HVAC Equipment and Service

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. HVAC is most often employed to depict an entire heating and cooling system consisting of the duct work, air filters, humidification controls, and registers.

Look at the label on the outer surface of the element of your home comfort system for a manufacture date. Equipment less than five years old may have a warranty, but also may not depending on the model. Warranty terms and conditions change by manufacturer and the installing company. Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can verify the warranty status of your heating and cooling system via System Inspection. We also offer a Platinum PLUSTM Protection Plan for your heating and air conditioning systems, regardless of the equipment age or manufacturer warranty status.

Yes. Loud heating and cooling equipment increase sound pollution.Even though no cost savings are tied to lower sound levels, the sound rating of a cooling system can have a serious effect on comfort and enjoyment of your Buffalo home. The sound level of an air conditioner or heat pump depends on a number of things, such as the , and whether the compressor is insulated or not can increase the amount of noise it makes.

Although most heating and cooling systems made today are quieter than they ever have been, it's a good  idea to compare sound ratings when shopping for a new air conditioner or heat pump, particularly if the equipment location is near bedrooms or living rooms.

Besides the professional visual inspection included with our System Inspection, a Precision Tune-up also consists of a total maintenance cleaning and lubrication of the heating or air conditioning equipment components. Find out more here about Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning’s Precision Tune-up steps . The fee for a tune-up is seasonal, and printable coupons with seasonal discounts on tune-ups may be found on our Coupons page.

A Service Call fee is a fee for the expense associated with the time and travel to diagnose, inspect and share expert recommendations for a home's heating or air conditioning system by a certified professional technician. Coupons for the Service Call fee may be found on our web site, in the Yellow Pages, or by email when joining our Email Club at the bottom of this page.

A popping sound is a typically sign of an under-sized duct design. It may have to do with greater air flow than the duct work is able to manage. Have a qualified company analyze your home's ventilation system for proper design and provide a written recommendation. Improper duct work layout can create several ventilation and air quality problems, including: 

  1. excessive noise
  2. higher energy consumption
  3. lowered life of the system
  4. uneven airflow throughout your home
  5. damaged compressor in hotter months
  6. overheated unit in the heating season
In addition, if your ductwork is incorrectly sized you may have other issues, such as leaky ducts and poor layout that impacts airflow. In humid states this can cause mold growth within your ductwork.

 

The answer is, probably so. Here's why.

Matched System Design: All air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units are specifically intended to work with a matched indoor unit for optimum efficiency and performance. The result of this matched equipment is a synchronized, top-performance team that ensures dependability and efficiency. Air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units may "work" with indoor units other than those for which they have been specially fabricated; however, the result would be a definite compromise in system performance.

Design Advances: As research has improved, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.

Higher Cooling And Heating Efficiency: The cooling and/or heating efficiency ratings that are posted for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on their performance as matched systems. While changing only the outdoor unit may result in improved efficiency compared to the old system, but efficiency will be lacking from what it was designed to be, and your savings will be less than with a matched system.

Equipment Age: If an air conditioner or heat pump is 10 years old or more and the time has come for it to be replaced, the indoor unit is likely just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of constant operation over the years. Replacing both units means you won't have to replace the indoor unit in a short time period… you'll have many years of efficient service with both units.

New Warranty: A new system also delivers you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit together with the outdoor unit results in peace of mind, knowing that the new warranty covers the entire system for the same period of time.

A Bargain: At first glance, substituting only the outdoor air conditioner or heat pump may appear to be a deal. But, when you consider the lower cooling and heating efficiencies, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership that results, it's not such a bargain. Replacing an entire system may cost more, but the result is efficiency, reliability and comfort for years into the future.

Similar to a value menu at a local restaurant, charging a flat rate cost in place of an hourly fee makes available more value for our customers because everything is included, the pricing is up-front, and it does not get modified. Regardless of the cost of parts or how much time it takes to finish the repairs, the price will not change. This is one of the reasons why Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is the most trusted name in Buffalo.

You probably wouldn't buy a brand-new car and assume to not once have to inflate the tires, change the oil and check out any strange noises. Your home comfort system is similar to your car’s engine; it’s a mechanical device with a motor, electrical components... and even fuel. So it is essential to have routine maintenance of your home comfort system by a qualified technician. If not maintained properly on a routine basis, even the best heating and air conditioning equipment could cause problems and become less 'fuel' efficient over time.

There are several possibilities that can prompt your HVAC system to freeze up; almost all of them usually need to be corrected by a professional technician. Making sure the air filter is clean or replaced and making sure the airflow is not restricted are about the only tasks a homeowner should safely identify or handle themself.

Low refrigerant: On occasion, freezing up is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, leaking valves or loose fittings can cause leaks. The length of time your system has been installed and the nature and location of the leak govern the decision whether to have the system repaired or replaced.

Dirty evaporator coil: In time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. When this happens, the results are similar to those of having a dirty filter. Gradually you will lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or is not cooling adequately. You will need to contact your local Service Experts sales and service center to correct the problem.

Defective blower motor or relay: A blower motor running at an improper speed or not running at all can cause freezing. It can also be intermittent, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to contact your local Service Experts sales and service center to correct the problem.

Should you discover that your system was freezing due to a dirty air filter, after replacing or cleaning the filter, you can expedite the thawing process by turning the system off and then turning on only the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, change the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in Buffalo to fix the problem.

If you are replacing your Buffalo area home air conditioner, furnace or heat pump, it is the right time to also install a new zoning system to solve hot and cold spots or special temperature preferences in the home. When your new comfort equipment is matched with a zoning system, your family benefits from customized temperature control in each zone.

Zoning is also something to consider for new homes since the system can be installed during construction. If you are buying a new home, check with your builder about a zoning system. It could make the difference between just enjoying your new house and being truly comfortable in it.

Saving Energy at Home

With energy costs soaring, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the expenses of heating and cooling your home. HVAC equipment usually utlizies more energy than any other appliance in the home. This inevitably shows up every month on utility costs each month, but it's important to remember that energy costs can be controlled in several ways.

Maintenance: One step to control energy costs is to schedule annual maintenance to help be sure that your furnace and air conditioner is running properly and efficiently. Operating dirty heating or cooling equipment can result in unnecessary loss of efficiency and may even damage the unit.

High Efficiency: If you are in the market for a new home comfort system, consider investing in a high-efficiency system. They are designed to help reduce your energy costs as well as help conserve natural resources. When picking out a new home comfort system, pay close attention to the SEER rating of the air conditioner and the AFUE of the furnace. The higher the SEER or AFUE, the higher the efficiency and savings.

Zoning: Zoning can drastically lower your heating costs. Zoning divides your home into separate comfort areas, which are heated or cooled based on the occupancy of the rooms. That means a zoning system allows each room in your home to potentially have its own temperature setting. With a zoning system, you no longer pay to heat or cool the space of your home that are rarely used, and you can have the exact temperature you want in highly occupied rooms.

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats can make a significant difference in energy consumption. Since you can proactively set a schedule for the days and times that the home is occupied, these thermostats are able to deliver exact comfort, efficiency and energy savings. For example, if you're going to be away, you can set the whole house at an energy-saving temperature to avoid heating or cooling an empty house and conserving energy in the process.

Indoor Air Quality

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and size, and some have specs that others don't. Mostly we recommend installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing up with your installed unit, though you might be tempted to try some other filter type for convenience or to remove more pollutants from your residence.

All filters have MERV ratings, which range from 1-20. MERV means "minimum efficiency reporting value". A higher MERV rating tells you that fewer contaiminants pass through, and it catches finer particulates. This sounds like a good thing, and it can be, but a filter that stops finer dust and debris particles will also clog up quicker, and pressure on your HVAC equipment will go up. If your system has not been designed to work with this kind of filter, it can actually reduce your airflow throughout your residence, impacting your comfort and energy costs. So what should you look for? Unless you're buying for a hospital, you definitely don't need a MERV rating above 13. Truth be told, most residential systems are specifically designed to work with a filter with a MERV rating below 13, and most often you will find that higher end systems have been made to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11. All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should block most of the major nuisances everyone cares about such as pollen, pet dander, and dirt. While some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, we recommend hiring a pro to clean out any mold from your residence you find, instead of trying to delay the issue with a finer filter.

Often the packaging shows how often your filter should be replaced. There are one-month filters and there are 3-month filters. Additionally we have filters that are made flat like screen windows, and you have some that are ridged with supporting wire. In our experience, the accordian style filters hold up better, and are worth the extra pennies.

You might also consider washable filters, also known as reusable filters. Some homeowners like the environmentally friendly aspect of it, because they don't pile onto a wasteyard, and others believe it's more convenient to simply pull out the filter and clean it off rather than making a run to the local hardware store for a filter of the right size. These filters are often created to work several years and will save you money over those years, though they are more expensive initially. However, washable filters have to be dried out all the way before inserting it back to stop mold growth in your vents. In addition, most washable filters typically have a MERV rating between 1 and 4, and they lose their efficiency over time. Some washable filters have been built with new tech, such as electrostatic air filters, that are meant to basically improve the MERV rating.

And lastly, filters are composed from different materials. Fiberglass filters are what we see most often, and are the disposable type. Polyester and pleated filters can catch more debris, but also decrease the airflow in your house. And there are high efficiency particulate arrestance filters, which you may know as HEPA. While you may be tempted to buy a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system and it's highly unlikely that your system was built to handle that kind of resistance.

Yes, with a capital Y.E.S. Exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, making indoor air quality (IAQ) important for homeowners to know about. Many common household items contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric constantly emit fumes. Other sources of pollutants can include cleaning agents, paints and personal care products. The tight construction of today's homes also contributes significantly to poor IAQ. Things like weather stripping and storm doors are designed to save on energy costs. However, they also prevent proper ventilation by keeping indoor air in and outdoor air out. The result can be a buildup of contaminants within the home.

Poor IAQ can be attributed to aggravating several health problems. Medical groups report that as many as half of all illnesses are caused or aggravated by indoor air pollution. Pollutants within the home can cause homeowners to suffer from flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and respiratory irritation. As well, two existing health problems that can be helped by improving indoor air quality are allergies and asthma. By removing airborne dust particles, the amount of exposure the respiratory system has to them is reduced. Proper ventilation also plays an important role in improving indoor air quality, helping to reduce the concentration of pollutants inside the home.

The best method of detection is to use a carbon monoxide detector in a central location. A carbon monoxide detector looks a bit like a smoke alarm. It monitors the air for carbon monoxide and emits an alarm if a specific level is detected. Ideally, you should have one detector adjacent to every living area, centrally located, or on each floor in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors are best when used in combination with a maintenance plan. Call for a complimentary consultation about purchasing a carbon monoxide detector.

You may have tried to get rid of indoor odors by spraying air fresheners or lighting candles. Unfortunately, these tactics only mask the odors, they don't get rid of them. These remedies may in fact negatively affect indoor air quality from chemicals that cause allergic reactions or eye irritation for homeowners.

Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home's odor problem. One method to purify the air is integrating germicidal (UV) lights in your home, which helps kill odors and inhibit the growth of biological contaminants, sterilizing surfaces in the HVAC system. They also purify the air, preventing the growth of contaminants. The UV lights are installed to work with your home comfort system.

Sometimes poor ventilation can be attributed to unpleasant odors. Moisture condensation on walls windows and stagnate air are signs of poor ventilation. A qualified Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning technician can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is indeed the problem. The technician can also inform you how to solve the ventilation system’s ability to correctly circulate and ventilate indoor air.

The best way to choose the correct humidifier is by having a home health report performed by Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. Every house is different, and every family is different. So, every humidification need is also different. There are some important factors to evaluate when purchasing a humidifier for your home, Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you understand and consider these criteria.

Consider size. A humidifier's capacity, or the amount of moisture it can dispense in a given time, should match your particular household's needs. The capacity is measured as gallons per day of operation. One method that is used to determine the correct-sized humidifier for your home is by multiplying the total floor area in by the ceiling height. We can provide you with this information and additional suggestions for knowing which type of humidifier will best suit you and your family’s comfort needs.

Consider cost. Consider not only the basic cost of the humidifier, but also operating and maintenance costs. Some brands consume more energy than others, so choosing a model that is right for your home and budget is extremely important.

Every person and every home entails a different comfort need. The threshold of irritancy and triggers that affect people’s health and comfort combine to determine the proper solutions. High threshold levels may require simple solutions like a better air filter. Low threshold levels may require an air purification system for the reduction of triggers and irritants. With a Home Health Report Card, Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide which indoor air improvement products are right for you.

According to studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to air pollutants indoors can be 100 times higher than outdoors. Frequent dusting and vacuuming can help reduce the amount of dust and dust mites present in your home. However, not all airborne particles can be eliminated. Filtration devices can help eliminate particles that are too small to be caught by vacuum cleaning. Some filtration devices include UV light units, air filters, energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and electronic air cleaners. A Home Health Report Card from Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning will provide the information about which indoor air improvement products are right for you. To receive a Home Health Report Card and personal air quality consultation Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning at .

Depending on the model you choose and the size of your house, a humidifier may use from 1.5 to 12 gallons per day when the furnace is operating. The amount that will be used is enough to raise the humidity to the proper level, but not enough to notice a difference on your water bill.

How often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:

  • the type of air filter you are using
  • the overall indoor air quality
  • how many pets are in the home
  • the number of people occupying the home, and
  • the level of air pollution and construction around the home

For basic 1"-3" air filters, manufacturers usually direct you to change them every 30-60 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them every few weeks. Or, if you're in a more remote area or less occupied home (like a vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be often enough.

Here are some general guidelines to know how often you should change the air filter at home:

  • Vacation home or single occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6-12 months
  • "Average" suburban home without pets: every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
  • Add more than one pet or anyone has allergies: 20-45 days

Yes. Carbon monoxide can be an invisible threat to health and safety in the home. Though more commonly thought to be associated with fireplaces and vehicle emissions, carbon monoxide poisoning could be a danger in any home unless certain precautions are taken.

When in heating mode, people are confined indoors with unusually dry air during a long period each year. Humidifiers help the right comfort level of humidity, and properly maintained levels of humidity are beneficial for your respiratory system. Whole-house humidifiers work like old-fashioned room humidifiers. They distribute moisture into the air, making harsh, dry air much easier to breathe. And whole-house humidifiers add humidity throughout the house, no more moving a humidifier from room to room, spilling water on the floor as you go.

When inhaled, carbon monoxide attaches to with the red blood cells in the blood and displaces the oxygen our bodies need to survive. Carbon monoxide combines with the red blood cells over 200 times more easily than oxygen and creates a condition known as carboxyhemoglobin saturation. Carbon monoxide, instead of oxygen, then enters the vital organs through the bloodstream. Our organ tissues require oxygen; without it, our organs start to asphyxiate or suffocate. It takes the body much longer to eliminate carbon monoxide, however it can be absorbed much faster.

Allergies and asthma are two health problems that could be helped with cleaner indoor air. When airborne irritants are removed, allergy and asthma sufferers often find relief from their symptoms. Even those in good health who may have never suffered from allergies could benefit from clean air. Dust, smoke and other particles float around in the air, causing your drapes and furniture to gather dust. By removing airborne dust particles, you reduce the amount of exposure your respiratory system has to them.

Unfortunately, the symptoms caused by carboxyhemoglobin saturation are easily overlooked because they appear to be flu-like. With mild exposure, most commonly you may experience headaches, fatigue and nausea. Medium exposure could cause a severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, disorientation, confusion and an accelerated heart rate. Extreme exposure can lead to unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, coma and possibly death.

Prevention is the most important step. Taking proper safety measures will reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Because automobiles are a major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, always take your car out of the garage to let it warm up. Never leave it going in the confined space of a garage. The same holds true for lawn mowers or snowmobiles.

Never use ovens or grills as a heater. These appliances are designed to be safe and efficient and not produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide. However, homeowners need to check all combustion appliances to be sure they are operating as designed and to be sure that all chimneys and vents are connected properly and not blocked. Schedule annual maintenance by a qualified technician to check the condition of these appliances.

Many everyday household items may contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric constantly emit gases or fumes. Other sources of pollutants can include cleaning agents, paint and personal care products.

Though they are usually more efficient, modern homes do not breathe (ventilate) the way older homes have. Tight-sealing weather stripping and storm doors keep indoor air in and outdoor air out. This provides more energy savings, but the limited exchange of outdoor and indoor air can mean a buildup of contaminants inside your home. In these circumstances, a whole home ventilation system is recommended. Ventilation systems exchange polluted indoor air for more breathable outdoor air, without sacrificing energy savings.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, coal and charcoal. It is caused by lack of oxygen or a disruption in the burning process. Household heating mechanisms such as a furnace, water heater, stove, space heaters, charcoal grill and gas dryer can be sources of carbon monoxide, especially if they are not maintained properly or have been installed improperly. Vehicle exhaust fumes from attached garages, as well as poorly operating fireplaces may also be a source of carbon monoxide. CO is poisonous to the body and is fatal at high levels or with long exposure.

Indoor Air Quality is a term used to define the level or amount of air pollution that exists inside a house or building, particularly occupied areas or rooms. Exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors, and the American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90% of their time indoors. So the IAQ level and IAQ products that can increase air quality and eliminate indoor air pollution have become an important factor for many families, especially those suffering from allergies and respiratory issues.

Installing a humidifier is typically an easy job when, at the same time, you change out your furnace. But you can also have a humidifier fitted to your existing heating and cooling system. Periodic cleaning and draining of the reservoir is strongly recommended to maintain the system. Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can provide maintenance on the humidifier as needed, or proactively as part of our PLUS Maintenance Agreement. Call for more information about humidifier maintenance or for a free estimate on a new humidification system.

It is generally recommended that a home's humidity level be between 30 and 60 percent. However, during extremely cold weather, a home loses humidity to the outdoors and the level may drop to as low as 10 percent. When humidity levels drop, we suggest you have a whole-home humidifier to help ensure that the proper level of moisture is distributed throughout the house. Not having enough moisture in the air can cause dryness in the membranes of the nose, throat and bronchial tubes and can be the source of several health-related problems. Relative humidity also has a significant effect on controlling the occurrence of airborne infections.
In addition to the health benefits, humidifiers are an easy way to help your entire home be more comfortable. Whole-house humidifiers work like old-fashioned room humidifiers. They put moisture into the air, making harsh, dry air easier to breathe, however, they work on a larger and more efficient scale. A humidifier uses from 1.5 to 12 gallons of water per day — just enough to raise the humidity in the home to the desired level, but not enough to make a difference on the water bill. And because a humidifier is installed into the ductwork, there is no need to carry one from room to room.

Dry air in your home can make your throat feel dry or aggravate respiratory ailments. During cooler or cold weather, your home rapidly loses its humidity to the outdoors. Humidity levels could be reduced down to 10 percent. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that homeowners maintain a humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.

Dry air may also begin to cause more than health problems. Static electricity is a direct result of very dry air and houseplants may suffer from "winter drought" caused by low humidity levels. A whole-home humidifier adds moisture to your indoor air and can help relieve ailments related to dry respiratory membranes and would be our recommended solution to this issue.