At H&H Plumbing & Heating we get asked this questions all the time by homeowners, "when is the best time to replace my furnace?
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Different Types of HVAC Systems: What Is A Heat Pump?
You may have heard the advertisements for mini-split systems and wondered what those work. Before we can get into that, we need to define what a heat pump is. In order to understand what a heat pump is, you need to grasp what is called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which states:
Today, your choices of home air conditioning systems includes more high tech, variable speed furnaces and air handlers. These systems tend to run longer at lower blower speeds in an attempt to improve comfort and increase dehumidification. This is great when you have a well-designed tight, balanced duct system.
A single-speed furnace or air conditioner comes on full-blast no matter what. That may be okay in the dead of winter or heat of summer, but in the spring or fall, when outdoor air temperatures are less extreme, a single-speed unit may heat or cool rooms too quickly.
Besides this basic functionality on forced air HVAC systems, there are only about two real comfort feature options. The two features that can increase your comfort, though, are noteworthy and valuable. They are two-stage heating, and self-adjusting blower speeds. Both of these are available for forced air furnaces.(Remember, it's the blower system of your furnace that moves the cool air from the evaporator through your duct systems.)
The benefits of a two-stage furnace with variable speed blower are that it makes you more comfortable due to more even temperatures throughout the home, maintains a more steady
temperature (keeps the house at nearly the exact temperature you set your thermostat), increases your air conditioning efficiency about 8% (if you have air conditioning), has a lower operating cost (due to a DC voltage variable blower motor), increases efficiency of any attached air cleaner, and is quieter than other furnaces. The benefits of a two-stage furnace with multi-speed blower
are similar to the Two-Stage Variable Speed models. However the Two-Stage Variable Speed models are even more quiet, even more electrically efficient, and even more comfortable.
Richard Rue, an energy efficiency building expert, whose engineering firm has engineered over 42,534 Ultra Energy Efficient homes tells his clients this:
"My HVAC Is Just Below Our TV Room And When It Comes On It Gets Loud Enough That We Have To Turn Up The TV Volume."
A noisy register from high volumes of air going through them can be be very annoying. All air vents, both supply registers and return grilles make some noise when the system fan is running; this is normal. Some systems are louder than others but some systems are much louder like the quote above from a homeowner having an online discussion trying to find a solution to their problem.
The speed of the air blowing through the supply registers and the air being drawn into the return grille affects an air conditioner's performance. If the air speed is too high, it will be noisy and uncomfortable, and the return grille filter effectiveness will be reduced. The speed through the grilles depends on the size of the air conditioner (a larger unit has more air flow and higher air speed) and the area of the grille (a smaller grille causes higher air speed).
With a properly sized air conditioner, it is easier to have sufficient supply and return grille area to keep the air speed low and the noise at a minimum. Common complaints about oversized air conditioners are that they blast frigid air and that they are noisy. A properly sized air conditioner, with proper ductwork and grilles, will provide longer cycles, more consistent temperatures, and better mixing of the house air.
So, obviously, when you properly plan the replacement of your A/C or Furnace, installing the right size HVAC system, you avoid this situation. At that time, we can evaluate your house to see if there are enough return air including return vents in every room. By the way, that may help your current system operate quieter. By adding more return air, the pressure reduces, the system doesn't have to works as hard and it quiets down.
Air Conditioning Oversizing Causes and Effects Part #2
When it comes to this topic, Doug Rye, a nationally known speaker says it this way, "DO NOT, DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT let anyone install your air conditioning system without having the experience and expertise to size it correctly for your home. Too many homeowners allow the contractor to estimate or guess the size of the system. This nearly always results in an uncomfortable home. Make sure you ask how they sized it or did they just install the same size that was in their before. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide you with this information.