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Frequently Asked Questions

On really hot days, my house never really seems to cool properly with the system I have now.  Can I increase the size of my AC to help this problem?

More is not always better.  Incorrectly sized equipment can lead to operation and cost problems.  Oversized air conditioning systems can “short-cycle” leading to rapid cooling without reducing indoor humidity levels.  This can lead to a variety of problems associated with high relative humidity. Since the humidity is not being pulled from the air in your house, you are still going to feel uncomfortable.  A variety of variables determine the size you need.  You should have a technician determine the correct size you need for your home.
Should I have my heating and cooling system cleaned every year?

Yes!  If you properly maintain your system you should be able to extend the life of your system as well as increase the efficiency of your system.  Regular maintenance of your system will reduce the amount of breakdowns your equipment will have.  Remember the #1 cause of major breakdowns are caused by a lack of maintenance.

Do programmable setback thermostats really save you money?

Yes!  Using a programmable setback thermostat can reduce your operating expenses by up to 30%. 

Do we need to change filters each month?

Absolutely! In addition to using more electricity and reducing the performance of your system, a dirty filter can also cause your air conditioner to 'ice up' due to restricted airflow across the indoor coil. Continuing to run your air conditioner once it has iced up can lead to a number of other problems, including compressor failure.

What is a good temperature to set my thermostat on?

Most of the time, the best setting is just where you are comfortable! However, when those extremely high summertime temperatures set in, your best temperature setting is going to be 15 to 16 degrees below the outside temperature. Remember, your air conditioner can only produce so much cooling, no matter how low you set that thermostat. And no matter what temperature you choose, once you have found a 'comfort zone' leave that thermostat set in one place - turning it up and down constantly only costs you more energy!

My indoor unit is leaking water.

Most of the time, this is caused by a plugged drain line. Water then backs up into the drain pan located inside the unit until it overflows. Leaks may also be caused by a crack or hole in the drain pan.
Recommendation: A preventive maintenance plan which provides for annual system cleaning and inspection. In addition, an emergency pan and safety shut-off float switch can be installed beneath the indoor unit to help protect your ceiling from water damage.

My outdoor unit makes strange noises.

Those annoying noises can be caused by something as simple as a loose bolt or screw, or they can indicate something as serious as bad bearings in the motor. If you are a do-it-yourself homeowner, remember to always turn the power off to the outdoor unit before you start checking bolts or oiling motors, etc. Also, some motors are not made to be oiled - once the bearings start making noise, the only thing to do is replace the motor. Don't wait too long; if those bearings seize up, the compressor can be damaged.
If you have a heat pump, that noise may just be your reversing valve shifting when the unit starts and stops, even in the summer.

My pilot light keeps going out.

Although this could indicate a problem with your gas valve, most of the time it indicates a weak or defective pilot thermocouple. The thermocouple generates an extremely low electrical current (measured in millivolts!) that allows the gas valve to feed the pilot flame. When the thermocouple becomes weak it means the gas valve will not allow gas to go to the pilot assembly. If you have to relight a pilot more than once, a service technician should check the unit.

Are there any advantages to using the fan’s “On” setting versus the “Auto” setting on my thermostat?

Switching your fan into the “on” position provides several benefits that may not be immediately obvious to many homeowners. The first benefit is continuous filtration. As the air circulates through your system, it is constantly being passed through your filters. As a result, the quality of the air in your home improves.
Another advantage to operating your system’s fan continuously is even air distribution. Why should you care if the air is evenly distributed throughout your home? This can eliminate many of the hot and cold spots you may experience when your fan only runs while providing heating or cooling.

I have a new air conditioning system but it's still too hot upstairs. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do about it?

This is a common problem with two story homes that were built without zone controls (separate thermostats for upstairs and downstairs). The best way to solve the problem is to adapt a new zone control system to the home. Short of doing that one thing that you can do to help but not solve the problem is to run the blower continuously. This helps to mix the upstairs air and downstairs air and brings the temperature closer to being even.
The electrical usage of the blower is a factor and can run as high as $50 or more per month if you let it run 24 hours per day. It's best to run it only during problem times. Closing down all of the downstairs registers in order to force more cool air upstairs is usually not advisable since this restriction may cause the evaporator coil to ice up.

Is there any real difference between brand names of air conditioners?

Yes. There are major differences. We use only Trane air conditioners because they use all aluminum condenser coils (other brands use copper tubing with aluminum fins and the SEER rating of these type of units degrade rapidly after installation), they build their own compressors which have an extremely low failure rate, at last count less that one half of one percent came back to the factory with a problem and half of those were misdiagnosed, and this manufacturer provides a steel louvered cabinet around the entire unit to protect the condenser coils where other manufacturers leave the coils exposed to damage.