Frequently Asked Questions ...

and answers!

What is a SEER?

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.  SEER is a rating system adopted by the federal government to establish efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps.  The more efficient the system is, the less it will cost to run during the season.  Some added benefits of using higher SEER equipment are usually: 

  • Greatly reduced noise levels
  • Longer warranties
  • Better performing systems
  • Possible rebates from your electric supplier 

The SEER standard is currently 13 SEER and we have systems with efficiencies up to 23 SEER.

Is a bigger system better?

No.  Over-sizing is not good.  For example, a larger air conditioner uses more electricity to start, and therefore if oversized it will cycle a lot and cost you money.  Over-sizing will reduce the system's ability to properly control the humidity in your home which is a major factor in comfort.  It is possible to cool a space too quickly, to where the thermostat will not keep up, therefore actually cooling or heating past your set point.  This causes temperature swings which can cause the loss of the comfort you are looking for.

A properly sized air conditioner will perform better than one that is oversized by reducing the humidity in your home and providing increased comfort even at higher temperatures.  Blower size, duct work design and heat load are very important to properly size a system.  Usually, you are better served to have the system slightly undersized than oversized.  Over-sizing may lead to freezing of the indoor coil, causing a great loss of comfort and efficiency as well as possible system damage.

Do air conditioners still use Freon?

Most air conditioning systems installed since 1970 have used a refrigerant labeled R-22, commonly called Freon.  lDue to an EPA mandate the manufacture of equipment and products using refrigerant R-22 ceased in the year 2010.  R-22 refrigerant production will end in the year 2020.  Supplies of R-22 will become scarce and it's cost will continue to rise.  Alternate refrigerants have been introduced in 1997 such as R-410A and R-410A is now used by every major manufacturer.  Freon is a registered trademark of DuPont Corporation.

How often do I need to add Freon?

Hopefully, never.  Once the system is properly charged with refrigerant during installation, the system should remain closed and leak free.  If you need to add refrigerant from time to time, there is a leak that should be repaired.

What causes refrigerant leaks and how can they be prevented?

Most leaks develop in the evaporator coil, which is located in the unit inside your house.  The coil is subject to alternating heat and cold causing expansion and contraction, and holes may develop in the copper tubing (coil) over a period of time.  Repair is not practical as leaks will keep occurring and replacement is usually the best way to fix the problem.

Do I need a special furnace for A/C?

Most of the furnaces manufactured today are air conditioning ready, meaning they have a multi-speed blower motor and built in relays and terminal strips to accommodate A/C.

How do I take care of my air conditioner?

The most important thing to remember about air conditioning is:  Airflow is all important.  The air filter installed in your furnace also cleans the air for your air conditioner.  Filter maintenance is critical to allow proper airflow to the cooling coil.  The indoor coil will need to be cleaned from time to time to eliminate dirt build up on the coil.  The condensate drain should be kept clear to prevent flooding or water damage.  The outdoor unit should be cleaned from time to time.  Remove leaves, vines, cottonwood lint, fire ants, etc. to maintain reliable operation.

What is a ton?

A ton of cooling is 12,000 Btu.  A two ton system will have a cooling capacity of 24,000 Btu.  A three ton system, 36,000 Btu., etc.  Each ton of cooling requires approximately 400 CFM of air flow.

How often should I change the filter?

This varies depending on a number of things including the size of your system and type of filter.  You can easily tell if your filter is becoming clogged by checking it regularly and feeling it's resistance while pulling it away from the filter grill with the fan running.  If in doubt replace it monthly.  Many one inch pleated paper filters are too restrictive and their use is dicouraged as they may cause enough loss of airflow to lead to freezing of the indoor coil.

What is HVAC?

HVAC is a common term in the industry that stands for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

Don't ignore your Heating and Cooling System

The old but true cliche "out of sight, out of mind" is often the reason for neglected maintenance guidelines for your HVAC system.  HVAC systms are usually installed where they aren't seen, such as in a section of the attic, a closet, on rooftops, or in mechanical rooms, making them easy to ignore.  The systems are simply taken for granted, until they fail.  Decreased efficiency, utility overpayment, discomfort, loss of productivity, eventual premature replacement, and higher repair costs are the result.  Just because your HVAC system is out of sight, does not mean it can be neglected.  Getting your HVAC system checked twice annually is just as important as changing the oil in your car!