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System & Maintenance

Here’s a short list of the most common questions we get asked about your system & how to maintain, keep it clean & running properly.

What does HVAC mean?

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

How often should I replace my filters?

In general, American AC & Heating recommends that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month. Your Horizon service technician will recommend a replacement schedule that delivers the optimum efficiency and filtration for your specific system.

In addition to changing my filters, what maintenance should I do on my heater and/or air conditioner?

Most maintenance should be performed only by a qualified service technician. But here are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance:

  • Keep ground mounted outdoor units clear of debris, clutter and weeds; they can reduce the airflow to the unit.
  • Use caution with weed trimmers around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring.
  • Keep pets away from the unit; pet urine can cause expensive damage.

How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?

You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system at least once a year – spring to early summer being the best times. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future.

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

Check to be sure that the air conditioner or furnace is turned on. Check that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly. Also make a note of any strange noises or smells.

What does SEER mean?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Simply put, it is a standardized measurement for the overall operating efficiency of an air conditioning system.  The higher the system’s SEER rating, the more efficient it is at converting energy into air cooling.

What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?

The most important part of HVAC maintenance aspect is maintaining unrestricted air flows. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor unit, you must keep all filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions.

We recommend that your heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year; ideally a spring and autumn tune-up. Also we recommend that you change your filter regularly, depending on the type of filter you have. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.

Why do I need to change my filter regularly?

Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require weekly or monthly filter replacements. Your Horizon Services service or installation technician will recommend the ideal filters and replacement schedules for your unit(s).

How do I know if my system is working properly?

Is it making strange noises? Is it cooling or heating all areas of your home sufficiently? Has it been taking longer to cool down or heat up? Have your utility bills been rising for no apparent reason? Any of these are signs that you may have a problem that needs service. In most cases, the longer you delay, the worse any underlying problems will get. So be sure to contact Horizon Services to check out your system whenever you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Buying The Right Size System

Here’s a short list of the most common questions we get asked about purchasing the right system size for your home or office.

How important is it to get the right size of heating and cooling equipment?

Sizing HVAC equipment is very important from the standpoints of both comfort and energy use. Heating and cooling equipment that are over-capacity will not run as frequently or as long when it does run. In both cases, this may mean poor humidity control. It could also result in temperature variations or noticeable cycling. Over-capacity equipment will not be as energy efficient as properly matched capacity either. On the other hand, equipment that is under-sized, will obviously result in loss of comfort during temperature extremes.

What size HVAC system should I have?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple rule of thumb for determining the ideal size of system for each home. For example, depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) 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 heat or 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. A Horizon Comfort Estimator will perform a FREE detailed In-Home Energy Analysis to determine a selection of systems that will work best for your home’s needs and your budget.

Is a system with more capacity better?

No. A larger heating system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when it is first turned 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.

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

Bigger isn’t always better; its performance and efficiency that count. Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly to match your needs and budget. Your Horizon Comfort Specialist will thoroughly assess your home and comfort requirements to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation.

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

A few quick tips:

  • Clean and replace your filters frequently.
  • Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration.
  • Install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight to keep room temperatures at moderate levels.

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