Tips & Troubleshooting

Tips & Troubleshooting
Information to help reduce HVAC bills & extend the life of your AC & Heating units. 


Reduce Cooling Bills

Conditioning the air in the average American home is estimated to use 50% of the home’s energy consumption. Here are a few tips that may reduce your home's cooling costs:
  • Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees. When used consistently, raising your thermostat up 5° F can save 15%-20% of your cooling energy and cost for the season.
  • Consider replacing your thermostat with a programmable one. You can program it to raise the temperature when your home is vacant or at night.
  • Check the fireplace damper. An open damper will pull cooled air right up the chimney.
  • Replace your air-conditioning filters as often as the manufacturer recommends. On average it's once a month. Alternately, you can ask your contractor about an extended surface whole house filter it only needs replacing once a year.
  • Have your AC unit cleaned and tuned - pre-season. This reduces the chance of a mid-summer breakdown and pays for itself in energy savings. Make sure the contractor cleans the coils and checks the refrigerant charge.
  • Discuss the possibility of "Zoning" your air conditioning system with your contractor. This will prevent cooling areas that are not in use and adjusting temperatures to meet needs.
  • Consider replacing a unit that is 10-12 years old - before it breaks down. New systems are generally more energy efficient, which can save you money in the long run. Make sure the replacement system is the right size for the area it will cool, and that your duct system is free of leaks.

Reduce Heating Bills

Maintenance steps to take before winter that'll save you substantial money during the heating season.
  • Schedule an annual inspection of your heating system.
  • Have heating ducts inspected and cleaned, if needed.
  • Clean and replace filters on manufacturer's recommended schedule.
  • Lower your thermostat 4-5 degrees while sleeping, or when house is unoccupied.
  • Check your chimney and make sure your chimney damper is closed when not used.
  • Inspect weather-stripping on doors and windows, including garage doors.
  • Clean your gutters and ridge vents to prevent standing (freezing) water.
  • Plug gaps around pipes, ducts, fans, and vents that go from unheated into heated spaces.
  • Check for leaks in an unfinished basement or crawl space and add insulation to basement walls. Close foundation vents in crawl space.
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

HVAC Maintenance Tips

Indoor Heat & Air Maintenance

  • Replace the indoor unit’s air filter monthly:  Old/dirty filters cause equipment to work harder, resulting in energy waste and possible internal damage. If you have a reusable/washable filter, make sure it has completely dried prior to reinstalling.
  • Inspect the blower compartment of your furnace or blower coil:  Use a vacuum to remove any dirt or dust, which can result in improper performance and low efficiency. Make sure that the coil is dry prior to vacuuming.
  • Remove clutter from around the furnace or blower coil: Items stored near the furnace are fire hazards. They may also obstruct combustion air supply. This could cause complete combustion and the production of carbon monoxide gas. Your furnace or blower coil could be located in a closet, attic or basement. Removing clutter applies to your equipment no matter where it is located.
  • Check the chimney or flue pipe connections for tightness, blockage or loose connections: Your gas furnace flue pipe must remain tightly connected and free of blockage for the furnace to operate correctly. If repairs are required, contact us to schedule the repairs.
  • Set the thermostat on "HEAT" and move the temperature setting above room temperature: Listen for any unusual sounds and call us if you suspect problems.
  • Keep return registers/grilles clear of obstructions: The return register/grille must remain free of obstructions, such as furniture dust or pet hair, for the system to operate properly.
  • Clean humidifier reservoir regularly: If your home comfort system includes a humidifier, it may be necessary to empty the water reservoir to prevent mold or mildew buildup.

Outdoor Heat & Air Maintenance

  • Trim brush and shrubbery near outdoor units to prevent airflow obstruction: It is important to provide unrestricted airflow to the outdoor unit. Leaves, plants or shrubs crowding the air conditioner or heat pump cause the unit to work harder and use more energy. Also, remove any debris that may have collected around the unit.
  • Clean outdoor coil: The outdoor coil on an air conditioner or heat pump can sometimes become obstructed by grass clippings, leaves, dust, etc. If this happens, using a hose, gently run water over the coil, removing unwanted obstructions.
  • Make sure outdoor unit remains level: Ground shifting or settling can cause an air conditioner or heat pump to sit in an uneven position. If this happens, re-level the unit to make sure water/moisture drains from the cabinet properly.

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