Frequently Asked Questions from Family Heating and Air Conditioning for Central Indiana

1. How often should I change my filter?

This can range based on filter sizes and factors within the home (pets, home size, number of occupants, air quality, etc.) We recommend checking your filter monthly and changing accordingly.

2. Should I have my furnace and air conditioner checked every year?

Yes. Regular service can prevent many system breakdowns before they happen. This will also ensure your system is working at peak performance, keeping your gas and electric costs as low as possible. In addition, many warranties require regular maintenance and, if the system fails due to neglect of maintenance the warranty may be voided.

3. Can I still get R-22 refrigerant?

Yes. However, the cost of R-22 continues to rise due to the EPA mandated phase-out of this product.

4. Why is my upstairs warmer/cooler than my downstairs?

What can I do to eliminate this? This is common in two-story homes because heat rises. Running your fan all the time will help even these temperature swings. If making this change does not solve the issue, there may be other issues at play. Your system may need to be zoned or replaced with a multi-stage unit. You may also need to add additional return air ductwork to help improve air movement to the upper levels.

5. Do I need to change my thermostat?

It is recommended that thermostats be changed to digital. Digital thermostats are much more accurate and can include features such as programming and reminders.

6. Why do I get shocked in my home?

Static electricity is caused by a lack of humidity. A whole-home humidification system will solve this issue by delivering the right amount of humidity throughout your home through your ductwork system.

7. Should I get a second opinion on replacing my system?

ALWAYS! Your home comfort system is a large investment. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion. It is also recommended to research the companies and brands of equipment you may be interested in purchasing.

8. What are the meanings of SEER and EER?

Since January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have at least a 13 SEER. SEER is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a U.S. government standard energy rating and reflects the overall system efficiency of your cooling system. EER is short for Energy Efficiency Ratio and doesn’t take into consideration the time of year, but rather the system’s energy efficiency at the peak operating use.

Both ratings should be considered in choosing cooling products. The rating is a ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption and measures the cooling performance of the system. The Federal government developed an energy star program for high-efficiency central air conditioning systems that in order to qualify must have a SEER of at least 14.

9. We are replacing our system this season. What advice can you give me?

Do your homework, pick a quality contractor, and use someone you trust.

10. I have a puff of smoke coming from my heat pump during the winter when my unit shuts off and restarts. Why is this?

In most cases, it is not smoke that you are seeing. It is steam being created by the defrosting cycle of your heat pump. After lengthy run times, the outdoor unit will start to build up frost or ice on the coil. Your system is designed to go into defrost mode when needed to clear the ice away and maintain the efficiency of the unit.

11. What is emergency heat?

Heat pump systems in Indiana require a supplemental heat source for when the weather is very cold. The heat pump system is programmed to use these heaters, located in the indoor unit, when needed to maintain the desired indoor temperature. There is also an ‘emergency heat’ switch located on most heat pump thermostats. This will force the system to shut off the heat pump and use only the heaters on the indoor unit. This is not recommended, because a long period of using this method to heat your home is extremely costly.

12. Why should I have a variable speed furnace?

Variable speed refers to the blower within the furnace. Unlike conventional fan motors, a variable speed blower motor runs at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated or cooled air throughout your home. Better airflow control means a better balance of temperature and humidity at a lower cost.

13. How does a two-stage furnace work?

A two-stage furnace operates much more efficiently than a single-stage furnace. Furnaces are sized for the worst climate conditions. In reality, most days are much more temperate. This means the furnace is bigger than it needs to be at most times. A two-stage furnace will operate at a slower speed most of its life, saving on utility costs and making the home much more comfortable.

14. What size heating and air conditioning system should I have for my home?

The proper way to size your heating and air conditioning system is through a load calculation performed by your HVAC contractor.

15. Should I replace my indoor unit when I replace my outdoor unit?

This is generally recommended as they are usually the same age and have similar life expectancies. It is also more cost-effective to replace the entire system at the same time as opposed to separately.

16. Why is my Air Conditioning system freezing up?

There are multiple reasons that this may occur. Potential problems include a dirty air filter, blocked or closed vents in the home, low refrigerant levels, or a malfunctioning blower motor.

17. Should I worry about carbon monoxide in my home?

Yes! Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can be lethal. You run the risk of carbon monoxide exposure if you have gas appliances in your home. It is recommended to have quality carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. Also, you should have seasonal maintenance performed on all gas appliances.

18. How can I lower my home energy costs?

Routine maintenance and high efficiency systems help lower your energy costs. When looking to invest in a high efficiency system, it is important to look at both the SEER and AFUE. The higher the SEER/AFUE, the more efficient the system is.

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