Frequently Asked Questions
What does AFUE stand for?
Gas furnaces are rated for efficiency according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace.
What does HSPF stand for?
Heat pump equipment in the heating mode is rated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the the pump is.
What is a SEER?
Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner.
What do efficiency rating numbers really mean?
The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a high rating indicating high-efficiency.
Who do I contact for air conditioning products and service?
For questions concerning new products, energy efficiency ratings, savings on your utility bills, or repair or replacement services, contact us and we will answer all of your heating and cooling questions.
Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to “On” so the fan runs constantly?
Leaving the fan on will constantly filter the air in your home. This moving air will give you a more even temperature distribution throughout your home. However, continuous fan mode during the cooling season may not be appropriate in humid climates. If the inside of your home feels uncomfortably humid, it is recommended that the fan be used in “Auto” mode.
How long does a typical furnace and air conditioner last?
An air conditioner or furnace typically will last 10 – 20 years with regular maintenance. Sometimes replacing old systems sooner rather than later can save you a lot of money (lower gas and electric bills) from the higher efficiency provided by newer equipment. Life expediencies can vary greatly. The major factors influencing life expectancy are proper installation and regular maintenance. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
What goes into installing a new system?
If you install a new system, most of the items from the “What happens when I replace my old system?” will need to be changed as well. One of the the most important components installed with a new system is the duct-work. Duct work is composed of two parts, supply and return. The supply ducts are attached to the outflow of the new system, delivering air to each zone in a home.
The amount of air reaching each zone is determined by the size of supply duct-work connecting it to your system. Air-O service will help you determine the size of all the needed supply duct work in your home. The second part of the duct-work, the return duct, attaches to the inlet of the new system and draws air out of the spaces to be heated or cooled.
Attached to the return duct is the filter. The filter should be placed as near to the furnace or air handler as possible. Duct-work can be either duct-board, flexible duct, or metal and must be properly sized in order to evenly distribute the proper amount of air to each room.
The indoor fan runs all the time even though the temperature in the house is fine. Is something wrong?
There are two settings for the fan: On and Auto. A common mistake people make is leaving this switch to On. Be sure it is set to Auto and the fan should regulate itself normally..
Is something wrong if my heat pump is set for Heating but the air coming out feels cool?
While a heat pump is perfectly capable of effectively heating your home, the temperature of the air coming out of the registers is heated to about 90 to 95 degrees, depending on the outdoor temperature. This temperature is approximately 20 – 25 degrees warmer that the indoor air temperature and will warm your house. It is, however, below body temperature (98.6 degrees) and can feel cool when someone puts their hand in the airflow.
Some rooms in the house are either too hot or too cold. Can’t they all be the same?
They most certainly can. Airflow problems can sometimes be attributed due to a dirty filter, coil, and/or blower which results in reduced air flow passing through the air handler. This causes the air to die off in the outer branches of the duct system.
The duct work sometimes can come loose and a minor reattachment repair will solve the problem. If the issue is a “duct design” problem Air-O Services should be called in to troubleshoot the situation. Solutions can range from some simple air balancing to replacement of ducts to advanced climate control systems such as a zone system.
My propane gas furnace is blowing cold air, what should check?
Make sure the propane tank still has gas. To check the tank, flip open the dome lid on top of the tank. Look at the gauge. It will have numbers (percentages) from 0 to 100. Make sure the needle is not on zero.
Is it normal for my heat pump to make a “whooshing” noise followed by some cool air through the heating registers even though it is heating season?
This is a normal occurrence. 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.
How come my heat pump system will freeze up sometimes?
The heat pump system can freeze for several reasons. If running in the cooling mode check your filters; restrictions in air flow can lead to freezing. Next, thaw the system out by turning off the cooling and running the fan. You can also try turning the system to the heat mode to melt the ice.
If the problem recurs after checking for air restrictions and thawing your system. Contact Air-O Service to make a service call. 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 intermittency 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.
What kinds of maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems require?
Maintaining unrestricted air flows is the most important maintenance for HVAC systems. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies. It doesn’t matter if the unit is indoor or outdoor. You must keep all filters and coils clean and free or restrictions.
We recommend that your heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year. A spring and autumn tune-up is the perfect schedule. We also recommend that you change your filter regularly. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.
Why do I need to change my filter regularly?
Replacing your heating and cooling system’s filter on a regular basis helps the system operate at peak levels and improve indoor air quality. Changing the filters regularly will ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require weekly or monthly filter replacements. Air-O Service technicians can recommend the ideal filters and replacement schedules for your systems.
How often should I replace my filters?
Air-O Service recommends that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month. We can recommend a replacement schedule that delivers the optimum efficiency and filtration for your specific system. We recommend that you visually check filters and filtering equipment monthly. If filters look dirty, they need to be cleaned or replaced.
Besides changing filters what else should I do to maintain my heater and/or air conditioner?
Most major maintenance should be performed only by a qualified Air-O Service technician. But here are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance:
- Make sure outdoor units clear of debris, clutter and weeds if they are on the ground. They can reduce the airflow to the unit.
- Use caution with weed trimmers and other yard maintenance tools to prevent damaging control wiring.
- Pet urine can cause expensive damage. Keep your pets away from your outdoor systems.
How often should I have Air-O Service take a look at my air conditioner?
Air conditioning system should be inspected and maintained at least once a year – spring to early summer being the best times. This ensures maximum efficiency and enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future.
What are some things I can do to maintain my furnace?
Any forced-air heating system will perform more efficiently (save you money on energy bills and repair costs) if you perform the following tasks:
- Inspect the filters at least once a month and replace them when they are dirty.
- Make sure all of the vents and air supplies are not obstructed. Make sure nothing is in front of them or on top of them such as furniture, curtains, boxes, toys, etc.
- Check chimney and venting systems once a year for secure fittings, leaks, corrosion, or damage.
- Keep areas around furnace clean and clutter free. Keep at least 3 – 4 feet totally clear all the way around your furnace.
- Do not block the source of furnace combustion air by enclosing furnace in a small closet or by making the room it is located in too air tight. The furnace needs to pull air from its immediate surroundings.
- If your system operates on propane gas, regularly check your propane gas percentage to make sure you do not run out.
What can I do to maintain my air conditioner or heat pump?
Regular maintenance will extend the life of your equipment and reduce repair costs. Here are some simple tasks that should be done:
- Keep debris, grass clippings, dirt, and leaves away from outdoor unit.
- Use a hose to clear the aluminum fins from airborne debris (be careful, the fins bend easily. Use a regular hose without a spray nozzle, and a very soft brush with light to no pressure).