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Frequently Asked Questions

Our team has gathered frequently asked questions from our past customers and answered them here for you.

Heating & Cooling FAQ in Centreville

Providing All the Information You Need

At Service Specialties, we understand you have a lot of questions about your HVAC system, such as how it works, the definitions of certain terms, or how to perform proper DIY care. Because we care about you and want you to be fully informed, our team has gathered frequently asked questions from our past customers and answered them here for you. Please take the time to check if your questions have already been answered below. If not, feel free to reach out to us and talk to a knowledgeable member of our team.

For more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Service Specialties at (703) 337 3514!

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers to Guide You

Q: How Does an Air Conditioner Cool the Air in My Home?

A: Your air conditioning system is made up of two parts: the outdoor unit and the indoor coil. The refrigerant (freon or gas) is contained in the outdoor unit and is pumped to the indoor coil. As air passes over the coil, the refrigerant removes the heat by condensing it on the cold surface of the coil. Your air conditioner also acts like a dehumidifier by removing moisture from the air as it removes the heat. Any home that has a ductwork system can install an air conditioner. If there is no ductwork in your home, a technician can add a ductless air conditioning system to cool rooms or offices. Please speak to one of our comfort consultants for more information about our air conditioner services in Centreville, VA.

Q: What Does the Term SEER Mean?

A: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is the standard air conditioning efficiency measurement established by the Department of Energy. The higher the SEER number or rating, the more energy-efficient the unit is—which means lower operating costs. As of January 2006, the lowest SEER allowed to be manufactured is 13 SEER.

Q: What Does the Term AFUE Mean?

A: AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This standard established by the government tells you how efficiently your furnace converts fuel (gas, propane, oil) to heat. If your furnace has an AFUE of 80%, it means it uses 80% of the fuel to heat your home, while wasting 20%. The minimum rating today is 78%. High-efficiency furnaces usually have an AFUE rating of 90%.

Q: How Can I Make Sure My HVAC System Is Safe for Operation?

A: Tiny cracks or pinholes can occur in the heat exchanger of an HVAC system, which allows the escape of carbon monoxide, a deadly, non-odorous gas. To make sure this does not happen in your home or commercial building, schedule a comprehensive system check with trained professionals every year. We recommend two inspections each year: once before the heating season and another before the cooling season.

Q: Is There Anything I Can Do to Have More Even Heating & Cooling?

A: The first step is to adjust the register louvers in the rooms where there is too much heating or cooling. For example, partially or fully closing the registers downstairs in the summer months will force more cooling upstairs. You can also try investing in a furnace with a variable-speed blower motor. These furnaces are designed to keep the airflow even throughout the house. They also use 1/3 the electricity which can save in operating costs. Another possible solution is installing a zoning system. Through the use of multiple thermostats, you can set the temperature independently in different areas of the home.

Q: How Often Should I Change My Furnace’s Filter?

A:You should change your standard throw-away filter in your furnace every four to five weeks. Make sure to inspect your filter periodically and don’t let it become clogged. This can restrict airflow and/or cause damage to the unit.

Q: How Efficient Is My Standard Filter?

A: A standard furnace filter captures about 5-10% of particles that are flowing through your system. An upgraded air filtration system with a pleated media filter will remove up to 95% of airborne particles. An electronic air filtration system will remove up to 99% of airborne particles. By upgrading the filter, systems run more efficiently because the coils stay cleaner.

Q: When Replacing My Media Air Filter, Which Direction Is the Arrow Supposed to Be Facing?

A: The arrow should point in the direction of the airflow—typically toward the furnace. Since the filter catches the airborne particles before they flow through the duct system, it should be placed between the return air duct and the furnace.

Q: Why Are There Two Settings on My Thermostat for the Fan?

A: The auto setting is used to control the fan by the temperature in the room (it will only run when the system runs to cool or heat the room). The on setting is used to keep a continuous flow of air. If you have an air cleaner, the fan should be set to on since the air cleaner only works when air is circulating through the furnace. (The on setting does not mean the system is constantly running in heat or cool mode.)

Q: Why Can’t I Install My Humidifier in My Attic?

A: Due to the unconditioned space, the possibility of freezing, and in some cases the inaccessibility to water, we do not install humidifiers in attic spaces.

Q: What Is the Proper Setting for My Humidifier?

A: Because every home is different, we recommend you start with the setting at 35%. Raise the humidity level until you see small droplets of water on your windows, then lower the setting slightly until they disappear. This will be the proper humidity level for your home. (This should take place over the course of several days.)

Q: Do I Need a New Carbon Monoxide Detector Every Few Years?

A: All carbon monoxide detectors have a limited life. At five (5) years or less, they lose their “sensing” capabilities and must be replaced. You can also have the detector tested using a CO test kit. When scheduling your next inspection, ask our Centreville CO alarm technician for details.

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