What Can I Do to Protect My Unit, and How Can I Keep it Clean?
- Provide your unit with a minimum of 12 inches of air flow around the unit by keeping plants and bushes trimmed.
- Keep any pets from accessing the outdoor unit, as pet urine is highly acidic, and corrosive, and will deteriorate the metal.
- Have the unit serviced annually to maintain its cleanliness and proper air flow.
Do I Need to Repair or Replace My System?
- Life Expectancy of Current System – The first thing to take into account is the age of your system. Typically when a system breaks down, the home owner may be tempted to go the least expensive route of repair. If your system is up there in age, it is more likely repairs will be frequent and it could be more cost efficient, long term, to replace the system entirely.
- Operating Costs – As the equipment gets older, it will become less efficient. Repairing the equipment may provide an immediate, and or temporary fix, however, repairs do not factor in efficiency for total costs. A newly installed system typically pays for itself in energy savings in a short time.
- The Big Picture – It is tempting, and most of the time more cost manageable in the moment, to only address the part(s) that are in current need of repair or replacement, and sometimes a minor repair or replacement is all that is needed or the beginning of a bigger issue. There is no guarantee the system will be fully operational with repair or replacement, or for how long the temporary fix will last.
Should I Purchase a New System with R-410A Refrigerant?
- Most Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps have been using the refrigerant R-22. R-22 emissions are considered, by many experts, to be a factor in depleting the ozone layer that protects biological organisms, such as us humans, from potential harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun.
- Beginning in 2015, it is illegal to use Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s), to include the refrigerant gas R-22. For more information, see the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. If it is determined that your system needs to be replaced, it will be replaced with a more environmentally safe, and cost efficient option, such as R-410A.
How Often Should I Check and Replace My Air Filters?
- We recommend checking your filter(s) monthly; especially if you have pets, high traffic in your home, or a large family. If you use disposable filters, and you find them to be dirty, just replace it. Though some higher efficiency filters can go up to three(3) months before needing replaced, it is still better to check regularly.
- Your filter location depends on the type of system you are using, but typically, there is a removable filter access door. This access door may be located in a basement, crawl – space, utility closet, garage, or attic. With an older system, the filter is typically located inside the furnace.
- Many filters are directional (the air is meant to flow through the filter in one direction). There should be an arrow, or air flow symbol, showing the correct direction. The arrow will point towards the furnace or air handler. If your filter does not have arrows, and you find one side to be rougher than the other, that side is the side that collects the dust particles, therefore the other side should face the equipment. If you have a permanent filter, turn your thermostat to the ‘off’ position, remove the filter, carefully spray it clean with a garden hose, shake excess water off, let dry, return it to the correct position in the system, and turn your thermostat back on. When you have your regular maintenance check, the technician will replace the filter you provide as well.
What is Emergency Heat?
- Heat pumps in northern climates (below 35 degrees F) need a supplemental heating source. It is typically used when there is an issue with the first – stage heating (the Heat Pump itself). Make sure your outdoor heat pump is free of excessive ice or snow build up. When you turn the Emergency Heat on, a red indicator light will come on, and remain on until you shut it off. No signal will be sent to the outdoor Heat Pump, only the indoor unit and back – up heat will run. All – electric systems should provide enough heat to keep you comfortable until the Heat Pump can be fixed. Gas, Oil, and Hot – Water systems should provide you with plenty of heat. Keep in mind, Emergency Heat is absolutely more expensive to run, and should only be used in emergencies, as the name implies.
What About Indoor Humidity?
- Optimum indoor humidity, for health and comfort, is about 40 – 50%Relative Humidity (RH). In the winter months, it may need to be lower than 40% RH to avoid condensation build up on glass doors, and windows. Condensation can breed mold, leading to allergy and respiratory issues. Dust mites can thrive in as little as 50% RH, while molds thrive in conditions above 60% RH. Not enough humidity can cause dry nose and throat, dry skin, and static electricity.
- Consistent and proper humidity levels are important also for the wood inside your home – i.e. flooring, doors, etc. They can all shrink, crack, and warp.
- Energy savings is a benefit of keeping the proper RH. You will feel warmer and comfortable in humidified air, allowing you to turn you thermostat down a few degrees, saving you money.
Should I have my Air Ducts Cleaned?
- Common allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, bacteria, and pet dander affect many people inside and outside of their home. You may not be able to control these allergens outside, however, you are able to minimize the affects inside your home.
- Such allergens, and other contaminants, that enter your HVAC system can aggravate asthma and allergies. Duct cleaning will help maintain a cleaner, and more healthy home. Additionally, your system will run more efficiently, reducing the run time while lower the heating and cooling bills, and extend the life of your heating and air conditioning systems.
- Additional reasons to have your ducts cleaned include cigarette / cigar, and pets in the home; if there are rodents or insects in the vents; if the vents are clogged with excessive dust and debris.
*Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and JBB Heating, AC, and Plumbing does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.