Residential HVAC FAQ
What size HVAC system do I need?
The size of your system should be determined by a certified technician. This heating and cooling professional conducts a load calculation, which consists of several factors, including the square footage of your house, the insulation value of your windows, and the amount of insulation in your walls and roof.
How long should I expect my HVAC system to last?
Air conditioners and heat pumps last an average of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. In order to keep your systems running smoothly for the long-term, you should have a qualified heating and air conditioning professional inspect your system twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall, to ensure efficiency.
What does an AC tune-up include?
- Our AC tune-up services include the following:
- Cleaning or replacing the air filter
- Testing the thermostat and recalibrating if necessary
- Checking all system controls for proper performance
- Inspecting electrical wiring, fan blades, evaporator and condenser coils, capacitors, valves and ductwork
- Cleaning the condensate drain
- Monitoring the compressor
- Analyzing blower motor performance and adjusting components as necessary
- Lubricating moving parts where needed.
- Tightening electrical connections
- Measuring amperage and voltage
What does a furnace tune-up include?
Our furnace tune-up services include the following:
- Inspecting and cleaning the burner and blower cavities
- Vacuum and brush the blower blades
- Inspecting and calibrating the thermostat
- Adjusting blower components as needed
- Testing and adjusting safety controls
- Cleaning the flame sensor
- Checking the flue for gaps or dents to ensure proper ventilation
- Lubricating motor bearings and other moving parts
- Tightening electrical connections
- Inspecting the heat exchanger
- Measuring amperage and voltage
- Testing for dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) leaks
Why is my furnace leaking?
Top causes include:
- Condensation leak. High-efficiency furnaces run at an AFUE rating of either 90 or above and contain two heat exchangers so it can produce more heat. Heat production leads to condensation that must leave your home via pipes, usually a floor drain. If the pipes are broken or clogged, then you’ll notice condensation around the base of the furnace.
- A broken or clogged humidifier, which is attached to your plumbing system to add moisture to the air.
- Clogged furnace filter. Since airflow is restricted through the furnace coil, the coil will either freeze or cause water to leak.
- An issue with the heat exchanger. This issue may warrant a new installation based on your technician’s recommendations.
Why is my furnace only blowing cold air?
These are common reasons for a furnace not blowing hot air:
- A dirty air filter comprises the air flow, which causes your furnace to overheat and shuts down the burner
- The pilot light has gone out. If you’re having trouble lighting the pilot light, it might mean that the gas valve is dirty and therefore stuck.
- The thermocouple, the sensor controlling the gas valve and ignition, could be malfunctioning. This is especially likely if your pilot light keeps going out.
- The flame sensor could be dirty or wearing out, causing the burner to keep shutting off
- A neglected furnace burner, which has trouble igniting due to excessive dust and grime
Why are there hot and cold spots in my home?
Aside from simple dirty air filters or a piece of furniture blocking the vents, the culprit could be damaged, leaky, or poorly installed ductwork. Ductwork is typically made of metal, which means that it needs to be well-insulated for warm or cool air to travel properly as it gets farther away from the HVAC unit. As a result of faulty ductwork, your HVAC system needs to work harder to bring warm or cold air across the home.
Another issue could be that your HVAC system is not properly sized for your home. A system that is too small will continuously be running without achieving the right temperature. In contrast, one that is too large will heat or cool your home too quickly and not be on long enough to properly regulate humidity.
Your home might also not be properly zoned. With a zoning system, you can individually control the temperatures of “zones” in your home individually, rather than setting the temperature for your whole house. This setup not only increases your home comfort but saves you money on your heating and cooling bills.
Why is my air conditioner freezing up?
Common reasons for an AC unit freezing up include:
- Dirty air filters and closed air registers (vents), which restrict airflow
- Low refrigerant levels, which make the coils too cold
- A faulty fan that prevents air from moving
- Blocked or collapsed air ducts, which prevents air from reaching the coils
Keep in mind that running an air conditioner with frozen coils can lead to extensive damage of the compressor. The compressor is the “heart” of the AC system that pumps refrigerant through the AC system. Likewise, it is also the most expensive part of the AC unit to repair or replace.
Why is my air conditioner making a cracking or popping noise?
Your system is being flooded. This means that the AC compressor or motor is sucking up liquid refrigerant through the intake side, which could lead to major damage to your system if left unattended.
Various mechanical problems, such as a bad motor bearing or a loose motor mount. It’s also possible the fan blades are hitting an obstruction in the air handler.
Electrical problems, such as poor or loose wires. If these problems aren’t corrected, they can start a fire or cause electrical shocks.
If you hear these noises, please turn off your system right away to avoid any safety hazards.
How can I tell if my AC refrigerant is leaking?
Your AC’s refrigerant, commonly referred to as Freon, is critical to the cooling process. It absorbs the home’s heat and releases it outside. If your refrigerant levels are low, then it will take longer to cool your home.
Common causes for leaks include the following:
- Corrosion of copper tube walls of the indoor coil. Long-term deterioration is expected because formic acid, a byproduct of the building materials, is gradually released and corrodes the copper over time. This damage can leave microscopic leaks in the tubes, which call for repair or replacement of the coils themselves, or installing a new AC unit altogether.
- Factory defects in your unit. You will not be able to tell whether your unit was defective when it was manufacturing without consulting an HVAC professional.
- Improper AC installation
- Joints or connections wearing out over time
- General wear and tear that causes the tube walls to thin out
With these reasons in mind, the top signs of an AC refrigerant leak include the following:
- Hot air is coming out of the registers (vents). This could be caused by air loss in your ductwork or a clogged filter. While you can check and replace the filter on your own, you’ll want a certified technician examining the ductwork for holes or tears.
- A hissing or gurgling sound comes from your AC unit.
- The evaporator coils are frozen. When the refrigerant levels circulating through the evaporator coils are low, the coils can’t adequately absorb heat. This will result in the condensation on the coils to freeze. Sometimes the frozen condensation will begin to melt and drip on the floor. Though ice on the evaporator coil might not seem alarming, it could lead to a system breakdown and could translate into an expensive repair such as a compressor replacement.
- Your AC does not cool down to the right temperature.
- A sudden spike in your electric bill. The longer and less efficient cooling cycles result in using more electricity, so review your utility bill for inconsistent usage levels.
- Your AC is leaking water. This is a result of the ice melting off your evaporator coils.