Here are the top questions our customers ask on a regular basis:

How often should I replace my filter?

With a standard one-inch filter, it should be checked every month and replaced if necessary. With four inch to six inch filter systems, six- month intervals are recommended. Electronic air cleaners should be cleaned every 30 days.

How often should my comfort system be serviced?

We recommend your comfort system be serviced every six months; this will allow your system to provide the most reliable comfort for you and your family while utilizing the least energy.

My husband and I spend most of the winter in Arizona. What temperature is safe for the home while we are not there for extended periods?

Many people want to turn their thermostat down as much as possible while away at winter homes. Turning the temperature down while away is ok but it is a good idea to have the thermostat set at a temperature which will allow time for a potential problem to be repaired, should the furnace stop working, before freezing water pipes become an issue. We install thermostats that can be adjusted with your Android or iPhone smart phone, allowing you to check on conditions in your home as well as adjust the temperature to a comfortable temperature prior to returning.

What temperature setting is “normal” on my thermostat?

Your thermostat setting is a matter of personal comfort. Obviously the higher settings in the winter (Heated) and lower settings in the summer (Air Conditioned) will consume more energy; resulting in higher utility costs. Raising the temp in the summer will save approximately 3% for every degree and 3-5% for every degree the temp is lowered in the winter.

What does SEER mean?

This is the acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The rating is determined by the ratio of energy consumed (watt hours) and the cooling output (Btu). Currently, models available range from 13 to 25 SEER max. The higher the SEER rating of a properly installed air conditioning system, the lower the operating cost will be.

What benefit is achieved with a variable speed furnace/ air handler?

There are many benefits with a variable speed furnace. For starters, the variable blower slowly ramps to its required speed resulting in quieter operation. They use approximately 60% less electricity than a standard blower resulting in an increase of almost one full SEER for air conditioning. Lastly, the variable blower is capable of running at a continuous speed low enough to circulate air without creating drafts; enabling use of comfort accessories such as air cleaners and whole- house humidifier/ dehumidifier all while maintaining more even temperatures throughout your home.

How do I set my programmable thermostat to gain the most savings?

In the winter: it is recommended to lower the temperature 4-6 degrees while away for extended periods. Otherwise, every degree dropped (normal set temperature) will have a potential savings of 3-5%. In the summer: it is recommended to raise the temperature as high as 10 degrees while away for extended periods of time. An increase of every degree (normal set temperature) will have the potential to save 3%.

I have been told to stay away from “high efficiency” filters and use only fiberglass, why?

In this case “high efficiency” is actually describing the ability of the filter to remove particles from the air, it is not describing its energy saving potential; this is done utilizing restrictive media. A one-inch thick filter may not have enough surface area to allow sufficient volume to permeate it. Therefore, when these filters are used in a comfort system, the airflow is restricted causing the furnace or air conditioner to run longer. Longer run time results in higher energy consumption. Airflow volume is a primary player in the temperature changing process. Improper airflow results in frozen coils and reduced cooling capacity during the summer months. During the heating season problems such as open limits and inability to heat adequately during extreme cold spells are potential issues to contend with when these highly restrictive (and costly) filters are used. A one-inch filter has one purpose- prevent blockage of coils and secondary heat exchangers caused by dirt and debris. Indoor Air Quality is better addressed with a filter system that will allow proper airflow volume and remove the bothersome particles at the same time.

What is AFUE?

This is the acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It is the means of determining the percentage of heat generated by a furnace, water heater, or boiler that is used for its intended purpose- heating air or water. For example, a home using an older furnace with a cast iron heat exchanger would be getting approx 60% AFUE (40% of heat generated is lost up the chimney with the flue gas); whereas, a 95% AFUE furnace available today loses only 5% of its generated heat.

My furnace does not work, is there anything I can do before calling for a repair?

Check the following items: thermostat is set to heat, power switch near furnace is on, blower door is secure, circuit breaker is not tripped, if furnace is older- is the pilot light lit, make sure all registers are open and unobstructed, is the filter dirty?
[If your air conditioning system is not working, ensure the filter is clean, power switch for furnace is on, circuit breaker (both furnace and a/c) are not tripped, can you see ice or water around your equipment?]

What advantages are there with a 2-stage furnace?

There are a couple distinct benefits of 2- stage furnace operation. The most noticeable for most people is the reduced sound level during operation. Single- stage furnaces run at their maximum rated capacity all of the time every time. Therefore, you get 100% of the blower and burner noise any time the furnace is operating. Additionally, the same furnace that heats your home on the coldest of days is running at the same capacity during moderate outside temperatures resulting in unnecessary wear and tear on the equipment. The blower on most 2- stage furnaces runs at a slower speed in the 1st stage combined with the lower firing rate (typically approx 66%) results in a substantial decibel reduction. The lower firing rate results in a longer run time without using more gas giving the benefit a more comfortable home. These furnaces can be controlled with a single-stage or two-stage thermostat (single would utilize a timed feature), we strongly recommend utilizing a two-stage thermostat with a two- stage furnace. Chicago temperatures can be bitterly cold and nobody would want to wait a predetermined time for the furnace to run at full capacity during those times.

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