Frequently Asked Questions

How long should my system last?
What is 2 Stage Heating?
What is a BTU and how many do I need?
What is an AFUE?
What is a HSPF?
What is a Heat Pump?
What is Hybrid Heating?
What is 2 Stage Cooling?
What is Puron?
Is Puron Refrigerant Right For Me?
What is a SEER?
What is Zoning?
What is NATE?
How does Air conditioning work?
Should I cover my Air Conditioner?


How long should my system last?

Typically a furnace or air conditioner will last 10-15 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (lower gas and electric bills) provided by newer equipment. Life expectancies can vary greatly. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
Click here to learn about our peace of mind maintenance agreement.

What is 2 Stage Heating?

Two-stage heating means the furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and provides more even heat distribution.

Longer, low-capacity operation has many advantages:

  • Two-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with standard furnaces, regulating temperature to within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting.
  • Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, when the amount of heat required is lower, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there’s no quick burst of hot air.
  • Low-speed operation allows your filters to capture more contaminants (because air is constantly passing through them), so you can breathe easier.
  • Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a standard furnace that always runs at full capacity and shuts off when the heating demand has been met.

What is a BTU and how many do I need?

Furnace size refers to its heating capacity, not to its physical size. This is measured in BTUs (British thermal unit) per hour. A small unit may lack the ability to heat to your desire while an overly large unit will cost more to purchase and run. We will determine the size needed based on several factors including insulation, existing equipment size and efficiency ratings.

What is an AFUE?

Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.

Like the miles-per-gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78% AFUE. If your furnace is 10 – 15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy. For example if you have a 60% efficient furnace, 40% of the gas used to heat your house goes up the chimney and 60% heats your house.

This doesn’t mean that you should only select a furnace based on its AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking for a new furnace.

What is a HSPF?

The HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a measurement similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.

During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.

Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace, this is referred to as a hybrid system. With this Hybrid, or dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

What is Hybrid Heating?

Hybrid heating, otherwise known as dual fuel is the pairing of a gas furnace and a heat pump. The two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.

What is 2 Stage Cooling?

Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.

What is Puron?

The 1990 Clean Air Act identified refrigerant R-22—the longtime industry standard refrigerant used in most air conditioning and heat pump systems—must be phased out.

Carrier’s extensive testing in hundreds of thousands of homes has proven that Puron Refrigerant is superior to R-22 not only in environmental safety, but in performance and energy efficiency. These outstanding results have made Puron Refrigerant the universally accepted, long-term refrigerant for the heating and cooling industry.

Is Puron Refrigerant Right For Me?

If you are considering upgrading your air conditioner or heat pump, keep in mind that Carrier’s Puron Refrigerant-based products offer several homeowner benefits, including:

  • Energy Efficiency — Most of our Puron Refrigerant air conditioners and heat pumps offer higher efficiency ratings. Puron Refrigerant’s heat-transfer properties lend themselves to higher-efficiency performance.
  • Future Cost Of Service Savings — Because of U.S. government restrictions on future production, refrigerants with ozone-harming CFCs, the refrigerant used in most of today’s heat pumps and air conditioners, will become harder to find and, eventually, more expensive. Upgrading to Puron Refrigerant now can help you avoid the potential rising cost of servicing most of today’s air conditioners and heat pumps.
  • Reliability — Carrier air conditioners and heat pumps with Puron Refrigerant have become the most reliable products in our entire line.
  • Quiet Operation — Many of the air conditioners and heat pumps with Puron Refrigerant also offer Carrier’s Silencer System technology for quieter operation.

What is a SEER?

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher the SEER rating, the less your unit will cost to operate. The efficiency of central air conditioning units is governed by U.S. law and regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Every air conditioning unit is assigned an efficiency rating known as its “seasonal energy efficiency ratio” (SEER). The SEER is defined as the total cooling output (in British thermal units or Btu) provided by the unit during its normal annual usage period divided by its total energy input (in watt-hours) during the same period.

After of January 2006, no units with a SEER rating lower than 13 will be produced in the USA.

What is Zoning?

Zoning a house consists of using existing equipment and installing thermostats in different areas of the house to control the temperature more precisely in those zones. Each zone works independently of each other and has its own thermostat. This feature is very useful in two story homes with 1 central system or in ranch style homes with different heat loads throughout the home. We have zoned almost every application you could imagine. If you have a hot or cold spot in your home, give us a call and we can design a solution specifically for your needs.

What is NATE?

NATE, North American Technician Excellence Inc., is an independent, third-party certification body for HVAC/R technicians.  NATE tests technicians; others train.  Testing validates the technician’s knowledge and a training program’s instruction. NATE-approved testing organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada offer NATE tests.  Candidates can earn installation and/or service certification in five specialty areas: air-conditioning, air distribution, heat pumps, gas heating & oil heating.

How does Air conditioning work?

Central air conditioning helps keep your home cool and reduces humidity levels. By transferring heat from air located inside your home to the outside, conditioned and cooled air is left to be re-circulated. Using electricity as its power source, the compressor inside an air conditioning unit pumps coolant, or refrigerant, back and forth to gather heat and moisture from indoors. Warm air from inside is blown over the cooling coil. This cycle continues until the thermostat is satisfied and shuts off the system.

Should I cover my Air Conditioner?

Yes and No, covering your outdoor Air Conditioning condenser unit in the winter is a good idea. It will help prevent dirt, leaves, and other debris from getting in the condenser fan and the coils. It might help extend the life of the condenser unit or just make it easier to clean in the spring. However you should only cover the top and a few inches of the side allowing moisture to evaporate if trapped inside the unit. Do now wrap the unit air tight. Trapped moisture could promote rusting of the equipment. Also be sure to remove the cover before turning the unit on. Be sure your unit is not a heat pump because a heat pump needs to be UNCOVERED all year long.