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Beverly Services - Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical in Pittsburgh Beverly Services - Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical in Pittsburgh
Plumbing & Commercial Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical in Pittsburgh
412-851-1000
Serving Pittsburgh Since 1942
Heating • Air Conditioning • Plumbing • Electrical • Duct Cleaning

FAQ

The following Frequently Asked Questions are provided by Beverly Heating and Cooling, Inc. in conjunction with The Carrier Corporation.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEW HEATING OR COOLING SYSTEM

What kind of system do I need to keep my home comfortable?

Since most of us spend the majority of our time indoors, it makes sense to have an indoor environment that’s healthy and comfortable.

While your home may have unique needs, the best way to insure your comfort and health is to have your heating and cooling system provide the right balance of heating, air conditioning, air cleaning and humidification. No other single system plays a larger part in how much you enjoy your time at home ... or in how much you pay out to utility companies each month.

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Hot News, Cool Stuff.

For most of us, comfort starts with keeping our home the right temperature, whether that’s toasty warm on bone-chilling winter nights or pleasantly cool in the "dog days" of summer. Maintaining the perfect temperature is the job of your heating and cooling equipment.

Today’s heating systems are more efficient and reliable than ever, but heating is still the single largest energy expense in most homes. In northern climates, it may account for up to two-thirds of the energy budget. So it’s important to understand what kind of system will give you both comfort and affordability.

Gas- and oil-fired FURNACES provide warm, even heat throughout your home by circulating heated air through ducts. BOILERS typically heat your home by circulating steam or heated water through a system of pipes and baseboard or radiator-type heat exchangers. Today’s furnaces and boilers are far more efficient than they were even a decade ago.

The electric heat pump is another energy-efficient option that provides year-round heating and cooling. Heat pumps are much more reliable and efficient than they were 10 years ago, and they’re an excellent choice where gas is unavailable or where electricity is the most economical energy option.

On those sweltering days of summer, AIR CONDITIONERS provide cooling relief by taking heat from inside your home and moving it outside. In the process, they remove humidity from the air so you feel even cooler. New technology has made today’s air conditioners quieter, more reliable and more efficient than ever before.

Right on the Money.

THERMOSTATS help your heating and cooling equipment maintain the optimal temperature setting with the utmost energy efficiency. Today’s electronic models are a vast departure from earlier mechanical styles. Microprocessors allow you to program your home temperatures to suit your lifestyle, so you can keep things comfortable while you’re home and automatically set back your temperatures to save energy when you’re away or sleeping. That keeps you comfortable all the way to the bank.

Breathe Easier.

Today’s "tighter" homes are built to be more energy-efficient, and many seal in air as effectively as they keep the weather out. That may sound good at first, but it also means that air quickly gets stale. Plus, dust and other pollutants circulate throughout your home, settling on furniture, drapes, your heating and cooling equipment or, worse yet, your lungs. Today’s mechanical and high-efficiency electronic AIR CLEANERS offer trouble-free, low-maintenance cleaning that will remove up to 95% of all airborne particles and make your home environment healthier and more comfortable. A ventilating system can provide up to eight air changes a day and eliminate the unhealthy build-up of gases and contaminants in your home. It’s literally a breath of fresh air.

How Dry I Am.

Winter takes its toll on your indoor environment. The warm, dry air from your furnace or heat pump can damage wood moldings and furniture and sap your skin of its natural moisture. It even makes you feel colder because your body senses heat as a combination of temperature and humidity. If you add humidity with a HUMIDIFIER, you can actually set your thermostat a few degrees lower. You’ll feel just as warm, but you’ll notice the difference on your utility bills! Plus, you’ll replenish much-needed moisture to your home, making it a healthier, more comfortable place to spend your time.

In the Comfort Zone.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn off heating and cooling in a room the same way you can a light switch? You wouldn’t have to waste energy by heating or cooling a room you’re not using. A ZONING SYSTEM is the perfect solution. By putting heating and cooling where you need it most, zoning can enhance your overall comfort and reduce your energy costs — by as much as 30%!

No matter what climate you live in, you’ll find the best combination of comfort and energy savings with a complete indoor comfort system. Today’s energy-efficient components work together to give you precise temperature control, healthy air and the right level of humidity — and the savings on your utility bill might just make you the most comfortable of all.

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What should I look for in a new furnace?

The three most important factors to evaluate when you’re considering purchasing a new furnace are: (1) quality; (2) efficiency; and (3) comfort features.

Quality

When you buy a new car, the quality of it helps determine how well it will perform and for how long. A furnace is really no different. Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down the road.

New Carrier furnaces, for example, undergo a rigorous series of quality tests and checks, during production, with many of the tests being performed on every unit

— not just on random samples. Plus, we back every furnace in writing, with a 20-year or more limited warranty on the heat exchanger (the heart of the furnace) and a one-year limited warranty on the entire unit. Extended warranties are also available: contact us for details.

Efficiency

A furnace’s efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), tells you how efficiently the furnace uses fuel (gas or oil). In general, the higher the efficiency, the less fuel the furnace will use to heat your home. In 1992, the government established a minimum AFUE rating for furnaces installed in new homes at 78%. In contrast, many furnaces manufactured before 1992 had AFUE ratings as low as 60%.

Mid-efficiency furnaces, also known as non-condensing or induced draft furnaces, offer efficiencies from 78% to about 80%. High-efficiency furnaces, also called condensing or sealed combustion furnaces, offer AFUE ratings from 80% to about 96%.

Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the furnace. If you live in a cold climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency furnace paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years.

Comfort Features

Some mid- and high-efficiency furnaces offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed furnaces can run on low speed up to 90% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-speed furnaces. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings -- only one or two degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed furnaces. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification" — warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even heat throughout your home.

Variable-capacity furnaces provide the ultimate combination of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance. In addition to the benefits of two-speed furnaces, they offer "smart" motors than can monitor your home’s comfort needs and automatically adjust the volume and speed of air to provide the most efficient heating or cooling. They offer added electrical efficiency as well: the "smart" fan motors on Carrier’s variable-capacity furnaces use less electricity than a 100-watt light bulb. They operate so efficiently that they can actually increase the efficiency rating of your central air conditioning system and offer you added energy savings when you use continuous fan operation in any season.

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What should I look for in a new heat pump or air conditioner?

While heat pumps and air conditioners require the use of some different components in your heating and cooling system, the three most important factors you should evaluate are essentially the same: quality, efficiency, and comfort features.

Quality

When you purchase a new car, the quality of it helps determine how well it will perform and for how long. An air conditioner or heat pump is really no different. Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down the road.

New Carrier air conditioners and split systems, for example, undergo 34 quality tests and checks during production, with more than 20 of these being performed on every unit — not just on random samples.

Efficiency

Cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps is indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which tells you how efficiently the unit uses electricity. Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings, indicated as an HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). In general, the higher the SEER or HSPF rating, the less electricity the unit will use to cool (or heat) your home. On January 23rd of 2006, the government established new minimum efficiency standards. All new central air conditioning units manufactured must be a minimum of 13.0 SEER and all heat pumps must have a minimum HSPF of 7.7.

Air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured today have SEER ratings that range from 13.0 to about 21. Heat pumps are available with HSPF ratings from about 7.7 to 10.0.

Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the unit. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. Of course, after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills for the life of the system.

One other point to keep in mind is that your heat pump or air conditioner is a "split system," which means that there is an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (coil). If you’re replacing an existing system, both units should be replaced to make sure your new condensing unit gives you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort Note: Air-source heat pumps the type most commonly used in homes are typically installed with additional back-up heating (usually electric resistance strip heating) for days when the outdoor temperature drops below 30 and the heat pump cannot extract enough heat from the outside air to heat the home. SEER and HSPF ratings do not refer to the efficiency of electrical resistance backup heat, which is calculated differently.

Comfort Features

Some air conditioners and heat pumps offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed units can run on low speed (using 50% of the energy) up to 80% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-speed models. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings -- only two or three degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed units. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification" warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even cooling throughout your home.

If you purchase a multi-speed or variable-capacity furnace or fan coil with your unit, you will enhance both the comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system even further.

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How do I compare the performance of heating and cooling products?

There are basically three ways you can compare the performance of different models and brands: (1) How much energy they use to heat or cool your home (Efficiency); (2) How much you notice their presence (Sound Levels); and (3) How they make you feel (Comfort).

Efficiency

FURNACES. The efficiency of a furnace is measured in a rating known as AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). A lot like your car’s miles per gallon rating, AFUE tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel (gas or oil) into heat. An AFUE of 80% means that 80% of the fuel is used to heat your home, while the other 20% basically goes up the chimney.

In 1992, the government established a minimum AFUE rating for furnaces installed in new homes at 78%. (In contrast, many furnaces manufactured before 1992 had AFUE ratings as low as 60% —so nearly half the fuel was being wasted.) Furnaces with AFUE ratings of 78% to 80% are considered "mid-efficiency"; those with ratings of 90% or higher are known as "high efficiency." The maximum furnace efficiency available is around 96.6%.

In general, the higher the efficiency of the furnace, the more it will cost but the less fuel it will use to heat your home. If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of about 60%), you could save up to 60% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high-efficiency furnace. So the cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.

If you live in a cold climate, you could see a payback in a few short years. If you live in a moderate climate, it might make more sense to purchase a mid-efficiency furnace.

HEAT PUMPS AND AIR CONDITIONERS. Cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps is indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which tells you how efficiently a unit uses electricity. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

In 2006, the government established the minimum cooling efficiency standard for units installed in new homes at 13.0 SEER. High-efficiency units have a SEER of at least 17.0; the maximum available is about 21.

Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings, indicated as an HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). In general, the higher the HSPF rating, the less electricity the unit will use to heat your home.

The 2006 government minimum heating efficiency standards for new heat pumps is 7.7 HSPF. An HSPF of 8.5 or higher is considered "high-efficiency"; the maximum available is 10.0. (If you want to get real technical, the actual heating efficiency of air-source heat pumps is well over 100%, because they "steal" heat energy from the outside air — instead of using just electricity — to heat your home. So you get much more out of them than you put in.)

As with furnaces, higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher cost but lower utility bills. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. There’s one other factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system: the indoor coil. (Your heat pump or air conditioner is a "split system," which means that there is an outdoor unit, or condenser, and an indoor unit, or evaporator coil.) If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. (It’s kind of like putting two new tires on one side of your car and leaving the old, worn-out ones on the other side. You’d probably be disappointed with both the performance and the miles per gallon you get.) When you’re replacing an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

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Sound Levels

AIR CONDITIONERS AND HEAT PUMPS. There’s a good chance you won’t ever think about the sound level of your air conditioner or heat pump... until, that is, you try to enjoy a quiet conversation with some friends in your back yard. Sometimes noise from condensing (outdoor) units even interferes with your peace and quiet indoors, so it’s a factor you should at least look at when you’re comparing different models.

The sound level of outdoor units is measured in bels (similar to decibels), on a scale from 0 (barely perceptible sound) to 13 (the threshold of pain). Most air conditioners and heat pumps operate at 8 to 9 bels; some units’ ratings are as low as 6.8. That may not sound like a wide range, but consider this: 9 bels sounds 10 times louder than 8 bels. That means one 9-bel air conditioner is as loud as 10 units rated at 8 bels. So we think taking the time to compare bel ratings is pretty sound advice.

FURNACES. There isn’t a standard sound rating system for furnaces like the bel system for condensing units, so it’s difficult to compare models.

However, models that have two-speed or variable-speed operation typically also offer lower operating sound levels, because there is less noise from the blower motor and from air turbulence at lower speeds. Carrier’s variable-capacity models even have a "ramp-up" feature that gradually introduces warm air into your ducts, helping prevent the "creaking" noises that come from ducts expanding and contracting.

Since two-speed and variable-capacity models normally run on "low" speed up to 90% of the time, you’ll find they’re a sound solution when you want to enjoy peace and quiet.

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Comfort

FURNACES. For furnaces, the same features of multi-capacity models that provide lower sound levels also enhance your comfort. By operating on low speed up to 90% of the time, two-speed furnaces run for longer periods of time than single-speed furnaces. That means fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts (from the blower kicking on) and much smaller temperature swings -- only one or two degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed furnaces. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification" warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even heat throughout your home.

Variable-capacity furnaces also offer "smart" motors than can monitor your home’s comfort needs and automatically adjust the volume and speed of air to provide the greatest comfort and the most efficient heating or cooling. They provide the ultimate combination of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance.

AIR CONDITIONERS AND HEAT PUMPS. Some air conditioners and heat pumps offer additional features that provide greater comfort. Two-speed units can run on low speed (using 50% of the energy) up to 80% of the time, so they offer the same benefits as multi-capacity furnaces fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings. You also get better air circulation, for even, consistent cooling and/or heating throughout your home. Plus, if you purchase a multi-speed or variable-capacity furnace or fan coil with your unit, you will enhance both the comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system even further.

Why do I need to "match" my condensing unit and indoor coil?

Imagine you have four old, worn-out tires on your car and you decide you only want to replace two of them. You can still drive your car, but you’ll soon be disappointed with the inconsistent handling and the poor mileage you get. The unmatched tires simply aren’t capable of the same level of performance. You could have these same kinds of problems with comfort and efficiency if the components of your central air conditioning or heat pump system are not properly matched.

It takes teamwork.

Your central air conditioning or heat pump system is a split system. That means it consists of two parts: an indoor unit (coil) and outdoor (condensing) unit. These two parts are specifically designed to work together as a coordinated "team" to provide top performance and maximum efficiency and comfort. Plus, since both components are necessary for a working system, both parts of your existing system were originally installed at the same time — which means they both wear out at the same time. So if you install a new outdoor unit, be sure to include a new, equally efficient "matched" indoor unit.

When a bargain’s not a bargain.

If you don’t replace your indoor unit, you won’t be getting what you paid for. In fact, your system could be up to 15% less efficient than stated and you’ll be less comfortable, too. That's why simply replacing just the outdoor unit isn't a bargain in the long run.

Replacing the outdoor unit but leaving the old indoor unit may offer you the lowest price, but it won’t give you the best value. At best, when your air conditioning or heat pump components don’t match, you’ll be sacrificing comfort. The system may still "work," but it won’t perform up to the promised energy efficiency. Over time, this will also cost you more money. At worst, when the components aren’t matched, it could create undue stress on your cooling system, resulting in unnecessary, premature failure.

Matched Systems Mean Maximum Satisfaction.

When you consider the sacrifices and the added costs of repairing or replacing these unmatched units, installing a matched system the first time around makes good sense. You’ll get higher efficiencies, greater reliability and more comfort. And that’s a real bargain.

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What should I ask my dealer or builder about before I purchase a system?

Quality & Reliability.

When you buy a new car, the quality of it helps determine how well it will perform and for how long. A heating and cooling system is really no different. Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down the road.

Efficiency Ratings.

Make sure you ask your dealer about the efficiency rating for the furnace, heat pump or air conditioner. It will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity). Furnace efficiency is measured as AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), and ratings range from 78% to about 96.6%.

Furnaces with AFUE ratings from 78% to 80% are considered mid-efficiency; ones with AFUE ratings above 90% are considered high-efficiency.

Air conditioners and heat pumps have cooling efficiency ratings from 13 to 21 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings from 6.8 to about 10 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). High-efficiency units have efficiencies of 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF or above.

One other point to keep in mind is that your heat pump or air conditioner is a "split system," which means that there is an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (evaporator coil). If you’re replacing an existing system, both units should be replaced to make sure your new condensing unit gives you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

In general, the higher the efficiency of the unit, the more it will cost but the less fuel it will use to heat or cool your home. So the cost to replace your old, inefficient unit (or to move up to a higher efficiency model) is paid back through lower utility bills.

Sound Ratings.

There’s a good chance you won’t ever think about the sound level of your air conditioner or heat pump ... until, that is, you try to enjoy a quiet conversation with some friends in your back yard. Sometimes noise from condensing (outdoor) units even interferes with your peace and quiet indoors, so it’s a factor you should at least look at when you’re comparing different models.

The sound level of outdoor units is measured in bels (similar to decibels), on a scale from 0 (barely perceptible sound) to 13 (the threshold of pain). Most air conditioners and heat pumps operate at 8 to 9 bels; some units’ ratings are as low as 6.8. That may not sound like a wide range, but consider this: 9 bels sounds 10 times louder than 8 bels. That means one 9-bel air conditioner is as loud as 10 units rated at 8 bels. So we think taking the time to compare bel ratings is pretty sound advice.

Comfort Features.

Some furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed units can run on low speed up to 80% of the time, and offer fewer drafts, smaller temperature swings, and better air circulation for more consistent heating or cooling throughout your home.

Variable-capacity furnaces provide even more added comfort features for the ultimate combination of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance. They can also increase the efficiency rating of your central air conditioning system and offer you added energy savings when you use continuous fan operation in any season.

The Right System for Comfort.

For the optimal combination of comfort and efficiency, a total comfort system is your best bet. By matching a furnace and air conditioner (or heat pump and fan coil) with the right products for air cleaning, ventilation, humidity and system control, you can make your home a much more comfortable place to spend your time and save money on your energy bills.

Warranties.

For your peace of mind, be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s warranty that comes with your new heating and cooling system. You should particularly ask about the length of time your equipment is covered and what specific components are included under the warranty. Additional extended warranties may also be available from the manufacturer or directly from your dealer.

You may also want to ask about the availability of service agreements and maintenance agreements, two ways to keep your equipment in peak operating condition and provide insurance against unforeseen repair costs.

HOW HEATING & COOLING SYSTEMS WORK

How do the components of a Total Indoor Comfort System work together?

Typical Indoor Comfort System

Humidifier
Comfort Ventilator
Zoning Controls
Furnace or Boiler
Air Cleaner
Air Conditioner or Heat Pump

Contact your Carrier dealer for professional assistance with your home heating and cooling needs.

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Humidifier

You'll be able to breathe easier with Carrier's air treatment products. Our mechanical and electronic air cleaners will remove the vast majority of the microscopic pollutants that settle on your furniture, your heating and cooling system, and worst of all your lungs. You'll see the benefits everywhere from better system performance to improved health.

Humidifiers can help you fight the problems of dry air in the winter months.

If you want to cut down on static electricity, dry skin and cracking furniture — and feel warmer — a humidifier's the perfect answer.

Ventilator

Today's energy-efficient homes can help you save money on your monthly utility bills. But while they keep heat in, they can also seal in stale, recirculated air.

For the healthiest living environment, your home's stale indoor air should be exchanged for fresh outdoor air at least five times per day. Every time you let stale air out and fresh air in , though, you let expensive heat or cooled air escape, too.

A ventilating system solves the problem by bringing fresh air into tightly constructed homes without wasting precious energy.

Heat recovery ventilators recapture heat energy lost from indoor air during the winter months; energy recovery ventilators recapture both heat and cooling energy year-round.

Zoning Controls

The ideal heating and cooling system is one you can control to fit your lifestyle. Carrier's thermostats and zoning systems give you both flexibility and control over the performance of your system.

Thermostats help your heating and cooling system maintain the optimal temperature setting with the utmost energy efficiency. Today's models allow you to program your home temperatures to suit your lifestyle and schedule.

Zoning systems allow you to put heating and cooling where you need it most, enhancing your comfort and reducing your energy costs by as much as 30%.

Furnace or Boiler

Here's some information you can warm up to. Carrier's furnaces and boilers provide comfortable, even heat throughout your home and offer efficiency ratings that keep your energy bills at a comfortable level, too.

Carrier's gas furnaces are available in efficiencies from 78% to 96.6% AFUE, and several models offer variable-speed and variable-capacity operation, for even greater efficiency and comfort.

You'll also find oil-fired furnaces and gas-fired steam and water boilers whatever you need to fit the system in your home, your comfort requirements and your budget.

Air Cleaner

You'll be able to breathe easier with Carrier's air treatment products. Our mechanical and electronic air cleaners will remove the vast majority of the microscopic pollutants that settle on your furniture, your heating and cooling system, and worst of all your lungs. You'll see the benefits everywhere from better system performance to improved health.

Humidifiers can help you fight the problems of dry air in the winter months.

If you want to cut down on static electricity, dry skin and cracking furniture and feel warmer a humidifier's the perfect answer.

Air Conditioner or Heat Pump

Here are the cold facts on some pretty cool stuff. Carrier's central air conditioners work with your furnace to provide cool, dry air throughout your home.

Central air conditioners are split systems, which means they have both an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (coil). Your dealer will match these two parts in terms of capacity and efficiency so your system performs properly.

Carrier offers a wide range of air conditioners, with efficiency ratings from 13 to 21 SEER and additional comfort features, such as two-speed operation. Our outdoor condensing units have low sound ratings, weather-sealed fan motors, a baked-on powder paint finish for durable good looks, and limited warranties of one year for parts and up to 10 years for compressors.

If you want one system for all seasons, the electric heat pump is your answer. It uses a very small amount of energy to transfer heat back and forth between the inside and outside of your home. The same system shuttles warmth indoors during the chill of winter and delivers plenty of cooling when summer sizzles.

Carrier offers heat pumps with efficiency ratings from 13 to 21 SEER

(cooling) and 7.5 to 10 HSPF (heating).

Beverly Heating and Cooling can match your outdoor (condensing) unit with the appropriate indoor (fan coil) unit to make sure the two parts of your system work together as a team to provide top performance and comfort.

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How do furnaces and boilers work?

Gas- and oil-fired furnaces provide warm, even heat throughout your home by circulating heated air through ducts.

The heat is created by burning the fuel (gas or oil) inside your furnace. (Some furnaces use outside air to help burn the fuel; others use air from inside your home.) When the fuel burns, the hot gases that are created go through curved metal tubing called a heat exchanger and then out of your home through a metal or plastic vent pipe. At the same time, the air that circulates through your ducts passes over the outside of the heat exchanger and takes on the heat from the hot metal. The warm air is then circulated through your home. (By keeping combustion air and supply air separate, the heat exchanger allows the air in your home to be heated without contaminating it with the toxic by-products of combustion.)

BOILERS create heat the same way but instead of heating air they typically heat your home by circulating steam or heated water through a system of pipes and baseboard or radiator-type heat exchangers.

Comfort Features

Some furnaces offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed furnaces can run on low speed up to 80% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-speed furnaces. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings -- only one or two degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed furnaces. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification" — warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even heat throughout your home.

Variable-capacity furnaces provide the ultimate combination of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance. In addition to the benefits of two-speed furnaces, they offer "smart" motors than can monitor your home’s comfort needs and automatically adjust the volume and speed of air to provide the most efficient heating or cooling. They offer added electrical efficiency as well: the "smart" fan motors on Carrier’s variable-capacity furnaces use less electricity than a 100-watt light bulb. They operate so efficiently that they can actually increase the efficiency rating of your central air conditioning system and offer you added energy savings when you use continuous fan operation in any season.

How do heat pumps and central air conditioners work?

While heat pumps and air conditioners require the use of some different components in your heating and cooling system, they operate on the same basic principles.

Heat pumps and central air conditioners are "split systems," which means that there is an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (coil). The job of the heat pump or air conditioner is to transport heat from one "station" to the other. The "vehicle" your system uses to carry the heat is called refrigerant.

In air conditioning operation, the compressor in your outdoor unit will change the gaseous refrigerant into a high temperature, high pressure gas. As that gas flows through the outdoor coil it will lose heat and condense into a high temperature, high pressure liquid. The liquid refrigerant travels through copper tubing into the evaporator coil located in your fan coil unit or attached to your furnace. The liquid refrigerant is then allowed to expand.

This sudden expansion turns the refrigerant into a low temperature, low pressure gas. The gas then absorbs heat from the air circulating in the duct work, leaving it full of cooler air to be distributed throughout your house. Meanwhile, the low temperature, low pressure refrigerant gas returns to the compressor to begin the cycle all over again.

While it’s keeping you cool, your air conditioner or heat pump also works as an effective dehumidifier. As warm air passes over the indoor evaporator coil, it can no longer hold as much moisture as it carried at its higher temperatures. The extra moisture condenses on the outside of the coils and is carried away through a drain. The process is similar to what happens when moisture condenses on the outside of a glass of ice water on a hot, humid day.

A heat pump basically reverses that process in cold weather. It takes heat out of the outside air (or the ground, if you have a ground-source heat pump) and moves it inside, where it is transferred from the evaporator coil to the air circulating through your home.

Where does a heat pump get the heat to warm your home when it’s cold outside? Well, to a heat pump, cold is a relative term. Even though 35 F air may feel cold to humans, it actually contains a great deal of heat. The temperature at which air no longer has any heat is well below -200 F. A heat pump’s heat exchanger can squeeze heat out of cold air, then transfer that heat into your home with the help of a fan coil or a furnace, which circulates the warm air through your ducts.

Heat pumps are often installed with back-up electric resistance heat or a furnace to handle heating requirements when more heat is needed than the heat pump can efficiently extract from the air. Carrier also offers a Smart Heat accessory package that provides back-up electrical heat in stages. This option allows homeowners to enjoy the energy-saving benefits of a heat pump and still maintain comfortable indoor temperatures as outdoor temperatures gradually drop.

Comfort Features

Some air conditioners and heat pumps offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed units can run on low speed (using 50% of the energy) up to 80% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-speed models. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings -- only two or three degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed units. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air "stratification" warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even cooling throughout your home.

If you purchase a multi-speed or variable-capacity furnace or fan coil with your unit, you will enhance both the comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system even further.

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How Do Air Cleaners & Humidifiers Work?

If you thought air pollution was just an outdoor concern, think again. The particles you see in a beam of afternoon sunlight streaming through the window only represent about 1% of the millions of airborne contaminants in your indoor air. Most standard fiber glass-mesh furnace filters only trap about 15% of these particles, leaving the other 85% to pollute your air, your furnishings, even your lungs.

Clearing the Air

A Carrier MECHANICAL AIR CLEANER has a heavy-duty media filter that can trap up to 28 times as many particles as a standard fiber glass filter, including animal dander and plant spores.

A Carrier ELECTRONIC AIR CLEANER can capture up to 95% of all airborne particles — smoke, grease, bacteria and even many viruses. An electronic model works as a sort of magnet for undesirable pollutants. An aluminum mesh filter catches most of the large particles. The smaller particles pass through an ionizing section, where they receive an electrical charge so they are attracted like magnets to grounded metal plates. The collected particles are cleaned off the plates every few months with a garden hose or by popping the filter in the dishwasher. While the process may sound complicated, electronic air cleaners only use about as much electricity as a 30-watt light bulb.

Air cleaners can improve your health, keep your entire home cleaner, protect your valuable investments and save you the time and aggravation of constant dusting.

Just Add Water

Controlling humidity can not only affect how comfortable you feel, it can actually save you money on your monthly energy bills.

Our bodies "feel" heat as a combination of temperature and humidity. In other words, the more humid the air, the warmer it feels. So if you add humidity to dry, heated air in the winter with a Carrier humidifier, you can set your thermostat lower and still be comfortable — while you save money on your utility bills.

A HUMIDIFIER can also help prevent dry, cracked skin, make it easier to breathe, protect your woodwork and reduce static electricity. It can even make you less susceptible to sore throats and winter colds.

Carrier humidifiers operate on the basis of a simple concept. Air heated by your furnace or heat pump passes through a ceramic-coated pad in your humidifier, called an evaporator pad. The air absorbs moisture from the water-soaked pad and becomes water vapor that humidifies the heated air that is circulated throughout your home. Most humidifiers feature an adjustable humidistat so you can control the exact amount of moisture in the air. The proper amount of moisture depends on the outdoor temperature and other factors; your owner’s manual has recommendations for the best settings for your conditions.

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How do thermostats work?

Thermostats help your heating and cooling equipment maintain the optimal temperature setting with the utmost energy efficiency. Today’s electronic models are a vast departure from earlier mechanical styles.

Microprocessors allow you to program your home temperatures to suit your lifestyle, so you can keep things comfortable while you’re home and automatically set back your temperatures to save energy when you’re away or sleeping

ELECTRONIC THERMOSTATS work in much the same way as older, manual thermostats did. The microprocessor inside compares the thermometer reading of a room’s temperature to the desired temperature you select. Then, it gives start and stop commands to the heating or cooling system to bring the temperature to a level that makes you comfortable.

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS basically work the same way, but they are far more convenient. Once you program the thermostat to customize the system’s operation to fit your lifestyle and schedule, all you have to do is relax and let it do all the work. You simply program into its memory the temperatures you need, at what time of the day, to stay comfortable and save energy all season. You only need to program it once — until the season or your lifestyle changes.

The most important way that a programmable thermostat saves energy is in its setback feature. When you don’t need a normal level of heating or cooling, you can program the thermostat to set the temperature back until the next pre-programmed time when you want normal temperatures. Programming temperatures around 63 F on cold winter nights, when you’re snuggled under blankets, can help you save as much as 15% on your heating costs. You can save even more by programming your system to "setback" the temperature when your family is away at work, at school, or on vacation. In summer, setbacks work much the same way for central air conditioning.

How do zoning systems work?

In the same way that a single thermostat controls WHEN the temperatures in your home change, a Carrier zoning system controls WHERE they change.

With zoning and programmable thermostats, you can actually divide your home into two, three or four separate "zones" with similar comfort needs. Then, a system of electronic thermostats and electronically controlled dampers automatically adjusts the level of comfort in each of those zones.

A zoning system gives you the same kind of flexibility in controlling heating and cooling that you have with light switches in your home. It doesn’t make sense to waste energy to light a room no one’s using, so you turn off the light switch, right? With zoning you can basically do the same thing with heating and cooling — increasing your comfort tremendously and enjoying huge savings on your energy bills.

Zoning is especially beneficial if you have certain rooms or areas that are always warmer or cooler than the rest of the home. You can direct your system to automatically provide more heating or cooling to that area without wasting energy to heat or cool your entire home.

In many cases, proper zoning can result in operating cost savings of as much as 30%. While zoning does not actually increase the efficiency of your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, it does increase the overall efficiency of your system by directing heating or cooling only where you need it. Plus, since you don’t need extra capacity to heat or cool areas you’re not using, zoning may allow you to install a smaller unit. Smaller-capacity equipment costs less to install and to operate. That translates into even more savings!

CHECKING YOUR SYSTEM’S HEALTH

What simple maintenance and troubleshooting can I do myself?

With the proper maintenance and care, your Carrier equipment will operate economically and dependably. There are a few simple, routine maintenance operations you can do to help ensure the best performance and comfort from your system.

Before you perform any kind of maintenance, consider these important safety precautions.

• Disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels to perform maintenance. Please note that there may be more than one power connection switch.

• Although Carrier takes special care to prevent sharp edges in the construction of our equipment, it’s best to be very careful when you handle parts or reach into units.

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Routine Maintenance

CHECK THE AIR FILTER IN YOUR FURNACE OR FAN COIL EVERY 3 TO 4 WEEKS. A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type. (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it’s completely dry before you re-install it.) The prefilter and collection cells of an electronic air cleaner should be cleaned at least two or three times per year.

KEEP YOUR OUTDOOR CONDENSING UNIT FREE OF DEBRIS. If you keep grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care to operate properly. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris, to help the unit drain correctly.

If the outdoor coil becomes dirty, use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact your dealer.

TAKE SPECIAL CARE OF OUTDOOR CONDENSING UNITS IN OCEAN ENVIRONMENTS. If your unit is located near a sea coast, you can help preserve its optimal condition with a little extra care. Ocean mist and sea breezes carry salt, which is corrosive to most metals. Although new Carrier units are made out of galvanized metal and are protected by top-grade paint, you can add life to your unit by washing all exposed surfaces and the coil approximately every three months. (Ask your installing contractor about the appropriate interval in your area.)

MAKE SURE YOUR OUTDOOR UNIT STAYS IN A LEVEL POSITION. If the support for your split-system outdoor unit shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it promptly to make sure moisture drains properly out of the unit. If you notice that water or ice collects beneath the unit, arrange for it to be drained away from the equipment.

INSPECT YOUR FURNACE’S COMBUSTION AREA AND VENT SYSTEM BEFORE EACH HEATING SEASON. If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call your servicing dealer and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.

HAVE OIL-FIRED BOILERS INSPECTED ANNUALLY. Call your servicing dealer before each heating season to replace your oil filter cartridge and conduct a thorough inspection of the unit’s operation.

CLEAN YOUR HUMIDIFIER AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY HEATING SEASON. Review your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to clean the external and internal components of your unit. The evaporator pad should also be replaced before each heating season. If the water in your area is hard or has high mineral content, you may need to clean or service your humidifier more frequently.

Before You Request A "Service Call":

·         Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system). Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.

·         Check for sufficient airflow. Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.

·         Check the settings on your thermostat. If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.

In addition to the routine maintenance you perform, your home comfort system should be inspected at least once in the spring (for cooling) and once in the fall (for heating) by one of our trained service representatives. Beverly Heating and Cooling will make sure your system operates safely and gives you the best performance at the lowest cost. Ask one of our representatives about our Planned Maintenance Agreements.

When should I repair older equipment and when do I need to replace it?

When you’re frustrated with an equipment break-down, it can be tempting to find the least expensive "quick fix" to get on with your life in relative comfort. That "quick fix" may be the least expensive now, but it may not give you the most value or cost you the least in the long run.

Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. It’s almost like putting a bandage on a serious injury. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again ... and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.

There’s also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you’ve recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won’t save on your energy bills.

Even six-year-old heat pumps and air conditioners are considered grossly inefficient by today’s energy efficiency standards. So are most furnaces built before 1980. So you could save up to 60% on your energy bills with new high-efficiency equipment. That’s why installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.

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Looking at the Big Picture.

When one component of your system breaks down unexpectedly, it’s easy to just focus on repairing or replacing that component. But each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.

Replacing your old furnace with a new higher-efficiency model but leaving your old mechanical thermostat in place, for example, won’t allow you to enjoy all the efficiency advantages the furnace has to offer. Likewise, if you install a new furnace but don’t get a humidifier, the air will seem cooler, forcing you to operate your new system at a higher temperature to be comfortable. Plus, you can often save on installation costs if you have several components of your system (for example, a furnace and an air conditioner) replaced at the same time.

Are there new refrigerants available that are safer for the environment?

Yes, and Carrier offers a complete line of air conditioners and heat pumps featuring “Puron” with substantial benefits for the environment.

Be friendly to your ozone.

New refrigerants are being developed for air conditioners because traditional refrigerants, if they accidentally escape from an aging system, can cause damage to the ozone layer of the earth's atmosphere. Scientists have associated ozone depletion with potential health risks, and many countries, including the United States, are taking steps to reverse the trend.

The culprit in traditional refrigerants (R-12 and R-22) is a chlorine atom, which reacts with ozone in the upper atmosphere and destroys it. R-410A, chemically known as an HFC (hydrofluorocarbon), contains no chlorine and will not damage the ozone layer.

Being earth-wise can make you cool.

You may already know about alternative refrigerants if you've purchased a new car since 1994. Today, cars keep you cool with a non-chlorine refrigerant known as R-134A. Carrier has decided to use R-410A as the alternative refrigerant for its residential cooling products because if helps your system perform better.

Carrier's R-410A air conditioner offers the same performance as R-22 units in terms of noise levels, the temperature of air coming out of the registers, and the time it takes to cool your home. In fact, the refrigerant has been on the market for several years and has undergone many hours of testing before being used in cooling equipment.

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Is R-410A for you?

How do you know if R-410A is for you? If you're thinking about replacing your central air conditioner, there are several factors to keep in mind.

The production of R-22 (the refrigerant used in most central air conditioners) began to be phased out in 1996, so less will be available each year meaning the cost for repairs and recharges for R-22 units is likely to escalate. So, while the cost of an R-410A unit is slightly higher than it is for a traditional R-22 unit, you'll be insuring yourself against escalating refrigerant costs. Plus, if your current air conditioner was manufactured before 1990, you could dramatically reduce the amount of energy you use (and your electric bills), thanks to the high efficiency (14 SEER) of this new unit. That adds up to a substantial payback — to your wallet and to the environment.

 

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