Heating & Cooling FAQs
Installation and Repair
- What does HVAC mean?
- Should I repair or replace my furnace? When is it time?
- What factors should I consider when selecting a furnace to replace my old system?
- How do I know which size furnace is right for my home?
- How much should I expect to spend on a new heating and/or cooling system?
- What is the average time it takes to install a new unit?
- If I have a boiler and want to replace my heating system, can I buy a furnace?
- What are the benefits of buying a furnace from Blue Ox Heating & Air versus one from a big box retailer?
- How often should I have my current unit serviced?
- Why do I need to replace my filters regularly? Is it really a big deal if I don’t replace my furnace filters?
- What is the life expectancy of a new furnace?
- How do I become more energy efficient with my heating and cooling system?
- Which uses more power? Keep it running non-stop or turning the system “off” and “on”?
- How can I prolong the life of my HVAC system?
- Is there anything I can check on before calling a technician?
Cold Climate Considerations
- What are some major maintenance differences for furnaces in colder vs. warmer climates?
- How do I ensure my furnace won’t go out in the middle of the winter?
- What are the benefits of a whole house humidifier in cold climates?
Indoor Air Quality
- What are the benefits of installing UV lights in my home?
- What is an electrostatic filter?
- What are HEPA filters?
General Heating and Cooling Questions
What does HVAC mean?
HVAC is the technical term used in the industry referring to heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Basically, it refers to the heating and cooling system in your home as well as indoor air quality.
Should I repair or replace my furnace? When is it time?
Before making the decision to repair or replace your furnace, you should consult with a licensed heating and cooling technician. He or she will evaluate the furnace based on various factors like age, how well the furnace has been maintained and what type of repairs me be needed. Generally speaking, furnaces last between 10-20+ years for those that have been properly maintained over the years.
What factors should I consider when selecting a furnace to replace my old system?
The first factor is that a heating and cooling technician will determine what size furnace is required for your space by code. More about the right size furnace is found below.
Efficiency is major factor that pops up into peoples’ minds. If you are looking for a high efficiency furnace, look for the SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient your furnace will be.
A third major factor is what price range you are looking to spend. Blue Ox Heating & Air offers financing options to help spread out costs and give you what you are looking for.
How do I know which size furnace is right for my home?
One of our technicians will come out to your house and perform a heat loss calculation. Only licensed professionals with knowledge of city codes should be trusted in your home. We measure the house, check windows, find where heat is escaping, etc. From there, we will tell you what size furnace you need to adhere to city codes.
How much should I expect to spend on a new heating and/or cooling system?
There is no one size fits all answer. This truly depends on what size system you need, what level of efficiency you desire and many other factors. A first step would be to call Blue Ox Heating & Air to schedule a technician to meet with you one on one and give you estimates based on your exact needs.
What is the average time it takes to install a new unit?
If I have a boiler and want to replace my heating system, can I buy a furnace?
The short answer: Yes. Our technicians are experts in heating and cooling and no job is too big or difficult for them.
The long answer: No. Choosing to replace a boiler system with a furnace system is generally very expensive and not worth the cost to switch. Furnace and central air require ductwork throughout the entire house, which is why this option is so costly.
What are the benefits of buying a furnace from Blue Ox Heating & Air versus one from a big box retailer?
The problem with buying a new furnace from a big box retailer lies in the fact that they sub-contract the work out to the lowest bidder oftentimes. If you have questions or concerns about your unit after it has been installed, you can never go back to the retailer to talk to them about the product installed. This leaves you to go to the manufacturer of the furnace to get questions answered. At Blue Ox, we are here to talk to you 24 hours a day.
The difference with Blue Ox Heating & Air is that we are bonded, licensed and permitted for the cities we do work in. You can rest easy knowing that your services were done up to code and correct the first time. All of our technicians are also background checked, which is promised by the big box retailers. We also offer a 100% money back guarantee.
How often should I have my current unit serviced?
Air conditioners should be serviced once a year in the spring, ideally before use in the summer.
Furnaces should be serviced also once a year, but in the fall before use in the winter.
Why do I need to replace my filters regularly? Is it really a big deal if I don’t replace my furnace filters?
Dirt and dust is the number one killer of air conditioners and furnaces. The debris gets caught in the filters, which restricts airflow. This causes the system to heat up and makes everything work harder to maintain a certain level of output. It will cause premature failure in all equipment, which is why replacing filters is so necessary.
What is the life expectancy of a new furnace?
An unmaintained furnace will live between 8-12 years. A well maintained furnace can last up to 20 years, and beyond in some cases.
How do I become more energy efficient with my heating and cooling system?
If you don’t want to upgrade to a new energy efficient system completely, a less expensive choice is to install a programmable thermostat. This gives you better control of how and when you heat and cool your home, saving you money. Even lowering the thermostat one degree every night or when you leave the house can knock off upwards of 10% off your energy bills.
Which uses more power? Keep it running non-stop or turning the system “off” and “on”?
It is recommended that you keep your system within 5-10 degrees of the normal temperature even when you are away from your home. Having a programmable thermostat can help efficiently regulate temperature fluctuations throughout the day and night. Turning the system form “on” to “off” can be tougher on the system and won’t save you as much money as you think.
How can I prolong the life of my HVAC system?
Change filters regularly by the manufacturer’s recommendation – dirt and dust will shorten the life of your system. Annual service check ups are also recommended in the spring for air conditioners and in the fall for furnaces. We can catch problems with the system before it is too late.
Is there anything I can check on before calling a technician?
Listen to the system; your ears are really good at hearing if there is a problem. If something sounds wrong, it is probably time to have a technician come out. If you feel hot and cold spots in your home, you may not have the right size furnace or the correct fans to divide air throughout your home. Again, a licensed technician can diagnose your problem quickly and get your home back to normal.
Cold Climate Considerations
What are some major maintenance differences for furnaces in colder vs. warmer climates?
If you live in a cold climate like Minnesota, it is even more imperative you have your heating and cooling systems looked at annually. In cold environments, your system has to work harder to heat your home. Also, because Minnesota air is relatively humid, it takes even longer to heat or cool.
How do I ensure my furnace won’t go out in the middle of the winter?
Having an annual checkup and regular maintenance throughout the season will help ensure your furnace won’t go out when you need it most. It is better to be proactive rather than reactive.
What are the benefits of a whole house humidifier in cold climates?
When it becomes cold, relatively speaking, humidifiers will make it feel warmer and helps with breathing and other dry spell symptoms like bloody noses. It helps make the air more comfortable in your home.
Indoor Air Quality Questions
What are the benefits of installing UV lights in my home?
UV lights keep the coil inside your furnace clean. Coils covered with dirt and dust restrict airflow and performance. The UV light will kill anything organic – from dirt to dust, viruses to bacteria, pollens to odors. So not only will it help your system run better, it will also purify the air.
What is an electrostatic filter?
It is an electrified filter that actually attracts dirt and dust, so it doesn’t restrict airflow like traditional filters. They take roughly 10-20 times more particles out of the air. However, any filter is better than no filter.
What are HEPA filters?
HEPA filters create basically the cleanest air you can have in your home. They create hospital grade air throughout your home. Check out our HEPA filter page to learn more!