It depends on the filters. The cheap fiberglass mesh filters are designed to last up to 30 days. Pleated filters provide increased filter surface area and are designed to last up to 90 days. If your system is equipped with a media filter cabinet, the pleated filters are 4-5 inches thick, providing much more filter surface area and can last up to 12 months. Keep in mind that these are all general recommendations and actual filter life will depend on other factors such as how much your HVAC system is running, contaminants in the air, and pet hair and dander, just to name a few.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values. It describes the ability of a filter to catch particles between 0.3 and 10 microns and is used to compare the performance of different filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective it is at trapping particles.

While covering the outdoor unit will prevent leaves and debris from getting into the unit, it’s not necessary. Units typically have a powder coated finish that is rated for 500 or more hours of salt spray exposure. If you have a heat pump, the outdoor unit operates all year and covering it can block air flow and cause damage to the unit.

Heating and cooling systems work hard to provide you a comfortable home. These systems are constantly cycling on and off to maintain consistent indoor temperature. This constant starting and stopping creates a lot of wear and tear on system components. Regular preventative maintenance uncovers these worn components and other minor issues before they lead to system breakdown or system failure.

Single-stage cooling (heating and cooling with heat pump) utilizes a single stage compressor that is either off or on at 100%. This causes the system to start and stop more often to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. With two-stage cooling, the system operates at reduced capacity, around 65%, allowing the system to run longer and use less electricity. The extended run time pulls more moisture out of the home creating a more comfortable environment while using less electricity. If demand increases and the system can’t maintain temperature in low stage, the system ramps up to 100% capacity until demand is met.

A system equipped with an inverter or variable speed compressor takes the single-stage/two-stage comparison to the next level. It’s like cruise control for your HVAC system.

The system operates for longer periods of time at much lower capacity, maybe 25-30%, to maintain a more uniform, comfortable temperature and maximize humidity control. Considerable energy savings is realized by reducing the constant cycling on and off of systems equipped with traditional-style compressors. It’s like comparing your gas mileage while driving in stop-and-go city traffic versus setting your cruise control on the open highway.

They also have a much wider ambient temperature operating range which reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental electric heat strips in heat pump systems which allows for additional energy savings.

It’s normal for your outdoor heat pump to freeze up periodically when running in the winter. The unit freezing over with a thick layer of ice and not thawing out indicates a more serious issue. A failed defrost control board, temperature sensor, or low refrigerant levels are just a few things that can lead to excessive ice buildup on the unit.

  • HVAC service refers to a system that is broken down or not performing as desired. The system needs a diagnostic and repair to get it back to operating properly.
  • HVAC maintenance refers to actively taking preventative measures to maximize the performance and life span of the system.

Zoning your HVAC system allows you to create multiple temperature zones in your home while still utilizing a single heating and air conditioning system. It’s common, especially in track home communities, to have one system zoned to provide independent temperature adjustment for each floor.

It can be challenging to maintain consistent temperature in bonus rooms above garages due to the unconditioned garage space below. Zoning allows independent control of the bonus area and remaining second floor area.

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