Simple guide to choosing a Heating & Cooling System
Here are the three main factors to determine which heater is best for your home.
Stage | Modulating (Regulating) | Variable-Speed
Single-Stage is similar to a stove, where the knobs only have one setting: HIGH. Since a single-stage furnace can only be ON or OFF, the result is greater peaks and valleys in temperature, and less efficient.
Two-Stage has two settings, HIGH and LOW. These are better than single-stage because they have a low-burning setting that keeps the heat from dropping too far below your desired point. And they’re more efficient because they keep the air temperature from varying as much as a single-stage.
A Modulating (Regulating) furnace is more similar to a stove that can adjust the flame to any point, between OFF and HIGH. It will constantly adjust its flame, to try to keep the air temperature constant. In theory, this results in greater comfort and better efficiency.
Variable-Speed blower means the furnace adjusts the fan speed in increments to precisely control the airflow throughout the house (unlike single-speed blowers, which can only go on or off). Like the modulating furnaces, these are produced to provide better comfort and efficiency.
HOW CENTRAL A/C (Air Conditioning) WORKS:
- A refrigerant (puron or freon) is a substance that can go from liquid to gas at low temperatures, that runs through a closed/sealed system of metal coils.
- As warm interior air passes over these coils, the liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat (and turns into a gas) cooling the air, which is then blown back into the house through ducts.
- The heated, gaseous refrigerant goes outdoors to the compressor (the large outdoor unit in your yard or on your roof that houses one of the coils) where it is pressurized into liquid form. As it turns back to a liquid, it releases heat, which is cooled down through the outdoor coil and fan.
- The newly re-cooled refrigerant is sent back into the house, to start the cycle all over again.
- All air conditioners work on the same principle; when you replace yours, consider the capacity, efficiency, and reliability.
AC Efficiency: What you need to know
Air conditioner technology is improving with time. What was considered standard efficiency just six years ago, is now below the minimum allowed by law. Air conditioner efficiency is signified as a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). 13 SEER is the current minimum allowed for air conditioners and 14 seer for Heat Pumps.
Your utility provider may offer rebates on anything above a 15 SEER heat pump and/or a 16 SEER central air conditioner. The higher the SEER, the more you will save on your utility bills and energy.
The AC system’s capacity is measured in tons. A ton of refrigeration is equal to the cooling power of one ton (2,000 pounds) of ice melting, over the course of 24 hours.
An Energy-Star Services Inc. representative can help you decide on the capacity you’ll need based on the measurements of your home and its current application of insulation. We can also assist with making decisions on the efficiency ratings based on any applicable utility rebates, state rebates, square footage of your home and factoring in how long you plan on living in your home.