Mr. Duct - HVAC FAQs
Common HVAC Questions and Answers
Many homeowners don't know where to start when it comes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) research. Use Mr. Duct's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide to learn more about HVAC Maintenance, HVAC Repair, HVAC Installation, and Indoor Air Quality Solutions.
HVAC Maintenance FAQs
- Do I really need routine maintenance on my heating and cooling equipment?
- The answer is simple: yes! Your heating and cooling equipment is a major financial investment; routine maintenance protects that investment.
We recommend at least 2 service visits per year to ensure your HVAC equipment runs as efficiently (lowest energy cost) and effectively (highest comfort level) as possible. Not only will the pre-season service visits extend the life of your equipment, our expert technicians can often spot and correct any potentially serious problems BEFORE they turn into a costly repairs.
We offer Residential Maintenance Plans that takes the worry out of service and saves you money. If you would like to know more about our heating and cooling service plans, just give us a call at (800) 501-4157 to make us your HVAC partner.
- My furnace and air conditioner are both new. Do I really need to have them cleaned?
- Yes! Even though the components of your HVAC system are new, they still need to have annual maintenance performed. This will keeping them performing better, and also help keep the warranties in effect. Most all equipment manufactures state in the terms of their warranty that annual maintenance must be performed by a qualified technician. Keeping your system maintained will give you assurance that it is operating at peak efficiency and safety.
- How important is an air filter in my heating and cooling system?
- It is very important! A dirty filter will slow down airflow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool - wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system - leading to expensive maintenance and/or early HVAC system failure.
ENERGY STAR™ recommends that you check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months.
HVAC Repair/Troubleshooting FAQs
- After my air conditioner runs for a while, ice forms on the big pipe outside and it stops cooling. What could be the problem?
- More than likely, it is either low on refrigerant or low on airflow. As a homeowner, replace your filter and allow the unit to thaw out. If the problem reoccurs, call Mr. Duct to schedule service on your cooling system. We recommend having annual maintenance performed to keep your HVAC systems in peak operating conditions. Ask your Mr. Duct representative about our energy saving maintenance agreement program.
- During the winter the fan occasionally shuts off on my heat pump outside unit, then restarts with a big puff of smoke. What is wrong with it?
- Nothing is wrong with your heating unit. What appears to be smoke is steam from the outdoor coil after it completes a defrost cycle. After extended run times the outdoor unit will start to build frost or ice on the coil. The system is designed to go in a defrost mode when needed to clear the ice away and keep the efficiency level up.
HVAC Installation FAQs
- When is it time to replace or modify my heating and cooling system?
- To improve the overall performance of your overall system, call Mr. Duct for a consultation if:
Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.
We encourage all Chicagoland homeowners to consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR™ label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.
Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR™ qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR™ qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.
Your equipment needs frequent repairs.
If you are constantly calling for home system repairs, it may be time to consider replacing your furnace and/or AC unit. The investment will save you money in the long run and end the revolving door of service repairmen in your home.
- What is the difference between an air conditioner & a heat pump?
- Central air conditioners & heat pumps resemble each other in appearance, using the same casing. Both units reside on an exterior side of the home.
A central air conditioning unit is solely responsible for cooling the home, while an interior furnace takes care of the home’s heating portion.
A heat pump is really two units in one – an air conditioner, and in the winter months, a heater. When the heat pump is in the heating mode, it pulls heat out of the outdoor air and uses that to heat your home. If the outdoor air is too cold (around 32° F), then it uses electrical strip heaters to heat the air.
Because a heat pump is utilized year round, the unit will require more routine maintenance checks and shorter replacement times than standard air conditioner units.
- How do I know what size central air conditioner or furnace I need?
- Your dealer will do a load calculation on your home to determine the proper equipment size. Today's HVAC systems are often significantly more efficient than older models and don't need to be as large to deliver the same or better amount of comfort. The load calculation is an important and potentially money-saving step to take, rather than just replacing your current unit with one of the same size.
The capacity needed is based upon how quickly your home gains or loses heat, not by square footage alone. Our expert technicians perform load calculations as a part of every installation quote, meaning you get the best units available on the market, sized specifically for your home.
- What does SEER and AFUE mean?
- SEER stands for "Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio". The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. By federal law all units must be a 10 SEER or higher.
AFUE stands for "Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency". This rating tells you how much of your heating dollars are converted to heat energy put into your home and how much is lost up the flue pipe. Federal law mandates that all furnaces being produced today be at least 80% efficient. Mr. Duct offers several different sizes of Bryant furnaces up to 98% efficient. For more hvac terms & definitions, visit our HVAC Glossary Page
- Do I qualify for Energy Efficiency tax credits?
- Under the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is implementing consumer tax credits for homeowners who make qualified improvements of higher-efficiency HVAC equipment to their primary residences. Tax credits are effective for all qualified energy property systems installed from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. If you have more questions regarding the Energy Efficiency tax credits, please visit our Energy Tax Credit page
- Do You Offer Financing on New HVAC Installation?
- Yes! Mr Duct HVAC has partnered with Wells Fargo to provide you with the Home Projects Visa. For customers who qualify, we offer a variety of plans that allow you to take care of home comfort today and pay for it later: including our no-interest option with regular payments.
Indoor Air Quality Solution FAQs
- What is a Programmable Thermostat? What are its Benefits?
- For families that are always on the go, programmable thermostats are a must. Programmable thermostats allow you to set your system at different temperatures throughout the day. This means reduced energy use throughout the day! Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to start saving energy and money while your family is away or sleeping.
- Why is the upstairs of my house always hotter in summer and cooler in the winter when I only have one unit? What should I do?
- Heat rises, thus the reason it's hotter in the summer. Assuming the system was sized and installed correctly, you should consider installing a zone system if possible. Zoned thermostat systems allow you to control the amount of heating and cooling by home zone, meaning greater control of your home comfort. Sometimes the addition of return air ductwork will help improve air movement and help make upper levels more comfortable.
- What Is a UV Light? What Are its Benefits?
- UV is the abbreviation for ultraviolet. Located in the return air ductwork and by the indoor cooling coil, the ultraviolet air treatment system continuously emits high – intensity ultraviolet (UV) energy. The energy eliminates (kills) a very high percentage of airborne bacteria and germs passing over the UV light field inside the ductwork. The UV light mounted next to the indoor cooling coil will help eliminate the growth of mold, mildew and other contaminates from the drain pan and coil surface.
- How Do I Improve Humidity Levels In My Home?
- Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer. To address the problem of Illinois humidity, Mr. Duct offers several Trane® fan-powered and bypass humidifiers.
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 your 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!