Affordable . Service . Experience . Trust
- What makes my home comfortable?
- What kind of system is right for me?
- How much money will I spend?
- How can I save money on my energy bills?
- How do I find and evaluate a dealer?
- What maintenance can I do myself?
- What routine maintenance do I need help with?
- Can I troubleshoot before calling a dealer?
- What forms of payment are accepted?
WHAT MAKES MY HOME COMFORTABLE?
To most people, temperature is both the beginning and the end of any discussion involving comfort. But, simple temperature management is only the beginning. To achieve superior indoor comfort, you've got to start with the basics -- heating (furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps) or cooling (air conditioners)-- as the foundation for your system.
CLEANLINESS / FRESHNESS OF AIR
Dusty, dirty homes at any temperature can cause feelings of discomfort to many people, especially allergy sufferers. And, the air in today's tightly-sealed, well-insulated and energy-efficient homes can become stale as the same indoor air is circulated and re-circulated. The fact is, with dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, skin flakes, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, Radon gas and more, the air inside your home can be even more polluted than the air outside. We can alleviate these problems and therefore add another level of comfort with air cleaners and ventilators.
Humidity is a funny thing. In the winter, dry air can cause static electricity, itchy skin, damage to home furnishings and more. Adding humidity is a good thing because it makes the air feel warmer and more comfortable while minimizing damage to furnishings. In the summer, it is preferable to remove humidity so indoor air feels cooler and less sticky. The answer? Improved comfort through humidity control with humidifiers and advanced thermostatic control.
Some of the common comfort complaints from homeowners include: inconsistent temperatures from one room to the next, up and down temperature swings, constantly adjusting the thermostat, and more. System controls of varying degrees of sophistication can help with these issues, offering straight temperature control, programmability that allows setting a "comfort schedule," temperature and humidity control combined, and dividing the home into zones which can be controlled separately. We can provide this type of control with advanced thermostatic control and zoning systems.
WHAT KIND OF SYSTEM IS RIGHT FOR ME?
The system that is right for you will depend on a number of factors: your budget, your comfort expectations, physical factors such as what type of system currently exists in your home or office, the unique features of your location, and more. Below, you can explore the system options available and some of the key factors that affect your choice.
TYPES OF SYSTEMS
For the basics of heating or cooling temperature control, you typically will have four system options. Below is a list of those options followed by the approximate percentage of U.S. homes using that particular system.
- Gas Furnace/Air Conditioner (60% of homes)
- Heat Pump (25% of homes)
- Small Packaged System (5% of homes)
Additional comfort comes from having clean, fresh air as well as proper humidity levels inside. These products will fine-tune your system to help improve your overall comfort and the efficiency of your indoor comfort system.
- Air Cleaners
Most people are familiar with the basic thermostat. But, system control is more than picking a temperature and walking away. It includes being able to program a comfort schedule for different times of day, setting humidity levels, and even setting different temperatures for different areas of the home. Here's how:
- Advanced thermostatic controls
- Zoning systems
KEY FACTORS THAT AFFECT YOUR CHOICE
Some of your home comfort decisions will be made for you based on some of the physical considerations involved, including:
Everybody's home or office is different. Some are big, some are small. Older homes are not as tightly sealed as new ones, which means efficiency is reduced. The number and size of windows, what direction the home is facing, number of mature trees in the yard and many more factors can affect your comfort, and may play a part in deciding what type of system is best for you. We have the expertise to assess any unusual circumstances surrounding the specific needs of your location.
If you are replacing an existing system, there are physical and financial reasons to stay with the same type of system. For example, if you currently have a boiler, it will be very expensive and physically challenging to install the ductwork you need for a forced-air furnace.
If you want a new type of system because you were dissatisfied with your comfort, remember that a new system will bring newer comfort technology and energy efficiency. Also, your comfort problem could be related to other issues, such as improper ductwork, system balance, cleanliness or freshness of air, humidity control and system control.
Although there are exceptions to every rule, geography can play a role in what type of system will work best in your home. Here's the general idea:
- Colder regions - Furnace or Boiler/Air Conditioner combo
- Warmer regions - Heat Pump or Air Conditioner w/ supplemental heat
- Regions with land or space issues - Small Packaged Rooftop systems
Energy Sources Available
Some systems simply won't work if the proper energy source isn't available or too expensive to consider. The three most likely energy sources for your comfort system are:
If you have no gas or oil service, you will need to go with an all-electric system, which means a heat pump or air conditioner. You may be able to have a gas line installed at your home, but that could be an additional cost. In some areas, electrical rates are so low that an all-electric system can still be the best option even if gas or oil are available.
If natural gas is available, furnaces and boilers become options for you. You may still opt to have an all-electric system if that suits your home or your personal preference.
If natural gas is available, furnaces and boilers become options for you. You may still opt to have an all-electric system if that suits your home or your personal preference.
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I SPEND?
Asking how much you'll spend on a new system is a lot like asking a builder, "How much is a house?" The builder will need to know if you want a 1,000 square foot ranch on a quarter acre lot, or if your needs run more towards a 3,500 square foot, two-story model an two wooded acres. Then there are questions about whether you want brick or vinyl siding, and so on. In other words, the cost for a new heating and cooling system will depend on many factors.
Factors to consider
Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Will you be happy with the lowest cost system that provides the basics of temperature control?
- Are you more interested in a complete, high-efficiency, programmable comfort system that provides air cleaning, humidity control, whole-house ventilation and zoning?
- Is repairing an option instead of replacing the system?
Your final cost will depend on the options you choose. Additional factors that can affect cost are:
- the size and age of your home
- what type of system you currently own (if any)
- the type of utilities available for heating and cooling (gas, electric, oil).
So, with all the variables involved, how can you get a realistic idea of how much a system will cost? Call a qualified, licensed dealer in your area. Remember, the dealers want your business, so most of the reputable ones will be happy to come out, assess your needs, and provide you with a quote at no charge or obligation. But, finding a dealer is easy. The job that takes a little more effort is choosing the right dealer for you. Ultimately, you need to feel confident that the dealer doing the work will be respectful of your time, your home and your budget while making your home more comfortable. For more on this subject, go to How do I find and evaluate a dealer?
HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY ON MY ENERGY BILLS?
Saving money on your energy bills will depend on four major factors:
Energy efficiency of your system
One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills is to buy a high efficiency heating and cooling system. Keep in mind that:
- Even the lowest efficiency systems currently allowed by the U.S. Government will almost always cost less to operate than a system that was installed ten years ago.
- Most manufacturers offer higher efficiency models which will add to your savings on monthly utility bills.
- Typically, higher efficiency systems will cost more initially, so it's important to look for the right balance between first cost and long-term savings.
Managing system operation
No matter how efficient your system is, the way you manage system operation can affect your heating and cooling costs. Naturally, you want to feel comfortable when you're home. But do you really need all that comfort when you're not home? Do you need all of that comfort while everybody's in bed, sleeping? By remembering to "set back" the temperature on your system's thermostat during times when you don't really need as much comfort, you can save significantly on your monthly utility bill.
This type of temperature control can be done automatically with a programmable thermostat. Zoning systems can provide even greater efficiency and comfort by dividing the home into comfort "zones" and providing differing temperatures for each zone.
Simple system maintenance
One of the keys to energy savings is keeping your system operating at its best. Two simple ways you can help maintain your system are:
For more details on maintaining your own system, go to What maintenance can I do myself?
- change furnace or fan coil filter frequently
- clean indoor and outdoor coils
Also, we offer a regular clean & check service that can help keep your system operating efficiently. This service helps detect potential problems before they become an emergency. For more on this subject, go to What routine maintenance do I need help with?
Age and condition of your home
For a variety of reasons, newer homes are more energy efficient than older ones. They are built to keep conditioned air inside so you are not paying to heat and cool air that easily finds its way out of your home. As a home gets older, settling will cause some of that air-tight construction to loosen up. Regardless of your home's age, you can do some simple maintenance to make sure that will help keep the conditioned air inside, where it belongs.
- Be sure your home is adequately insulated. Adding insulation to attic areas is usually pretty easy. Other areas, such as outside walls, provide a more challenging project if extra insulation is needed.
- Check the seals around windows, doors, electrical outlets or any other potential sources for escaping air. Seal these areas using a good quality caulk, and be sure to re-examine your handiwork every few years.
- Inside your home, weather stripping around moving parts of windows and doors can help seal off potential areas of leakage or drafts.
- Storm doors and windows can provide additional energy savings by preventing air loss and by creating an insulating layer of air.
HOW DO I FIND AND EVALUATE A DEALER?
Evaluating a dealer
Evaluating a dealer takes a little more brainwork. This is an important process, however, because choosing the right dealer can make the difference between getting the most comfort and efficiency for your money or, getting stuck with a system that doesn't meet your needs. Here are some tips on evaluating a dealer:
- Ask the dealers you are considering how long they've been in business. Common sense says that older, more established companies will have a better record or customer satisfaction.
- Check to see the dealer's contractor's license. Dealers must have a license to receive the permits needed for the job. And, only licensed HVAC contractors can legally purchase the refrigerant needed for air conditioners and heat pumps.
- Ask for references. Then, follow up by calling those people and asking them how satisfied they were with the dealer. Try to ask specific questions, about the dealer's timeliness, ability to follow through on start and finish times, etc.
Questions you may want to ask
The following is a list of questions you may want to ask a dealer when you are trying to make a selection. This list was prepared by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).
- Will the contractor listen to your needs?
- Is the contractor complying with state and local codes?
- Has the contractor provided you with a list of professional, business and trade references?
- Is the contractor in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
- Has the contractor given you performance guarantees in writing?
- If anything goes wrong during installation, does the contractor have adequate insurance to cover your losses?
- Will the contractor stand behind your installation?
- Can the contractor service your new system in the future?
- Will the contractor install your new system in a timely, professional manner?
- Is the contractor financially responsible?
- Has the contractor provided you with a list of satisfied customers?
Making the decision
If more than one dealer satisfies your requirements, trust your judgment. If you feel comfortable with one dealer, but still have reservations about another, go with the one you feel most comfortable with.
WHAT MAINTENANCE CAN I DO MYSELF?
There are a few simple, routine maintenance operations you can do to help ensure the best performance and comfort from your system.
Before you perform any kind of maintenance, consider these important safety precautions.
- Disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels to perform maintenance. Please note that there may be more than one power connection switch.
- Although Carrier takes special care to prevent sharp edges in the construction of our equipment, it's best to be very careful when you handle parts or reach into units.
Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil every 3 to 4 weeks. A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type. (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it's completely dry before you re-install it.) The prefilter and collection cells of an electronic air cleaner should be cleaned at least two or three times per year.
Clean dust off of your indoor coil. With a vacuum cleaner and soft-brush attachment, you can remove any dust from the top and underside of the coil. Make sure you only do this when the coil is dry. If you can't get the coil clean this way, call your dealer for service.
Keep your outdoor condensing unit free of debris. If you keep grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care to operate properly. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris, to help the unit drain correctly.
If the outdoor coil becomes dirty, use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact your dealer.
Take special care of outdoor condensing units in ocean environments. Since we live near the ocean, you can help preserve its optimal condition with a little extra care. Ocean mist and sea breezes carry salt, which is corrosive to most metals. Although many new units are made out of galvanized metal and are protected by top-grade paint, you can add life to your unit by washing all exposed surfaces and the coil approximately every three months.
Make sure your outdoor unit stays in a level position. If the support for your split-system outdoor unit shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it promptly to make sure moisture drains properly out of the unit. If you notice that water or ice collects beneath the unit, arrange for it to be drained away from the equipment.
Inspect your furnace's combustion area and vent system before each heating season. If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call us and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.
Have oil-fired boilers inspected annually. Call us before each heating season to replace your oil filter cartridge and conduct a thorough inspection of the unit's operation.
Clean your humidifier at the beginning of every heating season. Review your owner's manual for the proper procedure to clean the external and internal components of your unit. The evaporator pad should also be replaced before each heating season. If the water in your area is hard or has high mineral content, you may need to clean or service your humidifier more frequently.
Clean the core and air filters on a ventilator at least every three months. You can vacuum the core of an energy recovery ventilator as long as it is dry and the outdoor temperature is between 60 F (16 C) and 75 F (24 C). Heat recovery ventilator cores can be soaked for three hours in a solution of warm water and mild soap and then rinsed. Ventilator air filters are washable: just use a vacuum to remove the heaviest accumulation of dust and then wash them in lukewarm water. Replace them after they are completely dry.
WHAT ROUTINE MAINTENANCE DO I NEED HELP WITH?
Think about how you take care of your car. Sure, most people can handle the little stuff - checking and topping off fluids, keeping tires inflated to the correct pressure, changing the wiper blades. But, to keep your car operating at its best, you need an occasional tune-up from a trained professional.
Your heating and cooling system is no different. To get the most performance and longest life from your system, it's a good idea to have a professional perform routine checks in the early spring and in the late fall.
In the spring, your dealer will check a heat pump or air conditioner for all or some of the following:
- operating pressures
- refrigerant charge
- filter condition
- fan motor
- crankcase heaters
- coils cleaning
- lubrication of moving parts
In the fall, you can expect a dealer to check your furnace in the following areas:
- burner and pilot assemblies
- cracks in the heat exchanger
- check the pilot thermocouple
- examine the filter and check vent piping
- test the electronic ignition
- test the fan
- test the limit switch
- burner adjustments
- measure manifold gas pressure
- measure temperature rise
- carbon monoxide test
- set the heat anticipator
- check and adjust belt tension
- examine the draft diverter
- lubricate the fan motor
CAN I TROUBLESHOOT BEFORE CALLING A DEALER?
The answer is, "Yes." Here are some simple procedures you can perform before going to the expense of a service call:
- Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system). Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.
- Check for sufficient airflow. Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.
- Check the settings on your thermostat. If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.
In addition to the routine maintenance you perform, your home comfort system should be inspected at least once a year by a properly trained service technician. We can make sure your system operates safely and gives you the best performance at the lowest cost. You may also want to ask us about an economical service contract that covers seasonal inspections for a flat fee.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT ARE ACCEPTED?
We are happy to accept the following forms of payment:
We accept credit card payments in person, over the phone, or online, either through our banking institution's secure website, and even through Paypal. Please provide us your email address, and we will be happy to invoice you electronically, where instructions will be given on how to pay your invoice from our secure website.
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