FAQ | Del Rio Air Conditioning and Heating

What does HVAC stand for?

HVAC (pronounced h-vack or spelled out) stands for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are closely intertwined. They are critical elements of thermal comfort, acceptable indoor air quality, and reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. HVAC systems provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces.

How does my heating and air conditioning system move air throughout my home?

Vents called “return grills” are located throughout your home.  A fan draws air through these vents.   The air travels through ducts that run to your systems’ air handler, where it is returned into the conditioned space through supply vents or registers in your wall, ceilings or floors.

How often should I replace the filter?

There’s no easy answer. How often you should change your filter is driven by the frequency of your heating and air conditioning system operates.  This, of course, is dependent on your individual climate.  Check your system’s filters at least once a month. Hold the used filter up to the light and compare it to a clean filter. If light is obscured by dust and dirt particles, the old filter should be changed. Keep a record for one year and then replace the filter on that basis. At a minimum, it is always a good idea to change filters at the start of the heating and cooling seasons and then in between according to your need. Also, it is a good idea to have your heating and air system checked at the beginning of heating and cooling season to insure proper operation.

Why should I replace my working furnace or air conditioner?

If your present furnace or air conditioner unit is more than 12 years old you should consider replacing it with a new high efficiency system, even if your furnace and AC system are still functioning.  You can save up to fifty percent on energy costs with a new heating and air conditioning system.  You can also save money in the long run on heating repairs. While these products save you money on your utility bills, they also offer a better degree of comfort within your home.

What the heck is a SEER and EER?

SEER is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it is a U.S. government standard energy rating and reflects the overall system efficiency of your cooling system. Since January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have at least a 13 SEER.  An EER is short for Energy Efficiency Ratio and doesn’t take into consideration the time of year, but rather the system’s energy efficiency at the peak operating use. Both ratings should be considered in choosing cooling products. The rating is a ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption and measures the cooling performance of the system. The Federal government developed an ENERGY STAR program for high efficiency central air conditioning systems that in order to qualify must have a SEER of at least 14.

We are replacing our AC unit this season, what advice can you give me?

Replacing your system is a significant financial decision since the life expectancy of a system is around 12 years. When choosing a contractor, it’s pick a company to install the unit based on quality and customer service, not solely on price.  The installing contractor is more important than the equipment brand. Another thing to keep in mind when replacing a system is that the duct system you are connecting to is sealed tight with the proper amount of return air. With new higher efficiency units, you also must be careful that you replace your system with the proper sized unit so you don’t end up with a house that is cool but has high humidity. Do some homework, pick quality contractors, and find someone you trust and you will have a successful installation that will bring you years of comfort and the least amount of overall cost.

What is meant by a ‘ton’ of refrigeration?

It’s NOT 2000 lbs. This term actually has little to do with weight. One ton of refrigeration is the term used to refer to 12,000 B.T.U.s/hour (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. Thus, a condensing unit with a cooling capacity of 60,000 B.T.U.s/hour is said to have a capacity of 5 tons.

Why can’t a technician ad coolant to my system without checking for a leak or repairing an exiting leak?

Since July 1, 1992 it is illegal to release refrigerants into the atmosphere, either intentional or accidental, because they can cause severe damage to the ozone layer. When refrigerants such as Chlorofluorocarbon’s (CFCs) are removed, they should be recycled to clean out any contaminants and returned to a usable condition.

How does the Clean Air Act impact heating and cooling systems?

The portion of the Clean Air Act that applies to the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry encourages the development of ozone-friendly substitutes for chemicals that contain ozone destroying chlorine, which are called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The chemical refrigerant of choice for more than four decades, referred to as R-22, is in the HCFC category. R-22 is widely used in heat pumps and AC condensing units to heat and cool homes. Today, a refrigerant called R-410A is used because of its ozone-friendly properties.

What is radon?

Radon is an invisible, radioactive atomic gas that results from the radioactive decay of radium, which may be found in rock formations beneath buildings or in certain building materials themselves. Radon is probably the most pervasive serious hazard for indoor air quality in the United States and probably responsible for thousands of deaths from lung cancer each year. Proper testing can be done for the presence of radon and measures taken to minimize it affects.


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