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Common Heating and Air Conditioning Questions from Homeowners

York HVAC UnitHeating and cooling systems are an important aspect of every home – they affect your comfort and energy consumption significantly! Homeowners have many heating and air conditioning questions as they get to know their homes’ systems, troubleshoot them, and work to conserve energy.

The Support Staff at Art Newsome, Inc. holds the answers to many common heating and air conditioning questions. We have worked tirelessly to compile a thorough resource for you, providing easy to understand answers regarding your home’s heating and air conditioning systems, as well as indoor air quality equipment and other system components.

Below, find the answers to some of the most common heating and cooling questions we hear from homeowners just like you.

How Can I Save on Energy Costs?

There are several ways to save on your energy costs. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Upgrade to a high efficiency system
  2. Adjust the temperature when you will be gone for more than a couple of hours
  3. Use ceiling fans to move the air around
  4. Change your filters
  5. Have annual maintenance performed on your system to ensure efficient performance
  6. Install a programmable thermostat

Does a Bigger Heating or Cooling System Offer Better Performance?

No! It is important that you buy a system specific to your home’s square footage. An air conditioner/furnace that is too large will cool/heat your home faster than an adequate sized one, however it will operate under “short cycles” causing the system to start and stop more often, increasing your electricity costs exponentially and not properly dehumidifying the home. A system that is too small, will run continuously; overexerting itself to reach the desired temperature, which will also have an adverse effect on your electricity bill. In the long run, short cycling or running continuously can also shorten the life of your system.

Is It Best to Repair My Heating or Cooling System, or Replace It?

It is advised to replace your system if your unit is 10 years old (or older) AND requires frequent repairs. It is also recommended to replace it if the system stops working altogether – fails to heat or cool areas of your home. Another situation in which it will save you money to replace it is if the system runs excessively or constantly turns on and off (running on short cycles). All of these options will result in high electricity or contractor bills which leads to the conclusion that it would be a more economical choice in the long run to replace your current system.

Does My Air Conditioning System Need a Filter?

You can run the AC system without a filter, but you definitely SHOULD NOT! The air filter in the AC/heating system keeps the inside of your air handler or furnace clean, keeps debris off the blower motor and evaporator coil, and helps ensure that your AC system runs efficiently while minimizing the likelihood of a breakdown. Dirt is the #1 cause of breakdowns with AC and heating systems, so make sure to keep a clean filter in your AC system at all times.

How Often Do Air Filters Need to Be Changed?

Every air filter and every air conditioning system are different so it depends on a variety of factors.

  • On average, 1″ disposable filters should be changed every 1 – 3 months.
  • If you have a thick, high-efficiency furnace filter, it could last anywhere from 6 months to a year!

Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to filter replacement schedule. The timing of furnace filter replacement depends on the type and efficiency of your filter, whether you have pets or smokers in the home, any allergy or asthma conditions within your family, and other factors as well. To be safe, set a reminder to check your filter at least once a month and don’t wait any longer than the manufacturer’s recommended schedule to replace your air filter.

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last?

HVAC equipments’ life expectancy is critically dependent on the preventative maintenance and service you perform on your system. It is important you have a qualified technician perform a bi-yearly inspection to ensure proper performance. Under the assumption that you have kept up with routine maintenance, it is suggested that a system will last anywhere from 15-25 years. For more specific information, check below.

Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It’s home heating season, which means homeowners should be on high alert against carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced anytime fuel is consumed, and it can be deadly to humans and pets.

Carbon monoxide leaks from household furnaces, boilers, water heaters and other household appliances are rare, but such leaks are leading causes of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because carbon monoxide leaks are difficult to detect without special alarms, and homeowners may only become aware of a leak when they begin experiencing symptoms.

Raise the Alarm

It’s frightening that such a deadly gas can start flowing through your home without your knowledge, but fortunately, carbon monoxide detectors are cheap, reliable and easy to find at retail.Just like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors can alert everyone in the household to even a small leak, and can save lives if leaks occur when everyone in the house is asleep.

When picking out a carbon monoxide detector, choose a model that plugs into a standard outlet and has a battery backup in the event of a power outage. Since they’re generally affordable, consider purchasing at least one for every floor of your home, one for every bedroom and one more for the area where your furnace is located.

Plug your detectors into outlets that are close to the floor. Unlike smoke, which rises, carbon monoxide is heavier than air and accumulates on the ground.

You should maintain your carbon monoxide detectors twice per year, just as with your smoke alarms. Test each unit, replace the batteries and replace the entire detector if it’s past its expiration date.

Serious Health Risk

Even if you have carbon monoxide detectors in your own home, you might someday find yourself in an environment with dangerous carbon monoxide levels and no alarm system. In that case, it’s important to know the symptoms and what to do.

Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning may experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, weakness, confusion or chest pain. After enough exposure, victims lose consciousness. It’s critical that everyone go outside and into the fresh air as quickly as possible, and then seek medical attention. Even if the symptoms gradually disappear on their own, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious medical event that requires treatment.

No one should re-enter the home or building until HVAC technicians have been contacted for emergency service. Carbon monoxide may still be building up inside, and the structure will need to be completely ventilated before it’s safe to reenter.

Stop Leaks Before They Start

The best way to prevent carbon monoxide leaks is to have your HVAC system inspected and maintained every year. Small problems, like hairline cracks in your heat exchanger, can be found and repaired before they grow into major problems that could result in leaks.

If you’re overdue for a furnace inspection, call Art Newsome, Inc. without delay (873-0345). And even if your furnace gets a clean bill of health, be sure to protect your family with well-maintained carbon monoxide detectors!