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Service & Maintenance

Alphabet Soup: Deciphering HVAC Terms

Alphabet Soup: Deciphering HVAC Terms

Unless you're a seasoned professional, you probably need help figuring out all the HVAC terms and acronyms. HVAC itself stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, by the way. Here are the meanings behind some common and important HVAC terms:

  • ACCA: Air Conditioning Contractors of America. A nonprofit industry group promoting professionalism, efficiency and healthy indoor air.

  • AHRI: Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. A nonprofit organization that publishes testing and rating standards for air conditioners and heat pumps.

  • BTU: British thermal unit. The standard unit of measurement for heating and A/C capacity.

  • CFC: Chlorofluorocarbon. An ecologically-harmful refrigerant known to harm the ozone.

  • COP: Coefficient of performance. An efficiency ratio measuring heat delivered versus heat used. Higher numbers are better.

  • ERV: Energy recovery ventilator. Saves heat energy from your exhaust air to pre-heat incoming air, and adds water vapor from the exhaust to the incoming air to help maintain consistent humidity indoors.

  • HCFC: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Another refrigerant used in heat pumps and air conditioners. Considered a less harmful alternative to CFCs.

  • HRV: Heat recovery ventilator. Saves energy from your outgoing air; similar to an ERV but without regulating air moisture.

  • HFC: Hydrofluorocarbon. A refrigerant with no or almost no harmful effects on the ozone.

  • HSPF: Heating seasonal performance factor. Measures efficiency relative to the season; higher scores are better.

  • IAQ: Indoor air quality. Refers to condition of indoor air, levels of pollution, etc.

  • NATE: North American Technician Excellence. A testing and certification nonprofit for HVAC technicians.

  • R-22: Refrigerant banned from new machines since 2010 by the EPA for links to global warming and ozone depletion.Will soon be phased out entirely.

  • R-410A: Replacement refrigerant for R-22. Not ecologically hazardous and contains no chlorine.

  • SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio. An efficiency measurement that shows the amount of energy required to cool the air. Higher numbers are better.

It's good to know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to purchasing or repairing HVAC equipment, and learning these HVAC terms will help. For professional assistance with home heating and air conditioning around Broken Arrow, get in touch with Air Assurance. We've been servicing the Tulsa metropolitan area since 1985.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

Air Conditioning, Ductwork, Planned Maintenance, Service & Maintenance, Technicians

HVAC Quotes: Tips For Reviewing Them To Hire Expert HVAC Service

When you’re in need of HVAC service or repair, you may feel pressured to choose a contractor quickly in order to minimize the discomfort suffered by your family. Unfortunately, rushing such a decision can prove costly over the long term, especially if you don’t take the time to compare quotes from competing HVAC contractors. In what seems like a time of desperation, HVAC service quotes can offer some means of control.In order to make a fair comparison of parts and services, you need to have a basic understanding of your heating and cooling components and the terminology used to refer to their parts, functions and efficiency. For example, it pays to know that the SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, on older air conditioners is relatively low compared to today's high-efficiency models, and that replacing a 10-year-old system will likely prove more cost effective than attempting to repair it.Of course, the first and perhaps most obvious item Broken Arrow homeowners notice when reviewing HVAC service quotes is pricing. Unfortunately, many Oklahoma residents mistakenly use pricing as their sole point of comparison. This can be misleading for several reasons. For instance, pricing doesn’t always give a clear indication of:

  • The quality level of different brands

  • Energy-efficiency ratings such as SEER or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)

  • Convenience- and energy-enhancing features such as filter check reminders, thermal expansion valves or R-410A refrigerant

  • The long-term implications of manufacturer and contractor warranties

  • Eligibility for energy-based credits, incentives and rebates from the manufacturer or at the local, state and federal levels

  • What kind of other values does the contractor offer. Anyone can replace boxes, but who takes care of other issues that impact the efficiency and return on investment when installation occurs including duct sizing and sealing

  • Most importantly, how is the contractor standing behind your comfort and reliability in the future?

If not clearly indicated, you should also ask for details regarding costs of service versus costs of equipment. Knowing exactly what you are paying for is the best way to make an educated decision. In comparing HVAC service quotes, you have a chance to weed out less-than-reputable companies who might otherwise take advantage of their position as so-called experts.If you’ve spotted discrepancies in your HVAC service quotes, our NATE-certified technicians are here to answer your questions. For more information regarding the service and repair of your HVAC system, contact Air Assurance today!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!     

Air Conditioning, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Planned Maintenance, Service & Maintenance

Need To Replace An Air Conditioner Quickly? Use These Questions To Get A System In Place Fast

The last thing you need in the heat of an Oklahoma summer is a failed air conditioner. Unfortunately, it can happen, and when it does you need to act quickly to preserve the comfort of your family.Whether you’re currently in need of an air-conditioner replacement or simply thinking ahead, answering certain questions now can help alleviate the hassle of the replacement process:

  • How does your current system limit your replacement options? While air-conditioner replacement is usually a seamless process, you must be sure that components such as existing ductwork are compatible with your new system.

  • Are you financially prepared for an emergency air conditioner replacement? Replacing a failed system can have a major impact on your budget. Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead for just such a situation; if not, we recommend doing so before it’s too late.

  • Do you understand efficiency ratings such as SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio)? An indication of cooling capacity versus seasonal energy consumption, understanding SEER can help guide the decision-making process. If you’re unfamiliar with such terminology, research equipment manuals or refer to our Comfort Blog for help.

  • How large should your air conditioning system actually be? Remember, oversized air conditioners are known for improper system cycling. This leads to unnecessary energy consumption and affects household comfort. If you’re upgrading to a high-efficiency system, be sure to ask for personalized load calculation to ensure optimal system performance.

Despite the immediate nature of an emergency air-conditioner replacement, it’s important to find a qualified contractor to properly install your system. Questions to ask potential contractors include:

  • Are you licensed and insured in the Broken Arrow and Tulsa area?

  • How many years have you been in business?

  • Can you provide customer references?

  • Are your technicians certified by NATE or other nationally recognized organizations?

  • Are you Better Business Bureau Accredited? How do you rate in terms of customer satisfaction?

With more than 30 years of service in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow area, we can assure you that our NATE-certified technicians will provide the expertise and quality of service that you expect and deserve. For more information on how to best handle an air-conditioner replacement, contact Air Assurance Heating & Air Conditioning today.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here.Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Air ducts, Energy Evaluations, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

A High-Efficiency HVAC System Calls For Expert Ductwork Design And Installation

As a homeowner, you most likely understand the importance of sealing and insulating your air ducts to reduce energy loss. Did you also know that ductwork design and installation plays just as important a role in your home’s efficiency? Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates, up to 75 percent of homes could be losing as much as $200 annually due to poorly designed ductwork.Ductwork design done right works hand in hand with your heating and air conditioning system. It should be able to distribute the conditioned air evenly throughout the house.Especially when combined with a high-efficiency system, ducts that aren’t correctly sized can compromise performance. If you’ve recently replaced your HVAC system with a higher efficiency unit, but haven’t updated your ductwork, you could be losing energy.Efficient ductwork design should take into account the floor plan of the house, including potential obstructions, roof hips, fire-walls, and the direction of joists. It should also cater to the specific airflow load required for each room. This helps maintain overall comfort and pressure levels throughout the house.Sheet metal is the most efficient material for ductwork, due to its smooth surface, which facilitates airflow. Another design factor contributing to performance are smooth curves as opposed to sharp angles. Sharp angles can cause the air to “wrinkle,” slowing it down in the system. It’s also important to maintain neutral pressure with return supply vents in every room, or at least one vent in a central location on each floor.As conditioned air moves away from the core of your high efficiency HVAC system, it loses energy. Because it has less energy, it needs a more compact space to move through. That’s why ducts should get smaller as they branch through your home. It keeps air flow circulating without becoming sluggish.Don’t compromise the performance of your high efficiency HVAC system with low efficiency ductwork. Call Air Assurance for expert ductwork design. We'll be happy to give you a professional evaluation, update your ducts, or simply to answer your questions.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Air ducts, Central, Dehumidifiers, Energy Evaluations, Filtration, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Planned Maintenance, Service & Maintenance

Air Filtration Systems: How They Work

A mechanical air filtration system can remove particles of dust, animal dander and dust mites from the air you breathe at home or work, improving your comfort and health. Here's how the filters work:Basic air filtration systems consist of simple panels that cover the intake of furnaces or air vents. The most basic ones are made of fiberglass or polyester and allow air to pass through but trap large particles. Depending on the filter, it is meant to be either replaced or washed periodically.Though these basic filters are effective against dust, smoke and pollen, they don't work to trap harmful molds, bacteria or viruses, which are much smaller and can seep through. This is where High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can come in. HEPA filters more efficiently capture spores and viruses, filtering out nearly all airborne particulates. Despite one drawback -- motorized fans blow the air through HEPA filters, which can be a bit noisy -- they are the most widely used filters on the market.However, technology is advancing every day, and there are some filtration devices that approach HEPA filtration levels, but allow the filtration to happen without the fans and noise.  You can visit www.IQAIR.com to find out more.  We are the only IQAIR dealer in Oklahoma! They've been featured on Extreme Makeover, as filtration devices used for people with hyper-sensitivity, allergies, or problematic lung and heart patients.Another option: UV filters, which can be combined with HEPA filters to make them even more efficient. HEPA filters catch the harmful pollutants in the air, but UV filters neutralize them. They release short-wave ultraviolet light that breaks down the particulates on a molecular level, altering their DNA and killing them.Air Assurance has been servicing the Broken Arrow and Tulsa region for over 30 years. Please feel free to contact us to ask about air filtration systems or any other heating and cooling questions.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.