Frequently Asked Questions
H: Heating V: Ventilation A: Air C: Conditioning
Replacing your air conditioning filter regularly will not only improve the efficiency of your air conditioner but may prolong its life. When you do not replace your air conditioning filter, dirt, dust and grime block the flow of air, forcing it to bypass the filter and putting the dirt directly into the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is the part of your air conditioner that absorbs heat, keep the coil clean to prevent your compressor and fans from failing. Replacing your air conditioning filter is not as intimidating as it sounds just follow these tips below:
- Your air conditioning filter is located somewhere along the ductwork that returns air from the building and to the air conditioner. Filters can also be located in the air conditioner itself, in ceilings, walls or furnaces.
- There are a few different kinds of filtration methods that can be used. One of the less expensive filters uses strands of fiberglass or folded pleats. These are usually disposable and can be found at the local home improvement store or even the grocery store. There are also electrostatic charged filters that are either washable or disposable. Sometimes these filters have to be specially ordered to fit the filtration equipment. The washable filters may cost more to begin with but since they are reusable they can save money over time as well as having a lower impact on the environment. If you cannot identify the filter by sight, you can always bring it with you to the store.
- If you do have a disposable filter you should check your air conditioning filter every month. In most cases you will end up changing it more often during months where the system is running more frequently, such as the summer. Having pets, being a smoker, living on a dirt road can also affect how often you should change your filter.
- When purchasing the replacement filter, be sure to measure the existing filter. A good idea is to keep the actual box the filters came in. Storing extra filters in the box will also protect them from getting dirty or damaged before use. If you do not have the box you can simply use a tape measure to find the correct size of the filter you need.
- Efficiency. Don’t be fooled into thinking that replacing your filters less frequently can save you money. Though air conditioning filters can be expensive, the efficiency of your air conditioner is greatly increased when the filters are frequently changed. You do not want dirt building up inside your system. As little as an 1/8” of dirt on your coil can affect your systems efficiency by up to 20%. No matter what type of filter you use, make be sure to check it often and to replace it when it starts looking fuzzy.
Outdoor Temperatures drive home energy usage more than any other single factor. While none of us can control the weather, we do encourage customers to take steps to reduce energy usage and lower bills as much as possible during the winter months.
- A heating system on average uses 60% of a home’s energy. Keep furnace filters clean, and make sure your heating system is operating efficiently.
- If you have an electric heat pump, set the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower and “forget it”. For other forms of heat, set the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, but if you’re gone for several hours or more, set the thermostat at 55 degrees, or even cut it off (unless the pipes are in danger of freezing).
- Make sure your home is well insulated.
- Weather strip and caulk windows and doors to seal small cracks.
- Insulate your water heater and set the temperature as reasonably low as possible.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and designates the efficiency rating of air conditioning systems.This measures the efficiency of a unit. The higher the seer, the more efficient it is. The lowest on the market today is 13 SEER. Replacing an old 8 or 10 SEER unit with a 13 SEER can save you 30-40% on your utility bill.
A 14 SEER air conditioner is more efficient than a 10 SEER unit. As of January 2006, manufacturers are no longer permitted to manufacture air conditioning systems with a SEER less than 13. Prior to this date, the minimum SEER was 10. According to the Department of Energy, each increase of 1 point on the SEER rating results in an approximate 10% increase in efficiency. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 14 or greater.
We accept cash, check, and all major credit cards. We also provide financing available through Wells Fargo, with approved credit.
We remove and dispose of your old equipment.
Routine maintenance keeps your equipment in top condition for maximum efficiency. With our Energy Savings Agreement you get a complete Precision Tune-up and professional cleaning twice a year.
Lower utility bills, extended equipment life, fewer repairs, 10% discount on any repairs needed, inflation protection, emergency service, and no overtime charges. You become a priority customer and it also helps keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid.
With our ESA, our NATE-Certified techs conduct a multitude of Precision Tune-Up procedures that include:
- Cleaning and inspecting burner assemblies
- Inspecting ignition and combustion assemblies
- Inspecting heat exchanger or elements
- Testing of safety controls
- Monitoring refrigerant pressure
- Testing starting capabilities
- Cleaning and/or replacing air filters (standard 1”)
- Inspecting and adjusting blower components/cleaning as needed
- Measuring for correct airflow
- Tightening electrical connections
- Measuring motor voltage/amperage
- Lubricating motors with oil tubes
- Checking thermostat calibration
- Cleaning evaporator coils when accessible (indoor)
- Cleaning condenser coils (outdoor)
- Clean condensate drains
- Measuring temperature differences
- Applying a protective coating to the outside of the unit
- Cleaning leaves and other debris from the outside unit
HVAC repair tops the list of things that you do not want to have disrupt your day and repairs can be expensive. A broken HVAC system is something you cannot ignore and it’s critical to your family’s comfort. We are always happy to serve you but we would like you to avoid unnecessary repair bills. Below is a list of common HVAC problems that can sometimes be fixed without a service call.
- Check your air filter. If it hasn’t been replaced in a while, or especially if it looks dirty, swap out the old filter for a new one and allow your system to run for a couple of hours. If nothing improves, go ahead and give us a call.
- Check circuit breakers and switches. This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes power switches and breakers can be turned off by accident. However, keep in mind that a tripped HVAC breaker might be an indication of a larger problem.
- Check the switch on the indoor and the outdoor unit.There should be an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler and the outdoor unit for safety reasons. Be careful flipping the switch to the outside, as this switch controls the 240 volts of electricity to the outdoor A/C unit and it’s very dangerous.
- Check vents, grills, and air registers for blockage. Furniture that has been moved in front of air registers can create problems for the HVAC system. Make sure nothing is blocking vents or grills, and that sufficient flow is possible.
- Check for water in the drain pan under the indoor unit. Many A/C units have a safety switch to stop them from operating if water could leak into your home and damage ceilings and floors. Checking for water in a pan under the unit could tell you the drain is clogged. Simply empty the pan and clean out the drain line.
- Make sure there is fuel in the tank. This applies to oil and propane heating systems in the winter time. If the tanks have been run dry, first call the oil or propane supplier, but know that you will need to give us a call to bleed the lines due to issues from running the tank dry.
- Contact your landlord or property manager FIRST. If you are renting your property, the landlord, owner, or property manager needs to be contacted first, before service technicians. At Comfortmaster, we won’t work on a system without owner approval.
- If after completing our checklist you still need a repair, please give us a call immediately at [phone]
As a general rule, if your unit is less than 5 years old, it’s probably better to repair it. If it’s over 8 years old and the repairs are major, consider replacing it. If it’s somewhere in between, it depends on your warranty and the price of the failing parts. If you have an older unit with a SEER rating of less than 8, the increased efficiency of a new one can reduce your monthly power bill. According to the Department of Energy, each increase of 1 point on the SEER rating results in an approximate 10% increase in efficiency. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 14 or greater.
Yes. You want to be sure that all the parts of your HVAC system work together properly. Replacing only the outdoor unit or the indoor unit of an HVAC system may appear to save money, but it could contribute to service problems later on. By replacing all parts you make sure that the system is performing at maximum efficiency. This also includes the ductwork. Ductwork that is leaky, blocked, inadequate or not sized to the new system will affect the efficiency of your system. Ask your contractor to thoroughly inspect your ductwork to identify any problems and have them addressed as part of the installation. At Comfortmaster we design and fabricate all ductwork in house. This allows us to custom design ductwork to meet your home’s unique needs.
You want to make sure that your new HVAC system is accurately sized to meet your home’s comfort needs. An HVAC system that is too small cannot deliver adequate heating or cooling in extreme weather; a system that is too large will not only cost more, but provide poorer temperature control. To ensure that your new HVAC system is the right size for your home make sure that the contract performs a detailed load calculation. A detailed load calculation determines the capacity of the equipment needed as well as the correct distribution of air to each room.
The size of the HVAC system that you need will be greatly affected by the energy usage of your home. Before you decide on an HVAC unit, look at making energy improvements to your home. Addressing areas of energy waste in your home not only reduces operating costs of the system but can mean a smaller, less expensive HVAC system can do the job.
What it is: In a split-system central air conditioner there are two parts an outdoor metal cabinet and an indoor cabinet. That’s why it’s called a “split” system. The outdoor cabinet contains the condenser and compressor and typically sits on a concrete slab outside your home. The indoor cabinet contains the evaporator and is usually located in the attic or a closet. The indoor cabinet also typically includes a furnace (or the inside part of a heat pump). The indoor and outdoor units are connected by a refrigerant line.
A split air conditioner consists of two main parts: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed on or near the wall outside of the room or space that you wish to cool. The unit houses the compressor, condenser coil and the expansion coil or capillary tubing. The sleek-looking indoor unit contains the cooling coil, a long blower and an air filter.
A split air conditioner does not require major installation work because it does not require ductwork. Rather, the indoor and outdoor units are connected with a set of electrical wires and tubing. This is good for your wallet and the environment. The ductwork required for many traditional A/C units generally increases energy expenditures, as many centralized A/C units lose a lot of energy due to heat exchange in the air duct system. So, without a duct system, there is very little opportunity for heat or energy loss in a split air conditioner system.
This kind of air conditioner system has many advantages over traditional air conditioners. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the quiet performance of a split air conditioner system. The parts of an air conditioner that make the most noise are the compressor and the fan that cools the condenser. In a split system, the compressor and fan for the condenser are located outside of the room being cooled and therefore the major sources of noise are removed – unlike with window units. Another benefit of a split air conditioner system is that you can opt for a multi-split system, where you can have more than one indoor unit connected to a single outdoor unit. This makes it easy to cool multiple rooms or maintain the temperature throughout a large room through the use of two indoor cooling units. A split air conditioner is an efficient and cost-effective way to cool your home. It should be noted that the initial cost of this kind of air conditioning unit is significantly higher than a window unit and it does require professional installation. However, the amount of money you will save on your energy bills as well as the longevity of the unit will make it worth your while in the end. Here’s a simple diagram of a split system:
- Greater energy efficiency possibilities – Split air conditioning systems have SEER ratings from 13 to 23.
- Labor costs – Labor costs more because you are installing a unit outside the house and also inside (usually in the attic or crawlspace, depending on the type of air handler). Also, the system can’t be charged with refrigerant until it has been set in place, which adds to the cost.
When you’d want this: It’s a more cost efficient choice if your home already has a furnace, and you are purchasing a new air conditioning unit or replacing an older unit. Learn more about this on Energy.gov’s website.
What it is: The evaporator, condenser, and compressor are all located in one cabinet and thus “packaged” together. This single cabinet is usually placed on a roof. Some packaged air conditioners can include electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace. That means you won’t need a separate furnace inside.
- Space efficiency – Unlike split-system units, the package unit has all the components in one place.
- Cheaper installation – Since packaged units can come pre-charged with refrigerant, and they are only installed outside, installation is cheaper than a split unit.
- Limited energy efficiency: Packaged units typically have a SEER rating from 10 to 18.
When you’d want this: A packaged system is ideal for situations where indoor space is limited and therefore important. This is usually the case for mobile homes and homes with a crawl space. The final word The biggest factor to consider is the construction of your home. Most newer homes were built with split central air conditioning because it’s much more cost-efficient to run over time. However, if you live in an older or smaller home or a mobile home, you probably have a packaged unit because of space restrictions.
Central air conditioners are more efficient than room air conditioners. In addition, they are out of the way, quiet, and convenient to operate. To save energy and money, you should try to buy an energy-efficient air conditioner and reduce your central air conditioner’s energy use. In an average air-conditioned home, air conditioning consumes more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, causing power plants to emit about 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide. If you are considering adding central air conditioning to your home, the deciding factor may be the need for ductwork.
If you have an older central air conditioner, you might choose to replace the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. If you do so, consult a local heating and cooling contractor to assure that the new compressor is properly matched to the indoor unit. However, considering recent changes in refrigerants and air conditioning designs, it might be wiser to replace the entire system. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
Proper sizing and installation are key elements in determining air conditioner efficiency. Too large a unit will not adequately remove humidity. Too small a unit will not be able to attain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days. Improper unit location, lack of insulation, and improper duct installation can greatly diminish efficiency. When buying an air conditioner, look for a model with a high efficiency.
Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. When purchasing a central air conditioner, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. New residential central air conditioner standards went into effect on January 1, 2015; see the efficiency standards for central air conditioners for details, and consider purchasing a system with a higher SEER than the minimum for greater savings.
The standards do not require you to change your existing central air conditioning units, and replacement parts and services should still be available for your home’s systems. The “lifespan” of a central air conditioner is about 15 to 20 years. Manufacturers typically continue to support existing equipment by making replacement parts available and honoring maintenance contracts after the new standard goes into effect. Other features to look for when buying an air conditioner include:
A thermal expansion valve and a high-temperature rating (EER) greater than 11.6, for high-efficiency operation when the weather is at its hottest
A variable speed air handler for new ventilation systems
A unit that operates quietly
A fan-only switch, so you can use the unit for nighttime ventilation to substantially reduce air-conditioning costs
A filter check light to remind you to check the filter after a predetermined number of operating hours
An automatic-delay fan switch to turn off the fan a few minutes after the compressor turns off.
If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it will perform efficiently for years with only minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models. When installing a new central air conditioning system, be sure that your contractor:
Allows adequate indoor space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of the new system, and installs an access door in the furnace or duct to provide a way to clean the evaporator coil
Uses a duct-sizing methodology such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D
Ensures there are enough supply registers to deliver cool air and enough return air registers to carry warm house air back to the air conditioner
Installs duct work within the conditioned space, not in the attic, wherever possible
Seals all ducts with duct mastic and heavily insulates attic ducts
Locates the condensing unit where its noise will not keep you or your neighbors awake at night, if possible
Locates the condensing unit where no nearby objects will block airflow to it
Verifies that the newly installed air conditioner has the exact refrigerant charge and airflow rate specified by the manufacturer
Locates the thermostat away from heat sources, such as windows or supply registers.
If you are replacing an older or failed split system, be sure that the evaporator coil is replaced with a new one that exactly matches the condenser coil in the new condensing unit. (The air conditioner’s efficiency will likely not improve if the existing evaporator coil is left in place; in fact, the old coil could cause the new compressor to fail prematurely.)