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HVAC & Plumbing FAQ

HVAC Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SEER Rating?

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is how the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment is measured. The SEER is the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity, as compared to other systems.

For example, a 3-ton unit may have a SEER rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system will be. The SEER rating of any given unit can range from 13 to 17.

Why is the SEER rating on the Energy Guide different than what my dealer quoted?

Each split system cooling unit has a nominal SEER rating. This rating can be increased with the upgrade of the same series indoor unit. The SEER rating of a system is derived based on the combination of equipment installed in the home.

The outdoor equipment (heat pump or air conditioner), as well as the indoor equipment (evaporator coil and furnace, or air handler), play a vital role in the total rating.

Why should I have regular (or preventative) maintenance? And how often should it be done?

Your heating and cooling systems work hard to keep your home comfortable every day. The constant stopping, starting, and continual operation can wear down any machine if proper care and maintenance is delayed. With regular maintenance, you can maximize the life cycle of your heating or cooling unit and prevent many common equipment failures.

Preventative maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can find leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires, and corroded electrical contacts that the naked eye may not notice. You should have maintenance done on your system regularly to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent possible problems in the future.

We offer a variety of maintenance plans with differing services and benefits, so you’re guaranteed regular, top-quality HVAC maintenance annually.

What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?

At least once a year, heat pumps and air conditioners require a professional tune-up. Because gas systems function with greater efficiency, they only need to be serviced every other year. Inspections on boiler and furnace systems should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, the chimney, registers, radiators, pumps, blowers, fuel lines, the gas meter, oil tank, and every part of the furnace and boiler.

Meanwhile, heat pump and AC inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils, line kits, and refrigerant lines.

I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.

Air Experts is your troubleshooting expert, and we’re glad to help you. If we encounter a situation that requires additional factory help, we’ll contact our factory-supported service manager(s) for assistance.

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Since they’re electronic, programmable thermostats are 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.

What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?

Standard filters keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality. To do that, you need a media filter. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal by seven times that of a standard filter.

However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from insecticide dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity. For optimum efficiency and filtration, we recommend you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

When is it time to replace my HVAC system?

Due to the rapid improvement in technology and efficiency standards over the past several years, any HVAC system over 10 years old is automatically eligible for replacement.

A new system will be far more efficient and help you save big on energy costs. You should also consider replacement if your energy bills are higher than normal or if your system needs repair more than once a year.

What is a heat pump and why should I have one?

Heat pumps are an efficient heating and cooling system that can be gas or electric. They’re great at creating a uniform temperature in your home and don’t produce overly dry air like a furnace can. They’re very efficient systems and are especially environmentally friendly when powered by electricity instead of gas.

While the initial cost of the system is higher, the energy bill savings over the years will balance out the cost. Heat pumps are a great choice for all Raleigh and Durham area residents due to their high efficiency and guaranteed comfort.

How does a heat pump work?

Instead of generating heat with a flame or heating element, they exchange heat. In summer, coolant is circulated, or pumped, from a compressor outside into the house where it cools the inside air. The coolant is then pumped back outside to release the heat absorbed from the inside air, and the process is repeated.

In cooler weather, the process is reversed, and the coolant absorbs heat from the outside air and is compressed until it becomes very warm. It’s then circulated into the house where the warmed coolant heats the indoor air. In effect, it’s your air conditioner working in reverse.

Heat pumps are designed to run all year to keep your home at a comfortable temperature no matter the weather outside.

How do I know when my HVAC system needs repairs?

When your system starts acting unusual or malfunctioning, call Air Experts. The fastest way to resolve any HVAC issue is by calling a trained professional who can quickly diagnose the issue and get it back in working order.

Some common signs you need HVAC repair include:

• A musty smell coming from your unit
• Unusual noises like banging, hissing, or screeching
• Leaking
• Uneven heating or cooling
• Unusually high energy bills
• Continuous cycling on and off

How should I set my AC when I’m gone for the day?

Don’t turn your air conditioning off completely — it’s most efficient to turn it up by at least five degrees. We recommend setting your thermostat to 82 degrees and scheduling it to stay there for most of the day if you’re out of the house.

It’s best to start cooling it down an hour or two before you get home, so your house is nice and cool when you return.

How does a furnace work?

Furnaces have three main components to heat and distribute warm air:

  • Burner or heating element
  • Heat exchanger
  • Ductwork

In natural gas or propane furnaces, a pilot light or electronic ignition lights a flame at the main burner. The burner then heats the cool air from the house in the metal heat exchanger chamber. Electric furnaces use heating elements to do this. The on-and-off cycle of heating is controlled by a thermostat.

Heated air is circulated or forced through the ductwork into the house by a blower and then back to the heat exchanger. These are often called forced air systems.

Should I get a heat pump or a furnace?

The Raleigh and Durham area’s moderate climate is ideal for heat pumps. Their heat exchange system is a highly efficient method of heating and cooling. According to Energy.gov, a heat pump can be 30% to 50% more efficient than a furnace in moderate climates.

Because they combine cooling and heating, they’re also less expensive to install than furnaces and central AC systems.

When do I need to replace my furnace?

A furnace has an average life span of up to 15 years. If yours is reaching that age, it may be time to consider replacing it before being faced with mounting repair bills. Signs that it might be time to replace a furnace include:

  • Loss of heating efficiency indicated by rising heating costs
  • Uneven heating in your home
  • Unusual loud sounds from the furnace or blower
  • Increasing need for repairs
  • Signs of soot, corrosion, or rust on or around any of the furnace components that may indicate a dangerous carbon monoxide leak

My furnace smells weird. What should I do?

If you smell gas, exhaust fumes, smoke, or burning electrical wiring, turn the furnace off immediately. If it smells like rotten eggs, it could indicate a gas leak, so call 911 before contacting an HVAC professional.

Dusty or musty odors can often be solved by installing new filters and cleaning the system. If you’re unsure, don’t take a chance — contact Air Experts.

Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of bathroom plumbing services do you offer?

Our team provides sink, shower, tub, and toilet services of all kinds. Speak with our staff to discuss your bathroom plumbing needs.

My toilet always backs up. Do I need a new toilet?

A new toilet may be necessary if you constantly deal with clogs, but our plumbers can diagnose the problem before installing a new one. We’ll thoroughly unclog the toilet and help determine if a new toilet is needed.

What kind of kitchen plumbing services do you offer?

Our team performs pipe replacement, sink installation, garbage disposal services, and other common kitchen plumbing. Contact our team to discuss your specific needs.

Why is my kitchen water pressure so low?

Several factors can affect the water pressure in your kitchen. Other plumbing systems using water, a clogged water line, and pressure valve issues can all be causing trouble.

Why can’t I access hot water?

Over time, water heaters break down and may need repairs or replacement. Working with an expert plumber, you can get the services you need and restore your hot water.

My water heater is leaking. What should I do?

If your water heater is leaking, call a plumber immediately for assistance. We can visit your home to determine the leak’s cause and resolve the issue.

What is the benefit of a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters offer a variety of benefits. They take up less space, only run when hot water is needed, and are more energy-efficient than traditional tank water heaters.

Can I install a tankless water heater on my own?

While it’s possible to install a water heater alone, a professional should handle it. No matter the type of water heater, the unit must be carefully connected to the water line and fuel line to ensure proper function.

Do I need to install a sump pump in my basement or crawl space?

A sump pump may be a good purchase if you regularly get water in your basement or crawl space. A sump pump will help keep moisture out of your home.

My sump pump no longer works. What should I do?

Our plumbers can determine what’s wrong with your sump pump and repair or replace the device.

Why does my water taste odd?

Minerals and bacteria can get into the water supply after the water is treated at the plant. A water filtration system for your home can clear up these odd tastes and provide healthy, clean water.

Why should I install a whole-home water filtration system?

A whole-home water filtration system ensures clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing clothes. These systems offer the cleanest water possible.

What are water softeners?

Water softeners help break down calcium and magnesium in the water supply. These elements create “hard” water, which doesn’t clean well and sometimes leaves a white residue on dishes and glasses.

Do I need water softeners?

Water softeners benefit those with “hard” water in their area. You may need water softeners if you notice white residue on dishes and glasses or feel unclean after washing your hands.

Why do I smell gas in certain areas of my home?

It’s possible that a gas line to your water heater or other appliance may be leaking. You must call an expert to repair your gas line immediately.

Do I need to replace my gas line?

Over time, a gas line may break down and need replacement. Our plumbers can check your gas line and determine if repair or replacement is best.

What is backflow?

Backflow is when a drain in your home flows backward, such as when a toilet overflows and won’t flush. This needs to be fixed ASAP by an expert plumber.

What causes backflow?

Stress on a drain and air pressure problems can result in a backflow situation. A plumber can use special tools to rectify backflow.

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