Q&A with the HVAC Experts at Brody Pennell!

Question: How important is adding humidity to my home?

Answer: As we heat our homes, the air has a tendency to dry out. This dry air can damage the woodwork and furniture you have in your home as well as zap the moisture from our skin. The dry air even makes you feel cooler because your body senses heat as a combination of temperature and humidity. Adding humidity to offset this drying process will improve your comfort as well as preserve the woodwork in your home. As an added benefit, you may actually be able to lower your thermostat a couple of degrees. You will not only feel warmer but you may actually lower your heating bill!

Adding this much-needed moisture will make your home a healthier and more comfortable place to spend your time. Contact us and we would be happy to discuss your choices and provide you with pricing for adding a humidifier to your home.

Question: How important is an air filter in my heating and cooling system?

Answer: It’s a fact: the trapped air we breathe in our homes can be loaded with dust, pollen, plant spores, and other pollutant particles. In many cases, it’s worse than the air outside.

Question: After my air conditioner runs for a while, ice forms on the big pipe outside and it stops cooling. What could be the problem?

Answer: More than likely, it’s either low on refrigerant or low on airflow. As a homeowner, replace your filter and allow the unit to thaw out. If the problem reoccurs, call Brody-Pennell to schedule service on your system. We recommend having annual maintenance performed to keep your systems in peak operating conditions. Ask your Brody-Pennell representative about our energy saving maintenance agreement program.

Question: How big of a furnace or air conditioner do I need for my home?

Answer: The only way to size a furnace or air conditioner for your home is to do a heat load calculation. The capacity needed is based upon how quickly your home gains or loses heat, not by square footage alone. ACCA’s Manual J is an industry-approved method that Brody-Pennell uses to ensure the proper system is selected for you.

Question: What do SEER and AFUE mean?

Answer: SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. Basically, it tells you how efficiently it converts electricity to cooling comfort. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. By federal law, all units must be a 10 SEER or higher. Brody-Pennell recommends having a Comfort Consultant to come to your home and perform a heat load calculation to ensure the proper size unit is installed. This is a free service to our customers that may help you save money and increase your indoor comfort.

AFUE stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency”. This rating tells you how much of your heating dollars are converted to heat energy put into your home and how much is lost up the flue pipe. Most older furnaces are 50% to 60% efficient. That means that for every dollar you spend for gas from your utility company, $.40 to $.50 cents are being sent up the flue pipe to the outdoors. Federal law mandates that all furnaces being produced today be at least 80% efficient. Brody-Pennell offers several different sizes of furnaces up to 96% efficient. That means that for every dollar you spend on gas from the utility company $.96 is converted to heat your home and only $.04 is sent out the flue pipe.

A Brody-Pennell Comfort Consultant can visit your home, perform a heat load calculation and recommend the proper system to keep you comfortable and save you money. In many cases, homeowners have saved enough on their utility bills to more than cover the investment of a new comfort system.

Question: Why is the upstairs of my house always hotter in summer and cooler in the winter when I only have one unit? What should I do?

Answer: Heat rises, thus the reason it’s hotter in the summer. Assuming the system was sized and installed correctly, you should consider installing a zone system if possible. Sometimes the addition of return air ductwork will help improve air movement and help make upper levels more comfortable.

Question: What’s that black stuff on my ceilings and vents?

Answer: Burning candles can be the culprit for the black on your walls and ceilings as well as polluting the air your family breathes. Keep wicks trimmed to no longer than 1/4th of an inch to help reduce soot from the candles.

Question: Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide?

Answer: Carbon monoxide, also known as the silent killer, can pose a serious threat in some instances and is yet another reason to have your furnace and inspected by Brody-Pennell. A carbon monoxide detector is a wise investment. Brody-Pennell offers a high-quality carbon monoxide detector that has a 5-year warranty.

Question: During the winter the fan occasionally shuts off on my heat pump outside unit, then restarts with a big puff of smoke. What is wrong with it?

Answer: Nothing is wrong with your unit. What appears to be smoke is steam from the outdoor coil after it completes a defrost cycle. After extended run times, the outdoor unit will start to build frost or ice on the coil. The system is designed to go in a defrost mode when needed to clear the ice away and keep the efficiency level up.

Question: I have friends and relatives that have installed UV lights on their furnace. What are they for and why do I need one?

Answer: UV is the abbreviation for ultraviolet. Located in the return air ductwork and by the indoor cooling coil, the ultraviolet air treatment system continuously emits high – intensity ultraviolet (UV) energy. The energy eliminates (kills) a very high percentage of airborne bacteria and germs passing over the UV light field inside the ductwork. The UV light mounted next to the indoor cooling coil will help eliminate the growth of mold, mildew and other contaminants from the drain pan and coil surface. At Brody-Pennell we recommend installing non-ozone-producing UV products.

Question: My furnace and air conditioner are both new, do I really need to have it cleaned?

Answer: Yes!! Even though your system is new, it still needs to have annual maintenance performed. This will help keep the warranty in effect. Most all equipment manufacturers state in the terms of their warranty that annual maintenance must be performed by a qualified technician. Keeping your system maintained will give you the assurance that it is operating at peak efficiency and safety.