In this section of our website you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) when it comes to air comes to air conditioning units. If you can’t find an answer here contact us today!
How can I figure out reason for high home energy costs?
There are a variety of factors that impact your energy costs, and New Orleans’ famously hot weather is only one of them. Electricity rates are another big factor. While these variables are out of your control, there are several things you can do to lower your monthly bill. Leaving the windows and doors open, for example, creates more work for your HVAC. New Orleans is not a good place for leaving the windows open, as letting in the heat and humidity makes it harder to cool off the house. Insulation also makes a big difference when it comes to making your home more comfortable. For more advice on how to cut costs, ask your service technician.
How important is an EnergyGuide label?
The EnergyGuide label is very important when you’re looking for energy efficiency. Manufacturers are required to affix the label on certain appliances, according to U.S. law. The label then provides an easy way for customers to compare different products. On the label, you can find the estimated yearly operating cost based on that particular appliances electricity usage and the national average cost of energy. Checking out this label is a great way to select an energy efficient machine that won’t run up your heating or cooling bill.
What should I do in case of an emergency like water dripping from my ceiling?
There are a few things you can learn ahead of time that will help you out in an emergency: where your breaker is and where your main water shut off valve is. If you’re dealing with water in your home⏤whether it’s dripping from the ceiling or coming in from under the doors⏤go ahead and shut off the electricity. Those two are a bad combo. If the water is coming from your pipes, turn it off at the main valve. This should be near the water meter if you have one. Once the issue has been temporarily resolved, call a professional to finish the job.
Can I troubleshoot my system before I call in for a repair?
Troubleshooting is a great way to save time and money. Here are a few tips for quick fixes:
- Make sure switches are not disconnected and that your circuit breaker or fuses haven’t blown
- Check your air filters, as a dirty filter can have a big impact on airflow.
- Check your thermostat to make sure it’s on your desired settings. It’s easy to forget that the switch is set to a different setting than you wanted, especially during season changes. Make sure that the FAN switch is either on ON or AUTO, as well.
What can I do to improve my indoor air quality?
It’s important to maintain good indoor air quality for the health of your family, as poor air quality can lead to asthma, lung cancer, and other medical issues. Luckily, there’s a variety of equipment out there to keep your air clean. Air filters, for example, filter out small particles of dust and dirt that are suspended in the air. The better your air filter, the higher its MERV rating. Make sure to check this number before you buy. In order for these to work properly, you should install a clean one every month.
Air cleaners, air purifiers, and UV germicidal lamps are also good tools to use on a regular basis. For an even greater impact, hire professionals to clean your air ducts every few years. Ensuring good air quality is especially important if allergies or asthma run in your family, so if someone’s allergies are acting up, it may be time for a cleaning.
Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous, as a leak in your home could prove fatal. The gas is scented for this reason, so if you ever smell gas, you should take care of the problem immediately. The best thing to do in this situation is turn off the gas. After the gas is off, call a professional to check out your appliance. Even when there is no issue, it’s important to have your furnace and water heater inspected regularly. This can prevent future problems. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is also a smart decision.
What’s that black stuff on my ceilings and vents?
Candles are generally to blame for these marks. One way to prevent their pollution is trimming the wicks down. Wicks should be no longer than ¼ of an inch.
Should I get my ducts cleaned?
Air duct cleaning is one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality, as it removes the contaminants that have built up in your ducts over the years. A professional cleaning should keep your HVAC blowing clean air for 3-7 years.
How Often Should I Replace the Filter in my A/C System?
Generally, you should switch out your disposable filters every month. You can use your judgement to decide, however. Once a month, take out your filter and check out its condition. If it’s dirty, it needs to be cleaned or replaced. Some filters can be cleaned, while other types are disposable.
What are Air Conditioning ratings?
Air conditioning ratings are a way to measure your HVAC’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). It’s similar to a car’s MPG in that the higher the number, the more efficient your machine. Purchasing an air conditioner with a high SEER will lower your fuel consumption, saving you money is the long run. The minimum SEER allowed by the Department of Energy is a 13.
How can I improve the ventilation in my home?
Here are a few easy tips:
- Make sure that you have vents in your bathroom that push moisture outside the house. The bathroom is responsible for creating most of the moisture in your home, although you should do that same for your laundry room.
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside, never into the laundry room, and make sure to clean the duct regularly.
- Install and vent hood and exhaust fan over your kitchen stove to take care of the heat.
- Ceiling fans are a great way to ventilate your home year round. Just make sure you reverse the direction when the season change, so your circulating air that’s the right temperature.
- Make sure not to cover up vents, as they won’t work properly.
What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?
Maintenance is important and there are definitely things you can do on your own. Just make sure you turn off power to the unit before starting on any work. One of the easiest and most important things you can do is cleaning, which keeps your HVAC efficient. Dust and debris builds up in ducts and can restrict airflow. This particulate matter also worsens your air quality. That’s why a good air filter is so important. Taking care of the air filter is simple and should be done every month. Check your filter every month and change it when it gets dirty. If you have a reusable filter, you simply need to clean and reinstall it.
You should also clean your coil every month, which is easy enough with a vacuum and a soft-brush attachment. Just make sure the coil is dry for safety reasons. You should also clean the core and air filters on a ventilator with a vacuum cleaner at least every three months. When it comes to ground mounted outdoor units, make sure to keep the machinery clear of debris, including weeds that may grow up around the unit. Keep pets away as well, as pet urine can damage the system. Also make sure that your outdoor units are level at all times. Always work safely when it comes to HVAC equipment and don’t hesitate to call the professionals if you need assistance.
Besides working on your own, you should have your HVAC serviced twice a year to prevent issues. Tune-ups do a lot to keep your machine running efficiently, so don’t ignore them.
Should I close registers and doors to areas of my home I’m not using?
Your HVAC system is designed to match the size of your house, so you shouldn’t block off certain rooms. This creates an inefficient system by disrupting the airflow. When you close off certain vents, your system is actually working harder to cool less space.
What is a good temperature to set my thermostat?
Set your thermostat at whatever temperature makes you feel comfortable. Try to find a temperature you like and stick to it to save energy, and remember, it takes time to cool down a whole house. Sometimes it’s better to wait than keep adjusting the thermostat.
What is an air handler?
An air handler is the indoor part of your HVAC system that moves air throughout a building. Together with a heat pump, the air handler circulates warm and cool air throughout an area, making your home comfortable.
What are some signs that might indicate I have a problem with my HVAC system?
Noises generally indicate a problem. If your system is making an abnormal noise, you should generally call a professional. You should also pay attention to how your system is functioning. If it’s running non-stop or blowing out air that is the wrong temperature, there is most likely a problem. A particularly high bill could also be a sign.
If you have any of these problems, simple wear and tear could be to blame. You will most likely experience more issues toward the end of your unit’s life. Other issues⏤such as a bad part⏤can usually be prevented with maintenance.
Do I really need to have my air ducts professionally cleaned?
Hiring a professional is key when it comes to duct cleaning, as experienced technicians are extremely familiar with this job. Because they know exactly what they’re doing, they are unlikely to damage the system. That experience also ensures a more thorough job. Cleaning your ducts on your own can be tricky and even dangerous if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
When replacing the outdoor unit, do I need to replace the indoor unit as well?
Generally, yes. Most units are designed in matching pairs—the indoor and the outdoor—so most likely, you’ll need a new indoor system to complement your new outdoor unit. Having a matching set ensures efficiency, saving you money in the long run. You wouldn’t want to pair an old unit with a new one, as many technological advancements have taken place in recent years. Even if they work together, you are not getting the best performance possible. Replacing them both will also save you from having unnecessary work done on the newer unit when the older one is acting from years of wear and tear.
How often should I have my system serviced?
We recommend that you service your HVAC once a year, especially when the weather is changing. Getting a tune-up when the seasons change can save you from encountering trouble down the road. By getting your system checked ahead of time, you can prevent being stuck with a non-functioning HVAC unit in the dead of winter⏤or worse, a New Orleans summer! Tune-ups also keep your system efficient, meaning you save money on energy bills. Maintenance is especially important if you’re dealing with gas-powered equipment, as a leak could prove fatal.
My furnace and air conditioner are both new. Do I really need to have it cleaned?
Yes! No matter how new your system is, regular maintenance is necessary to keep it running in top shape. Plus, many warranties are based on the condition that the unit undergoes regular maintenance to prevent issues from arising and delay wear and tear.
During the winter the fan occasionally shuts off on my heat pump outside unit, then restarts. Why?
This is completely normal. Your unit is simply defrosting, as ice builds up on the coil after an extended period of use. This defrost will keep your machine running efficiently, so don’t worry about it. And if you think you see smoke rising from the unit, it’s most likely just steam from the defrost function!
Why is the upstairs of my house always hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter?
It’s simple: heat rises. If this is a big issue, a zone system could help lessen the change. Return air ductwork is also a solution as it improves air movement, cooling off the upper levels.
How can I save money on a heating or air conditioning system?
Like with all products, a shopper must look at a variety of different factors when purchasing a new HVAC system. You may be interested in saving money by choosing a cheaper model, but will it last? And if it does last, how will it affect your energy bill? Energy efficiency has a lot to with how much your system will cost you in the long run. In a hot and humid climate like ours in New Orleans, your savings could cover the extra money spent on a higher-efficiency mean in just a few years. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to compare energy efficiency. There is a standardized rating system for the three main systems used today: gas heating, heat pump heating, and cooling.
Gas Heating – AFUE
For furnaces, efficiency is measured with the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating system. This simply tells you how efficiently your machine is converting fuel to heat, giving you a percentage of fuel used to heat your home and a percentage that is wasted. According to government regulations, few furnaces must have a rating of 78% or higher. Higher efficiency furnaces cost more, but you can save up to 60% with a more efficient model, compared to an older furnace that may have a below-regulation rating. over the course of a decade, upgrading to an Energy Star furnace could save you anywhere from $920- $1,700, depending on your previous furnace.
Cooling – SEER
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) applies to air conditioning systems and heat pumps. It tells you how efficiently the unit is using electricity. Most high-efficiency units are rated a 12 or higher, while the government minimum is a 10. The max is around 17.
Heat Pump Heating – HSPF
The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating tells you how efficient your heat pump is when it comes to electricity use. Government regulations require a minimum rating of 6.8, while 7.5 is highly efficient. The highest efficiency pumps have a HSPF rating of 10.
What is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doing to encourage energy efficient HVACs?
The EPA promotes residential energy efficiency in an effort to prevent pollution and partners with companies to raise consumer standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program, for example, encourages companies to produce more efficient products, including high-efficient furnaces with 90% efficiency ratings or higher. Manufacturers that meet these standards label their products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star logo to let consumers know. Air conditioners with the Energy Star logo are 20% more efficient than those that are simply meeting government standards.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, we encourage you to let us know. When it comes to servicing HVAC, New Orleans has been benefiting from our services since 1979. Please call our office in Kenner today to get fast answers and effective service.