Frequently Asked Questions
How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?
The heating and cooling systems are sized according to their tonnage. One (1) ton equals 12,000 BTU/H. Residential systems can range from 1 to 5 tons.
What size HVAC system should I have?
Contrary to popular belief there, is no rule of thumb for sizing a system to a home. Depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 500 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.
How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?
The S.E.E.R. (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity. For example, a 3-ton unit may have a S.E.E.R. efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the S.E.E.R. the more efficient the system will be. The S.E.E.R. rating of any given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17.
How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home's heating and cooling systems?
The most important thing you can do is clean and replace your filters frequently. Also, a system heats and cools more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration. Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or screens should be installed on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight.
Is a system with more capacity better?
No. A larger system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when first turning 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.
How long should my system run in a cycle?
There is no exact answer for how long your system should run during each cycle. The average air conditioner is sized to remove the heat from your home as fast as it comes in, on a 110° day. Therefore, ideally, on a 110° day the system should be able to keep up with the incoming heat, but not gain on it and be able to turn off. The cooler it is below 110°, the more the system will cycle on and off.
Should I try to keep my system from running too much?
Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. Usually a system that is too small to cool the home is more economical to run but delivers less comfort. Even though it runs nonstop, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off. As a rule of thumb, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one cycling on and off.
What air temperature should my air conditioner produce?
The air temperature your system produces depends on the temperature of the air going into the system. Generally, the air produced should be 18°-20° below what enters the system. So if the air entering the system is 80°, the air exiting should be about 60°-62°. However, that only works on a system that has been running at least 15 minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that is about 80° inside. On a mild day, with an indoor temperature in the low 70’s, or during humid conditions, the air coming out may only be 15°-17° cooler than what enters.
What temperature should I set my thermostat?
Obviously the time of year becomes a big factor for desired temperature settings. In the summer months the average temperature setting is 78°-80°, in the winter 70°-72° seems to be the most common setting. Remember, when leaving your house; try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.
What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Different programmable thermostats offer many different features. However, because they are electronic, they are all more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With programmable thermostats you can control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own.
How often should I replace my filters?
For optimum efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.
What maintenance should I do on my air conditioner?
The most important maintenance you can do is to change your filters regularly. Ground mounted outdoor units need to be kept clear of debris, clutter; weeds or landscaping that can grow too close and reduce the airflow to the unit. Also, keep pets away from the unit because pet urine can cause expensive damage. Use caution with a weed trimmer around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring. Any additional maintenance should only be performed by qualified personnel.
How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?
You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system twice a year. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future. Our EPA maintanance policy plan is specifically designed to keep your air conditioning system running at its peak efficiency year-round.
Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?
Yes. Check that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly.
How much does a new replacement system cost?
Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. There is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.
Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?
No. Closing the registers will decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Your system will work harder, to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.
During the heating season, my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will operate for long periods of time. Is that normal?
Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally produces air that is 80°, which is considered warm, and will heat the house evenly. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.
During the heating season, my heat pump makes a "whooshing" sound and I feel cool air coming from the supply registers. Is that normal?
Yes. During the cold weather months, frost will accumulate on the outdoor coil. This will cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. The system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.
How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?
Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly. Our representative will provide a heat load calculation to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation. Remember, bigger is not always better.