To cover or not to cover your HVAC? That is sometimes a question a homeowner needs to answer. Here’s what you should know when making your decision about HVAC covers:
To Cover — or Not
It’s not really the entire HVAC system you will need to worry about, but just the outdoor portion of the air conditioner, which includes the condenser and compressor. Although these parts of your A/C are vital to its operation, they are pretty well protected within the sturdy metal housing that usually covers the air conditioner.
You would not want to cover the condenser up in the summer because that would impede air flow, but in the winter, when its not in use, you probably wouldn’t want to cover it up either. The reason? It makes a cozy nest for rodents, which are likely to burrow their way in and set up shop. HVAC companies often report a nice business in springtime, repairing the damage to wiring and other parts that rodents may do when the condenser is covered up tight.
So when would you want to cover up the air conditioner? Here are a few scenarios:
During snow events
You love your home and don’t want to move, but you need more space. A home addition appears like the perfect solution. Adding a new room to your home is a great idea for many reasons, but it requires thoughtful planning to maximize your investment. Here’s what to know before you break ground to ensure your room addition is comfortable and efficient.
Comfortable and Efficient
You are probably going to be using your new home addition frequently; hence, the reason for its construction. To ensure it is constructed with energy efficiency and comfort in mind, your HVAC contractor should perform a load calculation. A load calculation is used to size your heating and cooling system to optimize comfort, efficiency and system performance.
Heating and Cooling Options
There are a number of existing and planning factors involved in determining the best heating and cooling system for your home addition. The type of system your home currently uses is important. If you use a forced-air system, you may be wondering if you can extend air ducts to the new space. This is an attractive option, but it will only work if your existing HVAC system can handle the extra load and if …
If you’re like most homeowners, you think of your air conditioner and furnace as independent pieces of equipment. The truth is that these main HVAC components and many others are all part of one integrated comfort system that’s in place to regulate temperature, humidity and air quality in your home. Here are some of the key system components and how they work together:
Your thermostat is control-central for all the heating and cooling functions of the HVAC system. Using built-in sensors, the thermostat monitors the indoor temperature and sends a signal for your A/C, heat pump or furnace to cycle on and off based on your selected temperature settings.
If you have a forced-air system, it relies on a hidden network of ducts to circulate air throughout your home. Supply ducts deliver conditioned air, while return ducts transport stale air back to the HVAC equipment for reconditioning. Problems with the ductwork like leaks, disconnections or improper sealing and insulating can negatively impact your comfort and the HVAC system’s energy efficiency.
Smart systems are gaining in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. But is a smart HVAC system worth the investment? Opinions differ, but it’s worth it to keep in mind that many different systems in your home can be upgraded to be a bit smarter, and that you’ll reap benefits in home comfort as well as ongoing energy savings. Consider these upgrades for a taste of what smart systems can offer you:
Smart thermostats combine the scheduling power of programmable thermostats with additional awareness and convenience. A smart thermostat may learn your preferred schedule on its own as you adjust it day after day, or may use a motion detector to switch itself automatically into vacation mode if you’re away for several days. Smart thermostats may also be enabled with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to set them from your cell phone or other device. Home zoning systems allow you to divide your home into “zones” of rooms whose temperature can be managed independently. For example, your bedrooms probably don’t need to be cooled as much during the day, when no one is sleeping. Or perhaps your kitchen requires more cooling than your living room, to offset the heat of …
If you’ve had your cooling or heating system for many years, you’ll reach a point when it begins struggling to provide comfort in your home. It may be a matter of declining efficiency, eroding performance, frequent breakdowns, or a combination of these issues. This is when you have to decide whether to repair or replace your HVAC system. To figure out which option makes the most sense, ask yourself the following questions:
How long have you had your HVAC system? A/Cs, furnaces, heat pumps and other HVAC systems aren’t intended to work forever; they have finite service lives. A combustion furnace typically should run for 15-20 years, while a central A/C or heat pump might be expected to last 12-15 years. If your system is reaching these benchmarks, and is starting to struggle or break down, you probably need to replace it.
Are other factors affecting longevity? Climate directly relates to how hard a cooling or heating system works. In a Northern climate, a furnace will get a lot more work than an A/C, and probably will age more quickly. The opposite happens in the South, where furnaces and other heating systems can be expected to last longer than in …