Why should I replace my existing heating or air conditioning system?

You may wish to consider replacing your air conditioning or heating system if it is old, inefficient or in need of repair. Today’s systems are as much as 60% more efficient than those systems manufactured as little as ten years ago. In addition, if not properly maintained, wear and tear on a system can reduce the actual or realized efficiency of the system. If you are concerned about utility bills or are faced with an expensive component. The utility cost savings of a new unit may provide an attractive return on investment. If you are plan on financing the purchase, the monthly savings on your utility bill should be considered when determining the actual monthly cost of replacing the system. The offsetting savings may permit you to purchase a more efficient system.

How expensive are air conditioning and heat pump systems?

Many factors affect the cost of a heating or air conditioning system, including the size of the home, the type and condition of the ductwork installed and accessories you might need such as a thermostat or an electronic air cleaner. We have a complete range of systems and accessories available to meet your needs, including your financial ones! Your local contractor will be happy to assist you in finding the right system to meet not only your comfort needs but your household budget. You can find a recommended Winsupply contractor by going to our contractor locator section.

What are some preventative maintenance things I should be aware of?

With the proper attention, heating and cooling systems can keep you comfortable year-round. Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces and boilers need a yearly professional tune-up. Gas-fired equipment, on the other hand, burns cleaner and can be serviced every other year. A close inspection will uncover leaks, soot, rust, rot, corroded electrical contacts and frayed wires. In furnace (forced-air) and boiler (hydronic or hot water) systems, the inspection should also cover the chimney, ductwork or pipes, dampers or valves, blower or pumps, registers or baseboard (radiators), the fuel line and the gas meter or oil tank as well as every part of the furnace or boiler itself.

*Blower
Tuning up the distribution side of a forced-air system starts with the blower. The axle should be lubricated, blades cleaned and lower motor checked to insure the unit isn’t being overloaded. The fan fan belt should be adjusted so it deflects no more than an inch when pressed. Every accessible joint in the ductwork should be sealed with a UL-approved duct tape. Any ducts that run outside the heated space should be insulated. On a hot-water system, the expansion tank should be drained, the circulating pump cleaned and lubricated and bleeding the air out of the system (baseboard, radiators or radiant tubing).

*Thermostat
While thermostats rarely fail outright, they can degrade over time as mechanical parts stick or lose their calibration. Older units will send faulty signals if they’ve been knocked out of level or have dirty switches. Contact your local contractor to recalibrate or test your unit to determine if fixable or worth replacing. Modern thermostats will offer rebates from federal or local utiliy company programs. Modern electronic thermostats, sealed at the factory to keep out dust and grime, rarely need adjusting. However, whether your thermostat is older or new, the hole where the thermostat wire comes through the wall needs to be caulked, or a draft can trick the unit into thinking the room is colder or warmer than it really is.

*Humidifier
A neglected in-duct humidifier can breed mildew and bacteria, not to mention add too much moisture to the house. A common mistake is leaving the humidifier on after the heating season ends. Don’t forget to pull the plug, shut the water valve and drain the unit. If this hasn’t been done in some time, contact your local contractor for a whole house IAQ (indoor air quality) test to ensure you do not have air issues that can be harmful to all inhabitants. Whether it is a unit with a water reservoir or a mist type, they should be regularly drained and cleaned to remove any mineral deposits.

*Filters
Most houses with forced-air furnaces have a standard furnace filter made from loosely woven spun glass fibers designed to keep it and its ductwork clean. Unfortunately they do not improve indoor air quality. That takes a media filter, which sits in between the main return duct and the blower cabinet. Made of deeply pleated, paper-like material, media filters are at least seven times better than a standard filter at removing dust and other particles. An upgrade to a pleated filter will cleanse the air of everything from insecticide dust to flu viruses. Compressed media filters are usually no wider than six inches, but the pleated material can cover up to 75 square feet when stretched out. This increased area of filtration accounts for the filters long life, which can exceed two years depending on the space. The only draw back to the media filter is it’s tight weave, which can restrict the ability a furnace’s ability to blow air through the space. To insure a steady, strong airflow through the space, select a filter that matches well with your blower’s capacity.

*Duct Cleaning
A maze of heating and air conditioning ducts runs inside the walls and floors of 80 percent of American homes. As the supply ducts blow air into the rooms, return ducts inhale airborne dust and suck it back into the blower. Add moisture to this mixture and you’ve got a breeding ground for allergy-inducing molds, mites and bacteria. Many filters commonly used today can’t keep dust and debris from streaming into the air and over time sizable accumulations form. Clean HVAC systems perform more efficiently, which may reduce energy costs and increase the life of your system and reducing the need for costly repairs. To find out if your ducts need cleaning, pull off some supply and return registers and take a look to see if there is any build up. And always get a duct cleaning before installing a new furnace. Duct cleaning is highly recommended if the occupants have allergies.

How do I select the right heating/cooling system?

First, contact your local contractor and make sure the unit is properly sized. Your local Winsupply dealer will provide a load calculation for your home. Also ask the contractor to provide an energy analysis to determine operating cost. Next, consider any comfort issues in the home. Some products can reduce air stratification and uneven temperatures from room to room. Finally, know your budget parameters and the efficiency of the system being proposed. Does the system offer a payback? In other words, will the monthly savings over time offset the cost of the new unit or efficiency option being considered?

What is involved in replacing an old system?

Aside from the placement of the new equipment, your contractor will inspect several items and make a determination of whether or not they need to be replaced. Some of the items include: ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, registers, filters, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil.

How long can I expect a new system to last?

If you have a qualified contractor perform regular preventative maintenance and service suggested for your unit, industry averages suggest that an air conditioner should last 12-15 years (coastal applications may be less) and a gas furnace or boiler should last as many as 20-30 years.

Should I change my indoor coil?

When replacing your air conditioner or heat pump. The efficiency ratings that are advertised for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on the performance as part of a matched system. If only the outdoor portion is changed, the efficiency and savings could be less than that of a matched system.

Where do I get replacement parts?

Always contact your licensed HVAC contractor to diagnose any issue you think you may have and they will make sure the right part is ordered and installed properly.

What is my warranty on new equipment?

All equipment that Winsupply carries have their own specific written warranty. Please contact anyone in our inside or outside sales team and they will be able to get you the proper paperwork for your equipment.

Where do I find a reputable contractor?

Go to our Contractor locator section for a list of licensed and insured contractors in your area.