Q: How long should my old furnace and air conditioner last?
Typically a furnace or air conditioner will last 10-18 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by equipment or major component failure. Regular, scheduled maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment. Ask about our Energy Savings Agreements (ESA).
Q: My electric and gas bills are high. Will a new furnace and air conditioner lower my bills?
YES! A new 18 SEER air conditioner can cut electrical consumption, as much as 50%. Even a 14 SEER air conditioner (this is the minimum efficiency the federal government allows to be sold) will cut the electricity used by as much as 30%. A new furnace can usually cut the gas used by the old furnace by as much as 30%
Q: What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in BTU or Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. Its like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car – the higher the mpg (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill. For
Q: Shouldn’t I install the highest SEER air conditioner available?
In our climate, 14 SEER is considered standard efficiency (this is the minimum efficiency the federal government allows to be sold) and 16 to 20 SEER is high efficiency. The initial investment is higher for a 20 SEER than a 14 SEER, but the electricity savings will usually pay for the difference in 5-7 years. It is important that the new air conditioner be sized properly so it runs long enough to remove humidity (so you don’t have a cool, but sticky home).
Q: What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner?
In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in reverse heating the indoors while cooling the outdoors. Heat pumps need auxiliary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to help them when it is real cold. The initial investment for a heat pump is a little higher than for an air conditioner, and the duct work must be sized right for proper operation. Heat pumps will reduce your winter heating bills by over 50%, depending on how you presently heat your home.
Q: Should I replace my gas furnace and air conditioner at the same time, or can they be installed separately?
Either way. If they are installed at the same time, the coil cabinet (the part of the air conditioner that sits on top of the furnace) will match the furnace in color and style. Also it may be more convenient and less expensive to replace them at the same time, but they will operate OK whether they are installed at the same time or not.
Q: Is it OK to install a different brand of furnace (or air conditioner) to work with my existing air conditioner (or furnace)?
Although it is generally recommended to match components, most brands of air conditioners will work with others as long as the coils and blowers are the proper size. You may, however, experience some loss of efficiency and capacity.
Q: My home has a gas furnace but no air conditioner. Can I add central air?
Yes, in most cases, since air conditioners require more air flow than furnaces and it may be necessary to add more ductwork or a blower. Also, local codes require that your ductwork be insulated, and your electrical service may need to be upgraded. Central Heat & Air can determine all of the costs required to add central air.
Q: My friend works for a heating and air company and says he can install a new system for me – for a lot less money.
Is this a good idea?
Maybe, but be sure he has a license, obtains all required permits and has adequate insurance. Keep in mind you will be dependent on him and his schedule for warranty repairs. If he meets the above requirements, has the needed experience and you understand that repairs may not be timely – you may save some money, but be sure you are not getting a “cheap” installation that will cost you more in the long run. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.
Q: How does Central Heat & Air determine what size of furnace and air conditioner to install?
Central Heat & Air’s technician will measure your home and calculate the actual heating and cooling load on the home (calculation based on window size and direction, walls, ceiling, floor, appliances, insulation, etc). This will determine the proper size of equipment that is needed. This will be compared to your current equipment and ductwork and will be adjusted based on your lifestyle, etc.
Q: I want a big air conditioner. Someone told me this is not good – what are the advantages and disadvantages?
An “over-sized” air conditioner will cool your house quicker, but it will use more electricity and will not remove humidity adequately. Also, if your ductwork is not big enough for the “over-sized” air conditioner, the coil may freeze and then the air conditioner won’t work at all. Obviously, the air conditioner must be big enough to cool the house, but too big is just as bad as too little. We recommend the proper size to cool your home to 75 degrees when it is 95 degrees outside, then adjust the size if needed, based on your temperature preferences
Q: Does Central Heat & Air take care of permits, gas connections, electrical work that is needed, etc?
We obtain all required permits. We can take care of the electrical and gas connections also, and we can work with your electrician or plumber if you prefer.
Q: Some rooms in our house don’t get enough heat (or cooling). Can this be fixed?
Sometimes running the blower continuously will solve this problem. Usually, the new furnace will have better airflow which will help, and there is usually a way to install an additional register in the area to obtain more air flow. The best solution to uneven airflow is a zoning system that controls the temperature precisely in every area of the home.
Q: Should I run the blower continuously, or use the auto position on the thermostat?
Try both ways. Running the blower all the time will use a little extra electricity, however, the home is usually more comfortable, the temperature is more even throughout the home, and the air is cleaner because it is filtered more. The motors generally last longer because they are not starting and stopping. Some of the new furnaces have the ability to use a slow blower speed for continuous operation, and a faster speed when the furnace or air conditioner is running. But most people leave the setting on “Auto” and it works fine.
Q: How many bids should I get before I decide on a new system?
If Central Heat & Air is servicing your current system, or if we have installed equipment for you in the past, you should be comfortable in obtaining a proposal from Central Heat & Air Co. We will give you several ranges of prices and brands of equipment to choose from. One of our systems will almost certainly meet your needs. Another way to obtain several bids without the effort is to call current customers that have had a system installed recently and ask why they chose Central Heat & Air (your Central Heat & Air technician can give you a list of customers).
Q: How do I check out the companies I am considering to install my new system?
This is the easiest, yet most important step – call their customers. Eliminate any company that doesn’t give you a long list of customers that they have installed during the last 1-24 months. Check Angie’s List! It’s the only contractor reporting service that gives both good and bad reports. Central Heat and Air Co. consistently earns Angie’s List Super Contractor Award each year by getting superior ratings from customers. Call the BBB and tell them you are considering a new system and ask about their experience with Central Heat & Air (or any other company you are considering). Also, eliminate any company that doesn’t answer their phone personally and promptly.
Q: How do I pay for my new system?
For installation of new equipment, we require down payment of 30%, with balance due after the installation is complete (unless other arrangements have been made). We accept VISA, MasterCard, Cash and Checks. We also have financing available with low monthly payments and some utility company financing.
Q: Why should I consider a new high-efficiency filter?
High-efficiency filters remove more of the smaller particles from the air. This will help us breathe better and reduce sinus problems, headaches and colds. Many people miss fewer days from school and work and use less allergy medication. The air is filtered before entering the furnace and air conditioning. A coil makes the equipment last longer and reduces fuel consumption by 10%-15% over the life of a new furnace and air conditioner. Central Heat & Air has several different filters available and can show you the differences in efficiency and installation cost.
Q: Should I have a new wi-fi thermostat installed with my new system?
Wi-Fi thermostats allow you to control the temperatures in your home with your smart phone or tablet from anywhere in the world with internet service! They also have energy saving features that can save you lots of cash! They will reduce your energy bills and increase your comfort (i.e. get up to a “warm” bathroom during the winter).
Q: Should I have my duct work cleaned? Does Central Heat & Air do this?
Dust builds up inside our duct work just like it builds up on our furniture. We also find rodent droppings and other debris in duct systems. It is important to clean the duct work every few years to prevent this build up of dust, pollen fungus and bacteria. You will breathe better, your home will be cleaner, possible health hazards will be eliminated, and your heating and cooling costs will be reduced. Central uses the state-of-the-art duct cleaning equipment operated by our skilled, NATE certified technicians. Many people have lived in their homes for many years without cleaning their duct systems!
Q: Does Central Heat & Air have experienced servicemen?
Absolutely! All of our servicemen are licensed, insured and NATE certified. We have some of the best and most experienced servicemen anywhere and we constantly train them in the latest technical innovations and customer service skills.
Q: A cracked furnace is dangerous. How often should I have it checked?
Your furnace should be inspected by a licensed serviceman every fall before the heating season begins and a carbon monoxide test performed. Any other time the furnace is not operating properly (ex. the pilot blows out) it should be checked for carbon monoxide emissions too. You should also consider a low level carbon monoxide alarm if your house uses natural or propane gas or if there is an attached garage.
Q: Why should I have my air conditioner checked in the spring and my furnace checked in the fall?
They should be checked yearly, and cleaned, to be sure they are operating at their top efficiency, are operating properly and to be sure they are operating safely. Regular maintenance will add years to the life of the equipment and reduce emergency repair calls.
Q: Is there a charge for diagnosing what is wrong with my system?
It costs a lot to send a fully stocked truck with a trained technician to your door. Our service call charge includes the trip to your home and a diagnosis of your system, no matter how long the diagnosis takes.