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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change my filter?

Poor filter maintenance can result in poor system performance, diminished system life and potentially negative health effects. In addition, the coil will collect particulate matter, which can obstruct the airflow paths diminishing thermal conduction in the fin section. Generally speaking, the cost to repair this problem alone will greatly exceed the cost of proper filter maintenance.

Also, the heart of HVAC systems is the compressor. A lack of proper filter maintenance, as well as a number of other crucial maintenance items, will cause early compressor failure!

The simple answer is 30 days. Get in the habit of changing your filter every time you receive your electric bill since the two are directly related.

For businesses, however, the answer is a little more complex. The manufacturer's requirements and environmental conditions can play a large factor in filter performance and life expectancy. In addition Federal, State, and local codes can affect what filtration is required for your application. Contact us for advice on your specific needs.

Brad Rule submitted on 2010-01-05

Are programmable thermostats a good investment?

With technology advancing at an exponential rate, consumer electronic prices are plummeting. The average programmable thermostat costs a quarter of the price of a cell phone and can generate annual savings that far exceed the initial investment.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a thermostat. Select a reputable manufacturer with a good warranty. Determine who is installing the thermostat. We always recommend a licensed professional. Excercise a little discipline and, once programmed, don't adjust the thermostat unless absolutely necessary.

The answer is Yes for homeowners and a resounding YES for business owners with tradtional daytime hours. According to the US Department of Energy,"You can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10°-15° for eight hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat."

There are a few common scenarios where the benefit may not be available. These situations often involve a family with young children that occupies the home all day throughout the year or a business that operates more than 18-20 hours a day.

Brenda Sims submitted on 2009-11-10

What type of filters should I use?

Filter selection is not only important to your comfort and Indoor Air Quality(IAQ) they can also greatly affect system performance, reliability. Some manufacturers also produce filters designed to reduce particulate matter and allergens.

Filter selection is a primary design consideration. Some filters may offer health benefits but, depending on available surface area, can significantly reduce airflow and cause reduced system longevity and inefficient performance.

Purchase filters with at least a MERV 6 rating. If you opt for more efficient or anti-allergen style filters consider talking to a local contractor about fan performance issues. 2" and 4" inch filters are commercially available and can provide greater benefit without sacrficing airflow performance. The downside is your system may require a few modifications such as a new filter rack.

J James submitted on 2009-12-15

Does my refrigerant require periodic replacement or service?

Refrigerant gases are considered chemically stable. They do not "wear out." They can, however, become diluted with moisture, or air and can require cleaning or replacement. Caution! This is indicative of a more serious mechanical problem or poor workmanship on the servicing contractor's part.

Another concern is the type of refrigerant in your system. Older air conditioning systems used refrigerants, like R-12 or R-22, comprised of one gaseous chemical. A leak of refrigerant could be repaired, in accordance with federal EPA requirements and the loss of charge replaced by a quantity equal to the loss. Newer azeotropic or ternary refrigerants like R-134A and R-410A are comprised of 2 or more chemical gases in a "blend". Due to the laws of physics, the gases leak at different rates making it impossible to recreate the exact mixture of gases in the field. Repair of leaks may require a replacement of the entire system charge due to this fact.

Service Yes! Replacement generally No. The charge of an air conditioning system, regardless of type, is considered critical. While a small variance may not present problems, a larger variance can cause significantly lower system efficiencies and even major component failure. Have your system charge check annually.

Due to EPA restrictions and potential health concerns, you should never attempt to service your own charge. Instead, contact a licensed contractor.

Liz Anderson submitted on 2009-10-12

What type of refrigerant does my air conditioner use?

The "workhorse" refrigerants for the air conditioning industry have been R-12 and R-22. However, a change in federal law concerning ozone-depleting chemicals has allowed the industry to adopt news refrigerants that are environmentally responsible.

As of 2010, new HVAC equipment will not be manufactured using R-22 by federal mandate. There may be a few exceptions to this but residential/light commercial HVAC systems are not one of them.

In the near future service parts and replacement components for R-22 may become expensive and scarce. If you experience significant problems with you HVAC system you may consider replacing instead of reinvesting. This may even result in a substantial cost but remember, R-410A is prevalent, environmentally responsible and should greatly reduce life-cycle costs.

Based on the age of your system it is safe to assume that one of the four following refrigerants is being used: R-22, R-410A, R-134A, R-12.

You check the manufacturer's label for the refrigerant type and charge.

John Green submitted on 2010-01-25