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Frequently Asked Questions

Air Conditioning FAQ

What is the best filter to purchase?

There are hundreds of filtration and air cleaning products on the market. Generally speaking, for household dust, a 1” fiberglass or pleated media filter will do just fine. If you have severe allergies, you might consider an extended like pleated media filter (MERV 11 or higher), a bypass air cleaner with a HEPA or TFP cell or an electronic air cleaner. If you are having problems with odors, a filter with carbon or zeolite might be what you need. Also, there are products that use different ionization or oxidation process that can help too.The most important thing to remember is that air conditioning and heating systems do not make dust. Before investing big money on air cleaning products, take time to find and eliminate the source of the problem by having your home and ducts tested for leakage and infiltration. You might just find out you don’t need expensive air cleaners and save energy as well.

Where should I set my thermostat?

The easiest and most obvious answer to this is, “Wherever you are comfortable.” Most energy providers, government agencies and manufacturers recommend summertime settings between 76° and 78° and winter settings between 68° and 70° for optimum energy savings. Most people will be comfortable if their humidity is kept in check and their home is well insulated and sealed to prevent outdoor air infiltration.

Should I run my blower continuously?

Years ago, it was common for contractors to recommend this practice. Over time, we have found that operation your blower can re-evaporate moisture from evaporator coils and drain pans. This can cause humidity problems in the house. There are still some advantages to operating you blower continuously such as evening out temperature imbalances (which may need to be addressed another way) and improved filtration. Generally, we no longer recommend this practice except for in rare circumstances.

If I change my air conditioning equipment, do I need to change my duct work?

Not necessarily but leaking or improperly designed duct work can greatly affect energy efficiency and comfort. Today’s ultra-high efficiency systems can be more sensitive to duct issues. The department of energy estimates that the average home looses as much as 35% of its heating and cooling through leaking ducts. In fact, it has been our experience that a significant number of consumers with high energy bills find that their problems are due to duct leakage and not with their equipment.Without question, your ducts should be inspected and perhaps even leak tested to make sure you are getting optimum performance from your system.

What does SEER mean and what is the best SEER to buy?

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the most commonly used energy efficiency rating for residential heat pumps and air conditioners. SEER is actually a measure of the BTUs (British Thermal Units) a system can produce while consuming 1 watt of electricity. An easier way to relate the ratings is to compare it to miles per gallon on a car. The higher the MPG, the less gas the car will use. With SEER, the higher the number, the less electricity the system will consume. Don’t get confused though, purchasing a higher SEER rated unit does not mean it will blow colder, it means it will deliver the same cooling for less money.Currently, a 13-SEER system is the minimum efficiency allowed. Most customers in our region and climate realize their best return on investment between a 14-SEER and a 16-SEER but SEER ratings for split system air conditioners and heat pumps range well into the 20+ range.There is not a “best” SEER rating for everybody, your individual operating habits, size of your home, condition of you duct work and your savings goals will determine your best investment.

When shopping for a new system what should I look for?

First, take a time out and think through what is important to you. Consider how your old system operated and if there are any improvements you would like to make with your new system. Most of the equipment on the market is similar in design and construction so more often than not, the installing contractor and his practices make the difference in satisfactory performance. Look for contractors with a good track record of excellent service. The contractor should have references available. Choose a contractor that is willing to listen to what you want and is willing to work with you to reach your goals. After all, you would not go to a car lot and buy the car the salesman tells you to. If you prefer to get more than one proposal, try interviewing the contractors before even obtaining prices to determine exactly what they offer. Always obtain a detailed written proposal with a predetermined price as well as their license number before you have any work done.

Why shouldn’t I get the biggest unit I can buy?

Over-sizing an air conditioner can be a dangerous thing. Proper sizing of an air conditioning system is essential to ensuring optimum comfort and efficiency. Oversized systems can short-cycle leading to humidity/condensation problems, excessive energy consumption and tremendous additional wear and tear on the equipment. One must also consider the duct sizing to prevent performance issues such as coil freezing, duct noise and air quality issues due to sweating. It is not our recommendation to over-size a comfort system unless duct design and supplemental dehumidification are considered.

What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner?

Actually, a heat pump is an air conditioner with the capability of reversing in the winter to save energy. Perhaps you have noticed that during the summer, the outdoor section of your air conditioner blows hot air. That is heat that is being removed from inside your home. A heat pump actually removes heat from the outdoor air in the winter and moves it inside. When outdoor temperatures approach the freezing mark, and there is not enough heat to provide adequate capacity, the heat pump automatically engages supplemental heaters as a booster until the heat pump can catch up. If overall energy efficiency savings is your concern, a heat pump can really cut your winter time heating costs. In the summer you should never know the difference.

What qualifications do you require for your technicians?

All of our technicians and mechanics are screened and carefully selected. They undergo extensive and frequent training both here at our facility and at factory locations. Most of our senior technicians are NATE (North American Technical Excellence) certified which is the most highly regarded technical competency certification in our industry. Without question, our reputation is built on the performance of our people in the field and our reputation is excellent.


How do I know if my electrical service is over loaded?

Really, the only way to determine if your service is overloaded would be to determine the attached load which is the actual amp draw of every item in your home that uses electricity. If you are having problems with breakers tripping or have plans to add any electrical load to your home, you may find it more convenient to consult a professional

Why do my lights dim when my air conditioner (or other high load appliance) comes on?

The first thing to consider is if the appliance is working properly. Once that has been verified, the problem could be an undersized transformer or an overloaded service. Ask your neighbors if they have similar problems, if so, you should advise your power company and have them look into the issue.

I have aluminum wire in my house. Is this safe?

Many years ago, aluminum wire was used for general household wiring. Even today, larger gauge aluminum wire is used at service entrances. There have been some issues over time due to this wire occasionally being under sized and being spliced to copper wire which can be dangerous. Also, aluminum wire tends to expand and contract more than copper which can cause lugs and terminals to work loose. Just having aluminum wire in and of itself is not dangerous as long as it is periodically inspected and regularly maintained.

Is my old screw-in fuse panel safe?

Really, to answer this question you need to have a professional inspection and evaluation of the panel. The fact is that screw-in fuse panels have not been installed in decades and have most likely outlived their expected safe service life. Most insurance companies will offer reductions in rates to replace these panels and some will not even insure a home with these outdated panels. Therefore, regardless of their condition, you should consider replacing them.

I have one light fixture that keeps blowing bulbs. Why does this happen?

Commonly, the socket is corroded or worn which is causing a loose connection. In some cases, a loose wire at the fixture or the switch could cause this as well. Also, if you have problems with multiple bulbs, you may have issues with power surges. In this case, you might try installing 130 volt light bulbs. These bulbs can be hard to find so you may have to purchase them from electrical specialty retailers and electrical contractors.

My circuit breakers trip frequently. What could cause this?

The most frequent cause of this is over loaded circuits. Try unplugging a few devices from the affected circuit and see if the problem persists. Circuit breakers are mechanical devices and are subject to wear and tear. Sometime the springs and locks in the breaker just wear out and the breaker needs be replaced. Another common cause of this is loose connections either at the breaker itself or at the load. If you reduce the load on the circuit and the problem continues, you may need to contact a professional to trouble shoot the problem. We are now serving Gulf Breeze, Pensacola, Sandestin, Ft. Walton, and Panama City, Florida.

How can I pay for my electrical projects?

In most cases you will not have to rewire the house. The average generator installation can be performed in one day. Most of the generators on the market today come with automatic transfer switches that will switch from your regular service to generator and back in case of a power failure. Also, many have “smart switches” that can help manage to load on the generator for better performance and safety.

I want to install a stand-by generator in my house. Do I have to rewire the entire house.

In most cases you will not have to rewire the house. The average generator installation can be performed in one day. Most of the generators on the market today come with automatic transfer switches that will switch from your regular service to generator and back in case of a power failure. Also, many have “smart switches” that can help manage to load on the generator for better performance and safety.

Why do I have little buttons on my receptacles in my bathroom?

These are called “ground fault” interrupters and offer additional protection if an electrical appliance comes in contact with water. You may also have ground fault breakers in your service panel. These devices are there to protect you from electrocution and should never be replaced with standard receptacles or breakers. You should have ground fault interrupters on any electrical receptacle within 6’ of a sink or a tub. On a related note, never use electrical appliances if you are in contact with water.


How do I determine if a wire is large enough to handle an additional electrical load?

First you must determine the electrical requirements of the load. The information you must have is voltage, amperage and whether it is single phase or 3 phase (most household wiring is single phase).

There are various sources of information to match the required load to the proper wire size but the easiest way is to ask a qualified electrician.

Ok, for years I was told to never pour oil or grease down my sink drain. Recently I was told it's ok. What’s the answer?

Never pour grease down a drain. You may get away with once or twice but eventually, the grease will coat the pipes and cause other material to clump and adhere to the walls of the pipes causing clogs that are very difficult to remove.

My toilet runs intermittently (or constantly). Do I have to replace it?

Not necessarily. In most cases, either the flush valve or flapper can be replaced for very little money compared to replacing the whole toilet. However, like anything mechanical, toilets and faucets do wear out over time and should be replaced. If your fixtures are over 8-10 years old and you have had them repaired in the past, you may want to consider replacements.

My pipes are getting old and I may need to replace them. How difficult is this?

Re-piping a house is a significant task and should be performed by a professional. The good news is that advances in materials and techniques have made this job much less of an ordeal as in the past. In most cases, a re-pipe can be performed with little structural modifications and the work can be completed in a matter of a couple of days as opposed to weeks in the past. Before committing to a whole house re-pipe, it may well be worth it to have a professional plumber perform an inspection on your systems and determine whether you need this extensive retrofit or a few upgrades and repairs are all that is needed.

It is getting to a point my toilets don’t flush efficiently and my sinks and tubs drain slowly?

Most often, if the problem is isolated to one fixture, there is a localized clog that can be easily removed. If the problem exists in more than a couple of fixtures, there could be obstructions in larger trunks or even your main line. For small clogs, there are chemical drain cleaners and even do-it-yourself pipe snakes available. Be very careful though as some chemicals are very harsh and can damage pipes or only offer temporary fixes. If improperly used, pipe snakes and augers can crack pipes. It is always best advised to at least consult a plumbing professional before undertaking any repair.

My water bills are getting outrageous, what could cause this?

Just like everything else these days, the price of water is on the rise. You can determine if the increased bill is a result of increased rates or something else by comparing your usage over a couple of years in gallons consumed. If the usage is consistent, then the increased cost may well just be an increase in the rates. If the usage has increased significantly, consider if you have changes anything like installed a larger tub, added members to your household, sprinkler use, etc. Obviously, leaking pipes, faulty toilet flappers and faucets can cause increased water usage as well. If you eliminate to first two as possible reasons, it may be time to contact a qualified plumber to evaluate your systems and find the problem.

Why do I run out of hot water so quickly?

There are several reasons this can happen. First, you may have a water heater that is simply too small of your requirements. If you have an electric water heater, you need to make sure the elements are not corroded and are operating properly. If you heat your water with gas, make sure the burners are clean and operating efficiently. In some cases the dip (mixing) tube may be clogged or broken, this will cause a short loop in the water heater that results in stratification or layers of hot and cold water. Sometime, a leak in a hot water line may be leaking water faster that the water heater can keep up. Finally, the simplest solution may be that your thermostat is set too low for the demand.

How can I pay for my plumbing projects?

Reputable contractors will offer options for payment on completion of their work. It is not advised to pay in advance for home improvements unless special circumstances exist. We are eager to earn your business and want to make your purchase convenient, affordable and worry free. We accept cash, check, money order and most major credit cards. We also offer payment plans with fast approvals and competitive rates and low as 0% interest for qualified buyers through Greensky.

Why is it that I sometimes smell sewage in my house?

The most common reason for this could be a ruptured sewer line under or near your house. The reason you may not smell it all the time is that the wind may take it away or there are may be intermittently ventilated. Sometimes, if bathrooms or sinks are not used for some times, the traps will dry up and allow gases to migrate back into the house. Drain traps are the “P” shaped pipes that are generally found under the sink. These traps hold a small amount of water in them that can evaporate over time. If you notice an odor coming from one drain, try running a little water through it and see if the smell goes away. If the smell is throughout the whole house, chances are you have a sewage leak.

My water pressure is really bad, what causes this?

There could be several reasons for a loss or pressure. Poor system design, leaks or burst pipes, scale and deposit build-ups in the lines or even problems on the utility’s side. There is very little you can do to troubleshoot water pressure problems without a professional inspection and evaluation the system.

What is the best piping to use to replace older pipe?

If you ask 5 different plumbers, you may get 5 different answers. Over time, galvanized steel, copper and PVC have been used. Currently, galvanized pipe is not used for standard household plumbing. Copper has lost popularity due to its cost. PVC is still used for drains but seldom for higher pressure supply lines. The most popular product in use today is a called “Pex”. It is a very reliable polymer product which is relatively inexpensive, has fewer joints to leak, and does not corrode as it is resistant to hard water and electrolysis.



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