Answers To Your HVAC Questions

What is Trane Air?

Trane has devoted years to producing air that has been flawlessly conditioned and meticulously cleaned. Air that feels fresh and crisp with each breath. We call it Trane Air, and you can experience it for yourself when you install the optional industry-leading filtration of Trane CleanEffects™. Air that’s dirty and full of particulates can not only feel uncomfortable, it can cause breathing problems for family members and exacerbate existing respiratory problems like asthma and allergies. Fortunately, the exclusive .1 micron filtration of an optional Trane CleanEffects removes up to 99.98% of airborne pollutants from heating and cooled air, providing the most technologically advanced air filtration available. That’s welcome relief for everyone in your home.

How can we improve the efficiency of an existing heating and cooling system?

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- Change your air filter regularly
- Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Seal your heating and cooling ducts
- Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment

Should I set my thermostat at a constant temperature during the summer months?

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Maximizing the features of your programmable thermostat can save you energy dollars. During the summer months I would recommend you set your thermostat back during the day when you are not home. However, I would not recommend that you go over your desired temperature more than five to seven degrees. Another recommendation would be that you have a programmable thermostat installed that would automatically change the setting for you once it was programmed. Our company has had people save as much as 30 percent on their utility bills just by setting the temperature back when no one is home.

There are many ratings and terms associated with HVAC systems. What do they mean?

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SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) - a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher the SEER rating, the less a unit will cost to operate. The DOE's established minimum SEER rating for cooling is 13.00.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio) - a furnace-related measure of the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed. The higher the AFUE rating, the lower the fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. Furnaces now 10 - 15 years old may fall below this minimum. Furnaces use electricity to run the blower and the amount of electricity used varies with the quality and design of the system, so this is another factor of which to be aware when selecting equipment.

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) - an ASHRAE filter rating system relates to the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and the higher the efficiency in capturing contaminants. For example, a throw-away fiberglass filter has a MERV rating of 1-4. Some of the highest efficiency, in-line media filters, have a MERV rating of 16.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) - recommends a household humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.

R410A Refrigerant - A chlorine-free refrigerant that meets the EPA's newest, most stringent environmental guidelines. Most residential air conditioning units contain the standard R-22 refrigerant, or Freon.

ENERGY STAR - An EPA designation attached to HVAC products that meet or exceed EPA guidelines for high-efficiency performance above the standard government minimums.

dB - a decibel is a unit used to measure the relative intensity of sound. Access our Trane product link for decibel ratings of different units.

0-70 dB - normal conversation
80 dB - telephone dial tone
90-95 dB - sustained exposure may lead to hearing loss
107 dB - power lawn mower

If I purchase and new furnace or air conditioner, am I eligible for energy company rebates?

Yes, provided you purchase eligible high efficiency equipment and you use a participating energy provider like DTE Energy, Consumers Energy or Semco Energy. The rebate amount varies by the energy provider.

What would cause my indoor coil to freeze up?

Freeze ups are caused most of the time by a low refrigerant charge. Before you schedule a service call make sure the filter is clean. Freeze ups can also be caused by a dirty blower wheel, dragging motor (might need a new capacitor) or a dirty evaporator coil (might need cleaning on the under side). It is very hard on the compressor to run without enough refrigerant in the system, so make sure the problem is resolved before turning your air conditioner back on!

Why does my furnace/air conditioner have poor air flow?

A dirty filter, blower wheel, stopped up evaporator coil, or a dragging motor can cause poor air flow. We recommend having a service technician check your evaporator coil and blower wheel to make sure they are clean, check the blower motor capacitor to make sure it is not weak, and make sure your system is fully charged with refrigerant. A system that is low on charge will cause a freeze up condition and block air flow through the evaporator coil.

What regular maintenance do HVAC systems need?

Dust, dirt, and debris are enemies of HVAC systems. The most important regular maintenance aspect is assuring unrestricted air flows associated with both the indoor and outdoor units. This means keeping all types of filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions (inside units and around units). An ESA agreement with McQuade covers all of these maintenance needs. The service agreement also means a qualified technician inspects the system and can advise the homeowner of any potential problems, in order to address them before there is a "no heat" or "no AC" system.

Is variable speed equipment superior and/or necessary?

Variable speed refers to a furnace's or air handler's indoor blower motor. Variable speed motors use very little energy and can help clean the air and control the humidity because they allow for continuous movement of air which will capture more contaminants in the filtering system and allow your humidifier to run for longer periods of time than a standard motor.