Professional HVAC Installation in Houston
It can be said with certainty that no one has ever gotten out of bed and said, “today is a great day to shop and install a new air conditioning and heating system!” But like many things in life, it just has to be done to live comfortably in your home.
Here in Houston, “home of the eight-month summer,” we tend to use our air conditioning systems almost year-round. Proper regular maintenance of your HVAC system is crucial to get the maximum efficiency and performance out of your unit. They are a massive investment both to purchase and to install. As a homeowner, you want them to last as long as possible.
What is an HVAC system?
Before we continue, let’s get some of our terminology clear. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air condition. This system provides heating and cooling to commercial and residential buildings. You can find HVAC systems anywhere from single-family homes to submarines. It’s all designed to provide environmental comfort, and it is becoming an increasingly standard feature in new residential construction. They use fresh air outside to provide high-quality indoor air.
The V in HVAC or ventilation is the process of replacing or exchanging air within a space. This provides a better quality of air indoors and involves the removal of moisture, heat, dust, airborne pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other gases. All while providing temperature control and providing oxygen replenishment.
How does an HVAC system work?
The three primary functions of an HVAC system are interrelated. This is especially true when providing breathable indoor air quality and thermal comfort. Your heating and air condition system are usually one of the most complicated and extensive systems in your home. When it’s not working, you will know soon enough, especially in Houston! There are nine parts to your HVAC system that you should be aware of they include the following:
1. Air Return
The starting point of your ventilation cycle is the air return. It is the part of your system that sucks in the air, draws it through a filter, and then passes it into the central system.
The second part of your air return is your filter in which the air is drawn through. Make sure to change your filters regularly to keep your system in tip-top shape.
3. Exhaust Outlets
The exhaust created by the heating system is expelled through the outlets. It’s essential to check your vent stack and chimney flue (if you have one) to ensure they’re clean and operating correctly.
Your ducts are the channels in which the cooled or heated air passes through. Remember, it’s important that these get cleaned every 2 to 5 years to keep everything working.
5. Electrical Elements
The electrical elements of your system are a little bit trickier. Unfortunately, this is where problems also start. At Nick’s Plumbing, Sewer, and HVAC services, we advise that if something isn’t working right that you check for a tripped breaker or dead batteries in your thermostat first and go from there.
6. Outdoor Unit
This is the part of your HVAC system you most likely to identify with-the outdoor unit itself. This part houses the fan which provides the airflow. We suggest you keep your group clear of debris and vegetation as that can cause severe problems if plants are sucked into your fan.
Included in the outdoor unit is the compressor. Its job is to convert the refrigerant from a gas to liquid and send it to the coils. Often if something isn’t working quite right, one of the first things you need to check is your compressor. It is often the cause of many system failures.
Another part of the outdoor unit is the coils. With help from the refrigerant, the coils cool the air as it passes through its way into your home. That’s why at Nick’s Plumbing, Sewer, and HVAC services, we recommend that you check your coils annually. If they freeze up, you may want to check your filter and refrigerant levels.
Drawing in warm air through the main section of the unit is the job of the blower. The more efficiently it does this, the more durable your system will be.
What is included in an HVAC system?
We’ve already established that HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air condition. We know that those are the three main parts included in the entire system.
Typically, the heating element usually refers to a furnace or boiler. It includes a pipe system for the fluid carrying the heat or ductwork if you’re working with a forced-air system.
The ventilation element is either forced or natural. When it is forced, it is usually not used for air cleaning purposes as well.
The third and final element of an HVAC system is air conditioning, which is the complete opposite of heating. Its primary focus is to remove the existing heat from the interior of the home and cool it.
How many years does an HVAC system last?
Now that you understand all the different parts of an HVAC system, you may ask yourself how long it lasts? The answer isn’t nearly as straight forward. It really all depends on the equipment and how well you maintain it. If you keep up with your recommended annual maintenance, your computer will last for many years to come.
How much energy does an HVAC system use?
There are several factors the determine the quantity of energy that an HVAC system use. They include the following:
- The efficiency of its components
- How appropriate its size is in relation to your home.
- Your local climate
- How much you use it
- What you or your family consider ideal indoor comfort
- The type of fuel you use
When evaluating a system’s expected consumption of energy, you need to follow industry-standard rating systems. These will give you an idea of your HVAC system’s expected energy consumption.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
SEER measures the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner or heat pump systems. Higher SEER numbers mean greater efficiency and energy savings. Federal law mandates a minimum of 13 SEER rating in new cooling units. Barron offers air conditioning systems with up to a 24 SEER rating.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
AFUE is a rating system for gas or oil furnaces, indicating how much fuel is required to heat your home versus how much is actually wasted. This measurement is expressed in percentages. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater efficiency, and lower fuel costs. That means a 90% AFUE furnace, loses only 10% of its fuel. Furnaces installed in the U.S. are required to have at least an 80% AFUE rating.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
HSPF rates the efficiency level of the heating mode of heat pumps. The most efficient and cost-effective heat pumps are those with the highest ratings. A minimum of 7.7 HSPF is required from new heat pumps.
Wattage measures the amount of electricity that your heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system will use in meeting your indoor comfort needs. It is typically measured in kilowatt-hours. These are some units that your electricity company uses to charge you for energy consumption. Wattage can vary depending on what speed your system is running.
For two-stage and multi-stage pieces of equipment, the system can use a much lower amount of wattage when running at low speeds than high speeds. Wattage is a critical component of your operational costs for running an HVAC system. This is particularly true since your unit only needs to operate at its peak capacity on some hottest or coldest days per year. In everyday operation, the HVAC system requires only a portion of its capacity, which can be delivered by more cost-effective multi-stage units.
What are some typical problems I might encounter with an HVAC system?
While today’s HVAC systems are built to deliver years of dependable service. Inevitably problems with air conditioning ranging from the simple issues to the more complex sometimes arise. The following is a list of some of the most common problems that are reported by homeowners.
1. Dirty Air Filters
Air filters should be changed regularly. If they aren’t airflow can be reduced significantly, which can cause your HVAC system to underperform and eventually stop working altogether.
2. Blown Fuses
If you find that your HVAC system is suddenly not working, check your breaker box. It could be that you’ve blown a fuse. Fuses are designed to protect your unit’s motor and compressor from overheating. A blown a fuse may be a sign of a bigger problem within the system.
3. Dirty Condenser Coils
The coils are situated outside the home and are exposed to the elements. Condenser coils should be cleaned yearly. If this is not done, they can dramatically affect the performance of your unit.
4. Low Refrigerant
Refrigerant leaks are often caused by the vibration, which happens as the system works throughout the day pumping cool or hot air throughout your home or business. The leaks themselves can be found either in the lines or in the coils. If you find yourself having to recharge your system’s refrigerant, that’s usually a good indication that you’ve got a leak.
5. Electrical Coils
Worn contactors or faulty wiring can be the cause of HVAC system outages. That’s why your entire system should be checked periodically.
6. Frozen Evaporator Coil
Blocked air returns can restrict airflow and cause the evaporator coil inside your home to free up. Low refrigerant levels can also create a similar problem.
These control devices can stop working altogether and require replacement as a result. You can also inadvertently turn them off or not have them in the correct setting for the season.
Most homeowners wait until there is a significant or irreparable problem before installing a new HVAC. The key to long-term savings when dealing with an older or faulty air conditioning or heating system is to apply the law of diminishing returns. Suppose your system is going to need significant repairs or is older than ten years. In that case, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution. That means installing a new HVAC system. That’s when you should call the experts like Nick’s Plumbing, Sewer, and HVAC. We’d be more than happy to discuss a potential HVAC installation with you.
We look forward to hearing from you!