Archive for April 2012

Monday 16 April, 2012

Common Heating and Cooling Questions and Answers

What is the best set-point for my thermostat?

Temperature set points in the home are clearly a matter of personal preference. We do recommend that homeowners leave their thermostats at one setting and avoid turning the system on and off. This will allow your system to keep comfort levels even throughout the house.

How often should I change my filter and what kind should I use?

1” filters are the typical choice for most homeowners. 1” should be changed monthly and we recommend pleated filters over the typical blue poly filters. 5” media filters should be changed every six months and are an excellent choice for homeowner’s who would like to increase the level of filtration in the home and not invest in a electronic air cleaner. Electronic air cleaners offer the highest level of filtration for homeowner’s. Please refer to the maintenance and care manual that should have been provided with your air cleaner. Also note that electronic air cleaners must be serviced in order for the units to maintain their efficiency.

Is preventive maintenance really worth it?

Yes, having semi-annual preventative maintenance performed allows homeowners to receive the maximum efficiency comfort out of their system. Clean coils and balanced refrigerant charges are one example of how preventive maintenance can help homeowners.

What is the best heating and cooling system for my home?

Heating and cooling systems are more than just equipment alone. Duct systems (forced air), proper refrigerant piping, and proper system sizing are just a few facets of a quality heating and cooling system. All equipment manufacturers are not created equally. Southern Air, Inc. only installs the highest quality systems on the market.

What is Dual Fuel and how can it benefit me?

“Dual” refers to the pairing of a heat-pump with a gas, oil, or LP furnace/boiler. Dual fuel allows the homeowner to heat with their heat pump down to a certain temp and then bring on the fossil fuel unit below the heat pump lockout point. This simply means that you can heat with your heat pump on cool/mild days and heat with your fossil fuel unit on the really cold days, maximizing your comfort and the dollars in your wallet.

How often should I have my ducts cleaned?

Every time homeowners have their equipment changed out or every 10 to 15 years.

Is it okay to close vents?

Generally no. Comfort Systems are designed for “balanced” airflow. This means that all vents are considered to be open when a system is designed to condition a given space. If a homeowner is interested in permanently closing off supply vents they should consult a licensed mechanical contractor.

What is the best way to control Humidity?

Whole house steam-humidifiers are the best way to control humidity during the heating season where humidity needs to be added to the space. During the cooling season variable-speed air handlers and multistage cooling equipment along with a properly sized duct system are three key components to removing humidity from the space. If a homeowner has a specific humidity problem, they should consult Southern Air, Inc.

Why is there “Smoke” coming from my outdoor unit?

Heat pumps have a cycle called “Defrost”. The defrost cycle removes the “frost” from the outdoor coil by switching the system in air conditioning mode for a short period of time. The back-up heat will come on during this process to condition the air. Homeowner’s may experience a slightly cooler supply air temperature during defrost.

What is a heat load calculation?

A heat load calculation is a procedure that is used to properly size heating and cooling equipment. Units are commonly improperly sized. Properly sized systems allow homeowners to control humidity and condition the space with relative ease. Heat load calculations should be performed every time a system is changed out; if there is a problem with humidity; or system have an excessively long run time.

We used these questions and answers from the Southern Air site in hopes that you would find them useful as well.


Monday 16 April, 2012

What Are Degree Days?

Heating engineers who wanted a way to relate each day’s temperatures to the demand for fuel to heat buildings developed the concept of heating degree days.

To calculate the heating degree days for a particular day, find the day’s average temperature by adding the day’s high and low temperatures and dividing by two. If the number is above 65, there are no heating degree days that day. If the number is less than 65, subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree days.

For example, if the day’s high temperature is 60 and the low is 40, the average temperature is 50 degrees. 65 minus 50 is 15 heating degree days.

Cooling degree days are also based on the day’s average minus 65. They relate the day’s temperature to the energy demands of air conditioning. For example, if the day’s high is 90 and the day’s low is 70, the day’s average is 80. 80 minus 65 is 15 cooling degree days.

Heating and cooling degree days can be used to relate how much more or less you might spend on heating or air conditioning if you move from one part of the country to another. Of course you’d have to take into account how well insulated your new home will be in comparison to your old one and the different costs of electricity, gas or heating oil. You could also use records of past heating degree days to see if the money you’ve spent on insulation, or a newer furnace or air conditioner is paying off. To do this, you’d also need records of past energy use.

The heating degree season begins July 1st and the cooling degree day season begins January 1st.


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