The Ultimate HVAC system
By Chad Humphrey
If you could have the ultimate HVAC system installed in your home what would it consist of?
Obviously, you would want it to be efficient, comfortable, quiet, reliable and provide noticeable comfort. What goes into putting a system like that together? Here are some considerations:
The Wasatch Front is in a semi-arid desert climate. We have hot summers, cold winters, and dry air. Our recommendation is a 96% efficient two stage variable furnace with a 16 SEER two-stage central air system. The minimum efficiency for a furnace is 80% and the minimum SEER allowed in Utah is 13 SEER. If we had a climate like Phoenix we would most likely want a 20 SEER air conditioner however in our climate the energy savings will take over 10 years to pay for this upgrade. The 96% efficient furnace will qualify for a $400 rebate from Dominion Energy (formerly Questar). Not only will your gas usage be 16% less than the minimum, the variable speed blower will use 1/3 the electricity of a standard blower.
The benefits of a two-stage system include quiet operation, through air distribution, superior air filtration, and humidification (if a humidifier is installed). The low stage operation will also use less gas and electricity which is perfect for our long spring and fall seasons. A variable speed blower will sense the torque of the air it is pushing and will ramp up or down to achieve the proper air flow. The operation of these furnaces can be customized at set up after the install. The combination of these two features will also even out the hot and cold spots in your home.
As a furnace runs it pulls moisture from the air in our homes. Couple this with Utah’s already dry air makes our skin and sinuses dehydrated. A good humidifier puts this moisture back in the air. We recommend a fan powered humidifier. It is preferable to a bypass humidifier because it will push the moist air through the ductwork. A humidistat is installed which can be set up to turn on the humidifier and the furnace blower at the same time, even if there is not a call for heat. Humidified air feels warmer, is better for your skin, and allows your sinuses to stay moist. The health benefits alone are worth the extra money spent on this accessory.
The ultraviolet light in this air purifier is very powerful. If you look at it for over a few minutes it will burn your eyes. The light mounts in the ductwork and ultraviolet rays kill viruses, germs, and bacteria as they pass through the light. The Micropure also produces ionic air scrubbers which destroy many indoor pollutants, even on surfaces. Stay healthy with a Micropure installed by Humphrey Plumbing Heating and Air.
Media Air Cleaner:
Filtration is one of the most important parts of a forced air HVAC system. A proper filter set up will protect the inside of your furnace, coil, and ductwork. We recommend a Media Air Cleaner. It uses a 4-inch thick filter that only needs to be changed twice a year. It is 10 times more effective than a standard 1-inch filter. A Media Air cleaner is less likely to fail than an electronic air cleaner. It requires very little maintenance and the replacement filters for the ones we install can be found at any home improvement store.
The thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system. It should be WiFi capable and usable from your phone or tablet. We recommend the Nest or the Ecobee. Both of these thermostats go beyond just controlling the temperature. They can sense when you are home, program themselves, detect humidity levels, and report back to you via an app. We also install the CTK high definition communicating thermostat.
A properly installed HVAC system will, of course, be reliable even on the hottest and coldest days of the year. The furnaces and central air systems we install come with a 10-year parts warranty and most systems come with a 5-year labor warranty. If you have a problem with an HVAC system installed by Humphrey Plumbing Heating and Air you can expect a quick response. Always check to make sure that the HVAC company that you are considering is licensed and insured.
All this high-end equipment is useless unless it is installed properly. The installers must be skilled and experienced. This type of HVAC system will have hundreds of connections, technical wiring, intricate metal work, and will need a proper setup. Only trust a company with a familiarity with these products or else you can expect breakdowns, malfunctions, and inadequate performance. At Humphrey Plumbing Heating and Air, we always install an external filter. No need to open the furnace doors. In many cases, we will set the furnace on a base to reduce static pressure and increase air flow. These are just a few examples of the things we do on your HVAC installation to create a reliable system and improve your comfort.
When you get a new furnace or air conditioner it is not a bad idea to have your ducts cleaned shortly before after the installation. Through the years our ducts accumulate with dust, debris, hair, and dander. These contaminates can cause damage and poor performance if they are allowed to enter your HVAC system. We use the hypervac system which uses a powerful vacuum and compressed air tools to really clean the inside of your ducts.
When installing a new HVAC system changes to your flue, gas line, and power supply will be necessary. The location of the furnace may change too. For these reasons, it will be cost effective to replace your water heater at the same time. For some homeowners this is a good time to upgrade to a high efficiency tankless water heater and/or a water softener. Tankless water heaters qualify for a rebate from Dominion Energy. These improvements should only be done by a master plumber.