Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an AC system last in New York?
A central air conditioning system in New York will last from 12 to 15 years, provided it receives regular annual maintenance. Without regular maintenance, or if repair needs are neglected, the system may only live up to half its estimated service life.
How long does a furnace last in New York?
This depends on the furnace type. Modern natural gas furnaces have an average service life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. Electric furnaces have longer lifespans and can run from 12 to 15 years. As with AC systems, furnaces must have regular annual maintenance to allow them to reach their longest potential service life.
What do you do on an AC tune-up?
Our technicians handle many jobs when we tune-up an AC as part of regular maintenance. We provide a thorough inspection and cleaning for the system and conduct tests to ensure the air conditioning system works peak capacity and efficiency. We test the refrigerant pressure to see if there are leaks, lubricate all moving parts such as motors, check the indoor and outdoor coils to see if they require cleaning, examine all electrical connections and tightening them when necessary, clean the condensate pan, and check the calibration on the thermostat. There are other steps—you can expect a complete and thorough job when we care for your air conditioning system.
What does a heat pump do?
A heat pump resembles an air conditioner in many ways: it circulates refrigerant between sets of indoor and outdoor coils to move heat from one place to another. What makes a heat pump different from an air conditioner is that it can switch the direction it moves heat—i.e. it can work as both a cooling system and a heating system. All it takes to change the heat pump from one mode to another is to make an adjustment on the thermostat.
Why is my water bill so high?
There are several possible causes for a water bill that seems excessive. One of the most common is hidden leaks in the home’s plumbing, such as slab leaks (leaks in the pipes in the home’s foundation). We can help solve this with water leak detection services, which we recommend if you have suspiciously high water bills. If you don’t have hidden leaks, our plumbers can find the source of the water loss and find solutions for you.
How often should I replace my air filter?
The frequency of air filter replacement depends on the strength of the filter. For basic panel filters, we recommend putting in a new one every month. Pleated filters can often last for 3 to 4 months, and powerful media filters may be able to last for 6 months. You can always ask our technicians for recommendations during your regular HVAC maintenance visits.
Is it important to have maintenance on my air conditioner?
Yes! It’s one of the best services you can have for your home comfort in general. Professional maintenance inspects, cleans, and adjusts an air conditioner so it can work in peak condition and maximum energy efficiency. An AC that receives annual maintenance will last longer, encounter far fewer repair issues, run reliably, use less energy, and keep its warranty valid. We recommend annual maintenance in spring for an air conditioner.
Is it important to have maintenance on my boiler?
Yes, absolutely. Boilers tend to have fewer repair issues than furnaces because they don’t have as many moving mechanical parts. But boilers have to deal with water, and that can create its own set of problems that maintenance can prevent, such as early corrosion. If you use a gas boiler, maintenance is also an essential safety step—ensuring your boiler works as safely as possible is one of the most important goals in maintenance.
What does the maintenance plan include?
We offer three levels of maintenance plans:
The Single-O Club: Maintenance for 1 system (heating, air conditioning, or plumbing)
The Double-O Club: Maintenance for 2 systems (heating, air conditioning, or plumbing)
The Triple-O Club: Maintenance for 3 systems (heating, air conditioning, and plumbing)
All our plans include 24/7 emergency service, a 15% discount on repairs, and cancellation anytime. The Double-O plan waives the diagnostic fee, and the Triple-O Club plan waives any overtime charges. You can look at our brochure to see a full breakdown of benefits.
What are the benefits of a geothermal system?
Using a geothermal HVAC system offers numerous advantages for a home. Here are the most prominent:
Energy savings: Switching to geothermal heating and cooling can result in a home saving up to 70% off its energy bills.
Long service life: The ground loops for a geothermal system can last for more than 50 years.
Environmentally friendly: Using geothermal heating and cooling is a great way to help your house “go green.”
Reliable operation: Unlike standard air-source heat pumps, geothermal systems draw heat energy from the ground, where temperatures are stable. The outdoor temperatures don’t effect a geothermal system’s efficiency or performance.
Quieter: With no outdoor condenser, geothermal systems lower the noise you expect from most HVAC units.Are drain cleaning chemicals safe to use?
The drain cleaning chemicals you can purchase at general stores are made of a highly toxic mixture of acidic chemicals. Along with their toxicity, they can severely damage skin and eyes—even the fumes have adverse health effects. These chemicals are also unsafe for drains, as their acidic action can eat away at the interior of drains and cause corrosion. No professional plumber recommends using these chemicals to unclog drains. If you can’t open up a clogged drain or toilet using a simple plunger, please call our professionals for drain cleaning services that will keep you and your drains safe.
What is the difference between commercial and residential HVAC?
Residential HVAC systems have less heating and cooling capacity than commercial systems: most home air conditioners or heat pumps are 5 to 8 tons (tons is a measure of heat), while commercial systems average around 25 to 50 tons. Most commercial HVAC systems are packaged units rather than split systems—this means they house all their components in one exterior cabinet (often on the roof of a building). With a residential split system, there are both indoor and outdoor components.
How often should you replace your HVAC system?
It depends on the type of system you have and how often it has received maintenance. Here are standard service life estimates for common HVAC systems that receive annual professional maintenance:
- Central air conditioner, heat pump: 10–15 years
- Ductless mini split: 20 years
- Evaporative cooler: 15–20 years
- Gas furnace: 15 years
- Electric furnace: 20 years
- Boiler: 20–30 years
Systems that don’t receive maintenance may only last half as long before requiring replacement.
What size HVAC system do I need?
The size of an HVAC system is measured in tons of heat either added or removed. (1 ton = 12,000 BTUs.) Most residential HVAC systems will be from 1 to 8 tons, depending on the house size as well as several other factors. You will need professionals to perform a load calculation to determine the correct size of HVAC system to meet your home’s specifications.
How do I improve my HVAC efficiency?
- Schedule routine maintenance each year (spring for the cooling system, fall for the heating system)
- Change the air filter regularly throughout the season (every 1 to 3 months)
- In winter, lower the thermostat to 68°F during the day
- In summer, raise the thermostat to 78°F during the day
- Upgrade from an older manual or non-programmable digital thermostat to a new programmable or “smart” unit
- Replace aging equipment with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR systems
How do I troubleshoot my HVAC system?
- Check the thermostat settings to ensure they’re correct and the thermostat is communicating with the HVAC unit.
- Reset the circuit breaker for the HVAC system if it’s tripped.
- Replace the air filter if it’s clogged.
- Clear the out unit of debris or anything that may block airflow.
- Check air vents in the house to see if they are blocked.
- When in doubt, call a professional for repairs.
How do I clean my HVAC system?
Most HVAC system cleaning should be left to professionals during annual maintenance. You can hose down the outdoor unit of an air conditioner or heat pump with a hose on low pressure and clean off the air vent covers with a duster.
What are the most common HVAC problems?
- Refrigerant leaks
- Malfunctioning thermostat
- Failing or burnt-out motors
- Dirty or frozen refrigerant coils
- Broken electronic ignition system
- Blocked or obstructed gas lines
- Burnt-out heating elements
- Obstructed exhaust system
- Electrical malfunctions
How do I clean air conditioner coils?
For a simple cleaning, you can use compressed air in a canister to blow away dirt and debris. Don’t try to use standard soap and water to clean the coils. If the coils are extremely dirty, call for technicians to remove the coils and use special chemicals to clean them.
How to stop air conditioning from leaking water?
An air conditioner leaks water because of problems with its condensate drainage system. If the condensate drain is clogged, you can pour white distilled vinegar down the drain pipe. An hour later, pour water down the drain to flush it out. If this doesn’t work, call for HVAC professionals to find the source of the leak and how to fix it.
How to reduce air conditioning noise?
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, excess noise usually means the unit is rapidly wearing down and needs to be replaced. For younger ACs, too much noise can warn of specific repairs the system needs. You can also ask your technician about a special noise-muffling blanket for the AC or building a fence around the unit. (Don’t try to muffle the AC yourself, as you’ll likely block airflow.)
How to insulate air conditioning ductwork?
You will want to rely on professionals for this job, as they can easily access your ducts and will know the right type of insulation necessary.