What Makes my Home Comfortable?

To most people, temperature is both the beginning and the end of any discussion involving comfort. To us at A-Team Services, simple temperature management is only the beginning. To achieve superior indoor comfort, you’ve got to start with the basics — heating or cooling — as the foundation for your system. We offer three main product families for heating and cooling:

  • Furnaces
  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
Dusty, dirty homes at any temperature can cause feelings of discomfort to many people, especially allergy sufferers. And, the air in today’s tightly-sealed, well-insulated and energy-efficient homes can become stale as the same indoor air is circulated and re-circulated. The fact is, with dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, skin flakes, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, Radon gas and more, the air inside your home can be even more polluted than the air outside. A-Team Services can alleviate these problems and therefore add another level of comfort with air purfication products. We would love to give you a FREE esitmate to add these to your home!
Humidity is a funny thing. In the winter, dry air can cause static electricity, itchy skin, damage to home furnishings and more. Adding humidity is a good thing because it makes the air feel warmer and more comfortable while minimizing damage to furnishings. In the summer, it is preferable to remove humidity so indoor air feels cooler and less sticky. A-Team’s answer? Improved comfort through humidity control with:

  • Humidifiers
  • ThermidistatTM Control
  • ComfortHeat Technology

We would love to give you a FREE estimate to answer any questions you might have regarding these products and help you decide which works best for you.

Some of the common comfort complaints from homeowners include: inconsistent temperatures from one room to the next, up and down temperature swings, constantly adjusting the thermostat, and more. System controls of varying degrees of sophistication can help with these issues, offering straight termperature control, programmability that allows setting a “comfort schedule,” temperature and humidity control combined, and dividing the home into zones which can be controlled separately. A-Team can provide this kind of control with the following products:

  • Thermostats
  • ThermidistatTM Control
  • Zoning System

How Can I Save Money?

Shopping for bottom line price is easy. But, will the lowest priced system end up costing you money in the long run with higher operating costs or by needing to be replaced sooner? Will the lowest priced system provide the comfort you expect?

Comparing energy efficiency of different brands of heating and cooling equipment is relatively easy. Although the rating systems are standardized, allowing you to make a fair comparison, there are three different rating systems used. Each rating is used for a specific type of product(in other words, all furnaces use the same system, heat pumps use a different system, an so on). They are:

The efficiency of a furnace is measured in a rating known as AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). A lot like your car’s miles per gallon rating, AFUE tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel (gas or oil) into heat. An AFUE of 80% means that 80% of the fuel is used to heat your home, while the other 20% basically goes up the chimney.

The government mandated a minimum AFUE rating for furnaces installed in new homes is 80%. (In contrast, many furnaces manufactured before 1992 had AFUE ratings as low as 60% — so nearly half the fuel was being wasted.) Furnaces with AFUE ratings of 80% are considered “standard”; those with ratings of 90% or higher are known as “high efficiency.” The maximum furnace efficiency available is around 96.6%.

In general, a higher efficiency furnace usually means two things:

  • higher price
  • lower monthly operating cost

If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of about 60%), you could save up to 60% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high-efficiency furnace. So the cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.

Cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps is indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which tells you how efficiently a unit uses electricity. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

The typical SEER rating of units manufactured prior to 1992 is about 8.0. Now, the government mandated minimum is 13.0 SEER. High-efficiency units have a SEER of at least 14.0; the maximum available is about 17. In January 2006, the government mandated minimum will change to 13.0 SEER.

Heat pumps also have heating efficiency ratings, indicated as an HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). In general, the higher the HSPF rating, the less electricity the unit will use to heat your home.

The government mandated minimum heating efficiency standards for new heat pumps is 7.0 HSPF. Most heat pumps manufactured before 1992 have HSPF ratings below 5.0. Today, an HSPF of 7.5 or higher is considered “high-efficiency”; the maximum available is 10.0.

Higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher cost but lower utility bills. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. Ask A-Team Services to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills.

Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency

There’s one other factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system: the indoor coil. (Your heat pump or air conditioner is a “split system,” which means that there is an outdoor unit, or condenser, and an indoor unit, or evaporator coil.) If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. (It’s kind of like putting two new tires on one side of your car and leaving the old, worn-out ones on the other side. You’d probably be disappointed with both the performance and the miles per gallon you get.) When you’re replacing an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions about the new Tax Credits

No. Taxpayers may only be eligible for a total of $1500 in tax credits for improvements made in the combined two year period of 2009 and 2010.
Yes. A homeowner may use the entire $1500 in tax credits for installing a single appliance, such as a qualified furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, or hot water heater.
The homeowner can “bank” the remaining available tax credit for other qualified improvements. Any single installation that costs more than $5000 will instantly reach the $1500 limit.
The tax credit applies to the installed costs of the qualified equipment, which includes labor.
In the past, the IRS has directed taxpayers to use Form 5695, Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit. Taxpayers are not required to file anything more than the form, but are instructed to keep records of their installation.
A tax credit applies against the taxpayers’ liability. A tax deduction applies against a taxpayer’s income, lowering the adjusted gross income and possibly moving the taxpayer to a lower tax bracket. Tax credits have a greater benefit to a taxpayer. With a tax credit, if the taxpayer owes $2000, in taxes, their liability is reduced to $500.
The “lifetime caps” that used to be in place have been removed. Any previous claims do not count against the current $1500 tax credit limit.
No. The tax credit is only available for improvement to the taxpayer’s primary residence.
No. The tax credit may only be claimed by taxpayers on their personal income taxes for improvements to their primary residence.
Homeowners may be able to qualify for the tax credits if they make qualified improvements to: windows and doors including skylights, storm windows and storm doors; roofing including metal and asphalt roofs; and insulation. All of these improvements qualify, but homeowner may only claim $1500 in total for any improvements.
No. Each taxpayer’s situation is different. You may not know if the taxpayer has already made other improvements that qualify, or if their tax situation will change by the end of the tax year. But to be safe, you can always say “by installing qualified equipment, the taxpayer may be qualified to claim of 30% of the installed costs (up to a $1,500 limit) in tax credits.

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Equipment Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard to Qualify for Tax Credit
Electric Air Source Heat Pumps Split Heat Pumps Package Heat Pumps
15 SEER  14 SEER
 12.5 EER  12 EER
Central Air Conditioners Split System  Package System
16 SEER 14 SEER
13 EER 12 EER
Natural Gas Furnace 95% AFUE
 Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan (ECMs) No more than 2% of furnace total energy use
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When installing new equipment, whether you are replacing your entire system due to age, replacing a piece at a time when needed, adding new equipment or remodeling your home, we offer financing options with approved credit.
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