In our 35 years of serving homeowners in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland, we’ve heard just about every question and tackled a wide variety of problems. To help you be a more informed consumer, we’ve put together this list of the most frequently asked questions about residential heating and air conditioning.
Many factors go into calculating the correct size of an air conditioning unit for a home. Contrary to popular belief, getting the largest system you can afford is not a smart strategy. The only way to ensure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have a licensed professional calculate your home’s individual heating and cooling needs.
A measurement called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, indicates the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity. Like the gas mileage on your car, higher SEER numbers signify more energy efficiency. Government standards mandate a minimum SEER of 13, but modern units can achieve a rating of up to 20.
If you’re in the market to replace your air conditioner, it’s smart to buy one with the highest SEER you can afford. Though it will cost you more up front, it will more than pay for itself over time by saving you money on your energy bills.
One of the most straightforward ways to get cleaner indoor air is to replace your filters regularly. Filters trap particles like dust, pet dander and pollen, which can contribute to respiratory problems for allergy sufferers. You can also buy plants that naturally clean the air, such as ferns, aloe vera and peace lilies. Finally, avoid smoking inside your home, and look for all-natural cleaning products that do not contain any volatile organic compounds.
Programmable thermostats are a wise investment if you are trying to lower your utility bills and have a smaller carbon footprint. Newer models of thermostats are highly accurate, and you can set the temperature based on when you are going to be home vs. away for the day. Because they are designed to be set-it-and-forget-it devices, you’ll never have to remember to change your settings manually, and you won’t waste money heating or cooling an empty house. Some thermostats also come with a companion smartphone app that allows you to adjust the temperature from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.
At Maichle’s, we recommend seasonal tune-ups twice a year: once in the spring, and again in the fall. The spring checkup gets your air conditioner ready for summer, while the fall maintenance prepares your heating system to run smoothly all winter long. These preventive tune-ups are a way to ensure your year-round comfort and help you avoid costly emergency breakdowns.
In addition to changing your filters regularly, you should also do a visual inspection of your system and make sure it’s in good condition. Keep outdoor A/C units free of any dirt, twigs and debris by sweeping around them. Trim back any trees or shrubs that have grown too close to the unit.
No. Keeping the registers closed or blocked will decrease your system’s airflow and efficiency. Every air conditioning system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and force your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Over time, it will become less and less efficient, which will shorten its lifespan and eventually cost you more money.
Buying a new system can feel overwhelming because of the sheer number of options available today. The experienced team at Maichle’s can draw on our reserves of heating and air conditioning know-how to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, utility costs and any available rebates or incentives are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system. Your technician will weigh all these elements and use them to make an expert recommendation.
We’ve all experienced little shocks of static electricity from doorknobs and appliances. These shocks can occur when the air inside is too dry. You can also experience issues like dry skin and warping of wood floors, furniture and musical instruments. Keeping your home at a consistent humidity level can prevent these problems and help you save energy as well. Humidified air feels warmer, so you will be able to turn your thermostat down in the winter and still feel just as comfortable.
The U.S. EPA has been gradually phasing out the use and manufacture of R-22, also known as freon, because of its role as a known pollutant that contributes to global climate change. Companies that manufacture air conditioners have been banned from using R-22 since Dec. 31, 2009, so if your system is newer than that, you shouldn’t worry. However, if your air conditioner was manufactured and installed before 2010, you may run into some problems as your system ages.
R-22 is becoming increasingly scarce, which means it is correspondingly more expensive. If you have an older unit with a refrigerant leak, you can expect to pay higher repair bills. You may find it is more cost-effective – and environmentally friendly – to upgrade to a newer unit that does not use R-22 as a coolant.
If you are searching for a reputable HVAC service provider, why not choose a company that puts relationships first and always prioritizes your comfort? At Maichle’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we have been serving our neighbors in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania since 1984. You can rely on us to provide up-front pricing, industry-leading warranties and high-quality service, just as we’ve done for the past three and a half decades.