Money-Saving Multizone HVAC Systems

Central air has been a huge improvement in comfort over how we used to do things. No longer do we all huddle around the fireplace, wood stove, or coal-burning stove for warmth. We can heat and cool our homes efficiently, much more safely, and with out all the labor of chopping wood or shoveling coal.

But central air isn’t without its drawbacks. Not all systems are created equal and depending on the setup of your home, you could be spending much more than you need to on heating and cooling.

So what options do you have?

Multizone HVAC Systems

New advancements in heat pump technology have made managing individual zones within your home affordable and extraordinarily efficient. Some ductless heat pump systems can reach over 300% efficiency ratings in the right configuration! And for all you allergy sufferers ductless systems can drastically reduce airborne allergens and make your time at home much more comfortable.

The high efficiency of a ductless system can be combined with a multizone setup to maximize savings and the size of your pocketbook. A typical multizone setup with have a heat pump (Think wall-mounted AC unit) installed in every room and a thermostat in those same rooms. This allows you to set each individual zone with custom temperatures and run times. Whether setting individual rooms or whole floors, you can fine-tune the system to provide heating and cooling where you need it when you need it.

For example, during the night time you can shut off cooling or heating to the parts of the house you’re not using, and focus on keeping the occupied bedrooms at comfortable temperatures. During the day you can leave some rooms cooled for pets or have everything turned off until just before you come home in the rooms that you’ll be using.

Compared to a typical forced-air system, with one thermostat to rule the house, this level of individual control combined with the extreme efficiencies of ductless heat pumps can add up to huge savings on your heating and cooling costs. The system could even pay for itself in savings over the lifetime of the equipment.

If all this sounds good to you and you would like to discuss your options in multizone HVAC systems, give us at Philadelphia Gas & Electric a call today!

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?

When it comes to air conditioners, one size doesn’t fit all, and bigger isn’t always better. The size air conditioner you choose will depend upon a number of factors, including the size of your living space and the age of your home.

How to Determine the Size Air Conditioner You Need

An HVAC technician can help you figure out what size air conditioner you need for your home. He or she will perform an inspection and ask you questions to help determine your home’s needs. Some of the factors to be considered are:

  • The size of your home’s living space, in total volume.
  • The area of exterior walls that are exposed to the sun.
  • How many windows you have, how old they are, their condition and how they’re oriented in relation to the sun.
  • When your home was built.
  • The amount and quality of the home’s insulation.
  • The existing ductwork and ventilation system.
  • How much shade the house gets from trees and shrubs.

Any good HVAC contractor will perform this very necessary inspection before installing a new heating and cooling system.

Why Installing the Right Size Air Conditioner Is Important

Once air conditioners are installed, they usually last for over a decade. Unfortunately, many homeowners purchase the wrong size air conditioner, either because the HVAC company didn’t provide a consultation to determine the correct size, or because the homeowner wasn’t aware of just how important size is. Units that are too big shut on and off too quickly, and units that are too small never reach the desired temperature. If the wrong air conditioner is installed, the system will encounter a variety of problems that affect the consumer in the following ways:

  • Wear and tear—If a unit has to shut on and off frequently, or has to run continuously, you’ll find that it will need repair much too early, and way too frequently. The parts will be under undue stress, which can cause various complications to the system.
  • Decreased energy efficiency—If a unit isn’t cycling properly, it’ll use energy much less efficiently. For instance, if a system is never able to shut off, it will be exerting energy continually that will then show up on your utility bill.
  • Discomfort—A system that isn’t the proper size won’t heat your home very well, and it will cause the air inside your home to never reach its optimal temperature. This can create discomfort for you or anyone else inside the home.

When it’s time to choose a new air conditioner, make sure you contact your HVAC company for a consultation. The company’s thorough inspection can give you the information you need to confidently purchase a system that is just the right size.

 

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Why your Furnace isn’t Working

Ever wonder why your house doesn’t get warm enough for you? Does your Furnace make a weird sound when its running? We have the 5 most common reasons why your HVAC systems shuts down or don’t work properly.

8 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New AC or Furnace

When it’s time to replace your air conditioner or furnace, you may feel overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. By avoiding the following pitfalls, you can make a wise decision that will be worth the expense.

1. Going For the Lowest Price

Most often, a higher efficiency model can save you more money over time than will the cheapest option. With a high efficiency model, you can save about $300 per year for the 12 to 15 years your system is likely to last.

2. Getting Just One Estimate

Since every HVAC company’s fees are different, you’ll want to get more than one estimate in order to compare service contracts, permits and installation costs.

3. Buying the Wrong Size Equipment

Quite a few homeowners get the wrong size heating and air conditioning equipment, which results in high utility bills, mold buildup, damaged equipment and an inefficient system that creates an uncomfortable atmosphere.

4. Ignoring SEER

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating lets consumers know how efficient a particular HVAC system is. Go for a SEER rating of at least 13, and ideally 16 or higher. This can cut your energy bills significantly.

5. Missing Rebates

Many manufacturers and states offer rebates to those who purchase energy efficient HVAC systems. These rebates can be significant and can sometimes be up to $1500. Ask your contractor about rebates or visit www.dsireusa.org.

6. Not Getting a Maintenance Contract

Annual maintenance is important in order to keep your HVAC system working its best. Dirt, dust and debris build up in a system over time, and when these aren’t cleaned out, your system can become less efficient. This can result in parts breaking down and an increase in your energy bill. A maintenance contract ensures your company will perform thorough maintenance every year.

7. Getting Outdated Refrigerant

Any new unit produced after 2009 is restricted from using R-22, often called Refrigerant®, due to its ozone-depleting properties. Make sure your new system uses an approved refrigerant like R-410A.

8. Not Using Professionals

Some companies use high school students to work with mechanics, but neither the mechanic nor the student specializes in the type of system being installed. When this happens, either your estimate or the installation may be delayed. In case you get a company that doesn’t follow through with the job in time, include a 5% penalty in the agreement.

If you’re looking to invest in a new heating or air conditioning system, avoid these pitfalls and make a smart purchase that will keep your home feeling comfortable.

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Tips For Controlling HVAC Costs You Didn’t Know About

Did you know you could avoid unnecessary energy expenses by controlling HVAC costs? Here are four ways to do that, which your local technician may have not told you about.

Have more Control on Outside Air

By controlling the amount of air coming into the HVAC from outside, you can reduce the cooling by a great margin. Some rooms have better air circulation but those with less air quality and control are then ones to focus on. If the HVAC has a VAV control point, you should capitalize on it to reduce the cool loads. Alternatively, just reduce the air flow to the lowest point it can go, and you will be surprised at how much energy savings you get from that.

Source Fresh Cold Air than Recycling

Instead of recycling the existing air inside, why not source more outside air and win some free cooling? Most modern day HVAC systems are designed with an economizing cycle mechanism that detects the coolest of air and direct this into the room. In most cases, outside air is colder and thus the HVAC system will use less energy in cooling an entire room.

Don’t Over Condition Air

Additionally, avoid over conditioning air coming from the outside as this will overwork your HVAC system as well. Keep track of HVAC humidity settings ensuring the calibrations are lower during cold winters and way higher during hot summers. If you are just testing the HVAC, say for a day, you can switch off the humidification. You may be surprised that nobody notices anything.

Replace Your Thermostats

Conventional thermostats work fine but they don’t go the extra mile like the programmable units. This new digital thermostats give you more control over your HVAC system allowing you to set standard temperature either at home or at the office. Setting wider temperature variations, promotes less energy use on your cooling or heating device.

It’s possible to earn energy savings while still enjoying your heating and cooling systems just by making these four changes. Follow our blog today for tips on controlling HVAC costs whilst your HVAC runs efficiently.

What Is Two-stage Heating?

ThermostatSingle stage heating is common in areas experiencing humid, hot and extreme cold. Because air conditioning will only be necessary during specific months, HVAC systems may have to work harder even when not needed. To solve this issue, a two-stage heating system was born to save energy and money as well as increase efficiency and comfort. Basically, a two-stage heating system utilizes two methods of heat output to provide desirable room temperatures during extreme and mild cold.

How it Works

Unlike the single-stage heating method, two-stage heating operates in two stages that is, high and low. The first heating stages works mostly when temperature requirements are lower. For instance, in the morning or during winter, the systems works at the high stage to provide extra heat. When temperatures are average or the home heat requirements have been attained, the system switches to lower heat mode. At this stage, less energy is consumed as the system is not running at full capacity-about 65%. When shifting between these two temperature outputs, a smooth transition occurs.

Advantages of Two-stage Heating

As opposed to the single or standard heating method, two-stage heating gives continuous comfort by eliminating temperature swings to about 1 degree of the thermostat setting. Two stage heating starts slowly when less heat is needed then shifts smoothly to the next stage when higher heat requirements are required. In essence, the system does not operate at full capacity. Because the system operates at lower speeds, more dust and dirt particles are trapped therefore improving the quality of air. In addition, it operates at lower capacity than normal therefore consuming less energy hence increasing efficiency.

Choosing Two-stage Heating for Your Home

When selecting a furnace for your HVAC system, be sure to consider the amount of time you will spend with your family at home and the amount of money that you are willing to spend on a new heating system. If you want comfort, be sure to spend on a two-stage heating system as you stand to save money.

For these reasons, follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Reduce Home Heating Costs This Winter

This article shares information on some of the most effective ways to reduce home heating costs.

 

Types of Heating Fuel

Some of the most common fuel types include electricity, propane and oil. With the constant price flux, it would be wise to choose a fuel type that saves you money on energy cost. According to research, average households in the U.S. spent around $600 on energy cost last winter when using oil as fuel for their heating system. If the same households were using propane or electricity, they would have spent around $1500 and $1700 respectively. If your home or business still uses an older heating and cooling system, then you’d be better off switching to a more energy efficient model.

 

Cleaning Your Ductwork

Accumulation of mold, dust and vermin inside your ducts is likely to raise your heating cost. By hiring a professional, your ducts can be fixed of leaks and cleaned to ensure they operate more efficiently. Traditional methods of sealing ducts included the use of mastics and ducts. However, a newer technology known as aerosealing has proven more effective when it comes to sealing ducts of leaks.

 

How Often Should You Service your Heating System?

Having a professional service your heating system at least once a year is highly recommended by experts. To ensure proper servicing is done on your unit, it would be wise to go for a contractor that has received proper training and possesses North American Technician Excellence certification. The cost of servicing your unit may range between $100 and $400 depending on various factors. You are also advised to change your filters every now and then, especially if you are using a forced-air system during the winter season.

 

Do You Have Enough Insulation?

Laying proper insulation on your attic and floor can save you a lot of money and trouble. When warm air is lost through plumbing vents and electric boxes, then your heating bill is likely to go up. You may also experience stack-effect which usually leads to drafty rooms. Follow us for more articles that keep your HVAC system running efficiently and saving you money.

What It Means To Be A Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer

The Bryant Factory authorized dealers award is given to a select group of dealers who’ve met some rigorous performance standards. This exclusive clique is comprised of less than 5% of HVAC contractors nationwide. Such dealers adhere to high customer care standards and provide leadership in the sector. The award also allows them to display the Medal of Excellence logo.

 

What one Can Expect From a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer

The dealers provide total client satisfaction guarantee for a wide array of services ranging from furnace installation to air conditioning repair. Their technicians are also certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence). This means they receive regular training to acquaint themselves with top-notch HVAC practices. The client can expect factory authorized parts as well as extended guarantees and warranties for all equipment. A range of financing options for customers with approved credit is also available. The dealers are also licensed, bonded and insured to provide coverage for client safety.

100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee

The 100% satisfaction guarantee applies to the products, installation and service from the dealer. If one has any complaint, the dealer will do their best to come up with a solution for the issue. The contractor also discloses all costs in their proposal, thus making the process transparent for the clients.

What Winning the Award Involves

Becoming an authorized dealer takes a lot of work. The contractor needs to adhere to the established level of quality while meeting their clients’ needs for installation and service of HVAC equipment. The dealer must also take their sales reps through a structured training program to help them know how to identify and recommend ideal solutions for their clients. EPA certification for handle warranty, prompt attendance to claims, refrigerant handling and local licensing are also mandatory. They must also possess the appropriate liability and insurance coverage.

The Bryant factory authorized program is designed with client’s needs in mind. If one is considering purchasing HVAC equipment, they can rest assured they’ll get the best solution if they opt for such a dealer. The 100% satisfaction guarantee is a demonstration to the commitment to the high level of service by such dealers. Follow us for more articles that your HVAC systems running comfortable and efficiently.

Surge Protectors And HVAC: What You Need To Know

Modern electrical devices come with printed circuit boards which makes them more vulnerable to power surges. As technology advances, more devices are becoming more energy efficient and come with a longer lifespan. However, in order for your device to serve you for an extended period of time, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance checks and protect them from power surges. HVAC systems are one of the many devices using printed circuit boards and will therefore be affected by lighting or excess electrical current from a damaged power grid. In order to protect your unit from harm, you’d be better off investing in HVAC surge protectors.

A few years ago, HVAC systems came with very few electronic components. This meant that they were less likely to get damaged by power surges. And when there was damage, it was easier to determine the severity of the problem. Modern systems are manufactured differently and there is no way of telling how badly a power surge will damage your unit.

In some cases, surges will immediately damage your unit, rendering it useless on the spot. When this happens, you might be forced to replace the entire system due to irreparable damage. This will of course be a huge loss since replacing the HVAC system will cost you a lot of money.

In other cases, your HVAC system might continue working even after a surge. This however doesn’t mean that everything is fine. As time goes by, the damage will get worse and reduce the unit’s lifespan.

 

What Can you do to Protect your HVAC System?

While you won’t be able to stop surges, you can always take precautions and protect your devices. One way to go about this is to install whole-house surge protectors. Whole-house surge protectors will prevent excess current from entering your home from the main breaker box. The best part about using this is the fact that you don’t require surge protectors on every outlet.

You may also opt to go for individual surge protectors placed at every outlet in your house. These will be used on every outlet that has an electronic device plugged in. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs

Four Different Air Conditioner Types

There are many air conditioner types and they are known under various names. So the average buyer does not get flustered by all those different names (some of them technical), here is a short description of the main air conditioner types used today.

The two most common air conditioner types are known as unitary conditioners and PTAC or Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners. The latter are more sophisticated versions and are typically used in commercial facilities or in large houses, whereas the unitary systems are ideal for separate rooms or smaller spaces.

Unitary systems are so called since all the refrigerant components in such units are put in one compact box. The two main types in unitary conditioners are:

1. Window air conditioners
2. Portable conditioners.

Window conditioners are among the older types of conditioners but are still widely used. They can be placed through a hole in the exterior wall, but since that generally involves additional construction work, most prefer to place it on a window. These conditioners recycle the heated air in the room and discharge fresh and cooler air inside while the exhaust vent releases the heated air on the outside.

With portable conditioners, you do not need to worry about installation and can simply put it on a convenient place on the floor. The hose vent attached from the unit to the exterior wall ejects the heat outside.

PTAC conditioners, on the other hand, use two separate units and are more commonly referred to as split or ductless air conditioners. The evaporative unit in these systems is installed inside the conditioned space, whereas the condenser unit is placed in an exterior location. The two units are connected by refrigerant tubing. These units are typically used at offices and in larger spaces.

A central air conditioning system is also an example of a PTAC unit. It is the most expensive option you have, but also the most comfortable. The units make little or no noise and are extremely energy efficient.

For any further HVAC queries and requirements of yours, please contact us and we will get back to you at the earliest.