Q: How often should I change my air filter? A: If you are using the 1 inch media filter that you buy at the grocery store or hardware store, you should change it every month. If you are using a 1 inch pleated filter it may last 3 months. Five inch media filters are changed at least once a year. All filters need to be changed more if you have lots of traffic and pets.
Q: What should I do to maintain my heating and cooling equipment? A: You should have a service check up for your air conditioner in the spring before the warm weather arrives and for your gas furnace in the fall before the cool weather arrives. Heat pumps should be checked twice a year and can be done any month. Maintaining your system will lead to lower energy bills and a longer life for your equipment.
Q: Why should I have routine maintenance done on my systems? A: To maintain any warranty agreements, to keep them running efficiently, and to extend their life expectancy. Example: You service your car every 3 months or 3,000 miles to be sure it has clean parts and plenty of oil. This prevents some mechanical problems and helps your engine last longer. The same basically applies to keeping your system’s motors and coils clean and in good condition.
Q: Why do I have to pay a diagnostic fee? A: All customers are charged the same for this service. It covers the expense of a technician’s time and gas in his van to get him to your door. Once he arrives, it covers whatever time it takes to diagnose your problem or to be sure there are no subsequent problems if you have made your own diagnoses.
Q: What if my outdoor unit is not running? A: Check your breakers in your main panel box. Also, check the electrical box over the outdoor unit. Inside the box you will find a breaker or disconnect that you can pull out. You may find fuses as well. Even if the fuses look fine, go to any hardware store and purchase new ones. They can look fine and be bad.
Q: What if my inside unit is not running? A: Again, check breakers in your main panel and the electrical box at the indoor unit.
Q: What if I have ice on my unit? A: Ice can be caused by a few things. In the summer, first be sure you have a clean filter. Once you have changed your filter, turn off the system and allow it to thaw out. If it ices again you will need a technician to come. If in the winter and you have a heat pump, frost is normal. It will go through a defrost cycle that will clean off the unit. If it ices in the summer or winter and the ice stays thick, it could be low on freon or have a bad part.
Q: Should I run the blower continuously, or use the auto position on the thermostat? A: Try both ways. Running the blower all the time will use a little extra electricity, however the home is usually more comfortable, the temperature is more even throughout the home, and the air is cleaner because it is filtered more. The motors generally last longer because they are not starting and stopping. Some of the new furnaces have the ability to use a slow blower speed for continuous operation, and a faster speed when the furnace or air conditioner is running.
Q: What is SEER? A: This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. It’s like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car – the higher the mpg (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill.
Q: A cracked furnace is dangerous. How often should I have it checked? A: If your furnace is over 2 years old, it should be inspected by qualified technicians every fall before the heating season begins. Any other time the furnace is not operating properly (ex. the pilot blows out) it should be checked too.