Q. What temperature should I set my thermostat on when I’m not home?

A. We recommend a maximum of 3-4 degree setback of your temperature when you’re not home. Larger spans in setback temperature can cost you more on your utility bill because of the long run time to bring your house back to temperature. A larger setback is certainly acceptable for vacations or during long periods away from the home.

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Q. When should I schedule my annual maintenance inspections?

A. For spring inspections feel free to call or go to our website in the month of February or March to set up scheduling. For fall the same process can begin in the months of September or October.

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Q. What is a freon leak?

A. A freon leak occurs when a valve becomes loose or the metal tubing containing the freon ruptures or corrodes. An air conditioning system should never leak freon. When a leak is present the only solution is adding more freon or repairing/replacing the leak source. Adding freon will only buy time until the freon leaks out again while repairing/replacing the problem unit will serve as an ideal long term solution.

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Q. What is SEER and EER?

A. Since January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have at least a 13 SEER. SEER is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it is a U.S. government standard energy rating and reflects the overall system efficiency of your cooling system. An EER is short for Energy Efficiency Ratio and doesn’t take into consideration the time of year, but rather the system’s energy efficiency at the peak operating use. Both ratings should be considered in choosing cooling products. The rating is a ratio of the cooling output divided by the power consumption and measures the cooling performance of the system. The Federal government developed an ENERGY STAR program for high efficiency central air conditioning systems that in order to qualify must have a SEER of at least 14.

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Q. Why should I replace my working heating or cooling equipment?

A. Although your present furnace or air conditioner may be working, if it is more than 12 years old you should consider replacing it with a new high efficiency system. A new heating and air conditioning system could save up to 50 percent on energy costs, and save you money in the long run on heating repairs.  While these products save you money on your utility bills, they also offer a better degree of comfort within your home.

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Q. How often should I replace my filter?

A. 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.

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Q. What should I look for in a new heating system?

A. The three most important factors to evaluate when you’re considering purchasing a new furnace are; quality, efficiency, and comfort features.

Quality – When you buy a new car, the quality of it helps determine how well it will perform and for how long. A furnace is really no different. Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down the road.  New furnaces by Fresh Air-Weinrich, for example, undergo a rigorous series of quality tests and checks during production, with many of the tests being performed on every unit – not just on random samples. Plus, we back every furnace in writing, with a written warranty on the heat exchanger (the heart of the furnace) and the entire unit.

Efficiency – A furnace’s efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), tells you how efficiently the furnace uses fuel. In general, the higher the efficiency, the less fuel the furnace will use to heat your home.  In 1992, the government established a minimum AFUE rating for furnaces installed in new homes at 78%. In contrast, many furnaces manufactured before 1992 had AFUE ratings as low as 60%.  Mid-efficiency furnaces, also known as non-condensing or induced draft furnaces, offer efficiencies from 78% to about 80%. High-efficiency furnaces also called condensing or sealed combustion furnaces, offer AFUE ratings from 90% to about 96%.  Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the furnace. Fresh Air-Weinrich professionals can use heating data from our area to help us determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills for the life of the system.

Comfort Features – Some mid- and high-efficiency furnaces offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-stage furnaces can run on low stage up to 90% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-stage furnaces. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings — only one or two degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-stage furnaces. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air “stratification” – warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even heat throughout your home.  Variable-capacity furnaces provide the ultimate combination of comfort, efficiency and quiet performance. In addition to the benefits of two-stage furnaces, they offer “smart” motors than can monitor your home’s comfort needs and automatically adjust the volume and speed of air to provide the most efficient heating or cooling. They offer added electrical efficiency as well: the “smart” fan motors on some models sold by Fresh Air-Weinrich use less electricity than a 100-watt light bulb. They operate so efficiently that they can actually increase the efficiency rating of your central air conditioning system and offer you added energy savings when you use continuous fan operation in any season.

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Q. What should I look for in a new cooling system?

A. The three most important factors to evaluate when you’re considering purchasing a new furnace are; quality, efficiency, and comfort features.

Quality – When you purchase a new car, the quality of it helps determine how well it will perform and for how long. An air conditioner is really no different. Purchasing a brand name that has a reputation for quality and reliability can save you headaches and extra expense down the road.  New Fresh Air-Weinrich air conditioners, for example, undergo 34 quality tests and checks during production, with more than 20 of these being performed on every unit – not just on random samples. Plus, we back every air conditioner in writing, with a 10-year limited warranty on the compressor and a 10-year limited warranty on the parts.

Efficiency – Cooling efficiency for air conditioners is indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which tells you how efficiently the unit uses electricity. In general, the higher the SEER, the less electricity the unit will use to cool your home. In 1992, the government established minimum efficiency standards for units installed in new homes at 10.0 SEER. Most air conditioners manufactured before 1992 had SEER ratings below 7.0.  Now the government has established new efficiency standards where the SEER must be 13.0 or above.  Air conditioners manufactured today have SEER ratings that range from 13.0 to about 21. Air conditioners realistically achieve between 13 and 17 SEER in St. Louis homes.

Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the unit. Your Fresh Air-Weinrich professional can use cooling data from our area to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills for the life of the system.  One other point to keep in mind is that your air conditioner is a “split system,” which means that there is an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (coil). If you’re replacing an existing system, both units should be replaced to make sure your new condensing unit gives you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

Comfort Features – Some air conditioners offer additional features that provide greater comfort (as well as additional energy savings). Two-speed units can run on low speed (using 50% of the energy) up to 80% of the time, so they operate more quietly and run for longer periods of time than single-speed models. Longer operating periods translate into fewer on/off cycles, fewer drafts and much smaller temperature swings — only two or three degrees instead of the four-degree swings common with single-speed units. Plus, better air circulation helps prevent air “stratification” – warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling on the floor. In short, you get consistent, even cooling throughout your home.  If you purchase a multi-speed or variable-capacity furnace or fan coil with your unit, you will enhance both the comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioning system even further.

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Q.  When can I expect to receive the $25 rebate check from the purchase of my Service Agreement?

A. The $25 Rebate check is expected to take no longer than 8-10 weeks. It is issued from the Sheet Metal Workers Union and will be mailed to the customer directly. If you have not received your rebate within this time frame, please contact our office for assistance.


Q. When I add a humidifier or Air Cleaner to my service agreement, what does that include?

A. If you decide to add a humidifier or air cleaner to your service agreement, your money is well spent. You will receive:

  • Cleaning and inspection on the system
  •  Discounts on parts and labor
  • The peace of mind knowing that if your system breaks down, the diagnostic fee will be waived if a problem is found
  • Receive a filter or water panel replacement once per year

Q. When is a good time to schedule the seasonal maintenance for my air conditioner?

A. In order to check the charge on your exterior air conditioner, the temperature must be above 55 degrees to accurately obtain a reading. If the temperature is too cool, it may result in incorrect readings of refrigerant levels.


Q. What does the picture of a flame or “low battery” mean on my thermostat?

A. Each thermostat has different display screens, but in most cases if you see a picture of a flame, this means that your thermostat is set for heat. Sometimes a “low battery” will appear on the screen, a sure indication that the batteries in the thermostat are low and need to be changed. A thermostat that has a “low battery” can cause the system to run continuously and cause the system to not operate correctly. You can also find owners manuals for a few of our most popular models on our website if you need additional assistance.


Q. Why does my thermostat have a message appear that says, “change filter” when I just had my seasonal maintenance performed?

A. Most thermostats are pre-programmed by the factory and have a feature programmed to remind the owner to change filters. If this occurs and you are certain that your filters have been recently changed, simply press “ignore” or “dismiss” to get rid of the message.

 

 

 

 

 

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