WHAT IS HVAC? ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

The acronym, HVAC, stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. HVAC is used to describe all aspects of home and commercial air quality and comfort services.  Air Comfort Company offers full service HVAC service and installation. The hot and cold weather extremes of North Texas demand proper functioning of your HVAC equipment in any conditions. Whether your family or business needs a new heater, new ac unit or an air cleaning system, we are more than just an air conditioning company.  We have built our business on long term partnerships with our customers and look forward to having the opportunity to serve your family.

 

For more information, refer to Air Conditioning and Heating Terms

What is a condensation leak?

When your air conditioner isrunning, it pulls water out of the air for humidity control. This takes place in the evaporator coil. The air from your house is blown across the cold coil causing condensation to form, like when a cold glass sits out and water forms on the outside of the glass. This water goes down a pipe and into your sewer. Over time dust, mold, and mildew will build up in the pipe and eventually it will stop the flow of water. If you have an emergency drain, the condensation will now run out of your house dripping out of the eaves. This is a warning sign that you have a problem and need to fix it right away or you can risk water damage to your ceiling. At this point you need to call an air-conditioning company to unclog the drain.

How often should I change my filter?

There is no set answer to this question. A small house with four kids, three dogs, and a cat, will need more frequent filter changes up to once a week. A large house with one person and no pets could go up to six months without needing a filter change. The only way to be sure is to replace your old filter with a new one and check it once a week until the filter is noticeably dirty.

What maintenance can I do?

Change your filters on a regular basis.

Clean your outside coils once a month during the cooling season. Always turn power to unit off before washing the coils. Do not use too strong a water stream as you might bend the coil fins. Never put any chemicals on the coils as some can corrode copper and aluminum.

Have your local Air Conditioning company provide equipment checks once a year.

Does a programmable thermostat help my electric bills?

Yes, a programmable thermostat provides savings, convenience, and extra comfort for most customers.

Those with a regular schedule and prefer different temperatures when sleeping versus being awake, will appreciate what a programmable thermostat can do for you. A popular benefit is the ability to set the thermostat to drop to a cooler temperature when sleeping yet have the house warmed up by the time you awaken for the day. You can also set the thermostat to automatically turn the unit off while you are at work and then bring the temperature back to a normal, comfortable setting by the time you get home. This saves you money by not having the unit running an unoccupied house all day.

If you do not have a regular schedule, or if you always keep the thermostat at the same setting, a programmable thermostat may not be for you.

What is the difference between the old and new refrigerants?

The old refrigerant is commonly referred to as R-22 or Freon. The new refrigerant is called Puron by Carrier and R-410A by Trane. Puron/R-410A works exactly as R-22 does but does not contain the chlorine that supposedly can destroy our ozone layer. Puron/R401-A uses a different type of oil and runs 50% higher pressures with the same temperatures as Freon. This is why you need to change the refrigerant piping, evaporator coil and the metering device when converting from the old to the new. The cost per pound of Puron/R410A is slightly higher than that of Freon but as Freon is phased out you can expect that to change in 2011.

What is a SEER rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Electricity is purchased in a unit/measurement called Watts. Whereas the amount of air conditioning is expressed in BTUs(British Thermal Units). The SEER lets you convert watts to BTUs.

For example, if you had a 13.0 SEER unit, you would get 13 BTUs for every watt of power, so the higher SEER the better. Currently the lowest SEER is 13.0 and the highest is 21.0. The higher the SEER, the higher the cost will be to initially install the better equipment. You should take into account how long it will take you to start getting paid back on your initial investment before you decide what SEER you should buy.

Is being low on refrigerant normal?

Air conditioners do not use up refrigerant and refrigerants do not wear out. If you are low, you have a leak somewhere in your equipment. The problem is finding the leak. Sometimes the leak is obvious due to its size or location. Some leaks are very small and almost impossible to find. There are several ways to find leaks: soap bubbles, electronic leak detectors, halite torch, ultrasonic, and fluorescent dyes. It is up to the technician to decide which is the best way to find
the leak. Generally an electronic leak detector is the best and easiest way to find a leak. Dyes should only be used as a last resort because you have to wait for a large enough leak to be detected by the florescent light.

When should I get a refrigerant leak fixed?

It is always best to have your serviceman find and fix the leak. This will prevent the unit running low over and over again and your unit not cooling. Also, when the unit is low on refrigerant, more stress is put on the compressor and more energy is used up. If you need only one pound of refrigerant every two or three years, you may choose not to have the servicemen locate and repair the leak.

Should I get my gas furnace serviced every year?

This is a must. Gas furnaces that are not in proper working order kill hundreds of people every year through fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. All homes should have working fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Having these is still not enough, your furnace must be inspected by a qualified technician every year. The technician will test all safeties to ensure the furnace will shut down if it has any problems, check gas lines for any leaks, check the vent work for proper flow, and the heat exchanger for any cracks. This will provide you with a peace of mind that your furnace is not a hazard.

Should I get my ducts cleaned?

Air Comfort Company does not provide any duct cleaning services. Most of Air Comfort’s customers that have had it done said that it either made no difference in the quality of the air in their house or that it actually made things worse due to ducts breaking in the process. If you are concerned with the quality of the air in your house, you need to treat the actual air going through the system, not dust that is trapped in the system. You want to tackle the problem at the source so that no more dust is allowed to travel through the system which is the reason the ducts became dirty in the first place.

What can I do to to keep the air in my house clean?

The air in your house is filled with a host of bad things: dust, mold, pollen, virus, bacteria, dust mites, pet hair and dander, and spores to name a few. Standard throwaway and electrostatic filters trap only about 15% of the pollutant particles in your home’s air. The rest circulates throughout your home. The best solution that Air Comfort Company recommends is a product made by Aprilaire called a Space-Gard. This is a media type filter and needs no electrical connections. The Space-Gard has a case that the disposable filter is put in and then attached to the furnace. The filter has to be changed once a year on average and can get as much a 95% of the pollutant particles in your home’s air. To clean the air even further, air cleaners that utilize ultraviolet light and special filters can be installed. These will clean your house to hospital standards but the price can be prohibitive.

What is variable speed equipment?

The variable speed furnace and fancoil are the latest in comfort technology. The variable speed motor is able to adjust its speed by minute fractions to accommodate whatever is required for it. Unlike motors of the past which had at most four speeds, and each speed was locked in for cooling and heating, the variable speed motor is able to adjust its speed to give the maximum amount of comfort, and the quietest operation possible. When a humidistat is used in conjunction with the variable speed furnace, you are able to control the humidity in your house during the cooling season. When the humidistat finds that there is a higher humidity than desired, the variable speed blower motor slows down, enabling the system to pull more moisture out of the air. The biggest complaint we have had when installing variable speed equipment is that the customer thinks the unit never runs, because they never hear it. When we ask if the temperature of the house is at what the thermostat is set at, the customer invariably says – yes.

What are the advantages to two-stage heating or cooling?

The most common complaint we hear, is that one area of a house is hotter or cooler than another area. This is usually caused by poorly sized ductwork. This can only solved by costly heat load calculations and redoing your entire duct system. A more simple solution is to take advantage of two-stage heating and cooling. When you have single stage heating and cooling you are getting 100% of the heating or cooling every time the thermostat calls for it. When you have two-stage heating or cooling, the system is able to run at a lower capacity for a longer time. This enables the system to maintain an even temperature throughout the house because it is not just blasting the house with either hot or cold air.

What does it mean when my compressor is grounded?

This means that one of the electrical windings inside the compressor has broken. When this happens the winding will hit the side of the compressor causing a direct short to ground. Usually this will ignite the oil causing a burnout. This is a bad thing to happen to your system, the compressor will have to be changed and the refrigerant lines will need to be cleaned. If your compressor was out of warranty you will want to replace the entire condensing unit as it is usually cheaper. Cleaning the lines is done with suction line filters and liquid line dryers. In some cases the suction line filters have to be changed multiple times.

What does it mean when my compressor valves are leaking?

This means the seals inside the compressor that keep the high pressure and low pressure sides apart are leaking. This will cause excessive electric bills, high humidity in the house, and the system will be unable to keep the house cool. Unfortunately the only cure is to replace the entire compressor.

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