Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to replace a furnace?

It’s hard to estimate the exact time. Every installation is different, but approximate time varies between 3 to 6 hours for furnace only. It might take longer with additional accessories, but no more than a day.

How long does it take to replace an air conditioning?

It’s hard to estimate the exact time. Every installation is different, but approximate time varies between 3 to 6 hours. It might take longer especially because of the new type of refrigerant (R410A) it is necessary to replace evaporator coil that is installed inside with the furnace (normally on top of furnace) and copper piping between that coil and the outside A/C.

How long does it take to replace a whole system (furnace and A/C)?

On average, once the equipment is delivered, an in-house installation will take approximately 1 day. If it takes more, our technicians will always connect temporary heating or cooling (depends on weather). Commercial installations may take longer depending upon the size of the system.

How long does it take to replace hot water boiler?

Approximately 4 to 8 hours for the boiler only. It’s possible that it might take longer with additional equipment and new piping. If it takes more than 1 day we will turn on the boiler temporarily.

When replacing a hot water boiler, will I have running water?

Yes. Your heating system has a separate water supply with shut-off valve.

My water heater is leaking! What should I do?

This is one of the most common calls we have. Unfortunately, there are many reasons this could happen. The age and “wear and tear” of the heater are the most common factors. Another reason is when the valve on the side of the heater dispenses water. This is a concern because it means that either the temperature or pressure has exceeded the safety parameters. Whatever the reason is, it is important that you act quickly. On most heaters, there are isolation valves for the cold water supply as well as the gas. These should be shut off. If your heater does not have any isolation valves, you will need to shut off the water to the entire house or building. Makes sure to call us and we’ll get your hot water back!

Why do I need a backup generator?

As more and more business and residential areas are added to the electrical grid, the amount of power available is spread thinner and thinner. This creates more and more power outages or partial outages. A generator can protect your home and family in case this happens by supplying stand by power to your crucial systems like, security, furnaces, sump pumps, and your well to name a few. Without a generator, well, you could just be left in the dark.

When I turn on my A/C, the lights go dim, what’s going on?

This is usually caused by the air conditioner and the large amount of electricity that is needed to start such a large appliance. When the unit turns on, the current draw is so great in your panel, that there is not enough for all of the other devices that are running at the same time. This happens especially when you’re A/C is more than a 10 years old and it’s not very efficient anymore. Most of the time the dimming is so quick that usually is not that noticeable. Other times lights will dim slowly and not return to full power for few seconds. A hot summer day is not the time to find out that you’re electrical system cannot handle the load. This is one of the signs that you can start thinking about new A/C system.

How often should I have my equipment serviced?

Heating and Air Conditioning equipment should be serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the fall and the air conditioning checked in the spring. Oil-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually.

What size HVAC system should I have?

Contrary to popular belief there, is no rule of thumb for sizing a system to a home. Depending upon the construction of your home, one ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.

How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home’s heating and cooling systems?

The most important thing you can do is clean and replace your filters frequently. Also, a system heats and cools more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration. Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or screens should be installed on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight.

Is a system with more capacity better?

No. A larger system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when first turning on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well.

Should I try to keep my system from running too much?

Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. Usually a system that is too small to cool the home is more economical to run but delivers less comfort. Even though it runs nonstop, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off. As a rule of thumb, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one cycling on and off.

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Different programmable thermostats offer many different features. However, because they are electronic, they are all more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With programmable thermostats you can control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own. Energy cost savings.

How often should I replace my filters?

For optimum efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

Should I schedule an annual maintenance inspection for my heating and cooling system?

One of the reasons to have bi-annual maintenance inspections (Spring & Fall) for your heating and cooling system is to insure that it is performing at maximum efficiency, which directly affects your monthly utility bills. You also want to make sure your equipment is functioning correctly and catch any problems before they become major expenses. Regular maintenance will pay for itself in lower repair costs. Lastly, you want to make sure that your heating and cooling system is functioning properly to avoid any problems that could lead to danger to your home or family, i.e. loose electrical connections or holes in your system’s heat exchanger that could leak carbon monoxide.

What temperature should I set my thermostat?

It’s up to you. Most people are comfortable with a setting of 68° to 74° but there are also a lot of people who are comfortable at 65° or 78°! Your comfort also depends on humidity levels. If you do not have a humidifier and the air is dry, you may need to set your thermostat a couple of degrees higher to get the same level of comfort. We also find that many thermostats are inaccurate and a few degrees off, so the thermostat could display 72° when it’s really 68°. You can get a new thermostat or just set the thermostat to the temperature that feels comfortable – temperature is just a number! To save energy, you can set your temperature several degrees lower in the winter or higher in the summer when no-one is home or get a programmable thermostat that will do it for you. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°F; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.

How do I know whether to replace or repair my heating equipment?

We can’t give you a definite answer to this question. It’s a bit like trying to decide when to replace your car. Here are some things to consider:

  • How old is your furnace or boiler? If it’s more than 15 years old, you should think about replacement because old heating equipment is much less efficient than new equipment.
  • What is the history of your heating equipment? Has it needed frequent repairs? Is it noisy? Has it been well maintained or neglected over the years?
  • Are there any rebates or tax credits available to help offset the cost of new equipment? Is attractive financing available? What is the payback from an investment in new high efficiency equipment?
  • Does your current system provide the level of comfort that you want in your home?
  • How much will repairs cost…and how many more will you need in the future? Is keeping an old system running worth the time, money and inconvenience?

What maintenance should I do on my air conditioner?

The most important maintenance you can do is to change your filters regularly. Ground mounted outdoor units need to be kept clear of debris, clutter; weeds or landscaping that can grow too close and reduce the airflow to the unit. Also, keep pets away from the unit because pet urine can cause expensive damage. Use caution with a weed trimmer around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring. Any additional maintenance should only be performed by qualified personnel.

Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?

Yes. Check that the breakers and disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly.

How much does a new replacement system cost?

Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. There is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.

Do electronic air cleaners really work?

Absolutely! They can actually play a big part in your complete home comfort. We have a variety of whole-house filtration devices. Some electronic air cleaners can even remove dust particles and pollen as small as 0.10 micron. Visit our products page for more information about the electronic air cleaners we offer.

Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?

No. Closing the registers will decrease the system’s airflow and efficiency. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the airflow and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to distribute air to other areas of your home. Your system will work harder, to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.

How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?

Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly. Our representative will provide a heat load calculation to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation. Remember, bigger is not always better.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my system?

By following these simple guidelines, you can estimate whether or not fixing vs. repairing is the right decision. On average the lifetime of:

  • an air conditioning unit is 12-15 years
  • a furnace is 15-20 years
  • a boiler is 15-20 years

However, these are only guidelines. If a unit has been repaired several times, or has had higher than average wear, then even if it’s before the average lifetime of a typical system, it might make sense to replace it. Some systems can cost just $3,000 to replace, so if you take into account the age of the system plus the cost of a repair at $500, it probably makes more sense just to replace it.

How do I know if my system is working properly?

Is it starting to make noises? Is it cooling and/or heating all areas of the house sufficiently? Have your utility bills gone up for no apparent reason? Has it been taking longer to cool down or heat up the space? Any of these are signs that you may need service to avoid any further damage to your system as well as keep your home or business comfortable for the people and pets in it.

Do I need a maintenance agreement?

Maintenance agreements are an easy and inexpensive way to protect your home, your family or your business from sudden failure of your system. You always want to be sure that your system is up and running when you need it on that first hot or cold day of each season! With our maintenance agreements, you’ll enjoy twice yearly annual season tune-ups and as a maintenance customer you receive discounts on parts as well.

What is R410a?

R410a is the earth friendly “green” coolant that is replacing Freon. Beginning in 2010 Federal law will require that Freon will no longer be produced.

How do I know what kind of system I need?

If you are considering installing a central air conditioning or heating system you will want to consider efficiency ratings, cost of system as well as the cost of maintaining it. Remember, central air conditioning and heating systems always increase the value of your home. Call or email us for details and our experts will be happy to give you a free, professional, no obligation estimate.

Do you offer evening or weekend service?

Yes. We make our appointments convenient for our customers with no additional charge. Please call us at (773) 742-1297 to schedule a convenient time.

I’ve heard about tax credits for homeowners, do you offer them?

Yes, but it is the Federal Government that issues these tax credits. There are two new initiatives to help you improve the energy efficiency and environmental conservation in your home. As part of a landmark energy bill, new Federal income tax credits are available for homeowners who install high efficiency heating and cooling equipments.

How do I claim my Federal tax credit?

Contact your tax professional for more details and specific instructions.

Should I use my tax credit to upgrade my system?

This tax credit was developed to encourage homeowners to install higher efficiency heating and cooling systems, but you should consider these facts before deciding: Is your current system nearing or older than its average lifespan? A system that is 15 years old is probably costing you more than you realize in utility and energy costs.

How much longer will you be in your home? If you think you will be living in your home for a few more years, it probably makes sense to replace it with a high efficiency system. This will also increase the value of your home when you sell it!

How do I really know if I should fix it or replace it?

Typically if your system is ten years or older and you have some sort of major failure it is time to consider replacing your system, as with cars the components reach a point where they are going to start to fail and investing large amounts for repairs on a system that will be prone to even more failures just does not make good sense.

Why should I replace my existing heating or air conditioning system?

You may wish to consider replacing your air conditioning or heating system if it is old, inefficient or in need of repair. Today’s systems are as much as 60% more efficient than those systems manufactured as little as ten years ago. In addition, if not properly maintained, wear and tear on a system can reduce the actual or realized efficiency of the system. If you are concerned about utility bills or are faced with an expensive repair, you may want to consider replacing your system rather than enduring another costly season or paying to replace an expensive component. The utility cost savings of a new unit may provide an attractive return on your investment. If you plan on financing the purchase, the monthly savings on your utility bill should be considered when determining the actual monthly cost of replacing a system. The offsetting savings may permit you to purchase a more efficient system.

How expensive are air conditioning and heating systems?

Many factors affect the cost of a heating or air conditioning system, including the size of your home, the type and condition of the ductwork installed and accessories you might need such as a thermostat or an electronic air cleaner. We have a complete range of systems and accessories available to meet all your needs, including your financial ones! We are happy to assist you in finding the right system to meet not only your comfort needs but also your household budget.

What is involved in replacing an old system?

Aside from the placement of the new equipment, our technician will inspect several items and make a determination of whether or not these items need to be supplied or replaced. Some of the items include: ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil.

How long can I expect a new system to last?

If you have a qualified technician perform regular preventative maintenance and service suggested for your unit, industry averages suggest that an air conditioner should last 12-15 years and a gas furnace should last as many as 20-25 years.

How important is adding humidity to my home?

As we heat our homes, the air has a tendency to dry out. This dry air can damage the woodwork and furniture you have in your home as well as zap the moisture from our skin. Dry air even makes you feel cooler because your body senses heat as a combination of temperature and humidity. Adding humidity to offset this drying process will improve your comfort as well as preserve the woodwork in your home. As an added benefit, you may actually be able to lower your thermostat a couple of degrees. You will not only feel warmer but you may actually lower your heating bill! Adding a humidifier with help to add moisture back into the air and limit allergies and sinus problems. The average comfort range for relative humidity in a home is from 35% to 45%.

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