Heating and Cooling – The right way and the wrong way
The main systems in the bay area are forced air ducted and a few radiant systems. The main issues, and their solutions, that we find in these existing systems are explained below.
What is an inefficient Heating and Cooling system comprised of?:
An inefficient Heating System is one with:
- High duct leakage (normally 30% or higher)
- Poor or non-existent duct insulation
- Improperly sized ducts (inefficient and very uncomfortable!)
- Oversized heating equipment (Oversized equipment heats the house up too fast and the system cycles on and off too often which creates hot and cold areas)
- Inefficient equipment (75% or 80% is the bottom average with 96% up for newly installed systems)
- Improperly installed ducts and equipment. Ducts should be ran straight, tight and leak free.
Why is my Heating System uncomfortable?:
- Hot and cold rooms (mainly due to oversized equipment and an unbalanced improperly sized duct system)
- Whole house discomfort (Oversized equipment heats the house up too fast and the system cycles on and off too often)
- Poor air flow (air is blasting out of certain supply registers directly on me and not at all in others)
Can my Heating System be supplying bad indoor air quality?
Yes, and here are the things that commonly lead to poor air quality in a system:
- Duct leakage (Duct leakage pulls air in from it’s location (normally the attic or crawlspace) and delivers in to the house. Even supply air ducts pull that air in using the venturi effect.
- Poor filtration (duct system not designed for high filtration filters even though most people replace their filters with high filtration ones which further increases the problems with the system.
- Pressure issues (the system is unbalanced and causes air to be pulled in from the attic and crawlspace
- Building leakage from the crawlspace and the attic
- Building insulation is working poorly in some areas which makes the home difficult to balance the heating and cooling.
A Forced Air Central Heating and Cooling System Should Be:
- Even temperature throughout the home – within 2-3 degrees from floor to ceiling and room to room)
- You shouldn’t be hit directly with any air. The air should be distributed in such a way that is indirect and properly mixes. Properly sized and ordered grilles can throw air across the ceiling or wall on floor registers.
- With a properly sized efficient system and engineered, sealed and insulated ducts your heating and cooling bills will be greatly reduced.
- With almost a 0% duct leakage you don’t get the bad air coming into your system
- High filtration filters can be installed on a properly sized system without using more energy or creating noise.
- Your heating and cooling system should be virtually silent. You shouldn’t hear your system running or hear the air coming out or into your duct grilles.
Our Heating and Cooling Services – What we do different:
a) Our heating and cooling services specialize in solving HVAC problems like the ones listed above and installing new equipment and duct systems that can all be engineered and optimized together.
b) The majority of existing heating and cooling equipment is oversized for the needs of a newly sealed and insulated home. Over sized equipment increases energy usage due to constant on and off cycling. Constant cycling also leads to hot and cold spots in the house and the inability for the system to ever reach its listed efficiency. It is like a Hummer driving stop and go across the state or a Prius doing it going a steady 65 mph.
c) All new heating and cooling equipment we install is sized to fit each house using ACCA Manual J load calculations. This uses a homes dimensions, insulation levels everywhere, building components, air infiltration rates and window performance/orientation to determine the proper equipment size. The systems are designed to provide the right amount of air to create a comfortable, even temperature throughout your home while keeping energy costs to a minimum.
d) We like to keep our ducts out of the harsh environments like the attic and the crawlspace. Well, instead of bringing your ducts into your home we bury them in insulation when they are in the attic and if they are in the crawlspace we like to install a vapor barrier and close off the vents to condition the crawlspace.
We specialize in combined hydronic air handlers, heat pumps, ductless mini splits, sealed combustion furnaces and some radiant systems. We have been installing these systems with great success in the bay area since 1997.
Get in contact:
Read our Testimonials from happy homeowners!
Photos of the variety of Home Performance Services we provide on a weekly basis:
More Services Below
- Energy Audit / Home Performance Analysis:
- Heating and Cooling
- Duct Systems
- Air Sealing
- Water Heating
- Crawlspace Sealing
- Green Building
- Indoor Air Quality
- Pool Pumps