hvac replacement

Heat Pump 101 – A Basic Tune-Up

Heat Pump 101 – A Basic Tune-Up

Air Specialty Air ConditioningGood heat pump maintenance is the key to energy-efficient operation and long equipment life. There are several things you can do to ensure efficient operation of your heat pump. You should rely on your professional HVAC technician to perform the heat pump maintenance tasks that you can’t do safely and effectively yourself.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Be sure to change the air filter at appropriate intervals. A dirty filter restricts airflow in the ductwork and makes the heat pump work harder than it should to heat and cool your home effectively. Set up a heat pump maintenance agreement with your HVAC contractor for annual or semi-annual service calls. An HVAC pro can tackle the following maintenance tasks to keep your system running efficiently:
  • Measure and adjust airflow for correct balance.
  • Measure and adjust refrigerant levels for correct cooling operation.
  • Inspect, clean and lubricate moving parts.
  • Clean and tighten electrical connections.
  • Clean and inspect evaporator and condenser coils. Check for refrigerant leaks.
  • Inspect ductwork. Repair loose connections and seal leaks.
  • Check for correct thermostat operation. Make sure backup heat is not running under normal operating conditions.

Optimal Heat Pump Operation

Once you program the thermostat to control heat pump operation, avoid manually overriding the settings. If you set the thermostat temperature more than a few degrees higher than its programmed setting on cold days, you’re likely to force the backup heating system to come on. The backup heat, whether it comes from electric resistance coils or a natural gas furnace, is a more expensive heat source than your heat pump is under normal weather conditions. Unless the heat pump has a high-efficiency variable-speed fan, you should leave your system in “auto” mode rather than “fan” mode. Leaving a single-speed fan running continuously distributes air evenly throughout your house, but it increases electrical costs and shortens the life of air-handling equipment. Learn more about routine heat pump maintenance or emergency repairs with Air Specialty or contact us today at 251-545-3337.
New High Tech Furnace and Heat Pump Choices

New High Tech Furnace and Heat Pump Choices

Air Specialty Air ConditioningIs it time to upgrade your home’s heating or cooling system? With all of the new high tech options on the market, which type of unit is going to work best for your home. Here, we break down the basic pros for heat pumps and furnaces so you can decide what works for your family.

Consider the Climate

The climate comes into play when making the choice between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid. First, climate may affect whether or not you have access to gas lines. In milder climates, like much of the Mobile region where temperatures don’t dip below freezing with too much frequency, gas lines and gas furnaces are far less common. Without access to a gas line, you simply can’t use a gas furnace in your home. Heat pumps, on the other hand, are an efficient option. Heat pumps function like an air conditioner but have a reversing valve that allows them to heat the home, as well as cool it. They work best in areas with moderate winters and warm, humid summers. Because it uses minimal fuel and relies on outdoor temperatures to help heat and cool the home, these systems are quite efficient.

Do You Need Dual Function?

Another consideration to make when choosing between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid is the dual-function nature of the unit you choose. Are you replacing both the heating and cooling aspects? A heat pump does may be the answer. If only heating is your concern, and your home’s central air conditioner is still operating efficiently, a furnace may be the best option. Talk to a trusted HVAC professional to get advice specific to your home’s current needs.

Comparing All the Options

To fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the heat pump vs. furnace debate, compare the two. When you invest in either system, you’ll benefit from a system that will integrate well with an indoor air quality system or a whole-house dehumidifier. Zoning systems and smart thermostats also work well, no matter which you choose. Both heat pumps and central heating and cooling systems will do a good job of dehumidifying your home. So what are the differences? First, the cost is different. An HVAC system that will perform the same dual-purpose as a heat pump will cost more to install and purchase than a heat pump. Efficiency is also varied. In mild climates, heat pumps are far more efficient  than furnaces.

How Hybrid Systems Fit the Picture

If you the weather in your area occasionally dips below freezing, a heat pump isn’t going to be efficient during these cold spells. In very low temperatures, you’ll need a backup heating source. Unfortunately, the electric-resistance heating that comes with most heat pumps isn’t efficient and will lead to higher heating bills during particularly cold periods. This is where a hybrid heating system can be beneficial. This system combines a heat pump with a gas furnace to deliver efficiency all year long. These units work by automatically switching to the furnace when it’s the more efficient option, but using the heat pump whenever possible. For professional help deciding between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid system, contact Air Specialty. We’re happy to help you determine which heating source is best for your Mobile, Saraland or Lucedale home.
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