How is the power of heating and cooling systems measured?

The power of these systems is usually measured in how many BTUs of temperature change it can provide, a measurement based on the heat energy required to heat one pound of water by one degree.

How big should my HVAC system be?

There are no hard-and-fast rules that apply in every situation, as the layout of your house and insulation can greatly change how much heating or cooling you need to keep your home comfortable. A professional should make the assessment.

How do you measure the efficiency of HVAC systems?

Modern systems are rated with seasonal energy efficiency ratio or SEER, with higher numbers indicating a better return per dollar spent on electricity. Units with other power sources may have other indicators; for example, furnaces showing what percentage of energy is converted to heat.

What can I do to make my heating and cooling run more efficiently?

Cleaning and/or replacing your filters are the best things you can do for your heating or cooling systems. Leaving your fan on instead of set to “auto” can improve efficiency as well if heat/cooling otherwise collects instead of ending up where it is needed.

Are bigger HVAC systems better?

Oversized systems for a given house run less efficiently, cost more to run, and will leave your house going back and forth between too hot and too cold instead of being comfortable. Systems are at their least efficient when first turning on.

Is it bad if my HVAC system runs a lot?

Systems use more energy when first starting up, usually, which means running constantly is fine as long as it’s keeping up. If you notice a lot of start-and-stop cycling and the HVAC system never reaches your desired temperature, that’s called short-cycling, and it’s a problem. Of course, if your system runs for a bit and then turns off and stays off because of excellent insulation, that’s acceptable.

How cold should the air from my AC be?

Air exits an air conditioner at a temperature relative to the air that went in, so cool air will produce cold air, but hot air may only produce cool air. Most AC systems can lower the temperature of air by 15-20 degrees. If your system is pulling hot air from outside, it will likely blow much warmer than a unit that recycles air from inside that’s already been climate-controlled.

What’s a normal temperature for my thermostat?

It depends on what’s comfortable for you, as even an accurate thermostat may not properly account for all the factors in your home; if your thermostat is in an isolated hallway, but you’re in your bedroom at night with a hot computer, a hot television, a dog, and another person, the temperature of the thermostat may be very distant from what you’re experiencing. The Department of Energy recommends a setting of 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter for a balance of energy savings and comfort. However, depending on your preference and your home’s unique factors, you may need to set your thermostat higher or lower.

How often do I need to replace my filters?

You should replace disposable filters and wash washable filters at least once a month, more frequently if you notice them getting blocked.

How often should I have professional maintenance performed?

You want maintenance of your air conditioner and heater once or twice a year, depending on how hard you run your systems. This helps avoid bigger problems that might cost you more money, require a replacement, etc., and it keeps your systems running efficiently during the coldest and hottest months of the year.