HVAC RELATED FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY JAMES HEATING COOLING AND MORE OF PLYMOUTH, IN

James with James Heating Cooling And More working on a furnace plenum for an emergency furnace replacement job in Plymouth, IN
A picture of the install van for James Heating Cooling And More of Plymouth, IN with the new logo on its side.
Dawn with James Heating Cooling And More Working on an Emergency Furnace Install In Plymouth, IN

For all of your furnace and air conditioning related questions, tips, and troubleshooting, look here for your answer.

If you don't find your answer here and would like to have an answer, drop us a line...  Thank you in advance for your participation.

Furnace Related Questions

My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air, What's Wrong?

There are a few things that could cause this. Let's start with the easiest... is your thermostat fan switch set to on? if so turn it to auto and that should be that. if your thermostat is turned up, calling for heat, and set to  auto, then the problem is in the furnace. The furnace has tried to start 2-3 times and now is in a "limit lockout" situation. turn power off to the furnace, wait a minute and repower the unit. is it working properly now? if so, great, if not.... There are a few things that cause this.  1. A roll out switch has tripped. These can be reset sometimes but the furnace would need checked out as to why the safety engaged. This is what we call a "call someone to fix my furnace" times. 2. The pressure switch is not closing because the inducer motor is not working properly or is blocked (sometimes by a bird, water, a mouse, or ice outside on the vent pipe) and not pulling the necessary vacuum to close the switch, or, the diaphragm in the switch itself has an internal breech or moisture causing the failure. The switch can be checked with an ohm-meter and you will know if the inducer is running or not sounding like it is running correctly. 3. A gas valve not opening enough to cause the burners to engage. This needs to be changed by a professional with the know how and tools needed to adjust the pressures properly. 4. The flame sensor is dirty. This is an easy fix. remove the flame sensor, polish it with a piece of steel wool and reinstall. if everything works right, great. 5. The burners are not lighting or only one of them are lighting but the gas valve is working properly. This is a problem generally connected to L.P gas furnaces due to the nasty additives they put in the gas in order to smell if there is a leak. the additives cause deposit build up and sometimes moisture build up eventually developing rust at the burner chase duct. sometimes the burners can be removed and cleaned but sometimes they are so bad that they will need to be replaced. Also another common occurrence in mobile home furnaces is the orifice just behind the gas valve gets blocked by a spider web. this could also cause the manufactured housing furnace to not get into secondary fire and the unit will short cycle.

My Furnace Wont Come On... What Gives?  or  No Matter How High I Set My Thermostat It Keeps Getting Colder In Here!

This could be a few things but here is our greatest suggestions... 1. Check the thermostat to make sure it is set to heat, auto, and turned up. 2. Check to make sure the breaker is not tripped or shut off. Some older units have a glass screw in fuse somewhere near the furnace that could also be burnt out and needs replaced. Check those two things. 3. Check the switch next to the furnace to make sure that it hasn't been turned off. if it has turn it on and you're good to go. 4. Check to make sure the door to the blower motor is closed and secure. Most furnace manufacturers put a switch just behind this door that is closed when the door is secure. this switch might not be fully engaged. you can test this by removing the door and manually pushing the switch in while the furnaces is in a call for heat. if everything comes on while you are depressing the switch but not when you put the door on, then that is the problem. 5-? Other problems could be a bad fuse on the board, a bad board or furnace ignition control module, mice could have chewed through the wiring, broken thermostat wires or a bad thermostat, a bad transformer not supplying power to the board, etc... In these cases, unless you are very technically minded, leave it up to the Professionals.

Why Should I Zone My House?

A zoning system is designed for the many ways in which you use your home. Maybe you're caught up in family "thermostat wars?" Or perhaps you have spare rooms that do not need conditioning? An ARZEL zoning system allows you to divide your home into separate areas or zones, giving you the comfort and control you've always wanted and deserve. The main benefits of residential zoning are:: Comfort Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one area, without affecting other areas. Efficiency Which Means Save Big A properly designed zoning system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. Control Zoning divides the home into different areas and comfort into different levels, giving you more choices and control than ever before. Quiet Performance When integrated with variable speed and/or two-stage HVAC systems, zoning allows your heating and cooling equipment to deliver peak performance and efficiency at the proper times and places without continually operating at peak capacity. Lower speeds mean lower sound levels and lower energy costs.

When Should I Have My Heating And Cooling Equipment Serviced?

Your HVAC systems should be serviced before the start of each heating and cooling season. So, your air conditioner should have regular maintenance performed at the end of winter or beginning of spring, while your heat pump or furnace should have its regular maintenance performed at the end of summer or beginning of fall. We at James Heating Cooling And More would be more than happy to look after your equipment for you, that is why we created the Energy Savings Agreement. With it your equipment will be fully maintained saving you money on energy costs and minimizing future costly repairs. Learn more about our Energy Savings Agreement.

Why Is There Water Coming Out Of My Furnace And There Is A Puddle Under My Furnace?

Your condensate lines are probably clogged somewhere. These drains need to be checked cleaned once a year in order to keep them draining properly. Your condensate pump could be broken or unplugged. Your condensate pumps drain tube could be pinched or clogged.

My Furnace Is On And Running But There's No Air Coming Out Of The Registers....

First thing is first.... Check to make sure your registers are open. most registers have a damper built into them at the register itself. these could get bumped. Also, check to make sure there are no dampers in the supply branches or trunks that have been shut off. Extremely dirty filters can cause the restriction of air. Basically you can think about it like a wall that is standing in the way of any air that enters the furnace to flow through to the supply registers. Check and change your filters on a regular basis in order to avoid this problem and save money by not having expensive repairs needed due to system negligence.  You could have a bad Blower motor or blower motor capacitor. Is there a loud hum coming from your blower area in the furnace? if so and there is no air moving, then the motor is not running, however, If there is no hum the motor could still be bad or the relay that runs the motor could be bad not making contact to power the motor. Shut the power off to the furnace. In some rare cases in residential furnaces the blower cage is operated by a belt like in a car. if you find the motor is spinning but no air is moving check to see if the belt is off or broken. if so, replace it and your good to go. In most commercial roof top units this is seen and is common. Something could be blocking the cage restricting its movement. I have pulled old furnace filters out of cages, as well as rats which I have personally had to remove. Things can get sucked into the cage and cause it to drag or stop altogether.

When Should I Replace My Furnace?

There are a number of factors that contribute to needing a furnace and or air conditioner replacement. How old is your furnace or air conditioner? If they are over 10 – 15 years old, it’s likely time for a replacement—simply because this will improve your energy efficiency saving you money. Other factors include: how well it’s heating your home, how often it requires repairs, how much it costs to heat or cool your home, etc. A Furnace and Air Conditioner are two of the most expensive and important appliances in your home. Shouldn't they be put to work saving you money instead of draining your bank account? For more information on a new Heating and Air Conditioning System click here.

Should I Replace My Furnace And Air At The Same Time?

It is not absolutely necessary, however in most cases it is highly advised. Let's say you only replace the Air Conditioning System; The older furnace blower may not be capable of handling the load properly and the new air conditioner could malfunction or freeze up in high demand days due to system inefficiencies. Heat pumps especially need to be matched to the furnace blower in order to achieve a good balance point. Then there is the rebates offered by your energy provider or the Extended Warranty as offered by the manufacturer as an added plan, in many cases in order to get a rebate or extended warranty the equipment needs to have an AHRI rating. this can (in some cases) only be procured by having a completely matched system. by purchasing a complete indoor and outdoor package at one time ensures you the best warranty, rebates, cash back and other incentives that may not be possible with single unit installations. Like I said.. No, it is not necessary, but I would change both at the same time in my home, and with financing at low interest rates, it makes better sense to get them both and be worry free for the next few years.

Air Conditioner Related Questions

My Air Conditioner Is Broke?

Okay? We would need a little more to go on here. I am assuming your AC is not running? Then again, I have seen cases where the fan motor on the top of the condenser vibrated the metal enough that the motor literally fell through into the unit leaving behind a perfectly cut out circle.. I would say that is broke. Either way, we are a phone call away to getting your air conditioner back up and working, or should I say, Not broke anymore.

My Air Conditioner Is Not Working.

Check to make sure your breakers are all on in your main panel. Make sure your thermostat is set on cool and auto and turned down to a temperature lower than the ambient temperature of the room it is located in. Check to make sure the switch next to the furnace is on (on split systems). Check the outdoor disconnect to make sure the handle is in the on position and or breakers or fuses that may be tripped. Check to make sure there is no damage to the thermostat wire at the outdoor unit. if there is damage, shut the power to the furnace off and repair, or have repaired, the wire. If all of these things look good and the unit still will not come on then you should have a service tech come out to be able to diagnose the problem

My Air Conditioner Is Running Outside But It Is Only Blowing Warm Air.

This is the most common situation and usually it is due to a leak somewhere in the system causing the Freon to escape. When an air conditioner is very low on Freon there is an imbalance and not enough gas for the condensers compressor to compress into a liquid. basically the system is just moving around very little Freon and air. The unit will need to be checked out, the leak repaired, and charged with Freon. the system can then be balanced. The system can also run hot if the outdoor condenser fins are restricted by cottonwood seeds or other debris, dirt, etc. If the condenser cannot cool down the gas and condense it into a liquid then all we have is hot gas cycling through the system and there will be a no cool situation. Check to make sure your outdoor unit stays clean and is not restricted. you can clean the coils yourself by turning the unit off, spraying the unit down with water, and turning everything back on. Also trim away any bushes restricting airflow to the condenser coils, tall weeds,  etc.. Check your furnace filters to make sure air is able to move freely. A dirty filter could cause the unit to run way out of balance, usually it will cause the unit to freeze up, but check and change your filters to be sure. Your Compressor could have bad valves causing internal leakage. The unit could be at a full charge and running but if the valves are burnt there will be no compressing action thereby no pressures. Pressure within the system is essentially how your air conditioner works and without those pressures working as they should at the right times, your unit will not work properly.  Even though your AC is running, art least the fan is spinning on the top of it, doesn't mean the compressor is running. A bad contactor set, capacitor, Burnt or broken wires, and a bad fuse in the disconnect could all be possibilities as well. For these problems it is best to have a qualified maintenance technician check out and repair your air conditioning system.

My Air Conditioner Just Hums And Wont Come On.

HMMMM! 4 things could be wrong.  1. A breaker has been tripped or a fuse has burnt out. Either way this could be a no power situation to the AC itself. The hum your are hearing could be the contactors engaged by the 24 volts supplied by the furnace but no power is flowing through the set in order to run the unit. 2. A bad capacitor. Your Compressor needs a capacitor to maintain enough power to start and run. Your condenser fan motor also relies upon that same combo capacitor. There is no universal capacitor because each unit relies on different electrical values to start and run. Have a professional come out to check your unit. 3. The Condenser motor is seized up and the compressors thermal overload circuit has engaged. you would know if this is the case because the condenser fan motor on the top of the condenser (in most cases) will be very hot to touch and periodically the compressor will start, run for a very short time, and then shut down. This is another one of those, "call someone to fix my air conditioner, times". 4. Bugs, frogs, bees, wasps, etc  have crawled into the electronics area of the condenser and have shorted the contactor terminals, or the contactor terminals themselves have just burnt out due to age. Have your contactor set replaced and all will be right again.

My Air Conditioner Is Squealing And Hissing.

A high pitched screech, squeal, or hissing sound is usually caused by very high pressure built up in the compressor. Hissing will come and go in this case and almost sound like the system is breathing. These high pressures could also cause the system to sound like it is vibrating and like it is going to come apart. The causes to this problem could be restrictions internally at the metering device in the evaporator coil, a blocked line drier, or a very overcharged system. Also Check Both the furnace filter to make sure it is clean, the condenser to make sure it is clean with nothing restricting the coils at the same time. Compressor failure can also cause a very loud screech or squeal accompanied by tripping the breakers, burning wires at the compressor or other fun things. Call a Air Conditioning Contractor to have the problem resolved.

What Is The Difference Between R-22 and R-410A Refrigeants and Why Should I Replace My R-22 System With A R-410A High Efficiency Upgrade? 

Refrigerants are what make air conditioning possible. Contained within the coils of an air conditioner, these liquids aka, Freon, cool and dehumidify indoor air. For years, the most common refrigerant used in air-conditioning systems was R-22. Due to environmental concerns, production of systems using R-22 refrigerant as well as the refrigerant itself, has been outlawed. Because R-410A contains no chlorine, it is considered ozone-friendly and replaced R-22. Luxaire' R-410A systems are also known for improved reliability, quieter operation, Quicker Dehumidification and enhanced performance which means you will save money in operating costs.  Call James Heating Cooling And More today about upgrading your Furnace and Air Conditioner to start saving money with higher efficiencies and and rebate programs.

Should I cover My Air Conditioner Or Heat Pump In The Fall And Winter?

Covering the Air Conditioner is not necessary, and, if you have a heat pump that runs all year long DO NOT COVER YOUR UNIT! In fact, covering an entire unit may actually trap moisture and give home to unwanted mice or other critters which could lead to costly repairs of wiring or coils.. If you're concerned about leaves and debris getting inside the housing, short covers are available as a better accessory and may be purchased through stores like Home Depot or through an online seller such as Amazon.

What Are The Benefits Of Attic Ventilation?

Did you know that when the summer heat beats down on your roof the attic can reach up to 150 degrees? Having attic ventilation can help control moisture, keep cooling costs down, and prevent the accumulation of mold and mildew. in many cases an attic fan is a cost effective way to supplement your summer cooling costs.

What Should I Do About My Frozen AC?

When your AC freezes up, either inside your furnace or at the outdoor unit, you have a problem. this can be due to a couple of things. Not enough air flow across the evaporator coil in which case you can check your air filter. It could be very humid out and your allowing to much of the humidity into the area that you are trying to cool. Make sure all windows are closed etc. Another possible cause is that your unit could be low on Freon in which case you will need a qualified technician with a reputable heating and air conditioning company to repair the leak and recharge the system. When your AC is frozen, you could subject your system to serious damage if it isn’t addressed promptly. Shut the air conditioner off, set your thermostat fan switch to on instead of automatic, and call a technician.

Air Filter Questions

How often should I replace my HVAC air filters?

Your air filters should be replaced every one to three months depending on environmental usage such as if you have pets, smoke, live next to a farmers field, etc.. This is extremely important to the performance and life of your furnace and air conditioner and your indoor air quality.

Are All Air Filters Created Equal?

Short answer, NOT AT ALL. There are several factors to consider when choosing a filtration system, starting with sensitivity to Allergens. The more sensitive a person is to allergens, the greater the need for a high-efficiency air filtration system. The efficiency of the air filter should be a top consideration. Efficiency is based on the size of the particles captured by an air filter. The higher the efficiency, the more effective it will be. Look for the filter's MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) number, the industry standard for rating filters based on their performance. Residential filters typically have an MERV range of one to eight. Higher ratings ranging from 10 to 16 indicate more efficient filters. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) systems use hospital-grade filtration technology with a performance that's equivalent to a MERV 17 filtration efficiency or higher. Higher filter efficiency not only helps clear the air, but it also improves airflow. Generally, the more efficient a filter is, the less airflow reduction there will be. Among the many filtration products available are: Pleated Media filters, which are constructed of fiberglass or synthetic fibers woven into a more dense material. The pleats are arranged in V-shaped forms to increase the area of the filter material without increasing the face area. This increases the particle-holding capability. Electronic Air Filters take recirculated air and pass it through a pre-filter that traps large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to remaining particles. A negatively charged collecting section captures the particles. HEPA Filters are also very effective at small-particle removal. An optional carbon canister can help control other free radicals. To find out which indoor air quality products are right for you, contact James Heating Cooling And More.

Heat Pump Related Questions

What Is A Ductless Mini-Split System?

A ductless mini-split system is an alternative to traditional heating and cooling like central air. Ductless HVAC works similarly to central heating and cooling, except that it doesn’t require ductwork meaning, you can have a mini split installed in places that would have been impossible to install a standard central heating or AC system. Your mini-split system will have an indoor and outdoor unit, but it will only require a small hole to be cut through the exterior wall—just big enough for a tube of refrigerant to pass through. Inside your home, the air will be conditioned and returned into the room by the same unit. Learn more about Ductless Mini Splits here.

Why Is My Electric Bill So High, I Bought A Heat Pump To Save Money?

Since we live in Northern Indiana, my honest direct answer is... "You Shouldn't Have Bought A Heat Pump". There is nothing that gets me going more than all these companies selling people heat pumps just so they can make more money on the sale. We consider that bad business. In order to have a unit that will run in very cold temps it needs to be quite large which is impossible when most homes around here are 1500-2000 square feet. So what happens is it gets cold and your auxiliary heat kicks in because the outdoor unit cannot run. In most cases that auxiliary heat is in the form of an air handler with a 5K heat strip which is electric. So all that money you thought you would save on such an efficient system just went into the pockets of the electric company which takes their prices up every year. If we were a state or two south, I would say go for it. You would definitely see savings, but, where we live it's a big mistake. We will never try to sell you a conventional heat pump. They are unreliable in cold winter weather. Electric auxiliary heat will cost you a fortune, however, if your auxiliary heat is a gas furnace or wood burner, then it would be a good fit for you.  That having been said, Ductless mini split systems are totally different. They, at least Fujitsu units, are built to handle the low temps around here and are way more efficient than a conventional heat pump.

Humidifier Questions

How Much Water Does A Humidifier Use?

Depending on the model you choose, and the size of your home, a humidifier uses from 1.3 up to 12 gallons per day but only when the furnace is operating. This minimal amount of water is enough to raise the humidity in your whole house to your desired level, but not enough for you to notice a difference on your water bill. Aprilaire'  humidifiers are efficient, quiet, and with the new 400 series Drainless, it uses nearly all the water it takes in.

What Is involved In Humidifier Installation And Maintenance?

Installing a humidifier is simple, you can have a humidifier fitted to your current system with minimal labor, since it is designed for installation in your ductwork. A great time to have a humidifier installed is when you are replacing your Furnace and AC. Humidifiers work seamlessly in an HVAC communicating system. It is also important to properly maintain your humidifier to avoid potential bacterial growth. Periodic cleaning and draining of the reservoir and proper cleaning of the filter is strongly recommended.

Thermostat Related Questions

What Is The Best Thermostat Setting?

Saving money on your monthly electric and gas bills in the summer and winter is important—so what is the best thermostat setting during the hottest and coldest seasons of the year? We recommend keeping your thermostat set to 72 degrees with the fan set to AUTO rather than ON. Honeywell T-Series thermostats have a 1 year warranty and are a great way to program your settings into to keep your system running efficiently. A new thermostat will not only upgrade your system, it will ultimately save you money on heating and cooling costs.

How Do I Change the Batteries In My Thermostat?

Your best bet before you rip your thermostat off of the wall is to look up your thermostats model number online and download a manual for it. Not all thermostats run on batteries. Mechanical thermostats do not require batteries of any kind. Digital thermostats mostly require batteries, however, there are some more expensive digital thermostats that do not have batteries. Those types of thermostat draw their power from the furnace eliminating the need for batteries. So... download a manual and see if yours requires batteries, and how your faceplate comes off so you can change the batteries if needed.

Can I Install My Thermostat Myself?

Absolutely. When you purchase a new thermostat directions for installation are always included. First things first. Make sure that the thermostat you purchase will work for your system. There are heat only, 1 heat 1 cool, 1 heat 2 cool, heat pump, electric furnace, and smart thermostats. Buy what you need for your system in order to make sure it will work properly. Shut the power to your furnace off. Remove your old thermostat making sure to write down which color wire was on which terminal. follow the instructions for installing, programming, and setting up the new thermostat and being sure to replace the wires on the correct terminal. when everything is finished and double checked, turn the power back on to your furnace and take your new thermostat for a spin. A word of caution.... DO NOT BUY A NEST! We have seen these pieces of junk fail again and again. Now you can't say that you weren't warned. We recommend the Honeywell T-Series thermostats but each to their own. We feel that Honeywell has been a top name in thermostats for years and we don't feel that will change any time soon.

Contact James Heating Cooling And More if you have any questions that you would like to have answered or to address any of the issues that you have discovered above.




 
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