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HVAC Parts And Terminology That Every Homeowner Should Know

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HVAC Parts And Terminology That Every Homeowner Should KnowThe heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one of the most important parts of any home. It keeps a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, making the environment comfortable year round.

Because this system is so important, homeowners should know some of the basic parts involved in its operation as well as the common terminology used to discuss HVAC systems. Knowing these things will allow homeowners to more easily recognize and diagnose problems, enable them to fix some simple issues themselves, and allow them to more effectively communicate with HVAC professionals when needed.

Common HVAC Parts

Every HVAC system is set up slightly differently to allow for various building sizes and layouts. However, they all serve the same function and thus have several common parts. There are eight parts to all HVAC setups that homeowners should know about:

  1. The furnace is one of the largest single parts of the system. It’s usually installed in its own particular space within a building, often in the basement, the attic, or a closet. Despite common belief, the furnace isn’t the part that creates heat; it’s only responsible for pushing air – hot or cold – through the ducts and into the rest of the home.
  1. Heat exchanger. This is the part that actually warms a house. The heat exchanger is housed inside of the larger furnace unit. When it’s turned on, air is sucked into the heat exchanger from outside of the house or through specific vents inside (these vents are known as cold air return chases). Once the air is in the heat exchanger, it’s rapidly heated and then blown out through the ductwork and into the house.
  1. Evaporator coil. This part is normally housed ON the top or side of the furnace in its own metal housing. The evaporator coil serves the opposite function from the heat exchanger, providing cold air to cool the house when turned on.
  1. Condensing unit. Evaporator coils are connected to the condensing unit. This is the part most people think of when they picture air conditioners. Condensing units sit outside of the home, where they cool a special refrigerant gas that’s passed into the evaporator coils, used to cool the air, and sent back to the condensing unit.
  1. Refrigerant lines. These are the metal pipes, through which the refrigerant flows, connecting the evaporator coil and condensing unit.
  1. Homeowners should already know about the thermostats in their properties. This is the part of the HVAC system that people interact with the most. It controls the rest of the system.
  1. Ducts run throughout a building, connecting the vents to the furnace and allowing for hot or cold air to be distributed.
  1. Air vents are usually placed near the ceiling, are rectangular, and should be in every room. They simply allow air to exit the ducts into a home. Most ducts contain slats to direct the air flowing out; some slats have manual controls to allow homeowners to close a vent or change the direction of the air flow.

Common HVAC Terms

When talking with an HVAC professional, it can be helpful to understand some of the common terms used in the industry. Here are a few of the most frequently used:

  • This is a rating system for the energy efficiency of gas furnaces. Ratings are out of 100. Higher is better.
  • Air Handler – This separate part of some systems allows for better airflow through a building.
  • In the HVAC industry, British Thermal Units are a measure of heat used.
  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) – This is a measure of airflow.
  • Cycling – This is when the system turns on or off.
  • HEPA filter – These air filters are designed to improve air quality in homes.
  • The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor  – Rates the efficiency of a heat pump. Higher is better.
  • The Season Energy Efficiency Ratio – Rates the energy efficiency of air conditioners. Higher is better.

When homeowners know the parts of their HVAC systems and the terms used when referring to different things in the industry, they can understand and explain any problems with the system more fully. If you need professional help with your HVAC system, contact Bruce’s AC today.

Does Your Home Have A Heat Loss Problem?

Does Your Home Have A Heat Loss ProblemDuring cold winter months, you are perfectly aware that heating costs make up the bulk of your electricity or gas bill.

Consequently you want your HVAC system to work as efficiently and as effortlessly as possible, so you can enjoy the warmth it produces without worrying yourself to death about how rapidly the dial on your energy meter is spinning.

Unfortunately, wintertime heat loss is a common source of waste in most homes. Even well-constructed buildings are far from airtight and it is amazing how much heat can escape into the open air if sources of leakage go unnoticed.

As winter has progressed have you noticed your energy costs rising? Do your bills seem out-of-proportion in comparison to friends and neighbors? Do you notice your furnace kicking on and off more frequently than in the past? Are there certain rooms in your home that seem noticeably colder than others?

All of these indicate you have a heat loss problem and that it is significant enough to be having a measurable impact.

Learn the sources of heat loss problems.

Identifying The Sources Of Heat Loss Trouble

HeatAir leaks in homes can happen just about anywhere. The best way to detect them is to contact your local energy company and ask them to send a consultant to your home to perform a heat loss audit (this service may be offered for free). If they can’t or won’t send someone you can always hire a private home energy auditor, who will most likely do it for a relatively small fee.

In the meantime, you can look around on your own to see what you can spot. Here are a few things to check for:

Doors And Windows

Cracks and spaces here are fairly easy to find. Just stand on the other side, feel around the perimeter of your doors and windows and see if streams of warm air are escaping (or cool air is coming in). It can usually be fairly easy to fix door and window gaps with caulk or weather stripping that you can buy and apply yourself.

Other locations where gaps may be causing air leakage include electrical outlets, plumbing cuts beneath sinks and dryer vents on outside walls. All can be plugged with caulk or foam sealers (just make sure to remove the foam sealer before using your dryer).

Filters And Vents

HVAC units won’t move air properly if filters are clogged or vents plugged or blocked. It’s fairly easy to check for this and to take action to combat it, either by cleaning where you can or buying a replacement air filter when it’s dirty.

Attic Heat Loss

This can be traced to inadequate insulation, unsealed wall partitions that channel heat from below or even poor attic ventilation.


For the most part you won’t be able to tell if the insulation in your walls, floors and ceilings is adequate or has somehow been compromised. Bad insulation is a big source of leakage, however, and it is one problem a home heat loss audit can help you uncover.

Heat Loss Is Your Loss

Heat loss will make you colder, cost you money and put undue stress on your furnace to the point where its life span may be reduced.

If You’ve Noticed Heat Loss, Call The Heating Experts

Have you noticed heat loss in your home or problems with your heater? Contact the heating and cooling experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating. Our licensed and professional technicians will thoroughly inspect your heater and home and provide a viable solution to your problem.

Trust the industry experts and call us today! And don’t forget to “Follow Us” for future Post and Information

Do Air Conditioning Systems Emit Greenhouse Gases?

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Does An Air Conditioner Emit Greenhouse GasesIs it true that HVAC systems emit greenhouse gases, which are depleting our atmosphere’s ozone layer? Could your air conditioner be contributing to global warming? Yes, both are true, but there are ways you can minimize your environmental footprint.

First, you should understand the science behind HVAC units, greenhouse gases, and global warming.

How Is Your Air Conditioning System And Greenhouse Gas Connected?

All air conditioning units emit greenhouse gases because of the way they are designed to function. Take your air conditioner, for example. Your air conditioner uses electric coils and an electric pump to transfer air between the interior and exterior of your building. A condenser moves hot air to the outside while an evaporator pushes cool air to the inside. The movement of air is facilitated by a refrigerant, which functions by transforming gas to liquid and vice versa. It is this refrigerant that is a source of greenhouse gases.

When air conditioners were first manufactured, they contained a liquid refrigerant composed of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were later found to emit greenhouse gases. In 1995, U.S. manufacturers began replacing CFCs with halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which have a reduced effect on the depletion of ozone. However, HCFCs still emit greenhouse gases, and the U.S. government is phasing them out of production by 2030.

How Do Greenhouse Gases Affect The Environment?

So how exactly do greenhouse gases affect the environment? Greenhouse gases deplete the ozone layer. The ozone layer is the layer in our atmosphere that protects the Earth from the sun’s UV radiation. This means that as more greenhouse gases are emitted, more of the ozone layer is depleted, and more radiation hits the Earth’s surface, increasing the Earth’s core temperature and causing global warming.

An Easy Way To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

With this in mind, how can you protect the environment while still using your much-needed air conditioner?

One way to reduce your emission of greenhouse gases is to purchase heating and air conditioning appliances that are ENERGY STAR® qualified. ENERGY STAR is a program that was initiated by the U.S. government and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national energy efficiency standards. Appliances that are ENERGY STAR qualified use approximately 10 percent less energy than non-qualified appliances, which means that they emit fewer greenhouse gases and also reduce your energy costs.

Next time you’re on the market for a new air conditioner or rooftop air conditioner, consider purchasing an energy-efficient model. Our HVAC service experts in Chandler at Bruce’s Air Conditioning and Heating can help you make a smart, cost-effective and environmentally conscious choice.

Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

Call the cooling and heating repair experts in Chandler today to learn more about energy efficient heating and cooling systems and how much these units can also benefit your pocketbook.

Call Your Heating And Cooling Experts Now!

Heat Pump Freezing Up: What Do You Do to deal with a Frozen Heat Pump?

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Heat Pump Freezing Up-What To DoYour heat pump can freeze up any time of the year, not just during the cold winter months. Under normal operation, frost develops on the outdoor coils. When the frost begins to build up, the unit automatically shifts into defrost mode to melt the frost.

If this defrosting mechanism malfunctions, ice can build up to a point that the heat pump freezes and ceases to function.

Learn what you can do and when a qualified HVAC tech is needed.

What You Can Do If Your Heat Pump Is Freezing Up

Sometimes the unit itself is not the problem. One of the first things you can do if you notice ice buildup is to see if the water is coming from an external source. A leaky gutter above the unit or freezing rain can cause ice buildup that blocks airflow past the coils.

Blocked air vents, clogged air filters, and debris build up around the unit may restrict airflow. Clear away all debris surrounding your outside unit and move any items inside the home that are blocking your air vents. Change the filters every few weeks or months according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

What An HVAC Tech Should Do If The Heat Pump Freezes

A qualified HVAC technician can troubleshoot a more complicated problem with your frozen heat pump.
In some cases, water accumulates inside the condenser because of the slab underneath the unit shifts or settles. A technician can offer solutions for improving drainage.

Technicians can check the unit’s automatic defrost controls for faulty or worn components. Repairs may include replacing a faulty sensor, thermostat, defrost relay or reversing valve.

Your heat pump is vulnerable to icing if the refrigerant level drops too low. If this is the case, the technician will have to determine the source of the leak and repair it before refilling the system with refrigerant. Technicians must be certified by the EPA to work with refrigerants, so this is definitely a task you cannot do without help from the professionals.

Rely On The Heating And Cooling Experts

Ice build-up on your outdoor unit is the most obvious sign when your heat pump freezes up in winter or any time of the year. You can rely on the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating to offer effective and affordable solutions for all your residential HVAC system maintenance and repairs.

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How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The Winter?

How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The WinterWhen winter sets in and temperatures start to drop, you can expect your heating bill will go up

However, there are various ways you can reduce the cost of electricity without necessarily having to sacrifice on comfort.

Make sure to follow these tips to help you and your family reduce energy costs in the winter.

Ways To Reduce Energy Costs In The Winter

Here are some effective ways you can control your winter energy costs.

Unplug Electronics When Not In Use

For instance, turning off electronics when they are not in use will ensure less electricity goes to waste. You should need to note that even when these items are turned off, they still drain electricity. Idle gadgets will still slowly suck electricity, increasing energy bills. A good way to go about this would be to unplug gadgets such as computers and TV sets from their outlets to ensure no electricity goes to waste.

If you don’t want to sacrifice the convenience of having your gadgets ready to go when you need them, then you can always invest in power switches which will give better control over your electronics.

Seal House Leaks

Sealing gaps around window’s, door’s and duct’s to prevent heat loss is a common winter fix that helps lower energy bills.

Lower Usage During Peak Hours It is very common for most electric companies to raise prices by up to 60% during peak hours, which is usually between 3 and 7pm and/or 6am and 10am. Limiting usage of electronics during these hours can help you control electric bills. For example, doing your laundry or operating the oven during off-peak hours helps you save. Note, that different electric companies have varying definitions of peak hours and it would be best to find this out from the company itself.

Invest In Energy-Saving Devices

Energy-saving gadgets such as Energy Star appliances will not only help you keep electric bills low, but can also qualify you for rebates, saving you even more money.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can lower the cost of electricity during winter. All you need to do is look around your home or business and determine what changes need to be done.

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