Heating & Air Conditioning Frequently Asked Questions
What is BTU?
BTU is an acronym for British Thermal Unit and is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree in one hour. Furnaces are rated by their Btu input capacity. Air conditioners will remove 12,000 Btu's of heat per hour
per ton of cooling.
What is a BYPASS DAMPER?
A bypass damper relieves the pressure created when one or more zone dampers are closed while another zone is calling for air. Imagine a two zone system with one zone closed - the furnace is still trying to deliver its full air capacity. The air volume that would have been routed to the now closed zone is "dumped" into the return air duct, preventing an over-delivery of air to the open zone.
What is DOWNFLOW?
This term refers to the furnace air delivery configuration. Downflow means the supply (warm) air is delivered from the bottom of the furnace into a duct system beneath it. Be sure to specify a downflow furnace when ordering as they are typically a different model number from the upflow/horizontal models.
What is HORIZONTAL?
This term refers to the furnace air delivery configuration. Horizontal means the furnace will lay on its side for use in an attic or tight basement. All Goodman and Ruud furnaces are horizontal compatible and don't require any modification whatsoever to be used in this manner
What is KW?
Kw (kilowatt) is a unit of power equal to 1000 watts. One Kw (1000 watts) will produce about 3417 Btu's of heat. A 10Kw heating element, for example, produces 10 x 3417 Btu's or 34,170 total Btu's of heat. Each heating element size offered will also tell you how much heat it produces.
What is LINESET?
Also known as refrigerant lines, they are used in a split (an indoor furnace or blower and an outdoor condensing unit) cooling system to supply and return refrigerant between the outdoor condenser and the indoor coil. A lineset consists of a smaller liquid line and a larger insulated suction line.
What is SEER?
SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is used to specify the comparative energy efficiency of air conditioners under 65,000 Btu's (about 5.5 tons). It is the result of the Btu's produced divided by the watts consumed. An air conditioner is said to be 10 seer if, for example it produces 36,000 Btu's per hour (3 tons) and consumes 3600 watts in that one hour of operation..
36,000 Btu's (3 tons)
3600 watts consumed = 10 seer
Each one point increase above 10 seer reduces operating costs by about 10%, so for any given capacity a 10 seer air conditioner costs about 40% more to operate that a 14 seer. And by the way, As of January 2006, 10 SEER is no longer legal in California, 13 SEER is minimum.
On average, when compared to a standard 10 SEER, higher SEER ratings will recoup their increased initial cost in 2-4 years.
What is TON?
Tonnage is used to express the one hour cooling capacity of air conditioners. One ton is 12,000 Btu's of cooling/hour. Residential capacities are offered in one half ton increments between 1.5 tons up to 5.0 tons. On average, one ton will cool between 400-700 square feet in a residential application. Homes with poor insulation will reside on the lower end of this scale while homes with excellent insulation qualities will reside on the upper end.
Homes requiring more than 5 tons are "zoned", using two or more systems to meet the necessary capacity demand.
What is UPFLOW?
This term refers to the furnace air delivery configuration. Upflow means that the supply (warm) air is delivered upward, off the top of the furnace into an overhead duct system.
What is a ZONE DAMPER?
A zone damper is installed within your ductwork and controls air delivery to any given zone of your home. A butterfly valve contained inside the damper opens and closes as needed to regulate the air requirements of each individual zone.
What is 80% EFFICIENT?
Also known as AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, this percentage number (80 in this case) represents the percentage of fuel that is converted to useable heat. The other 20% is exhausted out the flue or chimney. The current federal minimum for residential furnaces is 80% AFUE. Furnaces that are between 15 and 25 years old burn fuel at an average efficiency of about 65%.
Furnaces older than 25 years can be as little as 55-60% efficient meaning that between 40-45% of each dollar spent on gas is exhausted through the flue, providing no value to the homeowner. On average, an 80% efficient furnace will reduce fuel costs by about 23% when compared to a furnace that is between 15 and 25 years old. Purchase an 80% efficient furnace if you are in a southern climate or if you just wish to purchase an inexpensive furnace and still realize some savings on fuel.
What is 93% EFFICIENT?
Also known as AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, this percentage number (93 in this case) represents the percentage of fuel that is converted to useable heat. The other 7% is exhausted out the flue or chimney. Venting requires 2"-3" PVC, making installation of the flue a breeze. The current federal minimum for residential furnaces is 80% AFUE. Furnaces that are between 15 and 25 years old burn fuel at an average efficiency of about 65%.
Furnaces older than 25 years can be as little as 55-60% efficient, meaning that between 40-45% of each dollar spent on gas is exhausted through the flue, providing no value to the homeowner. On average, a 93% efficient furnace will reduce fuel costs by about 43% when compared to a furnace that is between 15 and 25 years old. Purchase a 93% efficient furnace if you are not in an extreme southern climate and if you wish to obtain maximum savings on your annual fuel bill.
What is VARIABLE SPEED?
THE VARIABLE SPEED ADVANTAGE
- Significantly reduced sound levels
- Eliminates the initial blast of air at each on-cycle
- Reduces temperature variations from room-to-room and floor-to-ceiling
- Substantially increases humidity removal in the cooling mode
- Provides lower energy costs
- Enhanced particle removal from air filtration systems
A variable speed furnace blower motor is different from a standard blower motor in that it features a high efficiency Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM) by General Electric. These motors are simply the quietest, most efficient and powerful motors available for today's furnaces. You will notice a marked increase in both system performance and comfort.
What is a HEAT PUMP?
A heat pump is a central air conditioning and highly efficient heating system that will "extract" heat from the air in the wintertime for cost effective heating comfort in all but the most severe winter climates. The system actually "reverse-cycles" in the heating mode and captures heat from outside and "pumps" it into your home.
Unlike a furnace it doesn't burn fuel to make heat - It simply uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. In the cooling mode, an air conditioner or heat pump simply captures heat from inside your home and transfer it outside. In heating, a heat pump actually "reverse-cycles" and captures heat from outside and moves it inside. This process is more efficient than electric heat as it is much less expensive to transfer existing heat than to actually generate it.
What is ELECTRIC HEAT?
Electric heat refers to the heat source within the system. An electric heating element is inserted within the indoor section to produce heat. Use as an auxiliary to baseboard or radiant heat when installing central air conditioning or as your primary heat source in extremely warm winter climates where heating requirements are very low. Select the size required within each individual product ad or use the "Electric Furnaces" link on the right side of each page for help in selecting the right heating element for your home.
What is a GAS PACKAGE?
A package unit means your heating and cooling system is self-contained in one outdoor unit. If your ductwork connects directly to your outdoor unit, then you have a package unit. Most commonly used in mobile or manufactured homes, any home on an elevated crawl space, or for roof-top applications.
A "Gas Package" unit refers to the heating fuel source. The heat is generated using natural or propane gas while the air conditioning is powered by electricity.
What is HOT WATER HEAT?
Hot water means that the heating will be produced via heated water. The hot water coil is included where indicated and will require either a water heater or boiler to provide the heated water source. (Water heater or boiler not included)
What is 2-STAGE?
A 2-stage gas furnace is like having two furnaces in one. On the coldest days, the furnace operates in the high-stage mode at 100% capacity. But on most days, the furnace comfortably conserves energy by operating in the low-stage mode at just 70% capacity. The 2-stage gas valve contributes to greater comfort by reducing temperature swings and maintaining even temperatures throughout your home.
2-stage gas valves also run quietly on low stage 90% of the time, producing just 25% of the normal high-stage sound while significantly reducing energy consumption.
Call Us Today for more information on our American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning Systems 530-878-2566 or 916-624-2191