Trane Home Comfort Guide
Trane Logo A handy guidebook that will help you make your home as comfortable as it can be.
Purchasing a heating and air conditioning system can be a daunting task. That's why we've made the Trane Home Comfort Guide available to homeowners all over the country. If we can take a little of the mystery and confusion out of the selection process, then you'll be better prepared to make a comfort decision for your home. And, that's the way it should be. White Living Room


An Introduction to Home Comfort
A heating and air conditioning system is not just any home appliance. It impacts your comfort every day of the year.

Making Yourself at Home With Comfort

Home comfort is a hard thing to define. You can't see it or touch it, but we all know it when we feel it—and when we don't. Many of us probably take our heating and air conditioning system for granted, until of course, our air conditioner stops running on the hottest day of the year, or our furnace breaks down when we have a house full of company. And, then all we can think about is getting immediate relief. But, there's more to home comfort than that. There's also its quality and consistency to consider. Unfortunately, our homes are not always as comfortable as they could be—or should be, even when our systems are working. And, many times, we've learned to live with uncomfortable and noisy conditions, simply because we didn't know there was a way to remedy them. But there is.

Modern Kitchen

Today, most comfort challenges can be solved with the selection of the right heating and air conditioning system. And, that's particularly true if your home has a system that's 10 years old or older. That's because the heating and air conditioning industry has made great strides in energy efficiency, indoor air quality, noise control and other issues that affect your home comfort.

For years, many homeowners thought of their air conditioner or furnace as just another home appliance. Now, however, heating and air conditioning systems can be completely integrated into your living environment, enhancing your home's livability, room by room by room—regardless of the season. And, because of sophisticated technology and innovative manufacturing processes, you can now purchase a home comfort system that gives you the most comfort for your energy dollar while actually adding long term value to your home.

You Have Some Choices to Make

When it's time to purchase a heating and air conditioning system, you'll find you have some choices to make. That's because there are a variety of system and component configurations to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits. Each system configuration is based on a specific set of comfort needs, which means the first step in the selection process is to identify your comfort challenges. By evaluating your current comfort conditions and itemizing your expectations, you'll be better able to focus on the right solutions for your home. Take a moment to answer the questions in our Home Comfort Check List below, and see what you discover.

Did you know: Filters should be replaced every month when a system is running. Always replace with the same size and type as the original. If your filter is not disposable (such as the Trane electronic air cleaner) follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning.

Home Comfort Check List

Use this list to evaluate your home's comfort and identify your comfort challenges.

  1. Are your heating and cooling bills too high?
  2. Is your indoor unit or your outdoor unit (or both) too noisy?
  3. Do you have a problem with humidity in the summer? Or, dry air in the winter?
  4. Are there any rooms in your home that are always too hot or too cold?
  5. Do you have problems with lingering cooking odors?
  6. Do you have pets or do any family members suffer from asthma or allergies?
  7. Is your outdoor unit unattractive and not aging well?
  8. Does your system run all the time?
  9. Does your furnace short-cycle, constantly turning on and off?
  10. Is your system easy to maintain with a filter that's easy to get to and change?
  11. Is your unit backyard-safe?
  12. Is your system still covered by a warranty?

It Begins With the System Story Back to Contents
Now that you've identified your comfort challenges, you can rest easy. That's because there are comfort solutions for your home.

What is a System?

Before we explain how your home can be more comfortable, it's important to first understand exactly what a home comfort system is. The most common is a forced air system which uses air ducts to carry conditioned air throughout your home. A typical forced air system employs an air conditioner, furnace and coil, or a heat pump and air handler. In some parts of the country a heat pump and furnace, or air conditioner and air handler are more appropriate for heating and cooling your home. All of these configurations are called split systems because they require both a unit outdoor and a unit inside your home.

Elegant bedroom

The opposite of a split system is a package unit. Instead of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, all system components are housed in a single cabinet and installed outdoors or sometimes in the attic. But regardless of whether it's a split system or a package unit, the concept is the same. Each component is designed and engineered to work together in what is called a "matched system." A matched system composed of compatible equipment is perfectly balanced, which is the best way to ensure optimum performance with the highest comfort, efficiency and long life.

Why the Right Size System is so Important

A system that is too large will cool or heat your home quickly, but you still may not feel comfortable. That's because it will satisfy the thermostat before it can adequately remove sufficient moisture from the air—which will make summer stickier than it should be. And, the stress of short-cycling (too many starts and stops) will shorten the life of your equipment and increase your heating and cooling bills. On the other hand, a system that is too small just cannot get the job done. The air conditioner will run constantly in the summer and the furnace will do the same in winter—which is something you may have indicated on your Home Comfort Check List.

Did you know: Leaving your thermostat fan on ON so it runs constantly actually helps filter the air in your home. And, because the air is constantly moving, you get more even temperature. However, in humid and costal areas, you should not run your fan in the continuous mode during cooling because this will add moisture back into your home.

A High Efficiency System Gives You Greater Comfort

In the heating and air conditioning industry terms like SEER, AFUE and HSPF are used to indicate the efficiency of different types of equipment. Minimum efficiencies have been established by the Federal government, but in general, it's important to remember that the higher the efficiency rating, the greater the energy savings. When properly selected, higher efficiency matched systems offer improved comfort at reduced operating costs.

When selecting a heating and air conditioning system, it's important to think not only about the initial purchasing cost, but also about how much it will cost to operate over the years. That's why a high efficiency system makes so much sense. Your initial investment may be more, but your long-term savings may be significant. Take a look at the chart below and see how the SEERs measure up.

A High Efficiency Rating Makes Dollars and Sense

If your current air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it could be as low as a 6 SEER. Compare the annual cooling bill of a 6 SEER system to that of a new system with a higher SEER such as Trane's 10, 11, 12, 14 or 18. For instance, if the annual cooling bill of a 6 SEER system was $1000, it could cost only $333 for an 18 SEER system, or an estimated annual savings of 67%. Now, that makes dollars and sense, doesn't it?

  6 SEER 10 SEER* 11 SEER 12 SEER 14 SEER 18 SEER
$600 $360 $330 $300 $240 $200
$800 $480 $440 $400 $320 $267
$1,000 $600 $550 $500 $400 $333
$1,200 $720 $660 $600 $480 $400
$1,400 $840 $770 $700 $560 $467
Savings 0% 40% 45% 50% 60% 67%

* Minimum efficiency established by the Department of Energy.

This estimated savings chart is based on Trane equipment only. Potential savings may vary depending on your personal lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, actual construction and installation of equipment and your duct system.

The Solutions Continue

Are your heating and cooling bills too high? Higher efficiency, two-stage matched systems can take care of this. (Trane's XL 1800 system is the ultimate in energy efficiency.)

Is your current system noisy? Installing a high efficiency variable speed two-stage furnace and a two-stage air conditioner can significantly reduce the noise level of your system. In lighter load operations, these systems spend 90+ percent of their time on first stage—which makes them quieter and more energy efficient.

White House

Do you have a problem with humidity in the summer? Trane has a secret weapon to deal with humidity, and it's called the Comfort-R airflow system. When a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump is matched with a variable speed indoor unit, the Comfort-R airflow system gives you greater humidity control in cooling.

Are there rooms in your home that are always too hot or too cold? In well-designed home comfort systems, proper ductwork is just as important as the equipment. It you're experiencing temperature variations, you may need ductwork modifications. Your dealer will need to evaluate your ductwork installation and possibly perform a room by room load calculation.

Do you have problems with lingering cooking odors? An electronic air cleaner will help reduce these. And, does your furnace short-cycle, constantly turning off and on? A two-stage variable speed furnace delivers more even, continuous heating, so short-cycling becomes a thing of the past.

Air Conditioner and Furnace Back to Contents
The most common system configuration in many parts of the country.

Air Conditioner

Basically an air conditioner works like this: Connected to the inside cooling coil, the compressor pumps refrigerant back and forth, extracting heat and moisture from the indoors. It transfers the heat to the outdoors. Warm indoor air is blown over the inside coil, then is cooled and distributed throughout your home. Today, the Federal government requires that all new models have a minimum SEER rating of 10. Trane's full line of air conditioners range in efficiency from 10 to 18 SEER—the highest in the industry. Trane's 18 SEER air conditioner actually has two compressors for two-stage cooling, giving it the ability to handle your comfort regardless of whether it's a moderately warm day, or the hottest day of the summer.

Air Conditioner and Furnace


Trane furnaces are uniquely designed to provide maximum heat with minimum fuel usage. And they think for themselves. Key furnace control functions are integrated into one microelectronic system which monitors the thermostat and gas valve ensuring precise temperature control. The current minimum AFUE requirement for furnaces is 78 percent. Trane offers a full line of single-stage, two-stage and two-stage variable speed furnaces that range from 78 percent to 92 percent AFUE.

Air Cleaner

An air cleaner is an integral part of a home comfort system, filtering dust and pollutants out of the air you breathe, and keeping your rugs and home furnishings cleaner as well.

Indoor Cooling Coil

To deliver the highest system efficiency, performance and comfort, an indoor cooling coil must be matched in size and rated with your air conditioner.

Did you know: Shrubs or flowers should not be planted closer than 18 inches to your outdoor unit. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat, use more energy and decrease cooling capacity.

Meet the Other Half of Your Outdoor Unit: The Indoor Coil

If you have an air conditioner outside, then you also have an indoor coil and a furnace inside. You might say the coil is the other, less visible half of your outdoor unit, yet its function is vital. As indoor air flows across it, heat and moisture are drawn out, leaving the air that returns to your living space cool, comfortable and conditioned. And, because the coil was designed to work in tandem with your outdoor unit and your furnace, it's imperative that they match in both size and efficiency. Many times, homeowners replace their air conditioners without replacing their outdoor coil at the same time. A new air conditioner's efficiency, size and moisture removal ability will be significantly reduced if it's paired with an old, existing coil because an unbalanced system means higher than necessary cooling bills and lower levels of comfort.

Variable Speed and the Comfort-R Airflow System

With Trane's higher efficiency variable speed systems, you can enjoy the enhanced comfort of our exclusive Comfort-R airflow system. Set by the installer, the Comfort-R airflow system is a method of ramping up the airflow so it gets warmer and cooler faster. This means comfort is attained much sooner than a standard system can provide. And there's something else the Comfort-R airflow system can do to improve your comfort—during mild weather conditions it greatly increases moisture removal, which is particularly important in parts of the country where humidity is a problem. There's one final variable speed benefit you'll want to know about. Because the variable speed motor ramps up slowly under normal conditions, it's so quiet you may not even think your system is running.

Customized Comfort Control Back to Contents
A zoned home comfort system is designed to be flexible so you can program it to match your lifestyle.

Zoning - A Quick Explanation

In a nutshell, zoning is the independent temperature control of various areas of your home. It doesn't matter if it's done with one system or multiple systems, with dampers or without dampers—the concept is the same. And, here's the beauty of it—with zoning, you can select your own comfort level in each zoned area.

Zoning Puts You in Charge

Have you sometimes wished you could heat or cool only the rooms you spend the most time in, rather than heating and cooling your entire home? Well, this is possible with zoning. That's because a zoned heating and air conditioning system lets you independently control the temperature in different parts of your house. Probably the best way to explain how zoning works is to compare it with lighting. Each room in your home has its own light switch. These individual light switches allow you to light only the areas you need instead of the entire house. Zoning works much the same way, giving you control over your comfort, room by room by room.

Zoning From A to Z

There are basically three different ways that zoning can be applied to your home. For example, your home could be zoned with equipment. This means you could have two—or more—completely separate comfort systems, each with an air conditioner, a furnace and a thermostat. One system might supply conditioned air to a downstairs area, while the other system handles the upstairs area.

Or your home could be zoned with controls and dampers, using a single comfort system. In this case, your home could be divided into as many as eight areas or "zones," with each zone having its own sensor that monitors the temperature and controls it with a motorized mechanical damper. The third was is simply a combination of these two methods with two or more systems, each zoned with controls.

A Look Inside Shows You How it Works

A home that has been zoned with controls, using a single comfort system would consist of an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump, an indoor furnace or air handler, a system controller, zone comfort sensors, and a modulating damper for each zone. For a better idea of how this works, take a look at the illustration shown below. As you can see, each zone has its own comfort sensor which acts as an individual thermostat. These sensors relay information to the system controller.

Home With Five Zones

    Zone 1 Kitchen
    Zone 2 Living and dining rooms
    Zone 3 Master Suite
    Zone 4 Bedrooms and bathroom
    Zone 5 Basement

The system controller activates the home comfort system and the modulating dampers in the ductwork, sending the right amount of conditioned air to the zones where it is needed. Zoning with controls allows you to program your comfort, zone by zone by zone, depending on your family's schedule and the way you live.

When it's Time to Purchase Back to Contents
After you've done your homework, the next step is selecting a dealer. Here are a few things to consider.

How to Select a Dealer

When you have work done on your home, you literally have to live with the results. When it involves your home comfort system, it takes on even greater meaning since your indoor environment is involved. So, when the time comes to repair, replace or add a central heating and air conditioning system to your home, take extra time and care in selecting a dealer. It could make a big difference in your happiness and peace of mind. Remember, your home comfort involves more than just purchasing the right equipment.

You may already have a preference for a certain manufacturer based upon a favorable experience of a friend, neighbor or family member. If that's the case, look for a dealer that sells and installs that particular brand. If you have no preferences or references, check your local yellow page listings. Call two or three firms and ask them to inspect your home, go through your comfort check list and give you a written proposal.

The United Energy Team

Ask them to include literature from the manufacturer so you can get more information about the brand they recommend. And, don't be afraid to ask them questions about their business and their expertise. After all, you're trusting them with your family's comfort.

Did you know: Covering you outdoor unit in the winter is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep the unit clean. And, because heat pumps run all year long, they should never be covered.

Ten Time-Proven Tips for Selecting a Dealer

  1. Check credentials. Before making your selection, call the Better Business Bureau to make sure the dealer is reputable. Also, find out if the dealer is a member of a local or national association such as the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.

  2. Make sure the dealer is affiliated with a nationally known manufacturer. Dealers should be taking advantage of factory training offered by their manufacturer. As a result, when they make recommendations, you can be more assured that they've selected the right size system for your home, and that they've been trained in installation and service.

  3. Ask for References. Former customers are an excellent source of information. Also, ask to see installation photos. A dealer that is proud of his work will be more than happy to show it to you.

  4. Expect an on-site evaluation of your home. A good dealer will take a thorough look at your home, ask questions and evaluate your overall comfort needs before making a recommendation. Beware of a dealer that simply takes information over the phone. A good dealer will also look the part. While he or she is evaluating your home, you should be evaluating him or her. Not only should the dealer dress professionally, but his or her truck and printed materials should look professional as well.

  5. Check local licenses. Depending on where you live, dealers may have to comply with certain local or state regulations, so ask to see proof of these licenses, as well as insurance forms for liability and workmen's compensation.

  6. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask for details about the firm's experience and the expertise of its staff. This is particularly important if you're also adding or changing ductwork-in this case, experience is definitely a factor in getting the job done correctly.

  7. Get a written proposal. To make a fair comparison, make sure the proposals you receive are all based on the same efficiency and equipment. You'll also want to evaluate each dealer's personal business standards and policies. For example, will he remove old equipment? What are her clean up and car policies during installation? How will he handle emergency repairs? These are just a few of the additional elements a good proposal will include.

  8. Inquire about equipment and labor warranties. Limited warranties vary according to the manufacturer; so make sure you fully understand what you're getting. Also, don't forget to inquire about manufacturer's extended warranties at the time of purchase and other warranties provided by the dealer.

  9. Ask about preventive maintenance service contracts. Many dealers offer service contracts that call for periodic maintenance of equipment, and if needed, repairs. The fee for such contracts is usually well worth it in terms of obtaining optimum efficiency and performance for your system.

  10. Finally, insist on a written contract. Commit your agreement to writing and have the dealer sign it.

Your Trane Dealer Has Been Trained in Home Comfort

Your local Trane dealer has been specially trained to help you determine your comfort needs as well as the system size and components that are just right for your home. The way he or she determines this is with a heat loss/heat gain analysis, sometimes called a load. The dealer will measure the windows, check the insulation, ductwork and building materials, plus other things that can directly affect system size and performance. He or she will also ask you questions about your lifestyle and your current comfort challenges. This may take an hour or more, but it's well worth the investment in time.

We Make it Easy to Buy and Easy to Own

If you choose to purchase a home comfort system for Trane, you can rest assured that you are buying some of the finest equipment manufactured today. But we realize that purchasing a comfort system can be a major investment. To make purchasing as painless as possible, you may want to take advantage of Trane's consumer financing programs. Your Trane dealer can explain the details and help you identify the credit plan that's just right for you. And, there's something else you should be aware of. Many times local dealers offer special promotions that add value to the purchase of a system. Don't forget to ask your dealer about any special offers that you may qualify for.

Warranties for Your Peace of Mind

Installer and Homeowner

All Trane products are manufactured with the highest standards of quality and are backed by some of the best warranties in the industry. Nevertheless, we understand that mechanical components are occasionally subject to failure. Our extended warranty program was designed to give you complete peace of mind for the length of your agreement. And, Trane pays the bills for any replacement parts.

Glossary of Terms Back to Contents
AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy-the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit. For example: a rating of 90 means that approximately 90 percent of the fuel is used to provide warmth to your home, while the remaining 10 percent escapes as exhaust.

BTU: British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of heat it takes to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. 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.

CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute. A standard measurement of airflow. A typical system requires 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

Capacity: The output or producing ability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacities are referred to in BTUs.

Comfort-R Airflow System: An exclusive feature of a high efficiency home comfort system from Trane. This method of ramping airflow gives you greater humidity control in cooling and provides warmer air during heating start up.

Compressor: The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit and pumps refrigerant in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system.

Condenser Coil or Outdoor Coil: In an air conditioner, the coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant from vapor to liquid. In a heat pump system, it absorbs heat from the outdoors.

Damper: Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens and closes to control airflow. Dampers can be used to balance airflow in a duct system. They are also used in zoning to regulate airflow to certain rooms.

Evaporator Coil or Indoor Coil: The other half of your air conditioning system located inside your home in the indoor unit. This is where the refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs heat from the air that passes over the coil.

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger: Located in the furnace, the heat exchanger transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout your home.

HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This rating is used in measuring the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

Package Unit: A heating and cooling system contained in one outdoor unit. A package unit is typically installed either beside, on top of the home, or sometimes in the attic.

Refrigerant: A chemical that produces a refrigerating effect while expanding and vaporizing. Most residential air conditioning systems contain R-22 refrigerant. R-22 is regulated by international controls under the Montreal Protocol and in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. It has a long life ahead of it as it is scheduled to be in production until the year 2020. It's used in approximately 95 percent of air conditioning equipment manufactured in the U.S. today.

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient the unit. The government's minimum SEER rating is 10. (It's similar to comparing miles per gallon in automobiles.)

SEET: Seasonal Extreme Environmental Test lab. This is Trane's torture chamber for heating and air conditioning systems, where five years of service are condensed into 16 torturous weeks. If a product doesn't make it through our SEET lab, it's not manufactured. We push our equipment to extremes because we'd rather test them in our lab than in your home.

Split System: The combination of an outdoor unit (air conditioner or heat pump) with an indoor unit (furnace or air handler). Split systems must be matched for optimum efficiency.

Thermostat: A thermostat consists of a series of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a heating and cooling system.

Ton: A unit of measurement used for determining cooling capacity. One ton is the equivalent of 12,000 BTUs per hour.

Zoning: A method of dividing a home into different zones so each zone can be independently controlled depending on use and need.

See also: Central air conditioners | Furnaces | Trane