Frequently Asked Questions | PECO Heating & Cooling

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between R-22 and R-410 refrigerants?

Refrigerants are liquids that are contained within your air conditioner’s coils. They are what makes your air conditioner able to cool and dehumidify the air indoors. Air conditioners use two different types of refrigerant: R-22 and R-410. For a long time, the R-22 refrigerant (often referred to by the brand name Freon) was the most common kind of refrigerant, but it’s starting to be phased out due to ozone depletion concerns. The R-410 refrigerant (often referred to by the brand name Freon) is chlorine-free, which is considered ozone-friendly.

As of Jan 1, 2020, manufacturers can no longer produce R-22 refrigerant and Jan 2015 manufacturers were no longer allowed to produce units that use it. Since 2015, R-410 refrigerant has become the new standard. Since R-410 can absorb and release more heat than R-22 refrigerant, your air conditioning compressor can run cooler, which reduces the risk of compressor burnout due to overheating.

What is two-stage cooling?

Two-stage cooling refers to the type of compressor in an air conditioner or heat pump. A two-stage cooling compressor has two separate levels that it operates at depending on your cooling needs. On hot days it will run at full capacity; during milder temperatures, it will run at partial capacity. Most of the time, the low setting is adequate.

Two-stage units are more energy-efficient, as they run for longer periods. For example, on a hot day, your unit may use full-capacity to reach your desired temperature; afterward, it will use part-capacity to maintain the temperature for as long as possible. Two-stage units produce more even temperatures throughout the home. Longer cooling cycles mean you also get quieter operation and better humidity control. Two-stage units can remove more moisture from the air compared to a single-stage unit.

Should I cover my air conditioner or heat pump during the fall and winter?

It’s not necessary to cover your unit, especially if you have a heat pump you use throughout the year. Outdoor units are built to endure the elements, including rain and snow. Covering a unit may trap moisture, which can lead to mold growth or damage the electrical components inside. It can also make your unit an attractive shelter for rodents. If you’re concerned about yard debris getting inside the housing, there are short covers available. In many cases, checking your unit occasionally and removing any leaves or debris that has accumulated is enough.

What’s the best thermostat to use for my heating system?

This depends on the type of system you have. There are programmable and non-programmable models available, each of which is designed to help you maximize your heating system’s performance. We can offer recommendations to help you choose a thermostat that meets your household’s heating needs.

What’s a heat pump?

Heat pumps are all-in-one units that offer both heating and air conditioning. During warm temperatures, you can use your heat pump like a regular air conditioner. Heat pumps extract heat from inside your house and transfers it outside. During the winter months, the process is reversed – the heat pump will collect heat from the outside air and transfer it indoors. Even though the outdoor air feels cold, it still contains some heat. When there’s not enough heat to warm your home to the desired temperature, heat is supplemented with an electric heater. Heat pumps are very energy efficient, producing two to three times more energy than they use.

Heat pumps can also be a good add-on to use with your existing gas furnace. This is called a dual-fuel system. The two systems share the heating load, but they don’t operate at the same time – each one will operate separately when it’s most cost-effective. The heat pump works as the primary heating and cooling system for most of the year. When temperatures get too cold for the heat pump to heat the house efficiently, the gas furnace takes over. Once the temperature has risen to allow the heat pump to heat the home efficiently, the system will switch back to it.

Why should I zone my house?

Zoning allows you to divide your home into separate “zones” that can be heated or cooled separately. This means you can turn off the air conditioning for unoccupied rooms or have separate rooms set to different temperatures. Zoning only works properly with variable capacity systems as air flow (CFM) to each zone can be customized to fit the space. Two stage systems have limited capacity for only 2 large zones instead of 4 zones like the variable speed systems.

The benefits of zoning are:

  • Comfort:
    You can adjust the temperature and airflow in one area of the home without affecting the others, allowing you to make each area as comfortable as possible.
  • Energy efficiency:
    Since you’re able to avoid heating or cooling unoccupied areas, you can see significant savings on your energy bills.
  • Control:
    Zoning puts you in control of the temperature and airflow.
  • Quiet performance:
    When zoning is integrated with a variable speed or two-stage HVAC system, zoning allows your system to operate at peak performance and efficiency. It won’t need to run at peak capacity, which means it’s operating at lower, quieter speeds.

What is AHRI?

AHRI stands for the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, a trade association that represents over 350 HVAC manufacturers. ARHI provides three performance certifications programs for residential and commercial air conditioning, heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment:

  • ARI Performance Certified for air conditioning and refrigeration equipment and components
  • GAMA Efficiency Rating Certified for space and water heating equipment
  • I-B-R for hydronic heating products

ARHI is globally recognized for its unbiased evaluations of HVAC equipment. They also develop performance standards for industry equipment. The AHRI Product Performance Certification Program is a voluntary program that ensures heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and water heating products perform according to manufacturers’ published claims. For homeowners, choosing AHRI-certified products ensures you’re getting quality equipment that is quiet, efficient, energy-star rated, and high-performance.

What’s the difference between ARI and AHRI?

ARI stands for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. In 2007, the organization changed its name to Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, hence the acronym AHRI.

What is a “properly matched” system?

Most split HVAC systems are comprised of two parts: an indoor air handler that contains the evaporator coil and a blower fan, and an outdoor unit that contains the compressor and condenser coil. Both parts of the system are connected by copper or aluminum lines that circulate the refrigerant between the two units. “Properly matched” refers to the compatibility of the indoor and outdoor components and the refrigerant. Since all the parts work together, it’s important that they’re compatible. Having a properly matched system is important to get the best performance from your heating and cooling – and it prevents the possibility of premature equipment failures and system inefficiency.

What’s the difference between the Lennox Equipment Limited Warranty and the Lennox 10-Year Extended Limited Warranty Program?

The Lennox Equipment Warranty provides basic coverage on all units. The Lennox 10-Year Extended Limited Warranty extends the basic coverage for an additional 5-years with registration.

Is there a difference between air conditioner and heat pump decibels?

Heating and cooling systems produced today are a lot quieter than they used to be – but sound ratings among them do vary. For the most part, all heating and cooling systems on the market are significantly quieter than in the past. Lennox air conditioners and heat pumps, in particular, are among the quietest. They feature insulated compressor components, discharge mufflers, and unique fans designed to provide quiet airflow.

Are all air filters created equal?

No; there are a variety of differences between air filtration systems. Here’s a breakdown of some of the options and features available.

  • Efficiency – Efficiency is one of the most considerations when purchasing a system. Efficiency is based on the size of the particles you’d like to filter out of your home. The higher the efficiency, the more effective your system will be. You can determine the efficiency of the systems based on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) number. This is the industry standard rating. Residential filters generally have a MERV rating between 1 – 8. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system. High-efficiency particulate air systems use hospital-grade filtration, which can have a MERV rating of 17 or higher. Not only do higher efficiency filters clean the air, but they also improve the airflow. High-efficiency systems are best for individuals with allergies.
  • Cost – Cost is another consideration when purchasing a filtration system. There’s the initial expense of the purchase price to think about, as well as the cost of maintenance and upgrades. Purchasing a filter that initially costs more and is of higher quality can save money in the long run. Less expensive filters may not provide you with the filtration you need, and they may cost more to maintain.
  • Type – There are several types of filtration systems that offer different features, including:
    • Pleated filters – pleated filters are made of fiberglass or synthetic fibers woven into a dense material. The pleats are arranged in V-shapes, which increases the area of the filter material without increasing the face area. This design increases the particle-holding capacity.
    • Germicidal lights – these systems use intense UV lights to sterilize surfaces. UV lights kill organic growths, such as mold, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
    • Electronic air cleaners (EACs) – EACs pass recirculated air through a prefilter, allowing the system to trap large pollutants. Ionizing wires then apply a positive electrical charge to the particles. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters also effectively remove small particles. These systems can also work with carbon canister, which helps control odors and chemicals.
    • Air Purifiers – Lennox is the only company that makes a hospital grade air purifier – PureAir. The purifier kit includes a UV light with titanium-dioxide-coated catalyst and Carbon MERV16 filter to remove odors, reduce particles and VOC’s in the home. The only air purifier that removes ozone.

What are the benefits of clean air?

Clean air in the home is very important, especially for people with respiratory issues, like allergies and asthma. According to the EPA, the average American spends 90% of their times indoors, where pollutants can be 2-5 times more concentrated than outdoors. Removing airborne particles can give allergy and asthma sufferers relief from their symptoms, but even those without respiratory conditions can benefit. Dust, smoke, and other particles float through the air and can be inhaled. By removing these particles, you reduce your respiratory system’s exposure to potential irritants.

What is an AHRI-matched system?

Split air conditioning and heat pump systems that have indoor and outdoor units must be properly matched to ensure the longevity of the system, as well as energy efficiency. An AHRI-matched system has been verified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) as a properly matched system. The system’s efficiency and capacity ratings have also been verified by the AHRI.

What is involved in humidifier installation and maintenance?

Humidifier installation is simple if you’re also replacing your furnace at the same time. However, it’s also easy to fit a humidifier to your current system since it’s designed to be installed in your ductwork. Humidifiers must receive regular maintenance to prevent bacterial growth. We recommend draining and cleaning the reservoir periodically.

How can I improve my indoor air quality?

There are several strategies for improving your indoor air quality.

First, identify the sources of indoor air pollutants and try to remove as many of them as you can. Cleaning and vacuuming at least once a week will help to decrease the amount of dust and dirt in your home. Bedding and stuffed toys should also be washed regularly. If you have members of the household who are sensitive to cleaning product fumes, store the products away and use them only when necessary.

Modern homes are well-insulated and designed to conserve energy; unfortunately, this doesn’t allow airborne pollutants to escape. You may want to consider having a Lennox Healthy Climate ventilation system installed. This recirculates indoor air with fresh, filter air from outdoors and helps to remove allergens and germs.

Some contaminants are so small they can escape vacuums or remain airborne, so if you’re particularly sensitive or have severe allergies, you may want have high-efficiency air filters or germicidal lights installed. Purification systems are also an option, as they remove particles, germs, odors, and chemical vapors. Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can also increase the concentration of particles and germs, so you may also want to consider a smart thermostat that can regulate moistures levels and temperatures.

How much water does a humidifier use?

This can vary depending on your model and the size of your home, but on average, humidifiers use from 1.5 to 12 gallons of water a day when the furnace is operating. This is enough to raise the humidity to the level you desire, but not enough to affect your water bill.

Why is ventilation important for proper indoor air quality?

We used to be able to receive natural ventilation in our homes by just opening a window. In more modern times, houses have been built with a focus on energy efficiency, effectively sealing our homes off from leaks and natural airflow. Unfortunately, this means that contaminants are trapped inside with no way to escape. Pollutants, allergens, and other types of contaminants cause poor air quality, which can lead to dizziness and headaches. For some individuals, they can also aggravate allergies and asthma. A ventilation system will keep your indoor air clean and re-circulated with fresh outside air.

What are the benefits of installing a whole-house humidifier?

Central heating allows us to stay warm throughout the winter, but it also traps us inside with unnaturally dry air for months at a time. Dry air can be harsh on our respiratory systems, exacerbating asthma symptoms as well as causing bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds.

Whole-house humidifiers work a lot like a room humidifier; they put a comfortable level of moisture in the air, which makes it easier to breathe. The difference is that they’re able to improve the humidity level of every room in your home, so you don’t have to move your humidifier around the house during winter.

What is the best indoor air quality product?

Many indoor air quality products available only address one to two classes of air contaminants. The PureAir™ and PureAir™ S air purification systems by Lennox handle all three classes of air contaminants, providing the most comprehensive air purification available. The PureAir™ and PureAir™ S both filter out particles and germs while removing and destroying chemicals. If you’re looking for an all-in-one system, these are an excellent choice!

Why is my throat so dry?

When the weather gets extremely cold, your home loses moisture to the outdoors. This causes the humidity level to drop – sometimes it can get as low as 10%. Inadequate humidity in cold weather is one of the major causes of respiratory infections. Adding a humidifier helps to add moisture into the air in your home and reduce ailments caused by dry respiratory membranes.

What do those air conditioner and heat pump ratings mean?

SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio,” which is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher your SEER rating is, the less it will cost to operate your unit. HSPF stands for “Heating Seasonal Performance Factor,” which is similar to SEER, but it’s used to measure the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.

Why should I choose a whole-home dehumidifier for my home?

Many people try to deal with high humidity by lowering the thermostat while the air conditioner is running. However, this can raise your energy bills – not to mention, it may make your home uncomfortably cold. A whole-home dehumidifier removes the moisture from the air without needing to turn down your thermostat. Whole-home dehumidifiers have large capacities for moisture removal, and you won’t need to empty buckets of water. They’re quiet and designed to integrate into your existing central HVAC system, so they don’t take up additional space.

Why should I choose an ENERGY STAR® product for my home?

ENERGY STAR is a federal-sponsored program that’s designed to help consumers save energy and protect the environment by keeping them informed about energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR-approved products will have an ENERGY STAR approved label, designating them as an excellent choice for energy-efficiency.

Choosing an ENERGY STAR product rather than a conventional one can deliver hundreds of dollars’ worth of savings to your home. For example, an ENERGY STAR air conditioner can help you save as much as 50% on your cooling costs. However, in order to see the optimal performance from your system, it’s important to have proper sizing and installation of your equipment. Split system air conditioners and heat pumps must be matched with the right coil components in order to meet the energy star criteria. Depending on where you live, you may even qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $500 or utility credits for installing a new ENERGY STAR heating or cooling system.

Not only does ENERGY STAR products help save on energy costs, but they also contribute to a cleaner environment. In 2018 alone, ENERGY STAR helped save Americans $35 billion in energy costs while reducing 330 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, 220,000 short tons of sulfur dioxide, 210,000 short tons of nitrogen oxides, and 23,000 short tons of fine particulate matter.

What is SilentComfort™ technology?

For a long time, noisy HVAC systems have just been accepted as a part of keeping your home heated and cooled comfortably. SilentComfort™ is a technology used in select Lennox outdoor air conditioners and heat pumps. The SilentComfort™ outdoor fan motor has an electronic sensor that that optimizes the system’s performance while keeping the noise down to as low as 65 decibels. SilentComfort™ products also include thick insulation, vibration resistance, and a special fan blade that helps to keep sound levels low. Not only are these air conditioners and heat pumps highly efficient, but they’re also exceptionally quiet.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (also called IAQ) is a relatively new concern in regards to environmental safety. A home’s air quality is mainly based on the number of pollutants found indoors, but it’s also determined by humidity and ventilation levels. Amazingly, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has found that pollutants can be concentrated in the home, up to 100 times higher than what’s found outdoors. With most people spending the majority of their time indoors, (90%, according to the American Lung Association) this is an important consideration. Clean air is extremely important to our health and wellbeing!

What is two-stage heating?

Two-stage heating means that the furnace has two levels of heat output. It will produce a high output on cold winter days, and a low output on mild days. The low setting is adequate for most heating demands 80% of the time, so a two-stage unit will run for longer periods, which provides an even heat distribution. There are no temperature swings like you’d find with a standard furnace, and temperatures can be regulated to within as little as one degree on your thermostat.

Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage when low heat is required. This means it doesn’t reach full capacity at one, causing a sudden blast of air. The low-speed operation also allows for better air filtration. The air is constantly passing through the filters, which allows them to capture more contaminants. Another benefit of a two-stage furnace is that they are more energy-efficient than a standard furnace.

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