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Frequently Asked Questions & Glossary
When you have Heating & Air Conditioning questions, you can always contact Centsible Heating & Air Conditioning for answers. Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions that other Centsible customers have had -- you may find your answer right here.
We welcome your questions! Please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you're unsure of some Heating & Air Conditioning terms, find definitions in our Glossary section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Tax Credits and Rebates are available to me for using more energy efficient equipment?
The available tax credits and rebates can vary based upon your location, time of year, and other factors. For a current listing of the options for your region, visit the following sites:
Nationwide: Energy Star
Illinois: Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program
Indiana: NIPSCO's Appliance Rebate Program
Michigan: Efficiency United Program
How long should my Heating and Air Conditioning System last?
Maintenance and service play a key role in the lifecycle of a heating or air conditioning system. If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken, an air conditioner can last 12 to 15 years and a gas furnace 20 to 25 years.
How often should I service my Furnace?
Cleaning your furnace once a year in the fall is optimal. Lack of maintenance can and does void warranties. A heating system that is not maintained is a problem waiting to happen. At the very least, you will have escalating operating costs due to the inefficient running of your system and the eventual need for repairs. In the worst case, improperly maintained equipment powered by natural gas can compromise your safety by causing high levels of carbon monoxide, resulting in serious injury or death.
What type of Furnace filter should I use?
Standard furnace filters work well to keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they don't really improve indoor air quality. To do that you need a media filter. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal by seven times that of a standard furnace filter. When upgrading to a pleated media filter, you will remove virtually every unwanted element from your filtered air – including airborne viruses.
A media filter can have a life exceeding two years, and its only drawback is that its tight fiber weave can cause your furnace to have to work harder to blow air through the house. Always choose a filter that matches your blower's capacity.
How often do I need to change my humidifier pad?
Once a year, after the heating season, your humidifier filter should be replaced in the early spring before you turn your air conditioner on. This will prevent mold and dirt from building up in the pan and on the pad.
Allergy and Asthma problems run in my family. How can I improve the air quality in my house?
The HVAC industry has been dealing with this issue for many years and has a variety of products that will help you improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe at home.
Air cleaners can improve your health by keeping your entire house cleaner, protect your furnishings and save you time and the aggravation of continuous dusting and cleaning. A whole-house cleaner can help provide relief from irritants – up to 40 times more efficiently than standard furnace filters.
An air purifier whole-house air filtration system is the most effective air cleaning system available. It thoroughly cleans and filters out 99.98% of airborne allergens that pass through the system. It is up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1" filter.
By switching out your filters once a month you can cut down on the amount of dust and pollutants in your air. Filters remove dust and other particles from the air such as pollen, bacteria, smoke, smog, pet dander, and plant and mold spores. They also help to increase the energy efficiency and prolong the life of your heating and air conditioning system.
UV Germicidal Lamps
With an Ultraviolet (UV) Germicidal Lamp you will not just remove airborne contaminants, you will destroy them. Mold and bacteria can easily grow on air conditioning coils as a result of the normal condensation that takes place during the air conditioning process. A UV Germicidal Lamp is designed to kill that mold and bacteria by breaking down its DNA. The elimination of mold and bacteria will reduce your family's risk of allergic reactions and illnesses as well as ridding your house of foul odors.
What can I do before calling someone to service my system?
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are complicated networks of machinery that should be serviced by a certified professional. However, if your HVAC system seems to be malfunctioning, you can try a few basic steps, which may correct your problem, prior to calling a service professional. If you do not feel comfortable performing any of these tasks, however, do not hesitate to call an HVAC contractor.
- Disconnect and reconnect your indoor and outdoor switches.
- Make sure your circuit breakers are in the ON position.
- Make sure your filters are clean.
- Open supply and return vents and make sure they are unobstructed.
- Check the settings on your thermostat.
- Make sure the system switch is on the appropriate COOL or HEAT setting.
How often should I service my Air Conditioner?
The rule of thumb is once a year in late spring or early summer.
Proper air conditioning maintenance can help your unitlast decades. On the flip-side, a neglected air conditionerloses roughly 5% of its efficiency each year that it operates without upkeep...
Filters and coils are both parts that require regular maintenance for your air conditioner to operate effectively and efficiently. Neglecting your unit leads to poor air conditioning performance and increased energy consumption. And regular maintenance is far less costly than repairs or a replacement.
By keeping your unit operating at peak performance, you will recover any money invested in upkeep by lower repair costs and savings on your electric bill.
What is Energy Star®?
Energy Star® is a program that was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help businesses and individuals make energy efficient purchases.
This program places the Energy Star® label, a small blue and white logo, on items that meet superior energy efficiency standards. This label provides an easy way for consumers to identify quality, high efficiency products.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. indicated as a percentage, tells how much energy is being converted to heat by your furnace. For example, an AFUE of 90 means that 90% of the fuel is being used to warm your home, while the other 10% escapes as exhaust with the combustion gases.
The portion of your air conditioner or heating system that forces air through your home's ductwork.
British Thermal Unit. Used for both heating and air conditioning, BTU is a measure of the heat given off when fuel is combusted. Or for air conditioning, it's a measure of heat extracted from your home. One BTU is approximately equal to the heat given off by a wooden kitchen match.
Stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. A measurement of airflow that indicates how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute. The higher the number, the more air is being forced through the system.
The ability of a heating or air conditioning system to heat or cool a given amount of space. For heating, this is usually expressed in BTUs. For air conditioning, it is usually given in tons.
A colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas produced when carbon-based fuels, such as natural gas, burns without sufficient air nearby.
Part of a split-system heat pump or air conditioner's outdoor unit that controls the pressure applied to the refrigerant, necessary for taking in heat to warm your home with a heat pump or getting rid of heat to keep your home cool.
Part of the outdoor portion of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump. By converting refrigerant that is in a gas form back to a liquid, the coil sends heat carried by the refrigerant to the outside.
A type of "valve" used in duct work that opens or closes to control airflow. Used in zoning to control the amount of warm or cool air entering certain areas of your home.
Hollow pipes used to transfer air from the Air Handler to the air vents throughout your home. Ductwork is one of the most important components of a home heating and air conditioning system.
Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER) measure the efficiency with which a product uses energy to function. It is calculated by dividing a product's BTU output by its wattage.
Energy Star® is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Products with the Energy Star® rating will be efficient and save cost on energy bill.
Electronic Air Cleaner (EAC)
An electronic device that filters out large particles and contaminants in indoor air. It then electronically pulls out tiny particles that have been magnetized, such as viruses and bacteria, drawing them to a collector plate.
Part of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump located indoors. The evaporator coil cools and dehumidifies the air by converting liquid refrigerant into a gas (or vice-versa). A blower motor, typically in a furnace, then moves air over the coil to either heat or cool your home.
An indoor component of an air conditioner or heat pump system, used in place of a furnace and evaporator coil, to provide change the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid (or vice-versa) and blow air over the coil to cool or heat your home.
Term used for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
The part of a furnace that transfers heat to nearby air.
A piece of equipment that adds water vapor to heated air as it moves out of the furnace. This adds necessary moisture to protect your furnishings and reduce static electricity
A series of studies performed to determine the heating or air conditioning requirements of your home. An energy load analysis uses information such as the square footage of your home, window or door areas, insulation quality and local climate to determine the heating and cooling capacity needed by your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner. When referring to heating, this is often known as a Heat Loss Analysis, since a home's heating requirements are determined by the amount of heat lost through the roof, entry ways and walls.
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is the standard comparison of the efficiency of an air filter. The MERV scale ranges from 1 (least efficient) to 16 (most efficient), and measures a filter's ability remove particles from 3 to 10 microns in size.
A heating and air conditioning system comprised of products that have been certified to perform at promised comfort and efficiency levels when used together, and used according to design and engineering specifications.
The day-to-day cost of running your home comfort equipment, based on energy use.
Puron® refrigerant is an environmentally sound refrigerant designed not to harm the earth's ozone layer. Federal law requires that all manufacturers phase out ozone depleting refrigerants in the next few years. Puron refrigerant is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a replacement from Freon 22*.
R-22 is a single component HCFC refrigerant with low ozone depletion potential. It has long been used in a variety of air-conditioning and refrigeration applications in a variety of markets. Per U.S. EPA regulations, new R-22 cannot be used in new systems effective in 2010, although service quantities of the refrigerant may be produced until 2020.
Two copper lines that connect the Condenser (Outdoor) Coil to the Evaporator (Indoor) Coil.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measure of the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the system is at converting electricity into air conditioning power.
A specially designed compressor that works in a circular motion vs. an up and down piston action.
A state-of-the-art electronic thermostat with a built-in memory that can be programmed for different temperature settings at different times of the day.
Single Package Product
One outdoor unit that contains both a heating and an air conditioning system.
Refers to an air conditioner or heat pump that has components in two locations. Usually, one part of the system is located inside (evaporator coil) and the other is located outside your home (condenser coil).
Unit that monitors and controls your HVAC system products.
Thermostatic Expansion Valve
A thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) is precision device used to meter the flow of liquid refrigerant entering the evaporator at a rate that matches the amount of refrigerant being boiled off in the evaporator.
A unit of measure for cooling capacity. One ton = 12,000 BTUs per hour.
Total Home Comfort System
The ultimate solution to providing you with consistent, customized home comfort, despite the ever-changing weather.
Two Stage Compressor
Two Stage Compressors are capable of two levels of operation, a low stage and a high stage. Properly sized equipment will operate 80% of the time in low stage, enhancing efficiency and comfort with lower humidity levels and quieter operation. It's like getting two air conditioners or heat pumps in one system.
A way to increase your home comfort and energy efficiency by controlling when and where heating and air conditioning occurs in a home. Programmable thermostats are used to control operating times of the equipment. Dampers are used to direct air flow to certain parts or "zones" of the home.