Frequently Asked Questions

Air Conditioning Repair Paso Robles

paso robles heating and air - regular maintenance

You wouldn’t buy a brand-new car and expect to never have to put air in the tires, change the oil and check out any unusual noises, would you? In the same way that an automobile requires periodic maintenance for optimal performance, a home comfort system should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.

Should I cover my outdoor unit in the fall and winter?

Covering the unit is not necessary, especially if you have a heat pump that runs all year long. In fact, covering an entire unit may actually trap moisture. If you’re concerned about leaves and debris getting inside the housing, short covers are available as an optional accessory.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.

During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.

Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

What is two-stage heating?

Two-stage heating means the furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and provides more even heat distribution.

Can I use my chimney with my new furnace?

Furnace technology has advanced significantly in recent years, raising concerns over chimney use. As a result of changing technology, many existing masonry chimneys aren’t able to meet the specific demands of new furnaces.

There are several reasons for this furnace-chimney incompatibility. First, the size of the chimney can be an issue. Modern, higher-efficiency furnaces transfer more heat into your home and less heat up the chimney than older, less-efficient units. While this means more efficiency for your energy dollar, it also means that the existing chimney might be too large for the new furnace. The result could be improper ventilation of flue products, which can cause condensation problems inside the chimney.

Other considerations include chimney height and location, proper lining and condition of the chimney. Building codes must also be kept in mind to ensure proper draft in the chimney for adequate ventilation.

What are furnace ratings?

Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.

Like the miles-per-gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. If your furnace is 10 – 15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy.

This doesn’t mean that you should only select a furnace based on its AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking for a new furnace.

Furnaces use electricity to run fans and motors. The amount of electricity used varies greatly depending on the type of furnace. Be sure to check electricity usage prior to making a purchase decision.

What is a variable speed furnace?

The term “variable speed” refers to the furnace’s indoor blower motor, which moves at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated and cooled air throughout your home.

Why should I zone my house?

A zoning system is designed for the many ways you use your home. Maybe you’re caught up in family “thermostat wars?” Or perhaps you have unoccupied areas that do not need conditioning? A Lennox® zoning system allows you to divide your home into separate areas, giving you the comfort and control you’ve always wanted.

Will my new furnace work differently than my old one?

Furnace technology has advanced significantly in recent years. Modern furnaces are designed to provide more even and efficient heating than past furnaces, which can impact both how your system operates and what you notice about your system.

To better regulate temperatures and airflow, modern furnaces move more air over the heat exchanger than older furnaces. The air that comes out of your furnace registers may not seem as warm as the air from your old furnace, but overall airflow is improved. Better airflow means higher comfort.

Also, new furnaces are designed to integrate with high-efficiency air conditioners, so furnace blowers are more powerful to accommodate add-on cooling. Since cold air is much heavier than warm air, your system needs an extra boost from the blower to deliver cool air throughout your home. If you have an older home, this performance boost could produce unfamiliar sounds because air duct systems were originally designed for heating only. To minimize sound levels, choose a variable speed product which automatically changes speeds to meet the airflow needs of both heating and cooling cycles.

How can I confirm the model and serial numbers for my heating system?

You can find the model and serial numbers (M/N and S/N) for your furnace by removing the top-front service panel and looking to the left side of the interior cabinet or the top of the blower deck, depending on whether your system is an 80% or 90% AFUE unit. Also, the orientation (horizontal or vertical) and flow direction (down or up) of your furnace may impact the location of the information.

Why is my system freezing up?

There are several factors that can cause system freezing. You should most likely give us a call.

One thing you can do to prevent or correct this problem is to make sure the filter is clean or replaced. You can check to see if airflow is restricted.

How does an air conditioner work?

An air conditioner seems as if it cools your home’s air, but it actually makes your home less warm by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring that heat to the outdoor air.

Heat is extracted from the home by passing indoor air across a refrigerant coil in the indoor unit. Refrigerant lines then carry the heat to the outdoor unit, where it is released into the outside air. The cooling cycle continues until the indoor temperature reaches the thermostat setting.

What do all those air conditioner and heat pump ratings mean?

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher the SEER rating, the less your unit will cost to operate.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a measurement similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.

How can I confirm the model and serial numbers for my cooling system?

The model and serial numbers for your cooling system can be found on the nameplate or sticker, located near the service panel. The nomenclature sticker should have a white background with black letters.

What are some of the advantages of solar power?

Solar power has a number of substantial advantages, from economical to environmental:

Readily available. Electricity generated from sunlight is free and limitless.

Significant energy savings. A SunSource® Home Energy System with as few as one solar module can save you money on your monthly utility bills. The U.S. federal government and some states provide tax credit for renewable-energy systems. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for incentives through your utility company. To find out what incentives are available in your area, visit dsireusa.org

Virtually no environmental impact. Solar is a fast-developing renewable energy source because it produces no air pollution or hazardous waste. By comparison, electricity generated by power plants produces carbon dioxide emissions that are believed to contribute to climate change and pollution.

Can be expanded over time. The SunSource system gives you the flexibility to start small and add more roof modules at a later date for greater energy savings.

Where is my air filter located?

Your air filter is located in either the blower compartment of your furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a wall-mounted return air grille. If you cannot locate the air filter, give us a call.

When should I change my air filter?

Every month, you should inspect or clean your air filter, or replace it if necessary, to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency.

How can I control energy costs?

Heating and cooling your home can represent as much as 44% of your utility bill.* With high efficiency ratings and innovative, industry-leading technology, Lennox® home comfort systems can go a long way toward reducing these costs.

When selecting a new system, pay close attention to the SEER rating of the air conditioner and AFUE of the furnace. The higher the SEER or AFUE, the higher the savings.

Beyond efficiency ratings, other factors to consider are:
Maintenance: You can ensure your system operates at peak performance by scheduling annual maintenance checks.
Zoning: A zoning system can drastically lower your heating and cooling costs. With zoning, you no longer have to pay to heat or cool areas of your home that are rarely used.
Programmable Thermostats: According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating costs by up to 35% and cooling costs by up to 25%.

For more energy-saving solutions, give us a call.
*According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network

I need to replace my air conditioner, but my furnace works just fine. Is it true they need to be replaced at the same time?

Think of your air conditioner and furnace as part of a total system. That system will work better, longer and more efficiently if all of its components are matched in capacity and efficiency. By the same token, a mismatched system — one that mixes old technology with new — could decrease system performance and overall comfort.

For example, your new air conditioner will be rated with a specific SEER efficiency rating. If your existing furnace and indoor coil don’t match in efficiency and capacity, you might not get the efficiency level you paid for. Plus, an older indoor coil may even be dirty and clogged with particles, meaning more energy will be required to push air through the system.

Why are rating numbers important?

Rating numbers indicate the efficiency of heating and air conditioning equipment and are directly related to the amount of energy a specific model uses. The higher the rating, the more efficient the product, and the lower your energy bills can be. The federal government establishes rating guidelines and sets minimum efficiency levels. For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). For heat pumps, the rating is HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). Gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).

What's the difference between a manufacturer's limited warranty and an extended warranty?

A manufacturer’s limited warranty is the warranty that a product leaves the factory with. Typically, it covers specific parts for a limited period of time. Details on limited warranty coverage can be found in your system’s Owners Manual.

Extended warranties are optional and are generally purchased at the same time as the equipment. Optional extended warranties cover all parts and may even include labor. There are a variety of optional extended warranties to choose from, but all are designed to offer long-term peace of mind.

How can I control my energy costs?

Controlling energy costs starts with your thermostat. You can save about three percent of your heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat during the winter.* And for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can cut cooling costs up to six percent.

Just as important, your system’s components should have the highest possible energy efficiency ratings. Make sure your components meet the following minimums:

Air conditioners: SEER ratings of 13 or higher.
Furnaces: AFUE ratings of 80 or higher.
Heat pumps: HSPF ratings of 7 or higher.
Having a matched system at home will also help. Every component in a matched system is designed to be matched in capacity and efficiency. That way you can enjoy the highest system efficiency possible.

Lastly, if you’re shopping for a new heating and air conditioning system, consider a high-efficiency variable speed system. Variable speed means your system varies its speed depending on your home’s heating and cooling requirements. It makes sure you get the amount of heating or cooling you need without wasting energy.

*Potential energy savings may vary depending on your personal lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, actual construction and installation of equipment and duct system.

How do I know what size system I need for my home?

One of the first things an Lennox Dealer will do is conduct a complete energy analysis of your home. By measuring windows and checking insulation, ductwork and building materials, and reviewing a variety of other factors, he can determine the right size system and equipment for your home. He’ll even ask you questions about your existing comfort challenges, and make recommendations.

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Phone: (805) 238-7553
Fax: (805) 238-2468
1142 Railroad St
Paso Robles, CA 93446-2532
service@pasoroblesheating.com