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.

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