When it comes time to buy a new furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, it’s helpful to prioritize communicating with your HVAC contractor. Understanding a few common heating and cooling concepts will help you select the best type of equipment for your home and budget.
Here are a few terms to get you started when communicating with your HVAC tech:
- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – This term shows the heating efficiency of furnaces, measuring the percentage of fuel that gets converted into usable heat for your home. High-efficiency furnaces begin at 90 percent AFUE.
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – If you’re looking into a heat pump, carefully select an HSPF, the efficiency rating for heating — similar to AFUE for furnaces. The numbers start at 8 for high-efficiency systems.
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – SEER rates the cooling efficiency of heat pumps and central air conditioners. Minimum federal standards begin at SEER 13, but high-efficiency units usually begin at SEER 16.
- Compressor – Choosing a heat pump or A/C with a two-stage compressor nets homeowners better overall system efficiency. Running at the lower stage, the compressor saves energy and provides just enough conditioned air to meet the home’s load. During extreme temperatures, the unit runs at the higher stage.
- Variable-speed air handler – Used with heat pumps, furnaces and air conditioners, this type of air handler operates at multiple speeds, ramping up the speed at which conditioned air is sent into the home when it’s hotter/colder, and lowering its operational speed during milder conditions. While the two-stage compressor adjusts fuel consumption, the variable-speed air handler adjust the speed at which it moves the conditioned air. It’s usually running at a lower, more continuous speed, which results in more even temperatures in your home, less energy use, and better air filtration.
- Zoning system – Using duct dampers and individual thermostats, a home is divided into zones, with each one controlled by a separate thermostat, which opens and closes the damper as necessary. This allows you to account for factors in a home that lead to different temperature demands from room to room, or floor to floor, and also accounts for the different temperature preferences of you and your family.
In the Fresno area, give the experts at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning a call today when upgrading. We know communicating with your HVAC contractor can be difficult, and we go to great lengths to make sure customers understand their available heating and cooling solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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