General Heating & Air Conditioning Questions
Q: What is HVAC?
A: The Acronym 'HVAC' stand for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Q: What is the biggest energy user in my home?
A: Minnesota winters make the furnace, Boiler or heat pump your biggest energy consumer.
Q: How do I keep my windows dry in winter?
A: An air-to-air heat exchanger or “HRV” will reduce the moisture in any home to clear off the windows. However, you could try a little higher room temperature setting and see if that works.
Q: What can I do for my family members with asthma or allergies?
A: A good first step is to get a whole house air filtration system. The Lennox healthy climate system has been rated the best in the industry by a leading consumer advocates.
Another great idea is to install a SteriLight™ system by Steril-Aire®. It destroys mold and microorganisms that might cause allergies in your home or building. Abel Onsite is a member with the Indoor Air Quality Association and if you would like to find out more information on Steril-Aire® products click here.
Q: Why is my upper floor so hard to cool in the summer?
A: Ductwork that moves the air throughout your home can be too small or could have been changed since the house was built. A technician can balance the system and with simple changes improve the efficiency of air exchanges throughout the house.
If the AC is sized improperly we often see uneven cooling. If it is too small and it can’t keep up. Too big and it shuts off quickly and only the areas near the unit get cooled. New technology gives us terrific variable speed blowers that can improve temperature differences and be easier on your electric bill.
Q: What is the “warm room” concept?
A: As we try to shrink our environmental “footprint” some people turn the heat down very low in rooms that are not used as often. Be aware that using an electric space heater or other type of heating device can offset the savings gained by limiting your central heater use. Automatic thermostats that control heating an cooling settings are a great way to save & conserve energy. Unlike a space heater, this strategy never forgets when you are away.
Q: Is solar hot water cost effective?
A: Using solar energy for hot water in domestic homes is a great idea. The suns energy is free and has zero emissions. We can install a system for you today. It might be less cost effective than other systems we offer, but it's much more eco-friendly than other alternatives.
Q: What is electronic zoning? What are the benefits?
A: An electronic zoning system divides your building into sections. Each section is given a thermostat. A building with proper zoning has a constant temperature in each room, saving money and energy.
Q: Can I have central air conditioning if I have hot water heat?
A: Yes. However, it is best to schedule an HVAC certified technician to inspect your particular building and discuss your options.
Q: Why are some areas in my building hotter than others?
A: There are two possible options: Your thermostat location, and a problem with your ductwork. You'll most likely need an HVAC certified company such as Abel Onsite to help you remedy the situation.
Q: The Efficiency rating on my furnace, what does it mean?
A: It pertains to the energy that actually heats your home, not lost through exhaust. The higher the efficiency rating of your furnace, the greater the potential energy & cost savings.
Q: How often should I change my furnace filter?
A: Check it every month. Change it when dirt is visible. How often it needs to be changed depends on three factors:
1) How often the equipment runs,
2) The conditions around your equipment when it runs, and
3) The filter you have.
Q: Is there anything I can check myself before I call you for service?
A: Yes. Make sure the thermostat is on and your equipment is getting power. There is a power switch on the furnace and a service disconnect on the air conditioner. Also, check your building’s breaker or fuse box. If all of these things are functioning properly and your still exists, you probably need to call for assistance.
Q: What size furnace do I need?
A: Sizing of equipment can be a complicated process. To guarantee accuracy, contact a licensed HVAC company such as Abel Onsite to show you what furnace size would be best for your building.
Q: Do I qualify for a rebate since I just got a high efficiency furnace?
A: Most likely, you do. The rebate programs are processed by the local energy companies. We can supply you with the necessary paperwork if you’d prefer.
Q: What is a SEER Rating?
A: SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio) ratings are assigned to air conditioners based on efficiency. The more efficient the air conditioner is, the higher the number.
Q: What SEER rating should my air conditioner have?
A: Your air conditioner should be a 13 or higher to be a relatively efficient unit.
Q: When should I replace my furnace?
A: Furnaces should last for 10-20 years under normal circumstances.
Lifetime depends upon:
1) How well it has been maintained,
2) How often it has been used, and
3) Under what conditions it has been used
(A furnace that has gone through a remodeling project could have lost a few years)
Q: Should I turn down heat at night to save energy?
A: Turning down your heat can save money & energy. But it takes an 8° temperature difference over 8 hours to notice substantial savings. Check the owner's manual for the thermostat in your building. It should offer recommendations for energy savings.
Q: How can I regulate humidity when running the heater?
A: The humidity level can be controlled by a humidistat on a whole-house humidification system. One that has an outdoor temperature sensor is recommended. If you do not currently have whole-house humidification, we can help you to decide if this is a good option for you.
Q: How humid should my building be?
A: During a Minnesota winter, 35% relative humidity is recommended.
Q: How often should my heating & A/C system be checked?
A: Annual check-ups by a qualified technician is recommended for proper efficiency. Get your heating unit tuned up in the fall, and cooling system tuned up in the spring.
(Humidifiers, air to air exchangers, etc. are also serviced during a "tune up")
Q: Can I install central air conditioning in my old house?
A: Every home is unique. How the cooling system is designed changes from house to house. It is best for an HVAC company to take a look at your home and discuss your options.
Q: It is 70°F outside and really muggy. What I can do to make my house more comfortable?
A: It is most likely the humidity is making you uncomfortable. The air conditioner, which relies on temperature, doesn't run long enough to have a chance to dehumidify. Your options are to turn your thermostat down (which may make you chilly!) or consider a whole-house dehumidification system.
Q: My air conditioner seems really loud. I hear it every time it kicks in. Is this normal?
A: Ideally, you do not notice your air conditioner when it kicks in. If proper installation practices were followed, and you are still hearing your AC kick in, there may be a problem that requires service.
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