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    Miami, FL 33186
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Frequently Asked Questions About Your Heating & Cooling System

What is the SEER Rating?

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is how the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment is measured. The SEER is the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity, as compared to other systems. For example, a 3-ton unit may have a SEER efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be. The SEER rating of any given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 21.

Why is the SEER rating on the Energy Guide different than what my dealer quoted?

Each split system cooling unit has a nominal SEER rating. This rating can be increased with the upgrade of the same series indoor unit. The SEER rating of a system is based on the combination of equipment installed in the home. The outdoor equipment (heat pump or air conditioner), as well as the indoor equipment (evaporator coil or air handler), play a vital role in the total rating.

Why should I have regular (or preventative) maintenance? And how often should I have it performed?

Your cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your home everyday. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down any machine if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing regular maintenance, you can maximize the lifecycle of your cooling unit and guard against many common equipment failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts. You should have maintenance completed on your system regularly to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent possible problems that may occur in the near future.

What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?

Air conditioners require a professional tune-up twice a year; in the spring and fall. Inspections should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, blowers. Meanwhile, air conditioning unit inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils, and refrigerant lines.

Is sound an issue for heating and air conditioning?

Yes. Noisy heating and cooling equipmentadd to sound pollution.Even though no financial savings are tied to less sound in your home, the sound rating of a cooling system can have a considerable effect on comfort and enjoyment of your home. The sound level of an air conditioner or heat pump depends on a variety of factors, such as how old and who manufactured the equipment, and whether the compressor is insulated or not can add to the amount of noise it makes.

Although the majority of heating and cooling systems built today are quieter now more than ever, it's a safe notion to compare sound ratings when assessing a new air conditioner or heat pump, particularly if the equipment location is near bedrooms or living rooms.

Why is my AC system freezing up?

There are many items that can prompt your HVAC system to freeze up; most of them usually need to be corrected by a professional technician. Determining the air filter is clean or replaced and confirming the airflow is not restricted are about the only things a homeowner should safely investigate or handle themself.

Low refrigerant: Sometimes, freezing up is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, leaking valves or loose fittings can cause leaks. How long your system has been operating and the kind and location of the leak will determine whether to have the system repaired or replaced.

Dirty evaporator coil: As time passes, the evaporator coil will become dirty. On these occasions, the results are similar to those of having a dirty filter. Increasingly you will lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or is not cooling adequately. You will need to contact your local Xtreme HVAC Services sales and service center to remedy the problem.

Defective blower motor or relay: A blower motor running at an improper speed or not running at all can cause freezing. It can also be sporadic, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. Either way, you will need to contact your local Xtreme HVAC Services sales and service center to correct the problem.

Should you learn that your system was freezing due to a dirty air filter, after replacing or cleaning the filter, you can speed up the thawing process by turning the system off and then turning on only the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact Xtreme HVAC Services Heating & Air Conditioning in Miami Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach to fix the problem.

I need help troubleshooting a problem with my equipment.

As your local Service & Repair dealer and your troubleshooting expert, we'll be glad to help you. Should we encounter a situation that requires additional factory help, we will contact our factory supported Service Manager(s) for assistance.

What is a Precision Tune-up and how much does it cost?

In addition to the comprehensive visual inspection that comes with our System Inspection, a Precision Tune-up also consists of a complete maintenance cleaning and lubrication of the heating or air conditioning equipment components. Discover more here about Xtreme HVAC Services’s Precision Tune-up steps . The cost of a tune-up varies by season, and printable coupons with seasonal discounts on tune-ups can often be found on our Specials & Rebate page.

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Since they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. With programmable thermostats you can control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. Because everything is automatic, you will never forget to change the setting on your own.

What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?

Standard filters work to keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality. To do that you need a media air cleaner. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal up to seven times that of a standard filter. However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity. For optimal efficiency and filtration, we recommend that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

How long should my air conditioning system last?

Typically an air conditioning/heating system will last 10-12 years. Beyond that, efficiency steadily declines. New, more energy-efficient systems can cut electrical consumption up to 50%, providing substantial savings on your electric or gas bills. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.

How do I know if I have an existing warranty on my furnace, air conditioner or HVAC system?

Find the label on the exterior of the element of your home comfort system for a manufacture date. If the equipment is less than five years old it may have a warranty, but also may not based on the manufacturer. Warranty terms and conditions vary by manufacturer and the installing company. Xtreme Service & Repair can figure out the warranty status of your heating and cooling system via System Inspection.

What is the Heat Pump?

Is it better than an air conditioner? In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in reverse and heats the indoors. A common complaint about heat pumps is that the air coming out of the registers is not hot enough. Heat pumps need auxiliary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to help them when it is extremely cold or when the thermostat is moved more than 2 degrees at a time. However, here in the moderate climate of South Florida, heat pumps can provide dramatic savings, particularly if you have electric heating.

What is HVAC?

HVAC represents Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. HVAC is commonly employed to describe the whole heating and cooling system including of the duct work, air filters, humidification controls, and registers.

What is the difference between a Split System and a Package Unit?

Residential air conditioning/heating systems can be split systems or single package systems. Most are split systems. A split system has one of its heat exchangers (which includes the compressor) located outdoors and the other (the indoor coil) located indoors. A single package system has both heat exchangers located in the same unit, usually outdoors.

Is it OK to replace only the condensing unit, and not the air handler in my Split System?

Replacing only the indoor (air handler) or only the outdoor (condensing) unit of a system can result in a mismatch that compromises efficiency. It is ideal to buy and install both units together. However, in most cases it can be done. A licensed contractor can recommend the most compatible equipment, and discuss any disadvantages with you.

When changing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be substituted?

The answer is, most likely yes. Here's why.

Matched System Design: All air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units are specially constructed to work with a matched indoor unit for ideal efficiency and performance. The consequence of this matched equipment is a harmonized, top-performance team that ensures dependability and efficiency. Air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units may "work" with indoor units other than those for which they have been precisely designed; however, the effect would be a definite compromise in system performance.

Design Advances: Over time, indoor blower coil units have undergone many design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. The latest outdoor unit will also comprise the latest design advances.

Higher Cooling And Heating Efficiency: The cooling and/or heating efficiency ratings that are posted for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on their performance as matched systems. While changing only the outdoor unit may give you improved efficiency when compared with your old system, but efficiency will suffer from what it was designed to be, and your savings will be lower than with a matched system.

Equipment Age: If an air conditioner or heat pump is 10 years old or more and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is likely just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of constant operation over the years. Replacing both units means you won't have to substitute the indoor unit in a brief time period… you'll have many years of efficient service from both units.

New Warranty: A new unit also delivers you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit together with the outdoor unit results in peace of mind, knowing that the new warranty covers the entire system for the same period of time.

A Bargain: At first glance, replacing only the outdoor air conditioner or heat pump may appear to be a bargain. But, when you consider the lower cooling and heating efficiencies, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership that results, it's not such a bargain. Replacing an entire system may cost more, but the result is efficiency, reliability and comfort for years into the futur

I know a friend who says he can instal a new Air Conditioner for me, and save me lots of money... Is this s good idea?

Be sure that he has experience, is licensed (HVAC), obtains all required permits, meets all county code requirements, and has adequate insurance. If he meets these requirements, you may save some money. However, keep in mind that you will be dependent on him and his schedule for warranty repairs. Just be sure you are not getting a "cheap" installation that will cost you more in the long run.

How does Xtreme Service & Repair determine the size of air conditioning system to instal?

Our trained technicians measure your home and calculate the heating and cooling load on the home (based on window size and direction, walls, ceiling, floor, appliances, insulation, current equipment and ductwork). This will determine the proper size of equipment that is needed.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

An air conditioner that is "oversized" will cool your home more quickly, but will not be as energy efficient and will not remove humidity adequately. If your ductwork is not big enough for the "oversized" unit, the coil may freeze and then the system won't work at all. We recommend a system that will cool your home to 75 degrees when it is 95 degrees outside, and then adjust slightly if needed to meet your temperature preferences.

Does Xtreme Service & Repair take care of all necessary permits?

Yes. We always obtain the necessary permits, and post them as required. A county inspector will be scheduled to inspect the newly installed equipment typically several weeks after the installation to ensure all code requirements have been met.

How often should I schedule maintanance check on my air conditioner?

Here in South Florida, you should have an annual check-up completed on your system. Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to keep it operating properly, efficiently, and safely. Florida Air Services offers a 1-year preventative maintenance agreement for our customers' convenience. As a PMA customer, we take the hassle out of remembering to take care of your air conditioner. We contact you annually to schedule the necessary maintenance for your system, and in addition, you're eligible for discounts on any needed service or new equipment. Call today for complete information.

How often should I check my filter?

It's a good idea to check it monthly, and clean or replace it as needed. A good tip for remembering is to check it each month when your electric bill arrives. Clean filters reduce energy usage, and save you money! They also help prolong the life of your system.

Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary by quality and size, and some have technology that others don't. Mostly we recommend using the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing up with your installed system, but you may be tempted to try a different filter type for convenience or to remove extra pollutants from your home.

Filters have something called MERV ratings, which range from 1-20. MERV is an acronym for "minimum efficiency reporting value". A higher MERV rating equates to fewer particles pass through, and it captures finer particulates. This sounds fantastic, and it can be, but a filter that stops finer dust and dirt will also build up more often, and pressure on your system will increase. If your system has not been designed to work with this kind of filter, it can reduce your airflow around your house, affecting your comfort and energy costs. So what should you look for? Unless you're buying for a hospital, you probably don't need a MERV rating above 13. In fact, most residential systems are specifically designed to work with a filter with a MERV rating below 13, and frequently you will discover that higher end systems have been made to function with a MERV rating of 8 or 11. All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should block most of the everyday nuisances people care about such as pollen, pet dander, and dirt. While some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, we recommend hiring a pro to clean out any mold from your home you find, instead of trying to delay the issue with a finer filter.

Often the packaging indicates how often your filter should be replaced. There are one-month filters and there are 3-month filters. There are also filters that are made flat like screen windows, and you have some that are ridged with supporting wire. In our experience, the accordian style filters hold up better, and are worth a little extra.

You may also consider washable filters, also known as reusable filters. Some homeowners like the environmentally friendly aspect of it, since they don't add to a wasteyard, and others consider it more convenient to simply yank out the filter and hose it off rather than making a run to the local hardware store for a filter of the proper size. These filters are often designed to endure several years and will save you cash over those years, though they are more expensive initially. However, washable filters have to be dried out thoroughly before placing it back to eliminate mold growth in your ducts. In addition, most washable filters reportedly have a MERV rating between 1 and 4, and they lose their efficiency over the years. Some washable filters have been built with new tech, such as electrostatic air filters, that are meant to basically improve the MERV rating.

And lastly, filters are composed from different materials. Fiberglass filters are what we see most often, and are the disposable type. Polyester and pleated filters normally catch more debris, but also lessen the airflow in your house. And there are high efficiency particulate arrestance filters, or you might recognize the acronym HEPA. While you may be tempted to buy a HEPA filter, just consider that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system and it's very unlikely that your unit was made to handle that kind of resistance.

Can indoor air be hazardous to your health?

No doubt about it. Exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, making indoor air quality (IAQ) a critical component of home comfort. Many common household items contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric constantly emit fumes. Other sources of pollutants can include cleaning agents, paints and personal care products. The tight construction of today's homes also contributes significantly to poor IAQ. Things like weather stripping and storm doors are designed to save on energy costs. However, they also prevent proper ventilation by keeping indoor air in and outdoor air out. The result can be a buildup of contaminants within the home.

Poor IAQ can be attributed to aggravating several health problems. Medical groups report that as many as half of all illnesses are caused or aggravated by indoor air pollution. Pollutants within the home can cause homeowners to suffer from flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and respiratory irritation. Additionally, two existing health problems that can be helped by improving indoor air quality are allergies and asthma. By removing airborne dust particles, the amount of exposure the respiratory system has to them is reduced. Proper ventilation also plays an important role in improving indoor air quality, helping to reduce the concentration of pollutants inside the home.

How can I eliminate indoor odors?

You may have tried to eliminate indoor odors by spraying air fresheners or lighting candles. Unfortunately, these tactics only mask the odors, they don't get rid of them. These remedies may in fact negatively affect indoor air quality from chemicals that cause allergic reactions or eye irritation for homeowners.

Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home's odor problem. One method to purify the air is installing germicidal (UV) lights in your home, which helps kill odors and inhibit the growth of biological contaminants, sterilizing surfaces in the HVAC system. They also purify the air, preventing the growth of contaminants. The UV lights are installed to work with your home comfort system.

Sometimes poor ventilation can be attributed to unpleasant odors. Moisture condensation on walls windows and stuffy air are signs of poor ventilation. A qualified Service Experts technician can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is an issue that should be addressed. The technician can also inform you how you could increase the ventilation system’s ability to properly circulate and ventilate indoor air.

Should I set my thermostat fan to "ON" or "AUTO"?

For most people, AUTO is the preferred setting. When set on AUTO, the fan only comes on to circulate the air when the system comes on (either heat or cool). However, for people with respiratory problems, it may be beneficial to set the thermostat on the ON position so that the air is continuously being circulated and cleaned through the filter. The system is more energy efficient when set on AUTO.

Should I repair or replace my system?

It depends upon the age of your equipment, how long you plan to live in your home, the cost and nature of the needed repair, valid warranties, your budget, and other factors. If your air conditioner is more than 6 years old, you may want to consider replacement vs. a costly repair. You may find that by financing a new, energy efficient system, your savings on your monthly utility bill exceeds your monthly payment for the new system. It is often worth a closer look.

What is a Service Call fee?

A Service Call fee is a charge for the effort associated with the time and travel to diagnose, inspect and share expert recommendations for a home's heating or air conditioning system by a certified professional technician. Coupons for the Service Call fee are often available on our web site or by email when joining our Email Club at the bottom of this page.

Why don't you charge by the hour?

Similar to a value menu at many restaurants, charging a flat rate cost as opposed to an hourly fee provides more value for our customers, because nothing is excluded - the pricing is up-front, and it does not adjust. Regardless of the cost of parts or amount of time it takes to complete the repairs, the price will not change. This reason is one of many why Xtreme HVAC Services is the most trusted name in South Florida.

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