What is a load calculation and why is it so important?
A load calculation determines what the proper size system is for your specific home. Completed by your dealer, it factors in a number of criteria used to determine what size components you should include as part of your total comfort system, things like square footage, number of windows, and year-round weather concerns.
A load calculation is important so that your system operates at maximum efficiency, with optimum performance. Most homes have systems that are oversized, so you end up paying more than you should to heat and cool your home. Also, systems that are improperly sized tend to cycle too quickly or too slowly, and that can lead to maintenance problems, uneven temperatures, and an inability to control humidity. A properly sized system based on a correct load calculation can help ensure you enjoy long-lasting, reliable comfort whatever the season.
Do I need to change my duct work if I change my air conditioning equipment?
Not necessarily. Leaking or improperly designed duct work can greatly affect energy efficiency and comfort. Today’s ultra-high efficiency systems can be more sensitive to duct issues. The department of energy estimates that the average home looses as much as 35% of its heating and cooling through leaking ducts. A significant number of consumers with high energy bills find that their problems are due to duct leakage and not with their equipment. Without question, your ducts should be inspected and perhaps even leak tested to make sure you are getting optimum performance from your system.
How often should I change or clean my filters?
Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning. If you’re using a high-density filter such as an electrostatic filter, check with your local independent Trane dealer, who can raise the external static pressure of your system. If the external static pressure exceeds the design criteria of your system, it can negatively impact the performance and life of your equipment.
My ducts have never been cleaned, should I get it done now?
These days, you will see a lot of companies other than air conditioning and heating professionals advertising duct cleaning services. Before having your duct system cleaned, make sure that a qualified professional performs an inspection of the system to see if it needs it or could stand up to it. Less than two out of ten residential systems need it and can withstand the process due to age and condition. Don’t become a victim of a “low price” duct cleaning scam. Always hire experienced, certified professionals who perform inspections before quoting the job.
Should I run my blower on a consistent basis?
We no longer recommend this practice except for in rare circumstances. Years ago, it was common for contractors to recommend this practice. However, operating your blower can re-evaporate moisture from evaporator coils and drain pans. This can cause humidity problems in the house. There are still some advantages to operating you blower continuously such as evening out temperature imbalances and improved filtration.
What do all those rating numbers mean?
The federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated for efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model.
Gas furnaces are rated for AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This defines the amount of heat used to warm your home from the burned fuel. A 90% furnace will use 90% of the available heat to heat your home. 10% of the heat is vented outdoors. Many older gas furnaces are only 60% efficient. The other 40% is vented outdoors. You can see that a new high-efficiency furnace will require much less fuel to heat your home.
For air conditioning, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This rating is based on general design criteria such as the compressor and outdoor coil. SEER ratings are for comparison purposes only, so that homeowners will know how they can compare different brands of products with similar efficiency ratings. The rating for the outdoor unit will reference a general efficiency range, such as 14 SEER. The actual efficiency rating for a specific system will depend on the combination of the outdoor unit and the indoor coil. These ratings are available from your dealer and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute’s Energy Guide. A variable-speed indoor blower unit will increase the efficiency rating of the system, as well.
Heat pumps are rated by SEER for cooling efficiency and by HSPF(Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for heating efficiency. As with other ratings, the higher the HSPF, the less energy it will take to warm your home.
What is a heat pump?
The heat pump is an air conditioner that reverses the process of removing heat from the inside of the house in summer to absorbing the heat from outside air and moving it inside in winter. It is effective by itself down to temperatures around 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, either a gas furnace or an air handler with supplemental electric heat will kick in and help heat your home. The Auxiliary Heat light on your thermostat will light. The heat pump will continue to operate along with the electric auxiliary heat. It will shut off when a gas furnace is energized. Emergency heat is a manual override option in the event your heat pump needs service.
What is a SEER rating & how does it impact my energy costs?
SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Like its “mpg” counterpart in the automotive industry, the SEER gives an indication of the performance efficiency of the system. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. And, the more efficient the unit, the lower the operating costs.
Experts at the Trane Home Comfort Institute say that by purchasing a system with a high SEER, you’ll use less energy to cool your house, resulting in lower electric bills. In many cases, these savings are enough to partially or fully offset the cost of the new equipment within a few years.
What is an air handler?
The major components enclosed in an air handler’s cabinetry are the blower and motor, controls, heater compartment, and an evaporator coil. This is why it is also sometimes referred to as a fan coil. A standard air handler, like the single stage furnace, delivers the same amount of airflow no matter what the temperature inside. Trane’s variable-speed air handler has Comfort-R Enhanced mode, like our variable-speed gas furnace, allowing the coil to cool down quickly and the blower to slowly ramp up and ramp down or to operate at 50 percent of the cooling air speed in the FAN ON position. This provides greater humidity control, quieter operation, maximum air circulation, temperature distribution, and air filtration for greater control of your home’s indoor environment.
What is the average life expectancies for heating and air conditioning equipment?
The average expected life of an air conditioner is approximately 15 years. The average expected life of a heat pump is approximately 10 to 12 years, since it operates year round. The average expected life of a gas furnace or air handler may be longer. Units in corrosive environments, such as, but not limited to coastal installations, will tend to have shorter lives.
What is the best filter to buy?
There are hundreds of filtration and air cleaning products on the market. Generally speaking, for household dust, a 1” fiberglass filter will do just fine. If you have severe allergies, you might consider an extended pleated media filter (MERV 11 or higher), a bypass air cleaner with a HEPA or TFP cell, or an electronic air cleaner. If you are having problems with odors, a filter with carbon or zeolite might be what you need. There are products that use different ionization or oxidation process that can help too. The most important thing to remember is that air conditioning and heating systems do not make dust. Before investing big money on air cleaning products, take time to find and eliminate the source of the problem by having your home and ducts tested for leakage and infiltration. You might just find out you don’t need expensive air cleaners and save energy as well.
Any filter you choose must not add undue restriction to the air flow. Highly restrictive filters are not recommended unless your system was specifically engineered to operate properly with them in use. Anything that overly restricts air flow (improper filter, dirty filter, too small duct work, closed dampers, furniture or other objects blocking the return) will degrade the performance of your system and cause increased operating expense.
What size system do I need for my house?
It is important that new or replacement equipment is not sized by “Rule of Thumb” or by duplicating the existing equipment capacity. The only accurate way to determine the correct capacity of heating and air conditioning equipment for your home is to have a load calculation performed on your home. There is a specific method available to all dealers to do this calculation. This will give your dealer the heat gain and heat loss design data for your home. These figures can then be used to select the appropriately sized air conditioning or heating system for your home, based on equipment-performance data.
Many factors determine the size (capacity) system your home requires. Some of these are:
- square feet to be cooled and heated
- number of windows
- insulation factors
- which direction your home faces
- heat producing appliances, and
- the number of people who will be in the home
Oversized air conditioning systems will not remove adequate moisture from the indoor air due to short cycling. Also, oversized systems quickly cool the indoor air temperature, but they do not run long enough to remove the humidity.
Why should I worry about indoor air quality?
We spend 90% of our time every day indoors. Plus, 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.
The average home generates 40 pounds of dust for every 1500 square feet of space. While regular home cleaning is an excellent measure to reduce exposure to irritants and pollutants, it’s simply impossible to remove enough of the material by hand to make your home’s air as comfortable as it can be.
The revolutionary new TRANE CleanEffects™ air filtration system works as part of your total home comfort system to remove up to an industry-leading 99.98% of the airborne allergens from your home’s filtered air. There is no other system you can buy that matches the effectiveness of TRANE CleanEffects.
Will anything help control the humidity in my house?
Humidity is a problem in many areas. The best way to control excessive humidity is to have a system that runs longer at lower speeds. Variable-speed air-handling equipment runs at very low speeds, which keeps the air circulating against the cooling coil and removes much more moisture than conventional systems. At these low speeds, the variable-speed motor also uses much less electricity than conventional motors.
The Trane XV18 and XV20i Variable Heat Pump units will out preform single stage Air Conditioning units. The XV20i variable speed heat pump system can both heat and cool your home efficiently, while simultaneously creating a clean and comfortable environment in your home.