How can I save money and reduce my energy costs?
Should I replace or repair my equipment?
Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older air conditioning system to save money?
What is the average life expectancy of equipment?
Should I be concerned about Carbon Monoxide in my home?
How can I reduce dust, bacteria and other allergens in my home?
Frequently Asked Questions
- Replace your older home comfort system equipment with high efficient models. Your energy costs could be reduced by as much as 30%. The federal government, the State of Illinois and natural gas suppliers currently offer tax credits or rebates if you replace your current equipment with qualifying high efficient systems. Ask us for the details.
- Have a programmable thermostat installed. This type of thermostat will automatically lower your thermostat during the day when you may be at work. It will also lower your thermostat at night while you sleep.
- Have your system checked by a professional twice a year to maintain peak efficiency, performance and safety.
- Clean or replace the filter in your home comfort system. Some filters require replacement or cleaning monthly. Other filters may need replacing only one to two times annually.
- Check the duct work for air leaks about once a year.
- Limit the loss of expensive heated or cooled air to the outside. Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans sparingly.
- Caulking and weather stripping will reduce costly drafts. This job is reasonably easy so you may be able to save money by doing this yourself.
- Keep fireplace dampers tightly closed until you prepare to light a fire.
- Add insulation to your attic to reduce winter heat loss.
- Close shades or drapes in the summer to reduce heat gain.
- Replace windows with high performance models. This will reduce the drafts and solar heat gain in your home.
Here are some questions to consider when deciding to either replace or repair your heating and cooling system:
- How old is your system? If your system is more than ten years old, it may be a better choice to invest in new, higher efficiency equipment, which could cut your energy costs by up to 40%.
- What is the efficiency level of your current home comfort system? Most systems in use today have furnaces that are 80% efficient or less. Newer furnaces are available that achieve 95% efficiency or greater. Older Air Conditioners can be up to 40% less efficient than those being installed today.
- What is the overall condition of your system? If your system has been well maintained and does not have a history of frequent breakdowns, it may be wiser to simply repair it. If your system breaks down often, you should consider replacing it.
- How often is your system operating? If your system has been used extensively, it may be time to replace it. Systems used in areas with extreme weather such as ours may not last as long as those in mild climates.
- Are you planning to move soon? If you are moving in the next year or two, investing in a new indoor home comfort system will improve the value of your home. If you plan to live in your current residence for many more years, it may also be a smart choice to replace the system and invest in your comfort.
This was a common practice before new systems were required to achieve an efficiency rating of 13 SEER. Today’s air conditioners must be installed with the proper indoor coils to ensure maximum efficiency and performance. Just changing the outside unit could void the manufacturer’s warranty. New units also have to be designed for the type of refrigerant in the system. Units being manufactured today use refrigerant R410a. Older systems used R-22. An R-22 coil can not be used in a system that uses R410a.
Q: What is the average life expectancy of equipment?
A: Most systems have a lifetime of 12 to 18 years in our climate. As the equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. Preventative maintenance can prolong the life of your equipment.
- Yes. Each year, carbon monoxide kills more than 300 Americans and sends nearly 5,000 more to emergency rooms for treatment, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Where does it come from? When fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene or wood burn, they produce gases. Carbon monoxide is a gas produced when combustion or burning isn’t complete. It is odorless and colorless.
- The CPSC advises that carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to alert yourself to the presence of toxic gas in your home. If you wake in the night with a headache and another member of the family complains of a headache or is difficult to wake, get out of the house fast and seek medical help.
- It is the law in the state of Illinois that all homes with appliances that burn natural gas, propane, oil or wood that are used for primary heating have working carbon monoxide detectors.
Q: How can I reduce dust, bacteria and other allergens in my home?
A: A high efficiency air cleaner can remove up to 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into the home. A home equipped with a high efficiency air cleaner will also have a great reduction in household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants. The indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust that circulate throughout the house.
Common types of air cleaners are:
- Media- A pleated filter not unlike the air filter in you car. If you choose this type of filter make sure it is a 4″ or wider filter. This type of media filter is preferred since 1″ pleated filters have a very small surface area and can impede the air flow in your system.
- Traditional Electronic- This type of filter removes smaller particles and allergens that a media filter can not. It must be cleaned frequently (about every 2 months) to maintain performance.
- Air Purifiers- Carrier makes the Infinity Air Purifier. This type combines an electronic air cleaner with a media filter. This means you get the effectiveness of an electronic unit without the frequent cleanings. The media in this unit need only be changed one to two times annually.
- UV (ultra violet) Lights can add a level of protection from mold and bacteria growth. These lights are installed above the cooling coil to retard growth. Also according to Carrier, a system without these lights can see a reduction of airflow up to 9%. This is caused by the growth of a thin layer of pollutants just two thousandths of an inch thick on the coil fins.