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East Coast Services FAQ:

Q: What is a SEER? What do the numbers mean?

A: The Department of Energy requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning equipment. This rating is called the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The simplest way to consider the SEER is as the amount of cooling you get for your energy dollar, kind of like miles per gallon with your automobile. The higher the number, the lower the energy cost to cool your home.

Q: Should I set my thermostat to "auto" or "on"?

A: Most of the time leave it on auto. This setting uses the least energy because the fan runs only when necessary to cool or heat your home. Fan "on" however is useful to even out hot spots in the home, evenly distribute and constantly filter air. People often use it during pleasant Spring days to keep the home evenly comfortable, or when there is a "hot spot" in the home such as a very active kitchen during the Holidays.

Q: Should I trim my shrubs around my air conditioner?

A: Most manufacturers recommend plants be no closer than 18 inches to the unit, in order to allow for air circulation. In order to service the unit, a clearance of three feet is required on the "service" side of the equipment. These guidelines not only help your air conditioner "breathe" easier, but lower cooling bills and maintenance costs by keeping the outdoor coils clean.

Q: If an outdoor unit needs replacing, should the indoor unit be replaced too?

A: Yes. Your air conditioning sytem is just that: a system of components designed to work together for the best efficiency and comfort in your home. This was not such an issue in the past, but has become critical with newer high-efficiency systems equipment mandated after January, 2006. A new 14-SEER condenser matched with an old 10-SEER air handler will certainly disappoint you. On rare occasions upgrades may be made to the air handler, but they may prove cost-prohibitive.

Q: Is my air conditioner the right size for my home?

A: At COMPLETE Air Conditioning, we are prepared to consider the many factors that go into a correctly sized air conditioner, and will do so before making a recommendation. Rules of thumb (such as square feet per ton) are useful, but can be dangerous. There are many factors - the direction the home faces, construction materials, roof color, the number and type of windows, insulation, and even your lifestyle and the number of people living in your home - that go into determining the right system for your home.

Q: What is a split system?

A: A split system has a "condenser" outdoors and an "air handler" indoors. Some designs incorporate both into one "package" unit, which is usually located on the roof or on the ground beside the home, with air ducts connected to it.

Q: Do I need a humidistat? How do they work?

A: A humidistat runs the air conditioner in response to humidity rather than to temperature when the home is unoccupied and temperature is not an issue. The objective is to protect the home and at the same time save energy costs. A humidistat should be considered if you occupy your home seasonally.

Q: Do my ducts need cleaning?

A: If you experience any of the following - dirty streaks or bits of debris from the grilles on the ceiling, "dirty sock" smell from your air conditioner when it starts up, or allergy symptoms that come upon you when you are at home but disappear when you are away - your system should be inspected.

Q: Is my refrigerant obsolete?

A: The R-22 refrigerant is in the process of being phased out in order to protect the ozone layer and is no longer produced domestically. The phase-out will take place by 2010, when all new air conditioners will be required to use more "environmentally friendly" refrigerants. Most leading manufacturers have committed to 410-A as the new refrigerant of choice.

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