The following are some of the questions we hear most frequently from our customers. If you have a question or concern that is not addressed here, please contact our office for more information.
Q. Will I save money converting my furnace from electricity or oil to a gas furnace?
A. Yes, and depending on the size of your home, the savings can be substantial. Based on current prices, we are seeing typical savings for a 1200 sq. ft. bungalow of $1000/yr. when converting from oil and as much as $2000 per year when converting from electricity.
Q. Am I better off to install a gas fireplace insert into my wood burning fireplace rather than change my furnace?
A. Not if the main goal of installing gas into your home is increased energy efficiency. All furnaces produce heat at an efficiency greater than 90%, whereas a fireplace is typically in the 70-80% range. Additionally, the ductwork from a furnace extends to all rooms within a house, whereas a fireplace heats only one area of the house.
Q. What do efficiencies mean?
A. When we talk about a 90% efficient furnace, the simplest way to understand this is that for every dollar of gas used, 90 cents of that dollar is converted to heat and 10 cents is lost through the vent or chimney.
Q. What is the difference between a single stage and two-stage furnace?
A. A single stage furnace only throws one amount of heat when running. If one were to think of an oil furnace; when it is running, it only produces one amount of heat, it is either on or off, and when it’s on, it is running at full capacity. In a two stage furnace, the furnace can produce more than one capacity or output of heat. The first stage of heat with a York furnace is 60% of its total rated capacity and the second stage is full capacity. This type of furnace offers advantages such as efficiency, quietness of operation and a better balance of heat throughout the house.
Q. Should I install a heat pump?
A. We don’t recommend an air-source heat pump if you live in an area that has natural gas. When combining the efficiency of gas furnaces with the cost of natural gas, there are no dollar savings to operating an air-source heat pump over that of a high efficiency gas furnace and air conditioner. If you live in an area that does not have natural gas then an air source heat pump can be cost effective as an add-on to the household heating system
Q. Can I open my windows when operating my air conditioner?
A. One of the big jobs that an air conditioner accomplishes is the removal of humidity from the air. Our summers tend to have a lot of humidity outside and opening a window introduces humidity into the house at the same time that air conditioning removes humidity. Opening your windows will cause the air conditioner to run longer as it removes the humidity, thus costing more to operate.
Q. Why is it important to have air conditioning sized properly for my home? Is bigger not better?
A. Sizing of air conditioning is important to ensure proper removal of humidity from the home. A system that is too large will run in shorter cycles and although the temperature will be reduced quicker, the level of humidity in the home will be high, resulting in a humid cool home giving a ‘clammy’ feel to the air.
Q. Should my outdoor unit be mounted to the house or sit on the ground?
A. Air conditioners are designed to sit on the ground; however, often they are mounted to the side of a home, especially if it is expected that the ground will settle in the near future. Mounting on the side of a home is common in new house construction.
Q. Do I need to cover my outdoor air conditioner in the winter?
A. Outdoor air conditioning units are designed to operate during inclement weather, rain, wind, etc. They are robustly constructed and are tested in all conditions. Winter cover will help preserve the finish on the outside of the unit and protect it from salts and ice if the unit is adjacent to a driveway.
Q. What maintenance is required with an air conditioner?
A. The best preventive maintenance that a homeowner can perform is to ensure they have clean filters at the furnace. Proper airflow across the evaporator ‘A’ coil in the ductwork will ensure continued problem-free operation of the system.
Q. Does an air conditioner need to be ‘topped up’ periodically?
A. No. An air conditioning system is a closed loop system in the sense that it should never lose any refrigerant. If a system is low on refrigerant (Freon), then a leak has occurred and must be corrected prior to the addition of any new refrigerant.
Q. Will a gas fireplace provide heat in a power failure situation?
A. Yes. Gas fireplaces and stoves do not require power for them to turn on and off. The only thing that will not operate is the fan. Gas Fireplaces and stoves make for a great backup heat source within a home.
Q. Will I burn my hands if I touch a gas fireplace when operating?
A. Yes. Gas fireplaces and stoves are designed to provide heat; there is a fire inside the unit, much like a wood-burning fireplace. All fireplaces now come with a screen in front of the glass to reduce the likelihood of burning your hand, but you should always be careful and mindful of the heat that these units can produce.
Q. I have an air exchanger (HRV) in my home, what is its purpose?
A. An HRV or air exchanger does exactly what its name implies. It exhausts stale air from inside the home and replaces it with fresh air from outside. In the winter outside air is dry and operating an HRV in the winter will effectively help dry out a house, whereas in the summer outside air is humid, thus adding humidity to the house.