HVAC Advice

Piedmont Electric Cooperative has North Carolina-licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians who can offer free advice and technical assistance about the operation or installation of members’ heating and cooling systems, they can even help you choose a new heating system. If you would like to speak to someone about your HVAC system, contact a Piedmont Electric Energy Specialist at 800.222.3107.

Before you decide on an HVAC unit, look at making energy improvements to your home. Tuning up the home not only reduces operating costs but can mean a smaller, less expensive HVAC system can do the job. However, if your heating and cooling system is 15 to 20 years old and is experiencing problems, it may be time to consider installing a new, efficient ENERGY STAR® system.

If you are considering replacing the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system that heats and cools your home, you need the right information to make an informed decision. That’s where Piedmont Electric comes in. We have a list of questions to ask – and things to consider – before purchasing your new HVAC system. By asking the right questions, you will be able to select the HVAC system that best fits your needs. If you would like to speak to someone about your HVAC, contact a Piedmont Electric Energy Specialist at 800.222.3107.

Yes. You want to be sure that all the parts of your HVAC system work together properly. Replacing only the outdoor unit or the indoor unit of an HVAC system may appear to save money, but it could contribute to service problems later on. A mismatched system may not deliver the energy efficiency or performance that you expect. If an older part of the system—such as an outdoor unit of a heat pump, ductwork, piping or a furnace—is replaced, it’s important to match the new part as closely as possible to the existing system.

Installing a new high-efficiency heat pump, for example, but using the old ductwork could affect performance. That ductwork may be leaky, restricted or inadequate—and may not be sized for your new heat pump. Ask your contractor to thoroughly inspect your ductwork to identify any problems. Ductwork should be properly sealed and insulated, and it should be sized for your new system.

You have many choices when it comes to selecting an HVAC system.

An HVAC system that is too small cannot deliver adequate heating or cooling in extreme weather. And a system that is too large will not only cost more, but provide poorer temperature and humidity control. To ensure that your new HVAC system is the right size for your home, ask a contractor to perform a detailed load calculation. This calculation determines the capacity of the equipment needed and the correct distribution of air to each room.

Selecting the right contractor is critical to the performance of your new HVAC system. The contractor is responsible for determining the type and size of the system and explaining your options as well as installing the system. A good contractor also should provide a warranty and after-sale service. Here are some tips on identifying the right contractor for the job:
  • Ask about the licensing and qualifications of prospective contractors. Is the contractor state-licensed? Is the contractor a member of state and national contractor associations, such as Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)? Is the contractor adequately insured?
  • Make sure that the contractor inspects your home and your existing system, and explains your options.
  • Ask the contractor for the estimated annual operating cost of HVAC systems with different efficiencies (SEERs and HSPFs). This information will help you determine the total cost of each system over the lifetime of the unit.
  • Make sure the contractor has adequate staff to install the system and respond promptly to service calls. What guarantees, warranties and followup service are offered? Warranties vary, so it’s important to know what is included in the warranty and what is not. Ask about a maintenance service agreement—what does it cost and what does it cover?
  • Are the technicians NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certified? Are they familiar with the brand of equipment that you want to buy? Will they perform load calculations, duct design and installation using industry-standard methods?
  • Get three written estimates for the work: what is being done, what equipment is being provided and when installation will begin and be completed. Understand what is included in each price. Remember that the best value may not necessarily come from the contractor that offers the lowest price. Consider the cost of operating the system as well as the initial cost.

Even the best installed, most efficient equipment requires routine maintenance.

Here are a few things you can do to maintain your HVAC system:

  • Inspect the air filter and replace it at least four times a year.
  • Check the thermostat setting. A good starting point is 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. A programmable thermostat can save more by letting the home’s temperature rise in the summer or fall in the winter by a few degrees when the house is unoccupied.
  • Make sure the supply and return vents are open and not blocked by furniture.
  • Keep your outdoor unit clean and make sure nothing blocks air flow to it.

Here are maintenance points a licensed technician can do:

  • Tighten all electrical connections.
  • Lubricate all moving parts.
  • Inspect the air conditioner’s condensate drain.
  • Check system’s controls for wear or damage.
  • Check system’s refrigerant charge.
  • Inspect ductwork for leaks.
  • Adjust blower to provide proper airflow

Electric heat pump rebate

Rebates are available to members who install an electric heat pump with a 15 SEER2 or higher and have a total electric home. The rebate equals $50 per ton, up to $200 per system.

Home Upgrade Loan

Low interest loans are available to eligible Piedmont Electric members to finance the purchase and installation of an energy efficient electric heat pump (15 SEER2 or greater). Please note: This program is only available for existing homes served by Piedmont Electric. New construction does not qualify for the program. Approved members may borrow up to $10,000 for seven (7) years at five percent (5%) interest.

For more information, contact Kyle Heckman at heckmank@pemc.coop.

DIY Energy Advisor

Knowing how you use energy will help prioritize your energy-saving habits.

Check out our DIY home energy advisor to help you figure out where to start.

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