Q: How long should my old furnace and air conditioner last?
Typically a furnace or air conditioner will last 10-12 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by equipment. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
Q: My electric and gas bills are high. Will a new furnace and air conditioner lower my bills?
YES! A new 13 SEER air conditioner can cut electrical consumption, as much as 50%. In 2006 all new air conditioners will be 13 seer as required by law. A new furnace can usually cut the gas used by the old furnace by as much as 30%, and a new 80% (minimum allowed by the federal government) will use approximately 20% less.
Q: What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in BTU or Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. Its like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car – the higher the mpg (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill.
Q: Shouldn’t I install the highest SEER air conditioner available?
In our climate, 10 SEER is considered standard efficiency (this has been the minimum efficiency the federal government allows to be sold but will change in January 2006) and 13 SEER is high efficiency. The initial investment is higher for a 13 SEER than a 10 SEER, but the electricity savings will usually pay for the difference in 5-7 years. The higher SEER equipment doesn’t remove humidity as well as older, lower SEER equipment, so it is important that the new air conditioner be sized properly so it runs long enough to remove humidity (so you don’t have a cool, but sticky home). Equipment with SEER ratings of 14 and higher are available, but are not commonly installed in this part of the country.
Q: What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner?
In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in reverse and heats the indoors. Heat pumps need auxiliary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to help them when it is real cold or when the thermostat is moved more than 2 degrees at a time. The initial investment for a heat pump is higher than for an air conditioner, and the ductwork must be exactly right for proper operation. One common complaint of a heat pump is that the air coming out of the registers is not hot enough (compared to a gas furnace).
Q: Should I replace my furnace and air conditioner at the same time, or can they be installed separately?
Either way. If they are installed at the same time, the coil cabinet (the part of the air conditioner that sits on top of the furnace) will match the furnace in color and style. Also it may be more convenient to replace them at the same time, but they will operate OK whether they are installed at the same time or not.
Q: Is it OK to install a different brand of furnace (or air conditioner) to work with my existing air conditioner (or furnace)?
Although it is generally recommended to match components, most brands of air conditioners will work with others as long as the coils and blowers are the proper size. You may however, experience some loss of efficiency and capacity.
Q: My home has a forced air furnace but no air conditioner. Can I add central air?
Yes, in most cases, since air conditioners require more air flow than furnaces and it may be necessary to add more ductwork or a blower. Also, local codes require that your ductwork be insulated, and your electrical service may need to be upgraded. Jay Moody Heating & Air Conditioning can determine all of the costs required to add central air.
Q: How does Jay Moody Heating & Air Conditioning determine what size of furnace and air conditioner to install?
Jay Moody will measure your home and calculate the actual heating and cooling load on the home (calculation based on window size and direction, walls, ceiling, floor, appliances, insulation, etc). This will determine the proper size of equipment that is needed. This will be compared to your current equipment and ductwork and will be adjusted based on your lifestyle, etc.
Q: I want a big air conditioner. Someone told me this is not good – what are the advantages and disadvantages?
An “oversized” air conditioner will cool your house quicker, but it will use more electricity and will not remove humidity adequately. If your ductwork is not big enough for the “oversized” air conditioner, the coil may freeze and then the air conditioner won’t work at all. Obviously the air conditioner must be big enough to cool the house, but too big is just as bad. We recommend the proper size to cool your home to 78 degrees when it is 95 degrees outside, then increase the size slightly, if needed, based on your temperature preferences
Q: Does Jay Moody Heating & Air Conditioning take care of permits, gas connections, electrical work that is needed, etc?
Yes. We can take care of the electrical and gas connections or we can work with your electrician or plumber if you prefer.
Q: Some rooms in our house don’t get enough heat (or cooling). Can this be fixed?
Sometimes running the blower continuously will solve this problem. Usually the new furnace will have better air flow which will help, and there is usually a way to install an additional register in the area to obtain more air flow.
Q: Should I run the blower continuously, or use the auto position on the thermostat?
Try both ways. Running the blower all the time will use a little extra electricity, however the home is usually more comfortable, the temperature is more even throughout the home, and the air is cleaner because it is filtered more. The motors generally last longer because they are not starting and stopping. Some of the new furnaces have the ability to use a slow blower speed for continuous operation, and a faster speed when the furnace or air conditioner are running.
Q: How do I pay for my new system?
For installation of new equipment, we do require 50% down and 50% on the day of completion unless other arrangements have been made.
Q: Should I have a new programmable thermostat installed with my new system?
Programmable thermostats allow you to have the temperature raise and lower automatically at specific times each day. They will reduce your energy bills and increase your comfort (i.e. get up to a “warm” bathroom during the winter). If your family follows a fairly regular schedule, a programmable thermostat may be a good investment.
Q: A cracked furnace is dangerous. How often should I have it checked?
If your furnace is over 5 years old, it should be inspected by a licensed servicemen every fall before the heating season begins. Any other time the furnace is not operating properly (ex. the pilot blows out) it should be checked too.
Q: Why should I have my air conditioner checked in the spring and my furnace checked in the fall?
They should be checked, and cleaned, to be sure they are operating at their top efficiency, are operating properly and to be sure they are operating safely.
Q: Is there a charge for diagnosing what is wrong with my system?
Yes, this is part of the service call.