Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs. Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. in West Columbia can answer all your HVAC-related questions. Before you get on the phone, check to see if we already responded to your question online. If you don’t see your question listed or want more information on a particular topic, give us a call at 803-796-9172. Our experts can provide the information you’re looking for in a jiffy. Why does my home comfort system need regular maintenance? Just like you need to take your car in to the shop for normal tune-ups, such as oil changes or looking at potential concerns, your home comfort system should get the same kind of attention. Routine maintenance by a skilled technician provides various benefits to your HVAC equipment, which can help your systems operate efficiently and prevent costly breakdowns. Where can I find prices for Lennox products? Call Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. at 803-796-9172 to get an in-depth quote on Lennox equipment. What is two-stage heating? With two-stage heating, furnaces may run on two different levels: high and low. Since you can heat your home on the low setting most of the time, a two-stage furnace can run longer and more efficiently. Two-stage heating also operates more quietly than traditional furnaces and can offer more even heat distribution and fewer temperature swings. What is Precise Comfort™ technology? Lennox’s Precise Comfort™ technology is an operating and control system that allows a furnace to adjust heat and airflow by amazingly small amounts, as low as a 1 percent change. The system is automatic and runs similar to cruise control, making adjustments gradually to meet your comfort demands with energy efficiency. Will my new furnace work differently than my old one? Depending on how old your previous furnace was, you could experience a number of differences. Furnaces today are designed to offer more even and efficient heating than ever before. Modern furnaces also better regulate temperature and air flow, moving more air over the heat exchanger than older furnaces. Additionally, new furnaces are created to operate with other high-efficiency HVAC products, such as air conditioners. The air conditioner blowers give your heating system an extra lift so it can deliver cool air around your home efficiently. Special features like variable speed motors will also help reduce noise associated with operating your equipment and easily meet your family’s airflow needs. What is the energy efficiency standard for air conditioners? The Department of Energy recently increased the minimum efficiency levels for air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units created after Jan. 1, 2015, since heating and cooling contributes significantly to a home’s total energy usage. The requirements vary by region, so call Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. for the efficiency standards for West Columbia. How can I reduce my energy costs? Heating and cooling makes up a huge portion of your monthly utility bill. Purchasing HVAC equipment with high efficiency ratings, such as SEER for air conditioners and AFUE for furnaces, is a simple step that can go a long way in lowering energy output. Beyond these ratings, also ponder: Routine maintenance – regularly having an expert tune-up your equipment will keep it running at its greatest potential. Adding a zoning system – by focusing your heating and cooling on the rooms you use most frequently, you won’t have to pay to heat or cool areas of your home that aren’t routinely used. Installing a programmable thermostat – the Department of Energy estimates that a programmable thermostat can lower heating costs by up to 35 percent and cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Leave it up to your thermostat to turn down the heat when you’re gone and return to your preferred temperature when you’re home. Why should I buy a Lennox product? There are a number of reasons to pick Lennox, but the top three are: You know and trust the name – Lennox is recognized around the world for its quality home comfort products. Innovation and high quality – Lennox is an industry leader, offering a complete line of innovative solutions for your home comfort needs. Commitment to excellence – We are committed to giving customers not only quality products, but also quality service. You can trust Lennox dealers, like those of us at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc., to help you identify the right system for your home, expertly install it, and keep it running smoothly every time. How can I improve my home’s indoor air quality? Boosting your home’s indoor air quality starts with four basic strategies: Eliminate – poor indoor air quality leaves your home packed with air pollutants floating around your home, so to improve IAQ, the first step is to get rid of as many pollutants as possible. You can easily do this is by cleaning and vacuuming at least once a week, regularly washing linens and storing cleaning products safely. Ventilate – proper insulation is great for keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it also makes it harder for airborne pollutants to escape. Products like our Healthy Climate® ventilation system help swap out stale air for fresh, filtered outside air. Clean – good ventilation and regular cleaning are a start, but Healthy Climate® air filters, germicidal lights and PureAire™ purification systems take your IAQ to the next level by capturing microscopic particles, killing germs and removing particles and germs while destroying chemical vapors. Monitor – programmable thermostats will help you control the humidity levels and temperature to help prevent particles and germs from accumulating and keep your home comfortable. How do I know which indoor air quality product will work best for my home? Our Healthy Solution Finder lets you select details specific to your family and home and will help you find equipment best suited to meet your needs. You may also consult with Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. pros who can make a recommendation based on their evaluations of your home and current indoor comfort system. How does an air conditioner work? It may come as a surprise that air conditioners don’t technically make your home cooler; they actually remove the hot air and direct it outside. This hot air moves across a refrigerant coil on the indoor unit and then is sent to the outdoor unit where it is released. Your air conditioner pushes as much hot air outside as is necessary to reach the temperature you have set on your thermostat. What is the minimum energy efficiency standard for air conditioners in my state? Minimum energy efficiency standards can vary by geographic location. Additionally, air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units made after Jan. 1, 2015, have higher minimum efficiency levels than products manufactured prior to that date. The team at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. can help you figure out the minimum requirements for West Columbia, let you know if your current systems meets those requirements or help you find a replacement air conditioner that does. How can I confirm the model and serial numbers for my cooling unit? Your system’s service panel should have a white label on it, with your system’s model and serial numbers at the top. M/N is the model number and S/N is the serial number. What size equipment do I need for my home? Since equipment size needs are different for every home, the best way to find out the proper size equipment for your home is to have a technician from Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. come out to perform load calculation tests. The tests take things like square footage, insulation value and amount, and more into account to determine your home’s individual HVAC equipment needs. Can frost, ice, dirt or other debris keep the outdoor unit of my cooling system from operating effectively? Yes – debris can affect your system’s ability to function effectively. It’s common for heat pumps to have frost or ice on them during the winter, but many include defrost controls so they can work efficiently regardless of the weather conditions. What is two-stage cooling? When a cooling system uses two-stage cooling, it means that there are two levels of operation. This enables the system to work most effectively since there is one level for milder weather and another for harsher weather that demands the system work harder. Two-stage cooling also enables more even temperatures so you don’t experience extreme differences in temperature. Aside from better efficiency, other benefits of two-stage cooling include quieter operation and improved humidity control. Why is my cooling unit freezing up? When your cooling unit freezes up, there are a couple of reasons why it could be doing so. The most typical reasons include: dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporative coil and a faulty blower motor or relay. A dirty filter is something you can take care of as a homeowner, but the others need to be done by a professional like those at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc.. Contact them at 803-796-9172 with any other questions. What is the best thermostat to use for my cooling system? Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. offers a number of great thermostat options for your HVAC systems. The best thermostat for you will depend on a couple variables, such as whether you want one that’s programmable or not. No matter what kind of thermostat you’d like – or if you’re in the market for something that can fit with a home automation system – call Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. to hear about which thermostats you can choose from. Our team will help you find one that’s right for your system, your family’s needs and your budget. What is a heat pump? A heat pump takes care of both your home’s heating and cooling needs, offering you one HVAC system that can be used year-round. In the warmer months, heat pumps act like an air conditioner, capturing the hot air from inside your home and directing it outside; in the cooler months, this process is reversed. Heat pumps can be very energy efficient and may produce two to three times more heat than the energy used. When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced? At Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc., we do recommend replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time because: Nowadays, outdoor systems are built to work with their matching indoor system for the highest efficiency possible. When you replace just one of your systems, you may not see the same savings on your energy bills as if you had replaced them together. Thanks to technological improvements, newer systems mean improved efficiency. This is true for HVAC products as well. While the advancements focus on improved heating and cooling efficiency, they also include benefits such as better air handling, filtering and noise reduction. If your heating and cooling systems are more than 10 years old, they need to be replaced. Older models have outdated technology that is likely adding to your energy costs due to poor efficiency. So by replacing your indoor system at the same time as your outdoor equipment, both your systems will provide better energy efficiency that helps you lower your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable. Is there a way to tell if my solar HVAC system is performing at its full potential? Yes. Your SunSource® Home Energy System has a communication module that sends the system’s performance data to a website. The website includes information about your system’s status, energy production and environmental benefits, as well as carbon offsets in real time. Does the SunSource® communication module use an Internet connection? Yes, you will need an Internet connection if you want to use the system’s online monitoring system. The system lets you view energy production and environmental information. The monitoring service is provided free of charge for five years, and the performance-monitoring website is provided by an independent third party, Enphase Energy Inc. Do I need to wash my solar modules? Rain will clean the modules naturally in most areas; however, if you live in a dusty area, you could see improved performance after periodically spraying the modules with water. Please note that high-pressure hoses and detergents should never be used to clean solar modules, as they can ruin the product. Which thermostat is best for my heating and cooling system? Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. can help you find the right thermostat for you based on your home and current heating and cooling equipment. We carry a number of programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats, which can help increase the efficiency of your home’s furnace and/or air conditioner. View our thermostats or give us a call at 803-796-9172 for more information. How can I improve my utility expenses? Your HVAC equipment can contribute significantly to your monthly utility bills. However, these costs can be reduced with innovative and high efficiency products from Lennox®. You’ll want to look for high SEER and AFUE ratings when you’re ready to purchase a new air conditioner or furnace, respectively, as higher SEER and AFUE ratings mean higher efficiency products. If you’re not looking for new heating and cooling equipment, consider factors such as: 1. Maintenance: Furnaces, air conditioners and other HVAC equipment operate more efficiently when they are regularly maintained. 2. Zoning: When parts of your home are rarely used, you’re spending more money to heat or cool them to the same temperature as the rest of the house. A zoning system lets you section off different portions of your home and control the temperature by each area. 3. Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats can help you decrease your heating costs by 35 percent and your cooling costs by 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Why should I get a zoning system? A zoning system allows you to parcel your house and heat or cool each space differently. While these systems function well for homes that have rooms that are rarely used, they could also be helpful in situations where you and your family disagree on the temperature in various parts of your house. There are a number of additional bonuses of zoning systems, such as efficiency and comfort. View our selection of zoning systems or give Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. a call to see how a zoning system could benefit your home.