Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average Life Expectancy of today’s Heating and Cooling systems?
Most systems today have a life expectancy of 10-20 years. Over time systems will lose efficiency as they age. Routine maintenance can help to extend the efficiency and life of your units.
Does the salt air have any impact on an HVAC system?
Yes, our local salt air has a negative effect on a normal HVAC System. The salt in the air will cause the coils on the unit to deteriorate much more quickly than they would in other climates. For this reason, we now have units with “Coastal Coating” which helps to negate the damage caused by the salt air for those who live on the islands and beachy areas.
I have an older system that uses R-22 refrigerant. Why am I being told I need to replace it?
In accordance with the Montreal Protocol which was signed in 1989, the EPA has been phasing out production of R-22 and as of January 1, 2020, it will no longer be manufactured in or shipped into the United States. This means, if your system uses R-22 refrigerant, it will become much more costly to replace the refrigerant if you have a leak in the system and eventually there will be no refrigerant to use. The new systems, which use R410A, are more energy efficient and the refrigerant is not as harmful to the environment as R-22 refrigerant. For more information, visit the EPA website at: https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout
How often should I have my system maintained?
We recommend having your system maintained 2 times a year (in the spring and in the fall). This will help to ensure your system is operating at its best as well as help to diagnose small problems before they turn into costly repairs.
What Warranty can I expect my new system to have?
Most new systems come with a 10-year Parts and Compressor warranty which will cover MOST parts failures. Also, most Installers will add on a 1 year Labor warranty. The Manufacturers warranties cover replacement of parts under most circumstances unless the failure is caused by the owner either by negligence or vandalism.
How often do I need to change my Air Filters?
Air filters should be changed once a month. We do not recommend buying 3 months or 6-month filters because they will become clogged up and cut down on your systems efficiency, especially in homes that have pets or smoking. A clogged filter can cause your system bog down and freeze up which will also cause a higher electric bill.
How can I reduce my energy costs related to my heating and cooling system?
There are many ways to reduce your costs. Below are just a few places to begin:
- Having maintenance done on your HVAC unit twice a year to make sure system is operating correctly
- Adjust temperature – try changing the temperature on your thermostat (a few degrees below what you normally have it set at during the winter or a few degrees higher in the summer) during the night and during the daytime if you are not home.
- Keep all vents and air intakes clear. Do not cover them with furniture or rugs.
- Install a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat which will allow you to regulate temperatures more easily
- During the summer, keep windows covered to keep the sunlight from causing more heat to enter the house
- Make sure windows are sealed and free of any air leaks. This will help keep the cold air from coming in during the winter
- If your system is more than 10 years old or still uses R-22, replace it with a new High-Efficiency system
- Have your ducts checked for holes and air leaks? If you have holes in ductwork, it should be replaced immediately.
When it is really hot out my system is not bringing the temperature down to what I have it set for and it is running all the time. Why isn’t it working?
During the heat of summer, this is a frequent problem. While there may be a problem with your system, it may also just be too hot for your system to keep up. Unfortunately, we tend to have extremely hot days and very high humidity. Under normal circumstances, an HVAC unit will take in air at one temperature and put out air that is 10 degrees cooler. There are a few things you can do to help your unit with this process. Making sure you have curtains that will block sunlight is a good start. Also, keeping your outdoor unit from being in direct sunlight will also help it to cool more easily. We generally will advise you to wait until the sun goes down, set your thermostat at anywhere between 72-75 degrees. If the system is able to bring the temperature down and maintain it at that temperature during the night, that is a good indication that the problem is not with the system.
When I look up new systems on-line, I am seeing terms like “Variable speed air handler” and “ Two-stage”. What do these mean? Are they worth the extra cost?
Many older systems run basically at one speed. Newer systems now have the option of Variable Speed Air Handlers and Two Stage Compressors. These newer options will allow for better efficiency in your unit. These newer models will run at a lower speed, delivering a constant low, constant flow of air and during extreme heat or cold will increase speed to meet the increased demand for heat/cool air. This leads to savings in energy over the long run and increased comfort in your home.
Why is the technician telling me that I can’t just replace the Air Handler on my older unit?
If you have an older system that uses R-22 and either the Condensing unit or the Air Handler fails, the entire system must be replaced. Units that use R-22 are no longer manufactured due to the mandatory phasing out of that gas. And a unit which uses the new gas (R410A) is not compatible with an R-22 unit.
Why is my system freezing up?
There are a few causes of this happening.
- The first thing to do is check your air filter. If your filter is clogged it can cause the coils to freeze up.
- Dirty Coil – Over time your coil will accumulate dirt and debris and this can cause a loss of air intake similar to what happens when a filter becomes clogged. If this happens, call your HVAC service technician and schedule an appointment to have your coils cleaned. One way to prevent this is to have regular maintenance done on your system.
- Defective Motor/Relay/Capacitor – These are the most common mechanical issues with HVAC units that cause icing up of the unit/unit to not blow air. When a fan is not functioning properly or completely stops, it will cause the coils to ice up. Additionally, relays and capacitors can go out and cause these problems as well. Contact your HVAC service technician to repair this problem immediately.
- Low refrigerant – over time systems can develop leaks and refrigerant levels will drop. When this happens, your system will not cool/heat as efficiently, may ice up or will stop working at all. The severity of the leak will be determined and in most instances, can be repaired. In older systems that still use R-22, your technician will most likely recommend replacement instead of repair due to the age of the system and the costs associated with continued use of R-22.