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Frequently Asked Air Conditioning and Heating Questions

Why is a matched system important?

A matched system is important for a variety of reasons. One is comfort. When all our components are properly sized to your home, you can control exactly how much heating or cooling you need so you can relax. Also, a properly sized matched system enables every component to perform as designed, meaning proper cycle times are maintained, humidity is controlled, and system sound is minimized. Another reason matched systems are important is efficiency. Most people buy systems that are too large for their homes, meaning they pay to heat and cool space that isn't even there. A matched system outlined by a dealer who has completed a load calculation for your home provides just the right amount of heating and cooling you need so you get the most value for your utility dollar.

Why should I replace my existing heating or air conditioning system?

You may wish to consider replacing your air conditioning or heating system if it is old, inefficient or in need of repair. Today’s systems are as much as 60% more efficient than those systems manufactured as little as ten years ago. In addition, if not properly maintained, wear and tear on a system can reduce the actual or realized efficiency of the system. If you are concerned about utility bills or are faced with an expensive repair, you may want to consider replacing your system rather than enduring another costly season or paying to replace an expensive component. The utility cost savings of a new unit may provide an attractive return on your investment.  Currently there are rebates offered for high efficient equipment replacements.  If you plan on financing the purchase, the monthly savings on your utility bill should be considered when determining the actual monthly cost of replacing a system. The offsetting savings may permit you to purchase a more efficient system.

How long does a typical furnace and air conditioner last?

On average, a furnace or air conditioner will last 10 - 20 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by newer equipment. Life expectancies can vary greatly. The major factors influencing life expectancy are proper installation and regular maintenance. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.

How important is an air filter in my heating and cooling system?

It’s a fact: the trapped air we breathe in our homes can be loaded with dust, pollen, plant spores, and other pollutant particles. In many cases, it’s worse than the air outside.

What is a SEER Rating?


SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. Basically it tells you how efficiently it converts electricity to cooling comfort. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. By federal law all units must be a 13 SEER or higher.

What is a AFUE rating?


AFUE stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency”. This rating tells you how much of your heating dollars are converted to heat energy put into your home and how much is lost up the flue pipe. Most older furnaces are 60% to 70% efficient. That means that for every dollar you spend for gas from your utility company, $.40 to $.50 cents are being sent up the flue pipe to the outdoors. Federal law mandates that all furnaces being produced today be at least 80% efficient.
 
There are several different sizes of furnaces up to 96% efficient. Which means that for every dollar you spend on gas from the utility company $.96 is converted to heat your home and only $.04 is sent out the flue pipe.

Should outdoor units be covered in winter?


No. Heat pumps and outdoor air conditioning units (aka outdoor condensing units) operate year-round and should never be covered. They are built to withstand an outdoor environment and should not be covered.

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


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.

When should I replace my furnace?

Furnaces eventually wear out just like any piece of machinery. Your professional HVAC service technician will see certain indicators that tell them your furnace is wearing out. Some of those symptoms are:

  • Frequent pilot light outages
  • Delayed ignition
  • Yellow flame or wavering flame
  • Excessive soot or corrosion
  • Too much or too little heat
  • The smell of sulfur or burnt eggs

Frequently, equipment owners start considering replacing their units when the frequency and costs of repairs become a bigger headache than the cost of replacing the unit.