HVAC Frequently Asked Questions
What is the SEER Rating?
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) measures the efficiency of your air conditioner or air-source heat pump. The SEER is the cooling output over a particular season divided by the total energy used in that same period. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency level of that cooling system.
Why is the SEER rating on the Energy Guide different from what my dealer quoted?
Each split system cooling unit has a nominal SEER rating. For a higher rating your HVAC contractor can provide advice about an upgrade. The SEER rating of a system is based on the combination of equipment installed in the home. The outdoor equipment (heat pump or air conditioner), as well as the indoor equipment (evaporator coil and furnace, or air handler), play a vital role in the total rating.
Why do I need regular (or preventive) HVAC maintenance?
Your heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions. The constant stopping, starting and general operation can wear down any machine. Proper care and maintenance help to keep these systems in optimum condition and ward off malfunction. By scheduling regular maintenance, you can maximize the life of your heating and cooling units and guard against many common equipment failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed in spring for your AC and fall for your heater can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts. Regular maintenance will ensure maximum efficiency and prevent other problems.
Which equipment requires regular (or preventive) maintenance?
All heating and cooling equipment require annual professional tuneup. Inspections on boilers and furnaces should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, the chimney, registers, radiators, pumps, blowers, fuel lines and the oil tank. Heat pump and air conditioning unit inspections should also include an examination of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils, and refrigerant lines.
I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.
The professionals at Comfort Systems of Montana are your troubleshooting experts, and we are glad to help you with any problem you may experience with your HVAC system. We provide informative blogs and articles on our website that address many common HVAC concerns. You may also call our office during normal business hours for more information. If you experience an HVAC crisis after hours, you can contact one of our on-call technicians for 24-7 emergency service.
What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With a programmable thermostat, you can program settings in advance so that you can control the temperature at different times of the day. You will never have to worry about remembering to adjust the settings manually. By scheduling your programmable thermostat to a higher or lower temperature based on your weekday work hours, you can save money on energy bills without sacrificing comfort. A Comfort Systems of Montana technician will gladly walk you through how to use your programmable thermostat.
What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?
Standard filters work to keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they can only do so much to improve indoor air quality. A media air cleaner does a much better job of trapping small particles. It rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal up to seven times more effectively than a standard filter. Upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity. For optimal efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, you should clean them once a month during periods of heavy use
Why can't I find the correct size furnace filter at my local home improvement store?
Filters for your unit may be made specifically for its brand. These filters may be made of different or higher-quality materials than those of the disposable filters found in retail stores. Check with your local dealer to find the appropriate filter for your air conditioner. However, keep in mind that some filters are reusable, and can be washed by hand in cold water.
What size HVAC equipment is right for my home?
Many factors affect the sizing and specifications of your system, including square footage, insulation, window surface and configuration, geographic location of your home, and duct sizing and arrangement. A technician from Comfort Systems of Montana can perform an in-home load analysis to determine which equipment combinations will perfectly suit your home and your family’s needs. Depending on the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet. You can ensure that the system you purchase is the right size and not smaller or larger than you require, by having your heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.
What is the life expectancy of my unit?
HVAC systems last an average of 10 years. However, for your equipment, it may differ. Variables that affect life expectancy include the type of system, climate and the regularity of routine maintenance.