heat pumps

HVAC System

Different HVAC Types and Their Benefits

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Driven to boost the efficiency levels in American homes and businesses, the HVAC industry over the last decade has revolutionized HVAC equipment so that it runs cleaner, more efficiently and delivers greater comfort than ever. If you're poised to replace your HVAC system and are planning to shop around among the various HVAC types, read this brief summary on the latest trends.

1. Forced Air/Central Air

The most common type of heating and cooling system, forced air/central air has come a long way. Air is heated or cooled and then delivered through a system of ducts, and distributed through various vents and registers. New technology has vastly improved this type of system, and includes condensing furnaces, modulating air handler fans, scrolling compressors, as well as smart thermostats so you can adjust the temperature when you're away.

2. Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are taking more market share in the cooling and heating industry, as their ability to heat in colder climates is improved. Heat pumps move warm air from the outdoors into the home to heat it, then move warm air from the home outside to cool it. Heat pumps are efficient and clean to run. They generally employ ductwork to distribute conditioned air. Some efficient features available for heat pumps are two- or variable-speed motors for air handlers; two-speed or scrolling compressors to regulate output and backup burners to boost the heat pump's ability to heat during cooler weather.

3. Ductless Mini Splits

As the name implies, ductless mini splits don't require ducts, bur distribute air through air handlers placed around the house. They are a kind of heat pump, so are efficient and clean to run. These are a good choice for a home that has never had ductwork installed.

4. Geothermal systems

Geothermal systems are heat pumps that move heat from the ground or water source into the home for heating and out of the home for cooling. The configuration of your property will be a factor in determining if you can accommodate a geothermal system.

For more on the various HVAC types, contact Air Assurance.

HVAC system

Typical Lifespan of HVAC Components

Typical Lifespan of HVAC Components

Your HVAC isn't just some of your home's most expensive equipment, it's also crucial for your family's comfort, so it makes good sense to know how long you can expect it to last.

HVAC lifespan typically ranges from 10 to 25 years, and it varies depending on the equipment type:

Gas furnaces can last for 15-25 years. Most often, they need replacement due to issues like cracks or corrosion of the most expensive component, the heat exchanger. Split-system air conditioners have lifespans of 7-20 years. The summers here in Oklahoma mean that A/Cs get a lot of use, so they may need replacement sooner due to coil corrosion or compressor failure. Heat pumps and ductless mini-splits can last for up to 25 years. Since these units heat and cool, year-round use may shorten their service life.

Other Factors that Impact HVAC Component Lifespan

Beyond the type of equipment, these additional factors can affect the life expectancy of your home's HVAC components:

Initial quality.

Equipment that's cheaply built is less likely to last over the long term, and it can also have construction or design flaws that shorten its life.

Sizing accuracy and installation.

For a long lifespan, HVAC equipment needs to be sized correctly for your home, and installed with care to the manufacturer's specific requirements.

Preventive maintenance.

HVAC components are like any other kind of mechanical equipment: they perform better, break down less often and last longer when they receive timely preventive maintenance.

Ways to Maximize HVAC Lifespan

Here's some advice to help you prevent life-shortening problems in new HVAC equipment or your current components:Only hire a reputable HVAC contractor when you purchase new equipment. This ensures that a load calculation is done to size the capacity correctly, and the manufacturer's specifications and best practices are followed during installation.Invest in twice-yearly preventive maintenance over your equipment's lifespan so it stays in the best possible working condition.

For expert installations and maintenance to help the comfort equipment in your Broken Arrow home reach or exceed the typical HVAC lifespan, contact us today at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Efficiency

Regional Efficiency Standards: A Settlement Has Been Reached

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Recently, regional efficiency standards for HVAC equipment have been changed by the industry and the Department of Energy. Let's go over what this means for your household.

In 2006, the standard SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for air conditioners and heat pumps was raised from 10 to 13. In 2010, equipment manufacturers partnered with efficiency specialists to develop new regional efficiency standards, accounting for different climate conditions throughout the US. In the South and Southwest, SEER requirements were raised to 14, while they remained at 13 in the North.

Equivalent regional efficiency standards and adjustments have also been set for other equipment, such as gas furnaces.

However, the proposed January 2015 adjustments posed a few issues for manufacturers and distributors, so a new agreement has been reached with the DOE. It affects different equipment and regions in different ways.

Before we jump into the new rules, let’s go over a few terms. SEER we’ve already discussed. HSPF is related to heat pump efficiency, and stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. AFUE is for furnaces, and stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.

These new regional efficiency standards apply to all equipment manufactured after January 2015.

  • Split system air conditioners: SEER 14 (This number applies specifically to the South, including Oklahoma.)

  • Single package air conditioners: SEER 14

  • Split system heat pumps: SEER 14, HSPF 8.2

  • Single package heat pumps: SEER 14, HSPF 8.0

  • Small-duct, high-velocity systems: SEER 13, HSPF 7.7

  • Space-constrained air conditioners and heat pumps: SEER 12 (Heat pumps must meet an HSPF of 7.4.)

  • Gas-fired furnaces: AFUE 80%

While these numbers will become regional efficiency standards as of January 2015, there’s an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell through equipment manufactured before then.

These developments don't mean you’ll be forced to upgrade your equipment. They do mean that if you purchase new equipment made in 2015 or later, it will comply with these standards, saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment.

Let us know if you have questions. Air Assurance has been serving the Greater Tulsa metro area since 1985, and we’ll be happy to help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Duct System

Ductless Mini Splits: 6 Benefits And Year-Round Comfort, Too

Ductless Mini Splits: 6 Benefits And Year-Round Comfort, Too

If you have a space in your home that's difficult to heat or cool, or you're planning an addition to your home, consider ductless mini splits. These systems are heat pumps that don't require any ductwork to distribute the conditioned air. These systems remove the heat from your home in the summer and harvest it from the air outdoors in the winter to heat your home. These systems provide these benefits:

  1. Easy installation. The two components of mini splits are the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. They connect with a conduit that carries the refrigerant, power supply and drain pipe.

  2. Space-saving. Since ductless mini splits don't use ducts, they free up space, an important consideration if you're planning an addition and don't want to lose space to house ductwork.

  3. Energy efficient. Mini splits have to meet the same energy efficiency standards as heat pumps. The cooling efficiency must meet 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and the heating minimum is 7.7 HSPF (heating season performance factor). In our region, choosing a mini split that has a scroll compressor increases the heating capacity, along with the HSPF, which can increase the heat by 10 to 15 degrees. Each air handler has its own temperature controls, making this type of system even more energy efficient, since you can shut off the conditioning for rooms you're not using. Most systems achieve 16 SEER plus, and some even reach over 20!!

  4. Versatile. The air handlers can sit on the floor, be placed on a wall or hung from the ceiling. Larger condensers can support up to four separate air handlers, making it possible to extend your system in the future.

  5. Quiet. Most of the noise a mini split creates is outdoors and since they don't require ductwork, there's no noise created by air rushing through ducts.

  6. Secure. Unlike wall or window air conditioners, there's no possibility of anyone intruding into your home through the small hole for the conduit.

If you'd like to learn more about ductless mini splits, contact Air Assurance. We've provided HVAC services for Broken Arrow for more than 30 years.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Heat Pumps

Four Facts That Prove Heat Pumps Are A Viable HVAC Option

Four Facts That Prove Heat Pumps Are A Viable HVAC Option

If you are curious about heat pumps, but don't know whether they are a viable option for your Tulsa-area home, we have a few facts that might pique your interest.

  • They work for both heating and air conditioning. Heat pumps may deal with heat, as the name suggests, but that doesn't mean they are useful only during the winter. They can pump heat into your house, but they can also pump heat out of it. And removing heat from a house is actually how all air conditioning systems work, because "cold" is not a thing you can produce; "cold" is simply the absence of heat. So, one heat pump can replace both your furnace and air conditioner.

  • They are the most energy-efficient way to both heat and cool a Green Country home. Because of how heat pumps work -- merely moving heat, rather than creating or destroying heat -- they use less energy than any other type of HVAC system. That means you'll be spending less on your utility bills year round.

  • There is more than one type of heat pump to choose from. Some heat pumps exchange heat with the air outside your house, and are referred to as "air-source" systems. Others exchange heat with the ground, and are known as "ground-source" or "geothermal" systems. Air-source systems carry a lower upfront cost, whereas geothermal systems offer bigger energy savings to offset their higher installation costs. However, there are also different types of geothermal installations, and some are less expensive than others.

  • They last a very long time. When we talk about the long-term savings offered by heat pump systems, we really mean long term. Ground-source heat pumps can last several years longer than comparable HVAC systems, and the parts of a geothermal system that are located below ground can last for over 40 years. So, even if it has a higher installation cost, a heat pump can end up saving you money through years of lower energy bills.

If you would like to learn more about heat pump options for your home, contact the experts at Air Assurance in Broken Arrow. We'd be happy to answer your questions.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our websiteto see our current promotionsand get started today!     

Geothermal

Factors To Consider If You Want To Make The Switch To Geothermal

Considering making the switch to a geothermal heat pump system?If so, you are probably making a wise decision. Geothermal, or ground-source, heat pumps offer many benefits, and their exceptional energy efficiency and durability make them a good long-term investment. However, there are a few factors to weigh before making a final decision on which type of system to install.Before making the switch to geothermal, you should first consider:

  • The amount of land available - Geothermal heat pumps are energy efficient because they can pump heat to or from the ground, utilizing long loops of buried pipe to do so. Though it is possible to fit these pipe loops in almost any size yard, a larger land area allows the loops to be buried horizontally just a few feet underground. A small yard may require the loops to be sunk vertically, up to several hundred feet deep--which increases digging costs.

  • Landscaping costs - Installing the loops horizontally may be cheaper, but if digging trenches across your yard would interfere with existing landscaping, a vertical installation (which disturbs little of the surface soil) may still be your best bet.

  • The type of soil - Some kinds of soil are better at transferring heat between the pipes and the ground, which means less pipe (and less digging) is required.

  • Nearby water sources - If you have a pond or lake next to your house, it may be possible to simply submerge the pipe loops under water. This is generally much cheaper than digging and burying the loops under your yard.

  • Open loop options - Similarly, an open loop system minimizes digging by simply pumping water to and from the body of water (or the ground itself, if your property supports groundwater wells). This eliminates the long loops of pipe are otherwise needed.

  • Tax credits - When doing the math on a ground-source system, remember that the 30 percent tax credit on geothermal installations is still in effect (through 2016). Also available, are rebates from PSO, or other local utility providers.

If you have questions about any of this, feel free to contact the heat pump experts at Air Assurance in Broken Arrow. We would be happy to help.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our current promotions and get started today!     

Heat Pumps, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Service & Maintenance

Are Heat Pumps A Good Choice For Homeowners In Tulsa and The Broken Arrow Region?

Are Heat Pumps A Good Choice For Homeowners In Tulsa and The Broken Arrow Region?

In the past, many people didn't consider a heat pump as a viable option for heating homes in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow region of Oklahoma. Winters can be cold and older heat pumps weren't as efficient at extracting enough heat from the air when temperatures dropped below freezing. New engineering advances in the technology have made these units an attractive option, even for people living where winters are typically cold. The average low in January, the coldest month in this part of Oklahoma, is 27 degrees with highs in the mid-40s, making a new heat pump an attractive option for heating and cooling. A modern heat pump can extract enough heat to warm a house, even at temperatures as cold as 25 degrees without needing auxiliary heating.Heat pumps use refrigerant to both heat and cool the home. When the appliance is set on heat, the extracted heat from the air is compressed, which superheats the refrigerant. The heated refrigerant goes into the air handler where the heat transfer coils sit. When the air handler blows over the coils, the air warms and blows through ductwork inside the home. In the summer, the heat pump reverses the cycle, taking the hot indoor air and losing the heat to the atmosphere.These units are among the most energy efficient to use since they extract heat from the air to either heat or cool the interior. A heat pump can provide 30,000 BTUs using 3.4 kW, while an electric heater using 3.4 kW provides just 11,560 BTUs. People living in climates even colder than Oklahoma have turned to heat pumps to heat during in the fall and spring. Some of the units have auxiliary heating elements that turn on when temperatures dip below 25 degrees and others have supplemental heating chambers that use gas, propane or oil.If you want to learn more about the heating and cooling advantages that a heat pump offers, contact Air Assurance. We can answer your questions about the best ways to keep your home comfortable all year long.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our websiteto see our current promotionsand get started today!      Heat pump image via Shutterstock

Heat Pumps, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Service & Maintenance

Here's What You Should Do If Your Heat Pump Is Not Working Properly

During the cold winter months, you depend on your heat pump to be efficient and reliable. That said, it is a wise move to familiarize yourself with the most effective methods of troubleshooting heat pumps for when disaster does strike and your system does not function properly.Here are the primary steps you can take to test and assess your heat pump equipment:

  • If your heat pump is failing to turn on, try pressing the "Reset" switch located on your unit.

  • Verify that your thermostat is set specifically on "heat" mode. It should also be noted that if the temperature of your home and the temperature your thermostat is set for are within several degrees of each other your system might not operate; try adjusting your thermostat to a higher setting in this case.

  • Try turning the fan switch on your thermostat to "on". This allows you to test if your system is receiving power. If activity is not detected, check the fuses and circuit breaker for issues. If power turns out to not be the issue, you could plagued by a bad capacitor or blower motor within your heat pump.

  • Heat pumps -- as with all HVAC equipment -- are very reliant on clean air filters. If you notice your system is running for a very short time before shutting down, check the air filter for cleanliness. Changing your filter once a month is suggested.

  • Airflow issues can contribute to the causes of improperly functioning heat pumps. Confirm that furnishings or other objects in your home are not obstructing supply air registers or return air grilles.

  • Check your outdoor unit for ice buildup; contact a professional for service if any is noticed.

If after performing these checks the problem still has not been isolated, the best solution is to bring in a licensed expert to troubleshoot your system.For expert heat pump service and advice, contact Air Assurance today. We pride ourselves in serving the fine folks of the Broken Arrow/Tulsa area of Oklahoma.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our current promotions and get started today!     

Furnaces, Geothermal

Six Reasons Why You Should Consider Using A Geothermal Unit To Heat And Cool Your Home

Six Reasons Why You Should Consider Using A Geothermal Unit To Heat And Cool Your Home

If you are tired of dealing with rising power costs, noisy heating systems and frequent furnace breakdowns, the answer to your problems could be hidden right beneath your feet. By taking advantage of the stable temperatures found just beneath the surface of the earth, geothermal heat pumps provide one of the most reliable, energy efficient heating and cooling solutions.Some of the main benefits of geothermal systems include the following:

  1. Quieter operation. Standard heat pumps and air conditioners rely on noisy outdoor condenser units. Geothermal systems, on the other hand, don't require outdoor units, allowing them to heat and cool your home with far less noise than their traditional counterparts.

  2. Improved energy efficiency. Rather than burning fuel, these systems extract the heat that is found naturally in the ground, making them one of the most energy efficient heating and cooling options available.

  3. Better for the environment. Geothermal heating and cooling systems do not give off greenhouse gases, making them one of the most eco-friendly choices for environmentally conscious homeowners and businesses.

  4. Longer lifespan, less maintenance. These systems have a much longer lifespan than conventional furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners, meaning that they will need to be replaced less often. Not only that, but because they have very few moving parts, they are also less prone to breakdowns than other types of heating and cooling equipment.

  5. Improved safety. Unlike typical furnaces, geothermal heat pumps don’t give off harmful gases like carbon monoxide, making them a much safer option for you and your loved ones.

  6. Lower power bills. These units consume far less power than traditional heating and cooling methods, making them a good choice for lowering your power costs. In fact, despite their relatively high installation costs, one of these systems can easily pay for itself through energy savings over just a few short years.

If you live in eastern Oklahoma and would like to learn more about how installing one of these systems can save you money and improve the comfort of your home, please contact us at Air Assurance.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. Visit our websiteto see our current promotionsand get started today!      Photo courtesy ofShutterstock.