FAQ about Air Conditioners & Heaters

HVAC REPLACEMENT

A: Most systems have a lifetime of 10 to 20 years. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. When a unit begins to show its age, you have two choices — You can overhaul the system or replace it. Because heating and cooling technologies improve over time, a new system designed with newer, more energy-efficient equipment makes sense, especially if your system is 7 or more years old. Our authorized service providers can provide a FREE in-home  estimate of the cost of a new system as well as a payback schedule that will show you how much a newer, more efficient system will pay you back in lower utility bills. Try our HVAC Savings Calculator to see how much you can save with a higher efficiency unit.
A: Here are some suggestions that can help you reduce your energy costs:
•  Upgrade to a high-efficiency system – Swapping your old, inefficient air conditioning system for a high-efficiency one can cut electricity bills by up to one-third. Schedule a FREE in-home consultation with one of our HVAC specialists to receive an estimate showing how much you can save by upgrading to a high efficiency system.
•  Adjust the temperature – Typically, adjusting temperatures 5–8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save energy if you’re going to be away from home for several hours.
•  Install ceiling fans – Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction. In the winter, the blades should operate in a clockwise direction helping to push the warm air from the ceiling down into the room.
•  Have annual maintenance performed – Tuning up your cooling system each spring and your heating system each fall will  help ensure each operates at peak efficiency and can help you identify and resolve any potential issues before a breakdown occurs.
•  Don’t block vents in well-used rooms – Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds, carpets or furniture so your air conditioner can operate efficiently and there is even, cool air distribution.
•  Close vents in less-used rooms – By closing the vents, you won’t be spending money cooling rooms that are used less.
•  Install a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat enables you to control your home’s temperature when you’re away or asleep. For every 1° you lower your thermostat for seven hours per day, you can save approximately one percent on your heating bill.
A: No, you don’t want your air conditioner to be too large. Air conditioners control the comfort level in your home by cooling the air and by removing humidity. An oversized air conditioner can cool your home faster, but it will use more energy and will not remove humidity adequately. In addition, your existing ductwork may not be able to support the airflow of a larger system.
A unit that is too big for your home will have short run cycles. It can take only a short time to cool the air, but the unit shuts off before enough air blows across the indoor coil where moisture condenses into water and drains from your system. Too much moisture left in the air can lead to mold and mildew problems. These short run cycles also mean your system starts and stops more often which uses more energy and causes a lot of wear and tear. An air conditioner operates more efficiently during long run cycles.
The same holds true with heating systems. An oversized furnace can warm the house quicker, but it uses more fuel and causes greater temperature swings in the home.
A: If your unit is 7 years old or older, requires frequent repairs or stops working, fails to heat or cool areas of your home, runs excessively or constantly turns on and off, or produces high utility bills, it can be more economical to replace your existing system.
A: We can send a comfort specialist to your home for a FREE consultation to examine your home inside and out to determine the right system for your needs. Many homeowners assume that a new HVAC system will solve their problems, and sometimes that is the case, but frequently there are underlying issues that need to be addressed simultaneously to achieve the kinds of efficiencies possible with a new unit.
A: To properly size an HVAC system, you will need to have a detailed load calculation and evaluation of your home performed.
American Standard, Bryant, Goodman and Day & Night. We proudly offer these name brand systems because we feel these models have proven to be the best value and warranty in the industry. The higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) systems can literally slash your monthly utility bill in half and will provide homeowners with years of trouble-free indoor comfort.
A: No, we cannot provide a quote over the phone, as pricing varies based on your needs and the unique conditions in your home. In order to properly size your system, a detailed load calculation must be performed by a qualified technician. Installing an oversized or undersized unit may result in higher utility bills and your system may not heat or cool at capacity.
A: While it may cost less initially to replace the outdoor unit on an older system, over time utility expenses will add up and may even cost you more.  Replacing only the outdoor unit will lower the efficiency of the unit. Even worse, your system may fail sooner than normal and most manufacturers’ warranties will be voided. You should always replace the indoor cooling coil with the outdoor unit.
A: Industry experts estimate that as many as 70% of all homes with central air have poorly installed ductwork. Ducts that are not properly sealed or insulated fail to get the hot or cool air where you want it efficiently, therefore costing you money. Before you invest in a new system, make sure an HVAC expert checks your ducts and includes specific recommendations in their proposal to you. This can normally be done for FREE as part of your in-home estimate. Don’t spend the money on a new, super-efficient system unless you are sure those efficiency gains won’t be lost by poor ductwork.
A: Permit requirements vary by location. Some cities do require a permit. If it is required, we will let you know.
A: Variable speed fans operate on a simple principle: they are able to spin at different speeds depending on the heating and cooling needs of your home. Usually, they operate at lower speeds, delivering a steady, reliable stream of warm or cool air to your home. When conditions become more extreme, the fan speed increases so that the system can meet increased demand, guaranteeing that on even the hottest days or coldest nights, your comfort needs will be met. Older systems simply switch on or off. Newer, variable speed systems lower your utility bills by only using the energy needed to heat or cool your home at any given time.
A: The Extended Service Agreement is an investment that provides peace of mind in case your system should need a repair. Even if your system is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, labor costs — which are usually a significant part of the overall repair costs — are not covered. A Service Agreement ensures that you will not incur any unexpected repair costs for years to come.

HVAC MAINTENANCE

A: A tune-up is when an HVAC system professional checks the key components of your system and makes adjustments to the system to keep it operating efficiently.
A: Our service provider goes through a 28-point checklist during a furnace maintenance tune-up. It includes such tasks as these:
• Check carbon monoxide emission
• Check gas valve, lines and connections for leaks
• Check burners and heat exchangers
• Inspect visible ductwork and flue pipe for leaks
• Check unit for peak efficiency (adjust if necessary)
• Inspect indoor blower wheel and motor and record amp draw
• Inspect crankcase heater
• Inspect unit wiring and electrical disconnect
• Inspect ignition system and assembly
• Check and calibrate thermostat
A: No. Extended warranties and extended service agreements do not cover the cost of regular maintenance of your system. Tune-ups are considered regular maintenance and are required by most manufacturers for your warranty to remain in effect.
A: You should have a regular tune-up twice a year — typically at the beginning of each heating and cooling season — to ensure that your system is working efficiently before the weather gets too hot or cold. However, tune-ups may be scheduled at any time.
A: Each spring and each fall before you start using your cooling or heating system, you should get a tune-up to ensure your HVAC system is ready for the season. By spending a little twice a year, you can save a lot in energy bills by keeping your system operating at peak efficiency. You also can avoid costly repairs by identifying and fixing minor problems before they turn into big ones. Plus, many homeowners don’t realize that their manufacturer warranties may be considered invalid if they aren’t getting their unit serviced twice a year.
A: We offer tune-ups for all brands of central heating and cooling equipment. Equipment serviced includes central air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps and air quality systems such as whole-home humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air cleaners. Tune-up service is also available for oil furnaces, ductless mini-splits and boilers in many markets.
A: Yes. Changing your air filter at least once every six months will not only help you save on your monthly bills but also will help extend the life of your system. Changing your filter every three months is even better.
All of the air in your home circulates and re-circulates through the same filter attached to your indoor unit. Designed to remove dust particles to keep the air you breathe clean, filters become clogged, causing your system to work less efficiently and costing you more to operate it. If left unchanged long enough, your system could fail completely.
A: It’s a fact that a programmable thermostat will save you money. Programmable thermostats adjust the temperature automatically throughout the day, saving you as much as 33% on heating costs and up to 15-to-25% on cooling.
Keep in mind that where you place your programmable thermostat is also critical for it to work efficiently. If your thermostat is placed in an area that is subject to direct sunlight, heat from a bathroom or kitchen, a drafty area, etc. it can cause you to over (or under) use your HVAC system.  Try to place your thermostat in a central location where the temperature is relatively consistent with the rest of the home.

HVAC (Air Conditioners) REPAIR

A: Yes. You should expect to pay a diagnostic fee to cover the cost of the technician’s visit to diagnose your problem and receive a quote for the repair options. You will be advised of the issue along with recommended options to correct it, which may include a system replacement if your unit is old or the repair would be significant. If you decide to replace the system, the diagnostic fee will be credited toward the replacement purchase.
A: How do you know how much is too much? Start with your utility company; they can help a great deal. Comparing previous bills isn’t always a good measure, as the weather is never exactly the same month to month. Instead, if you take your energy bill and divide it by the square footage of livable space in your home — don’t count areas like unfinished garages or basements — you can calculate how much you are spending to heat or cool each square foot of your home. Your energy provider can tell you what the average cost per square foot is in your region for that same period of time so you can compare apples to apples.
A: Even if your system is still working, depending on the type of system in your home today, you could recoup your investment in a new system in as little as 3 years. That doesn’t mean that your system absolutely has to be replaced. Heating and cooling systems have made tremendous gains in efficiency over the past 5 years, so if you have an older system, it is worth taking a look at whether it would make sense to go ahead and upgrade now.