Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs. Forster Heating in Auburn can answer all your HVAC-related questions. Before you get on the phone, look to see if we already responded to your question online. If you don’t see your question listed or want more information on a particular topic, give us a call at 530-885-8081. Our professionals can offer you the information you’re looking for in a jiffy. 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 provide the greatest benefits. Trained experts can service your heating and cooling products to ensure they’re working at their greatest potential and help prevent more expensive repairs in the middle of the hottest or coldest months of the year. Where can I find prices for Lennox products? Forster Heating in Auburn can price out individual units or multiple home comfort products for you. Call 530-885-8081 to learn more. What is two-stage heating? Two-stage heating permits the furnace to heat at two levels of output: high for cold winter days and low for mild ones. Approximately 80 percent of the time, your home’s heating requirements can be met when the furnace is set on the low setting, enabling your two-stage unit to run for longer periods of time. Two-stage units also provide more even heat distribution, fewer temperature swings, quiet operation, increased air filtration and energy efficiency. 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 small 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 developed with a number of innovative features older furnaces don’t have. Today’s heating systems offer more even heating and are better at regulating 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 benefit 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 operate more efficiently and quieter than ever. What is the energy efficiency standard for air conditioners? The Department of Energy recently increased the minimum efficiency levels for air conditions, and the standards vary by region. Contact Forster Heating at 530-885-8081 to find out the requirements for the Placer County area. How can I reduce my energy costs? Lennox carries a host of HVAC products with high efficiency ratings, which can help lessen the amount of energy they require to work. Aside from picking products that have received Energy Star® certification or achieved high SEER ratings for air conditioners or AFUE ratings for furnaces, you can think through the following: Maintenance – making certain that your system receives regular maintenance by a trained expert can keep your system running at its top performance. Zoning – zoning systems enable you to only heat or cool only certain areas of your home, so you won’t have to pay to heat or cool spaces that you don’t usually use. Programmable thermostats – using a programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature in your home according to your schedule. They can be programed to offer you the comfort you desire when you’re home, and increase or decrease the temperature while you’re gone, helping you save on heating and cooling costs. Why should I buy a Lennox product? There are various reasons to pick Lennox, but the top three are: Lennox is a name you know and trust – known throughout 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 Forster Heating, offer 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 simple as vacuuming your home to something as large as adding a new ventilation system. Overall, good IAQ involves four strategies: Eliminate – lessen the pollutants floating in your air by cleaning your home routinely, 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 – the right air filters, such as our Healthy Climate® air filters, will make certain 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 diminish odors and chemical vapors. Monitor – keep your humidity levels in check with a programmable thermostat. High temperatures and humidity levels can increase concentrations of mold, mildew and germs. A programmable thermostat will ensure your home is comfortable without letting humidity run rampant. How do I know which indoor air quality product will work best for my home? Try checking out the Healthy Solution Finder, where you can pinpoint the indoor air quality concerns that affect your home. After you select the items that apply, the system will show the IAQ products that fit your needs. You can also call Forster Heating and walk our techs through some of the issues you experience. They can evaluate your home and needs and provide options and solutions. How does an air conditioner work? Many homeowners believe that air conditioners make your home cooler, but it actually removes the heat from inside your home, directing the hot air outside. That hot air goes across a cold indoor coil where refrigerant in the lines sends the heat to the coil in your outdoor unit, releasing the hot air outside. This procedure continues until the indoor temperature reaches the temp that was set on your thermostat. What is the minimum energy efficiency standard for air conditioners in my state? Due to the increasing amount of energy used by heating and cooling systems, the Department of Energy (DOE) increased the minimum efficiency levels for air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units manufactured after January 1, 2015. These levels are determined based on region and carry varying requirements based on your location. Forster Heating can answer any questions you may have regarding these minimum requirements and let you know what choices are available when you’re searching for a replacement system. How can I confirm the model and serial numbers for my cooling unit? These numbers can be found on a nameplate or sticker that is near your system’s service panel. The sticker should be white with black letters and have both of these numbers located around the top of the sticker. M/N denotes model number while S/N is your serial number. What size equipment do I need for my home? There are a handful of ways to determine what size system is right for your home, but the most reliable way to size a system is by having your local Forster Heating technician come out and perform a load calculation. This calculation considers your home’s: square footage, insulation value, amount of insulation, and a variety of other factors. Can frost, ice, dirt or other debris keep the outdoor unit of my cooling system from operating effectively? The short answer is “Yes,” because dirt and other debris can hinder your system’s ability to work efficiently. For heat pumps, it is not unusual to have frost or ice on them during the winter, but they also include defrost controls to ensure they work efficiently in those types of conditions. What is two-stage cooling? Two-stage cooling means that your cooling unit has two levels of operation. When summer is its hottest, the high setting kicks in, and when it’s cooler or more mild, it operates on the low setting. Typically, the lower setting will take care of your cooling needs, but even when the high setting starts up, you may not realize it because it can produce such even temperatures for your comfort. This can also mean a quieter cooling system, greater efficiency and improved humidity control. Why is my cooling unit freezing up? Your system could be freezing up for a variety of reasons, but the most common are dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil and/or a faulty blower motor. Changing a filter is something you, the homeowner, can take care of; however, you’ll need to call the professionals at Forster Heating at 530-885-8081 for other problems or if you have other questions or concerns. What is the best thermostat to use for my cooling system? Picking the best thermostat for your cooling system comes with a lot to think through. That’s why it’s nice to have such a big variety of choices from Forster Heating. Whether you’re looking for a programmable or non-programmable thermostat or want to join the smart home trend, there are various thermostats that you have to choose from. Some thermostats will depend on what type of heating and cooling system you have, but the pros at Forster Heating will be able to help determine what options fit your needs and your budget. What is a heat pump? Heat pumps can be a little confusing due to their name, but they actually take care of both your heating and cooling needs year-round. When it’s hot outside it runs like an air conditioner in that it removes heat from your home, but when it cools off, the process gets turned around and it collects heat from outside and brings it inside. Heat pumps are also very efficient, and might produce up to two or three times more heat than the energy it uses. When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced? Of course we advise you to also replace your indoor system, but this is why: All outdoor cooling systems have a matching indoor unit that they are created to work with to ensure efficient performance. When they aren’t paired with the other unit as a total system, efficiency can be affected. As with a lot of products, advancements have brought about newer, more efficient ways of doing things. Heating and cooling systems are no different. These developments most importantly include improved heating and cooling efficiency, but also consist of improved air handling, filtering and noise pollution reduction to name a few. Heating and cooling systems that are more than 10-15 years old normally need to be replaced. Not only do they feature outdated technology, but they are also less efficient than today’s models. Adding a new indoor unit at the same time means you’ll have a matched system to provide you with even more comfort and efficiency for years to come. How do I know my solar HVAC system is performing to its maximum potential? The communication module on your SunSource® Home Energy System sends the system’s performance data for each module to a website. You may visit this website to view the system’s status, energy production and environmental benefits. The site also shows real time updates of carbon offsets. Will I need an Internet connection to use the SunSource® communication module? Yes, an Internet connection is necessary for you to take advantage of the online monitoring system, which includes seeing energy production and environmental benefit information. The system’s performance-monitoring website is offered by an independent third party, Enphase Energy Inc., and the monitoring service is provided free for five years. Do I need to clean my solar modules? In most areas, rain will clean the solar modules off automatically. If you live in a dusty or industrial area, periodically spraying the modules with water could help improve performance. However, detergents and high-pressure hoses should never be used to rinse solar modules. What is the best thermostat for my home comfort system? The proper thermostat for you depends on your heating and cooling equipment. Forster Heating offers programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats that can help enhance the efficiency of your HVAC systems. View our available products or contact us at 530-885-8081 to learn more. How can I control my energy bills? Heating and cooling can contribute to a significant chunk of your utility expenses. The innovative and high efficiency HVAC products available from Lennox® can help reduce these costs. If you’re looking for a new heating and/or cooling system, look for products with high SEER ratings for air conditioners and AFUE ratings for furnaces. SEER and AFUE are a measure of product efficiency, and the higher the number, the more efficient the product. Besides purchasing a new home comfort system, consider these factors: 1. Is your system regularly maintained? Whether it’s a furnace or air conditioner, HVAC systems will run more efficiently after regular maintenance checks. 2. Do you need a zoning system? If there are spaces of your home that are rarely used, a zoning system will allow you to heat or cool only the commonly used areas of your house. 3. Are you taking advantage of a programmable thermostat? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, programmable thermostats could reduce your heating costs by up to 35 percent, and your cooling costs by up to 25 percent. What are the benefits of zoning systems? Zoning equipment gives you the opportunity to divide areas of your house and control the temperature differently in each part of your home. Zoning tends to be good for when you have spaces of your residence that are infrequently used or when you and your family are constantly in disagreement of what the temperature in each area of your home should be. Zoning systems are quiet and efficient, enabling you to have more control over the comfort of your home. Discover more about the zoning equipment available from Forster Heating.