FAQs

1. How often should I have my equipment serviced?
2. How long will my system last?
3. Does Freon need to be added to my system every year?
4. What is a B.T.U?
5. Should I Repair or Replace Old Equipment?
6. What kind of system is right for me?
7. What size heating and air conditioning system do I need?
8. What is an Energy Efficient Ratio (EER)?
9. Is “High Efficiency” really worth it?
10. Do I need to have my ducts tested or a special HERS raters inspection?
11. Can I troubleshoot before calling for service?
12. What kind of tips can I use to insure a long-lasting life for my equipment?
13. Going on Vacation?

 

How often should I have my equipment serviced?
Heating and air conditioning equipment should be serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the fall and the air conditioning checked in the spring. Aliso Air offers a Preventative Maintenance Contract, in which you can schedule an annual or bi-annual check up for your heating and air conditioning equipment.
How long will my system last?
The key to system longevity is regular maintenance by experienced HVAC professionals like Aliso Air, Inc. With proper care, your air conditioning system can last from 15 to 20 years; a gas furnace can run for up to 20-25 years.
Does Freon need to be added to my system every year?
No. The Freon in your cooling system is circulated through the copper refrigeration lines to remove heat from your home. If your system ever needs Freon, you have a leak and it’s costing you money in higher utility bills through poor system performance. It can also damage the compressor, the heart of the air conditioning system. We recommend repairing the system for reliable and efficient operation.
What is a B.T.U?
Air conditioner sizes (or capacities) are rated in BTUs per hour. The abbreviation BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It measures the quality of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. BTUs are the primary measurement used to match your cooling needs with an air conditioner.
Should I Repair or Replace Old Equipment?
Three main factors to consider are:

  • Life Expectancy of Current System. When you’re frustrated with an equipment breakdown, it can be tempting to find the least expensive “quick fix” to get on with your life in relative comfort. That “quick fix” may be the least expensive now, but it may not give you the most value — or cost you the least — in the long run. Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. It’s almost like putting a bandage on a serious injury. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again … and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.
  • Operating Cost. There’s also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you’ve recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won’t save on your energy bills. Even six-year-old heat pumps and air conditioners are considered grossly inefficient by today’s energy efficiency standards, as are most furnaces built before 1980. So you could save up to 60% on your energy bills with new high-efficiency equipment. That’s why installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.

Looking at the Big Picture

When one component of your system breaks down unexpectedly, it’s easy to just focus on repairing or replacing that component. But each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.

Replacing your old furnace with a new higher-efficiency model but leaving your old mechanical thermostat in place, for example, won’t allow you to enjoy all the efficiency advantages the furnace has to offer. Plus, you can often save on installation costs if you have several components of your system (for example, a furnace and an air conditioner) replaced at the same time.

What kind of system is right for me?
The system that is right for you will depend on a number of factors: your budget, your comfort expectations, physical factors such as what type of system currently exists in your home, the unique features of your home, and more. Below, you can explore the system options available and some of the key factors that affect your choice.Types of systems
For the basics of heating or cooling temperature control, you typically will have four system options. Below is a list of those options followed by the approximate percentage of U.S. homes using that particular system.

  • Gas Furnace/Air Conditioner (60% of homes)
  • Heat Pump (25% of homes)
  • Small Packaged System (5% of homes)

System Control
Most people are familiar with the basic thermostat. But, system control is more than picking a temperature and walking away. It includes being able to program a comfort schedule for different times of day, and even setting different temperatures for different areas of the home.

Key factors that affect your choice
Some of your home comfort decisions will be made for you based on some of the physical considerations involved, including:

  • Your home
  • Your existing system
  • Your geographical location
  • Energy sources available

Your home
Everybody’s home is different. Some are big, some are small. Older homes are not as tightly sealed as new ones, which means efficiency is reduced. The number, size and quality of windows, what direction the home is facing, number of mature trees in the yard and many more factors can affect your comfort, and may play a part in deciding what type of system is best for you. Your local heating and cooling contractor should have the expertise to assess any unusual circumstances surrounding the specific needs of your home.

Your existing system
If you are replacing an existing system, there are physical and financial reasons to stay with the same type of system. For example, if you currently have a boiler, it will be very expensive and physically challenging to install the ductwork you need for a forced-air furnace or heat pump.

If you want a new type of system because you were dissatisfied with your comfort, remember that a new system will bring newer comfort technology and energy efficiency. Also, your comfort problem could be related to other issues, such as improper ductwork, system balance, cleanliness or freshness of air, humidity control and system control.

Your geographical region
Although there are exceptions to every rule, geography can play a role in what type of system will work best in your home. Here’s the general idea:

  • Colder regions – Furnace or Boiler/Air Conditioner combo
  • Warmer regions – Heat Pump or Air Conditioner w/ supplemental heat
  • Regions with land or space issues – Small Packaged Rooftop systems

Energy sources available
Some systems simply won’t work if the proper energy source isn’t available or too expensive to consider. The three most likely energy sources for your comfort system are electricity, gas or oil.

  • Electricity
    If you have no gas or oil service, you will need to go with an all-electric system, which means a heat pump or air conditioner. You may be able to have a gas line installed at your home, but that could be an additional cost. In some areas, electrical rates are so low that an all-electric system can still be the best option even if gas or oil is available.
  • Gas
    If natural gas is available, furnaces and boilers become options for you. You may still opt to have an all-electric system if that suits your home or your personal preference.
What size heating and air conditioning system do I need?
We get asked this question all the time. Having a properly sized HVAC system is extremely important. A system that is too large will cool or heat your house quickly, but you may not feel comfortable. That’s because it will satisfy the thermostat before it can adequately remove sufficient moisture from the air during the cooling mode, leaving you feeling sticky and humid. This could even lead to moisture and mold problems. The stress of short cycling (too many starts and stops) will shorten the life of your equipment and increase your heating and cooling bills.On the other hand, a system that is too small just cannot get the job done, especially in the extreme weather conditions. The air conditioner will run constantly in the summer and the furnace will do the same in the winter.But a correctly sized system isn’t just based on the size of the structure. Many factors go into determining the size of the system. Including type of house and walls, type and size of windows, insulation, basement and attic conditions, house orientation, and so on. An Aliso Air Salesman can visit the house and take detailed measurements and notes while conducting the survey.
What is an Energy Efficient Ratio (EER)?
Energy Efficiency ratings measure the amount of electricity required by an air conditioning unit to provide the desired cooling level in BTUs. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient a unit is.Federal law requires that all manufacturers display the EERs of each of their units on yellow tags so that consumers can easily compare the energy efficiency of the models they are considering.
Is “High Efficiency” really worth it?
By Federal law, the minimum efficiencies that can be sold in California are 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for residential cooling products and 80% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) for gas heating products. SEERS can range as high as 21 seer and AFUES can go as high as 98% AFUE. These translate into operating savings of about 43% on cooling and 17% on heating. Payback of the initial cost difference can be realized in 3 to 5 years, depending on how often you use the heating and air conditioning systems.
Can I troubleshoot before calling for service?
The answer is, “Yes.” Here are some simple procedures you can perform before going to the expense of a service call:Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system): Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.Check for sufficient airflow: Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grills are open and unobstructed.Check the settings on your thermostat: If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.In addition to the routine maintenance you perform, your home comfort system should be inspected at least once a year by a properly trained service technician. Aliso Air can make sure your system operates safely and gives you the best performance at the lowest cost.
What kind of tips can I use to insure a long-lasting life for my equipment?
  • Keep grass clippings and leaves away from the outdoor unit. This keeps dirt and debris from getting into the system. It also keeps the airflow path clear.
  • Keep furniture and carpeting away from grills and ductwork. If you block your air conditioning system’s ability to deliver air, you rob yourself of the cooling necessary to keep your home comfortable.
  • Keep the west-facing drapes, shades or blinds drawn in the afternoon. Keeping the sun out will keep your home cooler.
  • Run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer in the evening hours.
  • Don’t use your oven while running the air conditioner.
  • Keep your fan running. It helps to keep the air moving.
  • Don’t overrun an exhaust fan. It pulls the air conditioning out of the home.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. This allows you to cool your home only when you need it.
  • Zone your heating and cooling system. If you spend most of your time in one part of your home or if different people in your home want the temperature at different settings, then zoning can help you be more comfortable and save money on your utility bills.
  • Use an attic ventilator. By pulling hot air out of your home, you keep your home cooler in the summer.
  • Have your cooling system checked at least once per year by an Aliso Air Service Technician. Your equipment works more efficiently when it is clean and running properly
Going on Vacation?
  • DO NOT turn off your air conditioning unit!
  • Set your thermostat at 85 degrees. This keeps the air circulating in your home. High temperatures and humidity can cause damage to your home, your workplace and your health! Humidity can cause wallpaper to peel, floorboards to warp, and most importantly, mold and fungus to form in bathrooms, on furniture and in your air conditioning ducts.