What is a dual-fuel system?
A dual-fuel system incorporates both a heat pump and a gas fired unit into one machine. During normal operation the unit will run in its heat pump mode. This means that it will take the BTU’s from the outside air and transfer them via the indoor coil into the home. This operation will takes place between a set range of temperatures. In other words when the outdoor temperature is between (25-40) degrees and 100 degrees the unit will run in the heat pump mode. When the outdoor temperature drops below 25-40 degrees the unit will switch over to a gas fired furnace. This switch over prevents ice from developing on the outdoor coil. On a normal heat pump ice can develop on the outdoor coil when the temperature drops below a certain degree. When this happens the heat pump must go into what is called the defrost cycle. During the defrost cycle the unit switches into the air conditioning mode to melt the ice on the coil. When this happens cold air blows out of the registers. Electric heat strips are engaged during this temporary defrost cycle to help compensate for the rush of cold air. A dual system eliminates this problem.
What is the difference between a split-system and a package unit?
The main difference between a split-system and a package unit is that a package unit has both the heating and the cooling operations in one unit. This means that there is only one unit to be installed and there are no refrigerant lines that need to be run. A split-system unit has an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit is called the condenser and the indoor unit is called the indoor coil. Refrigerant lines need to be run from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. A separate power source also has to be run to the outdoor unit. Typically if you are replacing an existing unit the refrigerant and electric lines are already in place. Both split-systems and package unit are available in heat pump or gas.
Is there a difference when it comes to thermostats?
Yes. Thermostats can offer a variety of different options. Just about all thermostats are electronic these days. This allows a lot of different combinations among them. They can be a simple thermostat that only moves the temperature up and down or they can come fully programmable. A programmable thermostat gives you the option of setting the temperature at a certain degree for a given time of day.This means that you can set the temperature to 72 degrees between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and then have it drop down to 65 degrees from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also allow you to choose the temperatures depending on whether it is summer or winter.
Another difference is whether the thermostat is compatible with your system. Often times a homeowner will try to change the thermostat on their own only to find out that their unit no longer works. The reason for this is that some thermostat will only work with a heat pump and some will only work with a gas unit. This is very important when considering a new thermostat.
How often should my AC/Furnace serviced?
Air conditioners and furnaces are just like any other piece of equipment. They have moving parts and parts that are meant to wear out. It is a good idea to have your unit serviced at least once a year. Air conditioners have capacitors in them. A capacitor is basically a battery. It assists in the startup of the machine. Just like any other battery, they lose the effectiveness overtime. If a capacitor fails, then your system fails. Having your system looked at once a year allows our technicians to determine whether the capacitors should be replaced or not. Just like a car your air conditioner wears over time. During a service call a trained technician checks all the important parts of the air conditioner. They check to make sure that the compressor and fan motor are drawing the proper amperage.They check to make sure that all electrical contacts are secure. They check refrigerant levels to make sure they are correct. All of this helps to ensure that the unit is going to function properly during the cooling or heating seasons.
My furnace is (40,000-120,000) BTU furnace. What does that mean?
BTU’s refer to the amount of energy consumed by the furnace while it’s running. This is the input number on a furnace. There is another number that is also important. That number is the output number. Typically a furnace will read (60,000-100,000) BTU with (80%-95%) efficiency. When determining what size furnace your house will need, it is important to run a Manual J load calculation. This calculation will help determine the amount of heat that will be required to properly heat your home. Once this number is determined the size of the unit (exp. 60,000-100,000BTU) will be chosen. The second number determines how efficient the unit will be. All gas fired furnaces lose energy. An 80% furnace will lose 20% of the input BTU’s. An example of this is: If you have a 100,000 BTU furnace with 80% efficiency, the output will be 80,000 BTU’s. The higher the % is the more efficient the furnace and in turn, fewer dollars out of your pocket towards utilities.
Is it better to spend more money on a filter that says it can last for 3 months? Should I buy the less expensive one that should be changed every month?
At Best By Farr LLC, we recommend purchasing the less expensive filter and replacing it every month. The problem with a filter that says that it can last up to 3 months is that after 1 month it is usually filthy. The filter might be able to last for 3 months but its effectiveness is lost after the first month. Once a filter gets dirty the unit has to work harder to get the same results costing more money in electricity. If you start out with a thicker 3 month filter it automatically begins restricting airflow. Once this filter gets dirty, the motor strains even more to draw air across the filter. If you let it go for three months you end up spending more money on electricity and put a lot of strain on your blower thus decreasing its life expectancy.
How often should I change my air filter?
In order to keep your air conditioner and furnace running at their most efficient levels the filter needs to be replaced frequently. Typically a filter should be replaced at least once every 2 months. We recommend that you replace the filter every month. Here in Arizona dust is unavoidable. If you couple that with a pet that you might have at home it can put quite a load on the filter. If you happen to have an electronic air cleaner or an electronic air filter they to need to be cleaned regularly. An electronic air cleaner will usually let you know when it needs to be cleaned as will an electronic air filter. Most often you can remove the filter media and rinse it off with water. Be sure to let the filter dry completely before putting it back in, water and electricity don’t go well together. If you are unsure about what to do contact your service representative and make a scheduled appointment.
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What is more efficient, a Heatpump or a Furnace?
When determining which unit you should go with one should always consider what is already there. Right now the cost difference between electricity and natural gas is comparable. This means that the cost you will pay towards utilities is going to be fairly equal whether you use electricity or gas to heat the home. Instead you should factor in what is already in place. If natural gas is already run to the home, then it is a good idea to go with a gas unit. A gas furnace will heat the air faster than a heat pump. However, if you do not have gas run to the home than the cost of running gas line will factor into the end price of the unit. Also, if you only have one piece of equipment in the home that runs of gas i.e. the furnace, than you might want to consider going with a heat pump. Your gas bill would disappear but your electric bill will increase in the winter. Another option is a dual-fuel system. A dual-fuel system functions as both a heat pump and a gas furnace. When the temperature outside is above a certain degree the unit runs on electricity as a heat pump would but when the temperature drops below that threshold the unit switches over to gas. This helps keep the costs down as the unit is able to heat the house up faster than it would if it were in the heat pump mode.
I hear about Air Conditioners being 3 ton 13 Seer-5 ton 16 Seer etc. What does this mean?
A common misconception is that a larger tonnage (eg. 5 Ton) is more efficient. This is false. The tonnage of a unit (eg. 3 Ton) refers to the amount of cooling capacity the unit has. In air conditioning terms 1 ton equals 12,000 BTU’s/hr. This means that a 1 ton system can remove 12,000 BTU’s from the air per hr. A 3 Ton unit would be able to remove 36,000 BTU’s per hr and so on. The SEER rating is where the efficiency comes into play. S.E.E.R stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is the rating and performance standards that have been developed by the U.S. government and equipment manufacturer's to produce an energy consumption rating that is easy to understand by consumers. The number before the S.E.E.R rating (eg. 14 SEER) refers to the amount of BTU/hr of cooling per watt of electricity. (Example: A 14 SEER unit offers 14BTU’s/hr of cooling per watt consumed.) In other words the lower the SEER rating, the more energy it takes to achieve the desired effect. The higher the SEER rating means less energy to achieve the desired effect.
What is the difference between a Heatpump and a Furnace?
The difference between a heat pump and a furnace is a heat pump continues to use the refrigerant during the heating cycle. A heat pump employs a reversing valve which reverses the flow of refrigerant.The refrigerant begins taking the BTU’s out of the outdoor air and transfers them to the indoor coil, and therefore into the house. A heat pump also employs a secondary means of heat. Electric heats strips are used to supplement the heat coming from the refrigerant.
A furnace uses a fuel source. It burns the fuel and the BTU’s are transferred into the air via the heat exchanger. Once the air in the heat exchanger reaches a certain temperature the blower fan is engaged.The blower blow air across the heat exchanger and in turn through the air duct.
One big difference between the two is the temperature of the air. A heat pump does heat the air but at a much cooler rate. The air is blown across the coil and the BTU’s are transferred into the supply air. This air is much cooler then the air that comes out of a furnace. A good rule of thumb is a 20 degree split between the return air and the supply air.