703 North Belfort Street
Sterling, VA 20164

703.421.6018

 

How often should I change my filter?

Do programmable thermostats (set-back) really save money?

Why does the outdoor unit of my heat pump system steam and the fan stops operating in the winter?

Why use a humidifier in the winter?

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

How good is my CO detector?

What brands do you service?

What brands do you install?

Why is the upstairs warmer by 3-8 degrees, than the downstairs?

Why should I have my system checked every season?

Q. How often should I change my filter?

A. Filters are rated by their efficiency. The lower end of the scale is the $1.00 blue or white fiberglass spun filters that are approximately 6-10% efficient. So they do not restrict airflow and yet do not catch any debris being carried in the air. The higher end of the scale are the 3M purple and white or the blue and white (allergen) high efficient filters. These are the tightly pleated 80-90% efficient filters that new out of the wrapping restrict airflow. Unless your ductwork was designed to handle this kind of decrease in airflow DO NOT USE THIS STYLE. Next are the filters that are widely recommended in the industry. These are the pleated filters where the pleats are approximately ¾-1” apart. They are more approximately 40-60% efficient and do not naturally restrict airflow.

Most filter manufacturers will claim lasts up to 90 days. For a better airflow and overall system performance it is recommended to observe your filter every 30 days of system use. If the media material was bright white upon installation and it is now dirty gray or black change it.

Q. Do programmable thermostats (set-back) really save money?

A. Yes. I have had feedback from several clients that are amazed at the average savings of $40.00 a month. Recommendations are that the thermostat is not set-back more than 5-8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. Why does the outdoor unit of my heat pump system steam and the fan stops operating in the winter?

A. The outdoor coil will operate at below freezing temperatures for most of the winter season. Humidity in the air will freeze to the coil. Every 90 minutes of run time the defrost controls will determine if the unit needs to melt the frost. When the unit initiates a defrost it stops the outdoor fan, reverses the cycle so it is now in the cooling mode(absorbing heat from inside the home and rejecting it to the outdoor coil) and energizes all the electric heat inside to compensate for being an a/c in the middle of winter.

Q. Why use a humidifier in the winter?

A. Humidity levels in the winter are low. As we heat the air for our comfort the air expands in volume. Without adding moisture to the air we have now increased the volume of warm air and decreased the amount of moisture in the air. The human body will feel comfortable at a lower temperature with moisture in the air. Most people will compensate by increasing the thermostat temperature to maintain comfort.

Q. What is CO?

A. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. When inhaled it attaches itself to your blood cells and starves them of oxygen.

Q. How good is my CO detector?

A. All CO detectors bought in the stores are UL listed and require the unit to not alarm until higher than safe levels are detected. Typical alarms will sound once levels have reached 400ppm+ for an uninterrupted time frame of 4-15 minutes. Since death can occur at 10,000ppm within 30 seconds that makes these alarms extremely dangerous. Ask us about our special CO monitors.

Q. What brands do you service?

A. All makes and models.

Q. What brands do you install?

A. I prefer to install American Standard (owners of the Trane Company). If the client would prefer I will install York, Luxaire or Carrier.

Q. Why is the upstairs warmer by 3-8 degrees, than the downstairs?

A. Warm air is buoyant and will rise, especially if you have an open stairwell. The average home has 1 system, 1 thermostat and multiple levels to control the temperature. With modern technology we can improve this situation with motorized mechanical dampers. The best way to control multiple levels is to dedicate a heating and a/c unit for each level. This also makes it less of an emergency when a system does fail during the heating/cooling season.

Q. Why should I have my system checked every season?

A. We can diagnose if the system is still operating at peak efficiencies’ or if normal wear and tear is starting to occur and will soon cause a failure. Remember if it is manmade it will eventually fail. The warmer or colder it is outside the more your system will operate to maintain comfort in the home. This causes the extra wear and tear.