How do I select a contractor?
First, make sure your Heating & Cooling contractor is licensed. Choose a company that has a good reputation and check their references. The technicians should be experienced and have regular training to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies. Of course, they should also be fully insured and bonded.
Can I just replace the part of the unit on an older system to save money?
Typically, in older systems we recommend replacing the whole unit. Oftentimes, when a part is replaced on an older system the rest of the system continues to fail and does not work efficiently. Postponing the replacement of an old HVAC unit can be more expensive in the long run. Manufacturers’ warranties will be voided. Technology, such as heat pumps, are truly worth the investment and aren’t compatible with traditional air conditioners.
How many years should a system last?
If properly installed and maintained, you can expect a system to last about 12 years. That assumes the proper size unit was installed and regular maintenance was performed on furnace and air conditioning systems. Improperly sized and dirt increase the stress on the system reducing its life. As a system gets older it loses efficiency.
Should I have my ducts cleaned?
Before having our ducts cleaned you should have your ducts inspected. Dirty ducts inhibit air flow, increase utility bills, and promote sickness. Assuming you decide to have the ducts inspected they should be inspected with a flexible videoscope that should let you see the condition of the ducts for yourself. Some questions you should consider: 1. Does your family have allergies? 2. Do you have pets? 3. Do you have lingering odors or when you come home does your home smell funny? 4. Have you used and changed a quality filter regularly? 5. Do your vents have dust collecting on the exhaust?
Why should I purchase a Comfort Agreement?
Like any mechanical equipment, to get the longest service life, maintenance is necessary. Proper care of your system can save on your utility bills and prolong the life and efficiency of your system. Some air conditioning and heating problems can double operating costs and reduce comfort. 100th of an inch of film or dirt on an evaporator coil can reduce cooling and heating efficiency by 5%. Manufacturers recommend regular maintenance to maintain peak performance. A Northwest Heating & Cooling Comfort Agreement will give you the peace of mind that your system is operating at optimum efficiency and performance.
How do I know if I should repair or replace my systems?
Consider the following questions when deciding to either repair or replace your heating and cooling system:
- How old is your system?If your system is more than ten years old it is likely wiser to invest in a new system. Higher efficiency equipment can cut your energy costs by up to 40%.
- What is the overall condition of your system?If your system is in solid condition, it could be wiser to simply repair it. But if your system breaks down often or is old, you should consider replacing it.
- How often is your system operating?If your system has been used extensively, it may be time to replace it. Systems exposed to extreme weather normally do not last as long as those in mild conditions.
- What is the repair history of your current system?If this is the first repair and the age of the system isn’t too old it may make more sense to repair the system, however if the repair is expensive (more than 20% of the cost of a new system), has had numerous repairs, and is getting old then replacing the system makes more sense economically.
- Are you planning to move?If you are moving in the next year or two repairs may make the most sense, however, if you believe investing in a new HVAC system will improve the value of your home, you should consider making the investment. If you plan to live in your current residence, it may also be wise to go ahead and invest in your future comfort.
What is SEER and HSPF?
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measure of efficiency of the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency, which translates into more energy savings. U.S. regulatory agencies require all new models to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Most manufacturers offer a line of air conditioners and heat pumps that range from 13.0 SEER to 16.0 SEER. HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the efficiency measurement of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. Models are required to have a minimum 6.8 HSPF. Most manufacturers offer heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.4.