SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA- After nearly a decade in business, Gabriel Carini has been asked a fair share questions about heating and cooling. Here the owner of Carini Heating and Air Conditioning answers a few of the most frequently asked questions:
How Can I Save Money On My Heating And Cooling Costs?
A home’s HVAC system is typically the biggest energy consumer in a home, so among homeowners’ top concerns is how to cut down on their energy costs.
“Many of the ways are simple and inexpensive, such as changing a habit or putting the time in for maintenance,” says Carini, a heating service and installation professional.
- Regular tune-ups keep the system running at top efficiency and catch many issues before they become major problems.
- Inspect cooling and heating equipment monthly.
- Keep up with routine maintenance. Outdoor condensing units can get clogged with dirt, dust and other matter that block air flow, which makes the system work harder, increasing the cost of running it.
- Set the thermostat at a higher level during the summer and lower level during the winter
- Turn the system off when not in use, such as when you are gone on vacation or gone for extended periods of time.
- Inspect heating and cooling ducts for leaks.
- Replace or clean air filters regularly, as directed.
- Install a programmable thermostat to set back to lower or higher temperatures when the heating and cooling is not needed.
- Upgrade or add attic insulation to keep the home or business’ conditioned air from escaping through the ceiling.
Are The Products With The Energy Star Label Worth Buying?
Every home and business owner has their own budget when replacing an indoor comfort system, but we recommend doing whatever it takes to make an Energy Star product fit into that budget.
“There is a larger upfront cost, but the long-term savings on energy costs and the lower impact on the environment make Energy Star products a better investment over time,” says Carini, who is an expert in whole house air conditioner repair.
Some energy companies offer service credits when homeowners or business owners upgrade to an energy efficient heating and cooling system, and there may be a tax credit available for certain systems. The Energy Star label means a product has met strict efficiency standards in order to qualify.
There is a quick way to tell how efficient a system is by checking the unit. Efficiency is rated with a ratio of heating or cooling output to fuel consumption. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio is for furnaces, and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is for air conditioners and heat pumps. A high rating means lower energy costs, and a low rating means higher fuel costs. A SEER rating in the high teens is a good system since the maximum rating is 20.
What Features Do HVAC Systems Offer?
The technology behind HVAC systems continues to improve, offering high performance, feature laden and efficient indoor air comfort, so what a homeowner often has quite a few choices.
“The key things to look for are performance and efficiency,” says Carini, an air conditioning service, repair and installation expert. “But many have bonuses like how quietly it operates, refrigerants that are safe for the environment and add-on products to improve indoor air quality or whole house dehumidifiers.”
How Do I Pick The Right System For Me?
Many factors go into choosing a new heating and cooling system, but one of the first things to determine is what size unit is needed. A Carini technician can provide a load calculation and estimated operating cost energy analysis.
With the unit size selected, the homeowner needs to take into account what features are needed or wanted for the property. There are some indoor comfort products that can reduce air stratification-much warmer upper floors in a home-and uneven temperatures from room to room.
“Some units have an ECM, which stands for electronically commutated motor, that continuously circulate and filter the air, which can be very beneficial for people with respiratory problems,” says Carini, an expert in heating and air. San Diego continues to have very poor air quality, according to a study published by the American Lung Association this year, so indoor air quality is even more important to many San Diego residents.
There are also different types of ductwork to choose from, including alternatives that improve indoor air quality or for dampening sound.
Once the homeowner has narrowed it down to a few options, the final step is to determine the efficiency of the systems in question and personal budget. “One unit may cost more than the other, but you have to factor in any monthly savings,” says Carini. “Depending on how long you plan to live there, the savings over time will offset the initial costs.”