FAQ by Atlanta, Marietta & Alpharetta Heating & Cooling Users

Here are some of homeowners’ most commonly asked questions about heating and air conditioning systems. Jump to an answer by clicking the question you’re interested in.

Q: Why should I replace my existing heating or air-conditioning system?
A: If your air conditioning or heating system is not efficient, is out of date or needs repair, it is time to replace it. Wear and tear will lower the efficiency of a system that has been improperly maintained. If you’re troubled by high electricity bills or in need of a pricey repair, it might be an ideal time to consider replacing your system instead of trudging through another expensive season or paying to replace just a smaller component. The money saved by an efficient new unit could garner an attractive return on your investment. If you are considering financing the purchase, factor the money you’ll be saving on monthly utility bills into the actual cost of replacing the system. You may even be able to buy a more efficient system with the money you’ll be saving.[ Back to Top ]

Q: How much do air-conditioning and heat pump systems cost?
A: Many factors should be considered in determining the cost of a heating or air conditioning system, such as the size of your house, the type and condition of your duct work, and any accessories you may need, like a thermostat or electric air cleaner. We offer a complete range of systems and accessories that will meet any of your needs, including ones related to finances! Atlanta Heating and Air Conditioning will happily assist you in finding the best system to meet your comfort needs and household budget.

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Q: How do I know which is the right heating/cooling system to choose?
A: Make sure the unit is the proper size. We will provide a load calculation for your home, as well as an energy analysis, which will determine operating cost. Next, consider your home’s comfort issues. Products are available that can reduce air stratification and even out temperatures from room to room. For people with allergies, an indoor unit with an ECM motor allows the air in your home to continuously circulate as it’s being filtered, for roughly the same cost as operating a standard light bulb. Finally, identify your budgetary parameters and the efficiency of the system you’re considering. Does it offer a payback? In other words, will it save you enough money each month to offset the cost of the new unit or efficiency option being considered?
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Q: What is the process of replacing an old system?
A: Not only will we place the new equipment, we will also inspect multiple items to determine if these items need to be supplied or replaced. Items may include: duct work, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filters, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil.
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Q: What is involved in installing a new system?
A: For a first-time installation in a home, most of the items listed in the previous Q&A may be required to install the new system. Aside from the equipment, the most significant component is duct work. The duct work can be metal or fiberglass and needs to be correctly sized in order to deliver the proper amount of air to each room. Duct work includes supply and return duct work. The supply duct is attached to the outlet of the furnace or air handler and delivers air to individual areas in your home. We determine the size of the duct work necessary for a space based on the amount of air that needs to be delivered.
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Q: What is the life cycle of a new system?
A: Atlanta Heating and Air Conditioning can perform all regular preventative maintenance and service that your unit requires. Industry averages suggest that an air conditioner should last as long as 12-15 years (sea coast applications may be less) and a gas furnace should last around 20-25 years.
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Q: What are some preventive maintenance things I should be aware of?
A: With the necessary care and attention, heating and cooling systems can provide year-round comfort. Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces and boilers need an annual professional tuneup. Gas-fired equipment, however, burns more cleanly and can be serviced every other year. A thorough inspection will discover leaks, soot, rust, rot, corroded electrical contacts and frayed wires. In furnace (forced-air) and boiler (hot-water) systems, the inspection should also include checking the chimney, duct work or pipes, dampers or valves, blower or pump, registers or radiators, the fuel line, and the gas meter or oil tank — as well as all other parts of the furnace or boiler itself.
Next, the system should run through a full heating cycle to make sure that it has enough combustion air and chimney draft. Then, it’s best to clean the burner and heat exchanger to remove soot and other gunk that build up and impede smooth operation. For the burner, efficiency depends on adjusting the flame to the proper size and color, adjusting the flow of gas, or changing the fuel filter in an oil-fired system. A check of the heat pump should include an inspection of the compressor, fan, indoor and outdoor coils, and refrigerant lines. Indoor and outdoor coils should be cleaned, and the refrigerant pressure should be checked.
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To tune up the distribution side of a forced-air system, we start with the blower. The axle gets lubricated, blades cleaned and lower motor checked to ensure the unit is not being overloaded. Then, we adjust the fan belt so it deflects a maximum of an inch when pressed. All accessible joints in the duct work should be sealed with mastic or UL-approved duct tapes. Any ducts that run outside the heated space should be insulated. For hot-water systems, expansion tanks should be drained, circulating pumps cleaned and lubricated, and air bled from the radiators.
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Though thermostats usually don’t fail outright, they may degrade over time as mechanical parts stick or lose their calibration. Older units can send faulty signals if they’re no longer level or have dirty switches. Older units can be recalibrated by using a wrench to adjust the nut found on the back of the mercury switch until it turns the system on and, using a room thermometer, set it to the correct temperature. More modern electronic thermostats rarely need adjusting because they are sealed at the factory to keep out dust and grime. But, regardless of the type or age of your thermostat, the hole where wiring comes through the wall requires caulk. Without it, a draft may cause the thermostat to think the room is warmer or colder than it truly is.
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When an in-duct humidifier isn’t cared for, a breeding ground for mildew and bacteria can be created and an excessive amount moisture can be added to a house. Humidifiers should not be left on after the heating season ends. It is important to pull the plug, close the water valve and drain the unit. If a unit has a water reservoir, it also should be drained and cleaned with white vinegar, a mix of one part chlorine bleach to eight parts water or muriatic acid. Mist-type humidifiers also require regular cleaning to remove mineral deposits.
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Most houses with forced-air furnaces have a standard furnace filter made from loosely woven spun-glass fibers that help keep it and its duct work clean. Unfortunately, though, they do not improve indoor air quality. That requires a media filter, which sits between the main return duct and the blower cabinet. Made of a deeply pleated material similar to paper, media filters are at least seven times better than a standard filter at removing dust and other particles. You can upgrade to a pleated media filter to cleanse the air of everything from insecticide dust to flu viruses. Compressed media filters are usually a maximum of six inches wide, but the pleated material can cover up to 75 square feet when stretched out. The increased area of filtration accounts for the long life of the filter, which can last beyond two years. However, one drawback to a media filter is its tight weave, which may restrict the furnace’s ability to blow air through the house. To create a steady, strong airflow through the house, go with a filter that matches the capacity of the blower.
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Duct Cleaning
Heating and air-conditioning ducts run like mazes inside the walls and floors of 80% of the homes in America. As the supply ducts blow air into the rooms, return ducts inhale airborne dust and suck it back into the blower. When moisture is added to this scenario, it creates the ideal place for allergy-inducing molds, mites, and bacteria to breed. Many filters commonly used today aren’t capable of keeping dust and debris from flowing into the air, and eventually, sizable accumulations can form — like dust bunnies, but larger.

Think your ducts need cleaning? Test your theory by pulling off some supply and return registers and taking a gander. If a new furnace is being installed, you may consider having your ducts cleaned at the same time because the new blower is likely to be more powerful than one it’s replacing, which could stir up a lot of dust.

Professional duct cleaners bring benefits including cleaner indoor air, extended equipment life, and lower energy bills. Clean heating and air conditioning systems also perform more efficiently, which may decrease energy costs and last longer, lowering the possibility that you’ll need a costly replacement or repairs. Cleaning doesn’t affect air quality very much because most indoor dust drifts in from the outdoors. It does, however, remove the things that mold and bacteria grow on, which means less of it gets airborne and allergy sufferers have less to worry about. [ Back to Top ]

Q: Should I change my indoor coil?
A: If you’re replacing your air conditioner or heat pump, the answer is probably yes. The efficiency ratings used by advertisers for air conditioners and heat pumps are based on the unit’s performance as part of a matched system. If you change only the outdoor portion, the efficiency and savings could be lower than those offered by a matched system and may also void the warranty on your outdoor unit.
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Q: Where do I get replacement parts?
A: Contact us for help obtaining replacement parts.
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Q: What is covered in my warranty?
A: We proudly offer a written limited warranty on parts. Warranties state that a replacement part will be furnished for any part of the product that fails in normal use and service during the applicable warranty period specified in accordance with the warranty’s terms. We can review with you the warranty periods for the products you select.