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Q: What is a tune-up?

A: A tune-up is when an HVAC system professional checks the key components of your system and makes adjustments to the system to keep it operating efficiently.

Q: What's included in a tune-up

A: Our service provider goes through a checklist during a furnace maintenance tune-up. It includes such tasks as these:

• Check carbon monoxide emission

• Check gas valve, lines and connections for leaks

• Check burners and heat exchangers

• Inspect visible ductwork and flue pipe for leaks

• Check unit for peak efficiency (adjust if necessary)

• Inspect indoor blower wheel and motor and record amp draw

• Inspect crankcase heater

• Inspect unit wiring and electrical disconnect

• Inspect ignition system and assembly

• Check and calibrate thermostat

Q: What determines if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?

A: If your unit is 8 years old or older, requires frequent repairs or stops working, fails to heat or cool areas of your home, runs excessively or constantly turns on and off, or produces high utility bills, it can be more economical to replace your existing system

Q: Will a bigger system perform better?

A: No, you don't want your air conditioner to be too large. Air conditioners control the comfort level in your home by cooling the air and by removing humidity. An oversized air conditioner can cool your home faster, but it will use more energy and will not remove humidity adequately. In addition, your existing ductwork may not be able to support the airflow of a larger system.

A unit that is too big for your home will have short run cycles. It can take only a short time to cool the air, but the unit shuts off before enough air blows across the indoor coil where moisture condenses into water and drains from your system. Too much moisture left in the air can lead to mold and mildew problems. These short run cycles also mean your system starts and stops more often which uses more energy and causes a lot of wear and tear. An air conditioner operates more efficiently during long run cycles.

The same holds true with heating systems. An over sized furnace can warm the house quicker, but it uses more fuel and causes greater temperature swings in the home.

Q: What is the average life expectancy of a system?

A: Most systems have a lifetime of 10 to 20 years. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. When a unit begins to show its age, you have two choices -- You can overhaul the system or replace it. Because heating and cooling technologies improve over time, a new system designed with newer, more energy-efficient equipment makes sense, especially if your system is 8 or more years old.

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