Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs

No matter what your HVAC questions are, the experts at Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning in Arlington have answers. Whether you have questions about selecting new HVAC equipment to best practices on care and maintenance, we can assist. Our online FAQs answers give you a fast response for your convenience, but if you want to know more on any topic, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 360-255-5857.
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AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This value is use to determine the efficiency of all gas furnaces. The higher this number is, the more efficient the gas furnace will be. If your gas furnace has an AFUE of 95%, then 95% of the fuel burned in your furnace will be converted to heat energy to be use in your home.
HSPF stands for Heating Season Performance Factor. This value tells you how efficient a heat pump system will be throughout the heating season. The higher this number is, the more efficient the heat pump will be. A very good HSPF rating on a heat pump system will be 8.5 to 10 or higher.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This value is use to determine the efficiency of an air conditioning system. To determine the SEER of an air conditioning system, simply divide the BTU of a system by the WATTS consumed to complete that work. The higher the SEER on an air conditioning system is, the more efficient the A/C system will be. Residential A/C systems vary from 13 to 18 seers, depending on the manufacturer.
Tonnage refers to the amount of BTU needed to melt one ton of ice. It also refers to the amount of dry air needed to melt that ice. ALL heating and air conditioning equipment, whether the system is being used or not, is rated in tons. In the northwestern part of our country a ton of air is 400 cfm (cubic feet minute).
To calculate the tonnage of your heating and air conditioning system, simply add all the warm air vents throughout your home and add two zeros at the very end. Example, if you have a total of 12 warm air vents, add two zeros at the end, it will then be 1,200. Then, divide that number by 400 (400 cfm per ton).
1,200/400 = 3 ton.
Heat pumps work like air conditioning systems running in reverse. The heat that an air conditioning system rejects in the summer can be used to heat your home during winter. The heat pump system does this while emitting zero emissions!
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is defined as the heat required in order to raise one pound of water to one degree Fahrenheit. The BTU is use in the heating and air conditioning industry to determine the capacity of heating and cooling systems.
The obvious difference between an 80% and 95% gas furnace is 15% net gain of efficiency. That means 15% more fuel will be converted to usable heat for your home. That may not seem like a lot from day to day, but when you look at your annual savings and multiply that savings over the life span of the furnace, the savings is literally in the hundreds of dollars. Not to mention, reduced emissions resulting to a cleaner and safer environment for all of us.
Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas that is highly poisonous. It is the byproduct of unburned fossil fuels and is responsible for several hundred deaths in the United States each year.
That is why it is very important to have your gas furnace checked each year. If Carbon Monoxide is detected during a service inspection, the furnace is rendered inoperable and should be shut down. A new furnace should then be installed. We recommend installing Carbon Monoxide detectors on each level of your home (you can find them at your local hardware store).
Duct-less heat pump systems are heat pump systems that heats and cools your home without the use of traditional duct work. They are split systems, so there will be an outdoor and indoor unit. The 2 systems are connected via refrigerant tubing and a communication wire. Most duct-less heat pumps qualify for energy tax credit and some local utilities rebates.
The heat exchanger in a gas furnace is the component within the gas furnace that transfers the heat from the burning of the fuel to the air in your home. It is the main component responsible in making your home feel nice and warm during those cold winter nights and days.
Heat exchangers should be checked annually to insure that they are functioning safely and properly.
A duel fuel system uses a gas furnace with a heat pump to deliver the most efficient heat inside your home. The terms “hybrid” and “duel fuel” are used interchangeably. In most cases, the heat pump is the primary source of fuel, while the gas furnace is the backup source used to augment the heat needed when the heat pump system can’t keep up with the demand. The main reason why a heat pump system can’t keep up with the demand is cold weather, because the heat pumps ability to heat relies on outdoor air temperature, it is important to augment that heat source when the outdoor temperature falls below freezing. When the backup source is a gas furnace, you have a peace of mind in knowing that when it gets extremely cold outside, your home will still be nice and warm.
Electric furnaces are 100% efficient. That sounds really good right? But when you look at the power required to heat your entire home (usually a 60 amp breaker at 240 volts), you will notice that a full 60 amp of power is being used.
We all know how much power a vacuum cleaner uses (usually around 8 amp) and keeping it running for a very long time each day, can make your energy bill sky rocket. Now, consider the 60 amp breaker to run your heater, that’s like running 7.5 vacuum cleaners for several hours a day in your home! Now, compare that with the power consumption of a heat pump (around 5 amp), and you can see how much money you can save by upgrading your old electric furnace to a new heat pump system.
YES. You should always replace the thermostat when installing a new gas furnace or heat pump. It’s like changing the oil filter when changing the oil in your car. Make sure the thermostat you use is programmable.
We include a thermostat with every system we install.
Tank-less water heaters are water heaters that do not have a standby tank of water. This means you only heat the water you use. Tank-less water heaters qualify for energy tax credit.
Just like you need to take your car in to the shop for normal tune-ups, such as oil changes or inspecting potential problems, your home comfort system should be subject to the same kind of attention. Regular maintenance by a trained technician provides a variety of benefits to your HVAC equipment, which can help your systems work efficiently and prevent costly breakdowns.
The cost can range depending on the equipment size and different features, so we advise contacting Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning at 360-255-5857 to get a quote.
With two-stage heating, furnaces may run on two different levels: high and low. Since you can heat your home on the low setting a majority of the time, a two-stage furnace can operate longer and more efficiently. Two-stage heating also runs more quietly than traditional furnaces and can give you more even heat distribution and fewer temperature swings.
Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning offers many different brands and models that have advanced technology to cool and warm your home more efficiently. Technology in the newer HVAC systems provides more precision when it comes to matching your home comfort needs. If you need more information, please contact our experts at 360-255-5857.

Depending on how old your previous furnace was, you could experience a variety of differences. Furnaces today are designed to give more even and efficient heating than ever before. Modern furnaces also better regulate temperature and air flow, moving more air over the heat exchanger than older furnaces.

Additionally, new furnaces are created to operate with other high-efficiency HVAC products, such as air conditioners. The air conditioner blowers provide your heating system an extra lift so it can deliver cool air around your home efficiently. Special features like variable speed motors will also help reduce noise associated with operating your equipment and easily meet your family's airflow needs.

The Department of Energy recently boosted the minimum efficiency levels for air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units created after Jan. 1, 2015, since heating and cooling contributes significantly to a homes total energy usage. The requirements vary by region, so call Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning for the efficiency standards for Arlington.

There are many ways to lower your energy costs and one of the best ways is to make sure you have an energy-efficient HVAC system. Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning carries many highly efficient products that will help decrease the amount of energy you are using and save you money. In addition to shopping for products that have the Energy Star® certification, high SEER ratings for air conditioners or AFUE ratings for furnaces, here are some other steps to consider:

  • Remember to arrange regular maintenance and have an experienced professional take a look at your system to ensure its running efficiently.
  • If you have certain areas of your home that you need to heat or cool, you could consider a zoning system. This allows you to target that area and eliminates wasted energy on heating or cooling areas that aren't used.
  • Programmable or smart thermostats make it a breeze to maintain your home comfort while not wasting energy to heat or cool your space if you aren't home. It is an easy way to reduce energy costs and once you set it, you can walk away and understand its going to take care of your indoor comfort.
Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving the Arlington community for many years and has been providing trustworthy and dependable service. Our service and the products we carry are of the highest quality and you won't be disappointed in the results. Our knowledgeable team is here to help you achieve your ideal home comfort.

There are four things to review when increasing your indoor air quality:

  • The indoor air quality in your space starts to suffer when the air begins filling up with air pollutants. The biggest concern is getting rid of these pollutants. Some to-dos to put on your weekly checklist is vacuuming, washing your linens and confirming any cleaning products are stored properly.
  • Especially in newer homes, the insulation is installed so well that it might be difficult for these pollutants to leave the home. While it helps to keep your home warm or cool, depending on the season, its important to get some fresh air inside.
  • Make sure that you have good ventilation and perform routine maintenance on your system. And while that's important, you can also take your IAQ even further by using air filters, germicidal lights and purification systems to get rid of particles while eliminating chemical vapors.
  • Smart or programmable thermostats can manage humidity levels as well as the temperature. This can help prevent germs and other particles from collecting while sustaining your home comfort.
Each house brings a unique situation, which is why we recommend that you contact our experts at Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning to find out which solution will be best for your space. Our experts will conduct an evaluation of your current system and discuss what your ideal home comfort looks like. That will help us decide which products will be most effective.
It may come as a surprise that air conditioners don't technically make your home cooler; they actually remove the hot air and direct it outside. This hot air blows across a refrigerant coil on the indoor unit and then is sent to the outdoor unit where it is released. Your air conditioner pushes as much hot air outside as is necessary to reach the temperature you have set on your thermostat.
Minimum energy efficiency standards can vary by geographic location. Additionally, air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units made after Jan. 1, 2015, have higher minimum efficiency levels than HVAC products manufactured prior to that date. The team at Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning can help you figure out the minimum requirements for Arlington, let you know if your current products meets those requirements or help you find a replacement air conditioner that does.
Your systems service panel should have a white label on it, with your systems model and serial numbers at the top. M/N stands for model number and S/N is the serial number.
Since equipment size needs differ for each home, the best way to determine the right size equipment for your home is to have a technician from Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning come out to perform load calculation tests. The tests take factors such as square footage, insulation value and amount, and more into account to determine your homes HVAC equipment needs.
Yes debris can affect your systems ability to function effectively. Its normal for heat pumps to have frost or ice on them in the winter, but many include defrost controls so they can work efficiently regardless of the weather conditions.
When an air conditioner uses two-stage cooling, it means that there are two levels of operation. This lets the system work as efficiently as possible since there is one level for milder weather and one for harsher weather that demands the system work harder. Two-stage cooling also enables more even temperatures so you don't experience extreme differences in temperature. Aside from better efficiency, other benefits of two-stage cooling include quieter operation and enhanced humidity control.
When your cooling unit freezes up, there are a couple of reasons why it could be doing so. The most frequent reasons include: dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporative coil and a faulty blower motor or relay. A dirty filter is something you can fix as a homeowner, but the others need to be fixed by a professional like those at Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning. Contact them at 360-255-5857 with any further questions you may have.
Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning has a number of great thermostat options for your HVAC systems. The best thermostat for you will depend on a couple variables, such as whether you want one that's programmable or not. No matter what kind of thermostat you'd like or if you're in the market for something that can fit with a home automation system call Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning to hear about which thermostats you can choose from. Our team will help you find one thats best for your system, your family's needs and your budget.
At Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning, we do recommend replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time because:
  • Outdoor systems are now built to work with their matching indoor system for the most efficiency. When you replace one system but not the other, you may not see the same savings on your energy bills as if you had replaced them together.
  • Thanks to technological innovation, newer systems mean increased efficiency. This is true for heating and cooling products as well. While the advancements focus on improved heating and cooling efficiency, they also include benefits such as better air handling, filtering and noise reduction.
  • If your heating and cooling systems are more than 10 years old, they need to be replaced. Older models have outdated technology that is likely costing you money due to poor efficiency. So by replacing your indoor system at the same time as your outdoor equipment, both your systems will provide better energy efficiency that helps you reduce your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable.
Your home energy system might have a communication module that sends performance stats to an online site or portal. You can visit this to check your system's status, the amount of energy being produced and the positive effect you are having on the environment. You can also take a look at your owner's manual for recommendations on monitoring performance.
Rain will clean the modules by itself in most areas; however, if you live in a dusty area, you may see improved performance after periodically spraying the modules with water. Please note that high-pressure hoses and detergents should never be used to clean solar modules, as they can damage the product.
Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning can help suggest the right thermostat for you based on your home and current heating and cooling equipment. We carry a variety of programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats, which can help enhance the efficiency of your homes furnace and/or air conditioner. Take a look at our thermostats or give us a call at 360-255-5857 for more information.

A large portion of your monthly energy costs can be attributed to your heating and cooling system. It makes sense, because our home comfort is a critical aspect of our day-to-day lives. Fortunately, there are high-efficiency solutions from Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning that can keep you comfortable while also lowering energy costs. When it's time for you to shop for a new HVAC system, there are a couple things to consider. You'll want to look for air conditioners with high SEER ratings and furnaces with high AFUE ratings. These ratings measure efficiency, so the greater the number the better off you'll be when it comes to saving on energy costs. You can also consider these tips:

  • Keep your system operating to its best ability by booking routine maintenance. It helps sustain efficiency and make sure everything is operating properly.
  • Consider a zoning system if you only have specific rooms that need to be heated or cooled. There is no need to consume energy adjusting the temperature in a room that is never, or rarely used.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy says that programmable thermostats can save up to 35 percent on heating costs and 25 percent on cooling costs. There are a lot of programmable and smart thermostat products that are easy to use and vary in the number of features-so you can find an option that you are comfortable with.
A zoning system enables you to parcel your residence and heat or air condition each space differently. While these systems operate well for homes that have areas that are infrequently visited, they may also be beneficial in situations where you and your family disagree on the temperature in certain areas of your residence. There are a collection of additional benefits of zoning systems, including efficiency and comfort. Browse our selection of zoning systems or give Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning a shout to see how a zoning system could work for your home.