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Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions frequently asked about Air Conditioning and Indoor Air Quality. This list, with answers, is provided here in the hope of helping you quickly find the information you need.
Click on the question to see the answer.
1. How long does an AC unit normally last?   (Show Answer...)
This will vary based on your location and AC usage, but in general, the life expectancy is 10 to 13 years (if you properly maintain your unit). If a unit is more than 8 years old its efficiency will become questionable. The older it is the more the likelihood that it is not operating at peak performance and is wasting energy. An estimate on higher efficiency units will tell you if the utility savings you'll receive will pay for your new unit within the first few years. For a free estimate on a new system, call us at 704-843-1033.
2. How long will R-22 be used and what're my choices?   (Show Answer...)
Since R22 is being phased out, production will be decreasing every year. Some alternate refrigerants are being developed. Carrier introduced one called Puron that is highly efficient and is environmentally friendly.
3. What are the components of an AC unit?   (Show Answer...)
The most common system is a split system with the Condensing Unit outside on a concrete slab and the Air Handler in the attic, garage, or closet. The Condensing Unit contains the compressor and a coil, but releases hot air into the outdoors; the Air Handler cools air and sends it through the ductwork. The Air Handler has a coil inside and a filter either inside or near it.
Other units are Package Units where both air handler and condensing compressor are found in one unit. These are usually located outside on a slab, on a roof, or (if water-cooled) in a closet or attic and are more likely to be found with commercial buildings.
4. How often should you change your filter?   (Show Answer...)
The schedule for changing a filter should be based on the amount of traffic (people and pets) coming and going from your home. Other factors can be the amount of dirt and dust in your air or living close to a busy road. A third factor is how good your filter is. In general, filters should be changed a minimum of 4 times/year. Obviously, dirty, clogged filters cause loss of efficiency and can lead to system breakdowns and should be changed out immediately.
5. What type of filter should you use?   (Show Answer...)
You can use basic filters that can be bought at many stores; however, these don't do a very good job of cleaning the air. It is much better if you can use special pleated or Air Sponge filters. For details on the best filters, click here.
6. For lowest energy usage, how best do I run my AC?   (Show Answer...)
Keep the temperature setting on the highest setting you can use while still feeling comfortable. Since some homes are better insulated than others the ideal room temperature varies. If you're going away for more than 24 hours, you can place the temperature higher and save. Programmable termostats allow you to set your temperature settings by the day of the week, thereby adjusting the temperature automatically.
7. How much does a new AC system cost?   (Show Answer...)
Many factors, capacity (tonnage), SEER Rating (efficiency), brand, model, and ease of installation, affect the pricing of a new AC system. The larger the home, the greater the tonnage required. The higher numbers of the SEER ratings mean higher efficiency. It would be difficult to quote an AC system without inspecting the home; however, the average slit system or package unit could range from $1800 to $5600. Obviously, large commercial units will cost more.
8. Is it important to keep a coil clean?   (Show Answer...)
Dirty coils result in a loss of efficiency and premature equipment failure. Coil cleaning is labor intensive, but should not be ignored. If a technician sees that your coil is dirty, it is their duty to recommend cleaning. If dirt builds up it can become so dirty that a breakdown occurs.
9. How does a humidistat work?   (Show Answer...)
The humidistat can be configured to operate your AC based on the humidity plus a temperature setting. A humidistat is good for winter residents who have long periods when their home is vacant or for businesses that close down for a month or two each year.
10. What's UV light and what does it do?   (Show Answer...)
A UV (ultra violet) light placed inside your AC unit controls mold. Another benefit is that the light "zaps" the dirt, bacteria, and allergens in the air as it passes through the AC system. They help sanitize your indoor air.
11. Why do we need maintenance on the AC unit?   (Show Answer...)
Maintenance is done to keep your AC system at peek efficiency and performance. Preventive maintenance tune-ups save utility costs and catch potential problems before they cause a breakdown.
12. How do you operate the programmable thermostat?   (Show Answer...)
There are many styles in programmable thermostats. In some cases you can go online and search the manufacturer's website for instructions. There's even a link to a demo on Trane's site (click here to see).
13. What's the smell when I first turn on the AC?   (Show Answer...)
If your system goes for several weeks without being run, dust can accumulate on fans and coils. This dust gets hot and can give off that "scorched" smell. There is no cause for alarm with this smell; however, if your lines are clogged or your drain pan full, you may notice a "musty" smell. This may mean you have bacteria, mold and/or algae. Over time these contaminants can build up and give off this odor. Regular maintenance tune-ups help prevent this situation from occurring. UV lights also work well on this.
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