Houston HVAC experts answer some of the most common questions about your overall system, air conditioner and furnace.
An HVAC system is complex and dozens of different things can go wrong with it. Understanding a little bit more about your system and how it works can give you more confidence in knowing when you need to call a professional if it breaks down or when all it needs is a little DIY care.
Common HVAC Questions, Answered
Q: What is a SEER Rating?
A: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios are used to indicate how efficiently an air conditioner or heat pump will operate during the cooling season. A higher SEER rating means greater efficiency.
Q: What is an AFUE rating?
A: AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This rating measures the amount of heat a furnace produces compared to the amount of fuel consumed. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 93 means that 93 percent of the fuel consumed will be converted to heat for your home while the remaining 7 percent will be lost to venting.
Q: What is a BTU?
A: BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The heat produced by one kitchen match is equivalent to one BTU.
Q: How often should I have my HVAC system serviced?
A: We recommend that you have your air conditioning system checked each spring and your heating system checked each fall. You can use the beginning and end of daylight saving time to help you remember to call for service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Air Conditioners
Q: Why does water collect around my furnace when I run my air conditioner?
A: It is normal for an air conditioner to produce condensation when it runs. This water should flow out of your home through a drain line; however, the line can become clogged with debris or a leak can develop in the drain pan. This can allow the condensation to pool around the system. You should call an HVAC professional if you notice this occurring since it can cause water damage and allow mold and mildew to grow.
Q: How do I know if I should replace my air conditioner?
A: If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, it is probably reaching the end of its lifespan. We also recommend replacing your AC system if it requires frequent repairs, if it is no longer keeping your home comfortable, or if you notice that your utility bills are higher than normal.
Q: Will a ceiling fan keep my A/C from running as much?
A: No. Ceiling fans move the air so that it feels cooler on the skin, but they do not lower the temperature of your home. Since a ceiling fan can make the room that you are in feel more comfortable, you may be able to adjust your thermostat up a few degrees, which can help lower your utility bills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Heaters and Furnaces
Q: How long should I expect my furnace to last?
A: The lifespan of a furnace depends on a number of factors, including the make and model as well as how well it is maintained. On average, a well-maintained furnace can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
Q: Why does my furnace only blow cold air?
A: The first step is to verify that you have the thermostat set to heat and that the fan option is turned off. If your thermostat is set correctly and you still get cold air, you should call an HVAC professional. There may be a problem with the thermocouple or igniter.
Q: What causes that burning smell when I turn my furnace on for the first time?
A: Dust collects on your furnace as it sits over the summer. When you turn your furnace on for the first time, the dust burns off and creates the burning smell. The best way to prevent this is to call an HVAC professional before the winter heating season to have your furnace cleaned and serviced to ensure that it runs safely and efficiently all winter long.
If you’re experiencing problems with your system and live in the Houston area, contact Richmond’s Air and let one of our experienced HVAC technicians help you!