FAQ


Air Conditioning

How does an air conditioner work?
An air conditioner seems as if it cools your home’s air, but it actually makes your home less warm by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring that heat to the outdoor air.

Heat is extracted from the home by passing indoor air across a refrigerant coil in the indoor unit. Refrigerant lines then carry the heat to the outdoor unit, where it is released into the outside air. The cooling cycle continues until the indoor temperature reaches the thermostat setting.

What do all those air conditioner and heat pump ratings mean?
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher the SEER rating, the less your unit will cost to operate.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a measurement similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.

What is two-stage cooling?
Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.

What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable. During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.

Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

Why should I zone my house?
A zoning system is designed for the many ways you use your home. Maybe you’re caught up in family “thermostat wars?” Or perhaps you have unoccupied areas that do not need conditioning? A Lennox® zoning system allows you to divide your home into separate areas, giving you the comfort and control you’ve always wanted.The main benefits of residential zoning are:

Comfort
Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one area, without affecting other areas.

Efficiency
A properly designed zoning system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year.

Control
Zoning divides the home into different areas and comfort into different levels, giving you more choices and control than ever before.

Quiet Performance
When integrated with variable speed and/or two-stage HVAC systems, zoning allows your heating and cooling equipment to deliver peak performance and efficiency without continually operating at peak capacity. Lower speeds mean lower sound levels.

How can I confirm the model and serial numbers for my cooling system?
The model and serial numbers for your cooling system can be found on the nameplate or sticker, located near the service panel. The nomenclature sticker should have a white background with black letters.
Why is my system freezing up?
There are several factors that can cause system freezing. Most need to be corrected by ACE. One thing you can do to prevent or correct this problem is to make sure the filter is clean or replaced. You can check to see if airflow is restricted.

Dirty filter
After replacing or cleaning the filter, you can speed up the thawing process by turning the system off and turning on the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact ACE to correct the problem.Low refrigerant
In some cases, freezing is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, open valves or loose fittings are all factors that can cause leaks. When determining whether to have the system repaired or replaced, the age of the system and the nature and location of the leak are important considerations.

Dirty evaporator coil
Over time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. When this happens, you will begin to lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or cooling performance is compromised. At this point, you will need to contact ACE to correct the problem.

Defective blower motor or relay
A blower motor not running at the proper speed or not running at all is another factor that can cause freezing. Motor operation may be intermittent, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or, a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to contact ACE to correct the problem.

When replacing a outdoor unit of an air conditioner or heat pump, should the indoor unit also be replaced?
The answer is most likely YES, but this is mainly due to a few main reasons:

Matched system design
All outdoor cooling units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance. Air conditioner and heat pumps may “work” with other indoor units, but the result is a definite compromise in overall system performance.

Design advances
In recent years, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances—especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.

Higher cooling and heating efficiency The cooling and/or heating efficiency rating assigned to a given air conditioner or heat pump is based on matched system performance. While you may gain higher efficiency by replacing only the outdoor unit, the efficiency levels (and savings) will not be as high as with a matched system.

Equipment age If an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear. Replacing both units means you won’t have to replace the indoor unit in a short time—you’ll have years of service from both units.

New warranty
A new unit also gives you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit gives you added peace of mind, knowing the new warranty covers the entire system.

Cost savings
At first, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain. That is, until you consider the lower efficiency, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership associated with single-unit replacement. It may cost more to replace an entire system, but this gives you more efficiency, reliability and comfort.

What can you tell me about air conditioning refrigerants?
Refrigerants are what make air conditioning possible. Contained within the coils of an air conditioning system, these agents make it possible to cool and dehumidify indoor air. Today, there are several types of refrigerants used in air-conditioning systems. The most common is R22, which will be phased out over the coming years in response to international environmental concerns. Though the transition away from R22 is just beginning, ACE is one step ahead with a full line of products that use a more responsible, chlorine-free refrigerant.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.
During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

Energy Efficiency

Should I be concerned about new energy-efficiency standards?
Heating and cooling your home can represent as much as 44% of your utility bill.* With high efficiency ratings and innovative, industry-leading technology, Lennox® home comfort systems can go a long way toward reducing these costs.
How can I control energy costs?
Heating and cooling your home can represent as much as 44% of your utility bill.* With high efficiency ratings and innovative, industry-leading technology, Lennox® home comfort systems can go a long way toward reducing these costs.When selecting a new system, pay close attention to the SEER rating of the air conditioner and AFUE of the furnace. The higher the SEER or AFUE, the higher the savings.Beyond efficiency ratings, other factors to consider are:Maintenance You can ensure your system operates at peak performance by scheduling annual preventative maintenance checks.

Zoning A zoning system can drastically lower your heating and cooling costs. With zoning, you no longer have to pay to heat or cool areas of your home that are rarely used.

Programmable Thermostats According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating costs by up to 35% and cooling costs by up to 25%.

For more energy-saving solutions, contact ACE.

*According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network

What is two-stage cooling?
Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.
What is two-stage heating?
Two-stage heating means the furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and provides more even heat distribution.Longer, low-capacity operation has many advantages:
Consistent comfortTwo-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with standard furnaces, regulating temperature to within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting.Quiet operation Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, when the amount of heat required is lower, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there’s no sudden “kick” or blast of air.

Improved air filtration
Low-speed operation allows your filters to capture more contaminants (because air is constantly passing through them), so you can breathe easier.

Efficient performance
Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a standard furnace that always runs at full capacity and shuts off when the heating demand has been met.


Furnaces

What are furnace ratings?
Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.Like the miles-per-gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. If your furnace is 10 – 15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy.This doesn’t mean that you should only select a furnace based on its AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking for a new furnace.Furnaces use electricity to run fans and motors. The amount of electricity used varies greatly depending on the type of furnace. Be sure to check electricity usage prior to making a purchase decision.
Will my new furnace work differently than my old one?
Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.Like the miles-per-gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. If your furnace is 10 – 15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy.This doesn’t mean that you should only select a furnace based on its AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking for a new furnace.Furnaces use electricity to run fans and motors. The amount of electricity used varies greatly depending on the type of furnace. Be sure to check electricity usage prior to making a purchase decision.
What is a variable speed furnace?
The term “variable speed” refers to the furnace’s indoor blower motor, which moves at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated and cooled air throughout your home. Better airflow control has several benefits:Electrical efficiencyVariable speed motors can actually save you money on your energy bills, as they consume less electricity than standard motors.Cooling efficiencyVariable speed technology also means you will gain heating efficiency or AFUE.Zoning Variable speed motors are excellent for zoning, which allows you to customize your comfort in different areas of your home and control your energy bills.

Air quality
A variable speed motor can also help clean the air in your home. When the fan is in constant operation (indicated by the “Fan” setting on your thermostat), the motor will continue to slowly circulate air, allowing filters to capture more contaminants.

Humidity control
A variable speed motor combined with a ComfortSense 7000 programmable thermostat Home Comfort Control allows you to control the amount of humidity in your home for improved indoor air quality and comfort.

Can I use my chimney with my new furnace?
Furnace technology has advanced significantly in recent years, raising concerns over chimney use. As a result of changing technology, many existing masonry chimneys aren’t able to meet the specific demands of new furnaces.There are several reasons for this furnace-chimney incompatibility. First, the size of the chimney can be an issue. Modern, higher-efficiency furnaces transfer more heat into your home and less heat up the chimney than older, less-efficient units. While this means more efficiency for your energy dollar, it also means that the existing chimney might be too large for the new furnace. The result could be improper ventilation of flue products, which can cause condensation problems inside the chimney.Other considerations include chimney height and location, proper lining and condition of the chimney. Building codes must also be kept in mind to ensure proper draft in the chimney for adequate ventilation.For the best advice on how to configure your new furnace, contact ACE today.

Indoor Air Quality

What causes indoor air pollution?
Many everyday household items contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric consistently emit gas or fumes. Other sources of pollutants can include, but are not limited to, cleaning agents, paints and personal care products.Also, newer homes that are tightly sealed for energy efficiency tend to limit air circulation, which can contribute to a buildup of contaminants. Likewise, things like weather stripping and storm doors keep stale air in and fresh air out.
What is indoor air quality?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90% of their time indoors, so clean indoor air is very important.
What can I do myself to enhance my home's air quality?
There are several everyday steps you can take to reduce the pollutants circulating in your home, including:

1. Store household cleaners, paint solvents and chemical products in tightly sealed containers. If possible, keep them outdoors.

2. Clean and vacuum at least once a week.

3. Regularly wash bed linens and stuffed toys.

4. Keep windows closed when pollen, pollution and humidity levels are high.

5. Ask you local Healthy Climate dealer to test the air in your home for dust, pollen, chemicals and other pollutants (data is evaluated by an independent testing agency).

6. Make sure your home is properly ventilated. (Modern homes are well insulated and sealed to conserve energy, which means airborne pollutants have no way to escape).

7. Keep humidity levels within a healthy, comfortable range to prevent growth of mold and mildew (25% – 55%).

8. Avoid using scented deodorizers and odor-masking air fresheners, which may cause toxic chemicals.

9. Have your HVAC system regularly inspected to make sure it is clean and in good operating condition.

10. Choose furnishings that emit the smallest possible amount of chemical vapors.

11. Do not allow smoking inside your home and make sure all gas appliances are properly vented.

Is there anything you can do about lingering odors?
You may have tried to get rid of odors in your home by spraying air fresheners or lighting candles. The problem with these methods is that they only mask the odors—they don’t get rid of them. In fact, they may even cause further contamination of the home due with chemical ingredients.

Improve ventilation
What causes the lingering odors? Sometimes, poor ventilation in a home causes unpleasant odors. Moisture condensation on walls or windows and stuffy air are signs of poor ventilation. A qualified service technician can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is indeed the problem, and the technician can also inform you whether or not your equipment is working properly.

Purify the air
Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home’s odor problem. You can reduce these odor-causing contaminants with a germicidal (UV) light, which inhibit the growth of biological contaminants, sterilizing surfaces in the HVAC system. Germicidal lights are designed to work with your home comfort system.Activated carbon and microbiocide-treated filters can also purify your home’s air. Both the carbon and the microbiocide-treated filters remove odor and kill bacteria. The carbon filters are more effective at removing odor, and the microbiocide-treated filters trap bacteria as the air is pulled through, which inhibits biological contaminants from growing.

Electronic air cleaners clean the air by taking recirculated air and passing it through a prefilter that traps large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to remaining particles. The particles are collected by a negatively charged collecting section. Pollutants pass through an optional carbon filter that absorbs unwanted odors.

To find out which indoor air quality products are right for you, contact ACE today.

Why is ventilation important for proper indoor air quality?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90% of their time indoors, so clean indoor air is very important.
What are the benefits of clean air?
Allergies and asthma are two health problems that can be helped with clean indoor air. When airborne irritants are removed, allergy and asthma sufferers often find relief from their symptoms. Even healthy people who have never suffered from allergies can benefit from clean air. Dust, smoke and other particles float around in the air, causing your drapes and furniture to gather dust. By removing airborne dust particles, you reduce the amount of exposure your respiratory system has to them.