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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change or clean my filters?

During normal operation your filters become dirty and need to be replaced about once a month. Special situations such as exceptionally dusty surroundings or lengthened runtimes may require you to change them more often. Always remember to replace them with the same kind and size, unless instructed otherwise by an HVAC professional.
If you’re tired of constantly buying new filters to replace the ones you’re throwing away, ask us about our lifetime filters like the Permatron® media filter or Trane’s® Perfect Fit™ electronic air cleaner. Not only will you eliminate the need to buy replacement filters, but your home can be healthier for you and your family as well since these filters remove far more of the airborne pollutants we breathe in on a daily basis.

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What exactly is a “ton” of air conditioning, and how many of them do I need for my home?

Simply put, a “ton” is the term our industry uses to describe the capacity of your air conditioner or heat pump. One ton of air conditioning is equivalent to 12,000 Btu’s of cooling (and heating, if you have a heat pump). The number of tons required to heat and cool your home depends on a number of important factors. Among these factors are the square footage of your home, the height of your ceilings, the size and type of all your windows, the direction your home faces, how well your home is insulated, and even the number of people who live with you. Of course a system that is too small just won’t be able to do the job. On the other hand, one that is oversized will cost you more than necessary to operate, create problems with excess humidity, and shorten the lifespan of your equipment.

To have one of our Comfort Consultants evaluate your particular needs and match you with the perfectly sized system, please Contact Us.

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Should I ever cover my outdoor unit?

Covering your outdoor unit is not necessary. Doing so will actually prevent it from performing its job. To operate correctly, your heat pump must be able to circulate air into and out of its cabinet. If you’re concerned about damage to some of the internal components, a Trane® XLi heat pump will set your mind at ease with its WeatherGuard II™ top. This unique design shelters these units year round.

The inside of your heat pump stays free of any debris that might blow off your roof or out of trees on those windy spring days. The same is true during summertime thunderstorms. And hail? Hail just harmlessly ricochets off and onto the ground where it belongs. Falling leaves in autumn won’t choke your system either. And worrying about snow and ice in the winter becomes a thing of the past.

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How can I control the humidity in my house?

Is humidity a problem in your home? Is it muggy in the summer and too dry in the winter? Don’t worry; you’re not the only one who has these concerns. 

Removing unwanted moisture in your home is one of the primary functions of your home’s air conditioning system, however to do this the equipment and ductwork must be sized and installed correctly. Appropriately sized systems have sufficient capacity, run times that are long enough, and ample airflow to pull excess humidity out your home. Precisely designing a system for your home keeps you more comfortable. It can also save you money in the process. If dehumidifying your home a little more in the summer allows you to set the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees higher, you should notice a difference in your energy bills. 

Winter may pose the opposite problem for you…your home’s humidity level may become too low. This often causes skin irritations, dried out sinuses, damage to hardwood floors and furniture, and general discomfort. Regardless of whether you have a heat pump or a gas, oil, or electric furnace we can design a whole-house humidification system to meet your needs. 

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How will the EPA’s new regulations regarding R-410a refrigerant affect me?

Due to mounting environmental concerns, in 2003 the Environmental Protection Agency passed the Montreal Protocol Act. This piece of legislation has already had a significant impact on the heating and air conditioning industry and will continue to do so in the coming years. Among other things, it laid the groundwork for the phase out of R-22, an ozone-depleting HCFC refrigerant used in most HVAC systems around the world. The refrigerant that has been designed to take its place is R-410a. A new R-410a system is not only better for the environment, it also allows new equipment to run quieter and be more efficient.

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Are there any advantages to using the fan’s “On” setting versus the “Auto” setting on my thermostat?

Switching your fan into the “on” position provides several benefits that may not be immediately obvious to many homeowners. The first benefit is continuous filtration. As the air circulates through your system, it is constantly being passed through your filters. As a result, the quality of the air in your home improves.

Another advantage to operating your system’s fan continuously is even air distribution. Why should you care if the air is evenly distributed throughout your home? This can eliminate many of the hot and cold spots you may experience when your fan only runs while providing heating or cooling.

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How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?

Manufacturers generally agree that plants or other obstructions should be no closer than eighteen inches to your heat pump. Any closer and they may restrict the intake and exhaust of air necessary for your system to operate properly.

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Why should I replace my entire system when my outdoor unit is the only thing not working?

Air conditioners and heat pumps are specifically designed to function best with certain indoor pieces of equipment. If you replace only one part of the system, you won’t benefit from the changes in technology that increase efficiencies, prolong the life of the equipment, and make you more comfortable. Another consideration to be made is the refrigerant in your current system. The type used in most heat pumps and air conditioners today, R-22, is being phased out and replaced by a new, more environmentally friendly refrigerant, R-410a.

Replacing just your outdoor unit will require you go back with one that operates with R-22. Should your indoor unit need replacing within a few years, you’ll face the same problem. Even if R-22 equipment is still available at that time you’ll be stuck with an outdated system that will cost you significantly more to maintain than a new R-410a system. To learn more about these important changes and how they will affect you, click here.

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How much will a new heating and air conditioning system cost?

Purchasing a new heating and air conditioning system is one of the largest and most important investments that can be made for your home. A number of things will determine the cost of your new system.

  • The first step in making this determination is to perform an accurate load survey on your home so that the right size (capacity) equipment is selected.
  • Afterward your ductwork needs to be inspected to see if any repairs or alterations should be made.
  • Once you know how much heating and cooling is required and if any duct repair is necessary, you’ll have to make just a few decisions. These will include the manufacturer and efficiency rating of your new system.
  • You’ll pay a little more for well-built equipment with high efficiencies, but you’ll save money in the long run with lower energy bills and fewer repair costs.
  • Lastly we’ll help you decide if any accessories such as humidifiers, electronic air cleaners, programmable thermostats, etc. can be installed with your new system to improve indoor air quality, save you money, or maintain the highest level of comfort possible.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, it sure is and it can be a very stressful ordeal. That’s why we’re here. Just contact us and we’ll have one of our professional Comfort Consultants come to your home to assess your specific needs and find out exactly what you want in your new system.

We’ll take all the worry off your shoulders by matching you with a system that will provide years or hassle-free operation and exceed your expectations in every way.

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We would be happy to answer any other questions.  Please contact us.

Client Testimonials

"We have been very pleased with the service given by Mills Heating and Air Conditioning. The condensation drain was clogged, flooding an area of the basement and soaked the air filter. The technician arrived at the time he promised and completed the work with dispatch."

-K.S. Lynchburg VA