FAQs - CoolerBearJax

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1. What is the average life expectancy of equipment?

Most systems have a life expectancy of 10-15 years. Beach applications can have significantly shorter effective life spans, due to salt air exposure. Proactive maintenance programs will extend all systems useful and efficient life span. All systems become less energy efficient and loose capacity over time. As air conditioning/ heat pump systems approach 10 years of service, repair vs. replacement is a personal decision based on general condition of the equipment, budget, and intended use of the home. New technology has increased energy efficiency, as well as whole house comfort levels. The decision to repair vs. replace will always be the customer’s choice, based upon options that Cooler Bear Heat & Air will provide at no change.

2. Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older system to save money?

New state code requires that all systems be rated as “matched” by AHRI. This rating service and new code requirements were implemented with consumer’s interest in mind. Very few R-22 (Freon) systems have AHRI matched components available, most are larger commercial type machines. There are some newer R410a (Puron) systems that have available matched equipment components . There are some cases where a new R410a heat pump will match with an existing evaporator fan coil (air handler). The majority of equipment replacement requires both indoor fan coil (air handler) and outdoor condensing unit (Heat pump / Air Conditioner) be replaced in order to have a properly matched system. State mechanical code requires that an AHRI match number be provided before a mechanical permit to install can be issued.

3. Will a bigger sized system perform better?
No, the worst thing your air conditioning contractor can do is oversize your heat pump/ air conditioning system. It is a fact that a majority of homes have systems that are oversized by at least one half ton in capacity. Oversizing your equipment results in short run cycles, rapid cooling, and insufficient dehumidification. Ideal humidity levels in the home are less than 60%. Humidity levels higher than 60% provide ideal conditions for mold/ mildew growth. A system that is slightly undersized is preferred over one that is oversized. A properly sized system will have longer run cycles that allow the system to “wring” the moisture out of the air in the home. Variable speed air handlers, thermostats that offer humidity control settings and multi speed heat pumps offer greater flexibility to the changing outdoor temperature and humidity levels. Our industry is headed in the direction of multi speed and Inverter Compressor technology to give the heat pump or air conditioning system flexibility to handle fluctuations in seasonal load conditions.

4. Why is a system with matched components so important?

The primary reason for installing an AHRI matched system is to insure that the contractor is installing components that were engineered to operate together. Energy efficiency and system capacity can be greatly affected by improperly matched components. There are generally several fan coils (Air handlers) that will “match” with a particular condensing unit (heat pump/ Air conditioner). The fan coil that is selected can increase the efficiency of the system and offer enhanced dehumidification features. All air conditioners/ heat pumps are dehumidifiers when running in cooling mode. True comfort in the home is the result of properly sized and matched systems that work together as designed by the manufacturers. Properly sized duct systems are also critical to proper operation of any air conditioning/ heat pump system. Adequate return air volume is a must for proper system performance and improved dehumidification.

5. How often should I change my air filter?
We recommend changing the filter in your fan coil (air handler) on a monthly basis when using a standard 1” poly or pleated filter. Upgraded 4” and 5” filter media should be replaced on a 6 month basis. It is important to keep clean filters in place to prevent increased static pressure at the fan coil. Dirty filters can cause a variety of issues such as reduced system capacity, reduced energy efficiency, reduced ability to dehumidify, overheating and or premature failure of blower motors, loud fan coil (air handler), and freeze over of the evaporator coil which can lead to water leaks. Keeping filters clean also keeps the evaporator coil clean and prevents the need to clean evaporator coils with harsh chemicals.

6. Why should I switch to a high efficiency air filter?
Air filtration is in place to keep your systems evaporator coil clean. It also is how we prevent air born particles from being redistributed through the duct system. Upgraded filters can be helpful for people who suffer from seasonal allergies and or breathing conditions. There are many varieties of upgraded filtration. Basic pleated filters, 4”-5” media filters, electronic air cleaners, and whole house air purification systems. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, have pets in the home, or want to reduce home maintenance: upgraded filtration will help keep the air in your home cleaner and healthier. You do not have to use an upgraded filter but you should replace whichever type of filter you choose on a regular basis.

7. Should I have my Air conditioner/ Heat pump system cleaned every year?

Yes! Having your heating and cooling system maintained and cleaned on a yearly basis helps to extend the life of your equipment. Clean coils also transfer heat more effectively which keep efficiency and capacity levels high. We recommend 2 cleanings each year to prepare for cooling season and heating season. You could compare cleaning your air conditioning system to changing the oil in your car, you wouldn’t drive your car year after year without changing the oil. Your heat pump or air conditioner will run longer and more efficiently when it is properly cleaned and has clean filters installed on a regular basis.

8. Why should I purchase a service agreement?
Without  warranty coverage, a breakdown can mean  significant expense in parts, labor,  or both. However, with one of our  service agreements, you avoid that unexpected significant expense.  While no warranty can guard  against every possible problem, we can  explain the broad range of  protection our service agreements afford.

9. I am concerned about mold growth, what should I do?

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic  matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth  should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores  are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that  are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Three things you can do to help prevent mold growth in your system:

  1. Preventative maintenance will ensure that the collection pan under the indoor coil stays clean and clog free.
  3. Install ultra violet lights next to the cooling coils to kill any mold or bacteria growing on the coils or collection pan.  Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and mold growing on your indoor coil  before they are circulated throughout your home.  UV lamps are installed  near your existing indoor coil and work diligently to rid your home of  the bacteria, viruses, mold and germs that impact your home's health.
  5. Keep your duct work cleaner by using a high efficiency filtration system. This will also help keep your entire HVAC system and home cleaner.
10. What do SEER, and HSPF ratings mean to me?
SEER, and HSPF are measures of energy efficiency. Air conditioners may look similar, but their Seasonal Energy  Efficiency Rating (SEER) can vary widely.  Higher SEER numbers save  more money spent on electricity.  A 14 SEER  air conditioner, the EPA  "current minimum standard", uses 40% less energy than a 10 SEER unit  (EPA standard up until Jan. 2006).  Even though 14 SEER is the minimum  efficiency available, we currently offer a line of air conditioners that  start at  14 SEER  and go all the way up to a 21 SEER . Depending on  your average usage, higher SEER  air conditioners can significantly reduce your electric bill.
Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air  conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for  measuring heating efficiency.  Higher HSPF ratings mean greater energy  savings. The HSPF scale range is 7.5 to 13.0.

11. How can I reduce my energy costs?
  • Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioner  - Swapping your old, inefficient air conditioning system for a  high-efficient one can cut electricity bills by one-third. Consult one  of our professional technicians to ensure your system is the right size  for your home, and you aren't over- or under-cooling for your space  needs. Click here to view our current offering.
  • Turn up the temperature -  To save electricity during the summer, set the temperature above 75° as  every degree below this will add an extra three to five percent to your  energy bill.
  • Install ceiling fans –  Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction as a way of  creating a nice breeze.
  • Have an annual maintenance performed  – Having an annual maintenance performed on your air conditioner by a  licensed technician will help ensure it operates at its peak efficiency  and catches any potential breakdowns before they occur.
  • Don't block vents in well-used rooms  – Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds,  carpets or furniture so your air conditioner can operate efficiently and  there is even cool air distribution.
  • Install a programmable thermostat  – A programmable thermostat enables you to control your home's  temperature when you're away or asleep. For every 1° you raise your thermostat for seven hours per day, you save one percent on your cooling bill.

  • 12. Why should I buy Energy Star labeled equipment?
    The average home spends about $1,900 annually  on  energy bills. Heating and cooling accounts for  as much as half of a  home's energy use. The EPA provides important recommendations for energy-efficient  equipment, including proper sizing, quality  installation and maintenance, and other home improvement considerations  to help  you get the most out of the heating and cooling products  you  purchase, save energy, and save as much as 20% annually  on your total  energy costs.  
    ENERGY STAR qualified products prevent   greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines  set by the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency (EPA) and the U.S.Department of Energy (DOE).

    13. What is a Heat Pump?

    Heat pumps are a great solution for your home comfort system because they work to provide both heating and cooling.  Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for measuring heating efficiency. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings mean greater energy savings.
    Heat pumps are a very efficient alternative to electric heat. A heat pump works the same as an air conditioner in the summer, but it runs in reverse in the winter to heat your home. The system will be matched with a backup heating source, most often electric heat for those extremely cold days of winter.

    14. How does 2-Stage heating or cooling work?
    Two stage heat pumps and air conditioners generally use a single unloading scroll compressor. This compressor can unload its capacity down to approximately 60% of full capacity, when the load presented does not require full capacity. The compressor can then ramp up to 100% capacity when needed. This type of system is more flexible to changing load conditions and is much more energy efficient by running in the low speed when conditions permit. New technology is available using compressors that have 3 and 5 speeds. The newest and most energy efficient residential machines are using inverter compressor technology. Some have over 200 speeds to constantly adjust to changing load conditions. Some of the inverter compressor heat pump systems have efficiency ratings in excess of 20 SEER.
    15. At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

    Normal cooling settings are 75 degrees - 80 degrees.  Normal heating settings   are 68 degrees - 72 degrees. You should  always set your thermostat to the highest possible setting that is  comfortable for you in the summer, and the lowest comfortable setting in  the winter. Setting your thermostat in this way will maximize your  energy savings. On average, every 1 degree of temperature change is  equal to about 1% energy savings. For example, changing your thermostat  setting from 75 degrees to 76 degrees in the summer could result in  savings on your cooling costs.

    16. My system doesn't work well in a couple of rooms, what should I do?

    This can occur for many reasons; uneven solar heat load through windows, an undersized system, improperly sized duct system. Each situation is different, usually requiring an onsite analysis with problem specific recommendations. Please call Cooler Bear Heat & Air to arrange for us to see your home.

    17. Is Freon as a refrigerant being discontinued?

    Yes. As of January 2010 the refrigerant R-22 (what consumers call Freon®) is no longer allowed to be used in the manufacturing of new equipment. R-22 has been used as the "standard" refrigerant for many years but has been found to be harmful to our planet by our government.  All new air conditioners and heat pumps use R-410A, the more "environmentally sound" refrigerant.
    R-22 is still the most commonly used refrigerant in existing air conditioning equipment in residential homes today. However, per the Montreal Protocol, caps have been established to eliminate the production of R-22. In 2004, there was a 35% reduction; in 2010 there was a 65% reduction; in 2015 a 90% reduction; and finally in 2020 a 99.5% reduction in the production of R-22. This means that during the time of these reductions with high demand, the price of each pound of R-22 refrigerant could potentially skyrocket.
    If you are considering replacing your existing air conditioning equipment, most higher efficiency products have already made the switch to R-410A, the more "environmentally sound" refrigerant.

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