FAQs

Q?

Should a thermostat be set to “auto” or “on”?

A.

Preferably auto. That way, the fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most used and the most efficient setting; however, there are advantages to using the "on" setting. Air is constantly filtered through the unit's air filter, and the constantly circulating air results in an even temperature throughout the house.

Q?

How do I know what size unit our house needs?

A.

There are many factors to consider like the size of the house, climate, the number and type of windows installed, insulation, and even the number of people living in the house. We will be glad to discuss each of these factors with you and determine the correct size unit for your house.

Q?

What is the difference between a split system and a package unit?

A.

A split system uses indoor and outdoor components to provide a complete home comfort system. A package unit or self-contained unit requires no external coils, air handlers, or heating units.

Q?

In addition to changing my filters, what maintenance should I do on my heater and/or air conditioner?

A.

Most maintenance should be performed only by a service technician. Below are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance:

• Keep debris, weeds, and clutter clear from ground mounted outdoor units to ensure adequate 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?

What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?

A.

We recommend the heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year- ideally in the spring and fall. We also recommend that you change your filter regularly. Filters should be checked monthly. If the filter looks dirty, it should be cleaned or replaced. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.

Q?

Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?

A.

Check to be sure that the unit, breakers, and disconnects are turned on and the thermostat is set correctly. Also make a note of any strange noises or smells.

Q?

How do I know if my system is working properly?

A.

Is the unit making strange noises? Is the unit cooling or heating all areas of your home sufficiently? Has it been taking longer to cool down or heat up? Have your utility bills been rising for no apparent reason? Any of these are signs that you may have a problem that needs service. In many cases, the longer you wait, the problem gets worse so be sure to contact us whenever you notice something out of the ordinary.

Q?

How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?

A.

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?

A.

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?

A.

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. 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?

A.

When purchasing a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, ALWAYS ask about its Efficiency Ratings. They will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity). The most-frequently used efficiency ratings are:

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): This ratio tells the amount of cooling the system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity. The SEER rating of any unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be and the less it will cost in the long run to own and operate.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Similar to SEER, it is a measurement of efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10; high-efficiency units have efficiencies of 7.5 HSPF or above.
AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio): A measurement of the percent of heat produced by a furnace for every dollar of fuel consumed. The higher the AFUE rating, the lower the fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78%. Older furnaces (10 – 15 years or older) may fall below this minimum. Furnaces with AFUE ratings from 78% to 80% are considered mid-efficiency; ones with AFUE ratings above 90% are considered high-efficiency.
MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value): A filter rating system relating to the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and the higher the efficiency in capturing contaminants. MERV rating range from a low of 1 to a high of 16.
ENERGY STAR: An Environmental Protection Agency designation attached to HVAC products that meet or exceed guidelines for high-efficiency performance above the standard government minimums.

Q?

Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?

A.

No. When installed units are designed to cool and/or heat a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the units’ airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to heat and/or cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.

Q?

Should I try to keep my HVAC system from running too much?

A.

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 unit starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much heating/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 unit that cycles on and off.

Q?

At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

A.

Temperature settings depend on the time of year and your personal preferences. In the summer, the average temperature setting is 75°-80°. In the winter 68°-72° is the norm. Remember, when leaving your house; try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.

Q?

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

A.

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?

During the winter, my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will operate for long periods of time. Is that normal?

A.

Yes. A heat pump generally produces air that is around 80° and provides even comfortable, heating throughout the house. The 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.

Q?

During the heating season, my heat pump makes a “whooshing” sound and I feel cool air coming from the supply registers. Is that normal?

A.

Yes. During the cold months, frost can accumulate on the outdoor coil. This can cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle for 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice. The system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.

Q?

Why does my heat pump system sometimes freeze up?

A.

If running in the cooling mode, check your filters. At times, restrictions in air flow can lead to freezing. If using in heating mode, thaw the system out by turning off the cooling and running the fan. Also, try turning the system to the heat mode until the ice has melted. If the problem recurs after checking for air restrictions and thawing your system thawed, schedule a service.

Q?

Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide in my home?

A.

Yes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced during the combustion of fuels. It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, and can be lethal. Cracks, leaks, obstructions and other malfunctions in your heating system can cause carbon monoxide to develop and accumulate.

Q?

When should I replace my existing heating and/or air conditioning unit system?

A.

All systems and units are different. Here are some rough lifespan guidelines to help you decide whether fixing or replacing is the right decision:

Average Lifetime of an Air Conditioner: 12-15 yrs.
Average Lifetime of a Furnace: 15-20 yrs.
Average Lifetime of a Boiler: 15-20 yrs.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Some units last longer due to regular maintenance and replacement of parts. If a unit has been repaired repeatedly, or has been run excessively, it might make more sense to replace it even sooner. Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again…and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.

There’s also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you’ve recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won’t save on your energy bills. Some replacement systems can cost less than the cost of repeated repairs. And in many cases, installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.

Q?

How much does a new replacement system cost?

A.

Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be determined with a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment.

Q?

What do I do if I can’t afford a new HVAC system?

A.

We offer several financing options.