Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs.

No matter what your HVAC questions are, the pros at Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. in Scottsboro have answers. Whether you have questions about choosing new HVAC equipment to best practices on care and maintenance, we can assist. Our online FAQs answers offer a fast response for your convenience, but if you want to know more on any topic, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 256-574-1300.

Why does my home comfort system need regular maintenance?

Like any product you want to keep in good shape, HVAC equipment requires proper care in order to give you the greatest benefits. Trained technicians can service your heating and cooling products to ensure they’re working at their greatest potential and help prevent more costly repairs in the middle of the hottest or coldest months of the year.

What is two-stage heating?

With two-stage heating, furnaces may operate on two different levels: high and low. Since you can heat your home on the low setting a lot of the time, a two-stage furnace can operate longer and more efficiently. Two-stage heating also operates more quietly than traditional furnaces and can offer more even heat distribution and fewer temperature swings.

What is Precise Comfort™ technology?

Precise Comfort™ technology is an operating and control system used in Lennox furnaces. The technology can automatically adjust heat by increments as little as 1 percent, boosting energy efficiency and helping you experience better comfort.

Will my new furnace work differently than my old one?

Modern furnaces are created with a host of innovative features older furnaces don’t have. Today’s heating systems give you more even heating and are better at governing airflow. Although the air coming out of your vents may seem cooler than your old furnace, the airflow is much better and more efficient.

Another bonus of modern furnaces is their ability to work with other HVAC products as part of a high-efficiency whole home comfort system. When combined with a high-efficiency air conditioner, furnace blowers can more easily accommodate add-on cooling. Other innovations, such as Precise Comfort™ technology and variable speed motors, will help your furnace work more efficiently and quieter than ever.

How can I reduce my energy costs?

Heating and cooling makes up a huge portion of your monthly utility bill. Purchasing HVAC equipment with high efficiency ratings, such as SEER for air conditioners and AFUE for furnaces, is a simple step that can go a long way in reducing energy output. Beyond these ratings, also think about:

  • Routine maintenance – regularly having an expert tune-up your equipment will keep it working at its greatest potential.
  • Adding a zoning system – by focusing your heating and cooling on the rooms you use most frequently, you won’t have to pay to heat or cool areas of your home that aren’t routinely used.
  • Installing a programmable thermostat – the Department of Energy estimates that a programmable thermostat can lower heating costs by up to 35 percent and cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Leave it up to your thermostat to turn down the heat when you’re away and go back to your preferred temperature when you’re home.

Why should I buy a Lennox product?

There are various reasons to choose Lennox, but the top three are:

  • Lennox is a name you know and trust – known around the world for quality HVAC products, you can rest assured Lennox will provide you with high quality equipment.
  • Innovative and high quality products – Lennox has been on the leading edge of innovation in the heating and cooling industry for years. High quality furnaces, air conditioners and home comfort systems include innovative features to help your home stay more comfortable and energy efficient.
  • Reputation of excellence – high quality products are not the only arena Lennox excels in. Lennox dealers, like Southern Heating & Cooling Inc., give you high quality service at all times, from your first consultation to your scheduled maintenance appointments.

How can I improve my home’s indoor air quality?

Strategies to improve your indoor air quality can be as basic as vacuuming your home to something as large as adding a new ventilation system. Overall, good IAQ includes four strategies:

  • Eliminate – get rid of the pollutants floating in your air by cleaning your home regularly, particularly vacuuming carpet, washing linens and safely storing household chemicals.
  • Ventilate – make sure your home is well-ventilated to move airborne pollutants out of your home. In newer homes, well-done insulation will hinder ventilation, so Lennox systems such as the Healthy Climate® ventilation system can help. These systems bring fresh air from outside into your home and direct the stale air out.
  • Clean – proper air filters, such as our Healthy Climate® air filters, will make sure the smallest particles don’t get through and are let out into your home. Germicidal lights can kill the germs that do make it through, and purification systems like the PureAir™ will help get rid of odors and chemical vapors.
  • Monitor – keep your humidity levels in check with a programmable thermostat. High temperatures and humidity levels can elevate concentrations of mold, mildew and germs. A programmable thermostat will make sure that your home is comfortable without letting humidity run rampant.

How does an air conditioner work?

You may be surprised to learn that air conditioners don’t technically make your home cooler; they actually remove the hot air and transfer it outside. This hot air moves across a refrigerant coil on the indoor unit and then is sent to the outdoor unit where it is released. Your air conditioner pushes as much hot air outside as is necessary to reach the temperature you have set on your thermostat.

What is the minimum energy efficiency standard for air conditioners in my state?

Minimum energy efficiency standards vary by region. Additionally, air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units made after Jan. 1, 2015, have higher minimum efficiency levels than equipment manufactured prior to that date. The team at Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. can help you determine the minimum requirements for Scottsboro, let you know if your current products meets those requirements or help you find a replacement air conditioner that does.

What size equipment do I need for my home?

Since equipment size needs vary by home, the best way to find out the proper size equipment for your home is to have a technician from Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. come out to perform load calculation tests. The tests take things like square footage, insulation value and amount, and more into account to determine your home’s individual HVAC equipment needs.

What is two-stage cooling?

When a cooling system uses two-stage cooling, it means that there are two levels of operation. This enables the system to work more efficiently since there is one level for milder weather and one for harsher weather that demands the system work harder. Two-stage cooling also enables almost unnoticeable temperature changes so you don’t experience extreme differences in temperature. Aside from better efficiency, other benefits of two-stage cooling include quieter operation and enhanced humidity control.

Why is my cooling unit freezing up?

Your system could be freezing up for a couple of reasons, but the most typical are dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil and/or a faulty blower motor. Changing a filter is something any homeowner take care of; however, you should call the professionals at Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. at 256-574-1300 for other problems or if you have other questions or concerns.

What is the best thermostat to use for my cooling system?

Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. has a number of great thermostat options for your HVAC systems. The best thermostat for you will depend on variables such as whether you want one that’s programmable or not. No matter what kind of thermostat you’d like – or if you’re in the market for something that can fit with a home automation system – call Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. to hear about which thermostats you can choose from. Our team will help you find one that’s best for your system, your family’s needs and your budget.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump takes care of both your home’s heating and cooling needs, offering you one HVAC system that can be used year-round. During the warmer months, heat pumps act like an air conditioner, capturing the hot air from inside your home and transferring it outside; in the cooler months, this process is reversed. Heat pumps can be very energy efficient and may produce two to three times more heat than the energy used.

When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced?

At Southern Heating & Cooling Inc., we do recommend replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time because:

  • Outdoor systems are now built to work with their matching indoor system for the highest efficiency possible. When you replace just one of your systems, you may not see the same savings on your energy bills as if you had replaced them together.
  • Thanks to technological advancements, newer systems mean increased efficiency. This is true for heating and cooling products as well. While the advancements focus on improved heating and cooling efficiency, they also include benefits such as better air handling, filtering and noise reduction.
  • If your heating and cooling systems are over 10 years old, they need to be replaced. Older models have outdated technology that is likely adding to your energy costs due to poor efficiency. So by replacing your indoor system at the same time as your outdoor equipment, both your systems will provide better energy efficiency that helps you reduce your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable.