Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change or clean my filters?     

Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning.

What do all those rating numbers mean to me?     

The federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated as to efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. For cooling, the rating is SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating); heat pump heating is HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) and gas furnaces are rated with AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). All of these ratings can be compared by asking your dealer, utility or referencing the ARI Directory. See our pages of Energy StarSM Products.

How much will my new air conditioning system cost?     

The answer is "That depends." There are many factors which must be considered: the efficiency of the equipment, the size of your home, is the duct work installed and in good condition, do you need a thermostat or electronic air cleaner. In most cases, replacing your whole system, indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer lasting system but will also cost a little more. Contact us for a cost estimate.

Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?     

Covering the unit is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep your unit clean. Of course, because heat pumps run all year long, they should never be covered.

Will anything help control the humidity in my house?     

Humidity is a problem in many areas. The best way to control excessive humidity is to have a system that runs longer at lower speeds. Variable speed air handling equipment runs at very low speeds, which keeps the air circulating against the cooling coil and removes much more moisture than conventional systems. At these low speeds, the variable speed motor uses much less electricity than conventional motors.

Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to "ON" so the fan runs constantly?     

There are a couple. One is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The other is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout.

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

Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.

I need a new outdoor unit, but my indoor unit works fine. What are the advantages of replacing my whole system at the same time?     

Air conditioners are designed as matched systems, with an efficiency rating given for the whole system. If you replace only one part, you do not get the advantage of many technology changes that make the system work efficiently to ensure comfort. Also, the indoor system contains a cooling coil which may be partially blocked by particles that will decrease efficiency. Further, if your whole system is replaced, you will be less likely to need service in the near future.

What size system do I need for my home?     

There are many things which will determine the size (capacity) system your home requires. Some of these are: square feet to be cooled, climate, humidity, number of windows, insulation factors, which direction your home faces, heat producing appliances, and even the number of people who will be in the home. Covenant can do an energy analysis on your home and help you decide what your particular needs are for your lifestyle.

Some houses are heated with water pipes and others with air ducts; what's the benefit of each?     

Central heating systems use either a furnace with hot air ducts, or a boiler with hot water (“hydronic”) pipes and radiators (including radiant under floor heat). An air system can also be used to supply central air conditioning and air cleaning. Homes with hot water systems can only use window AC units. We do them all. Call us to discuss the pros and cons of each system.

What fuel is better – oil, propane or natural gas?     

All are safe and dependable. Fuel prices vary with world events; call us for a price comparison. Natural gas is often cheapest but is only available in communities with buried gas lines. Further out, trucks deliver heating oil and propane (LPG). If you are happy with your oil or LPG deliveries, or are connected to urban natural gas, you should probably keep the system you have; but we can switch the fuel choice when you upgrade your system.

What about heat pumps?     

Heat pumps are very efficient electric compressors that transfer heat into your house in winter and out of your house in summer. They are great for homes in southern or central climates, but our winters are too cold for them; they can be used here, but need optional built-in electric heating elements. Gas or oil furnaces are generally more economical.

Our chimney is falling down will we need a new one for a new furnace?     

If you don't have a chimney, or your old one is in sad condition, relax. You don't need to build a new one. Our Carrier high efficiency burners waste so little heat that all you need is a PVC plastic pipe vent to the outside air.

How efficient are the newest heating systems?     

Gas or oil heating systems are rated by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) standards. Old systems were only 60-65% efficient; new systems are over 80%; our Carrier Infinity system is 96.6% efficient! Trading up means you could be using a third less fuel.

We would like to add air conditioning what kind of choices do you offer?     

If you already have a hot air furnace, it's very easy for us to add a whole house central air conditioner. But if you have, and want to continue with, a hot water boiler and radiators, it's cheaper to consider window AC units. We carry high quality Carrier units, including models with remote control clickers for ease of use.

How does central air work?     

There are two main pieces of equipment: an outdoor compressor and an indoor evaporator. The compressor runs on electricity. It compresses a special liquid, such as Carrier Puron® , creating heat, which escapes outdoors. The compressed liquid is pumped inside to a set of coiled pipes in your air ducts, where it expands (this process is called “evaporation”, although the decompressed, evaporated liquid is kept contained inside the pipes). This creates cooling. The evaporated liquid is pumped back out to the compressor to repeat the cycle.

My parents in Florida love their heat pump do you recommend them here?     

No. Heat pumps are very efficient electric compressors that transfer heat into your house in winter and out of your house in summer. They are great for homes in southern or central climates, but our winters are too cold for them; they can be used here, but need optional built-in electric heating elements. Gas or oil furnaces are generally more economical.

When are humidifiers recommended?     

We hate humidity in summer, but really need it in winter. Many homes can become drier than the Sahara Desert ! That can crack your furniture and woodwork and cause static electricity. It can cause irritated nasal passages, and allows germs, dust and other light materials to float through the air. Plus, the too-dry air feels colder, so you raise the thermostat, costing you money. A central air humidifier will increase your health, reduce your heating bills, and keep your furniture, and you, in much better condition.