air flow, and mechanics. Proper HVAC maintenance can help maintain this balance despite the system’s consistent starting and stopping, and on-demand operation.

    Seasonal preventive maintenance on your heating and cooling system may guard against many unexpected failures and could maximize the lifecycle of your heating or cooling unit.1 Preseason inspections may uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and/or corroded electrical contacts on your air conditioner or heat pump that can lead to bigger equipment failures if left untreated.

    Proper maintenance may also keep your system running at peak performance levels.  “Effective maintenance can reduce HVAC energy costs by 5 to 40 percent depending on the system or equipment involved.”2

    When do I Schedule Seasonal Maintenance?


    HVAC dealers can get very busy when summer temperatures spike and cold, bone-chilling weather takes hold.  It is a good idea to plan seasonal maintenance prior to these peak service call times. Many dealers offer preseason specials on inspection packages during their typical slow times of the year, usually in the spring and the fall depending on the climate.

    What Does HVAC Seasonal Maintenance Include?


    There is no industry standard for what is included in an HVAC preseason “tune-up,” so specific work may vary greatly from contractor to contractor. Preseason specials may not include all of the suggested maintenance recommend by your system’s manufacturer(s). As a result, it’s important to understand what maintenance your system will be receiving, and the total cost for the job.

    Depending on the agreement, your HVAC technician may perform a complete system check that includes inspection and necessary cleaning of HVAC equipment, parts and components. Be sure you understand what you are getting in your season maintenance package!

    Air conditioning system maintenance may include, but is not limited to:

    • Tightening electrical connections
    • Inspecting system controls
    • Cleaning and inspecting coils
    • Lubricating moving parts
    • Replacing parts that are showing wear and tear
    • Cleaning or replacing filters
    • Cleaning and checking blowers and fans
    • Checking refrigerant and pressures
    • Verifying operating temperatures

    Gas furnace system maintenance may include, but is not limited to:

    • Tightening electrical connections
    • Inspect piping for leaks or cracks
    • Cleaning and checking blowers and fans
    • Inspect and clean gas burners
    • Examine ignition switch
    • Inspect heat exchanger
    • Inspect and clean flue
    • Replacing parts that are showing wear and tear
    • Inspecting system controls

    Don’t Ignore Sitting Ducts


    Ducts are an important part of your entire HVAC system and shouldn’t be ignored. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that a typical U.S. home loses 20%-30% of duct system air due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. That can sacrifice your indoor comfort and may increase your energy usage. Although it may not be included with a seasonal maintenance package, your professional or licensed technician can inspect your ductwork.

    Filtration technology has made significant advances in residential air filters over the past decade, but dust may still find its way into your home's ducts. If you are concerned about indoor air quality issues, the culprit could be dirty ductwork. After a ductwork inspection, your technician may recommend duct cleaning, sealing or specialized indoor air quality accessories.

    cta-outline_find-dealer


    1 Maintaining your Air Conditioner. n.d. <http://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner>.
    2 Studies Show: HVAC System Maintenance Saves Energy. September 2011. http://www.buildingefficiencyinitiative.org/articles/studies-show-hvac-system-maintenance-saves-energy. February 2017.
    3 Duct Sealing - ENERGY STAR. n.d. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_ducts. February 2017.
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  • Simple Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips that Can Save You Money

    U.S. homeowners spend about $29 billion a year on energy costs associated with central air conditioning.1  That’s a lot of money to keep cool! But when AC systems aren’t running at peak performance, the cost can go up even higher - meaning larger utility bills. But with regular maintenance, you can potentially reduce your air conditioner’s cooling emergencies and help extend the life of your system.

    Just like changing the oil on your car, your central air conditioning system requires regular maintenance to run at peak performance year after year. Some routine maintenance can be handled by homeowners. However, there are other jobs that should only be performed by a professional or licensed HVAC technician.  

    Below are maintenance tips to keep in mind as you look to get the best performance possible from your air conditioner.2

    DIY AC Maintenance


    Filters – According to Energy.gov, replacing a clogged filter with a clean one can help lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by up to 15%. Dirty filters block airflow and can reduce a system's efficiency and performance significantly. On average, filters should be replaced every 90 days depending on where you live and how often your air conditioner operates. However, your HVAC contractor can provide the proper filter replacement schedule for your particular air conditioning unit.2

    If the air condition portion of your energy bill equals $100, you may save an average of up to $15 per month just by replacing the dirty filters with clean ones!  But the real savings comes with minimizing the possible service calls for air conditioning emergencies and extending the life of your equipment!

    Exterior AC Unit - Cut back foliage and remove any debris left by nearby dryer vents, falling leaves and grass trimmings.  Anything that reduces ideal airflow can make your air condition system work harder, reduce its performance and can cost you money.2

    Fins - The fins on your evaporator or condenser coils should not be bent – this can reduce or even block airflow. To fix bent fins, contact your local HVAC professional contractor or technician. Bent fins can reduce the ability of the unit to deliver the energy efficiency you expect and might lead to premature coil failure.2

    Condensate Drains - Check the condensate drain from your central air conditioning system. The drain line should be located near the outside unit, leading from your AC unit’s indoor evaporator coil commonly located inside your home. The drain is typically a small PVC pipe; however, some drain lines may be copper.2

    Most likely, if you see a consistent drip on a hot day, the condensate drain is working properly. When condensate drains are clogged, the unit may not be able to properly reduce indoor humidity which can cause poor performance and loss of energy efficiency.

    Thermostat Batteries - Homeowners should replace batteries on their thermostat as necessary. If your particular model does not have a “low battery” signal or alert, your thermostat batteries should be replaced annually, or at the same time as the fire/CO2 detector batteries are changed.2

    Homeowners should always consult with their professional or licensed HVAC contractor to determine equipment-specific, DIY maintenance efforts that can help you keep your air conditioning system operating at peak performance levels and help reduce energy costs.

    Contractor AC Maintenance


    Trained or licensed HVAC professionals are better equipped to identify any airflow problems, system leaks, coil issues or potential failure concerns. To keep your central cooling system at peak performance, homeowners should hire an HVAC contractor to perform a more detailed check-up. The ideal time for profession HVAC maintenance is during pre-season, before you need to operate your central air conditioning system.  

    While each contractor has their own air conditioning maintenance process, professional maintenance services may likely include the following actions:
    • Check for adequate air flow
    • Look over condenser and evaporator coils
    • Check refrigerant lines and inspect for leaks
    • Clear drain lines and pans
    • Check electrical connections
    • Check operation of blower components
    • Lubricate motors, bearings and other moving parts
    • Inspect Exterior Fan

    cta-outline_energy-star


    1 Air Conditioning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/air-conditioning
    2 Maintaining your Air Conditioner. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: http://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner

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  • Three Good Reasons to Replace a Gas Furnace

    No one gets excited about having to replace their gas furnace. However, the idea of freezing in your home isn’t too exciting either. Despite efforts to prolong its life, there may come a time when it is better to replace your furnace rather than repair it. The decision to replace your current gas furnace often depends on one, or a combination of, age, condition, and performance.1


    Continuous Repairs


    Perhaps you have been there!  You think your HVAC system is working well, only to have to call your professional or licensed HVAC contractor again, and again and again for repair after repair. Even with proper maintenance and the dedicated efforts of a highly skilled HVAC contractor, an aging furnace may start to show its age.


    Continuous repairs can get expensive for a homeowner. As discussed in “Eliminate Indoor Hypothermia - Furnace Repair or Furnace Replace?” you should determine your repair spending cut off point. If your repair estimate is close to your predetermined budget threshold, it may be best to start researching a new gas furnace before you experience a breakdown.


    How expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth repairing it? If key parts fail, such as the heat exchanger or control module, or repair costs are more than 50% of the cost of a new product, it may be better to replace the unit.2 However, you should always discuss repair vs replacement options with your HVAC technician to get a clearer assessment of the price tag of repairs and the predicted longevity of your existing gas furnace.


    Heating and Comfort


    The indoor comfort of your home and family is probably one of your highest priorities. Gas furnace systems can have a complicated arrangement of gas and electricity working together.  However, if one or more parts involved in delivering heat is damaged or not working as intended, your heating system has the potential to become a comfort hazard.


    According to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, older furnaces that do not comply with current standard codes may pose a higher risk due to their earlier technology. “Newer gas furnaces are equipped with many features that shut the furnace off when a problem is detected, but older furnaces may not have these devices. “3


    Preventive maintenance and professional inspections are important aspects of the operation of your gas furnace.  While evaluating your gas furnace, an HVAC dealer may uncover small cracks, leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires or corroded electrical contacts that can lead to furnace failure.


    Energy Efficiency


    Energy.gov estimates that heating and cooling account for up to half of a typical home’s total energy use. As a result, a homeowner should make every effort to increase the energy efficiency of their HVAC equipment.


    To determine your home's annual energy use compared to similar homes in your area, Energystar.gov provides a simple online assessment tool. Energystar.gov suggests that a score below a five means that your home’s energy use “is above average and you're probably paying more than you need to on energy bills”.4


    While there are a variety of reasons and potential fixes that can increase your energy efficiency, a licensed or professional HVAC contractor may reveal that the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) of your gas furnace may be the primary cause of these excessive costs.


    An older gas furnace with an AFUE rating of 70% would mean that only 70% of its fuel is used to heat your home. The remaining 30% may escape through the chimney or exhaust. That means that up to 43% of the energy used to run your furnace may be wasted.  A high-efficiency model can offer higher AFUE ratings, potentially providing significant energy efficiency and savings on utilities.


    While every homeowner’s HVAC situation and budget is unique, SmarterHouse.org, a project of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, states that replacing a furnace with a modern high-efficiency model may be a good investment.

    cta-outline_stay-warm

    1 Buying Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved Dec. 05, 2016, from Smarter House: http://smarterhouse.org/heating-systems/buying-tips

    2 Gas Furnace Safety. (n.d.). Retrieved from AHRI: http://www.ahrinet.org/Homeowners/Improve-Safety/Gas-Furnace-Safety.aspx

    3 Repair or Replace. (n.d.). Retrieved from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm

    4 When is it Time to Replace? (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy Star: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_checklist_consumers

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  • HVAC Financing Facts

    HVAC Financing Facts


    No one wants to hear those fateful words, “It’s time to replace your central heating or cooling system.” Sooner or later, no matter how long your equipment has been running, your heating and cooling system will need to be replaced. But when that time comes, your wallet may not be ready! That’s where financing can help keep you comfortable!

    What is HVAC Financing?


    HVAC financing helps spread the cost of new equipment or entire systems over a predetermined amount of time. Why dip into savings you may have earmarked for another purpose, add to an existing credit card balance or even consider a home equity line of credit? HVAC financing can be an effective means to fit a replacement system or equipment into your budget without breaking the bank.

    It is important to review financing details to make sure you understand your financial responsibility. You should review the interest rate, repayment terms and the “small print” in any potential financing contract.

    Smart Money Management


    Base your buying decision on long-term comfort and energy-efficiency. Don’t lose your cool over the initial sticker cost, or freeze up at the suggestion of a new high efficiency rated system. Enhanced energy savings can result in real, tangible returns when you invest in a high-efficiency system, especially when compared to your old unit or today’s base-efficiency units.

    A high-efficient system can also allow you to feel the difference compared to your old unit. Impactful innovations such as variable-speed fans, variable-speed compressor and heat exchanger technology have ushered in a new era of HVAC operation that enhances indoor comfort and performance.

    While your frugal urges may tempt you to opt for a base or minimum efficiency system, the least expensive option may not be the most cost effective solution considering the life cycle of a new, energy efficient system. High-efficient systems can realize uncompromised indoor comfort throughout your home, offer reoccurring savings on your monthly utility bill, and possibly increase the value of your home. Moreover, consumer financing can often cover the cost of an extended service plan. Extended service plans may minimize additional out of pocket expenses you face for the term of the service plan.

    What Do I Need for HVAC Financing Approval?


    Depending on the local contractor’s financing company, you may need to provide personal information and be subject to a credit check. Ask the dealer to provide complete information before you make a decision.

    “Each lender differs in what is required for a loan approval,” says Erin McCollum, Director of Contractor Services for EGIA. According to McCollum, typical customers who are approved for an HVAC loan may have:

    • Fair to excellent credit profiles
    • Debt to income ratio under 50%
    • No recent history of bankruptcies

    Common Financing Terminology1


    • APR (Annual Percentage Rate) - The interest charged on the loan
    • Debt to Income Ratio - The amount of a borrower's debt divided by their income
    • Equal Monthly Payments at 0% APR - A loan that is paid in equal monthly payments over a specific term with an APR of 0%
    • Fixed Interest Rate - A fixed percentage of interest that is paid over the loan term
    • Interest - Payment for the use of money over time or the amount a borrower pays to borrow money from the lender
    • No Interest, No Payment Loan - A loan in which no payments need to be made within a specific promotional time period.  If the balance is not paid at the end of the promotion period, the borrower usually pays off the interest from the loan start.
    • Sub-Prime Loan - A loan given to a borrower who doesn't meet the credit requirements for a typical loan.  Sub-prime loans have higher interest rates because they finance borrowers who may have a poor credit history, low income, and high debt to income ratios
    • Term - The time length the loan will run
    • Unsecured Loan - A loan that is given and based on a borrower's credit instead of collateral

    cta-outline_affordable


    1 Terminology was provided by the Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing energy-efficiency and renewable energy solutions through the home improvement and renewable energy industries.

     

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    • How a Heat Pump Works

      A heat pump transfers heat from one place to another.  It sounds simple, but where is the heat coming from if fuel isn’t being burned?

      An air-source heat pump uses advanced technology and the refrigeration cycle to heat and cool your home. This allows a heat pump to provide year-round indoor comfort – no matter what the season is.

      In the warmer months, the heat pump can act as an air conditioner - drawing out interior heat and humidity, and redirecting it to the outside. During colder months, heat from the outdoor air is extracted and transferred to the interior of your home. Believe it or not, even a 32°F day produces enough heat to warm your home. Science is amazing!

      For example, when there is a temperature difference such as your 98.6°F body and 32°F air, heat is transferred from the warmer object to the cooler air. This is why you start to feel cold! So when you're trying to pull heat from 32°F air, you have to put it in contact with something even colder. That's the job of the refrigerant in a heat pump.

      Colder months: Heat pumps pulls heat from the outside air and transfer the heat to your home.

      Warmer months: Heat pumps pulls warm air and humidity from inside your home and transfer it outside, leaving cooler air indoors.


      Parts of a Heat Pump


      To get a better idea of how your air is heated or cooled, it helps to know a little bit about the parts that make up the heat pump system. A typical air-source heat pump system is a split or two-part system that uses electricity as its power source. The system contains an outdoor unit that looks similar to an air conditioner and an indoor air handler. The heat pump works in conjunction with the air handler to distribute the warm or cool air to interior spaces. In addition to the electrical components and a fan, a heat pump system includes:

      Compressor: Moves the refrigerant through the system. Some heat pumps contain a scroll compressor. When compared to a piston compressor, scroll compressors are quieter, have a longer lifespan, and provide 10° to 15°F warmer air when in the heating mode.1

      Control board: Controls whether the heat pump system should be in cooling, heating or defrost mode.

      Coils:  The condenser and evaporating coil heat or cool the air depending on the directional flow of refrigerant.

      Refrigerant:  The substance in the refrigeration lines that circulates through the indoor and outdoor unit.

      Reversing valves: Change the flow of refrigerant which determines if your interior space is cooled or heated.

      Thermostatic expansion valves:  Regulate the flow of refrigerant just like a faucet valve regulates the flow of water.

      The accumulator: A reservoir that adjusts the refrigerant charge depending on seasonal needs.

      Refrigeration lines and pipes:  Connect the inside and outside equipment.

      Heat strips: An electric heat element is used for auxiliary heat. This added component is used to add additional heat on cold days or to recover from lower set back temperatures rapidly.

      Ducts: Serve as air tunnels to the various spaces inside your home.

      Thermostat or control system: Sets your desired temperature.

      Air Conditioning Mode


      When properly installed and functioning, a heat pump can help maintain cool, comfortable temperatures while reducing humidity levels inside your home.

      1. Warm air from the inside of your house is pulled into ductwork by a motorized fan.

      2. A compressor circulates refrigerant between the indoor evaporator and outdoor condensing units.

      3. The warm air indoor air then travels to the air handler while refrigerant is pumped from the exterior condenser coil to the interior evaporator coil. The refrigerant absorbs the heat as it passes over the indoor air.

      4. This cooled and dehumidified air is then pushed through connecting indoor ducts to air vents throughout the home, lowering the interior temperature.

      5. The refrigeration cycle continues again, providing a consistent method to keep you cool.

      Heat Mode

      Heat pumps have been used for many years in locations that typically experience milder winters. However, air-source heat pump technology has advanced over the past five years, enabling these systems to be used in areas with extended periods of subfreezing temperatures.2

      1. A heat pump can switch from air condition mode to heat mode by reversing the refrigeration cycle, making the outside coil function as the evaporator and the indoor coil as the condenser.

      2. The refrigerant flows through a closed system of refrigeration lines between the outdoor and the indoor unit.

      3. Although outdoor temperatures are cold, enough heat energy is absorbed from the outside air by the condenser coil and release inside by the evaporator coil.

      4. Air from the inside of your house is pulled into ductwork by a motorized fan.

      5. The refrigerant is pumped from the interior coil to the exterior coil, where it absorbs the heat from the air.

      6. This warmed air is then pushed through connecting ducts to air vents throughout the home, increasing the interior temperature.

      7. The refrigeration cycle continues again, providing a consistent method to keep you warm.

       

      Why is There Ice on My Heat Pump?


      Don’t panic! It is quite common to see frost or even ice on your heat pump. The process of transferring heat to the refrigerant can cause excess moisture to build up on your coil. This excess moisture can freeze during extremely cold temperatures. The good news is that your heat pump was designed for this!

      A properly functioning heat pump has a defrost mode that kicks in when it detects ice buildup.  The unit simply reverses the refrigerant cycle, and the heat is directed to the outdoor coil. While this is happening, the backup or auxiliary heat strips are used to heat your home until the ice is melted.  

      However, if your heat pump does not thaw the ice buildup, it may be an indication that something isn’t working properly. If this occurs, call your local licensed or profession HVAC dealer to have the unit inspected.



      cta-outline_heat-pump


      1 Heat Pump Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: https://energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-systems
      2 Air-Source Heat Pumps. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: https://energy.gov/energysaver/air-source-heat-pumps
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    • All-in-One Comfort: How an HVAC Packaged System Works

      Let’s face it… you have stuff, and it needs space! But when space is limited, you may need to find alternatives for essential heating and cooling equipment. If this sounds familiar, a packaged system may be right for you!

      Have your Cake and Eat it Too!

      A packaged system is an “all-in-one system” that can provide both cooling and heating from a single cabinet.  The cabinet system can be installed at ground level, in a crawl space or on a rooftop. The single location frees up internal spaces for “usable” square footage.

      With a packaged system, you can have space for those new shoes and have the space to be comfortable in your home! Packaged units have the main heating and cooling components in a single-boxed cabinet that sits outside the home.  It’s a package!

      Packaged units come in multiple forms:

      • Packaged Air Conditioners: The compressor, coils, air handler are all housed in a single-boxed cabinet. The packaged air conditioner can also provide limited warmth by using an electrical strip heating.
      • Packaged Heat Pumps:  A packaged heat pump uses heat pump technology to cool and heat your home.
      • Packaged Gas-Electric: The packaged gas-electric unit combines an air conditioner with gas-powered furnace performance.
      • Packaged Dual-Fuel: The packaged dual fuel system contains a heat pump, capable of heating and cooling, as well as a gas furnace. This type of packaged system optimizes the heating source for the conditions.


      How Each Packaged System Works


      Operation depends on configuration, but packaged systems typically heat and cool your home the same way their stand-alone counterparts do. The ducting with a single cabinet system is slightly different. The duct work is attached to the system rather than connecting to various components in your home.

      Packaged System Air Condition Component

      • By using electricity as its power source, the unit’s internal components cycle the refrigerant.
      • Warm air is pulled in by a fan and then passes over the cold evaporator coil, cooling it in the process.
      • The cooled, dehumidified air is pushed through ducts to the various spaces inside your home.

      Package System Heating Component

      • Packaged Air Conditioners: In addition to the typical cooling feature associated with an air conditioner, packaged air conditioners are capable of producing limited heat with heat strip elements. With electricity as the fuel source, the heat strips are warmed, and the air is heated as it flows over the strips.  The warm air then travels through ducting to increase the interior temperature of your home. This type of heating component is mainly used in warmer climates where heat is only used occasionally.
      • Packaged Heat Pumps:  The heat pump transfers heat by reversing the refrigeration cycle used by a typical air conditioner. Through a cycle of evaporation and condensation, the indoor coils are heated, and the air is pushed over the warm coils. From there, the warmed air is blown through the ductwork to increase the temperature in the interior rooms of your home.
      • Packaged Gas-Electric:  The heating component of a packaged gas-electric system is a gas furnace. The heating portion of the system uses natural gas or propane to combust inside the heat exchanger, creating heat. As cool air from the interior spaces is pulled in through the return ducting, the blower motor then blows the air over and through the hot heat exchanger, heating the air. The warm air is then circulated throughout the home through the ductwork.
      • Packaged Dual-Fuel: Your dual-fuel packaged system has two heating options, a heat pump or a gas furnace. When installed and configured correctly, your dual fuel system can determine whether it’s more economical to heat your home using electricity or gas.

      When moderate heating is required, the heat pump automatically reverses from the air condition mode to provide warm air. When temperatures fall further, the system uses the gas furnace to provide reliable, consistent heat.


      cta-outline_packaged-system
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    • How a Central Gas Heating System Works

      Many people do not know how their central gas heating system works. They just expect it to keep them warm when the outdoor temperatures drop!  However, if you find yourself adding layers just to stay warm inside, it may be helpful to understand your central heating system.

      Bring on the BTUs!


      The heat capacity of a gas furnace is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A BTU equals the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Ironically, the BTU is rarely used in Great Britain because it is a non-metric measurement.

      The higher the BTU output, the more powerful the heating system. In real world terms, the energy released by one burning match is approximately equal to one BTU.1 So now you understand why it requires thousands of BTUs to heat a typical home.

      But what is the right number of BTU's for your home?

      The Goldilocks Theory


      Too hot or too cold is uncomfortable! A central gas heating system should be able to provide a consistent amount of warmth to keep you comfortable inside your home. However, that means it must be sized correctly too! A “just right” size furnace can give the best balance of comfort and cost-efficiency. So it’s important that your licensed or professional HVAC technician makes sure that your furnace is the right size for your space!

      If your furnace is sized too small, it might not be able to keep up on colder days. And typically, you want your furnace working on cold days! Depending on the indoor vs. outdoor temperature difference, an undersized furnace may fall short! Your system may have to run continuously to try to maintain the thermostat setting. This strain can cause it to become inefficient, causing increased utility bills, and result in unnecessary wear and tear on its components.

      If your furnace is too large for your house, it will heat your home very quickly and then shut off, or "short cycle."  Repeatedly turning on and off can be hard on your furnace, potentially reducing its lifespan.  For you, an oversized furnace can cause greater temperature fluctuations inside your home. An oversized central gas heating system can create bursts of warm air. This rush of heated air can trick thermostats into shutting off the system before the whole house is at temperature. This can leave you reaching for a sweater in between cycles!

      To make sure your central gas heating system is sized properly, contact your professional or licensed HVAC technician.

      How a Central Gas Furnace Works


      Simply put, a central gas heating system creates a cycle of warming cooler air. Here is the simple version:

      1. Burning propane or natural gas generates heat in the furnace's burner.
      2. The heat produced passes through a heat exchanger, making it hot.
      3. Air from the home's ductwork is blown over the heat exchanger, warming the air.
      4. The furnace's blower then forces the heated air into the supply ductwork, distributing it throughout the home.

      Of course, many central heating system components must work together to keep you comfortable.

      Temperature Control: The temperature control, which is regulated by the furnace control board, turns on the ignition switch and starts the heating process when the thermostat or control system calls for heat.

      Draft Induced Fan: The draft induced fan draws air into the burner assembly. The air also allows the burners to warm the heat exchanger then is exhausted outside of the home.

      Gas Burners:  When the thermostat or control system calls for heat, the gas burners valves are open to deliver gas and burn fuel.

      Ignition switch: Gas flows over the igniter to establish a flame. This flame is drawn through the burners and used to heat the heat exchanger.

      Heat exchanger: The part of a gas furnace that adds heat to the indoor air. The gas combusts inside the heat exchanger, creating heat that is used to heat the passing air. The design of the heat exchanger can add energy efficient operation of a gas furnace.

      Draft-Induced Fan: Draws air into the burner assembly. The air allows the burners to warm the heat exchanger.

      Blower Fan: Uses the return venting to blow air over the hot heat exchanger.  The conditioned air is then sent throughout your home via ductwork. Some furnace models offer a blower fan that can run at multiple speeds to improve efficiency.

      Flue: A flue or chimney acts as an exhaust for gaseous by-products of combustion used to create heat.

      Gas furnaces come in a variety of shapes to fit your space. However, they can also be categorized by one of the following:

      • Non-condensing furnaces - vent exhaust gases out of the home, typically through the roof.

      • Condensing furnaces - uses a second heat exchanger to heat the air from condensed exhaust gases to reach higher efficiencies.

      • A modulating gas furnace - continuously regulates the amount of fuel burned to maintain the set temperature of your thermostat. This modulating component can minimize indoor temperature fluctuations.


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      1 Energy Explained. (n.d.). Retrieved from U.S. Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.gov/EnergyExplained/?page=about_btu
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    • What Is ENERGY STAR?

      Every little penny counts! That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program became the “most successful voluntary energy efficiency movement in history.”1 The ENERGY STAR® program highlights energy efficient products that have been certified to use less energy than their standard counterpart products. The idea is that when homeowners purchase ENERGY STAR® certified products, they can save money on energy costs.

      When your home’s heating and cooling can account for up to 42% of your energy bill, purchasing ENERGY STAR® certified products to use less energy may help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars.2

      ENERGY STAR® Certification


      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all ENERGY STAR® products to be third-party certified. Products are tested in an EPA-recognized laboratory and reviewed by an EPA-recognized certification body prior to being ENERGY STAR® certified.3 ENERGY STAR® heating and cooling products must be proven to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality.

      In order to become an ENERGY STAR® partner, organizations enter into a formal agreement with the EPA. “As a partner in the program, organizations agree to abide by the ENERGY STAR® program identity guidelines to ensure proper use of the logo.”4 This partnership can provide homeowners with confidence that the product they are purchasing uses less energy than other products in that category.

      In addition to up-front testing, ENERGY STAR® products can also be subject to "off–the–shelf" verification testing each year. These checks ensure that manufacturing process changes or variations don’t undermine an ENERGY STAR® product's qualification.5 In 2015, 97% of the 1,789 models that underwent verification testing met energy-saving expectations.6

      Why Choose an ENERGY STAR® Product?


      The ENERGY STAR® program, which was introduced in 1992, applies to products in more than 70 categories. When compared to the standard product model in the same category, ENERGY STAR® certified products:

      • Have higher energy-efficiency ratings
      • Cost less money to operate
      • Are better for the environment

      Between 1992 and 2014, “the little blue label has helped save more than $362 billion on utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons.”7 You can assess your home’s annual energy use compared to similar homes by using the EPA's Home Energy Yardstick.7 With the Home Energy Yardstick, you can get:

      • Your home's energy use score
      • Insights into how much of your home's energy use is related to heating and cooling versus other everyday uses like appliances, lighting, and hot water
      • Links to guidance from ENERGY STAR® on how to increase your home's score, improve comfort, and lower utility bills
      • An estimate of your home's annual carbon emissions8


      cta-outline_energy-star

      1 The ENERGY STAR® Story. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/about
      2 Third-Party Certification. (n.d.). Retrieved from ENERGY STAR: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=third_party_certification.tpc_index
      3 Where Does My Money Go? (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/products/where_does_my_money_go
      4 Maintaining the Integrity of ENERGY STAR. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=partners.pt_es_integrity
      5 Origins and Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/about/origins_mission
      6 ENERGY STAR® Labeled Products: 2015 Verification Testing. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/downloads/2015_Verification_Testing_Summary.pdf?7bc3-ec96
      7 Why ENERGY STAR? (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy Star: https://www.energystar.gov/about/why_energy_star
      8 Home Energy Yardstick. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted
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    • Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit: Expired 12/31/2016

      We are talking taxes!  We understand that you love taxes just as much as you love traffic and YouTube ads. Yet saving money on your taxes is a good thing – think open roads and ad-free cat videos!

      As 2016 ended, so did many of the residential energy efficiency tax credits. But if you had a licensed or professional HVAC dealer install a qualifying, high-efficiency residential indoor comfort systems or qualifying HVAC component by December 31, 2016, you should consult your tax advisor to determine how these tax credits may affect your own 2016 taxes.

      *A tax credit can reduce the amount of federal income tax you may have to pay. For example, if you owe $800 in taxes at the end of the year, and you get a $300 tax credit, your actual tax bill could be lower.1

      Homeowners are limited to a maximum allowable tax credit of $500 between 2006 and 2016, whether those purchases came in the form of upgraded insulation, windows, HVAC equipment or other eligible improvements. To determine if you have already claimed your single-family home tax credits prior to 2016, consult your tax advisor.

      Some 2016 HVAC tax credits include, but are not limited to:
      • Air conditioners listed as ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2016 may qualify for a $300 tax credit.
        • Requirements for Split Systems: SEER>=16
        • Requirements for Package Systems: SEER>=14
      • Heat pumps that are ENERGY STAR® certified may qualify for a $300 tax credit.
        • Requirements for Split Systems: SEER>=16, HSPF >= 8.5
        • Requirements for Package Systems: SEER>=14, HSPF >= 8.5
      • Gas furnaces that are ENERGY STAR® certified (except those for U.S. South only) meet the requirements for the gas furnace $150 tax credit.
        • Requirement: AFUE > 95
      • Gas furnace fans that have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating may qualify for a $50 fan tax credit.
        • Requirement: Annual electricity use < 2% of total furnace energy

      And of course, there is a form for that! According to Energy Star, homeowners with residential energy-efficient tax credit qualifying purchases should discuss the IRS form 5695 with their tax advisor. Homeowners should also keep any related receipts and the Manufacturer’s Certification Statement for their records.2  The qualifying product(s) must have been installed by midnight on New Year’s Eve in order to claim the 2016 tax credit. A full list of Energy Star® tax reducing qualified products can be found on energystar.gov and at goodmanmfg.com.

      NOTE: This information is provided for discussion purposes only and is provided as a generic guideline. No consideration should be taken that this information represents tax advice. Contact your local tax professional to determine how these credits may apply to your circumstances and affect your own taxes. You can also visit  www.energy.gov/taxbreaks for more information.

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      1 Difference Between A Tax Credit And A Tax Deduction? (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://energystar.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/211437608-What-s-the-difference-between-a-tax-credit-and-a-tax-deduction-

      2 Tax Credits/ Rebates/ Financing/ Grants. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energystar.gov: https://energystar.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/211437868-How-do-I-apply-for-the-tax-credit-What-tax-form-do-I-need-for-the-energy-efficiency-tax-credits-

       

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    • How Does a Central Air Conditioner Work?

      The best air conditioner is the one you don’t have to think about.  It comes on the moment the indoor temperature set on the thermostat requires cooling performance, and then runs quietly and efficiently when needed.  But when it’s time to perform routine maintenance, make repairs or replace your system, it’s helpful to understand how an air conditioning system works


      Parts of a Central AC System


      To get a better sense of how your air is cooled, it helps to know a little bit about the parts that make up the air conditioning system. A typical central air conditioning system is a two-part or split system that includes:

      • The outdoor unit contains the condenser coil, compressor, electrical components and a fan.
      • The evaporator coil, which is usually installed on top of the gas furnace inside the home.
      • A series of pipes, or refrigeration lines, connecting the inside and outside equipment.
      • Refrigerant, the substance in the refrigeration lines that circulates through the indoor and outdoor unit.
      • Ducts that serve as air tunnels to the various spaces inside your home.
      • A thermostat or control system to set your desired temperature.


      The Refrigeration Cycle


      1. Using electricity as its power source, the refrigerant flows through a closed system of refrigeration lines between the indoor unit and the outside unit.
      2. Warm air from the inside of your house is pulled into duct work by a motorized fan.
      3. The refrigerant is pumped from the exterior compressor coil to the interior evaporator coil, where it absorbs the heat from the air.
      4. This cooled air is then pushed through connecting ducts to vents throughout the home, lowering the interior temperature.
      5. The refrigeration cycle continues again, providing a consistent method to keep you cool.


      Keeping Air Clean


      It is estimated that the air you breathe inside your home is more polluted than the air outside your home.1 A cooling system offers just the basics with regard to enhanced indoor air quality for you and your family. Indoor air filtration can help maintain the efficient operation of your cooling system by removing a wide range of airborne dust and reducing airborne particulates that can build up on the surface of the cooling coil.

      It is important to change your filters regularly. As filters become loaded with particulates, your system has to work harder, increasing your cooling bills. 

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      1 Guide to Indoor Air Cleaners in the Home. (2014, July). Retrieved from EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-07/documents/aircleaners.pdf

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