Helpful Hints at Autumn Air
Here are a few helpful hints that can assist you with our most frequently asked questions. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.
How often should I change or clean my filters?
Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
What do all those rating numbers mean to me?
The federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated as to efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating); heat pump heating is HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor), and gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). All of these ratings can be compared by asking your dealer, utility, or referencing the ARI Directory.
How much will my new air conditioning system cost?
The answer is “That depends.” There are many factors which must be considered: the efficiency of the equipment, the size of your home, is the ductwork installed and in good condition, do you need a thermostat or electronic air cleaner. In most cases, replacing your whole system, indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer-lasting system but will also cost a little more. Contact us for a cost estimate.
Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?
Covering the unit is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep your unit clean. Of course, because heat pumps run all year long, they should never be covered.
Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to “ON” so the fan runs constantly?
There are a couple. One is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The other is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout. Be aware of older systems this will increase your utility bills due to electric consumption increasing.
How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?
Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.
I need a new outdoor unit, but my indoor unit works fine. What are the advantages of replacing my whole system at the same time?
Air conditioners are designed as matched systems, with an efficiency rating given for the whole system. If you replace only one part, you do not get the advantage of many technology changes that make the system work efficiently to ensure comfort. Also, the indoor system contains a cooling coil which may be partially blocked by particles that will decrease efficiency. Further, if your whole system is replaced, you will be less likely to need service in the near future.
What size system do I need for my home?
There are many things that will determine the size (capacity) system your home requires. Some of these are square feet to be cooled, climate, humidity, number of windows, insulation factors, which direction your home faces, heat-producing appliances, and even the number of people who will be in the home. Autumn Air can do an energy analysis on your home and help you decide what your particular needs are for your lifestyle.
What about heat pumps?
Heat pumps are very efficient electric compressors that transfer heat into your house in winter and out of your house in summer. They are great for homes in southern or central climates, but our winters are too cold for them; they can be used here, but need optional built-in electric heating elements. Gas or oil furnaces are generally more economical.
How efficient are the newest heating systems?
Gas or oil heating systems are rated by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) standards. Old systems were only 60-65% efficient; new systems are over 80%. Heat Pumps are currently limited to 23 Seer for split systems and 16 seer for rooftop units.
How does central air work?
There are two main pieces of equipment: an outdoor compressor and an indoor evaporator. The compressor runs on electricity. It compresses a special liquid, such as R410a creating heat, which escapes outdoors. The compressed liquid is pumped inside to a set of coiled pipes in your air ducts, where it expands (this process is called “evaporation”, although the decompressed, evaporated liquid is kept contained inside the pipes). This creates cooling. The evaporated liquid is pumped back out to the compressor to repeat the cycle.
My parents in Florida love their heat pump do you recommend them here?
YES. Heat pumps are very efficient electric compressors that transfer heat into your house in winter and out of your house in summer. They are great for homes in our Arizona climate.
When are humidifiers recommended?
We hate humidity in summer, but really need it in winter. Many homes can become drier than the Sahara Desert! That can crack your furniture and woodwork and cause static electricity. It can cause irritated nasal passages and allows germs, dust, and other light materials to float through the air. Plus, the too-dry air feels colder, so you raise the thermostat, costing you money. A central air humidifier will increase your health, reduce your heating bills, and keep your furniture, and you, in much better condition.
Top 7 Things to look for when hiring an AC Contractor!!!
- Reputation for quality and dependability:
Dealers should be able to provide names of satisfied customers in your neighborhood. They should also be licensed, insured and code-compliant.
- Prompt, courteous, and professional service:
Some dealers provide an extra measure of convenience with extended hours, emergency service, financing packages and year-round maintenance programs.
- Commitment to your satisfaction:
Dealers with a solid reputation are committed to 100% customer satisfaction. They realize that actions speak louder than words. So instead of just talking about quality, they practice it through listening, learning and responding to your needs. The best service providers may even offer a satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to look for this level of service!
- Innovative product offerings:
Dealers should offer a variety of innovative products and services that make your home more comfortable. They should also be able to provide suggestions for saving money on your utility bills and improving the quality of the air you breathe.
- Solutions customized to match your needs:
The best dealers recognize that one solution does not fit all homes. After going over what you want, and taking a look at your home and duct system, the dealer should be able to develop a proposal customized to your specific needs.
- Technical expertise and certification:
Dealers should have technicians on hand that can select the right size equipment for your home, install it properly and keep it in good working order. One sign of qualification is membership in professional organizations such as North American Technician Excellence, the only national testing and certification program accepted by the entire industry.
- Clearly stated repair and service policies:
The warranty and other service policies should be clearly stated for equipment, materials, and labor. They should also indicate who is responsible for honoring the warranty.