Resources, FAQs, and Helpful Tips

  • There are 2 settings for the fan on my thermostat: "automatic" and "on". Which setting should I use?

    The two positions are usually found if you have a central air cleaning system. The "automatic" setting means the fan's cycle will be controlled by the temperature in the room. However, if your home is equipped with an air cleaner or you wish to keep a continuous flow of air, switch the setting to "on". Central air cleaning devices only work when the furnace is circulating air, so if you wish to get the most from your air cleaner, you should keep the setting to "on".

  • Should I have my furnace cleaned and maintained every year?

    This is a good idea for a number of reasons. A cleaning means that your furnace will operate more efficiently, and thus, cost effectively. The cleaning also includes a thorough safety check of the entire unit for cracked, defective or damaged parts; if your parts are damaged, carbon monoxide could be leaking into your home without you even knowing it.

  • What temperature should I set my thermostat to if I go away for a long period during the winter?

    We recommend 55 degrees. It's low enough to save you energy and money but warm enough to protect your pipes and other vital parts of your structure.

  • How can I even out the heating and cooling in my home to get more to either the upstairs or downstairs?

    Adjust the registers on the wall or floor in the room where too much heat/cooling is present so that the registers are partially closed. For example, to get more heat upstairs during the winter, partially or fully close the registers downstairs to force more airflow to the registers upstairs.

    Another possible solution is a furnace equipped with a variable speed blower motor. These furnaces are designed to overcome airflow problems in a home, thus keeping the airflow steady throughout the entire house. These types of furnaces can also save considerable amounts of money in operating costs.

    Request an estimate on a new, cost-effective heating system.

  • How often should I change the standard filter on my furnace?

    You should change your standard furnace filter every 6-8 weeks. Use your own judgment as to when to change it, but don't let the filter get clogged, as this can cut down on the efficiency and/or cause damage to the unit.

  • How efficient is my standard filter in removing dirt and pollutants from the air?

    A standard 1" throw-away furnace filter is between 5-10% particle efficient. This means these filters will only trap about 5-10% of what passes through them. You can improve the efficiency of the filtration of your heating and/or cooling system by upgrading to either a media or electronic style filter. A media style filter's particle removal efficiency is 60-65%, while an electronic style filter is 90-95%. By upgrading to either of these styles, you will also cut down on maintenance costs on the system since dirty systems are the #1 cause for malfunction.

  • How can I make sure that my HVAC unit is safe to operate?

    Have your system checked annually for tiny cracks or perforations caused by the heat exchange. If you don't, and your furnace is burning inefficiently or incompletely, carbon monoxide can escape and fill the house, causing serious health problems, and potentially death, to occupants of the home.

  • What is a two-stage furnace?

    A two-stage furnace operates on two stages: low and high, which have preset BTU outputs. On most days, the furnace will operate at the low stage to only provide the heat you need to stay comfortable. On very cold days, however, this furnace will use the high stage and give the full BTU output of the furnace to produce more heat for the home.

  • How can I even out the heating and cooling of my home to get more to either the upstairs or downstairs?

    Adjust the registers on the wall or floor in the room where too much heat/cooling is present so that the registers are partially closed. For example, to get more heat upstairs during the winter, partially or fully close the registers downstairs to force more airflow to the registers upstairs.

    Another possible solution is a furnace equipped with a variable speed blower motor. These furnaces are designed to overcome airflow problems in a home, thus keeping the airflow steady throughout the entire house. These types of furnaces can also save considerable amounts of money in operating costs.

    Request an estimate on a new, cost-effective cooling system.

  • How can I make sure that my HVAC system is safe to operate?

    Always have your system checked annually to make sure that the unit is safe. In many cases, tiny cracks or perforations in the heat exchanger occur. If your furnace is burning inefficiently or incompletely, carbon monoxide can escape and fill the house causing serious health problems and/or death to those inside.

  • Should I cover my outdoor air conditioning unit during the winter?

    You should at least cover the top of the condensing unit so no debris can get in (people usually do this with a piece of plywood and something to hold it down). This will also help to protect against damage from falling ice and rodents from entering your unit. Any cover, however, must be removed before the start of operations the following Spring.

  • Can I turn off the power to my central air conditioning system during the months?

    Yes. There should be a disconnect in your panel box or at the outside unit. By turning it off over the winter, you will save energy. However, when you turn it on again in the spring or summer, do it at least 24 hours before turning on the cooling unit. Doing this will give the oil time to warm and lubricate the essential parts upon startup.

  • How does an air conditioning system actually work to cool the air in my home?

    An air conditioning system consists of 2 parts: an outdoor unit (where liquid refrigerant is contained) and an indoor coil (where the refrigerant is pumped into). As the air moves across the air conditioning coil, the refrigerant removes the heat and moisture from the air by condensing it on the cold surface of the coil. Thus, an air conditioner not only cools, but also dehumidifies, the air.

Spring and Summer Tips from Blue Dot

  • Spring and Summer Tips from Blue Dot
  • Have your Air Conditioning system tuned-up for the season, so that you are running at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save money because the system doesn't have to work as hard to do it's job.
  • If you disconnected the power to your central air conditioning system in the winter, wait 24-hours after turning power back on to the system to run it. Your compressor needs that time to warm-up.
  • Replace air filters regularly
  • Replace your furnace or air handler filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the Number 1 cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.

  • Keep the thermostat constantKeep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, raise the thermostat 2-3 degrees during the day while you're away to save money.

    For every degree you raise the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3-5%.

  • Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the "fan on" mode when cooling the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.
  • Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 75 percent of the conditioned air. This will help even out the temperatures from the first to the second floor of the home.
  • Keep the shades and curtains drawn to reduce the radiant heat of the sun.

  • Install awnings or plant trees that will shade southern facing windows. This keeps the hottest rays of the sun from shining directly into the house.
  • Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the effect of the suns warming rays. Also, keep storm windows closed. The above 3 tips will reduce the heat load gain on your home which means your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard to keep the home at a comfortable temperature. This saves money and extends the life of the system.
  • Install an attic fan to help ventilate
  • Install an attic fan to help ventilate some of the hot air out of the attic. Attics can reach temperatures of 140 - 150 degrees and this build up of warm air can make the upstairs of a home warmer than it needs to be. This makes the air conditioner work harder to do it's job. It costs you more to cool your home and the life of the system can be decreased.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement if the basement is humid. A damp basement can add moisture to the whole house. With the humidity levels as high as they are around here on their own, you don't need that! A dehumidifier in the basement will help to reduce the humidity levels in the home, making it more comfortable throughout in the hot summer months.
  • Cut back landscaping away from outdoor unitClear or cut back shrubs and bushes from the outdoor unit. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.
  • Keep these away from your outdoor unit:
    • Fallen Leaves
    • Grass Clippings
    • Foliage
    • Dirt
    • Debris
    And keep the a/c coils clean, following manufacturers' instructions.
  • Don't block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.

  • Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.
  • Avoid using the oven during the day. Run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer in the evening, when electricity rates may be lower and heat from those appliances won't increase a/c demands.
  • Turn off lamps, TV and other appliances when not in use.
  • Consider use of a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease temperatures during day and night to suit a family's lifestyle and reduce energy cost.
  • Use shades, blinds or curtains to keep sunlight out of the house.
  • Keep windows and doors closed when the a/c is on.

Fall and Winter Tips from Blue Dot