Understanding Inverter Technology

Heat pumps have been an efficient and versatile option to condition homes throughout North Carolina for many years. Now, thanks to inverter technology, they are even better.

What Is Inverter Technology?

In a traditional system, the equipment cycles on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature. Each time the system cycles on to provide cooling or heating, the motor runs at full speed (100%).

In a system utilizing inverter technology, the temperature is maintained by adjusting the speed of the motor only what is required to efficiently condition the air. Instead of cycling on or off, the system analyzes the temperature and conditions and adjusts the speed of the motor (anywhere between 0% and 100%) to provide maximize efficiency and comfort.

Benefits Of Inverter Technology

Increased Consistency

Thanks to inverter technology, the heat pump can self-adjust and provide consistent room temperatures. (Compared to traditional systems that cycle on and off, resulting in temperature fluctuations throughout a home.)

Energy Efficiency

The system only uses the energy needed to produce the exact amount of hot or cool air required to reach the desired temperature, maximizing comfort and minimizing costs.

Reduced Wear And Tear

Inverter technology allows for a smooth ramp up operation, avoiding spikes in energy use, and unnecessary wear caused by the on and off cycling found with a traditional system.

Ready To Trade Up With Inverter Technology?

Simply fill out the form below and someone from our office will be in touch with you within one business day to set up your free consultation and estimate.

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Types Of HVAC Systems

Do you know what kind of system you have in your home? If you live in the Piedmont Triad, chances are you probably have one of these systems in your home.

Air Conditioning and Gas Furnace System

The most common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior air conditioner with an interior air handler or furnace. These two pieces of equipment work together to circulate air throughout your home. When the air conditioner is matched with a compatible air handler or furnace it will result in optimum efficiency and ideal system performance.

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How The Air Conditioning And Gas Furnace System Works

  1. When it gets warm inside your home, your thermostat automatically activates your air conditioner to compensate.
  2. The air conditioner on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs heat from the indoor environment through the coil as it travels between the indoor coil and the air conditioner outside.
  3. As refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil, a blower in the furnace moves the warm air across the coil surface, removing heat and dispensing the cooled air through your home's ductwork.
  4. The captured heat is then sent back to the air conditioner outside- to be release into the outside air, cooling your home comfortable and efficiently.

Heat Pump System

Another common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior heat pump with an interior air handler to circulate air throughout your home. When a heat pump is paired with a furnace, it is referred to as a dual system. (Learn more about duel fuel technology.) Matching your heat pump with a compatible air handler or furnace will ensure maximum efficiency and system performance.

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How A Heat Pump System Works

  1. The heat pump on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the heat pump and the air handler inside.
  2. When its cold outside a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air through the refrigeration process and transfers the heated refrigerant to the indoor system.
  3. The refrigerant flows through the air handler's evaporative coil. The blower moves air across the coil surface to warm air that is sent through your home's ductwork.
  4. The cold refrigerant is sent back to the heat pump outside so the process can repeat itself and keep your home comfortable. When it's warm outside, the heat pump reverses direction and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

Packaged Unit

A packaged unit is a complete HVAC system that conveniently packs heating and cooling into one box and is optimized for performance and efficiency.

How A Packaged Unit Works

  1. When your home gets too warm, the air conditioner component of the packaged system cools it down by removing heat from the air inside.
  2. To warm your home comfortably and efficiently on cold days, the packaged heat pump reverses the refrigeration cycle and transfers heat from the warmed coils.
  3. Rather than attaching to individual components within the home, the packaged system connects directly with ductwork to disperse warm or cool air in every room.
  4. Gas-electric packaged units- which combine an electric air conditioner with a natural gas-powered furnace- offer the best of both worlds for outstanding energy efficiency and performance.
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Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

If it's time to replace your system, no need to worry. Check out these money saving tips before calling the first HVAC contractor.

What Is A Dual Fuel System?

A dual-fuel system is a home comfort system that combines an electric heat pump with a gas furnace. The system is designed to alternate between the electric and gas to maximize efficiency while ensuring a comfortable home.

During the summer months, when you need cooling, the heat pump works like an air conditioner, cooling the home as needed.

During the mild weather in the spring and fall the heat pump continues to condition the home, providing heating as needed.

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However, when the temperatures fall as winter approaches, the heat pump turns off and lets the furnace take over. As long as the outside temperature is over approximately 35°F, a heat pump can pull heat from the outside air to condition the home for less than it would take to start the furnace. Essentially, the furnace is only used during the coldest times of the year to heat the home.

How Does A Duel Fuel System Work?

During the milder weather the comfort system transfers energy instead of making it by burning fuel. Using the furnace for air distribution only (no burners, no heat), the heat pump will send hot refrigerant through the air conditioning coil inside the furnace. The furnace’s fan takes the cooler air from the home via the air returns and blows it across the warm coil, warming the air. The warmed air is then circulated throughout the house to keep the home at the proper temperature.

It’s the same process used during the cooling season, just reversed, courtesy of a dual fuel heat pump. While an air conditioner can only move refrigerant through the system one way, a heat pump can force refrigerant in either direction – one way to cool and one way to heat.

Is A Dual Fuel System Right For My Home?

Here are a few things to review as you consider a dual fuel system.

Complete A Load Analysis

Despite your existing system’s specs, you may experience a difference in load if you’ve completed any improvement projects since installation or have an issue with system design. We recommend having a load analysis performed by a professional HVAC company to get started.

Compare System Options

The best way to compare different technologies is to rely on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. As a general rule, the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the equipment. While more efficient equipment can cost more to purchase, homeowners typically see a reduction in cooling costs by up to 15% for every two-point increase in SEER.

Review Utility Costs

If natural gas is increasing faster than electrical rates the payback period would be shorter than if you have lower priced natural gas and extremely high electrical bills. A key benefit of a dual fuel system is switching the utility load to a less expensive source in milder weather.

Confirm Project Scope

Dual fuel heat pumps work well as an air conditioning replacement as long as the furnace is compatible. Older furnaces may have to be replaced to work with a dual fuel heat pump which can add to the scope of the project.

Explore Savings Opportunities

Energy saving tax credits could help offset additional purchase costs. Be sure to add additional special discounts or rebates from the HVAC contractor as well as any expected energy savings to get a true view of the cost of the HVAC system upgrade.

Ready To Learn More?

To request a free consultation to explore your HVAC system replacement, simply fill out the form below. An associate will be in touch with you within one business day to set up an appointment time that is convenient for you and your family.

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How to save money when replacing HVAC equipment

Homeowners faced with HVAC equipment replacement have several strategies to find the best system for their home, the needs of their family, and their budget.  With the rising costs of HVAC equipment replacement, it can be helpful to know what saving opportunities are available. Here are a few options to consider when it is time to replace your heating and cooling equipment.

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Reduced utilities

Heating and cooling costs homeowners over 40% of their utility bill each month. By installing energy- efficient equipment you could save up to $300 in heating and cooling costs each year. The more efficient your system is or the higher the SEER number, the more savings you can see over the course of year. Learn more about this Duke Energy study.

Financing options for equipment replacement

Many homeowners choose a financing option to help spread the cost of equipment replacement out over a given time period. The payback period is often related to the terms of the offer. Examples of offers we see in the marketplace include equal payment plans, plans that offer no interest in exchange for a shorter payback period, and reduced rate options for longer terms.  Request a consultation and learn about our financing options.

Rebate offers

Contractors Many residential service companies offer rebates on heating and air conditioning systems at certain times during the year. If you are preparing to replace your equipment soon it is important to check and see if there are any rebate options available for your system or any indoor air quality accessories you may add.

Utilities Many local utility companies also provide rebates for replacing your heating and cooling system with a high-efficiency option. In the Triad, many homeowners have options for rebates through their local utility provider. Here are some of the programs in this area:

Sometimes the contractor you select to replace your equipment will help you with the rebate process. At Central Carolina, we offer this as a service to our customers as a courtesy to our clients.

Get Started

Are you ready to discuss the replacement of your heating and air conditioning system? Simply send us your information below and someone from our office will be in touch to set up a free consultation at a time that is most convenient for your family.

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HVAC Upgrades for Comfort & Equity

HVAC upgrades will always be a safe bet and a smart investment — and yet, these home improvements are some of the most commonly overlooked by homeowners and flippers. A prospective buyer probably won’t automatically walk away from a home without all the newest gadgets, but they won’t even look twice at a home that lacks basic heating and cooling abilities.

Therefore, you should take HVAC renovations quite seriously and make them a priority over new flooring, paint, and other aesthetic or luxury upgrades.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that HVAC remodels have a higher average return on investment than most other types of remodeling projects, yielding a return of up to 71%.

You’ll want to take into account the region, the age and size of your home, your budget, and the layout of your property. With these factors in mind, you can get an idea of your HVAC system upgrade options.

Is your current HVAC system in good working condition?

During the home-selling process, you can bet that people will ask you the age of your HVAC system. Was your system installed less than 10 years ago? If so,then it very likely has several good years of use left in it. Anything newer isn’t likely to make a difference in home value or offers from potential buyers. Anything older than 15 years old; however, will be a turnoff to buyers.

Can you get away with an HVAC repair instead of a replacement?

If your HVAC unit is less than 10 years old but functions like it needs to be upgraded, you might be able to get away with some simple repairs rather than a complete system overhaul.

It’s hard to go wrong with most basic HVAC upgrades. This is especially true if the home you’re renovating is more than 20 years old. Even though you may only recover 50% or less of certain HVAC investments, an upgrade could capture the interest of buyers and make it worth the purchase.

Furnace/Boiler

Replacing an old furnace or boiler is an easy upgrade that doesn’t require much labor. Most furnaces can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance, but most older heating appliances require frequent, pricey repairs and cost a lot to run. By switching to a new heating appliance, you conserve energy and improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system. This is attractive to potential buyers.

Insulation

Fiberglass insulation only costs around $1,200 on average and yields a $1,400 return upon resale within a year of completion. Poor insulation is an easy fix and a low-risk investment that yields a 95% to 116% return. Properly insulated walls improve a home’s ability to regulate internal temperatures and reduce the demand on its HVAC system.

Air DuctsImage shows new ductwork installed to add equity to a home

If you are replacing an old HVAC system with a more efficient one, you might need to upgrade your ductwork to accommodate it. Ductwork is made to last 25 years at the most, but it starts to degrade in about 15 years. Deterioration will reduce the efficiency of an HVAC system significantly. It’s a good idea to replace the ductwork if you plan to sell your home in the near future.

Windows

Approximately 35% of a home’s heat escapes through low-quality windows. Even if the walls of your home are highly insulated, it won’t do much good if the windows aren’t equally energy-efficient.

Doors and Weather Stripping

Another way to significantly improve your HVAC efficiency with minimal labor is to upgrade to energy-efficient doors and repair or replace any old weather stripping. Some of the most energy-efficient materials available for residential doors include fiberglass, steel, and vinyl. Try to avoid wood and glass if your goal is to prevent airflow.

After replacing your door, you should see a return of 75% to 91% of your investment upon resale, depending on the type of door you’ve chosen. When swapping out your door, don’t forget about the weather stripping. New weather stripping will ensure a tight seal around your doors and windows and prevent air leaks. This is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to your home, ranging from $130 to $340.

Central Air

People want to be comfortable in every room of their home all year long. Most homebuyers today consider central heating and air conditioning a standard feature rather than an upgrade. So,without it, you may struggle to sell your home. A central air installation can cost anywhere from $6,000 to 15,000, but it could increase your home value by up to 10%.

Roof

While the roof serves to protect everything under it, it’s also an important insulator. Inefficient roofing materials account for 25% of heat loss. Just by upgrading to modern, high-tech shingles, you can relieve a lot of the strain on your HVAC system and improve your indoor comfort. Asphalt shingles can lower a roof’s surface temperature by up to 50 degrees and increase home value by $12,000. Investing in a new roof might seem like a big expense, but it has been shown that you can recover 105% of the cost at resale.

You can count on the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical to help you maximize your HVAC upgrades. Call us at 800.461.3010 or submit our scheduling form, to get started.

 

How to lower the humidity in your home

July is an appropriate time to talk about humidity!  Those of us in North Carolina can feel the humidity every time we step outside. But what about the humidity inside your home?  The humidity level of your home has a direct effect on your health and comfort and your home’s health.

Recommended humidity levels

During cold months, there can be problems if humidity levels get too low. In summer, there is risk of humidity levels being too high. It turns out that high humidity doesn’t just lead to bad hair days!

Problems with high humidityHumidity causes mold and mildew

  • Mold thrives on high humidity. Mold attracts insects and can also cause health problems for you and your family.  The CDC recommends controlling humidity in order to control mold.
  • Too much humidity can also trigger allergies and create dust mite problems.
  • Humidity can ruin the paint on your walls and can even warp the wood, in extreme cases. If the excessive humidity in your home creates mold, this mold could set into the carpet as well.

How to regulate humidity in your home

A dehumidifier will increase the comfort level of your home by pulling moisture from the air. This will allow you to sleep better at night and will help prevent mold, dust mites, insects, etc. There are a few other things you can do to minimize the humidity in your home:

  • When you are cooking, use your vent fan
  • If possible, use colder water and keep your showers short
  • Minimize the number of plants in your home to keep humidity levels down
  • Always use the exhaust fans in your bathroom while showering
  • Consider installing a fresh air intake duct in your home

Your air conditioning unit will play a significant role in the amount of humidity that is in your home. It needs to be sized properly for the square footage of your home, otherwise it won’t be running efficiently. When your air conditioning unit is sized correctly and maintained properly, it will be pulling the humidity out of your home while it’s running.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can install a dehumidifier directly to your heating and cooling system to ensure optimal comfort during the hot summer months. It’s also important to have your air conditioner maintained regularly. Your air conditioner should be dehumidifying the air as well, so it’s important to make sure it’s running efficiently.

Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

 

Alternative Cooling Options for your Home

Summer is officially here and we’re experiencing our hottest days. Most homes have a central air conditioning unit, but you may want an additional cooling option to provide relief from the heat. There are several options available – let’s go over each cooling option below:

Window AC Unit

These are most ideal for cooling a small amount of space in your home. There’s an important consideration when adding a window AC unit to your home. It’s important to have a professional come out and check your electrical system first. You’ll want to make sure that your system can handle an additional window unit. Depending on the size of your window AC unit, it may need a committed outlet used only for powering that unit. If your electrical system is not fit to power a window AC unit, you can always have an outlet installed. This may require additional upgrading to your electrical or circuit panel. These units do replace a central air conditioning system, but are great for smaller rooms in your home or places like a granny flat above the garage that needs to be cooled.

Ceiling or Floor Fans

Fans are great alternative cooling options. It’s important to turn a fan on only when people are occupying that room. They can also help circulate the air provided by a central air conditioning system. By using a standalone fan, you can also direct it to funnel air in a room that’s humid to get rid of the moisture.

Ductless Air Conditioner

Also known as a mini-split unit, this may also be an option for you. Compared to a window AC unit, the ductless air conditioner will cost more, but it also comes with more power. For the energy conscious individuals, this may be a favorable option. It is more energy efficient and can cool larger areas than a window AC unit. You may be wondering how exactly this unit works, so we’ll break it down for you! The air vent and thermostat are both inside the room that is being cooled, and the cooling fans are located on the exterior.

Some features of the ductless air conditioner are similar to a central unit. There is a programmable thermostat that allows you to adjust settings for morning versus evening preferences. The programmable thermostat will also provide money savings because you’re able to adjust the unit to turn off when you’re away. If you have reservations about the sound that a window unit makes, then the ductless air conditioner is also a better option. The sound level will equate to the sound of a fan, which makes it a quieter cooling option.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to come out to go over the options for your home. We can also install a programmable thermostat that will enable you to track your energy usage and learn how to save more money! While we’re out there, we can also inspect your current air conditioning unit as well as the condenser and evaporator coils. Both require maintenance to ensure that your system is running efficiently. It will also help reduce the cost of your energy bills since your system will be running properly after our inspection and tune-up!

Call to schedule your appointment now with Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at  800-461-3010.

 

 

Keep Cool Without Central AC

 

We all know central AC is great but can be expensive. What are some other options to look into?

Whole-house fans use 90 percent less energy than air conditioners, and typically cost less than $1000, even with installation. They draw cool morning and evening air through open doors and windows and force the hot air up through the attic and out the roof vents. Good places to put these are the upstairs stairwell or a hallway ceiling with 3 feet of clearance above the fan. The drawbacks are that the inside temperature will only go as low as the outside temperature gets, they can make allergies worse by drawing in pollen, and large fans need quite a bit of ventilation in the attic.

A window AC unit can cool up to 650 square feet, but windows need to be the right size and you’ll need an electrical outlet nearby. They only cost a few hundred bucks.

In-wall air conditioners are similar to window units, but they have vents on the back instead of on the sides and they sit slightly farther from the exterior wall. You will need to cut a hole in the outside wall of your home and may need a new electrical unit. They typically cost less than $800.

Portable air conditioners are easy to use but about twice as expensive than a window unit of the same size, and use more energy. They sit on casters on the floor and vent hot air through a hose running through a window, wall or sliding glass door.

A mini-split system air conditioner is sort of a hybrid of central air and a window unit. A small condenser sits outside and connects to an inside evaporator mounted high on the wall or ceiling. Installation is a bit more expensive than other options.

A few other options to consider: a ventilator fan installed in the wall or floor or a vent or duct booster fan, which sits on a ceiling, floor, or wall register.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24-hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!