Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Cover My Air Conditioner During The Winter?
There are actually two answers to this question. First, is no, do not completely cover your condensing unit. Doing so will trap moisture that is in the air. This will speed up corrosion within the unit. The unit is designed to be outdoors and undergoes very stringent tests to assure it will stand up to the elements. Secondly, you might want to keep a cover on the TOP of the unit to keep leaves and branches from overhanging trees and shrubs from getting inside the unit and rotting on the bottom of the cabinet. If you have no overhanging trees, etc., this would be unnessesary.
What Type Of Filter Should I Be Using?
The answer to this question depends on you and your specific needs. Most homes and situations will do just fine using the cheap, (I meant inexpensive) fiberglass filters. They are adequete for keeping the blower motor, blower wheel and evaporator coil clean. If you need to filter the air for health (Indoor Air Quality) reasons, there are many options available to you. Keep in mind that the better the filtration (using pleated type filters), usually means you are going to have to give up air flow. The use of HEPA bypass systems, electronic filters and electronic air cleaners, as well as wide, 4 or 5 inch media filters, can do good filtration without affecting your air flow.
Is Paying More For High Efficiency Equipment Really Worth It?
Again, the answer to this question depends on you and your specific needs. Unless you are not going to be staying in your home for at least the next few years, replacing your furnace with a high efficient condensing furnace definitely is worth the investment. Your return on your investment will be greater than most banks are offering these days.
Your air conditioner is a little different. Standard efficiency is now 13 SEER. Which is 30% more efficient than the 10 SEER standard of just a couple of years ago. Upgrading to a higher SEER rating of maybe 16 SEER is good if you want the ability to either dehumidify only or cool and dehumidify. The 16 SEER units are two-stage units and must be matched with furnaces that have variable speed blowers. Their initial expense at install is hard to recoup due to the small cooling season we have. Usually, 2 or 3 months. But they certainly are more efficient.
What Are The Advantages Of A 2-Stage Furnace?
Consistent Comfort: Thanks to two-stage technology, the temperature inside your home should vary only a few degrees versus the larger temperature swings that are common with traditional furnaces.
Quiet Comfort: Because a two-stage furnace starts in its first stage, when the level and amount of heat required is lower, and runs in this stage the majority of the time, it greatly reduced the noise associated with furnaces that turn on and run full blast. Two-stage technology means quiet comfort.
Improved Air Filtration: A two-stage furnace provides more consistent airflow and with more consistent airflow comes improved air filtration, which means you’ll breathe easier with two-stage heating.
Efficient Operation: Because the furnace spends the majority of its time operating in its lower capacity – first stage – it burns less fuel than a traditional furnace that always runs at full capacity and then shuts off when heating demand is met.
What Are The Advantages Of A Variable Speed Blower?
Advanced Motor Technology - By now you’ve probably read about the GE® ECM® motor and wondered, “how is this an advantage for me?” To begin with, the ECM motor eliminates temperature swings in your home by using a continuous blower setting. Typical gas furnaces use only one heating speed – which is like having only one speed for your car! The ECM motor is also 20% to 30% more efficient than standard blower motors. Using only 50 to 75 watts during constant fan mode, the system circulates air throughout your home, providing total home comfort for pennies a day. And because the ECM motor slowly ramps its speed up, the noisy start-up produced by other blower systems is eliminated. In comparison tests, the ECM motor was two to ten decibels of sound level more quiet than a conventional furnace motor – even at high speed.
Plus the ECM motor has a special “soft start” and “soft stop” feature so that every move from stage to stage or from cycle to cycle is virtually unnoticeable! The other benefit of going to variable speed is that the efficiency rating for the air conditioner goes up ten percent. That means you can install the 13 SEER unit, but with a variable speed furnace, it essentially becomes a 14 SEER unit. And that saves you more money on your energy bill.