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What is an Advanced Service and Q & A?
An advanced service goes far beyond the typical "clean and check service" provided by most any other HVAC company in this market. Actual airflow, AFUE, SEER, and B.T.U. capacities are measured. All major components are tested and cleaned. Anything that may hinder the real efficiency of the system is then recognized. Sometimes additional costs can be incurred to correct airflow issues and refrigerant charge. Of course this will all be discussed and explained before any additional charges are applied. Before and after diagnostic reports will be provided showing how much the system has been improved.
Q. Does an advanced service cost more?
A. Yes. An advanced service requires nearly twice the time to complete.
On average an advanced service will require 2.5 hours of labor, as well as sophisticated diagnostic tools and software. Schedule an advanced service here.
Q. Is an advanced service necessary?
A. No. The advanced service is however the best, the only way, to know exactly how well your system is performing.
Q. Does the advanced service include cleaning all major components like a typical clean and service?
A. Yes, during the advanced service everything will be cleaned and inspected just like a regular service.
Q. Should I do an advanced service each year.
A. No. Typically an advanced service is only required once for you furnace or air conditioner. After the initial advanced service is performed, all the benchmarked records will be saved for future reference. These records will be used during future services. Comparing these records for irregularities can identify problems with the equipment or changes in efficiencies.
Q. Do other HVAC contractors provide this service?
A. No, not to our knowledge.
Q. How can you tell if an air conditioner is actually performing as designed?
A. By careful airflow temperature and humidity (enthalpy change) measurements across the evaporator coil as well as power consumption measured at the indoor and outdoor units, the exact BTU output and efficiency can be determined.
Q. What is SEER rating?
A. SEER measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A SEER rating is a maximum efficiency rating, similar to the miles per gallon for your car. Your car might get 28 miles per gallon on the highway, but if you’re stuck in city traffic it could be lower. If your air conditioner is 21 SEER, that’s its maximum efficiency.
Q. What is enthalpy?
A. In thermodynamics enthalpy is the change of energy contained in air. Temperature is nothing more than sensible heat, that which you can feel. Air contains moisture and energy that cannot easily be felt, this is latent heat. An air conditioner spends a lot of energy removing humidity before it efficiently starts to remove heat. Enthalpy must be measured to determine a systems performance. Air pressure also affects the energy contained in air.
Q. What is C.F.M.?
A. Cubic feet per minute of air.
Q. Why is C.F.M. important?
A. Air conditioners are designed for a specific airflow across the evaporator coil, 350-400 c.f.m. per ton. Without the designed indoor airflow requirement it is impossible to properly charge an air conditioner with refrigerant.
Q. What is 1 ton of cooling?
A. 1 ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 b.t.u. per hour, the amount of heat energy one ton of ice can absorb.
Q. How much energy can a new air conditioner save?
A. It is simple to determine the energy savings of a new air condition compared to an existing unit. The formula is (1-(old SEER/new SEER))x100. Thus a 13 SEER air conditioner being replaced by a new 21 SEER air conditioner would be (1-(13/21))x100=38 or 38% less energy per b.t.u. produced.
Q. What is AFUE?
A. AFUE measures a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy. A furnace that has an 80 percent AFUE rating can turn 80 percent of the energy it consumes into heat. A higher AFUE rating means greater energy efficiency.
Q. What manufacturers are the best?
A. While most equipment manufactured today have great warranties. It is the quality and attention to airflow and details that will determine the reliability and longevity of a heating and cooling system.
Q. Is bigger better?
A. No. A larger capacity furnace or air conditioner will run more frequent with shorter run cycles. These short cycles are hard on electrical components as well as hurting the efficiency and comfort. In addition an over-sized air conditioner may cool the air, it won't remove the humidity out of the indoor environment leaving a homeowner cool and clammy.
Q. Will lowering or raising the temperature save energy?
A. Yes. By raising the thermostat up 10° to 15° for 8 hours every day when you're at work or inactive, you can save 5% to 15% on your energy usage. The savings get even better if you have a programmable thermostat, which can lead to a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. During periods of extreme heat this is not recommended. The DOE's Energy Savers website says that you can generally save 3% on your heating bill for each degree that you turn your thermostat down during the winter.
Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps or hydronic heating systems.
Q. Are there other simple ways to save on cooling costs?
A. Yes. Keep shades and blind closed to block out the sun. Turn on bathroom vents and oven exhaust fans (if they go to the outdoors) when cooking. It takes a lot of energy to remove humidity from air. Turn the thermostat up 5-10 degrees when you are away for at least 8 hours. Programmable thermostats can be programmed to start cooling before you return home so you wont be uncomfortable waiting for it to reach set temperature at the end of a long day.
Q. Should gauges be used to service an air conditioner?
A. No. Air conditioners are a sealed system, keep them that way. Annually attaching gauges on a system can introduce impurities. Increase the possibility of creating a leak. And a small amount of refrigerant is lost every time gauges are removed. Once a system is benchmarked and fine tuned, everything a serviceman needs to know can be determined by temperature readings and enthalpy change. Only if something appears wrong with these reading should gauges be attached. This is yet another reason to have an advanced service performed.
Q. What is a b.t.u.
A. A b.t.u., British thermal unit, is the amount of energy required to raise 1 pound, 1 degree F.