YOUR SOURCE FOR LOCAL PROFESSIONALS ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST

ASKthe

EXPERT

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JOHN BARNES

BARNES HEATING & AIR

 

Q: How often does an air conditioner need to have Freon added to it?

 

A: Air conditioners and heat pumps are sealed systems and should never need Freon added to them. If your system needs Freon, then it has a leak which needs to be found and fixed as soon as possible. A system with a chronic leak will shorten the life of the compressor and will not cool well, causing high power bills. Most Freon leaks are microscopic leaks in the tubing and can be difficult to find. We use several methods to find Freon leaks; including an electronic tester, bubbles, a dye charge, nitrogen isolation and a micron test. If your system has had Freon added to it this summer, mention this Ask the Expert article when you schedule your service call and we will include a FREE leak check.

 

Q: How often and when do I need to have my central heating and air system checked?

 

A: It is smart to have a technician check your system at the beginning of each season, the cooling season and the heating season. Like any other industry there is a direct correlation between cost and demand for HVAC service and repair. Now is the time to call for a cooling check up. If you wait for the summer heat to discover you have a problem, you will find the reliable HVAC companies are booked. Once the Coast heats up our technicians are busy installing replacement systems and doing emergency repairs, both of which cost you much more than maintaining or replacing your system before it is an emergency. At Barnes Heating and Air, we will come to your home, inspect your system and provide you with a list of recommendations, if any are needed, for only $69. Our certified technicians can usually provide you with an estimate and fix any maintenance or service issues while they are there. If you have any problems with your system during the cooling season we will repair it at no charge.* * Recommendations must be followed to qualify. The warranty does not cover outside coils or problems caused by abuse, neglect or an act of God.

 

Q: My husband and I bought an older, two story home which we love, however it does not have central heating and air. I hate the loud, ugly window units we have to use but there is no room between the floors for ducting. What can we do?

 

A: I have solved the same problem for many of my clients by installing ductless mini-split heating and cooling units. These heating and cooling systems provide individual room temperatures and whole home comfort year round. When installed properly they are quiet, can be virtually invisible and much more efficient than window units or even central systems. The ductless split heating and cooling systems are great for room additions, like the mother-in law suite, a new family or game room or my favorite, the garage aka “The MAN CAVE”. Call Barnes Heating and Air today for a free Home comfort consultation 832-9457

 

Q: Why does my heater smell when I turn the unit on?

 

A: Well Krystal, the smell you smell is the dust that has bypassed your filter and settled on the heat exchanger or heat strip. This smell typically goes away after the season’s first use. Now is great time to take care of it. While the weather is mild, I recommend that you turn your system on and let it run for five to ten minutes with the windows open this will allow the smell to dissipate. However, heat pumps are so efficient that you may not experience this until later in the season when the weather is much colder. If you experience any trouble or feel the smell is more of a concern call us and we will service your system. We recommend that you service your system every season. 228-832-9457

 

Q: Can a new cooling system really save as much money as claimed?

 

A: People will spend tens of thousands of dollars to purchase a fuel efficient vehicle that they only use for a few hours each day. If you apply that same theory to your home heating and cooling system, you can save money each month by installing an energy efficient system. Everyone’s situation can be a little different, here is an easy formula. For an 8 SEER 3 ton unit 12÷8 SEER = 1.5 Kilowatt (kw) per ton 1.5 X 3 = 4.5 kw 4.5 kw X 10 hours a day = 45 Kilowatt hour (kwh) a day 45 kwh X 30 days = 1350 kwh per month 1350 kwh X $.12 kwh = $162 per month For a new 15 SEER 3 ton unit 12÷15 SEER = .8 Kilowatt (kw) per ton .8 X 3 = 2.4 kw 2.4 kw X 10 hours a day = 24 Kilowatt hour (kwh) a day 24 kwh X 30 days = 720 kwh per month 720 kwh X $.12kwh = $86.40 per month You save $75.60 a month; this is money that you are overpaying the power company. Simply put the savings toward the purchase of a new system and spend your days being comfortable. Call us today to schedule a free in home estimate. 832-9457

 

Q: I purchased a new heating and cooling system two years ago. It is still under warranty, but the company I purchased it from is no longer in business. Can you do the warranty work?

 

A: Well, you are in the same boat a lot of people find themselves in. The “deal was good at the time,” now that company is no longer around. Don’t worry we can help. I will explain how a warranty works here at Barnes Heating & Air. A manufacture will generally have a basic warranty for the compressor and parts. An extended warranty parts and labor plan can also be purchased within a time limit of installation. An extended warranty covers all parts and labor generally for 10 years; maintenance, after hour’s service charges and acts of God are not covered. A warranty does not mean FREE. Basic manufactures’ warranties will cover the part only. For example a compressor replacement will need refrigerant recovery, new Freon, miscellaneous parts/ supplies, shipping/freight to get the part here, and labor to actually remove the old compressor and install the new one. An extended parts and labor warranty is fairly easy to transfer to a new dealer, call us and we can help with the paperwork. 228-832-9457

 

Q: I've heard you can actually have too large a heating and a/c unit for your home. Wouldn't a larger unit work less hard and last longer? Thanks for clearing this up.

 

A: Well, you are in the same boat a lot of people find themselves in. The “deal was good at the time,” now that company is no longer around. Don’t worry we can help. I will explain how a warranty works here at Barnes Heating & Air. A manufacture will generally have a basic warranty for the compressor and parts. An extended warranty parts and labor plan can also be purchased within a time limit of installation. An extended warranty covers all parts and labor generally for 10 years; maintenance, after hour’s service charges and acts of God are not covered. A warranty does not mean FREE. Basic manufactures’ warranties will cover the part only. For example a compressor replacement will need refrigerant recovery, new Freon, miscellaneous parts/ supplies, shipping/freight to get the part here, and labor to actually remove the old compressor and install the new one. An extended parts and labor warranty is fairly easy to transfer to a new dealer, call us and we can help with the paperwork. 228-832-9457

 

Q: Do you recommend digital thermostats? Is it better to install one myself or have a professional do it?

 

A: Thanks Kay, I do recommend digital thermostats. Like any other product digital technology is almost unlimited, look at cameras and televisions. Digital thermostats are mercury(Hg)free, thats safer for the environment. Digital thermostats are more accurate. They can have features such as back ligthing so you can change the temperture with out turning on the wall light, outdoor temperture displayed, short cycling protection during a breif power outage, energy saving usage program, system trouble display, touch screen, relative humidity display, remote access from a computer and I have even seen talking thermostats. Professionally installed basic non-programmable digital thermostats are under $300. You can buy a thermostat at the local big box store and it may work for you. I have found that most of those thermostats generally are not professional grade. Also Kay, our thermostats have another important feature on them our phone number 832-9457.

 

Q: What's the best filter to use in a home AC unit and why should you use one? Do the filters that say they last 3 months really last that long?

 

A: An Air Filter is a very important component of an HVAC system. There are hundreds of different types on the market. Alot of filter companies make the statement that they are a 3 month filter, this depends on how much you are using your system ( April usage is different than in July), plus if you have pets then you need to change the filetr more often. OK, you couldn't find your filter size at three different stores. So, you bought a washable filter. The label on the washable filter said Lifetime, great you think this solved one of your problems. Wrong it's not a filter at all, it is a "Homeowner System Wrecking Devise". Why you say, well I could sell these filters and make alot of money, truth is they restrict the air flow making your system work harder, raise your power bill. The dirt that gets though them is like baby power that will clog up the system and most of all they never get really clean. The label said Lifetime which means in leman terms just forget about it until the A/C stops working, than you clean it just before the Service Tech gets to your house. Every house can be different. I recommend yearly maintenance on your HVAC system and the BEST person to ask about a filter is the Service Tech. Now go throw away that washable filter and save your A/C!

 

Q: I'm thinking about replacing my home ac unit. Can you explain how the tax credit works?

 

A: Great question! Here is how the Federal Tax Credit works. For qualified energy-related home improvements, homeowners may be able to claim tax credits equal to 30 percent of their produt and installation costs, up to $1,500. These credits are valid for purchases and installations made from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. The $1,500 limit is for all improvements made during the two-year term, rather than $1,500 each year. Heating & Cooling products must meet the following: Split System Air Conditioner: 16 SEER, 13 EER Split System Heat Pump: 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF Gas Furnace: 95% AFUE Package A/C, Heat Pump: 14 SEER, 12 EER, 8 HSPF I know all these terms are crazy, its like this you have MPG HWY(Miles Per Gallon)and MPG CITY for your car same thing for Heating & Cooling products. The major point is the system MUST met all requirements to qualify. Here at Barnes Heating & Air we have been personally trained by the founder/ writer of ARI (the people who verify that the system meets the Governments' standards)and we print a copy of your certificate on each qualifing job so you can gave to your tax perparer. Thanks, please call us at 832-9457.

 

Q: Are heat pumps the way to go in this area? I have an older home and will probably have to replace my old gas/electric unit by summer. M.C.

 

A: Heat Pumps are the best way to go MOST of the time. A Heat Pump cools just like any other air conditioner there is no difference at all with cooling. The difference is with heating. If your homes' heat loss is less than 30 BTU's per sq. ft. it's best to use a heat pump. For a loss greater than 30 BTU's per sq. ft. then I would look at using a fossil fuel (a.k.a. gas) appliance. Even then I would prefer a dual fuel heat pump, that's simply a gas furnace with a heat pump piggy backed with it, and then you would have the best of both worlds. Heat Pumps are cheaper to operate than a gas furnace within the conditions I stated above. On page 2 of Trane's Homeowner Use & Care Booklet shows you how to keep SNOW off the outdoor unit. Heat Pumps are used in Canada and I have personally installed several heat pumps in New Jersey, so why not in the sub-tropics of South Mississippi?

 

Q: I have a 1 story 1400 square foot home. What size a/c-heating unit should I get?

 

A: Stacy, The square footage alone can not determine the correct size of a heating & cooling system. A Heat Gain/ Heat Loss Calculation combined with a Comfort Specialist Questionnarie would have to be preformed to correctly size YOUR heating & cooling system. The Caculation/Questionnaire even accounts for how many people live in the home, the appliances used, the orientation of your home to the sun and even how you plan to use the space. We here at Barnes Heating & Air can help you with the proper sizing and much more simply call 832-9457.

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