Do You Have Questions About Heating and Cooling?

Our answers to your most common questions…

HVAC General Questions

How long should my HVAC system last?

The lifetime of a furnace and air conditioner is greatly dependent on the homeowner being proactive or reactive. A modern, well maintained system has the potential to last upwards of twenty years. While, in contrast, a neglected system will probably only last around ten.

What efficiency should my system be?

It makes sense that you would want a system that is efficient as possible. High efficiency units are defined as greater than or equal to 92% efficiency. Lower efficiencies are more affordable, but your long term operating costs throughout the life of the system will usually end up costing you more.

What are some ways to save energy on heating and cooling costs?

Annual maintenance ensure that your air conditioner or furnace will operate at peak efficiency. They are also required by each manufacture to keep your system’s warranties valid. For your convenience, Approved Comfort offers a Preferred Customer Plan that offers preferential scheduling, as well as savings off the retail price of the annual maintenance and other discounts – so that you do not fall behind on these important inspections and tune ups. You may also schedule your annual maintenance online. In addition, a higher efficient unit will save you on operating costs. And lastly, installing a programmable thermostat that can be set to lower or raise your home’s temperature while you are away or sleeping. By standard, for each two degrees or you raise (summer) or lower (winter) your thermostat, you cut energy costs by 10%.

How often should I have my furnace and AC cleaned?

In order for your HVAC equipment to run safe and efficient, all of the manufactures recommend that your furnace and air conditioner be cleaned and inspected once per year.

This is also important in maintaining any warranty associated with the equipment.  The best synopsis is to have the systems cleaned in the beginning of each the season.  The Fall for the Heating System, and The Spring for the air conditioning system.  Sometime customers can take advantage of discounts by having them both done at the same time too.

Why should I have my equipment maintained?

Annual maintenance includes cleaning the system, checking for any problems or potential problems and adjusting it for maximum efficiency. The benefits are:

  • Increased dependability and reduced breakdowns
  • Maximizes efficiency which lowers energy usage, and lowers your utility cost
  • Extends the life expectancy, and longevity of the equipment
  • Keeps your family and household safe
What size furnace or air conditioner do I need in my home?

There is no simple calculation to determine the size of system needed for a home. The age, size, and duct work layout in your home play a large role in calculating the size of your unit. A larger unit does not necessarily mean a more effective unit, either. An appropriately sized unit for your home will keep your bill minimized and your family comfortable. If you are interested in scheduling a FREE quote, please contact our office directly or schedule online.

Air Conditioning Questions

These are reasons you need an air conditioner service call:
  • You cannot get the air conditioner to turn on outside.
  • The AC unit is starting to make noises.
  • The AC is not cooling the house sufficiently.
  • Your electric utility bills have gone up for no apparent reason.
  • It is taking longer to cool your home.
  • To avoid any serious damage to your cooling system contact us for a service call.
  • We will provide Comfort your family will Approve.
How do I know my air conditioner is working properly?

Is the thermostat set to a temperature that is less than what it is in the home now?  Is the unit on outside?  Both the fan at the top spinning, and you hear a humming noise like a refrigerator running?  The humming noise means the compressor is running.  Those are the two important components that need to be running outside.

If the unit is not running, first check the circuit breaker.  If the unit is running, the next thing is to check the air filter in the furnace.  That is the number 1 reason for air conditioners not working.

How often should I have my AC replaced?

The average life expectancy of an air conditioner depends on many outside influences:  How often is the AC operational?  H

What type of climate and environment does the unit share?  Has the equipment been properly maintained?  Is the equipment properly sized?  And most important, was the unit installed correctly?  With all these influences being equal, the average life expectancy of an air conditioner is 12 to14 years.  ACTUALLY, benefits of replacing an air conditioner as early as 8 or even 10 years old has its perks.  With improved technology, and always increasing government mandates, the replacement target age is getting less and less.

How do I know if my Freon is getting low?

Freon or refrigerant in an air conditioner should never need to be added.  It does not get used.  If it is low, only two things could have happened:  1 the unit was never charged, and installed correctly.  2 the unit has a leak.  Either way, a certified technician, that holds an EPA card, type II, or Universal, is qualified, and legally allowed to recharge an air conditioner.

In 1990 the United States Congress passed the “Clean Air Act” which became effective July 1, 1992.  This act prohibits individuals from knowingly venting ozone-depleting compounds used in refrigerants into the atmosphere.

THERE ARE FOUR SOLUTIONS TO REFRIGERANT LEAK PROBLEMS.

  1. LEAK SEARCH, REPAIR, AND ADD REFRIGERANT.
  2. ADD EASY SEAL “STOP LEAK”, AND ADD REFRIGERANT.
  3. REPLACE THE SYSTEM.
  4. CHOOSE TO DO NOTHING AT THIS TIME
Why is my A/C making noise?

The noises that an air conditioner makes, may come from inside the home, or outside of the home.

  • Squealing, rattling sound from inside may have to do with the furnace blower wheel, or blower motor. A fan belt, might need to be replaced.
  • Squealing, rattling sound from outside may be fan motor, or compressor failing.

If you are lucky, twigs or leaves may have gotten into your system, and in that case it just needs to be cleaned out.

  • Gurgling from inside and or from outside may reflect low refrigerant.
  • Contrary, a quiet unit that does not hum, may be over charged.

To avoid any serious damage to your cooling system contact us for a service call.

Approved Comfort, We will provide Comfort your family will Approve.

Heating Questions

How do I know my furnace is working properly?

Is the thermostat set to a temperature that is higher than what it is in the home now?  Does the furnace make noises? Is there air coming out of the registers? Is the air warm or cold?  If the air is cold, wait 5 minutes, if it does not heat up, shut the furnace off at the switch for the furnace, check your air filter.  Make sure it is clean.  Turn power switch back on and wait for unit to cycle. If warm air does not come out of the registers now, you will need a service call.

These are reasons you need a furnace service call:
  • You cannot get the furnace to turn on.
  • The heater is starting to make noises.
  • The furnace is not heating the house sufficiently.
  • Your gas utility bills have gone up for no apparent reason.
  • It is taking longer to heat your home.
  • To avoid any serious damage to your heating system contact us for a service call.
  • We will provide Comfort your family will Approve.
What is the difference between furnaces?

In simplest terms, there are two families of furnaces, and 4 types of furnaces in each family.

The two families consist of the standard efficiency, and the high efficiency.  The efficiency spoken about furnaces are mainly fuel consumption.  The higher the efficiency, the more efficient the furnace is.

Furnaces use natural gas and turn that fuel into heat.  Like your automobile, a gallon of gas is equivalent to a therm.

In even easier terms, the efficiency of a furnace produces each therm into heat.

Example: an 80% furnace will turn 80% of each therm used into heat.  Just as a 98% furnace will term 98% of that same therm into heat.  Simply put, the higher efficient furnaces, use less therms to heat a space.

In every family are four basic types of furnaces: 

Furnace 1, is a single stage furnace the most common furnace in the market.  This furnace, when the thermostat calls for heat, the furnace turns on with a high flame, and a high fan speed.  When the thermostat is satisfied the furnace turns off.

Furnace 2, is a two stage furnace.    When the thermostat calls for heat, the furnace turns on with a low flame, and a low fan speed.  This is when you do not need the full force of the furnace on milder days.  When the thermostat is not satisfied within a certain period of time, the burners fire to a hotter flame and the fan speeds up.  This furnace operates at low stage 75% of the time.  Benefits of this furnace are it is Quieter, costs less to operate, and gradually increases the temperature in your home.

Furnace 3, is a two stage variable speed furnace.  This furnace is exactly like the two stage furnace except it has a D/C motor.  This allows the fan motor to constantly turn at a low RPM to mix the air in the house so hot air can`t migrate up and cold air won`t fall.  (Upper levels in homes are always hotter than the lower levels) This will keep each room is within 2 to 3 degrees of each other, for about the same cost as a 75 watt light bulb.  Benefits are this furnace is Quieter, costs less to operate, and gradually increases the temperature in your home.  24 hour a day indoor air quality improvement.  (Air Filters, humidifiers) Reduces air conditioning cost by increasing dehumidification.

Furnace 4, is a modulating furnace.  This furnace is like the Two Stage Variable Speed Furnace except it has multiple levels of heat and fan speeds.  Depending on the manufacture some units increase at a rate of 1-2% of full operation.  This is the most efficient and quietest furnace on the market that truly dials in your comfort needs.

*Now with each of these options, every manufacture has their own nuance associated to it.  Maybe time delays, added x-13 motors for efficiency, size differences in both capacity, and physical structure.  They continually change yearly based on technology.

How do I choose the right furnace for me?

The best way to determine the best furnace for you is simple.  How long do you plan on living in your location.  This is a “pay back”: formula.  Will you save as much money or more in fuel costs during the time you are living at the location from the difference in price from the standard efficiency, to the high efficiency.

Then decide what is the most important to you that fits within your budget.  Factors of decision can be, noise level, producing increased comfort, reliability, and efficiency.