Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does air conditioning work?
Q. How can I reduce my electric bill in the hot summer months?
A. Sealing and insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of a home—its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors—is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that a skilled contractor can save homeowners up to 20% on their heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.
Common home performance problems can often be fixed by sealing the home envelope and adding insulation. Learn how from this FREE ENERGY STAR Brochure on how to Seal and Insulate.
Learn techniques to make home envelope improvements. Do it yourself with these free brochures, Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR (2MB PDF); en espanol (2MB PDF). or call on BP Heating & Air to do it for you—quickly and professionally.
Q. How much of my energy bill goes to heating and cooling?
A. The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills—nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. By following the best-practices for HVAC system maintenance and replacement, you can reduce those costs. Get the free brochure from ENERGY STAR, a Guide to Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling (708KB PDF).
Q. Why are some rooms warmer than others?
A. There probably is leakage in the duct system. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent. Duct systems that are properly sealed and insulated can make homes much more comfortable and energy efficient. Get our Duct Sealing Brochure (1.13MB PDF) to learn about the benefits of this service.
Q. How can I know what size system I’ll need?
BP Heating & Air will do a load calculation that determines what the proper size system is for your specific home. Completed by us, it factors in a number of criteria used to determine what size components you should include as part of your total comfort system, things like square footage, number of windows and year-round weather concerns.
Load calculation is important for maximum efficiency with optimal performance. Most systems in home are oversized, generating uneccesarily high utility bills. Systems that are improperly sized tend to cycle too quickly or too slowly, and that can lead to maintenance problems, uneven temperatures and an inability to control humidity.
Q. How often must I replace the filter?
A. Replace filters at least once a month, using 1″ pleated filters. Without clean filters, HVAC system work harder and run longer than necessary.
Q. What rebates are available?
A. You may be eligible to get local rebates from Austin Energy, Pedernales Electric and Round Rock / Pflugeville Utility. The federal government is offering up to $1,500 in tax credits for replacing your older heating and cooling equipment with new, high-efficiency systems.
Q. How are HVACs rated?
Central air conditioners are rated by their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Federal law requires new air conditioners to have a SEER of 10 or higher. The initial investment in a SEER 12 or greater, will result in energy savings. Look for the EPA ENERGYSTAR logo.
You must replace the whole unit, including the inside coil and usually the blower fan, to achieve the rated efficiency.
Q. What else can I do to save money?
- Install dimmer controls for your lights. Save up to 40% on the electricity used plus bulbs will last up to 20% longer.
- Turn off the lights in room where they aren’t being used.
- During the cooling or heating season you can program a higher or lower temperature when no one is home causing the unit to run less and save energy. Adjust the thermostat 8 degrees for eight hours a day to save up to 10% on home cooling/heating costs.
- Replace air filters monthly to make your unit more efficient and your home more comfortable.
- Get regular inspections in the early spring or early fall. Schedule a cleaning and maintenance appointment to help your units to run more efficiently and pre-empt any unforeseen repair problems.
- Insulate your water heater with an inexpensive wrap from the hardware store.
- Install programmable thermostats and save hundreds of dollars every year. It can begin to heat or cool your home 30-60 minutes before you get home, so the temperature is just right when you arrive. Through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the 4 pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180 every year in energy costs for a typical, single-family home.
Q. What about indoor air quality?
Today’s homes are more energy-efficient because they follow standards mandating better insulation and airtightness. However, without an appropriately designed, installed and maintained ventilation system, the benefits of these better-built homes can become liabilities. Your home air may contain a wide range of particulate matter, including mold spores, animal hair and dander, dust, smoke, bacteria and pollen. Such irritants can cause chronic allergic reactions. Get a free estimate from BP Heating & Air for a new system that will filter and purify the air you take into your lungs.
Q. Can you offer relief from the humidity?
A. The air conditioning system controls the humidity in the house. If you’ve got high humidity indoors that makes you uncomfortable, the A/C system has not been properly maintained or is in need of repair the humidity. BP Heating & Air can restore you comfort by servicing or replacing your A/C system.
Q. Why does the indoor temperature vary so much?
A. Some thermostats can loose their calibration, resulting in a big swing in the temperature reading. The thermostat may be improperly located in the house, or air from a supply outlet may be blowing on the thermostat and may cause the temperature on the thermostat to drop, quickly giving a false reading of the actual room temperature.
Q. What quality assurance can I expect of BP Heating & Air
A. BP Heating & Air adheres to requirements for quality installation of HVAC systems developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).
If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, please send us a comment and we’ll gladly answer it for you.