Frequently Asked Questions
We often received questions from our customers about the care, use and maintenance of their indoor climate systems. Here you will find a selection of the most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, feel free to Contact Us at any time and one of our customer care representatives will gladly assist you.
Ask The Expert
If you have a general question about the use, selection or maintenance of an indoor climate control system, feel free to ask it below. Our experts will review your question and provide the answer within our FAQ library.
Why do I have to turn my thermostat below the normal setting to get the AC to turn on?
Older mercury style thermostats have an adjustable setting called a heat anticipator. Over time, a thermostat’s heat anticipator may require calibration to properly regulate when your system turns on or off. Newer style digital models accomplish this without the need for calibration, resulting in greater efficiency and ease of use.
What are some ways to help control my heating & cooling costs?
Once the thermostat is set, it should be left alone. The air filters inside the system need to be checked, cleaned, or changed each month. The outdoor fan should not be covered or obstructed, so it can receive proper airflow.
Preventative Maintenance should be performed which include refrigerant level checks, indoor/outdoor coil inspections (cleaning, if needed) and duct inspections. See our Energy Saving Tips
How often should I change filters?
You should inspect every filter each month and change or clean filters as needed. Time intervals frequently vary with each family and household. The most important aspect of efficient operation of your heating and air conditioning system is proper airflow. Dirty air filters will severely limit airflow, which can cause the compressor to run continuously. Dirty filters could cause a 20% or more increase in operating costs. The outdoor units should be free of debris to ensure uninterrupted movement of air.
Should I turn my air conditioning off during the day if I am not at home?
No, raise the setting on the thermostat a few degrees. This will use less energy and still allow for the A/C system to recover when you lower the thermostat to your desired comfort level when you get home in the evening.
Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to ON so the fan runs constantly?
There are a couple. One is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The other is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout the home.
How can I know what size system I need for my home?
There are many things which will determine the size (capacity) system your home requires. Some of these are: square feet to be cooled, climate, humidity, number of windows, insulation factors, which direction your home will face, heat producing appliances, and even the number of people who will be in the home. See how Charlotte Comfort Systems is able to do a Load Calculation Analysis on your home and help you decide what your particular needs are for your lifestyle.
What do all those rating numbers like SEER and HSPF mean?
The Federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated as to efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. For cooling, the rating is SEER; heat pump is HSPF; gas furnaces are rated by AFUE.
Will anything help control the humidity in my house?
Humidity is a problem in many areas. The best way to control excessive humidity is to have a system that runs longer at lower speeds. Variable speed air handling equipment runs at very low speeds, which keeps the air circulating against the cooling coil and removes much more moisture than conventional systems. At these low speeds, the variable speed motor uses much less electricity than conventional motors.
Should my home be humidified?
That depends largely on your personal needs. Humidification is definitely helpful in many homes during a 6-8 week period during the coldest winter weather. In the coldest weather, insufficient moisture in the air often is responsible for such assorted problems as stuffy noses, sore throats, more dust than usual, cracks and dried-out joints in wood furniture and static electricity. A humidifier will be used only during the winter months and you will need to “clean and start” the humidifier in the fall. When spring arrives, you must “drain, clean, and shut-down” the humidifier or it could become a breeding ground for mold during the summer.
What about having my ducts cleaned?
Ducts usually don’t require cleaning, especially if filters are kept clean. You can occasionally check ducts by removing a few registers and inspecting the ducts from the inside with a flashlight. Some contracting companies have invested in special “duct cleaning” equipment and often offer specials just to keep their cleaning crews busy. Your money might be better spent on purchasing a high efficiency air filter that would keep the ducts clean.
How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?
Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.
Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?
Covering your unit is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep your unit clean. Heat pumps run all year long,so it is important that they should never be covered.
I have heard a lot about new refrigerants. Do I need to think about them when buying a new system?
Residential air conditioning systems contain a refrigerant which is an HCFC. The specific one is R-22. This is an environmentally safe and efficient refrigerant that will be available as long as your new system will last. There are some rulings being made by the US Environmental Protection Agency which require changes be made to refrigerants within the next 5-10 years which may cause the cost of R-22 to increase.
Puron, also known as R-410A, was developed in response to recent government mandated phase-out policies of freon (R-12, R-22, etc.). Puron is an environmentally friendly refrigerant designed to work in high efficiency air conditioners. For homeowners, this means lower operating costs, higher efficiency ratings, reduced noise levels, and best of all-improved environmental protection.
What is the difference in a Manufacturers Limited Warranty and an Extended Warranty?
A limited warranty covers specific parts (compressor, coil, heat exchanger, etc.); therefore, it is limited by the language in the warranty. Extended warranties are generally purchased in addition to the equipment. Extended warranties cover all parts and may also include labor for the service call. An extended warranty protects you from unexpected and unbudgeted service calls for the duration of the warranty.