FAQs

FAQs

How long does the average system last? What is the average life expectancy of equipment?

Generally, a system lasts somewhere between 10-20 years. This varies in part based on how frequently the amount of use and how well it’s maintained. While regular maintenance can slow down the aging process of your equipment, it will inevitably become less efficient over time. Once a unit begins to show its age, whether it’s becoming louder or requiring more frequent repairs, you’re left with two choices: Overhauling the system or replacing it. As heating and cooling technologies are constantly improving and evolving, replacing a unit completely is often the best investment. Especially if your system is already over the 10 year mark. To help you decide what’s best for your situation, we will work with you to estimate the cost of a new system as well as a financing schedule. Often times, we find that the payoff of a new unit in lower energy usage is well worth the initial investment.

Why is having a system with matched components so important?

There are several reason why having a matched system is important. Comfort being one of them. Having your system’s components properly sized to fit your home gives you better control of how much heat and air is needed to match your desired comfort level at all times. Another benefit of a properly sized system is that it allows your unit to run at its top performance. This means the proper cycle times are maintained, humidity is controlled and system sound is minimized.

Efficiency is another reason having matched systems are important. Systems that are too large for your home utilize excess energy, wasting you money. A matched system outlined by a dealer who has completed a load calculation for your home gives you the perfect amount of heating and cooling so you get the most value out of your utility bill.

Do larger sized systems perform more efficiently?

No. As a matter of fact, having an air conditioning unit that’s too large for your home can make your system run less efficiently. Air conditioners have two main functions: Controlling your home’s comfort level by cooling the air and dehumidifying your home. While a unit that’s too big might cool your home more quickly, it will also use more energy to do so while leaving excess humidity in the air.
When your home is cooled too fast, the indoor coil shuts off before enough air has blown across it which can leave excess moisture. And if it’s not being dehumidified properly, mold and mildew can build up, creating even greater issues for you to deal with. This overly abrupt cooling also makes for short cycle where your system is having to start and stop more frequently. This forces the system to work much harder than necessary, adding a lot of strain to the equipment and eventually causing it to prematurely fail. Longer cycles are much more efficient for air conditioning units.
This same rule is also true of heating systems. A home with an oversized furnace will be warmed more readily, but the amount of fuel it takes to do so makes it much more inefficient and causes the temperatures to fluctuate faster.

How frequently should I change my air filter?

You’ve likely heard this before, but you should be replacing your air filter on a regular basis. The specific frequency varies based on the size of your unit, the quality of air filters you use and whether or not you have pets in the home. An air filter left for too long collects a film of dirt which blocks the air from properly flowing through your system. This makes furnace work harder in order to maintain the desired temperatures and can cause problems on down the road. If you would like specified guidance on how frequently you should be changing the air filter in your home, give us a call. One of our specialists would be happy to help.

Why should I switch to a high efficiency air filter?

When your heating and cooling system is filtering properly, the air you and your family breathe each day is cleaner too. And breathing clean air is imperative to your overall health. When your system is not properly filtered, a layer of dust and dirt particles builds up on your system, lowering its overall function and efficiency. High efficiency filters are much more efficient in removing all of the dust, dirt, pollen, mold, and other particles in the air. This becomes increasingly important for the who you suffer from allergies or other respiratory problems. Regardless of the type of filter you use – it’s most important that you change it regularly.

Should my furnace and air conditioner be serviced annually?

Yes. With regular maintenance, you will save yourself costs in both repairs and utility bills. Routine service also helps to prevent equipment failure and prolongs the overall life expectancy of your system. On the other hand, when necessary maintenance is neglected, you can expect a steady decline in the performance of your air conditioning system as well as an increase it the amount of energy use. Check out our preventative maintenance page under "Services" or click here to view.

How do I benefit from a service agreement?

Without a warranty, a system failure can wind up costing you a great deal in parts and labor. By purchasing one of our service agreements, you save yourself from having to worry about those unexpected costs. Your system will also then be regularly maintained, increasing the efficiency of your system and saving you money in monthly utility bills. Feel free to call us if you would like to know more about the broad range of protection our service agreements provide.

How can I reduce allergens and improve the air quality in my home?

Up to 99% of the pollen and spores that wind up in your home can be filtered out and removed with a high efficiency system. You will also find that an upgraded system greatly reduces the level of dirt, smoke, dust and other indoor air pollutants, giving you cleaner, fresher air to breath. A whole house humidifier is yet another great way to relieve allergen discomfort indoors. A humidifier reduces dry or itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity and damage to your furniture and woodwork. You’ll also find that you can save energy costs with humid air as it feels warmer than dry air, allowing you to lower the setting on your thermostat. We offer a complete line of indoor air quality products to meet your desired comfort level. Click here to see our entire line.

I am concerned about mold growth, what should I do?

Outdoors, mold carries out the vital function of breaking down old, dead matter such as leaves and dead trees. However, when it starts to eat away at your home, it becomes problematic. The spores that produce mold are invisible to the naked eye and can be found in the air whether you’re inside or outdoors. Wet environments and surfaces are inviting to mold spores as mold cannot grown without the presence of moisture. Click here to learn more about mold prevention in your home from the EPA.

When humid air passes over chilled cooling coils, water accumulates and drips through the coils into a collection pan which is constantly draining. When water is consistently collected over time, the drain can become blocked, creating stagnant water. Stagnant water in particular breeds dangerous mold spores which will then be spread throughout your home. Microscopic mold spores within HVAC ducting can also create greater issues as they move through and contaminate your home or work space.

There are 3 ways you can prevent mold growth in your system:

  1. Have your system regularly serviced. An expert can ensure that the collection pan stays clean and clear to allow for easy drainage. Click here for our preventative maintenance program.
  2. Install ultra violet lights next to the cooling coils. This helps to inhibit mold or bacteria growth on the coils or collection pan while killing any that is preexisting. Click here to view the UV lights we offer.
  3. Use a high-efficiency filtration system that will keep your ductwork clean. In turn, you will also have a clean overall HVAC system.

My outdoor air conditioning unit is very loud. What can I do to quiet it?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done to quiet an old system. The loud noise typically comes over time and with excessive use. It’s often your systems way of telling you to begin considering a new system.

Today’s new systems have much lower sound levels and perform much more efficiently. Call us today to learn about our current line of equipment.

What is duct cleaning?

Duct cleaning is the cleaning of the many heating and cooling components within your entire HVAC system. This includes the heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, grilles and diffusers, supply and return of air ducts and registers, air handling unit housing and the fan motor and fan housing. Click here to view our duct cleaning service and learn how it helps to make your home a safer home.

What do SEER, AFUE and HSPF ratings mean to me?

SEER, AFUE and HSPF all measure energy efficiency. While air conditioners may look similar, their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) can vary greatly. Higher SEER numbers can lower electricity bills. A 14 SEER air conditioner, the EPA’s "current minimum standard,” uses 23% less energy than a 10 SEER unit (EPA standard up until Jan. 2006). As 14 SEER is only the minimum efficiency available, we current carry air conditioners from 14 SEER all the way up to 21 SEER . Depending on your average usage, having an air conditioner with a higher SEER can significantly reduce your monthly electricity bill.

Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings which measure heating efficiency. A higher HSPF rating means greater energy savings. The scale for HSPF ranges from 7.5 to 13.0.

A new, high-efficiency furnace can save up to 50% in operating costs when compared to a ten-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 65% or less. However, as of May 1, 2013, a furnace sold in the United States must have an AFUE rating of 80% in southern states and 90% in northern states.

Our current line of furnaces starts at this minimum AFUE rating of 80% and goes all the way to a very efficient AFUE rating of 98.3%. Depending on your average amount of use, you can immediately lower your gas bill with a higher AFUE rated furnace.

Should I replace my indoor and outdoor units at the same time, or can I just replace one?

When replacing one unit, it’s important to replace them all. When you replace only one unit, the entire unit will become up to 15% less efficient. Not only will this add unnecessary costs to your monthly energy bills, but it also forces your system to work overtime which could cause it to fail before it’s desired life expectancy. Replacing the indoor cooling coil when replacing the outdoor unit is always strongly advised.

How can I lower my energy costs?

Cooling
  • Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioning system — When you replace your old, inefficient air conditioner for a new, high-efficient one, your electric bill can be cut by one-third your average cost. To ensure you’re not wasting money with a inefficient system that’s been improperly fitted for your home, speak with one of our specialists. Click here to view the current line we carry.
  • Turn up the temperature — As a rule of thumb to cut energy costs in the summer, set your thermostat to 75°. Between 3 - 5% will be added to your energy bill for each degree your thermostat is set below this temperature. Install ceiling fans – Installing ceiling fans is a great way to save on cooling costs. You should also change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans, often by turning a small switch that can be found on each of them. During the hotter seasons, the fan’s blades should spin counter-clockwise to generate a nice, smooth airflow. Have annual maintenance performed – Hiring regular maintenance for you air conditioner is the best preventative measure you can take to ensure your system continues running optimally. An HVAC specialist can proactively catch any possible problems before they actually arise.
  • Keep vents in frequently used rooms clear– Make sure any floor vents are left with plenty of space. Remove any objects such as furniture or curtains that could be disrupting airflow.
Heating
  • Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace — New furnaces are much more efficient, utilizing up to 50% less fuel than an older system. Within one year, the cost of heating your home can be lowered up to 25%. A unit with an energy efficient motor alone can save 20 - 50% of the energy used to keep a fan motor running. Within a few years, your new furnace will have paid for itself in savings alone.
  • Have annual maintenance performed – Hiring regular maintenance for your furnace is the best preventative measure you can take to ensure your system continues running optimally. An HVAC specialist can proactively catch any possible problems before they actually arise.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – With a programmable thermostat, you have more control over the temperature of your home while you’re away or asleep. You can save 1% on your heating bill for every 1 degree you lower your thermostat per seven hours a day.
  • Keep vents in frequently used rooms clear– Make sure any floor vents are left with plenty of space. Remove any objects such as furniture or curtains that could be disrupting airflow.
  • Install ceiling fans – Believe it or not, installing ceiling fans is a great way to save on heating costs. During the colder seasons, you should change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans to spin clockwise, often by turning a small switch that can be found on each of them, to help push hot air from the ceiling down into the living space.

Why should I purchase Energy Star labeled equipment?

One third of all energy used in the United States goes towards heating and cooling buildings. In order to save energy, the EPA has provided recommendations for using equipment that is properly sized, installed and maintained as well as other products that will save energy on heating and cooling. By following these guidelines, you can save up to 20% each year on your total energy costs.

ENERGY STAR qualified products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

What is a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are an alternative, more efficient way of heating your home compared to electric heat. They work as an air conditioner in the summer, but runs in reverse during the winter to heat your home. For times of extreme cold, a backup heating source is also included so you can always maintain your desired level of comfort.

Because they provide your home with both heating and cooling, heat pumps make for an extremely efficient comfort system for you home. They have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for measuring heating efficiency. The higher SEER and HSPF ratings your system has, the more money and energy you will save.

What are the advantages of using a system with variable speed fans?

A variable speed fan ensures that you get just the right flow of air or heat delivered into your home. The rate at which the fan spins changes based on the varying temperatures; typically, they rotate at a relatively low speed to provide just enough airflow to keep your home warmed or cooled to your liking while also balancing humidity levels, utility costs and system noise. During times of more extreme temperatures, the fan spins more quickly to keep up with the increased demand of energy. With a variable speed fan, your system is able to run most efficiently.

What is a Hybrid Heat Dual Fuel system?

Typically, saving money on electric means utilizing your comfort system less. But that doesn’t have to be the case. One of the benefits of a Hybrid Heat system is it uses its own intuitive technology to gauge and correctly respond to changing temperatures. It uses both gas and electric heating separately, using its sensors to decide which fuel source will be most efficient for the outdoor temperature at the time. This means you can enjoy both ideal temperatures and energy costs all year long.

To create a Hybrid Heat system specifically for your home, one of our experts will provide you with a unique heat pump and natural gas furnace combination. Contact us to find out how much energy you can be saving with our Hybrid Heat systems.

How does 2-Stage heating or cooling work?

The most efficient cooling system on the market tends to be the 2-stage cooling system. With this system, your unit will only exert the necessary amount of energy output for your preferred level of comfort. There are two methods of accomplishing the process of 2-stage cooling. The first method is to have two compressors, one big and one small, that share the same unit. The output of the small one tends to run at 50% the capacity of the bigger one. Another way to have 2-stage cooling is by having a single scroll unloading compressor. This compressor can unload its capacity down to about 66% of maximum capacity. Both 2-stage cooling methods save energy and money by allowing the unit to run at a lower stage when the high stage is not needed.

2-stage heating follows the same basic principles as 2-stage cooling. It allows the unit to adjust its level of output based on only the amount of heating that is necessary. For this reason, 2-stage heating can help you save on heating costs. A heat pump system would also have two different sized compressors, a small and a big one. The compressor that is used at a given time would change based upon the need. If only a small amount of heating is necessary, the smaller compressor would be used to save energy. The bigger compressor would only be used when a large amount of heating was required. A gas furnace with a 2-stage system has a modulating gas valve that regulates the level of gas flow depending upon the need.

At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

For saving purposes, average cooling settings are between 75° - 80° while average heating settings are between 68° - 72°. To save the most in energy costs as well as save your system from unnecessary wear and tear, it’s always advised that you set your thermostat to the highest temperature you’re comfortable with during the summer, and the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter. Typically, you save 1% on your utility bill for every 1 degree of temperature change.

What should I do if my system doesn't work well in a specific room?

There are several potential reasons for this happening. Some possibilities could be that you have an unbalanced or a clogged system, a single system performing for a two-story home with no zoning control, an incorrectly sized system or uneven solar heat coming in through your windows. To find out which of these options is causing problems in your home, an onsite analysis is usually required. For specific analysis and recommendations, please call to arrange for one of our professional technicians to come to your home.

Why is Freon® being discontinued as a refrigerant?

The refrigerant R-22 (what consumers call Freon®) is no longer permitted to be used in the manufacturing of new equipment. R-22 has been used as the "standard" refrigerant for many years, but as of January 2010, our government has deemed it to be overly destructive to our environment. New air conditioners and heat pumps now use R-410A which is R-22’s more environmentally conscious alternative.

Most residential homes today still use equipment which utilizes R-22. However, caps have been established to eliminate it’s production. By, there had already been a 90% reduction and by 2020, there will be a 99.5% reduction in the production of R-22. For anyone who is considering replacing their unit, most new high-efficiency equipment has already made the switch to R-410A, automatically giving you the more environmentally conscious alternative.

Why are carbon monoxide detectors so important?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 200 Americans are killed from exposure to this poisonous gas each year while almost an additional 5,000 are taken to the emergency room for treatment.

Where does it come from? When carbon-based fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene or wood are burned, they produce gases. Carbon monoxide is created when fuel combustion or burning isn't complete. Carbon monoxide cannot is odorless and one of the few symptoms of exposure is what feels like a common headache. It’s highly advised that carbon monoxide detectors are installed in your home as they’re the only sure way to detect its presence.

What if I smell gas?

There are two types of gas that you would be most likely to encounter within your home: Propane and natural gas. Both have specific qualities and characteristics that you should be aware of.

Propane (LP) gas — Propane gas is stored as a liquid under pressure in tanks and cylinders. So if your gas is located in this type of container outside of your home, you know you use propane. For most in-home use, propane is turned from its original liquid state into a vapor. Once it does become a gas vapor, it expands in volume, making even a small leak quite dangerous in a confined space. Because of its hazardous nature, a specific oder has been added to all propane to make it easily detectable. To be safe, you should learn to identify this odor under professional guidance. Propane gas is more dense than air, so it will find its way to the floor and spread from there. To check for the presence of propane, carefully smell all over a room, especially lower to the ground.

If you smell propane (LP) gas:
  • Exit your home immediately.
  • Propane gas can ignite easily. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark.
  • Once you’ve reached a safe distance, call your propane supplier or 911.
  • If you are capable, carefully turn off the propane gas supply at the tank while you await professional assistance.
  • Stay away from your home until the area has been cleared and you've been told that it is safe to reenter.

Natural gas — You will know if you use natural gas if you have a gas meter and pay your bill to a natural gas supplier or utility. Because of its hazardous nature, a specific oder has been added to all natural gas to make it easily detectable. To be safe, you should learn to identify this odor with the help under professional guidance

If you smell natural gas:
  • Exit your home immediately.
  • Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark.
  • Once you’ve reached a safe distance, call your gas company or 911.
  • If you are capable, carefully turn the natural gas supply off at the meter while you await for professional assistance.
  • Stay away from your home until the area has been cleared and you've been told that it is safe to reenter.
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