Frequently Asked Questions About Air Conditioning
What should I know about changes in refrigerants?To protect our environment, numerous changes have taken place with refrigerants used in air conditioning and heat pump systems. These changes are having and will continue to have a significant impact on the air conditioning industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Clean Air Act, is regulating the production and use of refrigerants. These changes will eventually eliminate air conditioning and heat pump refrigerants containing chlorine because of the concern about depletion of the ozone layer.
In response, Mainline Heating and Air is offering consumers a choice in environmentally friendlier refrigerants. The chlorine-free refrigerant R410A will reduce damage to the ozone. R410A is used by all manufacturers but is often marketed under different names.
Providing products that protect the environment and providing consumers with a total home comfort solution have been and will continue to be priorities of Mainline Heating and Air. Our products that use the environmentally friendlier R410A refrigerant are win-win solutions for consumers wanting high-efficiency products that are less taxing on our environment.
Although the government has begun phasing out a commonly used refrigerant, consumers who have cooling systems that use this product should not worry. The HCFC family of refrigerants, which include R22, will still be available for many years. Sufficient quantities of R22 refrigerant will continue to be produced until the year 2020. After 2020, recycled refrigerants will be available for many years.
Why is my system freezing up?There are several things that can cause your HVAC system to freeze up. Most need to be corrected by Mainline’s service center.
Making sure the filter is clean or replaced and making sure the airflow is not restricted are about the only things you can check or handle yourself.
Low refrigerant: In some cases, freezing up is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, leaking valves or loose fittings can cause leaks. The age of the system and the nature and location of the leak are the determining factors on whether to have the system repaired or replaced.
Dirty evaporator coil: Over time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. When this happens, the results are similar to those of having a dirty filter. Gradually you will lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or is not cooling adequately. You will need to contact Mainline’s service center to correct the problem.
Defective blower motor or relay: A blower motor not running at the proper speed or not running at all can cause freezing. It can also be intermittent, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to contact Mainline’s service center to correct the problem.
Should you find that your system was freezing due to a dirty filter, after replacing or cleaning the filter, you can speed up the thawing process by turning the system off and turning on the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact Mainline Heating’s service center to correct the problem.
When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced?The answer is most likely yes, and here are the reasons why.
Matched System Design: All air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance. The result of this matched system is a coordinated, top-performance team that ensures dependability and efficiency. Air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units may “work” with indoor units other than those for which they have been specifically designed; however, the result is a definite compromise in system performance.
Design Advances: Through the years, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.
Higher Cooling And Heating Efficiency: The cooling and/or heating efficiency ratings that are advertised for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on their performance as matched systems. While changing only the outdoor unit may result in improved efficiency compared to the old system, it will not be as efficient as it was designed to be and your savings will be lower than with a matched system.
Equipment Age: If an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear. Replacing both units means you won’t have to replace the indoor unit in a short time…you’ll have years of service from both units.
New Warranty: A new unit also gives you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit results in peace of mind, knowing the new warranty covers the entire system.
A Bargain: At first glance, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain. But when you consider the lower cooling and heating efficiencies, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership that results, it’s not such a bargain. Replacing an entire system costs more, but you get more efficiency, reliability and comfort.
Is sound an issue?The louder the better doesn’t necessarily hold true for heating and cooling equipment. Heating and cooling equipment should offer maximum comfort with minimum noise. Fortunately, today’s technology has enabled manufacturers to produce air conditioners and heat pumps that are not only highly efficient, but also exceptionally quiet.
Although no financial savings are tied to lower sound levels, the sound rating of a cooling system can have a considerable effect on comfort. The sound level of an air conditioner or heat pump depends on a variety of factors. The age of the unit and whether the compressor is insulated or not can contribute to the amount of noise it makes.
Although most heating and cooling systems manufactured today are quieter than ever before, it’s a good idea to compare sound ratings when shopping for a new air conditioner or heat pump. Great differences in the sound levels of products on the market today can make all the difference in just how comfortable you can be at home.
Why is it important to have regular maintenance on my home comfort system?You wouldn’t buy a brand-new car and expect to never have to put air in the tires, change the oil and check out any unusual noises, would you? Well, in the same way it is important to have regular inspections of your home comfort system by a Mainline Heating and Air technician.
If not maintained properly, even the best equipment could cause problems.
Why should I zone my house?Zoning divides your home into separate comfort areas and makes your comfort equipment cool or heat only areas that need conditioning. For example, a living room with large windows may stay too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. A zoning system will send more conditioned air to the living room to make up for the heat gained or lost through the windows.
Today’s families have different lifestyles and comfort needs. Maybe you have a home office that needs extra conditioning during the day and none at night. Or you only use the upstairs or back bedrooms when guests visit. Whatever your needs, zoning can keep each area of your house at the perfect temperature for you and each family member.
When should I install zoning?
If you are replacing your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump, it is an excellent time to install a zoning system. When you new comfort equipment is matched with a zoning system, you will have precise control in each zone. Houses that had been nearly impossible to keep comfortable are a thing of the past. Zoning is also excellent for new homes since it is installed during construction. If you are buying a new home, check with your builder about a zoning system. It could make the difference between just enjoying your new house and being truly comfortable in it.