Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Choosing the Right Heating and Cooling System for Your Home

Shopping for heating and cooling equipment can be very confusing. There are so many options to choose from, and so many variables to consider. Beware of contractors that offer to sell you more capacity than you need.

Although, more capacity may seem like a good idea, a system that is “too big” will heat or cool your home too quickly. This is known as “short cycling” Short cycling can cause premature wear and tear, inadequate dehumidification and a reduced product life. Choosing the right equipment depends on several key variables:

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The number of heating and cooling hours required, (this may vary and depend on the part of the country you live).
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The size and thermal efficiency of your home.
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The age of your home.
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How your home faces the sun.
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Your floor plan.
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The cost of fuel in your area.

Repair or Replace

When your existing unit breaks down, the decision to replace or repair it can be difficult. There are many factors to consider and your Westinghouse dealer will present you the advantages and disadvantages of repairing or replacing your unit. Here are some of the things to consider before making a decision:

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What is the cost of the repair vs. the replacement?
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What is the age and efficiency of the existing unit vs. the efficiency of a new unit? Your dealer can help you calculate your approximate energy savings based on your current energy costs.
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Warranty coverage should be a factor in your decision.
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How long you plan to stay in your present home.

Careful consideration of all these factors can help you come to the best decision.

What you should know

One of the most expensive appliances you will ever purchase for a home is a central heating or cooling system. Finding the right system for your home is largely dependent upon the contractor you choose.

The advantage of having a central air conditioning system is that it can distribute cool air through the whole house as opposed to window units, which are generally designed to cool a single room. Despite larger, up-front costs, a central cooling system can still save you money by reducing your monthly utility bill.

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If new or modified ductwork is required, your initial investment will rise.
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Central air conditioning units vary in size and efficiency. A common, costly error is to install an oversized unit in your home.
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A good contractor will estimate the cooling loads and duct requirements by collecting detailed information in your home, and using calculations to determine the correct size for your home.
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Air conditioner sizes, (also referred to as cooling capacities) are measured in British thermal units per hour (BTU). One ton is equal to 12,000 BTU. A unit that has too little capacity may not keep an entire house cool. Oversized units cost more and are more expensive to operate.
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A unit's energy consumption is rated by the Standard Energy Efficiency Rating, (SEER). The higher the SEER rating the less energy is required to operate the unit. Ratings can range from 13 to 18 SEER.
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Units with a 13 SEER rating are typically installed in new homes and as replacement models.
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According to a survey of over 500 contractors, a rating from 13 to 14 SEER are mostly recommended, because they are the least expensive to own and require the least repairs.
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There are different models, sizes and efficiencies available on the market. The type of unit, (a split system versus a single-packaged unit) may depend on the region of the country you live in.
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The type of unit will also depend on the type of home you live in (e.g., basement house, slab foundation, crawl space, etc). Regardless of the type of central air conditioner you install, the size and efficiency can have the most impact on your costs.
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The most expensive part of an air conditioner to replace is the compressor.
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Using a programmable thermostat with your cooling system can save you money and energy consumption while you are away from your home, and deliver a comfortable temperature when you arrive.

What you should do if you are wondering whether you should turn off the air conditioner and open a window to enjoy a break in weather:

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Never, continuously turn on and off your air conditioner to adjust to the changing weather patterns outside.
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If you want to open a window for fresh air, it is better to leave your air conditioner on.
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If the inside of your home becomes hot and humid, you will have to turn the air conditioner back on, and your air conditioner has to work harder to cool down your home and everything in it.

Over 500 contractors surveyed

A top leading consumer magazine recently surveyed over 500 contractors and reported the following tips on purchasing a central air cooling system:

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Choose the right-sized air conditioning system. If it is too small, then it won't cool properly; if it is too large, then it won't dehumidify properly.
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Invest in a 13-14 SEER model, because of their combined performance in increased energy efficiency and product reliability.
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Beware of replacing only one part of a split system. (indoor and outdoor matched components), because it may result in poor performance in efficiency, and may be repair-prone. Replace the entire system.
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Look for an experienced contractor. One-fifth of the contractors surveyed said the primary reason for their service calls are due to improper application or incorrect installation.
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Maintain your system properly. At least 40 percent of surveyed contractors said that service calls were primarily the result of improper maintenance.


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4 comments:

Milliscent Morgan said...

Thanks that I found this amazing blog. On the other hand I'm looking for the page of commercial cooling system.

Heating Ontario said...

Having heating and cooling systems at home and work are necessary for us to feel comfortable and productive and so we have to be careful on which model to get. You may have purchase one with quality from a top brand, but it would also help if you know how to properly operate your system to avoid any problems and for you and your family to continue feeling comfortable.

Heating and Cooling

phoenixheatingandcooling said...

Thanks,This information is very important to used of the system.and I have to used the Heating and cooling system.

Heating and Cooling Richmond Hill

Layne Adams said...

Hi! nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing.Cheers!

- The Heating Contractors Woburn MA