Commonly Asked HVAC Questions and Answers
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Air conditioners are sized according to their cooling capacity, which is expressed in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The size of unit that you need depends on the total square footage of the area you are planning to cool. Your HVAC dealer can make cooling load calculations based on the size of your home. Most homeowners will need a unit sized between 12,000 and 21,000 BTUs. Remember that a unit that is too large will eat up energy and make your home too cold, while a unit that is too small will leave you sweating even when it’s running at full capacity.
What Do SEER, MERV and All Those Air Conditioner and Heating Ratings Mean?
Air conditioner and heater ratings are designed to explain the overall efficiency of a given HVAC system. The basics of these systems are as follows:
- SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings explain the amount of energy needed to produce cool air. All new units must have a SEER rating of at least 13. You are likely to see SEER ratings between 13 and 21. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.
- MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings measure the performance of air purifiers. The closer the MERV rating is to 20, the more effectively the device removes pollutants from the air.
- HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) ratings measure the efficiency of heat pumps. An HSPF equal to or above 8 indicates that the heat pump is very efficient.
- AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings measure how much fuel is wasted to create heat. A furnace with 80 percent AFUE wastes only 20 percent of its available fuel, while a unit with 60 percent AFUE wastes a full 40 percent of its available fuel.
How do I Know If I Have An Existing Warranty on My Furnace, Air Conditioner or HVAC System?
Most furnace, air conditioner and HVAC system warranties are good for an allotted number of years. Check the bill of sale for your unit and any supporting documentation to find details about its warranty status. If you don’t have these papers or bought a home with a unit already installed, an HVAC dealer can provide you information about the warranty by using the unit’s model number, serial number and approximate installation date.
When Replacing the Outdoor Unit, Should the Indoor Unit Also Be Replaced?
Many homeowners wonder if it’s necessary to replace the indoor portion of a cooling or heating system when the outdoor unit is replaced. While it isn’t always necessary to do so, it is always advisable to replace both components at the same time. This ensures that the unit can provide the maximum efficiency and heating or cooling power. You will also enjoy a more straightforward maintenance schedule if both components are replaced at the same time.
Which Type of System is Better: Ductless, Heat Pump or Central Air Conditioning?
In order to choose the best type of air conditioning system for your home, you will need to evaluate your home’s architecture, the current cooling unit and your own personal preferences. In general, ductless systems and heat pumps provide more efficient service than central AC units. If your home doesn’t already have ductwork, avoid choosing a system that requires ducts as installing them can be very expensive. Keep in mind that heat pumps that will also be used for heating in the cooler months work best in areas with moderate winter temperatures.
How Long Do Air Conditioning Units Last?
Most modern air conditioning units are designed to last between 10 and 12 years. However, the lifespan of a unit is largely dependent upon how well it is maintained. Keeping up with regular service and maintenance tasks helps to ensure that a unit will provide a long operating life.
How Can I Improve Home Air Quality and Circulation?
If your home suffers from poor air quality or poor air circulation, a ventilation or air purification system is the ideal solution. These systems pump clean, filtered air through your home while minimizing the loss of cooled or heated air. Some ventilation and air purification systems can be connected directly to your home’s current HVAC system.
Why Does My Air Conditioner Turn On and Off?
An AC unit that continuously turns on and off can be frustrating. This problem might be caused by a simple electrical issue. Check to be sure that the unit is firmly plugged in and that power is running to the outlet. Dirty condenser coils and low refrigerant levels can also cause this problem. If the cause doesn’t seem to be wiring or dirty condenser coils, call a service technician. You should never work on refrigerant lines. Only trained technicians have the safety equipment and technical knowledge needed to do so safely.
Why Does My Air Conditioner Leak Water?
As the warm air outside comes in contact with the cooler evaporator coils in your AC unit, beads of perspiration form. This perspiration then leaks from your unit. Be sure to angle your unit on a slight incline away from your home to prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.
Why Does My Air Conditioner Keep Freezing Up?
AC freeze-ups can be caused by a number of factors. Insufficient airflow to the cooling coil can cause the unit to freeze. If your unit is packed into a tight location, runoff from the coil will have nowhere to drain and may begin to freeze on the unit. Low refrigerant levels can also cause the cooling coil to become too cold. If your unit has frozen, turn it off and conduct a visual inspection. If the cause is not the placement of the unit or ventilation concerns, call a technician for assistance.
What Is the Best Thermostat Setting for My Air Conditioner?
Choosing a thermostat setting is largely a matter of personal preference. However, you can recognize good energy savings and stay comfortable by setting your thermostat between 76 and 78 degrees. This will provide for decent cooling in the summer months without sending your electricity bill soaring.
Do You Provide Freon Replacement?
Freon is currently being phased out of residential and commercial use. However, we can still provide service for units that use Freon. Beginning in 2015, only units made before 2010 will be eligible for Freon replacement.
What Are the Benefits of an Air Conditioning Tune-Up?
An air conditioning tune-up will help to ensure that your unit is working correctly and is providing efficient service for your whole household. During a tune-up, a technician will identify any potential problems with the unit and will calibrate the unit so that it provides maximum cooling with minimal energy input.
What Does Duct Cleaning Do?
Duct cleaning can clear your home’s ductwork of dust, pollen, mold, mildew and other buildup. This type of cleaning helps to ensure that you are breathing clean air in your home. Duct cleaning can improve overall indoor air quality.