Q: What is the average life expectancy of an HVAC system?
A: Most HVAC systems have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. As your heating and air conditioning equipment gets older, its efficiency will decrease dramatically, and it may struggle to properly heat and cool your home or business. Routine maintenance and HVAC servicing helps extend the life of your heating and air conditioning system.
Q: How can I reduce my energy costs?
A: There are several ways to reduce your energy costs. Here are some suggestions that can help you:
- Perform annual maintenance – Tuning up your cooling system each Spring and your heating system each Fall will help to ensure each operates at peak efficiency, and can help you identify and resolve any potential issues before a breakdown occurs.
- Upgrade to a high-efficiency system – Your heating and air conditioning system is a major portion of your electric bill. A new, highly efficient HVAC system can help you cut down on electricity usage while keeping your home comfortable.
- Insulate and seal ducts – An efficient, well-maintained HVAC system is only one part of the equation. A properly insulated and sealed duct system can ensure that you are receiving maximum performance.
- Adjust the temperature – Typically, adjusting temperatures 5 to 8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save energy if you’re going to be away from home or work for several hours.
- Don’t block vents in well-used rooms – Keep all of your supply and return vents clear and do not block with objects like blinds, carpets or furniture. This will allow your air conditioner to operate efficiently and allows the air to distribute evenly.
- Install a programmable or wifi thermostat – A programmable thermostat enables you to control your home or business’ temperature when you are asleep or away. A wifi thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature remotely with a smartphone.
Q: How often should I have maintenance performed on my heating and air conditioning system?
A: It’s recommended that your HVAC system is checked and serviced twice a year by an HVAC contractor; ideally a Spring and Fall tune-up. Proper maintenance will ensure that your HVAC system is operating at peak performance.
There may also be small problems that could turn into large problems. An HVAC system is mechanical and has components that should receive attention regularly. Most importantly, having a system checked can help keep you safe in the event of a gas or fume leak.
Q: Will a larger air conditioning system perform better?
A: No, you don’t want your air conditioner to be too large. Air conditioners control the comfort level in your home or business by cooling air and removing humidity. An oversized air conditioner can cool faster but 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 cooling system.
An AC unit that is too big for your home or business will have short-run cycles. It will take a shorter time to cool the air, but the unit will shut off before enough air blows across the indoor coil where moisture condenses into water and drains from your cooling system. Too much moisture left in the air can lead to mold and mildew problems.
These short-run cycles also mean your AC 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 for heating systems. An oversized furnace can warm your house or business faster but it will use more fuel and cause greater temperature swings.
Q: Can I just replace the outdoor unit or just the indoor unit of an older air conditioning system?
A: While it may cost less initially to replace just the indoor or outdoor unit on an older AC system, over time utility expenses will add up and may cost more in the long run. To ensure you receive maximum efficiency, you must replace all components of an air conditioning system. Also, most AC manufacturers require this in order to receive a full warranty.
Q: What are the advantages of HVAC equipment with variable speed fans?
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 or business. Usually, they operate at lower speeds, delivering a steady, reliable stream of warm or cool air.
When conditions become more extreme, the fan speed increases so that the HVAC system can meet increased demand, guaranteeing that even on the hottest days or coldest nights your comfort needs will be met. Older HVAC systems simply switch on or off.
Newer, variable speed HVAC systems also lower your electric bill by only using the energy needed to heat or cool your home or business at any given time.
Q: What are the advantages of two-stage HVAC equipment?
A: The goal of two-stage HVAC equipment is to prevent your system from running short cycles. On a hot summer day, a heating and air conditioning system will operate at a full stage. On a mild summer day, the HVAC system may not need to run at a full stage.
When the demand is not needed for a full stage, a two-stage HVAC system will lower its speed and allow for more even temperatures throughout your home or business.
Q: What warranties are offered with an HVAC system?
A: Most manufacturers offer a 10-year registered parts warranty. Most HVAC service companies offer a 1-year labor warranty; this warranty is offered to the purchasing owner and in many cases cannot transfer to a new owner. Many qualified third-party companies offer transferable extended labor warranties for added peace of mind.
Q: Do I really have to change my air filter often?
A: Yes. If your return duct and return grille are properly sized, we recommend that a standard pleated filter is replaced every month. Many home improvement stores offer 3-month and 6-month filters.
While these filters do catch particles, they also get clogged and choke your HVAC system’s air stream. If an HVAC system cannot properly breathe, it will struggle to heat or cool. It will also add strain to the system, which will increase your electric bill and increase the possibility of failures.
Q: What are some signs that my HVAC system is not working properly?
A: There are many indicators that a heating and cooling system is not working properly, even if it is still heating and cooling your home or business. Loud or increased noises, increased run-time, higher electric bills, higher humidity, hot and cold spots, inability to maintain a temperature. All of these are signs that your HVAC system is not working properly and may need to be serviced before a problem worsens.