Q: Why do I need a maintenance on a regular basis?
A: Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your system running properly and efficiently. The difference between the energy consumption of a well-maintained heat pump and a severely neglected one ranges from 10% to 25%. Dirty filters, coils, and fans reduce airflow through the system, causing the system to work harder to keep up. Running the system in this manner can also wear parts quicker and may result in breakdowns. Having the system maintained on a regular basis can not only keep the system running efficiently but can also reduce future repair costs, and will prolong the life of your equipment.
Q: How often should I change my air filter?
A: This question doesn’t have a specific answer. All houses, families and neighborhoods are different. For example, if you live on a gravel road or have pets in the home you may need to change your filter more often. Our recommendation is that the filter be checked every month. A good way to judge whether your filter needs to be changed is if you hold the filter up to the light and you can’t see any light through it, it needs to be changed.
Q: Is there anything I should check before calling for service?
A: Yes. Check to be sure that the air handler or furnace is plugged in and turned on. Check that the breakers and disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly.
Q: How do I know if my system needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
A: The average life expectancy for a Heat Pump and Air Conditioner is generally 10 years and the life expectancy of a furnace is approximately 15 years. A couple tell tale signs that it may be time to replace your system is if you are in need of frequent repairs and if your utility consumption appears to be rising.
Q: What is Emergency Heat?
A: This setting should be used only when the outdoor heat pump is not working properly (perhaps it’s been damaged in a storm or its compressor has malfunctioned). Switching to the “Emergency Heat” option is a manual setting on the thermostat, not an automatic function initiated by the heat pump thermostat. This feature locks out the heat pump and allows the backup heating source to provide 100% of the home’s heating requirements until a technician can resolve the problem.
Q: Is Emergency Heat more expensive to run?
A: If you have an all-electric heat pump: yes! It is much more expensive to run your heat pump on Emergency Heat. And as the name implies, it should only be run in an emergency until your heat pump can be repaired.
Q: Can you give me a price for new equipment without an in-home consultation?
A: No, we cannot give a quote over the phone. Pricing varies based on your needs and the conditions of your home. A qualified consultant needs to be able to come to your home in order to properly size your system and figure out your unique conditions. Installing an oversized unit may result in higher utility bills and your system may not heat or cool properly.
Q: Why do I need a Duct Cleaning?
A: Over time, dirt, dust pollen ad other airborne contaminates flow through your system and collect in the air ducts. Removing these allergens can make a significant difference in the indoor air quality, relief of allergies, reduced amounts of dust build up in your home, prolong the life expectancy and your entire system will run more efficiently which saves energy and costs less to operate you equipment.
Q: What is Indoor Air Quality and should I be concerned about it?
A: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later. Such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable.
Q: Should I close the registers (vents) in areas of my home that I do not use on a regular basis?
A: No. Closing the registers will decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Your system will work harder, to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.
Q: Is it normal for the air coming from my registers to feel warm or cool not hot when my system is in heating mode?
A: Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally produces air that is 80°, which is considered warm, and will heat the house evenly. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.
Q: Why is there a burning smell when I turn my heat on for the first time each year?
A: Dust accumulates on the furnace’s heat exchanger during the warmer months when you are not using your heat. The burning smell comes from dust meeting high temperature. Typically, that smell disappears after two or three uses at the start of winter.
Q: Why is there “smoke” coming from my heat pump?
A: A lot of the time, customers mistake the plume of water vapor they are seeing for smoke. This is actually just your heat pump during the “Defrost Mode”. It happens regularly during the heating season. The outdoor coils tend to frost or ice-up during the winter – especially in moist conditions – causing the unit to loose efficiency. By regularly defrosting itself, keeping the outdoor coil clear for proper airflow, the heat pump runs more efficiently.
Q: Why is there a layer of ice on my heat pump?
A: Heat pumps can ice up during the winter time. It is normal for the entire coil to be covered in a white frost, even light ice, during certain weather conditions. But. it is not normal for the entire unit to be encased in ice, including the top of the unit and the insides of the coil for an extended period of time. This indicates a problem and should be turned off right away and addressed by a service technician to save energy and avoid serious damage to the equipment. A technician will not be able to do anything while the system is still covered in ice so it’s very important to turn your system off so it can thaw out. Remember to let the office know if you system is covered in ice. Important: Whatever you do, please, never pick the ice off with a sharp object. The refrigerant coils and fins can be damaged very easily.