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FAQs

What does HVAC stand for?
HVAC is the acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. As HVAC specialists, we have the experience and knowledge to diagnose and repair your heating systems and air conditioning. You may need a HVAC contractor when upgrading your home, moving into a new home, or any time you are experiencing climate issues in your home.

When should I replace my heating, cooling and ventilation system?
You should consider the age, efficiency, performance and frequency of system usage. An indoor weather system that is more than 10 years old is likely driving your energy costs up and should be replaced. Does your system break down often? Replacing parts to an inefficient system is not likely going to solve your problem. Systems operating in extreme weather conditions will need to be replaced more often than one that is not operating as often.

When should I repair my heating, cooling and ventilation system?
If your equipment is in good condition, repairing it may be the right thing to do. Deciding whether to replace or repair is always a tough decision, but our team of experts will be happy to assist you in making that decision. You should have your equipment serviced at least once (but preferably twice) a year to be inspected, cleaned and adjusted. It will reduce risks and allow a team of professionals to repair a problem before it results in system failure.

How can I reduce energy costs in different seasons?
At Hines Heating & Air Conditioning we can help keep homeowners cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In the winter you want to reduce heated air from escaping to the outside. You can do this by keeping your garage closed, using clean filters and lowering your thermostat by a degree or two to save on your heating bills. In the summer, set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Remember not to place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. Ceiling fans and whole house fans help cool your home by circulating air more effectively. Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning unit and it will use less electricity. If you're ready to improve the efficiency in your home, contact us and ask about an energy audit program to identify areas where homes waste energy and money.

Should I trust the Yellow Pages in searching for HVAC repair?
The Yellow Pages will not help you in the selection process for a contractor. The Yellow Pages is outdated and static. There is limited information offered, which will not help you distinguish between the different contractors. A website is informative and interactive. Check out your options on the web!

Is there anything I can do before calling Hines Heating & Air Conditioning?
Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown. Check your home or office's airflow. Air filters should be clean and vents should be open and uncovered. Look at your thermostat to make sure the system is set on the appropriate settings.

What does SEER stand for and how does it relate to me?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Your SEER number measures the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the number the greater your energy savings are. Manufacturers build systems with SEER ratings which need to have a 13.0 rating or higher. More HVAC terms and definitions are available here.

What does Energy Star mean?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has standards for heating and cooling products. The Energy Star marks high-efficiency and energy savings, and investing in such equipment can result in lower utility bills.

What is the average lifespan of heating and cooling equipment?
Most systems have a lifetime of 10-12 years, but we suggest you get your system inspected for efficiency and performance by a professional after 5 years. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency subsequently decreases and may need repairs more often. Preventative maintenance can prolong the life of the equipment.

How often should I clean my furnace?
It is highly recommended that you have your furnace cleaned and checked annually. It may need servicing more often if it is older. Carbon Monoxide can leak out of cracks that develop within a furnace over time. For your safety, it is important to have a professional eye maintain your furnace.

Should I have my ducts cleaned?
Yes. Dirty air ducts can make you sick, impact your utility bills, make your house dirtier and eventually cause system failure. Mold buildup, rodents, dust, debris and other particles can contaminate your ducts. Hines Heating & Air Conditioning suggests cleaning your ducts every 3-5 years. Schedule an appointment immediately if members of your household experience unusual symptoms that may be related to the environment within your home. Read Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals and The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for preventable tips for IAQ problems.

What is duct cleaning?
Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

What are the benefits of a humidifier?
A humidifier will reduce the discomfort people experience with dry air, such as itchy skin and a hard time breathing. Dry indoor air can also inflict damage on your furniture. A humidifier, when used properly, can reduce your energy bill.

Can I plant or garden around my outdoor unit?
Yes, actually shaded units use less electricity than the same ones operating in the sunlight. Make sure you plant the trees or shrubs far enough away so that they do not obstruct airflow.

How often should I change the filters in my home or building?
Replace the filters as often as instructed, but regularly inspect them. Most filters need to be changed every month. Dirty filters will limit the airflow and increase the cost of your utility bills.

Should I turn the air off when I am not home?
No, just turn the temperature up a few degrees to be closer to the outdoor temperature. The AC unit will not have to work as hard when you return as it would if you turned it completely off.

How do I know what size system I need?
There are important factors to be considered when determining the system size for your home. Our team will consider the local climate, humidity, shade, insulation, occupants, appliances, windows, and square feet to be cooled. A system that is too large for your home will cool or heat your house quickly, but maybe too quickly, which can result moisture/mold issues. A system that is too small will not be able to meet your needs, especially in extreme weather conditions.

How do I protect my home or building from Carbon Monoxide pollutants?
Because you cannot see or smell Carbon Monoxide, it is important to understand where it comes from and some of the symptoms. At low levels, the deadly gas can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Most people find themselves more at risk in the winter months. Please be careful with space heaters, gas stoves, and fireplaces. We also recommend you allow plenty of air flow in rooms where these items are used. Ask us about getting carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.

How do I know if my home or building has poor air quality?
Are you often uncomfortable with the indoor climate? Identifying what it is about your current system that makes you uncomfortable will help you resolve it with our specialists. For example, let us know if the air in your home is too cold, overly hot, overly humid, has lingering odors or you suffer from indoor allergies.

What equipment requires preventative maintenance?
All of it! At least once a year heat pumps and air conditioners require inspection by a professional. We recommend scheduling at least one tune-up on your equipment every year. We recommend getting boilers, chimneys, ductwork, dampers, the gas meter, furnaces, pipes, pumps, the oil tank, radiators and valves inspected. The compressor, coils, fan and refrigerant lines require inspection as well. Contact us if you have questions on a particular part of your HVAC unit and important preventative maintenance.

What are the symptoms of an unhealthy home or building?
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Sinusitis, Sinus Infection, Bronchitis and long-lasting Headaches
  • Fatigue, Irritability
  • Reduced Concentration
  • Asthma
  • Dry Skin

How much are preventative maintenance services going to cost?
Contact us about the rates of our services and products. Hines Heating & Air Conditioning will help you find the most efficient and affordable solution to your HVAC needs.


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