Q: How long should my old air conditioner and furnace last?
Typically an air conditioner or furnace will last 13-16 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by equipment. Due to our climate, equipment life expectancies can vary greatly. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
Q: My electric and gas bills are high. Will a new air conditioner and furnace lower my bills?
ABSOLUTELY! A new air conditioner can cut electrical consumption, as much as 50%. Even a 13 SEER air conditioner will cut the electricity used by as much as 30%. A new 90% furnace can usually cut the gas used by the old furnace by as much as 30%, and a new 80% (minimum allowed by the federal government) will use approximately 20% less.
Q: What is Seer?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. It's like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car - the higher the mpg (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill.
Q: How often should I change or clean my air filter?
The manufacturer recommends changing throwaway “disposable” air filters or cleaning “washable” air filters, EVERY 30 DAYS. This will allow for proper operation of the equipment, allow cleaner air for you to breathe and allow for fewer equipment failures.
Q: What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner?
In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in reverse and heats the indoors. Heat pumps need auxiliary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to assist them when it is very cold or when the thermostat is moved more than 3 degrees at a time. The initial investment for a heat pump is higher than for an air conditioner, and the ductwork must be sized correctly for proper operation. A common complaint of a customer using a heat pump is that the air coming out of the registers is not as hot; when compared to heat from a gas furnace. Although that is a slight drawback, heat pumps will reduce the winter heating bills. Furthermore, if you have electric heating, the energy savings is dramatic and you will be extremely glad you chose a heat pump.
Q: Should I replace my air conditioner and furnace at the same time, or can they be installed separately?
Yes, they can be installed separately; however, to ensure proper efficiency and capacity they should be installed as a matched system. Additionally, most manufacturer's offer double the factory warranty coverage on matching equipment purchased at the same time.
Q: Is it OK to install a different brand of air conditioner (or furnace) to work with my existing air conditioner (or furnace)?
Although it is generally recommended to match components, most brands of air conditioners will work with others as long as the coils and blowers are the proper size. You may however, experience some loss of efficiency and capacity.
Q: My friend works for an air conditioning and heating company and says he can install a new air conditioner (or furnace) for me for less money. Is this a good idea?
Be sure he has a license, obtains all required permits and has adequate insurance. [Note: GOD forbid anything happens during the installation of your new heating and cooling equipment but in the event it does, any “accidents” or “injuries” that occur on your property is YOUR responsibility if your contractor is not properly insured.] Keep in mind you will be dependent on him and his schedule for warranty repairs. If he meets the above requirements, has the needed experience and you understand that repairs may not be timely - you may save some money, but be sure you are not getting a "cheap" installation that will cost you more in the long run. CHEAP could be VERY EXPENSIVE!
Q: How does Augusta Air Associates determine what size of air conditioner and furnace to install?
An Augusta Air Associates Comfort Consultant will measure your home and calculate the actual cooling and heating load on the home (calculation based on window size and direction, walls, ceiling, floor, appliances, insulation, etc.). This will determine the proper size of equipment that is needed. This will be compared to your current equipment and ductwork and will be adjusted based on your lifestyle, etc.
Q: I want a bigger air conditioner. Someone told me this is not good. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
An "oversized" air conditioner will cool your house quicker, but it will use more electricity and will not remove humidity adequately. If the humidity is not removed correctly, mold and mildew will form on the surfaces in the conditioned space and could affect the health conditions of the people in that space. If your ductwork is not big enough for the "oversized" air conditioner, the coil may freeze and then the air conditioner won't work at all. Obviously the air conditioner must be big enough to cool the house, but too big is just as bad.
Q: Some rooms in our house don't get enough cooling (or heat). Can this be fixed?
This is usually caused by a poorly designed / poorly installed duct system. Sometimes running the blower continuously will solve this problem. Usually the new furnace will have better air flow which will help, and there is usually a way to install an additional register in the area to obtain more air flow.
Q: Should I run the blower continuously, or use the auto position on the thermostat?
Try both ways. Running the blower all the time will use a little extra electricity, however the home is usually more comfortable, the temperature is more even throughout the home, and the air is cleaner because it is filtered more. The motors generally last longer because they are not starting and stopping. Some of the new furnaces have the ability to use a slow blower speed for continuous operation, and a faster speed when the furnace or air conditioner are running.
Q: How many bids should I get before I decide on a new system?
Three bids are generally enough. If Augusta Air Associates is servicing your current system, or if we have installed equipment for you in the past, you should be comfortable in obtaining a proposal from Augusta Air Associates, then determine if you feel the need to obtain additional bids. Another way to obtain several bids without the effort is to call our current customers that have had a system installed recently and ask why they chose Augusta Air Associates (your comfort consultant can give you a list of customers).
Q: How do I check out the companies I am considering to install my new system?
This is the easiest, yet most important step - call other customers. Eliminate any company that doesn't give you a list of customers that they have installed for during the last 1-24 months. Call the BBB and tell them you are considering a new system and ask about their experience with Augusta Air Associates (or any other company you are considering). For your convenience, we have posted a link at the bottom of this page to connect you directly to the BBB.
Q: How do I pay for my new system?
For installation of new equipment, we do not require any down payment, however we ask for payment in full after the installation is complete (unless other arrangements have been made). We accept American Express, VISA, Master Card, Discover, Cash and Checks. We also have financing available with low monthly payments.
Q: Why should I consider a new high-efficiency filter?
High-efficiency filters remove more of the smaller particles from the air. This will help you breathe better and reduce sinus problems, headaches and colds. Many people miss fewer days from school and work and use less allergy medication. The air is filtered before entering the air conditioning and furnace. Augusta Air Associates has several different filters available and can show you the differences in efficiency and installation cost.
Q: Should I have a new programmable thermostat installed with my new system?
Programmable thermostats allow you to raise and lower the temperature automatically, at specific times each day. They will reduce your energy bills and increase your comfort (i.e. get up to a "warm" bathroom during the winter). If your family follows a fairly regular schedule, a programmable thermostat would be considered a good investment.
Q: Does Augusta Air Associates have experienced technicians?
Absolutely! We have some of the best and most experienced service technicians anywhere. All of our technicians are factory trained and certified by each manufacturer to perform maintenance and repairs on your heating and cooling equipment.
Q: A cracked furnace is dangerous and could be deadly. How often should I have it checked?
If your furnace is over 5 years old, it should be inspected by qualified technicians every fall before the heating season begins. Any other time the furnace is not operating properly (ex. the pilot blows out) it should be checked too.
Q: Why should I have my air conditioner checked in the spring and my furnace checked in the fall?
They should be checked, and cleaned, to be sure they are operating at their peak efficiencies, are operating properly and to be sure they are operating safely.