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Frequently Asked Questions

Most systems have a lifetime of 10 to 20 years. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. When a unit begins to show its age, you have two choices. You can overhaul the system or replace it. Because heating and cooling technologies improve over time, a new system designed with newer, more energy-efficient equipment makes sense, especially if your system is ten or more years old. We can estimate the cost of a new system and a payback schedule showing you how newer technology will pay you back in lower energy usage.

No. Replacing only the outdoor unit will lower its efficiency. You can lose up to 15% of the unit's efficiency! Even worse, your system may fail sooner than usual, and most manufacturers' warranties will be voided. You should always replace the indoor cooling coil with the outdoor unit.

No, you don't want your air conditioner to be too big. Air conditioners control the comfort level in your home by cooling the air and removing humidity. An oversized air conditioner will cool your home faster but uses more energy and does not remove humidity adequately. A unit that is too big for your home will have short-run cycles. Cooling the air may take a short time, but the unit shuts off before enough air blows across the indoor coil, where moisture condenses into water and drains from your system. Too much humidity in the air can lead to mold and mildew problems. These short-run cycles also mean your system starts and stops more often, which uses more energy and causes a lot of wear and tear. An air conditioner operates more efficiently during long-run cycles. The same holds with heating systems. An oversized furnace will warm the house quicker but use more fuel and cause a more significant temperature.

At the risk of telling you something you're tired of hearing, replace the air filter in your furnace regularly. Dirty air filters reduce the amount of air flowing through a system and make the furnace work harder to maintain the temperature. How often you change the filter depends on the type of filter you use, if you have pets, and the size of your equipment. Please call us, and we can provide you with proper guidance.

A matched system is essential for a variety of reasons. One is comfort. When all your components are correctly sized to your home, you can control exactly how much heating or cooling you need so you can relax. Also, a properly sized matched system enables every component to perform as designed, meaning proper cycle times are maintained, humidity is controlled, and system sound is minimized. Another reason matched systems are critical is efficiency. Most systems people buy are too large for their homes, which uses more energy than needed for your home. A matched system outlined by a dealer who has completed a load calculation for your home provides just the right amount of heating and cooling you need, so you get the most value for your utility dollar.

Yes. Maintaining your system will lower energy and repair costs, prevent breakdowns, and prolong the life of your equipment. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.

A breakdown can mean significant parts, labor, or expenses without warranty coverage. However, you avoid that unexpected significant expense with one of our service agreements. While no warranty can guard against every possible problem, we can explain the range of protection our service agreements afford.

With a high-efficiency air cleaner, you can remove up to 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into the home. There is also a significant reduction in household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants. Your indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust circulating throughout the house. A whole-house humidifier can relieve the irritating discomfort of dry indoor air. The humidifier reduces itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity, and damage to your furnishings and woodwork. Since humid air feels warmer than dry air, you do not have to set the thermostat as high to feel the comfort you want. A lower thermostat setting will reduce the costs of your energy bill.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but mold growth should be avoided indoors. Molds reproduce through tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on wet surfaces. There are many types of mold, and none grow without moisture. Click here to learn more about mold prevention in your home from the EPA. When humid air passes over chilled cooling coils, water condenses and drips through the coils into a collection pan, from which it continuously drains. Problems with these systems may occur when this water collects and becomes stagnant when blocked, either on the coils or in the drip pan. The pan will grow mold that can quickly infect your home with dangerous mold spores. Problems also exist when the HVAC ducting contains microscopic mold spores that continually present and blow contaminants around the house or office, often caused by mold in other parts of your home. You can do three things to prevent mold growth in your system: Preventative maintenance will ensure that the collection pan under the indoor coil stays clean and clog-free. Install ultraultravioletts next to the cooling coils to kill mold or bacteria growing on the coils or collection pan. Keep your ductwork clean, and use a high-efficiency filtration system to keep your entire HVAC system clean.

Duct cleaning refers to the cleaning of the various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

SEER, AFUE, and HSPF are all measures of energy efficiency. Air conditioners may look similar, but their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) can vary widely. Higher SEER numbers save more money spent on electricity. A 13 SEER air conditioner, the EPA "current minimum standard," uses 23% less energy than a 10 SEER unit (EPA standard up until Jan. 2006). Even though 13 SEER is the minimum efficiency available, we currently offer a line of air conditioners that start at 13 SEER and go up to 21 SEER. Higher SEER air conditioners can significantly reduce your electric bill depending on your average usage. Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for measuring heating efficiency. Higher HSPF ratings mean more significant energy savings. The HSPF scale range is 7.5 to 13.0. Today's new high-efficiency furnaces can save up to 50% in operating costs over a ten-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 65% or less. The minimum AFUE-rated furnace that can be sold in the United States as of May 1, 2013, is 80% in southern and 90% in northern states. Our current product offering starts at this minimum AFUE rating and goes to a very efficient 98.3% AFUE rating. Higher AFUE-rated furnaces can significantly reduce your gas bill depending on your average usage.

Cooling Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioner - Swapping your old, inefficient air conditioning system for a highly efficient one can cut electricity bills by one-third. Consult one of our professional technicians to ensure your system is the right size for your home and you are well-rested for your space needs. Turn up the temperature — To save electricity during the summer, set the temperature above 75° as every degree below this will add an extra three to five percent to your energy bill. Install ceiling fans — Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the summer, the blades should operate counter-clockwise to create a nice, gentle wind. Have annual maintenance performed — Having yearly maintenance performed on your air conditioner by a licensed technician will help ensure it operates at its peak efficiency. It catches any potential breakdowns before they occur. Don't block vents in well-used rooms — Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds, carpets, or furniture so your air conditioner can operate efficiently, and there is even excellent air distribution. Heating Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace — New high-efficiency furnaces use up to 50% less fuel than an older system. It can save up to 25 percent of your home heating costs in one year, and within a few years, you'll have recovered the initial cost of replacing/upgrading your furnace. Choosing a model with an energy-efficient motor can save 20 to 50 percent of the energy needed to operate a fan motor continuously. Let us show you the advantages of replacing your old furnace today. Have annual maintenance performed — Having yearly maintenance performed on your furnace by a licensed technician will help ensure it operates at its peak efficiency. It catches any potential breakdowns before they occur. A programmable thermostat lets you control your home's temperature when you're away or asleep. For every 1° you lower your thermostat for seven hours daily, you save one percent on your heating bill. Don't block vents in well-used rooms — Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds, carpets, or furniture so your furnace can operate efficiently, and there is even heat distribution. Install ceiling fans — Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the winter, the blades should operate clockwise, helping push the warm air from the ceiling into the room.

The average home spends about $1,900 annually on energy bills. Heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of a home's energy use. The EPA provides important recommendations for energy-efficient equipment, including proper sizing, quality installation and maintenance, and other home improvement considerations to help you get the most out of the heating and cooling products you purchase, save energy, and save as much as 20% annually on your total energy costs. ENERGY STAR-qualified products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Heat pumps are an excellent solution for your home comfort system because they work to provide both heating and cooling. Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for measuring heating efficiency. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings mean more significant energy savings. Heat pumps are a very efficient alternative to electric heat. A heat pump works the same as an air conditioner in the summer but reverses to heat your home in the winter. The system will be matched with a backup heating source for those frigid winter days, mostly electric heat.

With a traditional heating and cooling system, you had to use less if you wanted to save more. However, a hybrid heat system combines the benefits of intelligent control for gas and electric heating to create an intuitive system that can react to changing conditions. No matter what the temperature is outside, a Hybrid Heat system will automatically select the most efficient fuel source for your home, which means you'll stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and save money all year. To design a Hybrid Heat system for your home, we professionally match one of our heat pump units with a natural gas furnace. Contact us to see how much energy you can save over your existing system.

Variable-speed fans operate on a simple principle: they can spin at different speeds depending on your home's heating and cooling needs. Usually, they operate at lower speeds, delivering a steady, reliable stream of warm or cool air to your home. This helps control humidity levels, utility costs, and system noise. When conditions become more extreme, the fan speed increases so that the system can meet increased demand, guaranteeing that your comfort needs will be met on even the hottest days or coldest nights.

2-stage cooling is a method that can better manage your home's cooling while outdoor temperatures change. It can also better maximize indoor comfort and energy efficiency. 2-stage cooling systems are typically the most energy-efficient systems out there. 2-stage cooling can be done by having one unit with two compressors, one small and one large. The small one is typically capable of putting out about 50% of the capacity of the larger one. The second way to have 2-stage cooling is to have a single scroll unloading compressor. This compressor can unload its capacity to about 66% of maximum capacity. Both these methods of getting 2-stage cooling allow the unit to run at a lower stage when the high stage is not needed. By doing this, energy is saved. 2-stage heating has the same principle as 2-stage cooling. It allows the unit to adjust itself based on the amount of heating that is necessary. 2-stage heating is an excellent way to save on heating costs. A heat pump system would have two compressors of different sizes, small and large. The compressor used at a given time would depend upon the need. If only a tiny amount of heating is necessary, the smaller compressor would be used to save energy. The large compressor would only be used when a large amount of heating was needed. A gas furnace that is 2-stage has a modulating gas valve that regulates gas flow depending upon the need.

Standard cooling settings are 75 degrees - 80 degrees. Normal heating settings are 68 degrees - 72 degrees. You should always set your thermostat to the highest possible setting that is comfortable for you in the summer and the lowest comfortable setting in the winter. Setting your thermostat in this way will maximize your energy savings. On average, every 1 degree of temperature change equals about 1% energy savings. For example, changing your thermostat setting from 75 to 76 degrees in the summer could save your cooling costs.

This can occur for many reasons: uneven solar heat load through windows, an undersized system, an improperly balanced or clogged system, or a single system serving a two-story home with no zoning control. Each situation is different, usually requiring an onsite analysis with problem-specific recommendations. Please call to arrange for us to see your house.

Yes. As of January 2010, the refrigerant R-22 (what consumers call Freon®) can no longer manufacture new equipment. R-22 has been used as the "standard" refrigerant for many years but is harmful to our planet by our government. All new air conditioners and heat pumps use R-410A, the more "environmentally sound" refrigerant. R-22 is still the most commonly used refrigerant in existing air conditioning equipment in residential homes today. However, per the Montreal Protocol, caps have been established to eliminate the production of R-22. In 2004, there was a 35% reduction; in 2010, there was a 65% reduction; in 2015 a 90% reduction; and finally, in 2020 a 99.5% reduction in the production of R-22. This means that during these high-demand reductions, the price of each pound of R-22 refrigerant could skyrocket. If you are considering replacing your existing air conditioning equipment, most higher efficiency products have already switched to R-410A, the more "environmentally sound" refrigerant.

A difference of 6 decibels (between 72 dB and 78 dB) is a four-fold increase in compressor sound when rating air conditioners or heat pump units. However, it takes a difference of 10 decibels to double the loudness. It is also noted that it takes approximately 3 decibels for the average human ear to discern any loudness difference. Great strides have been made to reduce the operating sound level of equipment. We will happily show you the difference in sound ratings between our product line and ours.

Yes. Each year, carbon monoxide kills more than 200 Americans and sends nearly 5,000 more to emergency rooms for treatment, reports the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Where does it come from? When carbon-based fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene, or wood burn, they produce gases. When fuel combustion or burning isn't complete, carbon monoxide enters the air. The CPSC advises that carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to alert yourself to toxic gas in your home. If you wake in the night with a headache- especially if another family member complains of a headache or is difficult to arouse- get out of the house fast and seek medical help. We recommend carbon monoxide detectors be installed in your home!

Propane (LP) gas: You have this type if your gas comes from a tank located outside close to your house. Propane is stored as a liquid under pressure in tanks and cylinders. In most residential applications, propane is used as a vapor. When liquid propane changes into a gas vapor, it expands in volume. This means that even a small leak of liquid propane can result in a much larger propane vapor, which can be especially dangerous in a confined space. A chemical odorant has been added to propane to give it a distinct smell. Learn to identify this odor. Propane gas is heavier than air, so it will sink to the floor and spread. To check for the presence of propane, carefully smell all over a room, especially in low spots. If you smell propane (LP) gas, Exit your home immediately. Propane gas can ignite easily. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark. From a safe area, contact your propane supplier and call 911. If you can, shut the propane gas supply off at the tank. Stay away from your home until you've been told it is safe to return. Natural gas: If you have a gas meter and pay a natural gas supplier or utility, you have this type. A chemical odorant has been added to natural gas to give it a distinct smell. Learn to identify this odor. If you smell natural gas, Exit your home immediately. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark. From a safe area, contact your gas company or call 911. If you are able, turn the gas off at the meter. Stay away from your home until you've been told it is safe to return.

The water heater Energy Factor (EF) measures the water heater's overall efficiency. This is determined by comparing the energy in the heated water used daily to the total daily energy consumption of the water heater. The EF can be used to compare the energy efficiency of water heaters. Water heaters with higher EFs will have lower annual operating costs than comparable models with lower EFs. A higher EF signifies a more efficient model. Water heaters with high EF ratings may cost more initially but save energy and money in the long run. Eventually, they will pay for themselves through a lifetime of energy savings.

The anode rod is attached to the water heater's hot water outlet for most water heaters. If you are facing the front of the water heater (where the labels are), the hot water outlet is on the left-hand side. The anode rod is often referred to as a "sacrificial rod." Most water is rarely "pure". It can contain oxygen, magnesium, fluoride, chlorine, and suspended particles. These components, in the concentrations in your water, are usually not harmful to you. However, they do contribute to the taste and smell of the water. They also impart a slight conductivity to the water. Through an electrical process called electrolysis, this conductivity will eventually (over a long period) cause most metals to rust or corrode. When the water is heated, this electrical process can be accelerated. Most water heaters are made of a steel tank with a porcelain enamel (glass) lining. However, due to production and assembly methods, it is only sometimes possible to completely cover the inside of the tank. Therefore, providing metal that the electrical process can consume is essential. This is where the sacrificial anode rod comes in. The anode rod draws the harmful electrolytic process away from the water heater tank by acting as a lightning rod for the corrosion process. It focuses on the corrosion on the anode rod. Water heaters need this sacrificial anode rod to ensure the electrolysis does not affect the tanks.

The answer may be that you have sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters age, they tend to accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If the heaters are not cleaned periodically, the sediment may rise to a level that will act as a barrier between the burner and the water, making it harder to heat. An article published in a national ASPE plumbing journal states that every half inch of sediment on the bottom of a gas-fired water heater requires up to 70% more fuel to heat the water.

Yes. The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recommends replacing any flood-damaged heating and cooling equipment, not repairing it. From the AHRI website, regarding water heaters: "Whether your water heater is gas-fired, oil-fired or electric, if it was exposed to flood water, the unit should be replaced. In a gas unit, valves and controls will likely corrode. In an electric unit, the thermostat and controls will likely corrode. In both types, the insulation surrounding the unit will be contaminated and nearly impossible to disinfect. Additionally, the insulation would take a long time to dry, leading to corrosion of the tank from the outside. Even if water heater components have been cleaned and the unit seems to operate properly, parts may corrode in the future. Both gas and electric water heaters have pressure relief valves that can corrode and stick after exposure to flood water. Therefore, be sure to replace this valve as well." (Taken from www.ahrinet.org) At the suggestion of AHRI, be sure to have your inspection and replacement work performed by a qualified professional.

With the increasing energy costs and a desire for environmental friendliness, some customers are turning to the sun to heat their domestic water. Bradford White manufactures a solar water heating storage tank for solar systems. This tank takes the heated water from the solar panels and uses it as a heat source instead of conventional gas, oil, or electric heat sources. Unlike other tanks, this water heater has an electric heating element for backup on cloudy days and when the solar system is not providing enough heat. However, you must use only POTABLE (or domestic use) water in this tank.

A water heater should be placed in an area that will prevent damage to floors, ceilings, and furniture if the heater leaks. When this is impossible, a drain pan must be installed under the water heater. Since a typical drain pan doesn't hold that much water, it must have a pipe to a drain or other outlet for the water. When installed properly, a drain pan and pipe will keep any leakage under control and protect your belongings from water damage.

We recommend contacting a plumbing professional to perform any maintenance or repairs to your water heater - from periodic checks on the anode rod to ensuring that all connections are secure. Recommendations for maintenance are in your water heater's owner manual. However, there are a few things that you can do: Ensure that there are no sources of flammable vapors in the same area as your water heater (this includes gasoline, heating oils, lighter fluid, propane, etc.). Keep the top of the water heater clean. If you notice water dripping on the water heater from any piping, contact a plumbing professional to leak repaired. Keep the space around your water heater clean and free of dirt, boxes, paint cans, aerosol cans, household cleaners, and trash. It is essential to keep the heater accessible for proper operation and easy maintenance.