Q: I need to replace my air conditioner, but my furnace works just fine. Is it true they need to be replaced at the same time?
A: Think of your air conditioner and furnace as part of a total system. That system will work better, longer and more efficiently if all of its components are matched in capacity and efficiency. By the same token, a mismatched system—one that mixes old technology with new—could decrease system performance and overall comfort.
For example, your new air conditioner will be capable of reaching a certain SEER efficiency rating. Because SEER is determined by a complete system combination, if your existing furnace and indoor coil are older or don't match in efficiency and capacity, you might not get the efficiency level you paid for or be able to receive accurate information on what your rating actually is. Plus, an older indoor coil may even be dirty and clogged with particles, meaning more energy will be required to push air through the system.
Q: Why are rating numbers important?
A: Rating numbers indicate the efficiency of heating and air conditioning equipment and are directly related to the amount of energy a specific model uses. The higher the rating, the more efficient the product, and the lower your heating and cooling bills can be. The federal government establishes rating guidelines and sets minimum efficiency levels. For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). For heat pumps, the rating is HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). Gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).
Q: I thought pollution was outside. Why should I be worried about my indoor air?
A: We spend about 90 percent of our time every day indoors. Today's efficient, airtight homes are excellent at conserving energy, but that also makes them better at trapping potentially irritating particles inside the home. With the rising number of people who suffer from allergies and asthma, indoor air quality has become more and more important to our general health and well-being.
Q: My children have allergies. Is there a way to improve the quality of air inside my home?
A: For people who suffer from allergies, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning recommends the AccuClean™ Whole-Home Air Filtration System. It can clean up to an astonishing 99.98 percent of allergens from the filtered air that your family breathes. With AccuClean™, the majority of irritating particles, like dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus, most tobacco smoke, cooking grease, and even bacteria, will be removed from the filtered air. In fact, AccuClean™ removes 100 times more allergens than the standard 1 inch throwaway filters that come with most systems.
Q: How can I control my energy costs?
A: Controlling energy costs starts with your thermostat. You can save about three percent of your heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat during the winter. And for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can cut cooling costs up to six percent.* Adding a programmable thermostat can also help you save energy, by allowing you to set different temperature settings depending on the time of day.
Just as important, your system's components should have the highest possible energy efficiency ratings. Make sure your components meet the following minimums:
- Air conditioners: SEER ratings of 13 or higher.
- Furnaces: AFUE ratings of 80 or higher.
- Heat pumps: HSPF ratings of 7 or higher.
Select American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps have ratings of up to 20.0SEER, 96.7AFUE and 9.2HSPF, respectively.
Having a matched system at home will also help. Every component in a matched system is designed to be matched in capacity and efficiency. That way you can enjoy the highest system efficiency possible.
Lastly, if you're shopping for a new heating and air conditioning system, consider a high-efficiency variable-speed system. Variable-speed means your system varies its speed depending on your home's heating and cooling requirements. It makes sure you get the amount of heating or cooling you need without wasting energy. Contact Foust Heating and Air Conditioning for more energy-saving hints.
*Potential energy savings may vary depending on your personal lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, actual construction and installation of equipment and duct system.
Q: How do I know what size system I need for my home?
One of the first things Foust Heating and Air Conditioning will do is conduct a complete energy analysis of your home. By measuring windows and checking insulation, ductwork and building materials, and reviewing a variety of other factors, we can determine the right size system and equipment for your home. We'll even ask you questions about your existing comfort challenges, and make recommendations.
Q: How much will my new home comfort system cost?
A: That depends. There are many factors that must be considered. These include:
In most cases, replacing your whole system, including both indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer-lasting system but will also cost a little more.
- The efficiency of the equipment
- The size of your home
- Is the ductwork installed and in good condition?
- Do you need a thermostat or electronic air cleaner?