The temperature in the house is fine, but the indoor fan runs all the time. What's wrong?
Sometimes homeowners turn the fan switch to "On" versus "Auto" which causes the indoor fan to run continuously. Turn the switch to "Auto" and the fan should stop running continuously.
The air coming from the registers feels cool when my new heat pump is set for heating. Is there a problem?
While a heat pump is perfectly capable of effectively heating your home, the temperature of the air coming out of the registers is heated to about 90 to 95 degrees, depending on the outdoor temperature. This temperature is approximately 20 - 25 degrees warmer that the indoor air temperature and will warm your house. It is, however, below body temperature (98.6 degrees) and can feel cool when someone puts their hand in the airflow.
What is the purpose of auxiliary heat?
Under normal operating conditions, the auxiliary heat is brought on automatically by the thermostat when the indoor temperature drops during heat pump operation. There are also times during cold, wet weather when the outdoor coil may ice up and your heat pump will go into a defrost cycle. This is nothing more than reversing the process back to cooling mode. Cooling mode makes the outdoor coil hot and melts any ice. The defrost cycle should only last a few minutes and then return to heating mode. During the defrost cycle, your comfort system is in cooling mode and the supply air is cool. To offset this cool air, the auxiliary heat will be energized during defrost. A mist or fog may be visible from the outdoor unit during defrost.
How long does a typical furnace and air conditioner last?
On average, a furnace or air conditioner will last 10 - 20 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by newer equipment. Life expectancies can vary greatly. The major factors influencing life expectancy are proper installation and regular maintenance. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in BTU or Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. This ratio is calculated as cooling output divided by the power input for the average U.S. climate. It's like MPG (miles per gallon) in a car - the higher the MPG (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill.
What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner?
A heat pump is an electric powered piece of equipment that both heats and cools your home. In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter a heat pump operates in reverse and heats the indoors.
Some rooms in our house are too hot (or cold). Can this be fixed?
Certainly. There are a variety of causes for airflow problems. Sometimes the problems are due to a dirty filter, coil, and/or blower which results in reduced air flow passing through the air handler and causing the air to die off in the outer branches of the duct system. From time to time the duct work comes loose and a minor reattachment repair can solve the problem. In a lot of cases, there are duct design issues.
In terms of preventative maintenance, should my air conditioner and furnace be checked at the same time or separately one in the spring and one in the fall?
They should be checked and cleaned to ensure they are operating efficiently, properly, and safely. We recommend checking the air conditioner in the spring and the furnace in the fall so that we can fully operate the system to check its operation. When checking your refrigerant level in your air conditioner, we obtain a more accurate reading at higher outdoor temperatures.
What can I do to maintain my furnace?
Your forced-air heating system will perform more efficiently (i.e. save you money on energy bills and repair costs) if you...
- Inspect filters once a month and replace them when they are dirty.
- Make sure air supply and return vents in your home are not obstructed. Make sure nothing is in front of them or on top of them such as furniture, curtains, boxes, toys, etc.
- Check chimney and venting systems once a year for secure fittings, leaks, corrosion, or damage.
- Keep area around furnace clean and clutter free. Keep at least 3 - 4 feet totally clear all the way around your furnace.
- Do not block the source of furnace combustion air by enclosing furnace in a small closet or by making the room it is located in too air tight. The furnace needs to pull air from its immediate surroundings.
- If your system operates on propane gas, regularly check your propane gas percentage to make sure you do not run out.
What can I do to maintain my air conditioner or heat pump?
Regular maintenance will extend the life of your equipment and reduce repair costs. Here are some simple tasks that should be done.
- Keep debris, grass clippings, dirt, and leaves away from outdoor unit.
- Use a hose to clear the aluminum fins from airborne debris (be careful, the fins bend easily. Use a regular hose without a spray nozzle, and a very soft brush with light to no pressure).
How can we improve the efficiency of an existing heating and cooling system without replacing the furnace or the air conditioner and without adding more insulation?
First and foremost is MAINTENANCE. The equipment needs to be cleaned and serviced by a licensed professional at least twice per year. Studies have shown that lack of proper maintenance can reduce equipment efficiency by 5 - 10%. In addition, most of today's filters need to be changed a minimum of every 90 days, and don't skimp on the filter. You should use a filter that has a high efficiency rating to help keep your air and equipment clean. After thorough cleaning of your equipment, the service technician will adjust the Freon levels in your air conditioner to the manufacturer's specifications. An over charged unit is just as bad as an under charged unit when it comes to energy consumption. On the heating side, the burners should be cleaned for maximum performance, as well as adjusting the gas pressure, and cleaning the blower wheel. Program 8 hour or greater blocks of time and no more than 7 degree adjustments are recommended.
How often should I have my air ducts cleaned and inspected for repairs?
In the majority of homes, cleaning and inspection once every three years is adequate. The type of air filter you are using and the frequency of maintenance on your heating and air conditioning equipment can have a significant effect on the duration between cleanings. The purchase of a good quality air cleaner will protect your heating and air conditioning equipment, duct system, and your home, while scheduled maintenance will extend the life of the equipment and increase its efficiency.
Should I set my thermostat at a constant temperature during the summer months or should I turn it off while we are away and then turn it on when we are home? Which is more efficient?
During the summer months I would recommend you set your thermostat back during the day when you are not home. However, I would not recommend that you go over your desired temperature more than five to seven degrees. An exception to this rule is if you live in a singlewide mobile home. The insulation is so poor that you would save more by turning off the unit when you are away. Another recommendation would be that you have a programmable thermostat installed that would automatically change the setting for you. Our customers have saved as much as 30 percent on their utility bills just by setting the temperature back when no one is home.
My furnace uses propane gas and is blowing cold air, is there anything I should check?
Check your propane tank to make sure you have gas. To check the tank, flip open the dome lid on top of the tank. Look at the gauge. It will have numbers (percentages) from 0 to 100. Make sure the needle is not on zero.