Aug 29, 2012 by Alagasco

HVAC: FAQ

HVAC Frequently Asked QuestionsAre heating and air conditioning systems new to you?  Are you looking for quick and simple tips for updating your system?  If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about HVAC systems and the most simple, clear and up-to-date answers. 

Q: What does HVAC stand for?
A: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

Q: What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need? 
A: The most important part of HVAC maintenance is maintaining unrestricted air flow. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies. Whether it’s an indoor unit or an outdoor unit, you must keep all filters clean and coils free of restrictions.

Get your furnace and your air conditioner checked once a year by a HVAC specialist and change your filters regularly. Changing your filters monthly can eliminate many of the most common problems and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.  Plus, a clean system saves significant dollars in energy and maintenance costs over the life of the system.

 

Q: How long do HVAC systems last?
A: If you perform regular preventative maintenance and service, industry averages suggest that an air conditioner should last 12-15 years and a Natural Gas furnace could last as many as 20-25 years.
 
Q: What is a Zoning System for HVAC?
A: Zoning divides your home into separate comfort areas and allows your equipment to operate more efficiently by cooling or heating only the areas that need it. For example, a living room with large windows may need more heating in the winter than a bathroom with no windows. A zoning system will send more air to the specific area that needs it to keep your rooms at the perfect temperature.  Zoning can be accomplished through a variety of approaches.  Ask your HVAC company for the best approach for your situation.
 
Q: Why should I replace my existing heating or air conditioning system?
A: Consider replacing your air conditioning or heating system if it is old, inefficient or in need of repair. Today’s systems are as much as 60% more efficient than those systems manufactured just ten years ago. Wear and tear on a system can also reduce efficiency. If you are faced with an expensive repair, replacing your system may be more economical than paying to replace an expensive component. Always consult an experienced, certified HVAC specialist before deciding.
 
Q: When replacing the outdoor unit, should I replace the indoor unit too?
A: Most likely, yes. Here are three reasons why.   

  1. Matched systems: All outdoor air conditioner and heat pump units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance.
  2. Efficiency ratings: The efficiency ratings on air conditioners and heat pumps are based on their performance as matched systems. If you only change one, the efficiency rating will not be correct, and you will not receive all the benefits of the new unit.
  3. Equipment age: If your outdoor unit is old and needs replacing, most likely your indoor unit is the same age and should be replaced, as well.

 
Q: It’s been years since I shopped for a new heating and cooling system. What changes in technology and equipment do I need to know about?
A: If you’re deciding on a new system and have not kept up with advances in the industry, you will be amazed at the number of choices that you will have. Today’s comfort systems offer a surprising number of options and combinations – from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or “hybrid” systems. Systems can vary widely in terms of energy efficiency. The ability of systems to monitor conditions and adjust automatically has increased dramatically. And a wider variety of air quality add-ons are available more than ever before.

These changes make the replacement decision more complex than ever, so you can see how important it is to find a HVAC company that will work with you to develop a system for your situation and budget.

 

Q: What should I look for when choosing a new furnace, heat pump or air conditioning unit?
A: Here are some general rules of thumb when you are ready to replace your existing equipment:

  • Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability.
  • Choose a model with a high efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill.
  • Choose the correct equipment size and system. A contractor can help you decide what is right for your home.
  • Don’t buy a unit just because it is on sale and seems like a great deal at the time; do some research on the product or ask the installation representative for more product information.
  • Look for a reputable contractor. Make sure the contractor you select is licensed and insured. Click here to locate an Alagasco Gas Advantage Contractor.

We hope this information has been helpful.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call 1-800-292-4010. One of our representatives will be able to locate a Gas Advantage Contractor near you to help answer your questions.

Alagasco

Alagasco, your natural gas partner, provides clean, energy efficient natural gas to approximately 437,000 homes, businesses and industries in central and north Alabama. To report a gas leak, a line break, or any other gas service emergency, please call 1-800-292-4008. For other inquiries about your account, service or billing, you can reach us via email or phone.

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