Factors to Consider When Choosing an HVAC System
- Temperature Control (Zoning) - A number of different zoning options are available. In most cases, it is recommended that the blower run constantly.
- Multiple Systems - More than one heating/cooling system
- Zone-Damper Systems - Consists of multiple ducts and thermostats located throughout the house
- Programmable Thermostats
- Humidification and Dehumidification - An HVAC System that provides proper humidification and dehumidification offers the following benefits:
- Healthier Environment - Reduces occurrences of sore throats, dry skin, nose bleeds and other health-related problems
- Helps Efficiency - System can be set lower because the body feels warmer
- Lessens Static Electricity
- Helps Preserve Furniture and Wood (i.e., doors, floors, millwork)
- Proper Humidification Control - Adjusts to outside temperature
- Clean Air (Indoor Air Quality) - The HVAC System should include components that ensure clean, fresh air. Some of these options are:
- Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV)
- Electronic Air Cleaners
- Media Air Cleaners
- Electro-Static Air Cleaners
- Ultra-Violet Treatment
- Periodic Duct Cleaning
- Efficiency - The HVAC System should provide maximum energy efficiency. Some of the options for providing an energy-efficient system are:
- Energy Efficient Equipment
- Variable-Speed System
- Two-Speed System
- Programmable Thermostat
- Properly Designed and Installed Sheet Metal Ductwork System
- Proper Duct Sealing
- Multi-Stage System
- Noise Control - If an HVAC System is properly designed and installed using good quality components, its operation will be extremely quiet. To ensure optimum noise control, the system may include:
- Vibration Isolation
- Insulated Compartments
- Acoustic Lining
- Proper Location of Equipment
- Variable Speed Equipment
- User-Friendly - A user-friendly HVAC System will include:
- Easy-to-Operate Thermostats and Controls
- Clear Maintenance Instructions
- Long-Term Maintenance Agreement
Alternatives to R-22 in Residential Air Conditioning
As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting substances like R-22 in order to evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. EPA has reviewed several of these alternatives to R-22 and has compiled a list of substitutes that EPA has determined are acceptable. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), substances that do not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contribute to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, and Puron®. Additional refrigerants on the list of acceptable substitutes include R-134a and R-407C. These two refrigerants are not yet available for residential applications in the U.S., but are commonly found in residential A/C systems and heat pumps in Europe. EPA will continue to review new non-ozone-depleting refrigerants as they are developed.
Cool Savings Rebate Program
Registered contractors are ready and able to help you with your heating and air conditioning needs. COOL SAVINGS REBATE Program participating companies are ready and able to help you with your furnace and air conditioning needs. Our contractor locator will help you find a company serving your area.
The contractors are still currently registering for the COOL SAVINGS REBATE Program. The list that is uploaded will be updating constantly, so if you are looking for a specific company, please visit this site frequently.
These contractors are not endorsed by the OPA or the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI). Both the OPA and HRAI specifically make no representations, warranties or guarantees as to, and assume no responsibility for, the products or services provided by these contractors relating to the COOL SAVINGS REBATE Program or otherwise. OPA and HRAI expressly disclaim all liability for damages of any kind arising out of the use or performance of the products or services provided by these contractors.
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Right-Sizing Your HVAC System
Renovating your home can meet your family’s changing needs, not to mention increase the value of your property. But whether you’re considering remodeling a bathroom or adding an entire second story to your home, it’s important to ensure your heating and cooling system can handle the bigger or better space.
Properly sizing your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can lead to greater comfort, lower energy costs and better indoor air quality. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning offers the following tips for homeowners who are planning a renovation project:
* “Right size” your HVAC system. Home renovations are the perfect time to assess your home comfort needs and your HVAC system. For example, adding square footage to your home may strain your existing system.
You can contact a professional HVAC contractor to conduct a “load calculation” to determine the capacity and capabilities of your current system against your planned renovation. This important step helps match the right system the size of your home and your family’s needs by ensuring rooms are evenly heated or cooled. Proper equipment sizing can also extend the life of your investment, since all components are efficiently operating at the right time, speed, and temperatures.
* Save energy costs. If your home is more than eight years old and still has the original system, you may be missing the opportunity to decrease your energy bills while increasing your family’s comfort. While overhauling your HVAC system may seem like a chore, the latest heating and cooling systems are more effective and efficient than ever.
Upgrading to a new, more efficient system will likely save you more on energy bills than you spent on the new unit, according to National Geographic’s Green Guide. Furthermore, by replacing or upgrading your current system as part of your home renovation, you can create a matched system in which every component is designed to work together and has the highest possible energy efficiency ratings. Ask for ENERGY STAR-qualified products that meet strict guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
* Clean your home’s air. Today’s homes are better sealed and insulated – often as a result of a home renovation project. This is great news from an energy standpoint. But it also means pollutants and allergens are being sealed inside your home.
Installing a whole-home air cleaner, like the American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning AccuClean, as part of your heating and cooling system can help clean the filtered air in every room of your home. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning AccuClean’s patented filtration technology removes up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles and allergens from the filtered air your family breathes, including dust, dander, pollen and bacteria. It also removes more than 99 percent of the common flu virus from the filtered air in your home, according to a new Harvard-led research study.
Whatever your home renovation project involves, a perfectly sized and matched HVAC system can help you enjoy your new or remodeled space even more. For information on how to choose a system that’s right for your home or to find an American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning independent dealer near you, visit www.americanstandardair.com.
How to Cut Heating and Cooling Costs without Cutting Comfort
Install a programmable thermostat.
Controlling energy costs starts with your thermostat. During winter months, you can save nearly 3 percent of heating costs for each degree your thermostat is lowered. In the summer, cooling costs are cut up to 6 percent per each degree you raise the thermostat. A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust temperatures throughout the day, ensuring greater energy efficiency and enhanced comfort. Some thermostat models even allow homeowners to pre-program desired temperatures for specific times of day. You can save costs by easily adjusting the heating and cooling settings for when times when you’re waking up, leaving for work, sleeping or going on vacation.
Upgrade to variable speed heating or cooling.
Depending on your comfort needs and where you live, you can choose from a variable speed furnace or air handler. Both work with the outdoor unit to ensure the greatest energy efficiency and consistent comfort throughout your home. "Variable speed" refers to how a furnace or air handler's indoor blower motor runs. A two-stage, variable speed furnace or air handler operates at an energy-saving lower speed and a higher speed, when needed, for more consistent air circulation. With steadier, variable speeds, these indoor units don’t have to turn on and off as frequently, which reduces temperature swings and may help to lower your heating bills.
Consider a hybrid system.
Hybrid HVAC systems bring together two different fuel sources, typically a gas furnace and an electric heat pump, for more efficient heating and cooling. A hybrid system is calibrated to automatically switch between the furnace and heat pump depending on which offers the most economical power for your heating or cooling needs at any given time. Cost savings can be significant. In fact, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s Heritage Hybrid™ comfort system can deliver up to 50 percent savings over a comparable 10-year old system.
Check your filter every month.
It is especially important to check your filter during heavier usage periods such as winter and summer and, at a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool -- wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt buildup in your system. Some programmable thermostats will even remind you when to check your filters.
Get the best energy efficiency ratings.
Your heating and cooling system's components should have the highest possible energy efficiency ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the product and lower your energy bills can be. Make sure your components meet the following minimums:
- Furnaces: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 80 or higher
- Heat pumps: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings of 7 or higher
- Air conditioners: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings of 13 or higher
The Basics of Buying a New HVAC System
It all starts with a matched system, which refers to components that are designed to work together to provide greater efficiency, reliability and comfort. Matched systems can be “split” (separate units placed inside and outside the home) or “packaged” (one single unit, which houses all components in a single cabinet, placed outside the home). Both split and packaged systems include a combination of specialized components. Read on to learn more about how each component can give you cleaner, more comfortable air and more control over your home environment.
Outdoor unit: Air conditioner or heat pump
An air conditioner offers cool, quiet comfort during the hottest days by extracting heat and moisture from indoors. A heat pump looks like an air conditioner, but it does double duty, acting as both an air conditioner and a furnace. Unlike a furnace, it doesn't burn fuel to create heat. A heat pump uses electricity to keep your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and comfortable all year round.
Indoor unit: Furnace or air handler
A furnace works with an air conditioner to heat and evenly circulate air throughout your home. An air handler performs the same duties as a furnace in homes that use electricity instead of gas. It works with an air conditioner to circulate cool air in the summer. Or, when paired with a heat pump, it circulates cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.
Air cleaner or filtration system
For even greater comfort and cleaner indoor air, an air filtration system can be added to your furnace or air handler to filter out unwanted airborne particles. The American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning AccuClean whole-home air filtration system removes up to 99.98 percent of the allergens from the filtered air that your family breathes, including dust, dander, pollen and bacteria. It also removes more than 99 percent of the common flu virus from the filtered air in your home, according to a new Harvard-led research study.
This is the control center for your home comfort system. A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust temperatures throughout the day, ensuring greater energy efficiency and enhanced comfort.
A humidifier will add moisture to the air during wintertime and in hot, dry climates. A humidifier can be attached to a furnace and programmed to automatically turn off once humidity in your home reaches a pre-set level.
Some systems are not only matched but can “communicate” with each other to deliver ultimate comfort, convenience and peace of mind. One option is the American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning AccuLink system, which uses built-in technology to ensure all components are automatically and properly charged, configured and calibrated. It even includes a Telephone Access Module (TAM) that lets you monitor the system and make temperature or humidity adjustments when you’re away, so you can spend more time enjoying your family and less time worrying about your home