Below is a list of commonly asked questions we receive from customers in and around Columbus and LaGrange, GA. We aim to provide detailed answers to ensure you’re educated and informed about HVAC installation, usage, and potential concerns. While you’ll find expert information here, contact us whenever you need an HVAC system installed, repaired, or inspected, and/or have a question or problem not listed.
When Should I Change My AC Filter?
This depends on a few factors. If you have a low-cost, disposable filter, it should be changed every 30 days, while larger pleated filters can last 90 days. Some higher end filters can go for up to a year before being replaced. If you have dusty air or use the AC more often, more frequent filter changes may be necessary.
How Do I Change a Filter?
First, locate the filter, whether it’s in the return air duct, inside the furnace, or a wall/ceiling filter grille. Most filters are designed for air to flow in one direction; an arrow or airflow symbol will indicate the direction to install it in. This arrow points to the furnace or air handler. When there’s no symbol, install the rougher side face up.
Can I Clean and Reuse the Filter?
For reusable filters, turn the thermostat off and slide the filter out. Spray off the filter with a garden hose until it is clean. Avoid too high a pressure as this can damage the media. Shake off the water and let the filter sit out to dry before reinstalling it.
What Is MERV?
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, is used to rate AC filters based on their ability to capture particles and remove dust, pollen, and mold. Most residential AC filters are rated from MERV one to eight, while more efficient filters range from 10 to 16; High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) types are equal to MERV 17 or higher.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air pollution includes dust, dirt, pollen, dander, pet hair, and other potential irritants. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) affect indoor air quality as well; they’re chemical compounds containing carbon and can emit vapors at room temperature, posing health threats when inhaled. Cleaning supplies, new carpeting, varnishes, and paints are just a few materials that may have VOCs. Pesticides, gasoline fumes, cigarette smoke, and gas appliances are other sources of indoor pollution.
To make matters worse, pollutants are often more highly concentrated indoors than they are outside.
How Do I Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Air Force Heating and Air provides efficient air filters; air purifiers that kill bacteria, viruses, and mold; and UV lamps that destroy germs. Energy recovery ventilators push polluted air outside while drawing in fresh air. Ionization systems protect against viruses, while we also provide humidifiers and carbon monoxide alarms. We offer air quality testing, monitoring, cleaning, and maintenance services as well.
When Will I Need to Replace My HVAC Equipment?
For the most part, HVAC systems will continue to serve your needs for 10 to 15 years. But after 10 years, performance and efficiency issues can occur. Newer systems are more efficient, so replacing your AC before failure can save you money over the long run. You can also benefit from warranties up to 10 years.
Can I Just Swap Out the Outdoor Unit Without Replacing the Whole System?
This is generally not a good idea. It risks having mismatched components and you’ll spend more on maintaining and fixing the older parts. Older systems also use outdated refrigerant plus usually have different efficiency ratings. Without proper matching during HVAC installation, you can have performance, comfort, and humidity problems as well.
What Is R-140A Refrigerant?
Chlorine-free R-410A refrigerant is usually the replacement for R-22, or Freon, which is being phased out. Its environmental impacts led to changes that mean fixing and recharging an R-22 system is more expensive. Additionally, R-410A systems tend to be more reliable, quieter, and better at dehumidification.
Why Should I Worry About High Indoor Humidity?
Air conditioners are designed to remove humidity, which at high levels, can make you feel damp and increase the demand on your HVAC system. Humid air also makes it easier for mold, mildew, and fungus to grow. Furniture, leather, clothes, books, and other items can be damaged. Humidity can exacerbate allergies, asthma, and respiratory disorders as well, while excessively dry air can trigger asthma attacks and dry skin.
Will a Larger System Be More Effective?
If you want your home cooled faster, too big an AC will do this, but it won’t run long enough to control humidity. Short cycling can waste energy and prevent condensation from draining, so your home will be damp and prone to mold. The system can also wear out faster.
Can I Improve Cooling Efficiency Without a Major Upgrade?
You don’t have to upgrade your AC to make it cool more efficiently. Setting your thermostat to 75℉ or higher in the summer can cut your energy bill by a few percentage points. Also make sure to keep vents unblocked. And turning on ceiling fans can provide the same level of comfort even with the thermostat set up to 4℉ higher.
In general, set your thermostat as close to 78℉ in summer and 68℉ in winter.
How Do I Achieve More Efficient Heating?
Higher efficiency furnaces can save on energy bills significantly. But you can try lowering the thermostat a few degrees for part of the day. Moving items away from vents to improve airflow also helps. Ceiling fans can be used to help heat rooms in winter. Just reverse the blades to turn clockwise. You also want to stay current with annual furnace maintenance.
What Does a Heat Pump Do?
A heat pump combines the functionality of a heater and air conditioner. Operating on fuel or electricity, it draws heat from cooler outside air in winter (in colder regions, a gas furnace or electric heater is needed for supplemental heat). It also reverses in summer to pull warm air out of your home.
How Does a Two-Stage Compressor Work?
For your next HVAC installation, you may want to consider a two-stage compressor. Instead of running only in “on” or “off” mode, it can run at full-capacity and at a lower stage in times of reduced demand. This allows your HVAC system to operate more efficiently. Variable-speed compressors are even more flexible and can run at lower power levels.
Why Are Variable-Speed Fans Beneficial?
Higher speeds aren’t always required and can use more energy than necessary. Variable airflow systems read both temperature and humidity. They’re able to remove more moisture and tend to run more quietly, while improving comfort at different levels of demand.
Do I Have a Ventilation Problem and What Can I Do About It?
Poor ventilation can lead to stuffiness, odors, and moisture buildup. It can be improved simply by opening a window or turning on a fan. Some more effective methods include having air ducts cleaned by a professional and installing an advanced ventilation system that can effectively remove odors, chemicals, and pollutants from your home.
Should I Have My AC Serviced If It’s Working Fine?
It’s a good idea to have it checked annually. Routine inspections, adjustments, cleanings, and lubrication of moving parts can keep repair costs down, allow your system to run smoothly, and save on energy bills. Delaying maintenance can increase energy costs and lead to expensive AC repairs and breakdowns.
Why Should I Join a Maintenance Plan?
Routine maintenance can increase the lifespan of your HVAC system. Indoor air quality improvements are possible as well, while maintenance helps comply with the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. Being a member of the Air Force Energy Saving Agreement (ESA) enables you to schedule maintenance checkups every year, receive priority service, and qualify for a discount of up to 10% on repairs. We offer silver, gold, and platinum level Air Force ESA plans.
Contact Air Force Heating and Air
We hope we’ve helped answer your HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance questions. An award-winning Carrier factory-authorized dealer in LaGrange, GA, we’re proud to serve local residential and commercial customers in any way we can. We provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee for our repair, installation, maintenance, duct cleaning, and other services plus AC and heating system financing and leasing options. Book now or call (706) 252-9303 to schedule your appointment.