Air Conditioning Frequently Asked Questions

Air Conditioning FAQ

Should Sound Level be a Factor?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the quieter your HVAC equipment is, the happier you and your neighbors will be! Modern air conditioners have much lower operating sound levels which are ideal for neighborhoods and instances where the A/C unit is near yard activity, windows, etc.Remember with equipment that for every 3 decibels quieter, sound power is cut approximately 50%. Here are a few more quick facts about noise levels:* High efficiency compressors are the quietest type of compressor available. Their two-stage compressor technology provides up to 4x quieter operation and 60% more energy-efficient operation.* Quieter compressors are sometimes isolated behind an advanced composite material, further reducing transmitted compressor noise.

Which Refrigerant Should I Use?

Choose HVAC Equipment with Eco-Friendly R410-A RefrigerantYou have a choice in HVAC equipment regarding what type of refrigerant the system uses. We strongly urge you to install equipment that uses the eco-friendly R-410A (also known as Puron) refrigerant for three reasons:1. R-410A is not chlorine-based, so it will not harm the environment in the same way that the old refrigerant, R-22, will.2. Laws that came into effect in 2010 (the Montreal Protocol) will eliminate the use of the old refrigerant R-22, so servicing a system that uses R-22 will be increasingly difficult and expensive. 3. R-410A is simply a more efficient refrigerant than R-22 in absorbing and releasing heat, which allows manufacturers to implement smaller compressors that are quieter and vibrate less, reducing "wear and tear" over time. Compressors using R-410A are also less likely to burn out due to overheating. Carrier has been supplying environmentally-sound Puron refrigerant-based products since 1996 (6 years before other manufacturers caught up) and is already fully compliant with the 2010 mandate to phase out R-22. Today, Carrier has engineered an entire line of heating and cooling products with Puron refrigerant, available right now to make your home more comfortable. By making the change to Puron refrigerant now, you can protect yourself from the higher future costs of servicing an air conditioner or heat pump that uses R-22.

What Efficiency Should I Purchase?

The simple answer? The more efficient the better! Current standards as of 2010 are up to 21 SEER for air conditioners / heat pumps and near 100% AFUE percentages for gas furnaces!Heating and air conditioning is the major part of your utility bills. SEER stands for seasonal efficiency ratio and is sort of like the HVAC equivalent of miles per gallon for your car.To find the difference in operating cost of two SEER units, just divide the smaller number by the larger number (e.g.; a 13 SEER unit costs 76.9% as much to operate as a 10 SEER unit. 10/13=.769. For furnaces, a 92% furnace costs 87% as much to run as an 80% furnace).Since air conditioning units can last 15 years or more and furnaces 30 years or more, the operating cost savings of the more efficient systems pay for themselves many times the difference in initial purchase price. Reliant Air Conditioning has operating cost programs that can show you the anticipated savings you can get with higher efficiency equipment. As an added benefit, higher efficiency equipment is usually of higher quality, lasts longer, and is quieter than lower efficiency equipment. The lowest efficiency equipment that can be sold in the U.S. today is 13 SEER for air conditioning equipment and 78% efficiency for furnaces. Tip: Buying a high efficiency heating & air conditioning system can result in a higher resale value for your house. In fact two recent studies published in the Appraisal Journal found that each dollar in annual energy savings adds $20 to your home's resale value.

What is ENERGY STAR?

Products that earn the ENERGY STAR designation use less energy and prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. With energy costs and ecological preservation top-of-mind for consumers, Carrier is committed to offering solutions that help consumers conserve energy and improve the quality of our environment.With ENERGY STAR, you can save 30% or more on energy bills over a non-ENERGY STAR system. By choosing Carrier ENERGY STAR qualified products, you can start saving annually on your energy bills.But more than saving energy, ENERGY STAR also makes a difference for the environment. Did you know that the average house can be responsible for twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the average car? That's because every time you flip on a light switch, run your dishwasher, or turn on your air conditioner, you use energy, which means more greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. So the more energy we can save through energy efficiency, the more we help to preserve our environment.

Is there anything I should do before calling?

We at Reliant Heating & Air Conditioning believe that in this tough economic climate, no one should be forced to spend money that doesn't need to be spent, so we've compiled a short list of simple troubleshooting items you can check yourself if your heating or air conditioning system is not working like it should.

Is it normal my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air?

Yes, this is normal. A heat pump usually only produces 80° air, which is warm enough to heat your house evenly, but is not as hot as the 110°-120° temperatures produced by many gas furnaces. The 80° air may also feel cool to your hand, which usually hovers around 90°.

How long should my system run in a cycle?

There is no exact answer for this question, as each home is different. The average air conditioner is built to remove heat from your home as fast as it comes in on a 110° day, meaning that it would run continuously just to keep up and would not gain on the heat at all. The cooler the temperature is below 110°, the more the system will cycle on and off. Other factors such as insulation, windows and direction your home faces also contribute to either shortened or increased cycle times

How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?

The best way to find out if your system is matched to your home is to have one of the Comfort Specialists from Reliant Air Conditioning run a heat load calculation to determine proper sizing and make any appropriate recommendations. Remember, bigger is not always better!

Is a system with more capacity better?

Not always. A larger system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate when incorrectly matched with a conditioned space which is too small. An air conditioner is least efficient when it first turns on, and a system with too much capacity will satisfy the thermostat sooner, causing it to run in numerous short cycles. Not only is this inefficient, but it also does not allow the system to properly remove humidity from the air, which can make your home very uncomfortable.

What size HVAC system should I have?

There are many factors that affect the sizing and specifications of your system, including square footage, insulation, window surface and configuration, geographic location of your home, duct sizing and arrangement, and many others. The Comfort Specialists at Reliant Air Conditioning can perform an in-home load analysis to determine which equipment combinations will perfectly suit your home and your family's needs.

How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?

The efficiency of an air conditioning system is usually measured in SEER or EER, and the efficiency of a gas furnace is usually measured using an AFUE value. For more information on what these terms mean, visit the HVAC Terminology section of our knowledge center.

How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?

Heating and cooling systems are sized in tons, with one (1) ton equaling 12,000 Btu/h. Typical residential systems range anywhere from 2 to 5 tons.