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heating and air conditioning FAQs

Heating & Air Conditioning FAQs

When it comes to your HVAC system, we know you probably have a lot of questions, such as: Are there things I can fix myself? How do I save money? How do I prolong the life of my system? heating and air conditioning FAQs

In this helpful article, we’re answering 10 of the most often asked questions we get about residential heating and cooling. Hopefully, this list will save you some time and money!

1. What size HVAC system should I have?

Contrary to what you may believe, there is no set parameter for sizing a system to the precise square footage of your home. Because homes are all built differently, your home’s HVAC system will depend on its specific construction. 

To determine the size HVAC system you need, you should have a licensed HVAC professional evaluate your home. They will examine your home’s layout and build and make recommendations depending on your home’s individual needs. Many factors go into determining the best sized system for your home, such as square footage, number of windows, the direction your home faces, the thickness of your home’s insulation, and what your family expects from a comfort system. 

When a system is correctly sized for your home, you can be sure the system will perform at optimum efficiency, which will save you money each month on energy bills. 

2. How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?

The HVAC industry uses the S.E.E.R. (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) which measures efficiency based on the amount of heating or cooling your system delivers per dollar spent on your electricity bill.

Your system’s efficiency rating depends on the S.E.E.R rating, and the higher it is, the more efficiently your system will perform. A higher SEER system also means lower monthly utility bills. At Gulfshore Air, we specialize in ultra high-efficient comfort systems. We trust the award-winning line of American Standard variable speed air conditioners and heat pumps for homes in Northwest Florida. Families that choose 17+ SEER systems generally see the system pay for itself in utility bills savings over the life of the system. Couple that with top of the line performance, and you’re looking at a win-win for your home’s comfort.

3. How can I increase the efficiency of my system?

There are many ways you can ensure better energy-efficiency with your current comfort system. If your current system is older and in need of constant repair, it might be best to consider system replacement. If your system isn’t very old, there are a few things you can do to improve its efficiency each month. 

Start by regularly monitoring and changing the air filters in your system (see question four below). Clean, clear air filters allow for optimum air flow through your system’s air handler. This ensures your system doesn’t have to work harder to push air through your air filters. Another energy-saving tip is to keep your thermostat set a few degrees higher than you normally do, assuming all members of your household can tolerate a slightly warmer environment. Upping the temperature even a few degrees in the summer can save serious cash on monthly utility bills.

We also advise homeowners to utilize ceiling fans and window coverings to help keep cool, conditioned air circulating in your home. It is also a good idea to check insulation around doors and windows each year so you don’t unnecessarily lose cool air your system worked to generate. 

4. How often should I replace my filters?

How often you need to change your filters depends on a number of factors. Homeowners with pets should replace their filters every 1-3 months. With pets that shed a lot or leave more dander behind, you’ll probably want to change your filter more often. Families with allergy sufferers should also change their filters every 1-3 months depending on the season. 

During warmer months, you’ll want to change your filter more regularly versus colder months where you can go longer in between. A licensed professional can also make recommendations as to how often you should change your filter in your specific household. 

5. At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

In warmer months, we always recommend setting your thermostat up to 74-76. Keeping your thermostat set higher will keep your system running less often and could save you money each month on your bill. It’s important to note that with newer, high-efficiency systems, your comfort system will also control the relative humidity in your home. When humidity is controlled and kept at a comfortable 40-50%, turning the air up to the mid 70s will not result in a loss of comfort. Your home will feel cooler at a higher temperature if the relative humidity is also controlled by your comfort system. If your home has a dated comfort system that does not allow for the control of humidity, it may be a wise investment to upgrade to a newer comfort system for your home.

In colder months, do the opposite and set your thermostat to 65-68. Luckily, in Northwest Florida, we rarely experience freezing temperatures. For most of us, turning the thermostat down a few degrees won’t affect our overall comfort, but it can end up saving you money on your utility bills each month. 

6. What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

Programmable and smart thermostats have a lot of advantages. Most importantly, they allow you to set temperatures and relative humidity in your home for the week, to save you money even while you’re away.

You can program your thermostat to be set higher or lower while you’re away at work each day, and have it readjust to a comfortable temperature again before you return home. Having a programmable thermostat will save you noticeable amounts on your monthly bills and will aid in the longevity of your system.

7. How often should regular maintenance on my system be done?

Regular maintenance on your HVAC system should be performed twice a year. Our licensed professionals recommend having your system serviced in the Spring before the weather heats up again, and in the Fall before the weather cools down.

Having regular maintenance performed on your system allows for a longer system life, higher efficiency, and proactive service to stop issues before they happen. We recommend every homeowner be enrolled in our Proactive Performance Maintenance Program for their comfort system.

8. Is there anything I should check before I call for service?

Checking the basics before calling for service can save you time and money! 

First, check the electrical circuit breakers for the indoor and outdoor equipment. If they have tripped, the solution may be as simple as flipping a switch. Second, check your air filter and outdoor unit for heavy debris. If your filter is sufficiently clogged, your system will have to work harder to cool your home. Likewise, if there is substantial debris around your outdoor unit, it will have to work harder to pull in exterior air to be conditioned. Third, check the insulated copper tubing near your system. If it has iced over, you’ll want to let the Gulfshore technician know so he will be prepared for the situation when he arrives. If there is ice on the system outside, it is likely there is significant ice on the system in or around your home. Be sure to leave the system on until you know any resulting melted ice won’t seep into floors or your ceiling. A licensed Gulfshore technician will know how to best handle this situation if there is ice on or around your comfort system. 

Lastly, check the batteries in your thermostat. If the batteries in your thermostat are dead the system will not turn on. This simple fix is often the solution for a system that unexpectedly quits working. 

9. Are there HVAC systems that are safe for the environment?

HVAC systems have come a long way in the past decade There are plenty of systems currently on the market that are more environmentally friendly. Now that R-22 refrigerant is no longer available for use in newer systems, any system you purchase for your home will automatically be more environmentally friendly than a system reliant on R-22 refrigerant (Freon). If your system currently uses freon and needs to be regularly recharged, it would be wise to invest in a new comfort system in your home. Ultimately the investment will save you money on your utility bills, will ensure greater home comfort, and is a wise choice for the environmentally conscious. 

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10. Do air purification systems really work?

These systems really do work! In fact, air purification systems are one of the most important additions for your comfort system. They ensure clean air is passing through your system, and they can remove dust, pollen, allergens, and other airborne particles from your home. Some systems can even remove static electricity and odors that linger in your home.

Gulfshore makes air purification recommendations based on the specific needs of the homes or businesses we serve. From the incredible Reme Halo-LED, to the amazing purifying capabilities of the AccuClean Air Purification System from American Standard, our Gulfshore technicians will ensure the best air cleaning system for you. To see a list of the purifiers we offer, visit our Air Purification page

Learn More

For more answers to any other questions you might have, visit our website at or give us a call today at 850-897-6540. Feel free to email us at [email protected] or find us on Facebook!

Gulfshore Air is a trusted American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning Comfort Care Dealer in Niceville, FL. We’ve been voted Best of The Emerald Coast for 11 years in a row, and Best of Destin for nearly a decade. We pride ourselves on top-notch service and reliability. We can’t wait to serve you!

heating and air conditioning FAQs heating and air conditioning FAQs heating and air conditioning FAQs

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