Just Right Heating & Cooling

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Ask the right questions and do your homework.

Q: Can a dirty filter make your unit break?

A: Yes. It can cause multiple problems in both heating and cooling modes. Dirty filters reduce efficiency. They also cause furnaces to overheat; A-coils to ice up; and blower motors to burn out.

Q: Does a high-efficiency air conditioning unit cool more than a standard-efficiency one?

A: No. The size of the unit—not the efficiency--determines the amount of cooling it can do. The efficiency of the unit refers to the amount of energy it uses, not the amount of cooling it produces.

Q: How often should I change my filter?

A: Every house is different. But for most, every 3 - 4 months. Pets, smoking, number of people in and out of the house, and fan run-time, all affect the frequency of your filter change-out.

Know the lingo:

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Measures cooling efficiency, calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season, divided by the total electric energy input during the same time-frame. Basically, the higher the SEER rating, the greater the efficiency. A/Cs and heat pumps are rated in SEERs.

EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio. Cooling output divided by electrical power input. Typically determined by a set outside temperature and a set inside air temperature, and a 50% relative indoor humidity. Just like SEER, the higher the EER, the more efficient.

AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Gas furnace rating. It’s a unit’s efficiency at converting fuel into heat by projecting average thermal efficiency for a full heating season. 80% would be standard; anything above 90% is considered high-efficiency.