Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs. O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning in the Main Line can answer all your HVAC-related questions. Before you get on the phone, browse these to see if we already responded to your question online. If you don’t see your question on the list or want more information on a topic, give us a call at 610-257-7035. Our experts can give you the information you’re looking for in an instant. Why does my home comfort system need regular maintenance? Like any product you want to keep in good shape, HVAC equipment requires proper care in order to deliver the best benefits. Trained technicians can service your heating and cooling products to make certain they’re working at their maximum potential and help prevent more pricey repairs in the middle of the hottest or coldest months of the year. Where can I find prices for Lennox products? O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning in the Main Line can price out individual units or multiple home comfort products for you. Call 610-257-7035 to hear more. What is two-stage heating? With two-stage heating, furnaces may work on two different levels: high and low. Since you can heat your home on the low setting a majority of the time, a two-stage furnace can operate longer and more efficiently. Two-stage heating also works more quietly than traditional furnaces and can provide more even heat distribution and fewer temperature swings. What is Precise Comfort™ technology? Precise Comfort™ technology is an operating and control system used in Lennox furnaces. The technology can automatically adjust heat by increments as little as 1 percent, improving energy efficiency and helping you experience more comfort. Will my new furnace work differently than my old one? Modern furnaces are created with a number of innovative features older furnaces don’t have. Today’s heating systems give you more even heating and are better at controlling airflow. Although the air coming out of your vents may seem cooler than your old furnace, the airflow is much better and more efficient. Another perk of modern furnaces is their ability to operate with other HVAC products as part of a high-efficiency whole home comfort system. When combined with a high-efficiency air conditioner, furnace blowers can more easily accommodate add-on cooling. Other innovations, such as Precise Comfort™ technology and variable speed motors, will help your furnace run more efficiently and quieter than ever. What is the energy efficiency standard for air conditioners? The Department of Energy recently boosted the minimum efficiency levels for air conditions, and the standards vary by region. Contact O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning at 610-257-7035 to learn the requirements for the the Main Line area. How can I reduce my energy costs? Heating and cooling makes up a large portion of your monthly utility bill. Getting new 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 decreasing energy output. Beyond these ratings, also consider: Routine maintenance – regularly having a professional tune-up your equipment will keep it working at its highest 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 used regularly. Installing a programmable thermostat – the Department of Energy estimates that a programmable thermostat can reduce 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 away and go back to your preferred temperature when you’re home. Why should I buy a Lennox product? There are many reasons to choose Lennox, but the top three are: Lennox is a name you know and trust – known across the world for quality HVAC products, you can rest assured Lennox will provide you with high quality equipment. Innovative and high quality products – Lennox has been on the cutting edge of innovation in the heating and cooling industry for years. High quality furnaces, air conditioners and home comfort systems include innovative features to help your home stay more comfortable and energy efficient. Reputation of excellence – high quality products are not the only arena Lennox excels in. Lennox dealers, like O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, offer high quality service at all times, from your first consultation to your scheduled maintenance appointments. How can I improve my home’s indoor air quality? Strategies to improve your indoor air quality can be as simple as vacuuming your home to something as large as installing a new ventilation system. Overall, good IAQ involves four strategies: Eliminate – get rid of the pollutants floating in your air by cleaning your home routinely, particularly vacuuming carpet, washing linens and safely storing household chemicals. Ventilate – make sure your home is well-ventilated to move airborne pollutants out of your home. In newer homes, well-done insulation will inhibit ventilation, so Lennox systems such as the Healthy Climate® ventilation system can help. These systems bring fresh air from outside into your home and direct the stale air out. Clean – proper air filters, such as our Healthy Climate® air filters, will make sure the smallest particles don’t get through and are let out into your home. Germicidal lights can kill the germs that do make it through, and purification systems like the PureAir™ will help diminish odors and chemical vapors. Monitor – keep your humidity levels in check with a programmable thermostat. High temperatures and humidity levels can elevate concentrations of mold, mildew and germs. A programmable thermostat will make certain that your home is comfortable without letting humidity get out of control. How do I know which indoor air quality product will work best for my home? Try utilizing our Healthy Solution Finder, where you can select the indoor air quality concerns that affect your home. After you select the items that apply, the system will show the IAQ products that fit your needs. You can also call O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning and walk our techs through some of the problems you experience. They can evaluate your home and needs and provide options and explanations. How does an air conditioner work? You may be surprised to learn that air conditioners don’t technically make your home cooler; they actually remove the hot air and transfer it outside. This hot air is pushed across a refrigerant coil on the indoor unit and then is sent to the outdoor unit where it is released. Your air conditioner moves 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 equipment manufactured prior to that date. The team at O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find out the minimum requirements for the Main Line, let you know if your current equipment 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 will have a white label on it, with your system’s model and serial numbers at the top. M/N signifies the system’s model number and S/N is the serial number. What size equipment do I need for my home? Since equipment size needs differ for each home, the best way to determine the correct size equipment for your home is to have a technician from O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning come out to perform load calculation tests. The tests take factors such as 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 limit your system’s ability to function effectively. It’s normal for heat pumps to have frost or ice on them in 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 systems has two-stage cooling, it means that there are two levels of operation. This allows the system to work more efficiently since there is one level for milder weather and another for harsher weather that demands the system work harder. Two-stage cooling also enables slight temperature changes so you don’t experience extreme differences in temperature. Aside from better efficiency, other benefits of two-stage cooling include quieter operation and enhanced humidity control. Why is my cooling unit freezing up? Your system could be freezing up for a variety of reasons, but the most typical are dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil and/or a faulty blower motor. Changing a filter is something homeowners take care of; however, you’ll want to call the professionals at O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning at 610-257-7035 for other problems or if you have other questions or concerns. What is the best thermostat to use for my cooling system? O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning 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 O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning to hear about which thermostats you can choose from. Our team will help you find one that’s best for your system, your family’s needs and your budget. What is a heat pump? A heat pump can tackle both your home’s heating and cooling needs, offering you one HVAC system that can be used in all four seasons. Throughout the warmer months, heat pumps act like an air conditioner, capturing the hot air from inside your home and moving 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 it uses. When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced? At O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, we do recommend replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time because: Outdoor systems are now built to work with their matching indoor system for maximum efficiency. When you replace one system but not the other, you may not see the same energy savings as if you had replaced them together. Thanks to technological advancements, newer systems mean increased efficiency. This is also true for HVAC systems. While the advancements focus on higher heating and cooling efficiency, they also include benefits such as better air handling, filtering and noise reduction. If your heating and cooling systems are 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 reduce your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable. Can I see whether my solar HVAC system is performing at its highest potential? Yes. Your SunSource® Home Energy System has a communication module that transfers the system’s performance data to a website. The website shows 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 utilize the system’s online monitoring system. The system enables you to view energy production and environmental information. The monitoring service is provided free for five years, and the performance-monitoring website is maintained by an independent third party, Enphase Energy Inc. Do I need to clean my solar modules? Rain will clean the modules by itself in most areas; however, if you live in a dusty area, you may 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 harm the product. Which thermostat is best for my HVAC system? O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find the right thermostat for you based on your home and current heating and cooling equipment. We have a variety of programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats, which can help enhance the efficiency of your home’s furnace and/or air conditioner. Browse our thermostats or give us a call at 610-257-7035 for more information. How can I improve my utility costs? Your furnace and air conditioner can contribute significantly to your monthly utility bills. However, these costs can be decreased with innovative and high efficiency products from Lennox®. Keep an eye out for high SEER and AFUE ratings when you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or furnace, respectively, as higher SEER and AFUE ratings mean higher efficiency products. If you’re not purchasing new heating and cooling equipment, consider factors such as: 1. Maintenance: Furnaces, air conditioners and other HVAC equipment run 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 may help you lower your heating costs by 35 percent and your cooling costs by 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Why should I buy a zoning system? A zoning system enables you to parcel your home and heat or cool each area differently. While these systems function well for houses that have parts that are infrequently visited, they can also be great in situations where you and your family disagree on the temperature in various areas of your home. There are a variety of additional benefits of zoning systems, including efficiency and comfort. Browse our selection of zoning systems or give O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning a ring to see how a zoning system could work for your home.