FAQs

FAQs
Q: WHAT TYPE OF SYSTEM DO I HAVE?
A: Eastern NC area homes have multiple types of systems. First is the "gas package system," or "gas-pack," which is a self-contained outdoor gas furnace and air conditioning system in one convenient unit, with the ductwork being the only indoor component of the system. Then there is the "packaged heat pump" system, which is an outdoor unit with electric heat. A "split heat pump system" features an outdoor condensing unit, with an indoor coil and heat strips. A "gas split" system has AC condenser outdoors, with an indoor coil and an indoor furnace. "Dual Fuel" systems are growing in popularity because of the efficiency they provide with a heat pump system and the back-up of a gas furnace. The less common "Apollo" system has an outdoor AC unit with indoor coil that utilizes water from the hot water heater to heat the home.

Q: WHAT IS A "SEER RATING"?
A: "SEER" stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In layman's terms, the higher the SEER rating on your air conditioning unit, the more efficient the unit is on electricity usage. Today, air conditioning units sold in the U.S. are required to be rated 13 SEER or higher. A SEER rating only has bearing on the air conditioning side of the system, not the heating portion.

Q: R-22, R-410. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
A: R-22 refrigerant has been the industry standard for residential heat pumps and air conditioning systems for decades, but due to its environmental impact, is being phased out. As of January, 2010 manufacturers will no longer make equipment that uses R-22, and will exclusively manufacture units that use the more environmentally friendly refrigerants, especially R-410. Manufacturers are already phasing out their production of R-22 units and making most, if not all, of their product line R-410 units. R-22 will still be manufactured to service units that require that refrigerant until 2020, when it will no longer be manufactured in the U.S. and will be effectively phased out. While R-22 is going to still be readily available for a few more years, as the phase-out continues, we expect it to become more expensive and in an increasingly limited supply. We encourage our customers to consider R-410 equipment when considering the replacement of their heat pump or AC system.

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST SETTING FOR MY THERMOSTAT?
A: Where you set your thermostat has a significant effect on your electric or gas bill. Thermostats - especially mercury ones - can be a few degrees off depending on its location in your home. While more difficult to operate, digital thermostats provide you with much greater accuracy, with some of them that are programmable, allowing you to have temperatures set to your specific schedule. There is a popular myth that you can save electricity by adjusting the temperature at night or when you are away during the day, but in reality, this will require your system to run more to accommodate and adjust the temperature. It is always best and more efficient to set your system at one temperature and leave it, making minor changes of just a degree or two. Only when you will be away for an extended period of time is it wise to make a larger adjustment. Elite Mechanical is a preferred vendor of Honeywell thermostats.

Q: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY FILTERS? WHAT FILTERS?
A: Yes, every central heating and air conditioning system has one or more filters that should be checked and/or changed monthly. The location of the filter rack varies from home to home, but most can be found in a hallway near your thermostat. There are many types of filters on the market, some promising "extended life" or "hypo-allergen" and can be quite expensive. These filters restrict airflow further than what your system was designed for, and the motors in your system are air cooled. Elite Mechanical recommends homeowners use standard "poly" filters and change them monthly. It is not uncommon that a customer calls us with a complaint of their AC "not cooling well" only for our technician to find a dirty "extended life" filter in the system choking it for air. In severe cases, dirty filters can even cause your system to ice. Most common size filters can be purchased in bulk at any hardware retailer or Wal-Mart. One of the best ways a homeowner can take care of their heating and air system is to keep these filters on hand and change them often.
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