Dirk Roper: Common questions homeowners ask
Over the past 30 plus years, we’ve been asked countless questions from customers throughout western Nevada. Many of them have been asked enough times that I felt it important to share.
Does a bigger HVAC system provide better performance?
In short, the answer is no. The size of your HVAC system depends on many factors, such as construction characteristics, infiltration, location, and even the orientation of your home. A system that is too small will run nonstop trying to reach and maintain your desired temperature during extreme temperatures, whereas a system that is too large will heat and cool your home in frequent short cycles. Either way, you may end up with decreased comfort and efficiency, more wear and tear on your equipment, and a higher energy bill due to an improperly sized system for your home.
How can I reduce my energy costs?
Consider using a programmable thermostat to control temperatures throughout the day. Or if you’re leaving for more than a couple hours and able to remember, set your thermostat 10-15 degrees lower in the winter and 5-8 degrees higher in the summer while you’re gone. Energy Star estimates that users who do this can save 5-15 percent on their energy bill.
Get your system serviced twice a year, once at the start of air conditioning season and once at the beginning of heat season.
Make sure your vents are not closed, covered, or blocked by furniture. You may think you’re saving energy by doing this, but proper airflow is important for proper system operation and blocked or closed vents limit airflow.
And last but not least, change your filters regularly. If they seem too dirty when you change them, increase the frequency at which you change them.
How often should my filters be changed?
Your filters should be changed twice per year at least, during your summer and winter maintenance services. Even better — change them quarterly. Best — during high use periods, change them monthly.
How long will my HVAC system last?
The length your system lasts depends upon how well the unit is maintained. We find that HVAC systems in our area tend to last 15-25 years — IF — the recommended service and maintenance is performed throughout the life of the system.
If you have a question or comment, I’d love to hear from you. Please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming column. Here’s one I received a while back:
From Philip L. regarding “Is my thermostat costing me money?”
Q: Is there any truth to NV Energy manipulating your HVAC system with their installed thermostats?
A: Yes, in fact, NV Energy can control the set point in your home if you let them install their thermostat. See the following references:
Q: Were we to replace our 8+ year old programmable thermostat, what would you recommend?
A: There are many options for replacement thermostats. It’s kind of like buying a car – it’s difficult for one person to decide what’s best for another. The way you want to use your system will largely decide what’s best for you:
Are you looking for simplicity, and do you prefer to be in charge of the temperature that is set?
Do you want to set a temperature program that runs every day?
Do you want different programs on weekdays and weekends?
Do you want a different program every day?
Do you want to be able to control your temperature setting from your phone or tablet? (Even when you’re not home.)
Do you want to use Alexa or Google Home to control your thermostat by voice?
Do you want a thermostat that watches you and tries to program itself according to what it sees?
Do you want a thermostat that can send you a text if it gets too cold in your home?
There are many options available to you, once you know your preferences.
Thanks Philip L. for your questions!
Have a question for Dirk? Send it to dirk@roperHVAC.com and he’ll try to answer it in an upcoming column.
For more than 30 years Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning has been providing essential indoor climate management services to the citizens of western Nevada. Roper’s is a family-owned, community-oriented business that specializes in the restoration and preservation of Total Home Comfort. Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning is located at 2062 S. Edmonds Drive in Carson City. For information, visit https://roperhvac.com/.