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Frequently Asked Questions

Heating Questions

  • How long should my furnace last?

    That mostly depends on the owner. Without proper maintenance, the life expectancy of the unit rapidly declines. In addition, newer furnace models have a more sophisticated construction, and as a result, last longer. So, a modern, well-maintained furnace has the potential to last upwards of twenty-five years. While at the same time, a poorly or unmaintained furnace will probably only last around ten. It's all about being proactive instead of reactive.

  • What is a BTU?

    BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, it equates to the amount of heat and energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. In terms of HVAC, a 10,000 BTU furnace is capable of creating 10,000 BTU's of heat per hour.

  • What does AFUE mean?

    Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: Listed as a percentage, this is a direct ratio of fuel pumped into the furnace and usable heat created from the fuel. For example, the SLP98V is 98% AFUE. Meaning for every 100 BTUs of fuel the furnace uses, 98 BTU's enters your home. Clearly, the higher the AFUE, the better.

  • What size furnace will I need?

    This is a complicated question that requires a complicated answer. There are numerous factors that determine which size unit will operate best in your home. The age, size, and ductwork of your home all play a role in sizing your unit. For best results, schedule a FREE evaluation with ASKWEL Solutions to receive the most accurate answer. CAUTION: A larger unit does not necessarily mean a more effective unit. You need a furnace or air conditioner appropriately sized for your unique home to heat and cool effectively.

  • How often should I replace my air filter?

    We suggest checking filters monthly. If you have a disposable type filter, (these usually have a cardboard edge), and if it is dirty, just replace it. Don't attempt to clean it. Some higher efficiency 1" pleated air filters can go up to three months before needing replacement. But in the higher-use seasons, it's better to check more often. If you have a permanent-type (non-cardboard) air filter, it is very simple to clean with a garden hose. Re-install after it is completely dry.

  • Should I have my furnace serviced?

    Heating and Air Conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning checked in the Spring. Oil-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually; at the beginning of each heating season. Benefits includes:

    • Increased dependability
    • Find potential problems and fix them quickly
    • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
    • Prolongs the life-span of the equipment
    • Maintains safe and healthy operation
    • Can help to protect the environment
    • Drastically reduces the chance of a break-down which usually happens at night or on weekends when repair rates are higher
  • What efficiency should my furnace be?

    In short, your furnace should be as efficient as possible. We recommend at least 92% efficiency. While 80% AFUE units are available, the money you "save" on up-front pricing will be negated by higher operating costs within a few years, and throughout the life of a furnace, the lower AFUE models will actually end up costing you more.

  • Who makes the most reliable furnace and air conditioners?

    In all honesty, every company that comes to your home is going to tell you that the HVAC supplier they carry is the absolute best. But according to consumer reports and Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration News; the contractor's expertise and proficiency with their brand is far more important than the unit they install. At ASKWEL Solutions, we prefer Trane furnaces and air conditioners because of the integrity we see in the company.

Heat Pump Questions

  • What is a heat pump?

    A heat pump is a standalone, two-component appliance that uses refrigeration technology and electricity to provide heating and cooling for homes, businesses and other applications. A heat pump has two components – a condenser unit that most often sits outside of a home that produces the heating or cooling, and an indoor unit that typically sits on a wall and passes hot or cool air into the home; because the condenser and air handler are separated or “split” by refrigerant line, heat pumps may sometimes be referred to as “mini-splits.” Heat pumps offer extraordinarily high efficiency rates, as well as the opportunity to provide heating and cooling without needing duct work in the home; because duct work is not required, you may hear heat pumps referred to as “ductless.”

  • How does a heat pump work?

    In the simplest terms, a heat pump uses electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one location to another.

     

    To provide heat, a heat pump works by extracting heat from the air outside of your home and transferring it to refrigeration coolant – the coolant is then compressed, which increases the temperature significantly; the coolant is then moved to the indoor unit of the heat pump, which then passes air over the hot coolant, increasing its temperature to accommodate the thermostatic call for heat inside the home.

     

    A heat pump consists of two major parts – a “wall cassette” that is mounted inside your home, and a condenser unit that stays on the outside of your home.  The heat pump’s wall cassette and condenser units are connected by refrigerant line.

     

    The indoor wall cassette is thermostatically controlled to provide you with both heating and cooling. When there is a call for heat, the heat pump will turn on the fan in the outdoor unit to begin the process of extracting heat from the air outside of your home.  The refrigerant line carries this heat to the indoor unit, which then transfers the heat to the air inside of your home via a fan inside the wall cassette.  In cooling mode the process is reversed, transferring heat out of your home and returning cool air to the inside.

  • What is the benefit of having a heat pump?

    Heat pumps do in fact save your money on energy costs.

     

    Because a heat pump only uses electricity for power rather than for the generation of heat, it offers a remarkably high efficiency rate. When using traditional resistive electric heat – such as electric baseboard or space heaters, for instance – the amount of heat generated is proportional to the amount of electricity used: one unit of heat per unit of electricity for 100% efficiency.

     

    With a heat pump, the efficiency rate goes up dramatically because the electricity consumed is only used to power the two fans (evaporator and condenser), compressor, and pump to concentrate heat outside and bring it into your home.  Because of this, heat pumps are capable of providing more than 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity used for efficiency rates over 300%.

     

    This means lower electricity bills for a comfortable home – heat pumps are very inexpensive to run, increasing your electric bill by an average of $75 monthly per heat pump that is constantly running in the home. If you are using a heat pump along with a primary heating system such as oil, gas or electric, you’ll find extra savings by using the heat pump to offset the primary fuel use: one heat pump can offset up to 300 gallons of oil in a typical home, saving money on expensive fossil fuels. Plus, heat pumps will help in this way to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

  • How does a heat pump affect my heating and electricity bills?

    Heat Pumps will raise your electricity bill – but lower your costs for other heating fuels.

     

    Each single unit (often referred to as a one-to-one) heat pump that is used daily will increase your electricity bill by $50 to $100 per month. However, the heat pump will reduce your heating fuel bill accordingly – for a typical household that uses 800 gallons of oil per year, a heat pump can reduce the amount of oil used by 300 gallons. If oil costs $2.75 per gallon, the price per million BTU (British Thermal Units, the standard measure of heat in the US) would be $28.06. To get the same amount of heat, 1 million BTU, from a heat pump with the current standard electric rate of 14.5 cents per kilowatt hour, it would cost you $14.71. In other words, heating your home with a heat pump is equivalent heating your home with oil for $1.44 per gallon, or for 48% less.

  • Is it true that heat pumps stop working when it gets very cold out?

    Yes – but it would have to get very, very cold for a heat pump to stop working entirely.

    Different models of heat pumps have different ratings for how cold it can be before they stop being effective. For the sake of this example, we will use the rating for a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat™ heat pump, which is rated to provide sufficient heat output down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

     

    Heat pumps are rated for “output.” In this example, when it is 30 degrees out, a heat pump will easily produce 100% of its output at the highest efficiency. However, as temperatures start dropping, output starts dropping as well – and when output starts dropping, the heat pump will “work harder” to keep your home at temperature. Much like having to put your foot on the gas to get your car up a steep hill, this is where efficiency rates of heat pumps start to drop – more energy is used to produce less output.

     

    With the Mitsubishi Hyper Heat™ heat pump, the efficiency rate will start to drop at around 2 degrees Fahrenheit. At -2 degrees, you will get around 87% of the unit’s output. And at -13 degrees, you will get around 76% of the unit’s output. It is unclear at what temperature the unit will stop working entirely – we haven’t yet had a day cold enough to demonstrate that with the Hyper Heat™ heat pumps, though some Mitsubishi documentation suggests a stopping point of -18 degrees.

     

    In older houses with less insulation, large amounts of heat loss, or drafts, a heat pump will also need to work harder to accommodate the rapid loss of heat due to these issues. However, newer homes often have outstanding insulation and are built to prevent heat loss – in these cases, the heat created by a heat pump is kept inside the home and helps the heat pump perform with greater efficiency.

  • Can I heat my home with heat pumps without any other heat source?

    In certain warmer climates, heat pumps can be the sole source of winter heat. However, we recommend that most homes have either a primary or backup source of heat for very cold days or long periods of low temperatures during which heat pumps would have trouble recovering from heat loss. These other sources can be oil, gas, propane, electric or biomass, or natural gas heat for lower heating fuel costs and lower carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

Cooling Questions

  • How long should my air conditioner last?

    That mostly depends on the owner. Without proper maintenance, the life expectancy of the unit rapidly declines. In addition, newer air conditioner models have a more sophisticated construction, and as a result, last longer. So, a modern, well-maintained air conditioner has the potential to last upwards of twenty-five years. While at the same time, a poorly or unmaintained air conditioner will probably only last around ten. It's all about being proactive instead of reactive.

  • What does SEER mean?

    SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is calculated by dividing the typical cooling output of an average season by the total energy input during the same amount of time. The important thing to understand about SEER ratings is that a higher rating equates to a more efficient system.

  • What does EER mean?

    The EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio of a cooling system, indicates how effectively the air conditioner will operate at a specific temperature (usually at 95 degrees). Once again, the higher the rating, the more efficient the system.

  • What is the difference between EER and SEER?

    The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) measures how efficiently a unit will operate over the course of an entire season as opposed to under specific circumstances like temperature.

  • What is a BTU?

    BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, it equates to the amount of heat and energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. In terms of HVAC, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner is capable of removing 10,000 BTU's of heat per hour.

  • What is HSPF?

    Once again, the important thing to note is that a higher score on the HSPF scale yields a more efficient Heat Pump. Specifically, HSPF measures a heat pump's estimated heating output for the Spring and Fall.

  • What size air conditioner will I need?

    This is a complicated question that requires a complicated answer. There are numerous factors that determine which size unit will operate best in your home. The age, size, and ductwork of your home all play a role in sizing your unit. For best result, schedule a evaluation with ASKWEL Solutions to receive the most accurate answer.

     

    IMPORTANT: A larger unit does not necessarily mean a more effective unit. You need an air conditioner appropriately sized for your unique home to cool properly.

  • What efficiency should my air conditioner be?

    In short, your air conditioner should be as efficient as possible. We recommend at least a 16 SEER unit. The money you "save" on up-front pricing will be negated by higher operating costs within a few years, and throughout the life of an air conditioner, the lower SEER models will actually end up costing you more.

  • Should I have my air conditioner serviced?

    Heating and Air Conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning checked in the Spring. Benefits includes:

    •  
    • Increased dependability
    • Find potential problems and fix them quickly
    • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
    • Prolongs the life-span of the equipment
    • Maintains safe and healthy operation
    • Can help to protect the environment

     

    Drastically reduces the chance of a break-down which usually happens at night or on weekends when repair rates are higher

     

  • Who makes the most reliable furnace and air conditioners?

    In all honesty, every company that comes to your home is going to tell you that the HVAC supplier they carry is the absolute best. But according to consumer reports and Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration News; the contractor's expertise and proficiency with their brand is far more important than the unit they install. At ASKWEL Solutions, we prefer Trane furnaces and air conditioners because of the integrity we see in the company.

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Askwel Solutions is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with Cook County, providing electrical and HVAC services in the Chicagoland, area.

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Askwel Soultions LLC is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the State of Illinois and a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

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South Holland, IL 60473

Phone:  (708) 793-0417

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