Advertisement

How To: Choose heating and air conditioning

November 13, 2009

Arming yourself with the facts can help ensure you find energy efficient equipment to help cool and heat your family's home. It's important to know how vital features in your home function.

To keep cool, one option is a central air-conditioning unit that cools rooms thermostatically throughout the entire house.

An air conditioner's efficiency, performance and durability are important things to consider.

Make sure you buy the right size air conditioner for your needs.

Another option is a window unit that cools a targeted area. When installing your new system, be sure you're working with a licensed contractor.

A furnace draws air inside a heat exchanger, which warms the air with electric coils or a flame of natural gas, propane or fuel oil. A blower sends the heated air through the home by way of metal ducts, and the air travels through a register or grill in the wall or floor.

Advertisement

Indoor air is recirculated through the system, and an air filter traps pollen, dust and other airborne particles. You also can purchase a heat pump, which provides both heating and air conditioning. In the summer, the pump collects heat from the air inside the home and pumps it outside. In winter, the process is reversed, and heat taken from the outside air is circulated throughout the house.

The heat pump operates by one of three methods: Air-to-air: In this method, a condenser absorbs heat from the outside air, then transfers it to an indoor heat exchanger, where it is warmed and circulated through the residence. During the summer, the process is reversed.

Water-to-air: Rather than extracting heat from the air outside, this version of heat pump absorbs heat from ground or surface water.

Ground-to-air: This type of heat pump uses underground loop systems to absorb heat generated by the earth. Remember that the lowest price might not necessarily be the best price. Evaluate the contractors proposal to ensure you get the equipment and service that meets your requirements. Paying more money might save you in the long run.

Heating and cooling equipment include two costs: the cost of operating the system and the cost to purchase it. An old, inefficient heating or air-conditioning system adds to your monthly heating and cooling costs.

Remember that some of today's air conditioners use 30 to 50 percent less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners manufactured in the 1970s. The most efficient systems on the market now can be 70 percent more efficient than older models.

Ask the contractor to inspect ductwork for leaks, incomplete connections and compatibility with the rest of your system. Leaks should be fixed using a quality duct sealant.

In some cases, ducts might need to be modified to ensure proper supply and return airflow. Make sure you obtain a written contract and check warranties to ensure your air conditioning and heating system will be protected for years to come.

ht_heating
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|