Whole House Generators, Why You Need One

Generac-protect-yourself-whole-home

What is an automatic standby generator?

An automatic standby generator is a back up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.

Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?

  • During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator:
  • The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed standby generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator.
  • With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Running on the home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply, it is less expensive to run than gasoline and does not need to be refilled.
  • They start automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.

 Do they have to be maintained?

Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and many Generac dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.

 What happens if the generator gets overloaded?

Generac generators are equipped with overload protection. In the rare event of an overload, the generator’s circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the unit from the load. Simply correct the overload and reset the breaker in the generator.

Let Forest Air install a whole house generator to help you protect your family and your investments.  During our initial consultation, our trained technicians will work with you to decide what critical elements in your home you want to back up. We will make sure that you have the right strength and endurance to start your air conditioner or heater and keep your family comfortable during any blackout or loss of electrical power.  Contact us for more information.

Maintenance Agreements Fun Facts

XLi_Gen_Sum_InstallWe have all heard the stats,regular maintenance of HVAC systems can:

  • Cut unexpected breakdowns by 70-75%
  • Reduce energy consumption by 25-30% and increase energy savings
  • Reduce downtime by 35-40%
  • Lower equipment repairs and maintenance costs by 5-20%
  • Increase component life cycle
  • Reduced equipment failure
  • Save an estimated 12% to 18% over reactive maintenance.

Source: FEMP O&M Guide – August 2010

More interesting facts:

  • North Carolina Alternative Energy Corporation found that 90% of units tested exhibited some sort of energy wasting problem, 50% of those systems had improper refrigerant charge, 40% failed to meet minimum airflow requirements (only 20% were inside the range set by the manufacturer).
  • Further studies showed that a 20% deficiency in air flow can decrease SEER rating by 17%, and that a 15% return air leak can cut efficiency in half!
  • Texas A & M University found that systems that are undercharged by as little as 23% could result in a 52% efficiency loss.
  • Lakeland Electric and Water researchers found that repairing leaky duct could reduce cooling energy by 17.4%.
  • Honeywell found that most units lose 50% of their efficiency after 20 years
  • Louisiana State University and Gulf States Utility found that customers could save an average of $30.00 per month just by making sure their furnace and air conditioner was serviced and cleaned regularly.

Maintenance is so important to keep your energy bills down and your system running properly.  Having a professional contractor in for bi-annual checkups helps keep air conditioning and heating systems operating at peak performance, reduces the cost of ownership, and extends the life of your system.  Maintaining equipment prevents unnecessary problems and extra costs. With proper maintenance, a new air conditioner should last 12-15 years, and can last much longer than that in some cases.  Another benefit of HVAC maintenance is improved reliability. A clean HVAC unit has fewer repair calls than one that is not maintained.   Also, a clean HVAC unit operates more efficiently and saves you money on your utility bills.  Consider it to be an insurance policy with maintenance costs the premium being paid to reduce the chances of a system failure.

Forest Air Maintenance Agreements help avoid breakdowns plus it protects and prolongs the life of your equipment. As a Forest Air preventive maintenance agreement customer you always receive priority service!  Contact us today to get your agreement.  Click here for more information.

Is It Time To Replace Or Repair Your HVAC System?

This can be a daunting question.  How can you be sure that your system needs repair or replacement?  Are the issues really issues at all?

Rules of thumb to keep in mind when determining the need for repair or replacement:

  • Your home does not feel comfortably cool when the air conditioner is on.
  • All rooms are not cooling the sameSome rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.
  • The humidity in your home is the same or higher that the humidity outside.
  • Your heating or cooling system is noisy.
  • If your air conditioner runs all the time.
  • The air conditioner keeps shutting off when your home is hot.
  • Your utility bills seem too high.
  • You have had refrigerant added more than once in the past five years.
  • The air conditioner has not been serviced for more than two years.
  • Your air conditioner or heat pump is more than ten years old.
  • Your equipment needs frequent repairs.

If you have a newer HVAC system of about 5-7 years old you will more than likely want to repair any issue.   First, check the manufacturer’s warranty to see if your system is still covered.  Most manufacturers will offer 5-10 years on the compressor, condenser, and coils. All of this information will be spelled out in your warranty papers.  You can always reach out to the manufacturer to see what parts qualify if you don’t have the paper work.

If your HVAC equipment isn’t performing like it used to, you probably need Preventative Maintenance or a Check Up. Manufacturers suggest regular maintenance by a qualified professional every season. Read more on Preventative Maintenance here.

The age of your system will often determine if replacement is necessary.  Systems older than 10 years will more than likely need to be upgraded.  Older HVAC systems are less efficient using more energy and costing more money.  If your HVAC system is over 10 years old you can expect to save up to 50% in operating costs simply by increasing the efficiency ratio with a new condenser unit and indoor evaporator coil.  Not only will you save money on repairs, but you’ll see monthly savings on your utility bills.

Today’s higher efficiency systems have innovative comfort features like two stage compressors, variable speed fans, and automatic temperature/humidity controls allow you to experience more consistency and comfort from your heating and cooling system.

Often when one component on your system breaks down unexpectedly, it seems easy to just focus on repairing or replacing that component; however, each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.

What should I look for when choosing a new heater, heat pump or air conditioning unit?

  • Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability.
  • Choose a model that with a high efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill.
  • Choose the correct equipment size and system for your home.
  • Don’t just buy a unit just because it is on sale and seems like a great deal at the time; do some research on the product or ask the installation representative for more product information.
  • Finally, choose a reliable company with excellent customer satisfaction and a track record of service after the sale. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Check out contractor ratings and reviews online from organizations like Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau.   Chances are you’ll get plenty of recommendations for Forest Air!