Frequently Asked Questions

Are you wondering how the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment is measured? Or maybe you’re curious if there are any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment? If you have a question about air conditioning, energy efficiency, heating repair, or just about anything else, we have the answers. Our FAQ section is your ticket to endless heating and air conditioning knowledge.

How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?

The heating and cooling systems are sized according to their tonnage. One ton equals 12,000 BTU/H. Residential systems can range from 1 – 5 tons.

What size HVAC system should I have?

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no rule of thumb for sizing a system to a home. Depending upon the construction of your home, one ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet. The only way to ensure you’re purchasing the right size system for your home is to have your individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.

How’s the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?

The S.E.E.R. (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the amount of cooling your system delivers per dollar spent on electricity. For example, a 3-ton unit may have a S.E.E.R. efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the S.E.E.R., the more efficient the system is. The S.E.E.R. rating of any given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17.

How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home’s heating and cooling systems?

The most important thing you can do is clean and replace your filters frequently. Also, a system heats and cools more evenly when the blower is in the “ON” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration. Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or screens should be installed on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight.

Is a system with more capacity better?

No. A larger system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is the least efficient when you first turn it on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly. Therefore, causing the system to run less efficiently. Also, keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running. A system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well.

How long should my system run in a cycle?

There’s no exact answer for how long your system should run during each cycle. The average air conditioner is sized to remove the heat from your home as fast as it comes in. Therefore, ideally, on a hot summer day the system should be able to keep up with the incoming heat, and occasionally turn off.

Should I try to keep my system from running too much?

As a rule of thumb, a unit that’s either on or off is less expensive than one cycling on and off. Every time your system turns on, it uses a lot of electricity and doesn’t produce much cooling. Usually a system that’s too small to cool the home is more economical to run, but delivers less comfort. Even though it runs nonstop, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off.

What air temperature should my air conditioner produce?

The air temperature your system produces depends on the temperature of the air going into the system. Generally, the air produced should be 18°-20° cooler than what enters the system. For example, if the air entering the system is 80°, the air exiting should be about 60°- 62°. However, that only works on a system that has been running at least 15 minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that is about 80° inside. On a mild day, with an indoor temperature in the low 70’s, or during humid conditions, the air produced may only be 15°-17° cooler.

What temperature should I set my thermostat?

The time of year becomes a big factor for desired temperature settings. In the summer months, the average temperature setting is 78°-80°, in the winter 70°-72° is the most common setting. Remember, when leaving your house, try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Different programmable thermostats offer many different features. However, because they’re electronic, they’re 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’ll never forget to change the setting on your own.

How often should I replace my filters?

For optimum efficiency and filtration, we recommend replacing disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

What maintenance should I do on my air conditioner?

The most important maintenance you can do is to change your filters regularly. Ground-mounted outdoor units need to be kept clear of debris, clutter, weeds, and landscaping that can grow too close to the unit and reduce airflow. You can carefully use a weed trimmer around the unit to trim tall grass and prevent control wiring damage. Keep pets away from the unit, because pet urine can cause expensive damage. Any additional maintenance should only be performed by qualified personnel.

How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?

You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system twice a year. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, but also enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future. Our Chas Roberts Maintenance Plan is specifically designed to keep your air conditioning system running at its peak efficiency year-round.

Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?

Yes. Check to be sure that the air handler or furnace is plugged in, and that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on. Lastly, verify the thermostat is set correctly.

How much does a new replacement system cost?

Due to the many different makes, models, and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. At Chas Roberts, there’s no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.

Are there any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment?

Yes. Several manufactures have developed new systems that contain an environmentally friendly R410A, or Puron, refrigerant.

Do electronic air cleaners really work?

Yes. They can play a big part in home comfort. We have a variety of whole-house filtration devices. Some electronic air cleaners can even remove dust particles and pollen as small as .10 micron.

Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?

No. Closing the registers will decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Your system will work harder, cycle more, cool less space, and become less efficient.

Why are humidifiers used more in heating than cooling?

When cool outdoor air enters a home, it tends to dry out as it warms up. This increases the static electricity in the home and causes sinus problems. Adding a humidifier helps add moisture back into the air and limits sinus problems. In the summer, even with outdoor relative humidity hovering around the single digits, the humidity in your home tends to be around 40%. The average comfort range for relative humidity in a home is from 35 to 45%.

During the heating season, my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will operate for long periods of time. Is that normal?

Yes. A heat pump generally produces air that’s 80°, which is considered warm. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.

During the heating season, my heat pump makes a “whooshing” sound and I feel cool air coming from the supply registers. Is that normal?

Yes. During cold months, frost will accumulate on the outdoor coil. This will cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. The system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.

How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?

Before purchasing a replacement system, you should always make sure your system is sized properly. Our representative will provide a heat load calculation to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation. Remember, bigger is not always better.