Heating and Air Conditioning
- Heat pumps
- Air conditioning units
- AC compressors
- Geothermal heating
- Central heating
Heat Pumps are air conditioners that run in reverse. They extract heat from outside and pump it inside. Heat pumps can be installed with an electric furnace on the inside or combined with a gas furnace. Either of these options create a dual fuel hybrid heating and cooling system.
In more moderate temperatures, a dual fuel hybrid system uses the electric heat pump to heat your home. When temperatures drop below freezing, it automatically switches over to gas. Since electric companies tend to charge less for electricity during the winter months, using an electric furnace can save you money.
A heat pump makes an ideal heating/cooling system for a basement remodel or a room addition. It is more efficient, has a lower upfront cost, and is less complicated to install compared to a traditional gas-fuel system.
Types of Air Conditioners
Air conditioners can be organized several ways, but the easiest is by type. All units can be divided into three distinct major types: single stage, two stage, and variable speed units.
Efficiency or SEER Rating
“SEER” is an abbreviation for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio.” The SEER (or efficiency) rating of an air conditioner refers to how much electricity the unit will use to keep you cool during a typical season. Higher numbers are better: the higher the SEER, the higher the efficiency is, and the less electricity the unit will consume.
Tonnage or Capacity
The “tonnage” of an air conditioner refers to the unit’s ability to remove heat from your home. The heat contained in buildings is measured in tons.
To give you an idea of what a ton of heat is, imagine a block of ice weighing one ton. One ton of heat is the amount of heat it would take to melt that block of ice in an hour. A ton of heat is also equivalent to 12,000 BTUs or 18,000 burning matches.
Residential air conditioners are made in sizes of 1.5 to 5 tons. They usually increase size in half-ton increments. The job of an air conditioning contractor is to determine what size (or tonnage) unit you need for your house. In this case, is it not a matter of “the more, the better.”
An oversized air conditioner will not remove the proper amount of moisture from the air. An undersized air conditioner will run constantly even at moderate temperatures and will not adequately condition the space. Since every home is unique, the best option is often to choose a two speed or variable unit. They work well even when slightly oversize.
Adding a variable speed furnace will help you remain dry as well as cool.
Single Speed Air Conditioners
Single speed air conditioners produce the same amount of heat removal all the time regardless of how hot and muggy it is outside. They are built to handle the hottest days of the year. While this is great in July, it means that they are larger than needed the rest of the time.
A good contractor will select a unit slightly smaller than what is needed for peak temperatures, since most of the time we do not see peak temperatures. Matching your unit to the temperatures you see most of the time will be more efficient and save you money.
Two Speed Air Conditioners
Two speed air conditioners have two distinct output capacities to better condition your home. These units can change the amount of cooling capacity they produce depending on how hot it is. Because they can slow down and run longer, they do a better job of removing moisture and providing enhanced comfort.
Variable Speed Air Conditioners
We recommend Variable Speed units for large homes. Instead of turning on and off all day to adjust the temperature, they run at a variable speed. They have 700 different outputs, which means they can accurately provide temperatures to within 1/10th of the degree you want. They provide exceptional comfort and moisture removal, with none of the hot and cold temperature swings typical to one and two speed units.
Air handlers are electric furnaces with integrated cooling/heating coils. They are normally installed in conjunction with a heat pump. Air handlers distribute air equally throughout your house, provide heat in the winter, and dehumidify and cool your home in the summer. They are quite often installed in homes with no natural gas or as auxiliary systems in a basement or room addition.
Just as there are several types of gas furnaces, there are several types of air handlers.
- Different speeds: A single speed air handler runs at the same fan speed all the time. Variable speed air handlers that vary their output by demand.
- Different currents: A variable speed air handler runs off D/C (direct current), while a single stage air handler is powered by A/C (alternating current). The D/C driven variable speed air handler can be coupled with a humidity-sensing thermostat that allows enhanced dehumidification in the summer.
A variable speed air handler can remove 5-10% more moisture from your home than a standard single speed unit can.
Air handlers typically have auxiliary heating elements, which are installed by your contractor. These heating elements are available with different amounts of heat output. Heating elements provide heat on chilly days to supplement the output of heat pumps or a furnace.
Energy Efficient Retrofitting & Energy Audits
Heating and cooling equipment over ten years old can be significantly less efficient than currently available systems. Upgrading an older system can not only help the environment, but also save money through reduced energy use, decreased down-time, and lower maintenance and repair expenses. Retrofitting an older, inefficient HVAC system can more than pay for itself in a very short time.
Trademasters uses the latest state-of-the-art equipment and methods, applying a comprehensive approach to retrofitting that ensures your HVAC system’s efficiency, reliability, and safety. Energy Star rated heating and cooling equipment can help you save up to 30% on energy costs and meet new environmental standards.
It’s a win-win for both the environment and your budget.