What does HVAC stand for?

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

What are the efficiency ratings used for furnaces and air conditioners?

Furnaces and boilers use AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.  Air conditioners use SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

Why are filters important?

The air filter is the force field for your forced air equipment.  It protects it from getting gummed up by dust and particulates in the air, as well as making the air cleaner for the homeowner.  A system with a well maintained filtering system will last much longer and work more efficiency than one that is neglected.

How often should I change my filters?

Each filtering system is different, but a good rule of thumb is 1 month for 1 inch wide filters, while a 4” wide or accordion style filter can often go for 6 months.  Please note these are just recommendations and may need changing more often.  If you put up a piece of white paper next to your filter and the filter is considerably darker, it is time to change it.

How often should I have my systems maintained?

Yearly maintenance to both your heating and air conditioning system is strongly recommended.  Not only does this insure efficient operation of your system, but most importantly, makes sure it is running safely.  An unsafe HVAC system is nothing to take lightly, so make sure you have eyes on your systems at least once a year to insure this.

What are the first things to do when my furnace isn't working:

First thing is do not touch either the thermostat or the power to the unit.  There is valuable diagnostic codes inside the furnace door that get erased when the power is cycled.  Write down whatever the lights are doing in the bottom section of the furnace before you touch any power switches.  This way you can tell the technician what you see when he shows up.  Next, make sure the furnace filter is clean and there isn’t any snow in front of the venting system outside.  Also, if you are on LP gas or fuel oil, be sure you have fuel in the tanks. 

What are the first things to do when my A/C isn't working?

Much like with the furnace, so not cycle the power until you have noticed the diagnostic lights in the furnace.  Make sure the furnace filter is clean and that the power is on.

Should I try and fix my own equipment?

While many homeowners feel really handy around the house, fixing a complicated appliance like a furnace, boiler, or air conditioner should only be attempted by trained professionals.  The dangers risked to both the equipment and the homeowners are not worth it.

Should I close registers to certain unused rooms to try and save on my heating or cooling bill?

No.  Air distribution systems are designed to maintain a certain CFM (cubic feet per minute) and by closing off certain registers, this can through the whole system out of whack.  Air conditioners and furnaces need a certain amount of air to go through them to work efficiently.  If passages of the ductwork is blocked, it can’t achieve the necessary air it needs.  This is very hard on your equipment.

What is 2-stage heating and cooling?

Traditional systems use an on or off function.  The thermostat needs heat (or cooling) so it turns the system on.  This causes a lot of short cycling of the unit where it turns on and off all the time.  This is hard on your equipment and makes your house less comfortable.  2-stage systems maintain temperature at a low input rate.  This creates longer run times at lower energy usage.  The result is a very comfortable and efficient system.  The system only goes into high (full capacity) when you come home and quickly need to heat or cool the space.

Is a system with more capacity better?

No.  An oversized system with more capacity turns on and off all the time, which makes for an uncomfortable house.  An air conditioner is most inefficient when it turns on.  So constant on and off makes the unit extremely inefficient.  Short-cycling is also a sure way to lessen the life of your equipment.

What is a modulating condensing boiler?

Older style boiler systems turn on or off depending on the thermostat and the water temperature, and vents through a simple chimney.  A modulating condensing boiler modulates its firing rate to heat the water slowly.  This keeps the unit from turning on and off all the time.  As it fires at lower temperatures, the unit really gets efficient.  The byproduct of this extremely efficient firing is water, which we simply pipe to your floor drain.

What is the average lifespan of my HVAC equipment?

Furnace and air conditioners from the major brands are designed to last 15-20 years.  Boilers are designed to last 15-20 years as well.  Some of the entry level brands used will only get you about 12-15 years.  If your system is getting close to these ages, it’s time to consider replacement.

How much does a new system cost?

Unlike shopping for something online, HVAC systems can’t be quoted without first looking at your unique system.  All systems are different and require different considerations.  Sizing, ease of installation, medium used, as well as physical space requirements of the new systems all need to be taken into consideration.  Fill out our estimates form and we can come out and look at your HVAC situation.

Are there any incentives for replacing my system?

Yes.  Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy offers rebates on selected high efficient systems.  This is a partnership of utility companies that offer rebates in order to achieve greater efficiencies.  Also, the forced air equipment line we sell, Lennox, offers seasonal rebates.

What is IAQ?

IAQ stands for indoor air quality.  We can better control the quality of the air in your home by using a variety of product you can find on our product page.  Some of these include; humidifiers and dehumidifiers; air cleaners and air purifiers; and whole house ventilation to provide fresh air inside.

Why are humidifiers needed in the winter months?

When cool air enters your house it tends to dry up when it is heated.  This is why you might experience static shocks in the winter.  A humidifier adds water to the heated air to control dryness and reduce static shocks.