In today’s rough economy and with utility costs rising, everyone wants to save money. Most people are paying more than they should for utility costs every month because their heating / ac system isn’t be used to its capacity. Your heating and ac system includes the duct work and filter.
Most people think if they have 97% efficient furnace and newer ac system that they are doing everything they can to save money on heating & cooling their home. In most homes because of poor duct design the systems are operating at less than 60% of rated capacity. Most of the time when a high efficient air conditioning system is installed with a poorly designed duct system the efficiency gets worse. This happens because the high efficient ac system coils are larger and restrict air flow more than a smaller coil.
Studies performed by National Comfort Institute and the Department of Energy have found that most homes with forced air heating & cooling systems have 40% or better of unused capacity. This is not hard to understand if you think about this. If you have a forced air heating & cooling system you are paying to condition air.
Unused capacity is the amount of air your heating & cooling is capable of conditioning but can’t because it is not there to condition. Every minute that your burners are on in your furnace or air conditioning compressor is running any unused capacity is just wasted energy. One way to think about this: You have a tub you have to hand fill with water. You want to fill the tub with 50 gallons of water: You have a 1 gallon bucket. but instead of filling the bucket with a gallon water and dumping 50 times. You fill with ½ gallon of water and dump it 100 times. Your capacity was 1 gallon but you only used ½ gallon of the bucket which took more energy to fill the tub. A forced air comfort system (Furnace and/or Air Conditioning System) is doing the same thing if it is not have the proper amount of air through the system. Remember you are paying to conditioning air. That is what you want it to do.
Very few people and this includes most of Heating, Cooling professionals look at it as a system. They look at it as a Box (Furnace or Outside Condensing Unit for Air Conditioning. (This is not knocking any contractors; unfortunately this is what we are taught. Most of the training in the Heating & Cooling Industry comes from Furnace and Air Conditioning Manufacturers and their job is to sell equipment not maintain existing equipment or repair inadequate duct work.)
When a furnace and ac system is installed and airflow is not addressed your odds of winning the lottery are better than the actual results of that new Super High Efficient Equipment delivering what you were told it was going to do.
You may save some money but to really save money the equipment needs to run less and the best way for this to happen is for it to be sized properly, (Most equipment is over sized) we still believe bigger is better. Your equipment should be as small as possible. Meeting a properly preformed load calculation for your home or business and then it needs to be used to capacity.
In all of that a few things we hope you will come away with are:
1. You do not have just a furnace and/or ac system you have a Comfort System.
2. Your Comfort System’s Job is to condition air. (All Year Long)
3. If you have never had an airflow analysis it would be a wise investment. You may find that some duct renovation would be a very good investment.