1. What does HVAC stand for?
HVAC (pronounced h-vack or spelled out) stands for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. The three functions of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are closely interrelated. All seek to provide thermal comfort, acceptable indoor air quality, and reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. Your heating and air technician goes by the name of HVAC contractor, and can provide heating repair expertise.

2. What is meant by a 'ton' of refrigeration?

Confusingly, the unit has little to do with weight, as used in everyday language. One ton of refrigeration is the term used to refer to 12,000 B.T.U.s/hour (British Thermal Units/Hour) of cooling effect. Thus, a condensing unit with a cooling capacity of 60,000 B.T.U.s/hour is said to have a capacity of 5 tons.

3. Why can't you ad coolant to my system without checking for a leak or repairing an existing leak?

Since July 1, 1992 it is illegal to release refrigerants into the atmosphere, either intentional or accidental, because they can cause severe damage to the ozone layer. When refrigerants such as Chlorofluorocarbon’s (CFCs) are removed, they should be recycled to clean out any contaminants and returned to a usable condition.

4. How often should I should get my A.C. service?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The frequency of filter changes is driven by how much your heating and air conditioning system operates, which is also driven by your individual climate.

Start by checking the system’s filters at least once a month. Hold the used filter up to the light and compare it to a clean "spare." When light is obscured by captured dust and dirt particles, the old filter should be changed. Keep a record for one year and then replace the filter on that basis. At a minimum, it is always a good idea to change filters at the start of the heating and cooling seasons and then in between according to your need. Also, it is a good idea to have your heating and air system checked at the beginning of heating and cooling season to insure proper operation.

Run the A/C without running up your bills

The average home spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. But there are ways to save even on hot summer days. A good strategy may be to use air conditioning and ceiling fans in concert. Instead of setting the air conditioner at 74° F to 76° F, raise the temperature to 78° F and let the fans do the rest. Each degree you lower the thermostat increases cooling costs by 2 percent. Here are some simple moves you can make that are recommended by our experts.

Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs.
Less than 10 percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb produces light; the rest escapes as heat. That’s one reason energy-wasting bulbs are being phased out. Energy Star qualified lighting not only uses less energy but also produces less heat, reducing your cooling costs.

Set the thermostat. Use a programmable thermostat or the timer on a window unit to program cooling around your schedule. Avoid cooling an empty house by setting the thermostat a few degrees higher when no one is home and timing your window unit to go on an hour or so before you arrive.

Use ceiling fans. Run the ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise the thermostat five degrees and use a ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by around 10 percent. Remember that a ceiling fan cools you, not the room, so turn it off when you go into another room.

Pull the shades. Close the curtains and shades before you leave home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior. If you don’t have natural shade, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows.

Reduce oven time. Use a microwave instead of an oven to cook when you can. Ovens take longer to cook food and add heat to your home, working at odds with your air conditioning system. If you have a gas grill outside, consider using that.

Check air conditioner filters. Check your cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. A dirty filter will slow airflow and make the system work harder.

Plug leaky ducts. As much as 40 percent of your heating and cooling energy can be lost due to leaks and lack of insulation. Seal ductwork using mastic sealant or metal tape and insulate all the ducts that you can access (such as those in attics, crawl spaces, unfinished basements, and garages). Also make sure that connections at vents and registers are well sealed where they meet floors, walls, and ceilings. Those are common places to find leaks and disconnected ductwork.