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FAQs About Heating & Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning

How long will my air conditioner or furnace last?

If you take care of your HVAC units and schedule regular air conditioner or furnace maintenance and tune ups, you can expect your AC to last about 12 – 15 years and your gas furnace to last up to 20 – 25 years.

Find out if it’s time to replace your Baltimore air conditioner!

Why is ice forming on my AC refrigerant pipe?

Water dripping from your refrigerant line means that your air conditioner is either improperly charged or improperly insulated. Having the proper level of refrigerant in your air conditioner is crucial to maintaining proper operation and efficiency from your unit. If you have water on your pipes, call All Seasons Heating & Cooling for an air conditioner tune up.

Why is water dripping from the copper pipe on my air conditioner?

Water dripping from your refrigerant line means that your air conditioner is either improperly charged or improperly insulated. Having the proper level of refrigerant in your air conditioner is crucial to maintaining proper operation and efficiency from your unit. If you have water on your pipes, call All Seasons Heating & Cooling for an air conditioner tune up.

Why does my air conditioner make so much noise when it starts up?

Almost all air conditioners make a lot of noise when they start up. When an air conditioner starts, the oil must first move through the system before it starts to lubricate all of the moving parts. In addition, since the compressor is not under pressure for the first few seconds of air conditioner operation, it tends to run louder. The loud noises should only last for a few seconds – if they last any longer, call All Seasons Heating & Cooling – you may be low (or high) on refrigerant.

Learn more about how to repair a noisy AC unit »

What should I look for before I call for air conditioner maintenance?

If your AC isn’t running at full capacity, the first thing to check for is that your air filters are clean. If they are dirty, replace them and wait a few days to see if your AC works better. If you had ice on your system caused by dirty air filters, turn the unit off for a couple of hours and then run it again. If this still doesn’t work, call All Seasons Heating & Cooling! We can perform an air conditioner inspection and figure out the exact problem you’re having with your air conditioner (and how to fix it!).

How do I clean my condenser?

Cleaning your condenser can be a fairly simple maintenance task you can do on your own. You should always consult your user manual or a professional about your make and model before attempting to clean your condenser, as parts of it can be damaged very easily.

Find out how to clean a condenser »

How does an air conditioner work?

Your air conditioner works by cycling refrigerant in and out of the house from your condenser to your evaporator, and then cooling the air as it passes over the evaporator coils. This cycle continues until the air in your home reaches the temperature set on the thermostat.

Learn more about how an air conditioner works »

What size air conditioner do I need?

The size of your air conditioner will depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to:

  • The size of your home (square footage)
  • Humidity levels in your area
  • The number of windows in your home
  • The number of appliances or electronics in your home that produce heat
  • Your home’s insulation
  • The number of people who live there

Before purchasing a new air conditioner, you should always consult an expert. The AC specialists at All Seasons can help size and install the perfect air conditioner for your home – contact us today!

Learn more about what AC to buy in our air conditioner buying guide »

How often should I change my air filters?

Your air filters should be changed every one to three months, depending on how often you run your air conditioner. This is important to both the performance of your HVAC equipment and your indoor air quality. Leaving clogged and dirty air filters in place restricts the airflow in your home – stagnating the air and trapping harmful airborne particles – and makes it more difficult for your air conditioner to cycle clean, fresh air through your home.

Find out how to change an air filter »

What does “SEER” mean?

“SEER” stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This mathematically determined ratio measures the total cooling output during the normal period of operation (aka the summer) divided by the total electrical energy input during the same time. In layman’s terms, this is a measure of how much energy your air conditioner uses for the amount of cooling it provides. The higher the SEER, the higher your home’s energy efficiency.

Find out more about what is a good SEER rating for an AC »

Why isn’t the air coming out of my vents cold?

You air conditioner only has two modes: off and on. When it’s on, the evaporator coils – which are approximately 40 degrees cooler than the indoor air – can cool the air about 20 degrees. However, this means that if the indoor air temperature is very high to start, the air will sometimes feel warm when coming out of the vents.

For instance, if you were away for the weekend and turned off your air conditioner, the temperature could be very high when you came home – say 95 degrees. That means that the air blowing out of your vents would only be about 75 degrees, and it might not feel cool right away. Don’t worry, though! Just give your AC a little time to regulate the temperature If in a few hours, the air temperature hasn’t dropped any, contact All Seasons and our experts can help advise you on the best course of action.

Heating

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps provide an energy efficient alternative to other heating systems. Heat pumps move heat between the outdoors and the indoors rather than generating heat, using less energy to heat your home. A heat pump can provide both heating and cooling for your home by transferring warm and cool air from inside to outside.

Learn more about how a heat pump works.

What is two-stage heating?

A two-stage heating system offers two levels of heat production: low-level heating and full-level heating. The purpose of a two-stage heating system is to avoid the constant turning on and off of a one-stage system by maintaining a more consistent, lower level of heating. A two-stage heating system can cost more than a one-stage heating system, but it requires less fuel to operate.

Learn more about how two-stage heating works.

What type of thermostat should i get?

Thermostat options include programmable thermostats, mechanical thermostats and electric thermostats. Mechanical thermostats cost the least of the three, but can be unreliable and produce significant temperature variations. Electronic thermostats respond faster to temperature variations, but cost more than mechanical ones. Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically adjust temperatures in your house according to preset times. These thermostats can save you money since you can program them to reduce the temperature at night and when you’re not at home.

Find out more about choosing a thermostat.

What size heating system do I need?

The “size” of an HVAC system is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The size of your HVAC system will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The size of your home
  • The number of windows in your home
  • Your home’s insulation
  • Climate and environment

Choosing the correct size HVAC system is important for energy efficiency and proper heating. Consult an expert to determine the properly sized HVAC system for your home.

Learn more about what heating system to buy with our heating system buying guide.

What is “AFUE”?

AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. Calculated in percentages, a high AFUE rating allows you to determine the efficiency of a heating system. Older systems tend to operate in the range of 50 to 70 percent, while newer systems can operate as high as 97 percent. Upgrading to a newer system with a higher AFUE percentage can help you save money on your heating bill.

Find out what is a good AFUE rating for a new heating system.

Why do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

Your furnace produces carbon monoxide every time it runs as a byproduct of burning gas or oil. Carbon monoxide, which is an odorless and colorless toxic gas, can leak out of your furnace. A low level carbon monoxide detector will alert you if the levels of carbon monoxide in your home get too high.

Click here to learn more about which carbon monoxide detector you should buy.

Furnace

What are the different types of furnaces?

In general, you can choose between an oil, gas, and electric furnace. When selecting a furnace, the most cost efficient option will not be the same for every home. You should take a variety of factors into account when selecting a new furnace, including the installation costs as well as local fuel prices.

Click here to learn more about what furnace you should buy.

What is a gas furnace?

Gas furnaces are the most commonly used furnace in the United States. They rely on natural gas for fuel. New, energy efficient gas furnace models can help reduce your energy costs while delivering consistent, fast, and warm air to your home.

Learn more about gas furnace advantages.

What is an electric furnace?

An electric furnace relies on electricity rather than gas as its fuel source. Some people prefer electric furnaces because they have lower installation costs, don’t require ductwork or piping, and don’t emit greenhouse gases. One drawback, however, is that an electric furnace will not operate during power outages. Electricity costs also tend to run higher than natural gas costs.

Click here to learn more about electric furnace advantages.

How often do I need furnace maintenance?

Depending on how much you use your furnace, we recommend performing maintenance on your furnace at least once a year. The best time to have furnace maintenance is prior to the heating season.

Click here to learn what is included in furnace maintenance.

What size furnace do I need?

It’s extremely important to get the right size furnace for your home in order to keep your energy costs low and your house comfortable. To make sure you get the right size furnace, we recommend calling a professional furnace installer to evaluate your home. A furnace technician will take things into consideration such as the climate, the number of windows in your home, your home’s square footage, your ceiling heights, the number of people in your home, your home’s insulation, and more.

Click here to read our furnace buying guide.

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