To keep your HVAC system running efficiently and to expose possible problems quickly, there is great value in having a service plan.  Daniels has four to choose from.  See which SERVICE PLAN best suits your annual energy needs and budget.

Heating & Cooling FAQs

What you need to know about furnaces, boilers, ductless HVAC systems, heat pumps and indirect water heaters

The more our customers know, the more we can be of service to them. Founded in 1926, Daniels Energy has kept up with evolving home heating and cooling technologies. We are often asked to define heating & cooling terms, as well as describe how ever-changing home comfort technologies work. We hope definitions and charts below answer your questions. If not, always feel free to call us. We pride ourselves on our courteous and ethical customer service.
To begin with, here are some definitions of common HEATING AND VENTILATION TERMS.
HVAC equipment

CALL

860-342-3778

Let Daniels Energy Do It.
Furnaces and Boilers

Boiler or Furnace – Which One Do I Have? How Do They Work?

Boilers, like furnaces, use electricity, gas or oil to generate heat. The major difference is that boilers, also called water tanks,  use water to transfer heat instead of air the way furnaces do. With a furnace, the air is pushed via a blower across heated coils where it is then delivered to the home through ductwork. Furnaces are also known as forced-air systems. They require filters to keep the air clean in the home. With proper maintenance, these systems can last up to 25 years.

Modern water tanks use less energy to heat up.  These radiant heating systems transfer water to the radiators or baseboard heaters inside a house. Many consumers prefer water tanks to furnaces because this form of heat requires no ductwork. In addition, many consumers prefer boilers because of their ability to maintain comfortable humidity levels and even temperatures. Boiler-generated radiant floor heating can be added for a barefoot walk on warm floors. Boilers also don’t turn on and off as much as furnaces do, since radiant heating systems can retain warmth much longer.

Today’s furnaces come with variable speed blowers to reduce noise, while water tanks operate silently. Other pros for boilers include zone control and clean air. Since boilers don’t blow allergens and dust in the home, the indoor air quality is better. With zone control, temperatures in individual rooms can be set higher or lower. This improves comfort levels along with reducing energy expenses.

If you are wondering why boilers aren’t the standard in most homes, the answer is probably the cost. Boilers are much more expensive than furnaces.  For many, deciding whether to install a boiler or furnace may come down to initial cost.  For those who are more concerned with energy efficiency and indoor air quality, the features of boilers might justify the additional expense.

Thinking of building a home and trying to decide between a boiler and furnace? Give us a call and allow us to help you choose what will work best in your new home!

It really comes down to learning as much as you can about each and deciding which one better suits your needs and budget. With the advances in HVAC technology, modern boilers and furnaces can achieve an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) up to 98.5 percent.

How Indirect Water Heaters Work

Indirect Water Heaters

 If you have questions CALL:  860-342-3778

How Indirect Water Heaters Work

Indirect water heaters work by utilizing an external heat source, typically an oil, or gas fired boiler. Once water is heated to a relatively high temperature (typically between 150 and 180°), it is pumped into a heat exchanger which consists of tubing, or a shell type design which contains domestic water. Indirect water heaters can be a more efficient choice without sacrificing the convenience of a storage tank. These systems use the main boiler or furnace to heat water that is circulated to its storage tank by a heat exchanger. The energy stored in the water tank allows the furnace or boiler to turn off and on less frequently, saving energy. Benefits include:

  • Never running out of hot water
  • Increased fuel efficiency reducing energy usage and bills
  • Can be combined with one of our high-efficiency hot water boilers
  • Does not require burner service
  • Does not require dedicated venting
  • Silent operation

How a Ductless HVAC System Works

Ductless HVAC System

How Ductless HVAC Systems Work

Ductless HVAC systems are efficient and provide consistent room comfort. A ductless heat pump, or air conditioner, typically consists of a wall-mounted indoor unit combined with an outside compressor. It’s most often used in a situation where a window AC unit or baseboard heating would be considered, such as a new addition to a house. However, unlike window units, ductless units require only a very small hole to be drilled into the wall, making them less vulnerable to air leakage and security problems. They are also less visible and audible.

They are also very energy-efficient. According to many HVAC industry experts, in an average home there is up to 25% energy loss in ductwork. Just by removing the ducts, a more efficient energy system can be achieved. Ductless models also have inverter-driven compressors, which speed up and slow down based on the needs of the system.  Traditional HVAC compressors shut down and start up. A lot of energy is consumed during compressor start-up.

Ductless Mini-splits

Mini–splits are heating and cooling systems that allow you to control the temperatures in individual rooms or spaces. Mini–split systems have two main components – an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit(s) (evaporator).

Heat Pumps

We are often asked what heat pumps are. This diagram is a good way to explain the common air-to-air model. Heat pumps can be very effective in lowering your annual fuel costs. Just give us a call if you would like more information.

How an Air Source Heat Pump Works

Heat Pumps

How Heat Pumps Work

For climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. Today’s heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. Air-source heat pumps have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States, but until recently they have not been used in areas that experienced extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. However, in recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions.

For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems in heating mode.

A new type of heat pump for residential systems is the absorption heat pump, also called a gas-fired heat pump. Absorption heat pumps use heat as their energy source, and can be driven with a wide variety of heat sources.

Source: The Department of Energy

Standard HVAC equipment parts

Please note: The diagrams below are intended as general reference only. Home heating equipment varies by manufacturer.

Heating and Cooling

Common HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) Terms

From “AccuClean” to “Variable Speed Motor”, we hope the definitions of these terms, listed in alphabetical order, will answer some of your questions.

AccuClean™
Brand name for Trane’s whole-home air filtration that removes up to 99.98 percent of airborne allergens from the filtered air in your home.

AFUE
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. AFUE is a rating that reflects how efficiently a gas furnace converts fuel to energy. An AFUE of 90 means that approximately 90 percent of the fuel is utilized to provide warmth to your home, while the remaining 10 percent escapes as exhaust.

Air Cleaner
A device that removes allergens, pollutants and other undesirable particles from air that is heated or cooled.

Air Filtration System
A device that removes allergens, pollutants and other undesirable particles from air that is heated or cooled.

Air Handler
The indoor component of your air conditioner or heating system that moves air through your home.

Allergen
A substance that causes an allergic reaction. It includes dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus, most tobacco smoke, cooking grease and bacteria. Test.

All-In-One System
An air conditioning and/or heating system in which all components are located in one cabinet. Used in certain localities and for certain building types, the all-in-one system is installed either beside or on top of your home.

BTU
British Thermal Unit. In scientific terms, it represents the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU is the equivalent of the heat given off by a single wooden kitchen match. For your home, it represents the measure of heat given off when fuel is burned for heating, or the measure of heat extracted from your home for cooling.
Back to top

Capacity
The output or producing capability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacity are normally referred to in BTUs.

CFM
Cubic Feet per Minute, a standard of airflow measurement. A typical air conditioning system produces 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

Comfort-R™
Comfort-R™ is Trane’s process for reducing your home’s humidity and maintaining a comfortable temperature. Set by the dealer, Comfort-R™ ramps up the airflow in your home—making your home cooler and more comfortable faster.

Compressor
The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. The compressor maintains adequate pressure to cause refrigerant to flow in sufficient quantities in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system and your home.

Condenser Coil
Located in the outdoor unit, the coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant from vapor to liquid.

Control
A temperature-control device, typically found on a wall inside the home. It consists of a series of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a heating and cooling system. Programmable controls, like Trane’s Nexia,  allow you to program different levels of comfort for different times of the day.

Cycling
Refers to the process of an HVAC system turning on and off. Some systems require less cycling than others, leading to higher energy efficiency and less wear on the system.

CONTACT US

8 High Street, P.O. Box 32, Portland, CT 06480 • 24 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT 06409
Portland: 860-342-3778 • Essex: 860-767-1920
Daniels Energy: CT License S1-385517 HOD#19 / Daniels Propane. LLC: CT License S1-302857 HOD #846