If You’ve Got Questions. We’ve Got Answers!
Q. What does HVAC stand for?
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Q. What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?
The most important part of HVAC maintenance aspect is maintaining unrestricted air flows. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor unit, you must keep all filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions.
We recommend that your heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year; ideally a spring and autumn tune-up. Also we recommend that you change your filter regularly, depending on the type of filter you have. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.
Q. Why do I need to change my filter regularly?
Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper airflow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require more frequent cleanings or replacements.
Q. In addition to changing my filters, what maintenance should I do on my heater and/or air conditioner?
Most maintenance should be performed only by a qualified service technician. But here are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance: Keep ground mounted outdoor units clear of debris, clutter and weeds; they can reduce the airflow to the unit. Use caution with weed trimmers around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring. Keep pets away from the unit; pet urine can cause expensive damage.
Q. How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?
You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system at least once a year – spring to early summer being the best times. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future.
Q. Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?
Check to be sure that the air conditioner or furnace is turned on. Check that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly. Also make a note of any strange noises or smells.
Q. How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?
Heating and cooling systems sizing is based on B.T.U.H. (British Thermal Units Per Hour). Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps are also rated in tonnage. 12,000 BTUH equals one (1) ton. Residential systems can range from 1 to 5 tons.
Q. How important is it to get the right size of heating and cooling equipment?
Sizing HVAC equipment is very important from the standpoints of both comfort and energy use. Heating and cooling equipment that are over-capacity will not run as frequently or as long when it does run. In both cases, this may mean poor humidity control. It could also result in temperature variations or noticeable cycling. Over-capacity equipment will not be as energy efficient as properly matched capacity either. On the other hand, equipment that is under-sized, will obviously result in loss of comfort during temperature extremes.
Q. Is a system with more capacity better?
No. A larger heating system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when it is first turned on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well.
Q. How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?
When purchasing a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, ALWAYS ask about its Efficiency Ratings. They will tell you will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity).
The most-frequently used efficiency ratings are:
Q. How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home’s heating and cooling systems?
A few quick tips: Clean and replace your filters frequently. Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration. Install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight to keep room temperatures at moderate levels. Learn more by visiting: Extend the Life of Your HVAC Equipment with Proper Maintenance
Q. Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?
No. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.
Q. Should I try to keep my air conditioning system from running too much?
Generally speaking, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one that keeps cycling on and off repeatedly. Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. That’s why a smaller system is often more economical to operate: even though it runs nonstop and may deliver less comfort, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off.
Q. What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat.
Q. Is variable speed equipment superior and/or necessary?
Variable speed refers to a furnace or air handler indoor blower motor. Different speeds control the flow of air throughout your home. Variable speed blowers automatically change speeds to meet the different airflow needs of the heating and cooling cycles. Variable speed motors can use 1/7th the energy and are excellent for customizing comfort levels in different zones of your home. A variable speed motor can also help clean the air and control the humidity.
Q. Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide in my home?
Very concerned. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced during the combustion of fuels. It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless…and can be lethal. Even trace amounts can impair your brain function and impact your health. Cracks, leaks, obstructions and other malfunctions in your heating system can cause carbon monoxide to develop and accumulate. Short-term exposure to carbon monoxide usually results in flu-like symptoms: nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue. Long-term exposure can eventually lead to unconsciousness or death.
Q. What is the ideal indoor humidity level?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommend a household humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.
Q. Are there any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment?
Yes. Several manufactures have developed new systems that contain environmentally-friendly refrigerants such as R-410A and similar blends. 410A is a chlorine-free coolant that is safe for the Earth’s ozone-layer and delivers superior cooling than traditional refrigerants. In fact, in 2010, systems that used R-22 will be phased out and replaced with 410A systems. And by 2020, no more R-22 can be manufactured.
Q. How much does a new replacement system cost?
Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment.
Moved into a house that needed some work last year and quickly learned the pangs of ownership had a lot to do with finding reliable, professional contractors. The furnace was on its last leg and from the very start it was issue city.
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