Frequently Asked Questions
In many states, it is necessary to obtain a permit when swapping out your heating or cooling systems, in order to avoid fines and additional work which may be necessary. The purpose of obtaining permits for these situations is so that local authorities can be sure that a new system is properly installed and is functioning efficiently. Authorities also want to be sure that any new system performs up to standards imposed by the Home Energy Rating System, and that it complies with energy efficiency standards adopted by that state.
In a great many cases, contractors either knowingly or unwittingly told homeowners that permits are not necessary for installing new HVAC units, even though all states make it perfectly clear when such permits are necessary. In one particular state, contractors were invited to give project bids for a specific construction operation, and at least 40% of these bidding contractors told investigators that it was not necessary to obtain a building permit.
In the state where this took place, it’s well-publicized that such permits are indeed necessary before HVAC units can be installed, and that all HVAC contractors must pull these permits. It’s also true that in many states, homeowners’ insurance policies can be arbitrarily canceled if the insurance company discovers that work has been done on the property without the appropriate permit.
Common areas of inadequate work
One of the areas associated with the installation of HVAC units which is most commonly installed poorly, is the duct work for air conditioners and furnaces. Many states require that there is no more than 15% leakage in this duct work, and yet they have found that leakage as high as 30% or more is discovered on newly installed ducts throughout a specific home.
This of course, is a total waste of energy, and will always result in higher utility bills for any home where such shoddy workmanship has taken place. When work like this occurs in most states, the HVAC contractor is obliged to pull the permit on that particular home, and that triggers an inspection after any work has been done. This inspection will ensure that all ducts are properly sealed, and in those cases where they are not, it must be repaired by the contractor out of pocket, with no additional expense incurred by the homeowner.
Rationale for obtaining permits
The rationale for most states in requiring permits to be installation for any kind of HVAC units, is to force contractors to comply with all building standards currently in effect, and to use certified HERS raters for inspection. This will guarantee that all HVAC installations will meet energy efficiency standards, and that the work will be done properly so it won’t be necessary to do re-work in the future, which will cost the homeowner additional funding. The point of all this is to ensure that homeowners will team up with state-licensed HVAC contractors, to make sure that all permits are honored and all energy regulations are complied with faithfully.
Reliable and reputable HVAC contractor
When you aren’t sure about a specific HVAC contractor that you’re thinking of working with, we recommend that you contact us at Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning, so that you can have total confidence in the reputation of your HVAC contractor. We are always aware of all requirements regarding building permits and other energy regulations imposed throughout the state, and we make a point of complying fully with all these requirements. To be sure that you don’t run afoul of state authorities when having HVAC equipment installed, choose Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning.
Anyone who has recently been shopping for an air conditioner or heat pump will probably have heard the terms SEER and EER being used, while not necessarily knowing what either one of them means. Yet, both of them can have a huge impact on making a purchase of an HVAC system, so it really is to your advantage to know what these terms mean, and how they affect your comfort systems.
SEER vs EER
SEER stands for seasonal energy effectiveness ratio, and the similar term EER just drops the ‘seasonal’ word from the phrase. When you’re talking about EER measurements, they refer to the cooling efficiency of a heat pump or an air conditioner, relative to the outdoor temperature at any specific level. SEER makes the same measurement, but it applies to the temperature of an entire season, rather than for any given moment of the day.
In practical terms, the differences between these two can be seen in their specific calculations. You can obtain the EER by dividing the British Thermal Units capacity by the running wattage, whereas the SEER rating is obtained by dividing the BTU cooling power over one complete year by the total wattage. What that means in practical terms is that an EER rating can be directly obtained, as opposed to an SEER rating, which must be estimated over a much longer period of time.
What the two measurements mean
Both of these calculations are meant to be measurements which refer to the efficiency of any given HVAC unit, and the higher the number is, the greater is the efficiency associated with that unit. Most heat pumps and air-conditioners use the SEER rating nowadays, but even those which rely on EER ratings can provide a worthwhile basis for selecting an HVAC unit.
In most cases, the higher the SEER rating is on a given unit, the more you can expect to pay for that unit because it is more energy efficient. However, even though your initial outlay may be greater on a high energy-efficiency unit, the savings which you realize from that unit will in the long run also be greater, so it might still be worth your while.
Other factors which may impact your choice
It may be that energy efficiency is your number one criterion for choosing an HVAC unit, and this is completely understandable, given the fact that it will provide you with the most savings over the course of time. However, there are other considerations which you may also want to bring in, such as the size of a unit relative to your home requirements, and any extra features which are offered on various HVAC units.
It might very well be that you consider most HVAC units to be very similar, and the only thing which differentiates one from another is some extraordinary feature which appeals to you and your circumstances. In any case, the choice you make should at least consider the SEER rating or the EER rating, so that you can count on energy-efficient heating and cooling in your home, and a significant savings on your utility bills for quite some time.
Energy-efficient units from Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning
We offer a wide variety of HVAC units which feature high energy efficiency, and which will therefore result in lower utility bills for your residence or your workplace every month. Contact us today to find out more information about some of these high-efficiency HVAC units, and if you would like us to install one for you, we’ll be more than happy to size your building, so that the appropriate unit can be installed.
It’s a good idea to choose an HVAC company to support your household before any kind of emergency comes up where you’re forced to go through the process quickly. When you have time to research specific companies, you’ll generally do a much better job of making a good choice, and then you’ll be able to rely on that company in those times where they are most needed.
Understand local requirements
Every state has its own guidelines with regard to bonding, insurance, licensing and continuing education for HVAC contractors. In most cases, HVAC contractors are obliged to have between two and five years of training on heating and cooling systems, and must also pass an exam. Some states also require continuing education in these areas, and if you’re aware of your state’s requirements, you will have something to check a potential HVAC candidate against when you’re thinking of hiring one.
Be aware of your own circumstances
Before you think about hiring an HVAC contractor, you should be aware of your own circumstances with regard to your heating and cooling units. Make sure you know their model numbers, and be aware of any rooms in your household which seem to be too hot or too cold, so you can express that to an HVAC specialist whom you are considering.
Ask for referrals
If you can get a solid referral from a family member or someone whom you trust, that might be one of the best ways to go about hiring an HVAC contractor. Find out if the contractor your friends worked with completed the work satisfactorily, if they got it done on time, and whether or not they stuck to the budget.
Anytime you’re thinking about hiring an HVAC contractor, you should ask them for references, and then you should actually contact those references to be sure your candidate is legitimate. You should also make sure that licensing information listed on the contractor’s website is current and valid.
You should make sure that any HVAC contractor you’re considering has no problem with pulling permits when it’s indicated, for specific projects around your household. Something like replacing a water heater or re-configuring the plumbing in your kitchen may call for pulling permits, because local requirements make it necessary. While this may be a hassle, it’s necessary to ensure that renegade do-it-yourselfers don’t just do their own home installation projects without regard to sound construction and installation principles.
Obtain estimates in writing
When you’re preparing to work with an HVAC contractor, it’s a good idea to obtain an estimate of any work to be done in writing, to ensure that there are not any significant cost overruns or gross violations of original estimates. When you have these estimates in writing, you’ll have something to point to, so that a contractor cannot tell you that you misunderstood a verbal estimate.
Do some research
There are a number of sources you can use to research any HVAC contractor you’re considering working with. First of all, you should check out your candidate with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that it’s a reputable firm. Then you should check out the buzz on the social media, to see if anyone else has had good or bad experiences with your contractor. Finally, it would definitely be worth your while to find any online reviews of the contractor you’re considering, because these will be legitimate representations of the experiences that others have had with your contractor.
Contact us at Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning
We will be more than happy to supply you with references, and provide you with any written estimates you desire, and we encourage you to research our business online to find out what other clients have said about us. At Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning, we feel that our work is our best recommendation to potential clients, and we’ll be glad to stack up our work against any other HVAC contractor in the region.
Checking and changing your air filters is an essential part of home maintenance which will help to keep your air conditioner running at its best, and will also avoid the possibility of re-circulating contaminated air throughout the home. When debris and dirt particles get stuck in air filters, they just keep getting circulated around the house, until the filter gets changed or cleaned.
This can be a problem for anyone in your house with a breathing problem, since it will contribute to poor indoor air quality, and worsen their symptoms. Then too, when your filters are constantly clogged, it can cause your air conditioner to work much harder, and that will not only degrade its performance, but it can shorten the effective life of your unit, if it happens often enough.
Where your air filters are located
The first place to look for air filters is behind a return air grille, and these are generally found in the ceiling or on walls, because this location allows for easy access when you’re changing your filters. If this isn’t where your air filters have been located, you should then check in basements, utility closets, crawlspaces, garages, or attics to find the filters.
Vertical HVAC systems are more frequently found in smaller basements or crawlspaces where there is much room available. Horizontal systems are more frequently found in basements, attics, and garages, where the filter will be most likely positioned in a housing slot on one side of the unit.
Frequency of checking
It is advisable to check on your filters monthly, even if they don’t need to be changed quite that often. Disposable filters with a cardboard edge can simply be replaced if they’re dirty or clogged with debris. It’s not really worth your while to try to clean a disposable, because they are only meant to last for a single period before needed a change.
There are high-efficiency 1″ pleated air filters which have the capability to go three months or even longer before they need to be replaced, but you should still check on them more frequently during seasons of high usage. If you have the type of filters installed which can be cleaned, then take the time to remove all the dirt and debris, before reinstalling them back into their slots.
How to replace the filter
Since a good number of air filters are directional, meaning airflow is one-way through the filter, you will have to look for an airflow symbol or some kind of arrow which indicates that direction. This arrow will generally be oriented towards the air handler or the furnace. If the filter lacks any of these symbols, you’ll have to inspect both sides of the filter to see if one is rougher than the other, and that will be the side which collects dust, meaning the other side would actually face your HVAC unit.
When cleaning rather than replacing
While the thermostat is placed in the ‘off’ position, find your filter and remove it from its slot. Take it outside and, using a garden hose that has good water pressure, give both sides of the air filter a good cleaning, and repeat the process as many times as you need to, in order to get rid of all unwanted materials. Be careful not to use too much water pressure on the filter, because that could damage it or cause a tear in the fabric.
Once the filter is clean, you can shake off all excess water, and then let the filter sit outside to dry for a while before reinstalling it. When reinstalling, slide the air filter into the rack, paying attention to the direction of the airflow, and make sure it’s properly seated before closing the grille or the door which provided access. Reset your thermostat to its original position, and you’re all done until the next regularly scheduled air filter check.
If you aren’t a do-it-yourselfer
Many homeowners simply are not the do-it-yourself type, and prefer to let the professionals handle maintenance and repair work around the home. If that sounds like you, contact the HVAC experts at Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning, and let them set up a regular schedule for changing your air filters. That way, you’ll never have any unpleasant surprises with regard to clogged filters and degraded air conditioner performance. You’ll have peace of mind about your cooling system, and you can look forward to top-notch operation all summer long.
Most homeowners probably realize that heating and air conditioning equipment needs to be serviced occasionally, but they may not know how frequently that service should take place. A good rule of thumb is that, regardless of the kind of heating or cooling system you have installed, it should be cleaned, inspected, and serviced at least once in every calendar year.
Ideally you should have your heating equipment serviced in the fall prior to winter, and you should have your air conditioning system serviced in the spring, before the warm days of summer arrive. Any equipment which runs on oil is a must for annual cleaning, and this should be done prior to each heating season.
Generally speaking, when you have annual servicing done for your heating or cooling equipment, a number of standard services are provided which will help to keep your HVAC equipment in good working order. First of all, it will be necessary to either clean or replace the air filters associated with your equipment, so they don’t become clogged and interfere with the operation of each unit.
Then both the indoor coil and the outdoor coil will need to be cleaned to ensure that they are ready for the upcoming cooling season. The condensate pump will also need to be cleaned and serviced, to ensure that it has not become clogged, and that it’s ready to go when the warm season arrives. A general visual inspection is always part of any annual service or maintenance, because a great many problems which may occur, are actually visible even to the untrained eye. For instance, it’s often fairly easy to identify parts which have become worn out and which require replacement.
Benefits of annual maintenance
In addition to the peace of mind you get from knowing that your heating and cooling units have been serviced and are ready to perform their duties for an upcoming season, there are several other benefits which accrue as a result of annual maintenance. Your heating and cooling systems will have increased dependability, because any issues which might have arisen, have probably been identified and handled already.
Any potential problems which might have arisen during a heating or cooling season will have been fixed and thus avoided. When your heating and cooling units have been serviced and things like air filters have been changed, your units can operate with maximum efficiency, and that will in turn cause a reduction of your energy bills. It’s also true that regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of your equipment, so that your original investment in a heating or cooling system gives you a greater return.
Annual maintenance also allows for safer and healthier operation of your heating and cooling units, because your indoor air quality will be better, and anyone who might have a breathing issue will not be negatively impacted. This will also serve to protect the environment, because your HVAC units are operating more efficiently, and will not degrade the outside environment. Finally, the chances of any kind of major breakdown are much reduced, and when you consider that such breakdowns could happen at very inconvenient moments, this can be a very powerful reason to undertake annual maintenance.
Have your equipment serviced by the experts
Most homeowners lack the expertise to service and repair heating and cooling systems, which means that you’ll need to call in the professionals to get the job done right. Contact Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning, and we’ll be glad to set you up on a regular schedule which allows for annual maintenance to your heating and cooling systems, so it’s something you will never have to worry about.
There are number of things you can do to help avoid sky-high energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year, and not all of them involve less usage of your air conditioning or heating systems. By doing some simple things that everyone in the household can be involved with, you can achieve an overall savings on your energy bills that will make even the warmest and coldest seasons more tolerable, because you won’t be getting an outrageous energy bill at the end of the month.
Use a programmable thermostat
This is one of the best steps you can take in order to achieve a savings on your energy bills, because it allows your air conditioner and furnace to work more efficiently in cooling the home. For instance, when children are at school and parents are at work, you can program your thermostat to allow the temperature to be warmer, since no one will be home to need cooled air. This also works for other time such as vacations, and even for night times, when people are asleep and don’t really need super cool air.
Use more insulation
Installing extra insulation in your home can be effective for both warm seasons and cold seasons, because it retains cooler air in the summer time and warm air in the wintertime. If you already have some decent insulation installed, you might want to consider upgrading your level of insulation so it can be more effective at retaining conditioned air in the household.
Wear appropriate clothing
This is a tactic that many people overlook, but which can have a serious impact on your level of comfort in either warm or cold seasons. In the wintertime, bundle up a bit when you’re home and wear a sweater or something else that keeps you warm. In the summertime, you can peel off more clothing and be comfortable in T-shirt and shorts. You’d be surprised at how this simple tactic can impact the level of heating or cooling used in your home, and thus impact your bottom line, which is energy bills.
Make sure air filters are replaced
Your heating and cooling systems will work much more efficiently if the air filters are kept free of debris like lint, pollen, and other pollutants. By checking and replacing your air filters regularly, you will allow your HVAC units to work more efficiently and not have to overcome clogged filters while operating.
Use appliances strategically
There are a few things you can do with regard to your appliance usage which can also have an impact on your energy bills. For instance, whenever you’re washing dishes, you should load your dishwasher to capacity instead of only partially filling it. This will make more efficient use of your dishwasher, and will ensure that energy is not wasted on smaller loads. On laundry days when you’re drying your clothes, be ready to insert loads for drying consecutively, so that warmth is not lost while waiting for the next drying load.
Lower the water heater temperature
Lowering the temperature on your water heater can save you almost as much money as any strategies which you use for your air conditioner or your furnace. Even by lowering the temperature on your water heater a few degrees, you can save significant money on your energy bill, without incurring any real inconvenience for your household members. Ideally, your water heater should be set at 120°F, and anything above that means you’re probably wasting money on your energy bill. You may also want to consider turning the water heater off entirely when the family is going to be on vacation, and out of the house for a period of time.
Energy efficiency with Right Now
One huge impact you can make on your monthly energy bills is to install a new high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner. Contact Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning to find out which units would be best to install in your home, so you can achieve the kind of savings on your energy bills that you’ve always wanted.
Many homeowners have undoubtedly heard the term HVAC, without really understanding what that acronym stood for, and what was meant by the term. The short answer is that HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and it refers to all those systems, equipment, and technologies which are commonly used to provide comfort for occupants of some building.
This can mean residential homes, workplace settings, and even transportation systems which require some kind of environmental regulation in order to provide comfort for individuals using them. HVAC technicians are therefore individuals who can be hired to establish this kind of comfortable environment on buses, in subways, in homes, and in office places situated anywhere in cities or suburbs.
Career HVAC technicians
Anyone who has considered entering the HVAC field for a career has probably wondered exactly what it is that an HVAC specialist is responsible for. There’s a great deal of information online relative to job descriptions of an HVAC technician, and there are even some introductory courses which can be taken which will lead to certification for an HVAC specialist. In many cases, people who enter the HVAC field learn the trade from a relative or friend, and then go on to complete 2 to 5 years of training which is often required for state licensure, in order to become a licensed and qualified HVAC specialist.
The meaning of HVAC
Generally speaking, HVAC can be defined as any system which provides heating or cooling services to commercial or residential buildings, and in some cases to specific kinds of vehicles. While the meaning might be slightly different across various certification programs, this is the generally accepted meaning in the industrial sector.
HVAC certification training programs can be undertaken at the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization, and all candidates are fully instructed about the meaning of HVAC in the various regions of this country. Anyone attending a NATE class will also acquire at least one specialty in a specific area of HVAC, for instance gas furnaces, heat pumps, hydronics gas, hydronics oil, and air distribution.
More information about HVAC
Other sources of information about HVAC which can be mined by interested students are job descriptions and the curriculum of various HVAC training programs offered regionally. Any HVAC training program will be comprised of a specialized body of study, and will provide students with specific advanced skills with regard to heating and cooling units.
Even after you have obtained an Associate’s Degree or a certificate in HVAC, you’ll still be able to take any number of supplementary courses or remedial courses so that you can obtain certification in states other than your own. It will usually also be possible to obtain information for academic advisors at your school, so that you can learn more about how HVAC applies to various trades and various settings.
HVAC contractors at Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning
All the specialists who perform HVAC tasks at Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning are fully trained and certified technicians with many years of experience in the field. Every one of our technicians is fully capable of diagnosing heating and air conditioning problems, and making on the spot repairs which will achieve full operational status for your units again.
You can count on all of our technicians to also have a totally professional attitude with regard to their work, and to provide the very best customer service of any HVAC contractor in the region. We stand by the work of our highly skilled technicians 100%, and after you have hired us to do any work in your home or your office place, we feel confident that you will have that same trust in the reliability of all our HVAC contractors.
These days you have a lot more choices for heating and cooling your home than you did in years past, with a number of highly energy-efficient air conditioners and furnaces available for purchase. Many of these systems are so efficient that they can actually lower your utility bills and save you money because they require less energy while producing more output. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll have a number of options available to you for either heating or cooling systems which can be very solid choices and provide conditioned air for your home for many years.
All modern air conditioners run on electricity, but you can still lower your cooling bill by avoiding a thermostat setting which is locked into the lower temperatures. You can also use paddle fans overhead to supplement your air conditioning throughout the household, and this will allow you to back off on those ultra-low settings on your thermostat.
You can also install a programmable thermostat to provide a further assist to your household cooling efforts when the weather is at its hottest. By making clever usage of your programmable thermostat, you can maintain a slightly warmer temperature in your household when occupants are not there, or when everyone is sleeping and it doesn’t matter as much.
By allowing a warmer temperature when occupants are out of the house, it will be possible to save as much is 15% on your energy bills, simply because your air conditioning system is not being used as much. With regard to which air conditioner to purchase, your better off selecting one which has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), so that you achieve maximum efficiency during cooling times.
These days, you don’t automatically have to choose a furnace for heating your home, because there are other alternatives. You can use a standard air source heat pump if you happen to live in a warm or moderate kind of climate, but they can get to be somewhat expensive in an area where the temperature routinely gets below 35°F.
This is because heat pumps draw their warmth from the outside air, which means that backup electric heat strips have to be engaged for extra heat when the temperature dips low. Heat pumps which rely on natural gas for supplemental heat, or furnaces which rely on natural gas, are more efficient options for people living in colder climates.
Geothermal heat pumps make use of water temperature which is pumped from a well as a heat source, which means they will work better than air source heat pumps when the temperatures get lower. It will probably cost you a lot more to install a geothermal heat pump, but over the course of 5 to 10 years, you’re likely to make that money back in savings on energy bills. Some geothermal heat pumps are also eligible for up to a 30% tax credit, which can also help to offset their installation cost.
Ask the experts
One of the bad things about having so many choices available to your for heating and cooling is that it makes deciding on one system much more difficult. If you’d like to get an expert opinion on the kind of systems you should have installed at your home, you can contact your Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning professional to get an expert opinion. Your Right Now specialists will be happy to work with you on choosing and installing the best heating and air conditioning units for your circumstances, and they will be choices you can live comfortably with for many years.
When you’re considering installation of a new air conditioner in your home, one of the most important aspects of the project will be to correctly size the unit which will be appropriate for your home. An undersized unit might not be able to meet the requirements of your household in terms of cooling, while an oversized unit won’t be nearly as efficient, and will probably wear out much faster. While it can be a complicated process to size the air conditioner for your home, there is a fairly simple method which you can use to achieve a general estimate that will work just fine for what you need.
Calculations you should use
In order to determine the approximate size of any air conditioning unit you would install in your home, you can use the following calculations. Your first step should be to determine the square footage of your home, and this may already be written down for you somewhere in the documentation provided on the home itself when you purchased it.
If you have to measure it yourself, just use a tape measure to figure out the length and width of each room, and then multiply those two figures together to determine the square footage of that individual room. Then you would be obliged to repeat the process for each room of the house, as well as the hallways, in order to come up with a figure which represents the total square footage of your house.
Next, you’ll need to determine the base BTU figure, which is a number used to measure energy for heating and cooling, and which is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTU’s. It will be necessary to have 25 BTU’s for each square foot of your home, which means that you will have to multiply 25 times the total square footage you calculated in the first step.
That will provide you with the total BTU requirement necessary to cool a house of your size. You also need to account for high ceilings, so if the ceiling of your home is taller than 8 feet, you’ll need to multiply the total BTU units from the last step by 1.25, which will give you an extra 25% of cooling capacity.
For a home which has 1500 ft.² of total space, the number of BTU’s necessary to cool that size area would be approximately 37,500. Now that you have the baseline BTU calculation figured out for your size home, you’ll need to figure out the size of air conditioner which can accomplish effective cooling. When you’re sizing your air conditioner, you’ll need to divide the total BTU units by 12,000, which would come out to a number in the neighborhood of 3 tons, and this will give you the total tonnage required for cooling your household.
It should be noted that this is a basic calculation which disregards all the other factors that may have a bearing on the size of unit you need for air conditioning. For instance, the calculation ignores the number of occupants that will be in the building, the prevailing climate of your region, the number of windows you have in your household and their orientation, lighting placement, and even the level of insulation you have in your home.
All these factors can impact the level of air conditioning which is needed for your home, and thus the size of the unit which will be required to accomplish cooling. Professional HVAC specialists refer to a document called Manual J, which takes into account all these other considerations, so that an accurate sizing of your air conditioner can be obtained. However, if you’re only looking for a ballpark figure, the calculation above will provide a pretty good estimate on the size of unit that you need.
To be sure of the right size
If you don’t wish to go to the trouble of measuring your home for its dimensions, or of making the necessary calculations, your best bet is to leave sizing the unit to your Right Now Heating and Air Conditioning specialists. Contact us today, and we’ll be glad to visit your home and get a precise measurement of what will be needed to properly cool your home, and provide you with reliable air conditioning for many years to come.