Logo, Four Seasons Heating and Cooling - HVAC Company Call Us Today! (270) 926-2900
Hours of Operation: Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
24/7 Emergency Service Available

Frequently Asked Questions in Owensboro, KY

Choose a Question below:

If I am going to replace my old gas guzzler furnace, do I need to replace it with the same BTU capacity?
If I replace my furnace, will my old duct system work properly with the new furnace?
How will I know it's time to replace my system?
What can you expect during our cooling evaluation?
How is air conditioner efficiency rated?
What are the differences between an 80% and 90% efficient gas furnace?
How important is my heating and cooling system?
What is the number one rule in shopping for a new system?
How do I choose a dealer?
Is there anything I need to do to get my heating system ready for winter?
What causes cracks to form in a gas furnace heat exchanger?
How can I tell if the heat exchanger in my furnace has cracks?
What are some ideas for saving on our heating bills?
How important is good insulation?
How much insulation is enough?
Will closing off supply registers help save on my heating and cooling cost?
Will burning an open fireplace help save on my heating cost?
What is a heat pump?
How does an air-to-air heat pump work?
How long should a central air conditioner last?
How cool should the air coming out of my registers be?
 

If I am going to replace my old gas guzzler furnace, do I need to replace it with the same BTU capacity?
In most cases the answer is no, you won't need as large an input furnace; a smaller BTU furnace will work just fine. Chances are your old furnace was very inefficient with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 55% or less. With today's furnaces obtaining 80% to 90% in efficiency, or AFUE, you just don't need as large a furnace. The new furnace compared to the old furnace will require less BTU input, but will produce more BTU output, resulting in as much or more heat going into your home with the new smaller furnace. In the past the old "gas guzzlers" were wasting almost half of their heat up the flue vent to the outside and not into your home. Today it wouldn't be uncommon to replace an old 125,000 BTU furnace with a new 90,000 BTU input gas furnace.
Back to Top
 
If I replace my furnace, will my old duct system work properly with the new furnace?
This depends on a number of factors. Older furnaces were more forgiving when it came to a poorly designed duct system. Some duct systems were undersized and the older type furnaces would operate inefficiently by cycling on high-limit safety. In effect, the poorly designed duct system wouldn't deliver enough air across the heat exchanger, causing the old furnace to automatically cycle on the high-limit safety until the house temperature was reached. The newer furnaces have several safety controls to prevent this from happening, but in turn will lock out the new furnace, preventing it from heating. Sometimes, it is necessary to make changes to the old duct system in order for the new furnace to operate properly. Many factors, such as the size of your main trunk line, size and number of supply pipe runs, size of return wall cavities, and the number of supply registers and return grills must be considered.
Back to Top
 
How will I know it's time to replace my system?
It is time to replace your system when it gives you more problems than seems cost effective to repair, particularly when major components, such as the compressor start making unusual noises, or otherwise indicating need for service. Replacing a compressor may be less expensive then replacing the entire unit, but a new unit matched with a new evaporator coil will give you greater efficiency and lower operating cost. In addition, you will be switching to the new R-410A refrigerant. Because newer equipment is more energy efficient, the money you save in reduced utility costs, might pay back your purchase price of a new system years earlier than you might think.
Back to Top
 
What can you expect during our cooling evaluation?
Our technicians start by taking accurate measurements of your home. We ask detailed questions about what you want and need. We ask what problems you are encountering with your current heating and cooling system. Our technicians look at your duct system to see if it is sized properly for the new equipment and the size of your home. We count the number of supplies and returns in your home to see if you have enough to deliver the conditioned air your home needs. We ask about your indoor air quality and any need for extra air filtration. Our technicians inquire about your wall and attic insulation. We ask which rooms are either too warm or too cold and then, install your system using sophisticated equipment and highly trained responsible technicians.
Back to Top
 
How is air conditioner efficiency rated?
The efficiency of air conditioners is rated according to the SEASONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATIO or SEER Rating. Effective Jan.1, 1992, the federal minimum standard of 10.0 SEER was established. The higher the SEER number is, the more efficient the unit. In the Owensboro area, the savings on electricity are about 5% to10% per SEER number. A 14 SEER air conditioner would be 20% to 30% more efficient than a 10 SEER unit. Major manufacturers make up to 18 SEER units, which can provide savings of up to 70% range.
 
How are gas furnace efficiencies rated?
The rating for gas furnaces falls under Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. An approximate example of AFUE would be if you purchase a dollar's worth of gas and your furnace has an AFUE rating of 60%. You would receive 60 cents of usable heat for your home. The other 40 cents goes up your vent and outside. To continue, 80% AFUE gives you 80 cents of heat out of that dollar; and 95% provides 95 cents out of every dollar. If you change your old 60% AFUE furnace to a 96% AFUE furnace, you would realize a savings of more than 36%. Instead of wasting 40 cents out of every hard-earned dollar, you would only waste 4 cents. Big savings!
Back to Top
 

What are the differences between 80% and 90% efficient gas furnaces?
We will start with the 80% AFUE furnace, which is a non-condensing furnace. The 80% furnace has only one heat exchanger and draws its combustion air from inside the home or the space the furnace is located. In most cases, it is vented into your existing flue vent or your chimney with a flue liner. With 20% of the heat it produces going up the chimney, the water vapor in the flue gases are able to reach the outside air without condensing and draining back into the furnace, much like your old furnace. This is why it is called a non-condensing furnace. This furnace does not have a pilot that burns continuously, but instead operates with a hot surface or spark ignition system. Because this furnace pulls combustion air from inside your home it tends to have a noisier burner operation. This is the less expensive of the two classes of furnaces.

The 90% AFUE has two heat exchangers, a primary and a secondary heat exchanger. This furnace draws its combustion air from outside your home through a fresh air inlet PVC pipe. This furnace only wastes 8% to 10% of its heat, resulting in cooler flue gas going out. This causes the water vapor in the flue gas to condense into liquid water before it can reach the outside air. The 90% efficient condensing furnace is vented with sealed PVC pipe to the outside to allow this condensed water to run back into the furnace reservoir. This is the reason the 90% furnace has a condensate drain and is called a condensing furnace. Like the 80% furnace, this furnace has the hot surface ignition system without a pilot. The two-pipe PVC direct vent allows for quieter operation by eliminating the use of indoor heated air for combustion. If your budget allows, the 90% efficient furnace is the best choice for both money-saving efficiency and reduced operating sound levels.
Back to Top
 

How important is my heating and cooling system?
One of the most important investments in your home you'll ever make is an improvement in your heating, cooling and indoor air quality system. These systems are vital to your family's comfort and health. Although it is not glamorous, good home comfort equipment that is correctly installed can increase the value of your home, prevent costly repair bills, and even help improve some health problems. If your furnace is very old and you replace it with a new high efficient model you could see a savings of up to 40% in your gas bill. This 40% savings would help offset the increased cost of your monthly bill.
Back to Top
 
What is the number one rule in shopping for a new system?
The most important rule in shopping for home comfort equipment is first to shop for a quality dealer and then, shop for the equipment. Even the best piece of equipment can be next to useless if not installed correctly. A new furnace or air conditioner is not like a new washer or microwave. You can't just take it out of the box and plug it in. Your new equipment must work with the rest of your home comfort system, such as your existing duct work. For example older furnaces may not deliver as much airflow through the duct system as today's new technically advanced furnaces require. In many of today's installations, duct modifications are needed to allow for the proper operation of your new equipment.
Back to Top
 
How do I choose a dealer?
Talk to your friends and neighbors. If you need to repair or replace a piece of equipment or you are in the market for a complete new system, chances are some of them have already been through the same experience. Ask them what dealers they worked with and whether or not they had any problems. If they did have problems, how did the dealer handle it? How a dealer approaches a customer's concern is a good indication of their attention to service. The quality of service you receive after the sale is extremely important. In order to maintain your new equipment in tip-top condition year after year you need to choose a dealer who puts service at the top of their priority list.
Back to Top
 
Is there anything I need to do to get my heating system ready for winter?
Most heating systems are quite reliable and will provide you with quick, comfortable heat when you need it, providing you take good care of the system. We recommend you have your furnace cleaned and checked by a professional technician before the cold harsh winter sets in. If you have a gas furnace, you might want to make a quick visual inspection of the furnace area to make sure there are no items that could interfere with combustion. In addition, check the top of the furnace to make sure nothing is lying close to the hot flue vent. Check all your supply and return registers to make sure that they were not turned off or blocked with items like rugs, furniture, plants, books, and shoes during the summer.
Back to Top
 
What causes cracks to form in a gas furnace heat exchanger?
In the normal course of a gas furnace operation, the heat exchanger experiences repeated heating and cooling, which causes a corresponding expansion and contraction of the heat exchanger metal. As the heat exchanger ages over the years, cracks will tend to form in areas of the heat exchanger that are weak, such as the areas that have been welded together. More weak spots and holes will form as a result of corrosion. Corrosion of the heat exchanger often signifies problems with the exhaust venting. What happens is that water in the exhaust, which contains carbonic acid, cools too quickly and condenses, draining back down the chimney and onto the heat exchanger where acid eats away at the metal. Ammonia fumes from a nearby cat litter box also can cause corrosion. Cat litter boxes should be at least 15 feet away from the gas furnace.
Back to Top
 
How can I tell if the heat exchanger in my furnace has cracks?
You can't. Most cracks in the heat exchanger occur in areas that are hidden away. Even if the cracked areas of the heat exchanger were visible, the cracks themselves are extremely difficult to detect to anyone without a trained, experienced eye. When a crack in a heat exchanger forms, it allows the combustion gases that contain carbon monoxide that would normally go up the flue vent to leak into the airflow coming out of your registers. If you or members of your family are complaining of headaches during the time spent at home, it could be caused by carbon monoxide coming from a cracked heat exchanger. By having your furnace checked once a year by one of our professional service technicians, you can eliminate some of this concern.
Back to Top
 

What are some ideas for saving on our heating bills?
Try lowering your thermostat setting a few degrees, especially while you sleep. Changing it from 72 degrees to 67 degrees could save up to 10%. You also can install a programmable set-back thermostat for about $250 that will do this automatically. Check your home over carefully for air leaks, especially around windows, doors, electrical switches, and outlet plates on outside walls. You can purchase some inexpensive insulation gaskets to seal around these problem areas. Contact a local insulation company for an evaluation of your attic and wall insulation, and consider adding more insulation.

Make sure your fireplace damper is tightly closed when the fireplace isn't in use. Glass fireplace doors can reduce the loss of heated air when using the fireplace. Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilation fans sparingly in cold weather. Exhaust fans remove a very large amount of heated air. Ensure that heating registers and air returns are not blocked with furniture and personal items.

Have your furnace system cleaned and properly adjusted annually. A dirty gas furnace can be a real gas guzzler! Consider replacing your old, inefficient heating system with a new high efficiency, energy-saving, 95% efficient gas furnace. A majority of the older furnaces are only 50 to 60% efficient. Replacing your older, inefficient furnace could result in substantial savings on your gas bill.
Back to Top
 

How important is good insulation?
Extremely important! Checking your home's insulating system is one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways to use a whole-house approach to reduce energy waste. By investing just a few hundred dollars for additional insulation for your home, you can increase your comfort, while reducing your heating and cooling costs by up to 30%. Insulation is measured in R-values—the higher the R-value the better your house will resist the transfer of heat. Six-inch thick fiberglass insulation has an R-value of R-19 and 3 ½ inch insulation has an R-11 value.

Although insulation can be made from a variety of materials, it usually comes in four types —batts, rolls, loose-fill, and rigid foam board. Each type is made to fit in different parts of your home. Batts are made to fit between the studs in your walls or between the joists of your ceilings and floors. Rolls or blankets are usually added over the floor in the attic. Loose-fill insulation is blown into the attic or walls. Rigid foam board is made for use in confined spaces such as exterior walls, basements, foundations, concrete slabs, and cathedral ceilings. Check with local insulating companies. Most can install insulation (including labor) in your home for the cost you would normally spend just to buy the insulation from a home store.
Back to Top
 

How much insulation is enough?
In a recent survey, only 20% of homes built before 1980 were well insulated. In our local climate, it is recommended to install up to 9" of insulation with an R-30 value in the attic. The best return on your investment comes with 6" of insulation with an R-19 value. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of the insulation. If there is less than 6 inches (R-19), you could reduce your heating and cooling bills substantially by adding more insulation.

If your attic has ample insulation and your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls, as well. This is a more expensive method that usually requires an insulation contractor, but it can be well worth the cost in comfort and energy savings. If you are building a new home, there are many innovative ways to insulate. Check with your building contractor on the latest insulating techniques.
Back to Top
 

Will closing off supply registers help save on my heating and cooling cost?
No! It will actually cost you more in the long run. For both maximum comfort and efficiency, the duct work and number of registers in your home must be sized to match the airflow output of your heating and cooling equipment. When you shut off supply registers, you do not allow this matched amount of air flow to be delivered to your-conditioned space. Closing the registers restricts the airflow and pushes it back into your furnace and air conditioner.

In the heating season, it causes the furnace plenum temperature to rise, weakening your high-temperature limit safety devices, shortening the life of your heat exchanger, and causing short cycling of the system. In the cooling season, the reduced airflow from closed registers will not allow the liquid refrigerant to evaporate in the evaporator and return to the compressor in liquid form. This will shorten the life of the compressor by allowing liquid refrigerant to wash oil from the compressor bearings.

In addition, if you allow the area of the thermostat to become cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, it will cause the system to run longer and use more fuel. If you must shut off registers, we recommend you never close more than one or two, unless your system is designed with extra ductwork and extra registers. Ninety percent of homes are not designed with extra registers. The extremely small amount of savings you could realize from sealing off a room would be lost in the possible damage to your heating and cooling equipment.
Back to Top
 

Will burning an open fireplace help save on my heating cost?
When you cozy up next to a crackling fire on a cold winter day, you probably don't realize that your fireplace is one of the most inefficient heat sources you can possibly use. It literally sends your energy dollars right up the chimney along with volumes of warm air. A roaring fire can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour outside, which must be replaced by cold air coming into the house from open doors, cracks and loose windows. Your heating system must warm up this air, which then exits through your chimney increasing your heating bill.

If you do elect to use your fireplace, you can try some of the following tips: Keep the nearest window slightly open about an inch and close the doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to around 55 degrees. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchanger system that blows warmed air back into the room. Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open, without closed glass doors, is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter. It allows the warm air to go right up the chimney, 24 hours a day. Consider installing a fireplace insert with an electric blower to force the heat generated from the fire back into the room. If you are looking for ways to save on your energy bills you may want to upgrade your system to a higher efficiency.
Back to Top
 

What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is an all-electric unit that both heats and cools your home by refrigeration. The heat pump is not new. The first factory-made units rolled off the production lines more than three decades ago. There are two basic types of heat pumps. The first is a ground-to-air system known as a geothermal system ground source, which uses a coil buried in the ground outside your home to assist in providing heating and cooling. The second and most common type of heat pump is the air-to-air type, which has an outdoor unit for heating and cooling. Most air-to-air heat pumps are compact two-piece units with both indoor and outdoor components. However, some homes use a single- package unit, which is installed entirely outside, and have the system ductwork extended out and connected to them.
Back to Top
 

How does an air-to-air heat pump work?
As the name indicates, a heat pump pumps heat from one location to another. If you remove heat from an area, that area will become cold. Your refrigerator is a good example. Your refrigerator keeps the food cold by removing the heat inside and sending it out the back or bottom of the appliance into your kitchen via the condenser fan. Using the same process, a heat pump removes heat from inside your home and sends that heat outside via your outside unit in the summer.

And in the winter, the same principle is applied in reverse. The outdoor unit extracts heat from the outdoor air and sends it indoors to keep you warm and cozy. You may ask how a heat pump can extract heat from outside when it could be zero degrees or colder outside. The heat pump can accomplish this because heat exists in air down to minus 460 degrees F. Even extremely cold winter air contains heat. In this heat extracting process, the outdoor coil gets very cold and may form ice on it from time to time.

The heat pump is designed to "defrost" this ice build-up periodically, resulting in steam coming out of the top of the outdoor unit when it is in the defrost mode. Unlike a furnace that turns fossil fuel or electricity into heat, the heat pump collects heat that already exists in outdoor air by means of its refrigeration cycle, just like your refrigerator. This means the heat pump can supply two to three times more energy than the energy it uses, making it very efficient. For example, a heat pump can mean savings of up to 60 percent on electric heating bills because it uses less energy to supply the same heat as an electric furnace with a resistance heating element.
Back to Top
 

How long should a central air conditioner last?
The useful life of an air conditioner can vary greatly. Factors such as climate, maintenance care, quality, and capacity of the original equipment can increase or decrease the service a system will give by months or even years. On the average, a residential central air conditioner will last from 10–15 years. When a unit begins to show its age, it is usually major components of the air conditioner, such as the motors or the compressor that wear out.

After years of vibration, systems may begin to develop refrigerant leaks, resulting in reduced cooling capacity. In any case, the homeowner is faced with a decision on whether to patch up the existing system or replace it with newer equipment. In the short run, replacing failed components usually cost the least amount of money. But in doing so, the homeowner may be missing an opportunity to improve the overall efficiency of the system substantially and, thereby, save significant amounts of money in operating costs.
Back to Top
 

How cool should the air coming out of my registers be?
There are many variables that can affect the temperature coming out of your supply registers, such as duct system leakage, high humidity, improper refrigerant charge, dirty coils, and dirty filters. If a system is clean and properly tuned up, our technicians like to see an 18–21 degree F temperature drop across the coil.

This means the temperature coming out of the register is in direct proportion to the air temperature in your home. The warmer it is in your home, the warmer the air temperature will be coming out of the register and likewise; the cooler it is in your home, the cooler the temperature will be coming out of the register. You can measure the return air temperature by getting a temperature reading from the cold air grille closest to your furnace and then, compare it to the temperature coming out of the closest register.

Allowing for heat gain in your duct system, you should see a difference of 16–19 degrees. For example, if the indoor air temperature at the return grille is 76 degrees, then the supply air coming out of the register should be about 57–60 degrees.
Back to Top

Thank you for your great knowledge and helping me to understand what I was buying & why. Most knowledgeable business that I spoke with & the product being sold.
Mark & Tonya Howard, Calhoun
Click Here to Read More Testimonials

15% Off, Your First Service Call
 
Quick Contact - HVAC Company