When should I have my AC coils cleaned?
We recommend cleaning the coils on an annual or bi-annual basis, depending on the location of the unit. A restricted coil can cause a great deal of damage to the equipment as well as reduce efficiency and cooling capacity.
I can see what looks like mold on my equipment and/or supply registers.
If you suspect it to be mold it is always better to be safe than sorry, it is likely mildew, but always best to have it looked at by a professional. If it is mildew, it can be cleaned, and preventative measures can be taken. If it turns out to be mold we will refer you to a mold remediation specialist.
How often should I have my ducts cleaned?
Depending on the age/condition of the duct system we recommend having them cleaned every 3-5 years. A tell-tale sign that the ducts need to be cleaned right away is dirt build up on the supply registers. (A return grill will always have some build up as it is drawing in air not delivering air.)
What is the difference between auto and on fan settings?
When the fan is in the auto position the indoor fan will only run when the system is calling for heat or cooling. When the fan is in the on position it will run continuously until removed from the on position.
I can see smoke coming from my heat pump and it’s making a weird noise.
What you are seeing is normal, believe it or not, it is steam not smoke. Ice forms on the outdoor coil because of the low pressure in the coil condensing moisture and consequently freezing it. The unit is designed to initiate a defrost cycle every 30, 60, or 90 minutes. The outdoor fan shuts down, the compressor reverses the flow of refrigerant to run hot gas through the coil to melt the ice. This causes steam to rise from the coil and when the fan comes back on the steam is forced up through the fan section. It will be noisy and alarming the first time you see it but should not be cause for major concern. The process should last a few minutes. If it continues longer than that call for service.
I can see ice forming on my unit, is that normal?
Yes and no. If it is the outdoor section of a heat pump (in heating mode) then yes, frost will build up on the coil. The heat pump will initiate a defrost every 30,60, or 90 minutes to melt the ice.
If the system (any system) is operating in the cooling mode than no. The cooling should be switched off immediately to let the ice melt before a diagnosis can be completed. Some common causes for ice forming are a restricted air filter, bad blower motor, or low refrigerant charge. You can still run the indoor fan with the fan in the on position at your thermostat, this will help defrost the indoor coil. Lay some towels around the indoor section because as the ice melts it will likely leak out of the unit.
If your heat pump in heating mode continues to form ice and looks like a snowball then the defrost cycle has malfunctioned and it needs to be switched off as well. You can still operate the heat with the emergency heat setting at your thermostat until the outdoor unit is thawed and repaired.
How low or high should I set my thermostat when I’m not home?
We recommend a setback between 5 and 8 degrees in either direction. Most programmable thermostats learn how long it takes to satisfy the target temperature at a given time and will operate the system in advance of that time to satisfy the call. A large setback could wind up costing you more.
What is the ideal cooling temperature to set my thermostat?
This is a matter of comfort versus energy usage. There really is no “ideal” temperature. The design target temperature for cooling in our region is 75 degrees at 50% relative humidity. That target may not suit everyone. The unit is designed to deliver air 20 degrees cooler than what it is drawing in, and it will continue to run until it reaches the target temperature. The lower the target, the longer the run time, and the more energy will be consumed. We recommend you find a temperature that is comfortable but does not over work the machine.
One or more rooms in my home do not cool or heat well, can that be corrected?
Poor conditioning to certain areas of the home is typically the result of poor air flow and duct design. This can sometimes be corrected if the ducting is accessible and modifications can be made. Often the ducting is behind finished walls or ceilings and cannot be corrected without exposing them first.
How often should I replace my air filter?
Most standard 1” (MERV 8) pleated air filters are good for 60-90 days. If you use a higher efficiency filter (MERV 11 or greater) you may need to change it more often as they can cause an air restriction due to the larger surface area. Filters 4” wide or larger are typically good for 6 months. It is always good practice to check your filter every month. A restricted air filter can cause many operational issues.
$69.95 A/C Inspection for MCPS Employees During Spring Break. Valid April 15th through April 26th, 2019.
79.95 HVAC Inspection 16 Point Efficiency Inspection, cost per unit.