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6 Common Heating and Cooling Questions Answered


Your heating and cooling system plays a crucial role in keeping you cool when the weather is warm and cozy when it’s chilly out. Lots of homeowners don’t think about their HVAC system at all until problems arise. However, you don’t have to wait until it malfunctions to learn a little bit about your system. Let’s look at some questions that people frequently ask HVAC professionals.

Question #1: How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?

The answer can vary, but inspecting your filter once a month is a good policy. If the filter is darkened or clogged, it’s time to change it. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how often yours needs changing.

A dirty, clogged air filter diminishes airflow, decreasing the performance of your HVAC system while making it work harder – so make sure you check it frequently.

Question #2: How Often Should I Have My System Serviced?

Most HVAC experts recommend that you have a technician inspect and tune up your system before each cooling and heating season. An inspection may not be as important if you have a brand new system, but it’s still a good idea.

For older furnaces, regular maintenance checks are a must. The technician will inspect all components for damage and tune up your system so that it can run at its most efficient.

Question #3: How Can I Lower My Heating and Cooling Bills?

There are many ways to decrease your household energy usage. Here are a few:

  • Buy a smart thermostat to cut down on unnecessary heating and cooling.
  • Upgrade your furnace and air conditioning components to high-efficiency models.
  • Have your HVAC equipment serviced regularly.
  • Seal up your home by fixing any air leaks and installing energy-efficient windows.

Cutting back on your energy usage not only lowers your utility bills; it also extends the life of your HVAC components and reduces your carbon footprint.

Question #4: What Size Furnace and Air Conditioner Should I Get?

You might think that when it comes to HVAC equipment, bigger is better – but that’s not necessarily the case.

For example, if you buy a furnace that’s too big for your home, it will get your home up to the desired temperature quickly – and then shut off. These frequent on-off cycles will increase your energy usage and possibly decrease the lifespan of the furnace.

If you buy a furnace or air conditioner that’s too small, it will run constantly to try and keep up with the demand. Your energy bills will soar, and the lifespan of the equipment will be reduced. If you’re not sure what size is best for your home, an HVAC professional can help.

Question #5: How Long Will My Furnace and Air Conditioner Last?

While a well-maintained furnace can last over 20 years, the expected lifespan is generally 15 to 20 years. For central air conditioners, it’s 10 to 15 years.

Many things factor into the longevity of your HVAC components. If the system is too large or small for your home or it hasn’t been properly maintained, it might have a below-average lifespan.

Question #6: What Does the AFUE Rating on My Furnace Mean?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s a way to indicate how much energy a furnace uses versus how much it wastes.

Furnaces are required to have an AFUE rating of at least 80 percent. However, there are furnaces that are rated up to 98 percent efficient. If you have an older furnace that’s 60 to70 percent efficient, upgrading to a new one with a high AFUE rating can save you quite a bit on your utility bills.

Understanding your system is helpful. If you have any additional questions or concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment, contact HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains.

Posted in: Air Conditioning, Heating

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