Frequently Asked Questions

Is indoor air quality important?

Environmental research discloses a surprising and disturbing factor in our health - the quality of indoor air is much more important than ever suspected. Scientists in many countries have claimed that indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than outdoor air and can be up to 1,000 times dirtier.

Every New York home abounds with potential air quality risks. It is important to deal with these risks the intelligent way. The first step is to prevent the circulation of contaminants at their source. Your home environment is unique. Indoor air quality will depend on humidity, condition or your ducts, how tight or leaky your home is, the age of your home, the type of heating and air conditioning, the choice of furnishing and insulation materials, the presence of pets or smokers, and so forth. Balanced management of your whole home environment is the constructive way to healthy living. Keep aware of the risk factors and avoid them where you can.

What is Duct Sealing?

Duct Sealing

If your New York home was built before 1985 and you have high bills or comfort issues, the air duct system is a likely source of the problems. Insulation & HVAC upgrades are only part of the solution. As much as half the conditioned air you purchase every month could be ending up in the attic, basement or crawlspace.

If your home has metal ducts, our TEAM can seal them and significantly reduce the air loss. When older New York homes were first built, energy efficiency was not on the list of priorities. We see this problem every day and, without fail, major comfort issues are always related to ductwork leakage, poorly installed insulation or the mechanical system.

How do you know if your ducts leak?

If you have metal ducts in original condition - then they leak air. The only question is how much. During our assessment of your home we closely examine the ducts by pulling back the insulation wrap in various locations and using a smoke puffer with visual assessment to determine how bad your ducts are performing. Most of the time you can clearly see the leak points once the wrap has been removed. As part of our audit report you will receive photos showing the damage. On homes with old metal rigid duct the leakage is typically over 40-50%.

Where Does The Duct Leakage Come From?

Duct Work

Duct leakage is due to several factors: The main cause of duct leakage is that the connections were never sealed when the ducts were first installed. (Remember, back when energy was cheap, plentiful and nobody really cared about their utility bill) There is often damage or separation when the house settled over the years (often crushed or separated pipes from 3rd parties doing work in the attic).

Also, the ducts are usually only insulated with R-3 insulation which results in a significant amount of heat gain/loss as the air travels through the ducts in your attic or basement/crawlspace. When we foam seal old ducts the insulation is upgraded to an R12.

How do I know what size unit our house needs?

Potter Heating and A/C has been BPI certified and trained to consider many factors before making a recommendation. Factors like size of the house, climate, the number and type of windows installed, insulation, and even the number of people living in the house. Many times the existing system is too small or too big or worst yet another non-certified HVAC company is trying to sell you the wrong product for your home.

What do rating numbers mean?

The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a high rating indicating high-efficiency. The next two topics address this issue in greater detail

What is a SEER?

There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.

What does AFUE stand for?

There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Gas furnaces are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit.

Can shrubs or flowers be planted around an outdoor unit?

Outdoor Unit

Yes. However, we recommend that plants be no closer than 18 inches to the unit. This allows for plenty of room for air circulation in and out of the unit. Without this room for air circulation, the unit could overheat, resulting in a premature need for service.