Comfort Systems

The heating and cooling system can be a source of much wasted energy. HVAC units are usually oversized and have ductwork that loses an average of 30% of their energy to the outside. Duct leaks can have serious consequences. A leak in a return plenum can depressurize the area around a combustion appliance and introduce harmful amounts of carbon monoxide into the living space. Most of the ductwork that we see has been poorly designed and installed. Runs are kinked, leaky, too small, too long and terminate in registers that do not properly throw the air. Many ducts are not insulated. Considering that the average ductwork is equal to 40% of a home's floor area we can see that huge amount of heat will be lost through the walls of the ducts. An efficient HVAC system will be sized using Manual J calculations. These calculations assess the heat loss and gain for every room in the house and insure that the system delivers the exact amount of conditioned air required to maintain comfort in that room as well as the whole house. Heaters and air conditioners have been traditionally oversized to make sure that they are able to deliver their promised comfort. The reality though is that they do not perform as well as smaller units, especially when the the house has been properly insulated and air sealed. Oversized units cycle excessively, reducing their efficiency. It is like being in stop & go traffic as opposed to freeway cruising. The mpg is much better on the freeway. Additionally lifespan is shortened, noise level is higher and air is moved less frequently resulting in uneven temperatures throughout the house. The solution is a properly sized unit moving air through a tight, well designed duct system that has a low friction rate and registers that throw and mix the air well. Insulation, straight runs, hard elbows and balancing dampers will insure that conditioned air is delivered in the most comfortable, efficient manner possible.

There are three basic types of gas heaters found in homes. Natural draft, power vented, and direct vented. A natural draft heater has a draft hood and uses the natural tendency of hot air to rise and pull combustion byproducts out of the house. These units can easily be back drafted by commonly occurring conditions in the house, potentially introducing harmful combustion byproducts into the home. Power vented units use a small fan to supply air to the burner and are less susceptible to back drafting. They are also more efficient with an AFUE efficiency rating of 80%. Direct vented units remove heat from the moisture in the combustion gases achieving an AFUE rating of 90% plus. These units force combustion gases directly to the exterior of the building significantly reducing the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.











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