HVAC FAQ

Providing Answers to Common HVAC Questions From Our Customers in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill & the Surrounding Areas

  1. What is the SEER Rating?
  2. Why is the SEER rating on the Energy Guide different than what my dealer quoted?
  3. Why should I have regular (or preventative) maintenance? And how often should I have it performed?
  4. What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?
  5. I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.
  6. What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
  7. What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?
  8. Why can’t I find the correct size furnace filter at my local home improvement store for my Carrier Brand Equipment?
  9. Where can I get parts for my Carrier equipment?
  10. Which Carrier equipment will best fit my home?
  11. What does my warranty cover?
  12. What is the life expectancy of my unit?
  13. When is it time to replace my HVAC system?
  14. What is a heat pump and why should I have one?
  15. How does a heat pump work?
  16. How do I know when my HVAC system needs repairs?
  17. How should I set my AC when I’m gone for the day?
  18. How does a furnace work?
  19. Should I get a heat pump or a furnace?
  20. When do I need to replace my furnace?
  21. My furnace smells weird! What should I do?

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 efficiency 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 anywhere from 13 to 17.

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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.

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

Your heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your home everyday. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down any machine if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing regular maintenance, you can maximize the lifecycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many common equipment failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover 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 allow prevent possible problems that may occur in the near future. We offer a variety of maintenance plans with differing services and benefits so that you are guaranteed regular, top-quality HVAC maintenance annually.

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What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?

At least once a year heat pumps and air conditioners require a professional tune-up. Because gas-fired equipment functions 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 actual furnace and boiler. Meanwhile, heat pump and air conditioning unit inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils, line kits and refrigerant lines.

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I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.

As your local Carrier dealer, Air Experts Heating & Cooling is your troubleshooting expert, and is glad to help you. In addition, Carrier also provides a network of troubleshooting technicians at Carrier Distribution centers across the country which Air Experts Heating & Cooling will utilize to solve your concern. Should we encounter a situation that requires additional factory help, we will contact our factory supported Service Manager(s) for assistance.

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What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Since they are 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 will never forget to change the setting on your own.

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

Standard filters work to 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, Air Experts Heating & Cooling recommends that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

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Why can’t I find the correct size furnace filter at my local home improvement store for my Carrier Brand Equipment?

The filter shipped with your Carrier unit is made from higher-quality materials than those of the disposable filters found in retail stores. For that reason, replacement Carrier filters can only be purchased through a Carrier dealer. However, keep in mind that some Carrier filters are reusable, and can be washed by hand in cold water.

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Where can I get parts for my Carrier equipment?

As a Carrier dealer, Air Experts Heating & Cooling is the best resource for identifying and supplying the correct, current parts for your system, as well as pricing and availability.

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Which Carrier equipment will best fit my home?

There are many factors that affect the sizing and specifications of your system, including square footage, insulation, window surface and configuration, geographic location of your home, duct sizing and arrangement, and many others. Air Experts Heating & Cooling can perform an in-home load analysis to determine which equipment combinations will perfectly suit your home and your family’s needs. Depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.

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What does my warranty cover?

Under the standard factory warranty, Carrier covers parts that fail during the warranty period due to defect in the part. The warranty does not cover labor. A warranty certificate was included with your homeowner information packet, and is specific to the model numbers, serial numbers and installation dates of your products. If you cannot find your warranty certificate, Air Experts Heating & Cooling will also be able to provide you with the information.

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What is the life expectancy of my unit?

Dependable Carrier products are among the longest lasting heating and cooling products available. For your specific equipment, there are many variables that affect life expectancy, and of course, the regularity of routine maintenance.

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When is it time to replace my HVAC system?

Due to technology and efficiency standards rapid improvement over the past several years, any HVAC system that is more than 10 years old is automatically eligible for replacement. A new system will be far more efficient and will help you save big on energy costs. You should also consider replacement if your energy bills are higher than normal or if your system requires repair more than once a year.

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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 are great at creating a uniform temperature in your home and do not produce overly dry air like a furnace can. They are 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 you will accumulate over the years will balance out the cost. Heat pumps are a great choice for all Raleigh-Durham area residents due to their high efficiency and guaranteed comfort.

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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 is then circulated into the house where the warmed coolant heats the indoor air. In effect, it is your air conditioner working in reverse.

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

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How do I know when my HVAC systen needs repairs?

Whenever your system starts exhibiting unusual behavior or just isn’t work right, give Air Experts a call. The fastest way to resolve any HVAC issue is by calling a trainer professional who will be able to quickly diagnose your issue and get it back in working order. Some signs of repair we see time and again 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

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

Don’t turn your air conditioning off completely—it is 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 are out of the house. It is best to start cooling it down an hour or two before you arrive home so that 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.

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Should I get a heat pump or a furnace?

The Raleigh-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 thirty to fifty percent more efficient than a furnace in moderate climates. Because they combine cooling and heating, they are also less expensive to install than furnaces and central air conditioning systems.

When do I need to replace my furnace?

A furnace has an average lifespan 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 are unsure, don’t take a chance—contact the professionals at Air Experts!

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