FAQs – Home Air Conditioning Information
What is the SEER Rating?
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is how the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment is measured. The SEER is the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity, as compared to other systems. For example, a 3-ton unit may have a SEER efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be. The SEER rating of any given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 21.
Why is the SEER rating on the Energy Guide different than what my dealer quoted?
Each split system cooling unit has a nominal SEER rating. This rating can be increased with the upgrade of the same series indoor unit. The SEER rating of a system is based on the combination of equipment installed in the home. The outdoor equipment (heat pump or air conditioner), as well as the indoor equipment (evaporator coil and furnace, or air handler), play a vital role in the total rating.
Why should I have regular (or preventative) maintenance? And how often should I have it performed?
Your heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your home everyday. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down any machine if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing regular maintenance, you can maximize the lifecycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many common equipment failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts. You should have maintenance completed on your system regularly to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent possible problems that may occur in the near future.
What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?
Heat pumps and air conditioners require a professional tune-up twice a year; in the spring and fall. Inspections on boiler and furnace systems should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, the chimney, registers, radiators, pumps, blowers, fuel lines, oil tank and every part of the actual furnace and boiler. Meanwhile, heat pump and air conditioning unit inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils, and refrigerant lines.
I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.
The professionals at Tri-County Aire are your troubleshooting experts, and are glad to help you with minor hiccups you may experience with your HVAC system. Our informative blogs and articles are available to you online anytime. In addition, you can call our office during normal business hours. In the event that you experience an HVAC crisis after hours, you can contact one of our on-call technicians for 24-7 emergency service.
What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Since they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With programmable thermostats you can control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own.
By scheduling your programmable thermostat to a higher or lower temperature based on your weekday work hours, you can save money on energy bills while still enjoying a comfortable home during evenings and weekends. A Tri-County Aire technician will gladly walk you through how to use your programmable thermostat.
What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?
Standard filters work to keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality. To do that you need a media air cleaner. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal up to seven times that of a standard filter. However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity. For optimal efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.
Why can’t I find the correct size furnace filter at my local home improvement store?
Filters for your unit may be made specifically for its brand. This generally means it requires higher-quality materials than those of the disposable filters found in retail stores. Check with your local dealer to find the appropriate filter for your specific air conditioner. However, keep in mind that some filters are reusable, and can be washed by hand in cold water.
What size HVAC equipment is right for my home?
There are many factors that affect the sizing and specifications of your system, including square footage, insulation, window surface and configuration, geographic location of your home, duct sizing and arrangement, and many others. A technician from Tri-County Aire can perform an in-home load analysis to determine which equipment combinations will perfectly suit your home and your family’s needs. Depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.
What is the life expectancy of my unit?
HVAC Systems generally last an average of 10 years. However, for your specific equipment it may differ. Variables that affect life expectancy include type of system, climate and the regularity of routine maintenance.