Frequently Asked Questions

HVAC

What does HVAC mean?

HVAC is in common use in the heating and cooling industry. It stands for “heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” three functions often combined into one system in today’s modern homes and buildings.

A central HVAC system is the most quiet and convenient way to cool and entire home.

The HVAC system in your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, up to 56% of your utility budget goes for heating and cooling.

Like many other appliances, HVAC systems have improved in energy efficiency in the last decade. As a result, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your HVAC equipment.

General System Questions

How long should my furnace and air conditioner last?

The average life expectancy of your furnace and air conditioner can be as short as 8 to10 years and as long as 20 to 25 years. The majority of systems fall in the 15 to 20 year range. We find the huge range in life expectancy due almost exclusively to the amount of maintenance done on the system. Just like your car, they require an occasional “oil change” to run longer and at peak performance. A BHAC Maintenance and Safety Check will extend the life of your furnace and air conditioner, will maintain the efficiency of your systems and will find small problems before they become large ones.

What size furnace do I need?

In almost every case the new furnace will be a substantially smaller capacity unit than your current furnace. In many cases we are removing 125,000 BTUH models and replacing them with 75,000 BTUH units. In years past, the philosophy was to put in the bigger unit, just to be safe. So don’t be surprised when the proposal you receive to replace your old furnace is for a much smaller model. A heat loss should be calculated and the new unit sized to match the load. Also, remember that the new furnaces are much more efficient than your old furnace so they don’t lose such a big percentage of the heat out the chimney.

Should I consider changing my furnace before it needs expensive service or breaks down completely?

Absolutely. If your existing furnace is over 10 years old then new technology and current incentives make this the best time ever to upgrade your furnace. When you combine the federal energy tax credit with utility rebates, manufacturer rebates and the efficiency improvements, in both gas and electric, the return on your investment has never been better. And as an additional benefit you will realize a much more comfortable home with a new properly sized, multi-stage, high efficiency furnace.

What is the warranty on my furnace or air conditioner?

Your salesman has presented you with warranty information on the equipment you purchased. The warranty on your furnace or air conditioner is the warranty the manufacturer has on their craftsmanship. Some warranties are 5 years, some are 10 years. Warranties are valid on mechanical failures that are due to craftsmanship of equipment or the installation of your equipment. The warranty is not valid if failure of the equipment is due to a lack of upkeep (see maintenance for more info).

Why should I maintain my furnace?

You wouldn’t think about owning a vehicle without getting the oil changed? Look at your heating and cooling system the same way. Maintenance is key to keeping your heating and cooling system in proper working order and your energy/gas costs down. Maintenance should be done on a yearly basis. Not keeping your system maintained can cause the system to fail, leaving you uncomfortable. When you have maintenance on your system, one of our certified technicians will come and clean all internal components of the heating and cooling equipment, which prevents future failures.

Why is it so important to keep my furnace filters changed?

Your furnace filter catches dust particles that are in the air of your home allowing cleaner air to be pushed through your duct-work back into your home. A dirty filter can cause these dust particles to filter back into your home. It can also cause the system to work harder to maintain desired temperatures in your home, which in turn, cause higher energy bills.

In the heating season, a dirty filter can cause the system to starve airflow, cause it to overheat and shut down. In the cooling season a dirty filter can cause the evaporator coil (which allows refrigerant to cycle through to produce cool air) to freeze up and shut the system down.

1″ filters should be changed monthly, 4″ filters should be changed every 3-6 months.

Why doesn’t my humidifier work?

Whole house humidifiers are connected to the furnace and must be cleaned & maintained on a regular basis (usually done at the time of your furnace maintenance). Your humidifier typically operates when the furnace blower is on. The most common issues for humidifier failure or water leaking is a dirty filter, plugged drain lines, or damper position.

The filter (also known as a pad or water panel) should be replaced a couple times during the heating season as hard water deposits form more quickly on the filter. If the filter is showing signs of wear or water deposits, it should be replaced.

If your humidifier has a winter/summer damper control on it, turn it to winter for  the heating season and summer for the cooling season (the humidifier should be off in the summer).

Also check all drain lines that come from the humidifier to make sure it’s free of any obstructions.

What is system matching for optimum efficiency?

One additional factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system is your indoor coil (also called an evaporator or “A” coil). If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. When you replace an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

Efficiency Ratings Explained

What is SEER?

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency–and therefore greater energy savings. Today, U.S. regulatory agencies require all newly manufactured products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Our full line of air conditioners offer SEER ratings of up to 20.5.

What is HSPF?

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the efficiency measurement used to gauge the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings. Today’s models are required to have a 6.8 HSPF. Burnsville Heating offers heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.5.

Cost Savings:
Higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher equipment cost but lower utility bills. Ask our comfort advisor to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, long after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills.

What is AFUE?

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Given in percentages, this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted out the chimney. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. Burnsville Heating offers a full line of furnaces with AFUE ratings ranging from the minimum industry requirement of 78% to more than 95%.

Cost Savings: If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of approximately 55-60%), you could save up to 40% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high efficiency furnace! The cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.