You Have Questions, And We Have A Lot Of Answers!
Q. What does HVAC stand for?
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
Q. How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repair?
Not an easy question to answer, but here are some factors to consider: The age of the current system. Today, any system that is more than ten years old is probably behind the times in terms of efficiency. Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between “builder grade” and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience. How much will the repairs cost…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money, and the inconvenience? Sometimes you need to know when to cut back and say goodbye to your old heater or air conditioner. At Complete Air Mechanical, we can work with you to prepare a side-by-side cost-benefit analysis so that you can compare whether it is more advantageous for you to keep your current system or replace it with a newer one.
For more information, check out our blog: Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?
Q: How often should I check/change my filter?
Whether you have disposable, pleated, electrostatic, or electronic, one thing they all have in common: they must be kept clean! This is the most common cause of premature death of air conditioners. you should check them monthly and clean or replace them when it is apparent they are no longer allowing air to pass through them freely.
For more information, check out our blog: How Often Should I Change My Home’s Air Conditioning Filter?
Q: What is a SEER rating?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient.
The department of energy requires an efficiency rating for all air conditioning equipment. Effective 01/01/2015, the minimum cooling regional standard for Florida air conditioners is 14 SEER and heat pumps is 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF. All air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured after 12/31/2014 MUST meet the cooling regional standards.
The Industry will have an 18 month sell-through grace period (starting 01/01/2015). Manufacturers, Distributors, and Contractors will be allowed to buy, sell, ship, and/or install non-compliant products during this grace period.
Q. What is an HSPF rating?
Heat Pumps also have a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, again, the higher the rating, the more efficient.
Q: 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. 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.
For more information, check out our Infographic: 5 Signs Your AC Needs To Be Replaced
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 summer and winter 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.
For more information, check out our HVAC Maintenance page.
Q. How important is air quality and what factors need to be considered?
An air quality system can greatly improve both your comfort and your health. The areas of air quality to consider are (1) purification, (2) filtration, (3) humidity control, and (4) ventilation. A wide number of air quality features come standard with many new heating and air conditioning systems; others can easily be added to existing systems. Contact Complete Air Mechanical to discuss your air quality options.
For more information, check out our Indoor Air Quality page.
Q: What is a furnace?
Gas furnaces are rated for AFUE, Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This defines the amount of heat used to warm your home from the burned fuel. An 80% furnace will use 80% of the available heat to heat your home. 20% of the heat is vented outdoors. A 90% furnace will use 90% of the available heat to heat your home. 10% of the heat is vented outdoors. Many older gas furnaces are only 60% efficient. The other 40% is vented outdoors. You can see that a new high-efficiency furnace will require much less fuel to heat your home.
Q: Should the thermostat setting be positioned to the “auto” or the “on” position?
When you place the thermostat to the auto position, the fan will cycle when the heat or cool mode comes on. When you place the thermostat to the on position, the fan runs continuously. This is beneficial when an even temperature throughout the house is desired and it also reduces airborne dust and pollen.
Q: How long should an air conditioner last?
The average life span of an air conditioner/heat pump in Florida climate seems to be from (8) eight to (15) fifteen years, depending on a variety of particulars such as care, usage, and the most important, a correct installation at the beginning.
Q: How expensive are Air Conditioning and Heat Pump systems?
Many factors affect the cost of a heating or air conditioning system, including the size of your home, the type and condition of the ductwork installed, and accessories you might need such as a thermostat or an electronic air cleaner. We have a complete range of systems and accessories available to meet all your needs, including your financial ones!
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 undersized 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 do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?
Bigger isn’t always better; its performance and efficiency that count. Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly to match your needs and budget. Your Complete Air Mechanical Specialist will thoroughly assess your home and comfort requirements to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation.
Q. What air temperature should my air conditioner produce?
The air temperature produced by your system depends on the temperature of the air going into it. Generally, the air produced should be 15°-20° below what enters the system. So if the entering return air is 80°, the exiting supply air should be about 60°-65°. However, that only works on a system that is operating properly and has been running for at least 15 minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that is about 80° inside. On a milder day, with an indoor temperature of 70, the air coming out should be 50-55.
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?
Totally normal. During the cold weather months, frost can accumulate on the outdoor coil. This can cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. This is temporary; the system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.
Q. Why does my heat pump system sometimes freeze up?
Several factors can cause system freezing. First, if running in the cooling mode check your filters; restrictions in airflow can lead to freezing. Next, thaw the system out by turning off the cooling and running the fan. If the problem recurs after checking for air restrictions and thawing your system, schedule a service call with Complete Air Mechanical. Our service technicians will check the refrigerant level. They may also have to clean the evaporator coil, check the blower speed and check for any intermittent problems in blower operation. A service technician can also evaluate other conditions that may make your system prone to freezing and recommend the best course of action.
Q. What is the ideal indoor humidity level?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a household humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.