ASK THE EXPERTS
 

How often should I have my furnace and air conditioner cleaned?

With average use, you should have your furnace completely serviced every heating season, and your air conditioner every cooling season.

 

Can I clean and service my own equipment?

No. Other than replacing an air filter, all other maintenance or service should be performed by a trained technician.  There are many dangerous components to every heating and cooling system.  Hazards including, property damage and even death can result from untrained individuals interacting with heating and cooling systems components. Central Heating and Cooling recommends our Planned Maintenance Contract. 

 

What do you get with a Planned Maintenance Contract?

If you had a service call, and had to pay for all the safety checks, testing and cleaning, your bill would cost much more than our annual Planned Maintenance Contract fee. With the purchase of our Planned Maintenance Contract, we do all of these each season, plus you will receive added benefits of: 

A safe operating system Reduced repair costs if repairs are necessary
A 10% discount on parts Increased comfort in your home
One free service call per year Lower operating costs
Priority service A more efficient system

 

Call today for pricing on a Planned Maintenance Contract 870-425-4717 or sign up online.

 

Should I cover my air conditioner for the winter?

Air conditioners are built to be outdoors and do not require covers.

 

What is a hybrid heating and cooling system?

A hybrid heating and cooling system, otherwise known as dual fuel, is a heat pump outside combined with a gas furnace inside.  This type of system can greatly reduce utility cost, especially when heating with propane.

 

Can a heating and cooling system help reduce dust in the home?

According to research, 93% of homes have excessive duct leakage.  This can increase dust entering the home.  A properly sealed duct system can help to reduce the amount of dust in the home.  An air cleaner connected to the furnace can also help with this issue.

 

What is variable speed?

Variable speed, is a fan motor available on most modern heater models, that has the ability to speed up to ensure the furnace is always delivering the correct amount of air to the home.  Certain installation practices in existing homes results in restrictions in the duct system, which reduces the amount of air a conventional system is able to deliver.  Choosing a variable speed fan will help to alleviate this problem.  Variable speed fan motors are high efficiency motors which will sometimes increase the efficiency rating of an air conditioner.  If you choose to run your heater fan continuously, the variable speed fan only uses about 70 watts of electricity, compared to approximately 680 watts on a conventional system.

 

What are the blinking lights on the furnace?

These lights indicate operations and assist in diagnosing problems that occur.

 

What does two stage mean?

Two stage is a term associated with furnaces and air conditioners having to do with the amount of warm or cool air the system puts out during a cycle.  A single stage unit comes on with enough power to heat or cool a home on an extreme day, regardless of the temperature outside.  A two stage, or multi-stage furnace or air conditioner, has a lower speed it will run on for milder weather, while still having the higher speed available for the extreme days.  The two stage furnace causes the units to run longer cycles, resulting in more even air temperatures throughout the home, lower humidity in the summer time and quieter operations year round.  Even though the system runs longer, these systems are actually more efficient, therefore saving you energy dollars.

 

What is a wet switch?

It is an overflow safety switch.  The switch helps prevent flooding when it senses moisture, and shuts the unit off.  These are especially important in units that are installed in attics!

 

How often should I change my furnace filters?

Filters should be changed every 3-6 months.  Depending on your home, some may have to be changed more frequently. 

 

Every time my furnace starts, it makes a clicking sound, is that normal?

The clicking sound is most likely the spark igniter on the furnace going through its sequence to light the furnace burners, which is normal.  However, if you do experience louder and more frequent noises from your heating system, you should contact your repair technician.

 

Should I be concerned about indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality can affect your health and comfort.  Reducing moisture in the home through a dehumidifier, or improving your air filtration are two examples of addressing air quality issues.  Central can help you identify any comfort concerns about your home.

 

What is an electronic air cleaner?

Electronic air cleaners are used inside HVAC systems in your home.  As air moves through the cleaner it passes through a filter and then through electrically charged cells that draw in airborne particles.  They are more effective than a standard 1" filter at removing pollen, mold, pet dander, dirt and dust. Electronic air cleaners electrically charge particles in the air and then collect those particles on plates that are charged with an opposite current.

 

What is a whole house air cleaner?

A whole home air cleaner is an electronic filter connected to your heating and cooling system.   It helps with allergies and asthma, as well as improving indoor air quality.

 

What is an ERV and what does it do?

An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) provides fresh air to the interior of a home, while exhausting stale air from the home.  The two air streams cross paths through a heat exchange, to temper the incoming air, which saves energy.

 

Can a whole house humidifier be connected to my HVAC system or furnace?

Yes, you have a few options, Central recommends the Carrier humidifiers to keep wood from drying out and splitting, prevent dry sinuses and static electricity as well as improve comfort in the home.

 

What is the difference between a humidifier and a de-humidifier? How do I know which one I need?

A humidifier adds moisture to the air in your home, usually used during the winter when the air is drier.  A de-humidifier removes moisture from the air and is usually used during the summer when the air is more moist or humid.

 

What type of coolant is currently used in air conditioners?

The type of refrigerant or coolant used in air conditioners today is R410a.  R410a was deemed a more environmentally friendly refrigerant by the EPA, as its chemical make up is less ozone depleting than R22.  The change from R22 to R410a was mandated by the EPA to take place on January 1, 2010.  After this date air conditioners were no longer able to be shipped with R22 in them.  R22 dry ship units are still available, but the manufacture of the refrigerant is mandated by the government to be reduced each year, and is not to be manufactured or imported by the year 2020.

 

What is the condensing unit?

The condensing unit is another name for an air conditioner or heat pump.

 

What is a compressor?

The compressor is the motor inside an air conditioner or heat pump that pumps refrigerant, to and from, the evaporator coil located in the home to make the heating and cooling process possible.

 

What is a programmable thermostat?

A programmable thermostat has the capability of automatically changing the temperature at different times of the day.  This can save you energy dollars if you are away from your home at set times throughout the day by adjusting the temperature while you are away.  It can also be convenient if you like to have a different temperature while you sleep than while you are awake.  

 

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an oderless toxic gas.  It is a general by-product of combustion, and can be produced by faulty gas appliances in your home, such as a furnace, oven, or fireplace.

 

Should I have a carbon monoxide detector in my home?

Yes. According to the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), every home should have one or more carbon monoxide detectors. 

 

What does short cycling mean?

This is the starting and stopping of the system in a shorter time period than normal.  This usually indicates that the system is having a problem or is oversized.

 

What is a zoned (multi-zone) system?

This is a method of dividing up the home into different comfort zones, and being able to control each area individually based on comfort and need.

 

What is a hot surface igniter?

A hot surface igniter is a small ignition device that allows the furnace to start up.  The igniter has replaced the standing pilot light system found in older furnaces.

 

What is a heat exchanger?

Built inside your gas furnace, the heat exchanger is a large aluminized steel or stainless steel chamber, that facilitates the transfer of heat energy from the source to the air that is forced through the duct system. 

 

Should I have my ductwork sealed?

Leaking ductwork can lead to higher utility bills, stuffy, dusty and uncomfortable rooms. 

 

What does SEER rating mean?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  It refers to the efficiency level of your air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the SEER rating the more efficient the unit.  The minimum SEER is 13 on new units.

 

What should I look for when selecting a thermostat?

This is up to individual preference.  You can choose from a very simple on/off type of thermostat, up to a multi-programmable thermostat that can be controlled from a smart phone, tablet, PC etc.  You can pick the features that fit your lifestyle best.

 

Why does my heat pump make so much noise?

When the outdoor unit switches between heating and cooling, or switches into or out of defrost, there can be a swooshing sound which is perfectly normal.

 

How cold should it be before I use my emergency heat?

Your system will switch over automatically if the heat pump can not keep up.  You should not have to manually switch it over.

 

Is it more efficient to use the heat pump rather than emergency heat?

Typically yes.  You should leave your thermostat on regular heat, unless there is a problem with the heat pump.

 

When is it recommended to have a service check performed on my heating or cooling system?

Central Heating & Cooling offers a Planned Maintenance Contract that includes two service checks per year.  We schedule the cooling check during the cooling season to clean and prepare your air conditioner for summer usage.  A heating check is done in the heating season to prepare your furnace for winter usage.  While we recommend and schedule these checks at these times, servicing your equipment can be scheduled at your convenience throughout the year.

 

What are some preventative maintenance tips I should be aware of?

While we recommend having your equipment serviced on a regular basis by a professionally trained technician, there are some things that you can do on your own to help maintain your equipment.

 

1) Replace or wash your filters regularly.

2) Keep all vents and registers clean, clear and open.  Do not close them or cover them. 

3) Make sure that the equipment is clear and free of obstructions.  Do not cover the air conditioner.  Do not place items next to your furnace.

 

I was told I need to replace my evaporator coil because it has a leak. Is this normal?

Unfortunately, it is a common issue.  While a technician might be able to repair some leaks, the conditions that cause these leaks have usually already weakened and corroded other components, often making the cost of the attempted repair a waste.  When an evaporator coil has a leak, we recommend replacement of that coil.

 

I had to add refrigerant to my unit last summer. Should I add it again this year?

An air conditioner or heat pump is designed as a closed system and should not leak refrigerant.  Refrigerant leaks should be located and repaired if possible.

 

How long can I expect a new system to last?

The average life of a heating and cooling system can be 10-15 years.  However, if a system is improperly sized, installed, or serviced, it may be necessary to replace it sooner. Regular maintenance can help prolong the efficiency and life expectancy of your system.

 

Why should I replace my heating and air conditioning system?

Replacing aging equipment can benefit you in several ways; take advantage of rebates and credits that are available, improving the energy efficiency of your home and improving comfort and safety for your family.

 

Should I replace my furnace and air conditioner with a heat pump?

Heat pumps work best in moderate climates, with average winter temperatures of 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the air temperature is colder, there is less heat from the outside air to pull inside, and then the heat pump is not as effective, requiring the use of auxiliary heat.  Central Arkansas is a good location for heat pump usage based on average weather conditions. A heat pump functions as both an air conditioner and heater, depending on weather conditions.  In winter, a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and brings it inside.  In summer, it pulls heat from the inside air and takes it outside.  Because they don't make heat, only move it, heat pumps use less electricity and give a bigger result for the energy they use.

 

Why does my house have only one furnace and my neighbor has two?

Many factors lead to the design of a heating and cooling system for a home such as home design, size and budget.

Typically small, single-level homes will have a single system, while a larger home or homes with multiple floors or a long foot print may need multiple systems. Each home is different, and careful consideration should be taken to insure maximum comfort and efficiency to the home owner once construction is complete. If you are considering building a new home, include a heating and cooling contractor up front and work together to design a system that fulfills your needs and wishes.

 

How do I know what size heater or air conditioner I need?

The right way to size a furnace and air conditioner is by performing a manual J load calculation.  By calculating the exterior walls and windows, ceiling and floor square footage, combined with insulation values, and other factors, a manual J load calculation can determine the exact size of heating and cooling system for your home.

 

If I have rooms in my home that are too hot or too cold, does that mean my heater or air conditioner is too small?

Not always.  Hot and cold spots in a home can be air distribution issues related to the duct system.  These problems can be addressed through ductwork modifications and equipment features in most cases.   A properly sized furnace and air conditioner will run a long enough cycle to help even out air temperatures in the home, so in some cases a smaller system is actually better.

 

How do I select the right heating and cooling system?

A new heating and cooling system will be one of the biggest household purchases you will make.  Our experienced sales staff will evaluate your house and ask about your comfort concerns to create a customized system for your home.  Central Heating & Cooling has a solid reputation for providing the highest quality  products and services.

 

We recommend a Carrier system for your home.  Carrier is leading manufacturer in the industry.   Central Heating & Cooling has been in business since 1965 and is fully licensed and insured.  Our professionally trained employees will ensure that your new system is tailored to fit your specific HVAC needs.

 

The cost of a new system will vary. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately determine cost without first coming to your home to take measurements.  We can set an appointment for a free, in home estimate and design a system that is right for you.

 

Warranties may vary with product and application. Central Heating & Cooling is a factory authorized Carrier dealer, most residential Carrier products have a 10 year parts warranty.

 

Call today for pricing on a new system 870-425-4717 or request information online.