Heating & Cooling FAQs

Cooling & Air Conditioning FAQs

My AC is making a very loud humming noise. Can I fix my noisy air conditioner myself?

You should not try to fix your noisy air conditioner on your own! Unless you have professional knowledge of HVAC electrical system layouts and the proper meters to test all the working components of your AC, you are putting you and your air conditioner at a significant risk for harm.

Learn more about noisy air conditioners »

My AC has ice on it—what do I do?

When your AC freezes up, either inside or at the outdoor unit, you have a problem. There are only two reasons for an AC system to freeze up—either there is low air flow or there is a low refrigerant charge.

Learn more about your frozen AC »

How does an air conditioner work?

An air conditioner seems as if it cools your home’s air, but in reality an air conditioner makes your home less warm by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring that heat to the outdoor air.

Heat is extracted from the home by passing indoor air across a refrigerant coil in the indoor unit. Refrigerant lines then carry the heat to the outdoor unit, where it is released into the outside air. The cooling cycle continues until the indoor temperature reaches the thermostat setting.

If you would like more information on heating or cooling products or services, , contact us today. One of our heating and air experts will discuss the heating and cooling products and services for your home or business.

What can I do about my air conditioner shutting off and on frequently?

If your air conditioner is shutting off and on frequently, this is most likely due to short cycling. That means that your system is turning off and on again too often and not allowing your home to reach the temperature you set on the thermostat. When your AC malfunctions this way, it’s not only frustrating, it’s inefficient too!

Learn more about your air conditioner shutting off »

Do I need an air conditioner cover for winter?

Whether or not to invest in an air conditioner cover for winter can be confusing to homeowners because it makes sense to cover your outdoor equipment to protect it from the elements. However, at Rick’s Heating & Cooling, we don’t recommend covering the entire unit as you may often see in stores.

Learn more about using an air conditioner cover for winter »

Should I cover my whole air conditioner during winter months?

Only the top of the unit.

How often should I change my AC filter?

You should be changing your air conditioner filter every one to three months, depending on how often you’re using your cooling system. Changing your AC filter provides a number of benefits to your home.

Learn more about changing AC filters »

How does an air conditioner work?

You might assume an air conditioner cools the air in your home, but in reality, it works by removing heat and exhausting it to the exterior. Here’s your chance to learn more about how an AC works.

When you turn the thermostat to “cool,” the air conditioner kicks on as soon as the ambient temperature rises above the target temperature displayed on the thermostat. Then, it goes to work removing heat from the indoor air and exhausting it to the exterior.

An air conditioner works the same as a refrigerator or freezer, except that instead of removing heat from a small space until it reaches a frigid temperature, an AC keeps your entire house comfortable on hot summer days. Refrigerant is the key to refrigeration and air conditioning. By making a loop between the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator coil, refrigerant absorbs heat and leaves cooled air to blow back into your home.

Here’s how it works »

Heating & Furnaces FAQs

How often should I change my furnace filter?

You should be changing furnace filters every one to three months, depending on how often you’re using your furnace. Changing your furnace filter provides a number of benefits to your home.

Learn more about changing furnace filters »

Why do I need a furnace cleaning each year?

Why do I need a furnace cleaning each year? The number one reason most people want to have a furnace cleaning every year is to maintain their warranty. It can also improve efficiency and performance.

Learn more about the benefits of furnace cleaning »

What is the typical lifespan of a furnace?

The average gas and oil furnace has a lifespan of 15 – 20 years with good annual maintenance, but you should think about replacing your system if it is more than 15 years old.

Learn more about the lifespan of a furnace »

Can I install different brands for my furnace and air conditioner?

While it is recommended to buy the same brand for your HVAC systems, a furnace and an air conditioner manufactured by two different companies can usually still work together.

Learn more about installing two different brands »

What size furnace do I need?

Every home has unique heating needs, and your furnace should be sized accordingly by a professional heating company. Click here to learn how professionals choose what size furnace you need »

How can I prevent dry skin and static shock in the winter?

How can I prevent dry skin and static shock in the winter? Most people with a forced-air heating system, such as a furnace or heat pump, are familiar with the dry, uncomfortable air that comes along with heating your home in the winter. However, there are ways to combat this!

Find out how to reduce static shock and prevent dry skin »

Should I set my furnace thermostat to ON or AUTO?

Debating whether you should set your furnace thermostat fan to ON or AUTO? The ON setting will force your fan to run constantly, which decreases allergies and evens out the temperatures within your room. The AUTO setting will only run the fan when your heating system is running, saving you money on your monthly energy bills.

Learn more about setting your thermostat fan »

My fuel oil bills are getting very high for my oil furnace. What can I do?

My fuel oil bills are getting very high for my oil furnace. What can I do? This is a common concern among many of our oil furnace customers. With home heating oil prices rising, there are two major things you can do to lower your bills.

Learn more about lowering your home heating oil prices »

When should I schedule my annual furnace inspection?

A professional HVAC technician should inspect, clean, and tune-up your furnace each fall before the heating season begins. This will increase your heating unit’s lifespan and efficiency through the winter months.

Learn more about when to schedule your furnace inspection»

How do I prepare my furnace for winter?

You can do many things yourself to help prepare your furnace for an energy-efficient heating season. You should also schedule an annual furnace inspection and tune-up before you turn on your heating system.

Learn more about getting your furnace ready for the heating season »

Why is cold air coming out of my vents?

If your home’s vent system is blowing cold air when your heat is on, you may have a duct leak problem. It’s best to call an HVAC company to find the reason behind the cold air and have the issue professionally resolved to keep your home warmer for the rest of winter.

Learn more about cold air in heating vents »

What does the AFUE rating on my furnace mean?

AFUE is short for “annual fuel utilization efficiency” and it is a rating expressed as a percentage of how much energy used by your gas or oil furnace goes directly toward heating your home. It accounts for heating lost or wasted. The higher the number, the more efficient your furnace is and the more money you should save on your monthly energy bills. Today, all new furnaces manufacture red must have an AFUE of at least 78 percent, and it’s not uncommon to see furnaces as high as 85 or 90.

While most furnaces with an AFUE higher than 90 will typically be more expensive that similar models with lower efficiency ratings, that cost can be made up from savings on monthly heating costs—a more energy-efficient furnace will require less fuel and energy to keep your home the same temperature as a less efficient model.

Why did my furnace shut off?

There are many reasons that your furnace may have shut off—including trouble with your motor, settings, pilot light, and more.

Learn more about troubleshooting your furnace’s problem »

Why does my furnace smell musty?

If your furnace is spreading a musty, dusty, or dry smell throughout your home, you most likely have dust in your combustion chamber (where the fuel is burned). If you experience this, try changing your furnace filter. If the smell still lingers, schedule further inspection from a local and professional heating company.

Why does my furnace smell like gas?

The smell of gas might be coming from excess production of carbon monoxide. Since natural gas is odorless, manufacturers of gas furnaces add the “smell of gas” so that homeowners can detect a leak or dangerous amount of CO in their home. If you smell gas, leave your house immediately and call your local gas company or utility in case of a gas leak to avoid fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning. If you can, try to open windows to ventilate the air and avoid light matches or turning on lights.

Why does my furnace smell like rotten eggs?

Natural gas does not have a natural odor, so utility companies add a compound to give a smell. This allows homeowners to detect a gas leak more easily. If your house has the smell of rotten eggs (or sulfur), this is a sign of natural gas leak. If you know how to, shut off your gas supply line and then immediately call your gas company while evacuating your home.

With propane furnaces, smelling rotten eggs usually signals that you’re low on fuel.

Why does my furnace smell like burning material?

Sometimes electrical components of furnaces can fail, so if your furnace is emitted a burning smell (like an overheated iron), you most likely need furnace repairs. Scheduling annual inspections of your furnace before the heating season to pinpoint potential repairs can help prevent electrical failure and other more expensive repairs down the line.

Heating & Cooling Services FAQs

Will Rick’s Heating’s service technician really come out at 2:00 a.m. if my system stops working?

YES!

How often should I have my HVAC equipment serviced?

To ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency, you should have HVAC preventative maintenance done on your systems before each heating and cooling season.

Learn more about HVAC preventative maintenance »

Can I service my own heating and cooling systems?

Can you? Possibly, with the right tools and skills needed to safely perform repairs. Should you? Probably not. In many cases it’s best to call an HVAC service technician.

Find out when it’s time to call an HVAC service technician »

What are the benefits of duct cleaning?

Studies have shown that home duct systems should be kept clean to reduce allergens and dust particles in the air stream of your home and prolong the life and efficiency of your equipment.

How can I reduce allergens in my home?

There are a number of ways to reduce the allergens in your home that could be causing problems for you and your family.

Find out how to reduce allergens »

Do I need a programmable thermostat?

Programmable thermostats are not needed but they make it a lot easier to save energy, save money, and stay more comfortable in your home during the major heating and cooling months of Ohio. Programmable thermostats can be set to raise and lower the set temperature in your home to meet your needs (e.g. lowering the temperature when no one is home in the winter).

How do I know if I need a programmable thermostat for my home?

Programmable thermostats are one of the most efficient methods of controlling the energy use in your home. If you’re concerned about rising utility bills or conserving energy, installing a programmable thermostat could be just the thing for you!

Learn more about installing a programmable thermostat »

Is R-22 Freon really being phased out?

Definitely yes. The Clean Air Act of 1990 mandated a complete phase-out of R-22 and in 1996 a production cap was placed on its production. In 2004 production of R-22 will be cut by 25% and the manufacture of R-22 compatible equipment will be prohibited after 2010. Production of R-22 will be banned completely is 2020.

The replacement is a much more environmentally friendly coolant, R-410A.

What do SEER, AFUE, and HSPF mean?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio; AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency; and HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. These are the most commonly used terms to describe equipment efficiencies. The higher the number, the better.

Do I need to change my humidifier water panels yearly?

Yes, it is important to replace your humidifier water panels yearly, due to the hard water deposits that collect as the water flows over the panel during the winter months. This process can break down the water panel overtime, which is why replacement is crucial.

Learn more about humidifier water panels »

Why is there ice on my heat pump in the winter?

Virtually all heat pump systems will develop ice on them during the cold winter months, but each one should be equipped with a defrost system to handle the problem! When the defrost system is working properly, it will periodically cycle on to melt all the ice on your heat pump.

Learn more about ice on heat pumps »

What is short cycling?

Simply put, “short cycling” is a term used to describe short run times for your HVAC equipment. For example, if your air conditioner is shutting on and off frequently, it could be short cycling. So why is this such a problem?

Learn more about short cycling »

Why is there so much static electricity in my house?

Static electricity is enhanced with drier air—common in the winter when humidity levels drop. Whole-house humidifiers can help decrease the surprising static shocks that are so common in the wintertime.

Learn more about why your home has so much static electricity »