Common HVAC Questions From Homeowners
Common HVAC Questions From Homeowners
Question: How much can a high-efficiency AC system lower my summer electric bill?
Answer: High efficiency AC systems, 18 SEER and higher, do lower your electric bill. However, in my humble opinion, if you are looking at what will lower your summer electric bill in the most cost effective manner, today’s 16 SEER equipment is in the sweet spot. Furthermore, it is as the saying goes, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Therefore, one must consider the entire “building system” in this situation, which includes addressing the following: adding more attic insulation, ensuring proper attic ventilation, updating/repairing/replacing your home’s duct system, proper HVAC system sizing and design, and proper installation technique. It is only when you consider these often forgotten components, that you will see your highest return on investment over the HVAC systems lifespan.
Question: Why should I consider 18 SEER and higher equipment?
Answer: Don’t get me wrong, high-efficiency AC equipment is very nice and it will lower your electric bill even further. It is just my opinion that it only be considered, once every other facet of the entire “building system” has been addressed. Both the math and the real world data backs me up here as well. Additionally, what you are getting with high-efficiency AC equipment, is the following:
1) Better temperature control. Traditional AC equipment works at one speed, so it is either 100% on or 100% off. Therefore it is only able to keep the temperature in your home within a specific range. For example, it will start cooling at 78 degrees and bring the temperature down to 75 degrees before turning off. With high-efficiency AC equipment, if you set the temperature on the thermostat to 75 degrees, it will hold it there to within a degree.
2) Better humidity control. Because the speed of the fan and the AC compressor are variable, high-efficiency AC equipment is able to directly control the humidity of your home. This not only makes your home more comfortable at higher temperatures, it also alleviates issues with mold and high humidity environments.
3) More technology friendly features. Basically, color touchscreen thermostats that are easy to use and are also controllable via the internet and smartphones.
Question: Who makes the best equipment?
Answer: Just as with any major industry, consolidation has been a major force in the past fifteen years. The end result is that you have a handful of major players, operating under multiple different names. When it comes to manufacturing the major core components of an HVAC system, you have Danfoss, EmersonCopeland, and Honeywell. All of the major HVAC manufacturers use mostly the same core components, and the differences in reliability across the board are negligible. What you are, essentially, buying when you choose a brand, is the following.
1) A name – (and some names can be expensive without warranting it).
2) Warranty and future support when you need that warranty.
It is these factors that have contributed to our decision behind selling Trane branded HVAC equipment.
First off, when most people think about Trane, they automatically associate it with being very good equipment, but also expensive. However, with 33 Solutions LLC, we try to give you your cake and let you eat it too. We have a very efficient business model, that allows us to pass on tremendous savings to our customers. At the same time, we are also able to meet the high standards that Trane requires of their dealers. In fact, we believe that we are one of the best Trane dealers, period. We are the best of both worlds. We are able to offer you the efficiency and pricing of a smaller company, but also the sophistication and professionalism of a larger company.
Trane HVAC equipment is manufactured in the USA.
Trane is owned and backed by Ingersol Rand, a global, multi-billion dollar company.
Trane and American Standard – its identical sister company – are collectively considered the best in the residential HVAC industry when it comes to reliability.
Trane’s attention to detail when it comes to engineering and manufacturing, is unsurpassed by anyone else in the industry. This is important because while all residential and light commercial HVAC equipment performs well initially, Trane equipment is able to reliably perform on year TEN, just as it did on day ONE. Long-term quality is where Trane really excels.
Service and support after the fact – I have worked on 20 and 30 year old Trane equipment, where I was still able to source new OEM parts for. With other manufacturers, one piece of HVAC equipment may have 20 different motors used during the manufacturing period of five years. If your equipment was manufactured on date X where a Chinese motor was used for 3 months but is no longer available, you may be out of luck on finding a proper replacement part. The bottom line here is that whether it is in or out of warranty, Trane and its dealers will be there to support you.
Question: How can I make my new HVAC system last as long as possible?
Answer: Proper installation and proper design, by a reputable licensed HVAC contractor. You must understand that when it comes to designing and installing an HVAC system, it is a very complex process. If properly designed and installed, a new HVAC system can last 16 to 20 years. Furthermore, proper design and installation have an immense impact on efficiency. Cut-rate, low-cost contractors, cut corners. While each small “shortcut” may not be significant by itself, the sum of all 48 “shortcuts” across the entire installation can be very significant. Furthermore, although everything may seem to work okay at first, problems will manifest a year or two down the road.
Annual maintenance is key! At a minimum, take it upon yourself to keep the outdoor AC unit free of debris and vegetation growth.
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