How to Look

at a House

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More blog posts about heating and air conditioning:

  1. The coils on my heat pump are covered with ice on cold mornings. What’s wrong with it?

  2. What is the SEER of my old air conditioner?

  3. What is the difference between the “ON” and “AUTO” settings on my thermostat?

  4. What is a “ton” of air conditioning?

  5. How can checking the fireplace damper reduce energy bills year-round?

  6. What is the best air conditioner for a mobile home?

  7. How do I find the right size air conditioner for my house?

  8. What is an HVAC system?

  9. What is the difference between the SEER and EER of an air conditioner?

  10. What does an ultraviolet air treatment system do?

  11. The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong?

  12. What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home?

  13. What is the minimum SEER rating for a new air conditioner?

  14. What does the “AFUE” rating of a furnace mean?

  15. How much life is left in that air conditioner?

  16. Why is there mold around the air conditioning ducts?

  17. What is a geothermal heat pump?

  18. What is the difference between a heat pump and a cooling air conditioner?

  19. Is it alright to close the air conditioning vents in unused rooms?

  20. What is the right MERV number for my air conditioning filter?

  21. Should I move my air conditioner into the attic?

  22. What are the minimum requirements for bathroom ventilation?

  23. What is an air conditioning heat recovery system?

  24. When should I switch the thermostat to “EMERGENCY HEAT” for my heat pump air conditioner?

  25. Why does the air conditioner condensate drain line need a trap in it?

  26. What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?

  27. Should I remove an old whole house fan or keep it?

  28. How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner?

  29. Is it acceptable for an air conditioning condensate drain line to terminate under the house?

  30. How much will I save on my utility bill if I get a new higher SEER air conditioner?

  31. Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs?

  32. Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

  33. What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?

  34. Why does an air conditioner condenser need to be level?

  35. Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)?

  36. When does the ban on R-22 air conditioning refrigerant take effect?

  37. What is a return air plenum for a furnace or air conditioning system?

  38. Why does it take so long to cool a house when the air conditioner has been off for a while?

  39. What are the right words to use when talking about a heating and air conditioning system?

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

    That amazing efficiency disappears as the outdoor temperature drops below freezing though, and there is less and less heat available for the system to grab and pull indoors. At that point, an the system has to switch to an electric resistance heat coil, which is essentially a larger version of the heating element in a toaster oven. Electric resistance heat is technically 100% efficient, but it is much more expensive to operate than a heat pump or natural gas. So, in areas of the country that have colder and longer winters than here in Gainesville, Florida, natural gas has an advantage.

    But there are still other pros and cons to both types of heating. Here’s a few:

  1. Bullet A heat pump outputs air at about 95º F, while a gas furnace produces approximately a 120º air output. The air coming out of the ducts of a gas furnace system “feels” warmer.

  2. Bullet Natural gas is a fuel. Electricity is not really a fuel. It’s a means of transmission of energy that can be produced by fossil fuels, solar, hydroelectric, or wind power; so it is a more versatile system that can accommodate multiple different fuels in changing times.

  3. Bullet A combination of gas furnace and electric air conditioner in a central ducted system costs more for the equipment than an electric heat pump, but typically lasts a few years longer.

  4. Bullet Natural gas combustion can produce carbon monoxide which, if it leaks into the home, can be fatal.

  5. Bullet According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as heat pump system become more and more efficient, fewer homeowners are choosing natural gas as a heating fuel, except in the Northeast.

  6. Bullet Switching heating equipment from gas to electric, or vice versa, is expensive and may offset any operating savings.

    While both electric and natural gas have their virtues and drawbacks, the one thing for certain is that a system that combines only an electric resistance heat strip with a cooling air conditioner is definitely inefficient and expensive for heating. These systems are popular in South Florida and the Florida Keys because they are less expensive than heat pumps, and heat is used so rarely down there that the efficiency of a heat pump doesn’t justify the extra equipment expense for some homeowners.

    Just be aware that anyone who tells you that absolutely, positively one or the other system is the best, and you should switch right now, is probably trying to sell you a new heating system.

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

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