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Questions to Ask When Choosing Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

Shopping for an energy efficient HVAC system is a large investment in your home. As building envelopes become tighter and insulation improves the HVAC system that your home required 20 years ago might not fulfill the same needs today. This is especially true if your house received several energy-saving improvements. Asking the right questions about the products you are considering gives you the information that you need to make an educated decision about the best HVAC system for your home, needs, and budget.


Energy Guide HVAC Energy Savings

What to Ask When Shopping for an Energy Efficient HVAC System

What is the SEER number and HSPF rating?

The Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio (SEER) on a cooling unit tells you how efficient it is. The Heating Season Performance Factor (HFSP) tells you about the efficiency of a heat pump. Systems with an ENERGY STAR label have a SEER of at least 14.5 and an HSPF of at least 8.2 (the higher the number, the greater the efficiency).

What HVAC size do I need?

An energy efficient HVAC will actually waste energy if it is too big or too small. Instead of just using the size of an existing system, a contractor should also take into account additions and energy-saving upgrades that you’ve invested in your home. System size also matters if you plan to add multiple heating and cooling zones in your home.

What is the best type of HVAC unit for my home?

Heating and cooling units are available as natural gas-powered systems, all-electric units, heat pumps, combination systems, ductless mini splits, and radiant heat systems. Review your comfort standards and heating and cooling needs with a licensed HVAC contractor to learn about the advantages and disadvantages regarding the different types of HVAC units available for your home.

Can you provide me with a free, no-obligation quote?

A good HVAC contractor provides an accurate estimate for an HVAC system, its installation, labor costs, and the options available in writing. This estimate should include the price of parts, energy efficiency-related information and warranty specifications.

What rebates and tax breaks are available for energy-saving HVAC systems?

Investigate local, state, and federal tax laws and energy departments to learn if a system is available for a rebate or tax incentive. In addition, see which manufacturers are offering their own rebates to maximize your savings. A good HVAC contractor will have this information for you.

What are the lifetime operating costs?

When shopping for an HVAC system, look beyond the price and installation costs. Estimate the annual energy costs for your area. Learn how much it costs to maintain the system and if it needs specialized parts that might cost more than others.

What type of air filters does the HVAC unit use?

Some types of HVAC units use specific filters, while others may accommodate different types, such as disposable, washable, or HEPA filters. Learn how often you need to replace or clean the filters, too.

Do I need to replace all of the HVAC equipment?

For an HVAC system to work optimally, it must match the ductwork. Otherwise, you’ll experience energy losses. This could mean finding a heating and cooling system that matches the equipment in your home or replacing the equipment so it matches the system you choose. You may also need a new thermostat.

What does the warranty cover and how long does the coverage last?

Not all warranties are the same. Some offer longer terms and cover different aspects of the HVAC unit. When investigating warranties, also remember to educate yourself on what actions will void them.

Does the HVAC unit have moisture control elements?

A home that’s too dry might make you feel uncomfortable, prolong the life of certain viruses, and can cause wood floors and furniture to crack from the lack of moisture. Too much humidity leads to mold and bacterial growth and can make a space feel too stuffy. Moisture control elements in an HVAC unit keep you comfortable and healthy while preventing unnecessary damage to your belongings.

Shopping for an energy efficient HVAC does not have to be confusing or overwhelming. When you work with a reputable contractor, like AAA, you’ll received personalized assistance for finding the best energy-efficient products for your home and needs. Contact AAA today to schedule a free consultation.

Photo by p.Gordon via CC License 

The air inside your home might be more polluted than the air outside, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. When air circulates throughout your home, it travels through a series of ducts. This air contains dust, allergens and other microscopic particulates that accumulate in your home’s ductwork. HVAC filters do a good job at trapping the debris if you change them as often as the manufacturer recommends. However, air leaks, maintenance neglect or dusty projects (i.e., home remodeling) can cause dust, mold, pollen, dander, allergens and other pollutants to build up in ductwork over time. With the help of professional duct cleaning, Portland residents can breathe easier and save on energy costs.

Why Duct Cleaning is Beneficialduct cleaning portland oregon

  • Improve the efficiency of your HVAC system: When dust and debris build up in a home’s ductwork, air doesn’t flow as freely throughout the heating and cooling system. When this occurs, the system has to work harder to maintain a consistent airflow throughout the home. Dust that accumulates on components such as the blower’s motor fan blades, coils and ducts, can block airflow by up to 40 percent. When an HVAC unit works harder, it uses more energy. As little as 0.042 inches of dust can reduce a furnace’s efficiency by up to 21 percent.
  • Extend the life of your heating and cooling system: When an HVAC system works in optimal conditions, it doesn’t exert any extra effort to perform. Conversely, when machinery has to work harder to perform a task, the parts wear prematurely, resulting in frequent repairs.
  • Leak detection: When ducts have air leaks, the warm or cool air that’s supposed to go into your home may escape into places that don’t need it, like between the walls. Therefore, to maintain the comfort levels in your home, your HVAC unit has to work harder to compensate for the lost air. While performing duct cleaning, Portland contractors may also inspect the ductwork for energy wasting air leaks or splits.
  • Improve the quality of indoor air: Ducts are a treasure trove of allergens. Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, the dust that accumulates may become the perfect environment for bacteria and dust mites. Other items that may lurk in ductwork include dead insects, rodent droppings, cobwebs, dead skin cells, particulates from building materials and mold spores.

How the Pros Clean Ducts

When you hire a duct-cleaning service, make sure the company holds a certification from the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. Reputable contractors use large trucks with a mounted vacuum system that blasts compressed air at 180 pounds per square inch and sucks at a rate of 15,000 cubic feet per minute.

To complete the job, technicians prepare your home, connect a vacuum hose to your home’s air handler and the air compressor hose the ductwork. The air blasts the debris off the insides of the ducts and the vacuum sucks it into the truck. The process generally takes less than day to complete.

Duct Cleaning, Portland Residents May Need it When…

  • Purchasing a new home
  • Musty or unpleasant odors come out of the registers
  • There are dead insects, rodent droppings or mold in the ductwork
  • Debris, dust bunnies or other particles blow out the registers
  • Recently completed a remodeling project or some type of construction in the home
  • It’s been more than five years since the last ductwork cleaning
  • The HVAC unit receives regular maintenance and is in good shape, but the home seems overly dusty
  • The HVAC needs frequent repairs because of dust buildup within the system

Duct cleaning is a vital maintenance service that your home and HVAC system occasionally need. While there are no studies that link a lack of duct cleaning with health problems, there is significant proof that the task can increase the efficiency and longevity of a heating and cooling system. The cost of the professional service more than makes up for itself in the energy saving that you experience and the reduced frequency of repairs.