Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I need regular (or preventive) furnace and air conditioning maintenance? How often?
Regular maintenance can help ensure your system operates efficiently, extends its lifespan, and maintains good indoor air quality. Maintenance can also catch minor issues before they turn into major problems. Additionally, many manufacturers require regular maintenance to keep the warranty valid.
It’s advisable to have a professional perform routine maintenance at least twice a year to keep indoor and outdoor units functioning properly. Regular maintenance not only saves you money in the long run but also ensures your heating and cooling system operates effectively and maintains a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.
- What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
A programmable thermostat can make your home more comfortable, save you money on energy bills, and reduce your environmental impact by optimizing your heating and cooling system’s operation. The specific features and benefits of programmable thermostats can vary depending on the model and brand you choose. A Blue Ox technician would be happy to help walk you through your options.
- What type of filter should I use? And how often should I replace it?
Conventional filters are designed to maintain the cleanliness of your HVAC system and its ductwork. However, their capacity to enhance indoor air quality is somewhat limited. In contrast, a media air cleaner excels at capturing tiny particles. Positioned between the primary return duct and the blower cabinet, it significantly enhances the removal of dust and particles, outperforming standard filters by up to sevenfold. Switching to a pleated media filter can effectively eliminate a wide range of contaminants, from dust to airborne viruses, from the filtered air. It’s essential to select a filter that matches your blower’s capacity for optimal performance. To ensure top-notch efficiency and filtration, we recommend replacing disposable filters on a monthly basis. In the case of washable filters, cleaning them monthly during periods of heavy usage is advisable.
- Why is my HVAC system making strange noises?
Your heating and cooling system can make strange noises for various reasons. These noises may be indicative of underlying issues with the system. Common reasons for unusual noises include:
- Ductwork issues
- Blower fan problems
- Ice on the evaporator coils
- Neglected maintenance
- Clogged filters
- Leaves or debris in the system
- System age and wear
- Loose or worn parts
If your system is making strange noises, it’s a good idea to address the issue promptly. Ignoring these noises can often lead to more significant problems down the road. It’s a good idea to have a Blue Ox technician inspect your system to diagnose and resolve the issue.
- What size furnace and air conditioning equipment is right for my home?
Numerous factors can influence the size of your system, such as the area’s size, insulation quality, window dimensions and layout, your residence’s geographical location, and the sizing and layout of your ductwork. A Blue Ox technician is ready to conduct an in-home load assessment to determine the ideal equipment combinations tailored to your household’s specific requirements. Depending on the construction of your home, a single air conditioning ton has the capacity to cool a range from 300 to 800 square feet. To ensure the system you invest in is precisely the right size, neither undersized nor oversized for your needs, it’s a good idea to enlist the expertise of a Blue Ox pro who can evaluate your heating and cooling demands.
- What is the life expectancy of my unit?
The typical lifespan of heating and cooling systems is around 10 years. However, this duration can vary based on factors specific to your equipment. Elements influencing longevity include the system’s type, local climate conditions, and the consistency of regular maintenance.
- How do I choose the right contractor for installation and repairs?
It’s always a good idea to thoroughly vet your HVAC contractor before you choose one. Here’s what you should look for:
- Are they appropriately licensed and certified to work in your area?
- Do they have insurance?
- Will they check for permits?
- Are they clear about payment terms? Are work details outlined in a written contract?
- Will their expected timeline for the project align with my needs?
- Do they offer warranties on equipment and workmanship?
- What does their reputation look like? Do they have a lot of positive customer reviews?
At Blue Ox, we can answer “yes” to all of the above. Our technicians and installers are some of the best in the business. We hope you’ll choose to work with us when the time comes!
- How does a heat pump work and is it good for my climate?
A heat pump is a versatile and energy-efficient heating and cooling system that works by transferring heat from one location to another, depending on whether you need heating or cooling.
In heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air, ground, or a water source and then amplifies and transfers it into your home’s indoor space. This process is achieved through a refrigeration cycle that involves the use of a special refrigerant. The refrigerant circulates between an indoor and an outdoor unit, where it alternates between a gas and a liquid state. When in the outdoor unit, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor environment and evaporates, turning into a gas. This gas is then compressed, raising its temperature, and it releases the heat inside your home as it condenses back into a liquid. The warm air is then distributed through your home’s ductwork or other means.
Conversely, in cooling mode, the heat pump can reverse this process, extracting heat from your indoor space and expelling it outdoors, effectively cooling your home.
The ability to both heat and cool makes heat pumps highly efficient and environmentally friendly, as they use minimal energy to move heat instead of generating it, making them a compelling option for many homeowners.
Heat pumps are highly versatile and can work well in a wide range of climates, even in a colder climate like Minnesota. To learn more about whether a heat pump is right for you, it’s never a bad idea to connect with a friendly and knowledgeable technician from Blue Ox!
- Can I install an HVAC system myself, or do I have to hire someone?
While there are many DIY projects that homeowners can tackle, HVAC installation is generally not recommended. The number one reason is safety – HVAC systems involve electricity, refrigerants, gas lines, and potentially dangerous components. Beyond simply keeping you and your family alive, other reasons to hire a professional may include:
- Pulling permits and knowing codes
- Keeping warranties intact
- Knowledge of how to use highly specialized tools
- A bad installation can lead to a highly inefficient system
- HVAC pros have the experience to troubleshoot problems that may arise
If you’re considering replacing or installing a new heating and air conditioning system, it’s highly recommended that you consult with a licensed HVAC contractor – like someone from Blue Ox! Hiring a pro may cost more upfront, but it will save you money, time, and trouble in the long run.
- How can I improve the energy efficiency of my HVAC system?
Improving the energy efficiency of your HVAC system can lead to lower energy bills and a reduced environmental impact. In order to enhance system efficiency, you should always schedule regular professional maintenance from Blue Ox, amongst other things.
Additionally, regularly changing filters, upgrading to a new system, improving insulation, or even just adding a programmable thermostat are great ways to boost energy efficiency. Call a pro from Blue Ox to discuss which options are right for you!