The Basics of Keeping Your Home Comfortable
The heating and cooling system, sometimes referred to as the HVAC system, is one of the most important parts of your home. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, the three main functions of a home comfort system. A complete system can control air temperature, humidity and fresh air intake and maintain the quality of the air in your home.
Central Heating and Cooling Systems
A central heating and cooling system produces warm or cool air in one central area and distributes it throughout your home. There are many types of systems that work as central systems, from traditional split systems (having both indoor and outdoor components) to packaged product systems (having one unified outdoor component for heating and cooling).
Typical products for central systems include:
- Heat pumps
- Air conditioners
- Gas and oil furnaces
- Fan coils
- Evaporator coils
- Controls and thermostats
Most central heating and cooling systems are forced air systems, which means they send air through ductwork for distribution. The ductwork can contain products that also filter and clean the air.
Radiant systems, on the other hand, create heat from sources like boilers and deliver it through radiators throughout the home.
Typical heating products include:
- Heat pumps
- Gas and oil furnaces
- Fan coils
Whole-home air conditioning systems are central systems that rely on ductwork to deliver cool air throughout your home. An air conditioning system can provide cooling, ventilation, humidity control and even heating (if using a heat pump).
Typical air conditioning products include:
- Heat pumps
- Air conditioners
- Evaporator Coils
- Fan Coils
Controls and thermostats turn your heating and cooling system on and off in order to bring your home to a set temperature. Advanced technology found in the Evolution® control helps you save energy and reduces costs by giving you precise control over temperature, humidity, air treatment, scheduling and more.
Home Comfort Built Around You
The right Bryant system for your family depends on several factors, including the physical specifications of your home. There are 4 main types of Bryant heating and cooling systems: HYBRID HEAT® dual fuel systems, split systems, geothermal systems and packaged systems. Your dependable Bryant dealer will assist you in choosing the system best suited to meet your comfort needs.
HYBRID HEAT® Dual Fuel System
A Bryant HYBRID HEAT dual fuel system consists of a heat pump for electricity-fueled heating and cooling, a gas furnace, an evaporator coil and a control. The system automatically selects the most economical fuel source – gas or electric – based on data through the control to heat the home with maximum efficiency.
A ‘split system’ is a heat pump heating and cooling system or an air conditioner that has components in two locations. Usually, one part of the system is located inside (an evaporator coil attached to a furnace or a fan coil) and the other outside your home (heat pump or air conditioner unit, also referred to as the condenser coil). This is the traditional system that many of us have in our homes.
If space inside your home is limited, Bryant offers several packaged solutions, which can be placed on your rooftop or in your yard. A packaged system can be exclusively for cooling or can combine components to provide electric only or gas and electric heating and cooling. Everything is in one unit except the control.
Breathe Easy, Even in Airtight Homes
Today’s tightly-constructed homes are more energy efficient, helping to keep utility bills lower. While older houses can be notoriously drafty and expensive to heat or cool, more modern construction is often – quite literally – airtight. Advances in insulation, windows, house wraps and other construction materials aim to make the house efficient. This is a positive for homeowners. But there is a downside.
A tight home ‘envelope’ (all the layers separating the indoors from outdoors) also traps things that you don’t want in your house – namely, indoor pollutants. Secondhand smoke, viruses and bacteria, particulate matter (from your stove, fireplace or chimney), as well as more immediate threats like carbon monoxide and radon, can build up in the stale indoor air. Trapped moisture can also promote the growth of mold spores that can be allergenic or even toxic. Even the construction of carpet pads and new furniture can emit formaldehyde and other volatile compounds into the air.
With all of these potential sources of household pollution, it’s no wonder that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites poor indoor air quality (IAQ) as a major environmental health concern. In the short term, poor IAQ aggravates conditions like allergies and asthma, and can produce symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. A growing body of research connects long-term exposure to respiratory ailments like emphysema, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
So, how can you protect your family from IAQ threats?
Go to the source:
The most straightforward way to address indoor pollutants is controlling their sources as much as possible. Some simple steps can make a difference, according to the EPA: Asking smokers to go outside, for example, and regular housecleaning to subdue pet dander, dust and pollen. Always running the exhaust fan when cooking with gas stoves (and making sure burners are correctly adjusted), and proper cleaning and maintenance of chimneys and flues will also limit hazardous emissions.
A breath of fresh air:
However, attempts to attack the many sources of pollution can only be so effective – and don’t address the root cause of chronic IAQ issues associated with trapped gases and tiny airborne particulate, a stagnant indoor environment.
Ultimately, an airtight home may need more ventilation. The challenge is letting fresh air into your home without letting money fly out in the form of higher heating and cooling costs. Bryant offers a full line of energy recovery ventilators that bring pre-filtered, pre-conditioned fresh, outdoor air into the house while helping to minimize energy loss. In the process they expel stale, polluted indoor air, and can also help control incoming humidity (and therefore the risk of mold growth).
Cleaning it up:
Circulating fresh air into the home is critical to a fresh indoor environment – but outdoor air carries pollen, particulate matter and other contaminants. So it’s also important to filter and purify all of the air that’s flowing through the home, on an ongoing basis.
Air purifiers provide the solution – but where portable units may help clear one room, the best approach is an integrated system that tackles 100% of the conditioned air. Bryant offers whole-home purification solutions that fit in line with your ductwork. These air purifiers use a patented ‘Captures and Kills’ technology that traps particles and germs, mold and other pathogens (including human flu, the Streptococcus bacteria, even the common cold virus) killing or inactivating them to prevent growth.
A well-built home shields your family from the elements and saves energy. But while a tight home envelope is meant to promote indoor comfort, a stale indoor environment is anything but – especially when it starts to impact your health.
Homeowners should embrace energy efficiency, but be aware of indoor air quality issues – and there are better, far more efficient solutions than cracking a window or two. Take a proactive approach, so you and your family can breathe a little easier.
Repair or Replace?
At Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems, we pride ourselves on reliable products and the great service of local Bryant® dealers. So when you’re faced with the choice between replacing or repairing part or all of your heating and cooling system, you can count on us to help you find a solution that’s affordable, keeps your family comfortable and makes long-term sense.
Every situation is unique, and your Bryant dealer will give you expert advice based on an inspection of your existing system, identifying maintenance needs and costs, and discussing your individual heating, cooling and air quality priorities. In general, here are some issues to keep in mind when deciding whether to repair your current equipment or upgrade to a new system:
Cost and Convenience
Cost is an immediate consideration – the up-front price of repairs will likely be less than installing a new model. But consider the age of your current system and the relative cost of repairing it: If your existing equipment is more than ten years old and the cost of repairs is more than a third of what a new system would cost, it may make more sense to replace it. (And if the repair bill approaches 50% of the cost of a replacement, an upgrade may be a better choice.)
If repairs are less than a third of the replacement cost and your system is less than ten years old, it may have many productive years ahead. And even 25-year-old equipment can still keep your home comfortable with proper maintenance and attention.
Of course, an older system is more likely to require repair going forward, so factor in the potential costs and inconvenience of keeping up an aging system. (And check your warranty terms and expiration, too!)
Efficiency and Long-Term Savings
It’s also important to look beyond the up-front price tag to the cost of the system over time. More energy efficient heating and cooling systems mean lower monthly utility bills, leading to savings you’ll reap year after year for the life of the system.
You can understand the heating efficiency of a furnace by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which measures the percentage of energy that’s actually used to heat your home. Most newer furnaces have an AFUE of 80% or more, and Bryant offers models up to 98.3%. If your current system is less than 80% efficient, you could save considerably on your monthly utilities with an upgrade.
For cooling with an air conditioner or heat pump, the measurement is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – a higher SEER rating means greater energy savings. 13 SEER is the minimum currently required, and Bryant has models up to 20.5. Upgrading to a higher SEER rating means energy savings over the life of the system. For heat pumps in heating mode, look for an Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) of over 10 for greater efficiencies. Bryant offers heat pumps with HSPF of up to 13.
Installing a more efficient system may also qualify you for tax credits, if you’re thinking about installing a geothermal system, or local utility rebates. And talk to us for more information on Bryant Bonus or incentives he may have available in your area.
Indoor Air Quality
Your heating and cooling system can also play a role in maintaining good indoor air quality – your indoor environment is often more polluted than the outdoors, and the Environmental Protection Agency rates poor indoor air quality as a top environmental health concern.
You may want to consider adding a humidifier to make dry, winter air more comfortable to breathe, an air purifier unit to remove bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold from the indoor air, and a ventilator to ensure that fresh air is circulated into your home.
We can help you understand the indoor air quality implications of your heating and cooling system, and replacement or upgrade options that may help you breathe a little easier.
The Bottom Line
Your heating and cooling system is one of the most expensive components of your home, and one of the most important – your family’s comfort depends on it. So the choice between replacing and repairing the system is a big one…and sometimes, if your furnace goes out in the dead of winter, or your air conditioning fails in the heat of August, the pressure to make the right decision is even more immediate.
It comes down to evaluating short-term costs versus long-term value, and making sure you understand the impact of energy savings over the life of the system while weighing concerns you may have over issues like air quality. But you have a reliable partner on your side. We will walk you through the pros and cons, and is committed to doing Whatever It Takes® to delivering the right solution for you and your family.
How ratings affect cost savings
In your mission to find the perfect Bryant comfort system for your family, you will come across several important industry-standard efficiency ratings. The higher efficiency your product, the lower your long-term energy costs will be. And as always, your experienced neighborhood Bryant dealer is just a call away to help you choose the heating and cooling products that are right for you.
AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
AFUE is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Given in percentages, this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. Bryant offers a full line of furnaces with AFUE ratings ranging from the minimum industry requirement of 78% to more than 96%.
Cost Savings: If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of approximately 60%), you could save up to 40% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new high efficiency furnace! The cost to replace your old, inefficient furnace is paid back through lower utility bills.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
SEER is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency–and therefore greater energy savings. Today, U.S. regulatory agencies require all new products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Bryant’s full line of air conditioners offers SEER ratings of up to 20.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
HSPF is the efficiency measurement used to gauge the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings. Today’s models are required to have a 6.8 HSPF. Bryant offers heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.5.
Cost Savings. : Higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher equipment cost but lower utility bills. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. Ask your experienced Bryant dealer to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, long after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills.
Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency
One additional factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system is your indoor coil (also called an evaporator coil). If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. When you replace an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.
What are Factory Authorized Parts and why should you ensure your dealer is using them when servicing your equipment?
Factory Authorized Parts are those parts that have been designed and built specifically for your Bryant equipment. These parts are the perfect fit, restoring your equipment to its original performance.
If your equipment should need a new part, when your dealer uses Factory Authorized Parts they:
- Preserve the original manufacturer’s warranty.
- Preserve the original efficiency of the system.
- Preserve engineered sound requirements (for applicable components such as motors).
- Meet rigorous factory run life design specifications.
Should you ever require a service call, ask your dealer to use Bryant Factory Authorized Parts.
To get the most out of your visit with us, take a moment to make sure you’re prepared.
- Know where all of the heating and cooling units are in your home.
- Perform basic troubleshooting.
- Check your air filter. A dirty air filter is a common cause of problems.
- Write down the model numbers of all your Bryant products.
- Be ready to explain clearly what problems you’ve had.
- Know when your problems began.
- Make sure the system is accessible by the dealer, including units in crawl spaces or attics.
- Lock pets in a separate room.
- Make sure an adult (18 years or older) is home to let your dealer in.
- Be prepared to answer the phone. Many technicians call when they’re on the way to your home.
- If you rent your home, make sure you have permission to have your system serviced.
- If your heat pump is frozen, shut it off before the technician arrives so it’s thawed and ready for service.
- Have information on all prior services performed on your system readily available.
- Be prepared to make a payment to us.
Simple Things to Try Before Calling Your Bryant® Dealer
You can always count on us for help and service. But here are a few simple things to try before scheduling a dealer visit to your home:
Air Conditioning Equipment Checklist
- Check to make sure that your thermostat is set in the “cool” position.
- Ensure that your outdoor air conditioning (condensing unit) is running.
- Check the circuit breakers in the circuit breaker box (or electrical panel), most likely mounted to an outside wall in the back of the house. Make sure they are all in the “ON” position.
- Check the outdoor unit “disconnect switch” to make sure it is in the “ON” position. The disconnect switch is located near the outdoor unit. (Normally a grey 8″ wide x 16″ high x 4″ deep box mounted to the wall).
- Ensure that the blower motor in your air conditioner is running. (If the thermostat is in the “cool” position, the air conditioner blower should be running.)
- If not, check to make sure the on/off switch at the air conditioner is in the “ON” position.
- Be sure that you have changed your filter in the air conditioner recently.
- An extremely blocked filter can cause your outdoor air conditioner unit to shut down due to lack of proper airflow.
- Check all return air grilles to make sure they are not blocked by furniture.
- Furniture should be moved at least four inches away from return air grilles to allow for adequate air supply.
When you choose dependable Bryant products for your home heating and cooling needs, you don’t just get the best products available you also get solid warranty coverage to protect your family’s investment.
The terms and coverage details of your warranty are specific to the Bryant product models you own. Typically, Bryant products come with a standard 5-year parts limited warranty. Depending on your model, certain components within the product may have longer standard warranties.
Also, Bryant offers a variety of extended warranty programs to further protect your investment.
To learn the exact details of your warranty, refer to the product documentation such as a user’s manual that came with your product. If your model is listed on our website, the documentation may be available for download. Or, if you are unable to find your documentation, you can always contact your local experienced Bryant dealer for assistance in determining your warranty coverage.
At the time of purchase, you may have also been offered additional warranty coverage provided by your Bryant dealer. If you have additional coverage through your dealer, please contact him or her directly for assistance with the warranty.