Getting to Know Your Home Comfort Systems
Let’s discuss the air conditioning and heating system in your home or office and AC companies in Fort Worth TX, along with other components that impact your indoor comfort. We will review your heating and air conditioning system so you will have pertinent questions for your contractor during service calls. Take notes for those items when your AC companies in Fort Worth TX calls or comes over so you can be familiar with many of the industry’s terms.
Your Heating System
Your heating equipment, such as a furnace or air handler is typically found in the attic or in a hall or garage closet, this is important for AC companies in Fort Worth TX. Heat pumps are located outside and can heat and cool your home all year long. Look for the model number. For furnaces, remove the front door and look at the upper-left side of the unit. You can find the model number listed on a data plate sticker located on the inside of the unit.
For heat pumps, you can find the model number listed on a data plate sticker on the unit. For geothermal units, the tag is usually found on the front of the device.
When was your heating equipment installed?
Usually, AC companies in Fort Worth TX will place a sticker with the date of installation on your equipment. This sticker is typically located near the model and serial number or on the outside of the unit. Now, ask yourself when was the last time a professional cleaned and checked your heating equipment? Usually, a label with the date of the last clean and check is located near the installation information. Or you have a scheduled bi-annual cleaning and service agreement with your local contractor to keep your system running at peak performance and help avoid frustrating breakdowns during the hottest or coldest part of the year.
Your cooling system
Where do I typically find my air conditioning equipment? Your air conditioning system can be located in two places depending on the system. You can have a split system, with the condenser and compressor located in an outdoor unit and the evaporator is mounted in the air handler unit in a closet, basement, or in an attic. If you have a package unit – which is a complete self-contained HVAC system – may be located on the ground or roof.
Different types of cooling equipment include central air-electric, heat pump-electric, and Geothermal. For air conditioning units and heat pumps, you can find the model number listed on a data sticker attached to the unit outside.
When Did You Last Have an AC Installation or Heating Installation?
Many AC companies in Fort Worth TX will place a sticker with the date of installation on your equipment. This sticker is typically located near the model and serial number. Usually, a label with the date of the last clean and check is located near the installation information. Or you have a scheduled bi-annual cleaning and service agreement with your local contractor to keep your system running at peak performance and help avoid frustrating breakdowns during peak seasons.
First Time Customers Get Get Diagnostic Fee Waived ($89 Value)*, Fill Out This Form To Get Started
Out of Sight and Out of Mind
Often, we assume our heating and air conditioning system will continue to work great until something goes wrong that we suddenly become aware of our system. Regular maintenance is critically important to the long life of your system because a system that is regularly maintained provides the best heating and cooling with the lowest financial investment. Homeowners are going to be asked, and in some cases mandated to upgrade HVAC equipment. For example, homeowners and small business owners in the north part of the US can have a 13 SEER AC system installed, whereas, in the South, a 14 SEER system is the minimum. Conversely, the Southern homes can have a lesser AFUE rated furnace, but homes in the north with fierce winters must have a 90% efficient furnace installed.
Every season there are different situations. What is the first thing you do when you are too cold or too warm in your home? Adjust the thermostat! While the thermostat does control your heating and cooling system, your overall comfort settings go beyond the little box on the wall. In fact, there are many internal and external influences that impact the comfort you experience in your home. Our goal with this section is to point out some of the most common influences to your home comfort and suggest ways to address these issues. If you have questions on these topics, call Thompson’s Cooling & Heating today to discuss them with us.
Your Ducts to Each Room Are the “Lungs” of Your Home!
The ductwork delivers conditioned air to all the areas in your home or office. Airflow is delivered by an insulated tube of either metal or flexible plastic throughout the house. A properly sized heating and air conditioning system has ductwork that is sized to handle the airflow needed to pass through it. How do you know if your ductwork is adequate for your size home? A Manual J load calculation should always be done by your Comfort Advisor when installing a new system to ensure you are receiving maximum efficiency from your system and ductwork.
NOTE: Many homes in the south originally had only central heating. In the ’70s central cooling became available and affordable and was added to the existing central heat system. But this is a BIG problem. Ductwork for central heating is always smaller than that of ductwork for central cooling because hot air from a furnace is a lot higher in temperature and therefore needs a smaller duct; whereas central cooling ducts have air that is typically around 20 degrees different from the indoor temperature of the inside of the structure – so the ducts have to be bigger to carry the proper amount of cooling. And with using ducts meant only for central heating originally, trying to COOL a home with those ducts is a problem.
Other Common Ductwork Problems
Your home’s ductwork system is just as important as your heating and cooling equipment. An improperly designed ductwork system can cost money through inefficiencies, and in some cases, cause premature failure of heating and cooling equipment. Here are a few features to look for in your ductwork system:
- Has your house changed in design since it was originally built?
- Was the ductwork poorly installed causing air leakage?
- Do you have return air ducts in every room?
- Has your heating bill greatly increased in recent years?
- Is one room colder/hotter than the rest of the house?
Many complaints about high energy bills and discomfort are due to poor ductwork installation. Air leakage is typically due to poorly installed ductwork and result from not properly sealing the leaks. The more air that leaks out of your ductwork, the more energy it takes to heat and cool your home. Again, air leakage causes your equipment to run more often and harder to maintain your desired comfort set points.
Unbalanced or improperly adjusted ductwork is another problem typically experienced by homeowners. When you have an unbalanced system, the right amount of air is not going to each room and it takes more energy to keep you comfortable. A heating and cooling contractor can modify or adjust your ducts to evenly heat and cool every room in your home.
Central Air Return Ducts:
A common design in many homes is a centrally located air return for AC companies in Fort Worth TX. When you close doors to rooms or certain areas of the home, you can cut off the supply of air to the return and create a pressure imbalance. Your Comfort Advisor can correct this problem by installing a return duct in every room that has a supply duct. A heating and cooling contractor that specializes in duct repairs can recommend solutions to solve many of these common duct problems. The contractor will use special diagnostic equipment to determine duct pressures, airflow, and any leakages to help improve and maximize the efficiency of your duct system.
New code changes for AC companies in Fort Worth TX began in January 2012. As far as ductwork in your home, if you just need a duct added to a bathroom or a bigger duct to another room there are no changes; however, if you need a complete ducting change out or upgrade to high-efficiency ductwork, then Fort Worth requires a Blower Door Test and certification be performed to ensure proper sealing of ductwork and installation is done. This can significantly increase the cost of the ductwork installation due to the certification program and training, along with the expensive digital equipment necessary for the certification of the work.
Supply Registers and Vents:
The supply registers deliver conditioned air throughout your home through the “branches” that come off your main trunk line of ductwork. The air is pushed out of individual room registers commonly found on the ceiling, floor or wall. To complete the cycle, your system picks up inside the air and delivers it to the air handler of your central system. Return vents gather this air and feed it back through return ducts to your system. Here heat and moisture are either removed or added and then delivered back to the supply side. When looking at your ductwork, supply registers are usually located on outside walls and return registers are located on inside walls.
The layout of your home can greatly affect the comfort you experience from your heating and cooling system. Certain home design features can cause irregular heating and cooling or make it difficult to properly condition areas. Common home design challenges can include rooms with high or vaulted ceilings, rooms with a lot of windows, finished basements, bonus rooms in the attic or sunroom, and, of course, multi-leveled homes. Heat rises which can be troublesome with high ceiling rooms or multi-leveled homes as your system tries to regulate two or more different temperature demands simultaneously. Rooms with lots of windows or bonus rooms can be challenging to heat and cool due to exposure and insulation. Bonus rooms are usually above empty space, like a garage, which has little or no insulation. They also may have been built with incorrect ducting, making it difficult to allow for conditioned airflow. These are things that we consider as your AC companies in Fort Worth TX.
Home Comfort Solutions:
To correct the challenges posed by poor home design, your contractor can install a zoning system that allows multi-point control over your heating and air conditioning system. By using multiple thermostats in various areas of your home, you can direct heating or cooling to areas where it’s needed, only when it’s needed. Zoning minimizes the energy being wasted trying to cool upstairs areas as it shuts off areas not needing conditioning using a damper system. The dampers are open and close to let air flow get to where it’s needed in areas that are “calling” for heating or cooling and shut off other areas that do not need conditioning. For example, if you turn a light on in one room, you certainly don’t expect it to come on in a separate room. Also, if you turn on a faucet in one bathroom, you don’t want the water to turn on somewhere else at the same time. And so it is with a whole house zoning system. You can have a thermostat in EVERY room of your home or office! Now that is pinpoint comfort accuracy at its best!
Depending on your home’s design, your heating and cooling requirements can be significantly impacted by the movement and overall exposure to the sun. As the sun moves throughout the day, it heats up certain areas of your home, while leaving others cooler. If your thermostat is in one of the sunny areas, the room temperature will be drastically different than in the unexposed rooms. The placement and size of your windows can affect the temperature throughout your home. Rooms with many windows can quickly cool off once the sun has moved for the day, forcing your system to work harder to satisfy the difference. Beyond comfort issues, poorly oriented homes or windows can drastically raise your energy usage as you try to combat these influences with frequent adjustments to your thermostat.
You can’t pick your home up and turn it in different ways at different times of the day, but there are a few points to look for when determining your living pattern for an existing home with AC companies in Fort Worth TX.
In hot climates with no winter heating needs, limit the amount of sun exposure and look for shade and cooling breezes. Landscape features such as trees or hills can impact your home’s energy needs. In the summer, when the sun is higher in the sky, trees with adequate tree-tops can help to shade the building and keep it cooler.
In colder climates, say, southern exposure, it is crucial to get maximum solar benefits. The most used areas of the house should be located on the winter side of the building, where sunlight can enter through windows or skylights. Other rarely occupied rooms like garages, storage rooms, and laundry rooms should be located on the home’s east/west and shorter sides, where they can act as an extra thermal buffer. Avoid glass in the east and west sides of the house, since it is a common cause of unwanted energy losses and glare.
Choosing your Air Conditioning and Heating Contractor
Your heating and air conditioning should be designed to suit your needs and it’s the responsibility of the contractor to make sure your system works at its top efficiency levels and meets your comfort expectations. Selecting a contractor means finding one who understands your comfort needs and provides the right solutions to meet them. Most of the following information was taken from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) website, www.acca.org.
When Dealing with a New Contractor.
Ask the AC companies in Fort Worth TX for references. Find out if other customers were satisfied. Ask these questions:
1. Can they confirm that they hired the contractor in question?
2. Were they happy with the contractor’s work?
3. Did the contractor finish the project on time and on a budget?
4. Would they have any hesitation recommending this contractor to someone else?
Ask the contractor about his or her license. If a license is required in your area, ask for the license number.
Ask the contractor if he or she is a member of any industry associations.
Contact your local Better Business Bureau and ask them if anyone has filed a complaint
about this contractor.
If their estimate is vastly different from others you have received, don’t be afraid to ask
why. It is highly possible they may have noticed something that other contractors missed.
Make sure you understand all the services a contractor offers. Is scheduled maintenance
included? What about repairs? Do they have guarantees?
Visit their website, if they have one, to find any offers or specials of services and products.
Ask if the contractor/technicians are NATE (North American Technician Excellence)
First Time Customers Get Get Diagnostic Fee Waived ($89 Value)*, Fill Out This Form To Get Started
Professional associations are another good way to screen for high-quality
local heating and A/C service companies. These organizations include:
Service Round Table, Redmond Growth Business Coaching and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers),
You should select AC companies in Fort Worth TX that have the kind of employees you will feel comfortable having in your home – employees that are background checked, drug tested and professionally trained – as ideally, they will install, maintain and repair your heating and air conditioning system for years to come. Some of the previous and following information was taken from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) website, www.acca.org.
The source for the above information comes from the ACCA website noted above. After considering all the internal and external factors that impact your home comfort, you may be considering changes or improvements to your heating and cooling system. Before investing in new equipment or other upgrades to your comfort systems, there are a few factors to consider about your existing system, lifestyle patterns, and selecting the correct contractor for your needs. One of the most important influences on your comfort is how your family uses your home. In the tables on the following pages, fill in how your family typically utilizes your home during a weekday and weekend day in each season.
From this exercise, you should see a pattern in how you use your home, what we call a Lifestyle Pattern. For instance, you may use the upstairs only during sleeping hours while the kitchen and living room are most frequently occupied in the evenings and weekends. The whole home may be completely unoccupied during workday hours. By plotting your lifestyle pattern, you can see where you are wasting energy in your home. Additionally, you are able to see where and when you need conditioning in certain areas throughout the day.
While you only use some areas of your home, your heating, and air conditioning work to heat and cool your entire house, not just the occupied rooms. The result is costly, wasted energy as your system works longer to condition spaces that do not need it.
Caring for Your System
Throughout the year, there are several maintenance tasks you can perform yourself on your heating and air conditioning equipment. See our web page on D.I.Y. Tips to help you care for your system in between service calls and check-ups. If at any time you are unsure of how to proceed or feel your equipment has a problem, contact your heating and air conditioning contractor immediately. Do not try to troubleshoot problems on your own. Doing so can lead to more costly damage and potential danger to yourself and home. Many AC companies in Fort Worth TX offer service agreements that can offer peace-of-mind for unforeseen equipment issues throughout the year. Ask you, contractor, if their company offers these agreements for service, maintenance, and preventative care of your system. All maintenance care should be done only when you have a general understanding of your system. If you are unsure of how to safely conduct the suggested tips, please contact your HVAC contractor. Improper maintenance can cause a system to operate incorrectly, cause injury, or shorten the life of your system.
Your comfort is our business!
With our guarantees and a keen focus on your home comfort, you have come to the right place in considering our company for your air conditioning and heating needs. After all, our name and motto say it all – “Working With Christian Ethics”.
Call today: 817-560-4300