Frequently Asked Questions
Heating and air conditioning is our business, it's what we do. Below you will find some of our referrals.
Frequnelty Asked Questions
Q. Do you think the contractor I choose can really make a difference?
A. According to leading consumer & trade magazines and the US Department of Energy, the heating and cooling contractor you choose does make a difference. The same equipment can be installed in the same home by two different contractors, and there can be a difference in comfort, equipment efficiency, and overall life.
Q. Is a permit really necessary to install my new comfort system?
A. Yes. Not only are they required by law, but a permit also allows for third-party.
Q. How should I choose a heating and cooling contractor?
A. Look for contractors that are NATE certified, and factory trained and certified. They should do a Manual J heat load analysis to properly size any new equipment. Make sure they are licensed and insured, and ask for proof of this. Be sure they permit all applicable work. Check their record with the state Attorney Generals office, Better Business Bureau. Lastly, seek referrals from friends, family and neighbors with similar values and needs. If they have been happy, odds are that you will be happy.
Q. How will I know what size unit our house needs and is that important?
A. According to The Department of Energy and industry standards, the only way to properly size a home heating or cooling system is to complete a Manual J heat load analysis. This takes into account many factors such as size and structure of the house, climate, air infiltration, the number and type of windows installed, insulation, appliances, and even the number of people living in the house.
Q. What do equipment rating numbers mean?
A. The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with higher ratings indicating higher-efficiency.
Q. What does AFUE stand for?
A. Gas heating appliances are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency; the higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit. The minimum rating for Energy Star compliance is 90 AFUE. The highest efficiency furnaces will exceed 95 AFUE.
Q. What is a SEER rating?
A. Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER; The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. The minimum rating for Energy Star compliance is 14 SEER. The highest efficiency air conditioners can meet or exceed 20 SEER.
Q. Should I Repair or Replace my current heating and cooling system?
A. While many of the "costs" associated with your current comfort system may be intangible (reliability problems, uneven temperatures, excessive noise, lack of comfort, etc), some homeowner's may focus more on the main costs associated with repair vs. replacement. Here are some different things to consider:
- Furnaces lose approximately
1%of their efficiency for every year of operation. So if your 15 year old furnace was 80% efficient when it was installed, it may only be 65%efficient now. Furnaces over 15 - 20 years old were typically only 65%- 75%efficient when they were installed.
- Most air conditioners and heat pumps installed before January, 2006 cost up to
20%more to operate than today's LOWEST efficiency models. Purchasing a higher efficiency model can generate even greater energy savings.
- The cost of repair today may not be your only repair cost in the near future. Often, as comfort systems age, you'll find yourself making multiple repairs in a short period of time to address component failures. When deciding whether to repair or replace, use the cost to fully restore your comfort system along with likely future repairs, as your basis for comparison, not just the cost of today's required repair.
Q. What does HSPF stand for?
A. Heat pump equipment in the heating mode is rated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF; the higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the unit. The minimum rating for Energy Star compliance is 8.2 HSPF. The highest efficiency heat pumps will meet or exceed 9 HSPF.
Q. Should a thermostat be set to "auto" or "on"?
A. If set to "auto", the fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most efficient setting. However, there are advantages to using the "on" setting. Air is constantly filtered through the unit's filter, and the constantly circulating air results in a more even temperature throughout the house.
Q. Can furnaces run on propane?
A. Yes, using a propane conversion kit.
Q. Is there a difference in operating costs between a gas and propane furnace?
A. Depending on fuel prices, a gas furnace is about
Q. What is a "variable speed" blower fan?
A. Variable speed "smart fans" are very quiet, and can alter air flow based on the needs of your home, creating more even temperatures and increased comfort. They also allow for constant airflow, providing increased filtration of the air in your home with low overall energy consumption.
A. No. There have been great strides made in increasing the reliability of
Q. What are the benefits of a multi-stage furnace?
A. It warms more gently, only using the higher stages when needed.
Q. How much electricity is needed to run an air conditioner?
A. You will need 220 volts. If you do not have this service available, we can arrange for an electrician to install it.
Q. Can Air Conditioning be added to my existing home heating system?
A. That depends on the size of the blower fan in your existing furnace, the capacity of your duct system, and the cooling needs of your home. Our consultants can inform you of your options, along with the cost and benefits of each.
Q. What is the difference between an Air Conditioner and a Heat Pump?
A. Air conditioners work by transferring heat from inside your home to outside, effectively lowering the indoor temperature. Heat pumps work exactly the same way in the summer, but in the winter they can reverse the temperature exchange, providing one of the most efficient forms of heat available.
Q. Are Heat Pumps efficient and can they heat my house?
A. Heat pumps heat more gently and evenly than furnaces, so if you are used to a blast of hot air from your vents, you will have to get used to the new type of heat. They are, however, one of the most efficient forms of heat available, and work best when you set them to maintain a constant indoor temperature.
Q. I turned my thermostat to cool, but my home will not cool down. What is wrong?
A. Locate your outdoor AC unit (see our air conditioners page if you are unsure what it looks like), and check to make sure that it is running when your thermostat calls for cooling. If it is not running, or if it is running but is not cooling your home, turn it off at the thermostat and have it inspected by a qualified technician immediately.
Q. What would be a good temperature to set my thermostat for in the summer for cooling?
A. Generally, you should set your thermostat where you feel comfortable. But we recommend keeping your thermostat at 73-degress or higher in the summer. Lowering your thermostat below 73 can cause your indoor coil to freeze up, leaving you stuck without any AC until it thaws!
Q. Can I heat my home with just a Heat Pump?
A. No. Heat pumps gradually lose efficiency as the temperature drops. They typically need some help to heat your home when the outdoor temperature drops below about 35-degrees. This can be from a gas furnace (hybrid system), or an electric furnace or air handler.
Q. Will a tankless water heater give me instant hot water?
A. No; while tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it, that water still takes time to travel through your home. When properly sized and installed, a tankless water heater will provide endless hot water, so cold showers will be a thing of the past. They can also save energy costs by eliminating the need to heat stored water.
Q. How much will a new heating and cooling system cost?
A. That depends on the type of system you want, the size of the system required, and the condition of the work area, ductwork and other factors affecting the installation. We can give you an exact price after a consultation with one of our Comfort Consultants.
Q. Can I buy a heating or cooling system from you and install it myself?
A. No. Midwest Heating & Air Conditioning stands behind every comfort system we sell. We can not do that if you install it. Also the warranty will be void.
Q. If I buy a heating or cooling system somewhere else, will you install it?
A. No. Midwest Heating & Air Conditioning stands behind every comfort system we install. We can not do that without the support of the manufacturer, and a clear history of the equipment we are installing.