Q.    How often should I change the filter on my furnace?

A.    Everyone’s house is different.  If you have pets or a lot of traffic in your home your filter will need to be changed more often.  A good rule of thumb is your filter needs to be changed if it looks dirty.

Q.    If I don’t change my furnace filter regularly what could happen?

A.    Air conditioning costs depend partly on the furnace blower that distributes the cool air.  If it’s inefficient, your electricity costs could be quite high, especially if you use your furnace fan for ventilation.  Proper airflow will prevent freezeups, ensure good dehumidification, and improve efficiency by up to 10%.

Q.    If my A/C unit is low on Freon what will happen?

A.    The efficiency of your unit and cooling performance will go down.  Having the refrigerant charge checked annually will protect the compressor from possible damage, ensure efficiency and boost cooling performance.

Q.    What is a heat pump?

A.    A heat pump is a heating system that either extracts warmth from the outside air, as in an air-to-air system, or a ground source unit which extracts warmth from the ground.

Q.    What does SEER mean when talking about air conditioning?

A.    SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and compares the cooling power of the equipment to its electrical use.  The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit.  This equates to the MPG in your car.  The higher the number, the lower the cost to operate.

Q.    Is a bigger air conditioner better?

A.    No, bigger is not necessarily better.  You should buy an A/C unit that is correctly sized for your home matching cooling power to the characteristics of your home’s size, window area, insulation and other factors.  A system that is too large will cool fast but wastes energy and money and may not remove moisture effectively.

Q.    What makes one system more efficient than another?

A.    Most of the differences are on the inside - in the motors, compressors, pumps and valves.  Even if two units look the same on the outside, these less obvious features can mean big differences on your utility bills.

Q.    How can I be sure that energy efficiency claims are not just sales hype?

A.    Manufactures must use standard tests developed by the Department of Energy to prove the efficiency of their products.  Many have these tests performed by independent laboratories.  The test results are reported on the Energy Guide labels and through fact sheets provided by manufacture or industry association directories.

Q.    How efficient is my old A/C system?

A.    Typically, if your unit is:      

over 10 years old = 6.0 – 8.0 SEER

5-10 years old     = 10.0 SEER

Less than 5 yrs   = 13.0 SEER

Effective 1-23-06 the Dept of Energy established a new minimum SEER rating for air conditioning and heat pump units.  The new minimum of 13 SEER replaces the previous minimum of 10 SEER which had been in force since set in 1992.

Q.    What is the difference in energy efficiency?

A.    The 13 SEER unit is 8% more efficient than a 12 SEER unit and 30% more than a 10 SEER unit.

Q.    What does Btu stand for? 

A.    British thermal unit.  One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree F when the water is at about 39 degrees F.

Q.    What is Btu used for?

A.    Btu is used to measure heating and cooling energy.

Q.    What is a therm?

A.    100,000 Btu

Q.    What is the average Btu of electricity, Natural Gas and Propane?

A.    Electricity      1 KW              3412 Btu/hr

                 Natural Gas   1 Cubic foot    1030 Btu

                 Propane        1 Gallon          91600 Btu

Q.    What does AFUE stand for?

A.    Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency which is a measure of a furnace’s overall energy performance.  The higher the AFUE, the more heat you get for your heating dollar.