FAQ: Heating & Air Conditioning in Kent, WA
At AAA Heating & Air Conditioning, we get lots of questions from homeowners about heating and cooling—what to do, what not to do, and how to do it! Our heating and cooling experts are well-trained and knowledgeable about all things HVAC, so these questions tend to be simple to answer.
Here are some frequently asked questions from our Kent area homeowners. If you don’t see our question here, let us know and we’ll get an answer to you.
Frequently Asked Questions: HVAC & Electrical Services
What’s more important is getting the correct size of air conditioner or furnace and hiring the right contractor. The goal should be to get the properly sized equipment. Hiring a qualified contractor will help you with this.
Choosing the right contractor is probably the most important decision you have to make. You want to find an HVAC contractor that is knowledgeable and experienced as they will be making recommendations that affect your comfort and safety. To start with make sure that the contractor is licensed, insured and has a physical address. Make sure that you can contact their office and that it’s not just someone with a cell number. Next make sure their training and credentials are up to date. As HVAC equipment increases in efficiency and features, it gets more complex and requires better technicians.
This is where choosing the right contractor makes all the difference. A qualified contractor will consider 3 main areas: the amount of area you have to heat and cool, the amount of heating and cooling required for your climate, and the condition of the “envelope” or part of your home or building that interfaces with the outside air. Within each of these categories, there are many factors that affect the load and equipment size. Know that we will factor in all the above and recommend a piece of equipment that will serve you well for years to come.
It’s important to have some understanding of ratings. The most common ratings are SEER, AFUE, and HSPF/COP. For central air conditioners, efficiency is rated in SEER. The heating industry uses a rating called AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) to measure the efficiency of converting gas into energy for heating. Heat pump efficiency gets expressed in a couple of ways, either HSPF or COP. We’ll discuss the ratings with you and help you determine the relationship between higher up-front costs and long-term saving through lower utility bills.
ENERGY STAR® is an EPA voluntary program, that helps individuals and businesses save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Many ENERGY STAR® products qualify for rebates and incentives through the utility companies.
It is extremely important to take care of your furnace or heat pump via a regularly scheduled maintenance agreement. Depending on your situation we may recommend 1 or 2 times a year. During this appointment, we do a thorough examination of your system to make sure it is operating properly.
Yes! First, it is very important to regularly change the air filter on your heat pump or furnace. This one thing will help your equipment run at peak performance. Second, make sure you schedule a safety and performance check-up at least once a year.
This depends a lot on the environment of the home. For example; a home with a lot of pets or someone with allergies will want to change their air filter more frequently than others. A good rule of thumb for average use is to change or clean your filter every 3 months, but that can increase to once a month for people with allergies and/or pets.
There are many things you can do to help your furnace or heat pump perform better. First, make sure that you change the filter in your heating and cooling unit on a regular basis. Some homeowners do this on a monthly basis. Also, make sure to have your heat pump, furnace, or air conditioner serviced on a regular basis. The addition of a programmable thermostat will not only allow you to determine your comfort level, but is also a big contributor to taking control of your heating costs.
Taking care of your home heating and cooling system is the single most important thing you can do. Properly maintaining your furnace includes regularly changing your air filters and having a yearly tune-up. This is essential to the performance of your furnace or heat pump and also extends the life of your equipment.
Absolutely! A programmable thermostat helps make it easy to save by offering pre-programmed settings to regulate your home’s temperature in both summer and winter. Your programmable thermostat will do that whether you are home or not. Ask one of our team members to help you choose the right programmable thermostat. We’ll make sure it is installed properly and show you how to use it.
With proper water heater maintenance, a typical life span is around 10 to 12 years. If your water heater is around that age and is in need of repair, it might be more cost-effective to replace it. A licensed professional can evaluate your equipment to determine whether repair or replacement is a better idea.
The general rule of thumb is to schedule an HVAC maintenance and tune-up for the beginning of each heating and cooling season. That means you should schedule service for your air conditioner at the end of winter or beginning of spring to prevent the need for costly air conditioning repair. While you’re at it, you should also make an appointment for your heat pump or furnace at the end of summer or beginning of fall.
To save money on your electric bill when it’s hot outside, we suggest keeping your thermostat set no lower than 72 degrees with the fan set on “auto” (vs. “on”) during the summer.
Absolutely. Furnace cleaning is an important part of furnace maintenance. Not only does it improve both the performance and energy efficiency of your system, but most manufacturers require an annual service to remain covered by your warranty.
A heat pump is energy-efficient because it doesn’t need fuel to produce heat. On top of that, they can heat and cool your home, which means less equipment to maintain and repair.
A heat pump transfers heat energy directly from one place to another. When it’s cold outside, your heat pump removes heat energy from the air outside and relocates it to the air inside your house. When it is hot outside, you simply switch it to cooling mode and it does the same thing in reverse, pulling heat energy out of the air inside your home and depositing it outdoors.
Electrical outlet fires cause thousands of injuries each year. Being able to identify a problem before it develops into something more serious is important. If you notice any of the following, it’s a good indicator that you have a burning electrical outlet:
- Discoloration of your wall outlets
- Tingling sensation when plugging in a device
- Burning smell near an outlet
These are emergencies, so call right away for help.
Outdated wiring is a serious safety risk, but you can’t always spot outdated wiring. If the home was built prior to the 1970s, it would be a good idea to have the wiring inspected. Chances are, if it has not been upgraded, you are sitting on a serious safety risk. Only a licensed electrician has the knowledge to find these types of problems.
Fuses and circuit breakers are important safety measures to prevent you from overloading your circuit. When you are drawing too much electricity, they will trip or blow to protect your home. This often occurs when you have large appliances, like your air conditioner or microwave, on a circuit that is not powerful enough to handle the demand.
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These devices are necessary in bathrooms and kitchens where there is a high risk of water entering an outlet. They are also required for outdoor outlets, basement outlets, and garage outlets. They protect you against electrical shock and are necessary to meet current building codes.
Doing your own electrical repairs is never recommended. Electricians are highly trained professionals who know how to handle electrical systems safely. It takes years of training to earn a license as an electrician, and electrical work is too much of a safety risk to leave to an untrained professional. Always hire an electrician to properly protect your family.
If you notice that your lights are flickering, the culprit could be as simple as a faulty light bulb. Try changing the light bulb to resolve the problem. If the flickering does not subside, you may have a larger issue. Branch circuits in the house can resolve this in some situations. You may also need to check for loose connections somewhere along the circuit. These are fire hazards, so be sure to have an electrician check if you can’t get your flickering lights to stop.
If the power goes out, your home’s safety is at risk. You could potentially lose the food in your refrigerator and access to your technology. A generator protects against the problems that a power outage could cause.
As the home’s owner, you are responsible for the meter box and the connection to your property from the electric company’s equipment. Give us a call if you notice any problems with these.
If you turn off your light switch and feel that it is hot to the touch, you have a serious fire hazard hiding behind your walls. Call for emergency electrical help right away to protect your home and family.
Arc fault breakers are required in lines that are installed in a house in areas that do not require GFCI devices. Arc fault breakers monitor the current to protect against unwanted arcing conditions. This helps protect against electrical fires.
You need these if you are installing new electoral lines in areas that do not require a GFCI device.
Call AAA Heating & Air Conditioning for All Your HVAC & Water Heater Repair Needs!
Locally owned and operated since 1989, AAA Heating & Air is proud to offer only the most reliable, high-quality, energy-efficient equipment and exceptional service to all of our customers. We offer free estimates, which include detailed proposals and knowledgeable representatives to provide you with all the information you need to confidently make the right purchasing decisions for your home. The financial strength of our company also allows us to offer several financing programs to help achieve your goals.
All installations and services are held to the highest standards of quality. Manufacturer recommendations, code requirements, and federal laws are only our minimum standards; our internal requirements are much more stringent. We are a drug-free company and all of our employees are fully background-checked. Our installation and service technicians are factory-trained and certified, and they take special care to protect your home during all installations. In addition, we set up a fully functioning sheet metal shop on the job site to ensure the absolute highest-quality installation.
For added peace of mind, all of our heating and cooling systems are guaranteed in writing, and we offer annual service agreements as well as factory-backed extended warranties.
If you’d like to learn more or schedule your free no-obligation estimate, contact the HVAC experts at (253) 234-1278 today.