Frequently Asked Questions – No Overtime

Why don’t you charge by the hour?

Like value menus at fast food restaurants, charging a flat rate for the repairs provides more value for our customers because the pricing is up-front and does not adjust so there is no overtime. Regardless of the cost of parts or amount of time it takes to make the repair, the flat rate price will not change.

What is a Diagnostic Fee?

A Diagnostic Fee, sometimes called a ‘trip charge’, is a flat fee for the cost associated with the time and travel to diagnose a problem with a home’s comfort system. ATCAC charges either $89.00 or $49.00 Diagnostic fee depending on whether the customer is Residential or Commercial and whether a Preventative Maintenance Agreement is active with ATCAC

How do I know if I have an existing warranty on my furnace, air conditioner or HVAC system?

Look at the label on the equipment for a manufacture date. If the equipment is less than five years old, it may have a warranty, but also may not. Warranty terms and conditions vary widely by manufacturer and the installing company. ATCAC can help you determine the warranty status of your heating and cooling system with just a bit of easily obtained information.

How often should I have my equipment serviced?

The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning system checked in the Spring. Commonly known as a Bi-Annual Preventative Maintenance Agreement. (add link here to click on our PM page)

What Size Heating and Air Conditioning System Do I Need?

We get asked this question all the time. And having the HVAC system properly sized is extremely important.
A system that is too large will cool or heat your house quickly, but you may not feel comfortable. That’s because it will satisfy the thermostat before it can adequately remove sufficient moisture from the air during the cooling mode, leaving you feeling sticky and humid. This could even lead to moisture and mold problems. And, the stress of short-cycling (too many starts and stops) will shorten the life of your equipment and increase your heating and cooling bills.

On the other hand, a system that is too small just cannot get the job done, especially in extreme weather conditions. The air conditioner will run constantly in the summer and the furnace will do the same in winter. This will also shorten the life of your equipment and increase your energy consumption.

A correctly sized system isn’t just based on the size of the structure; while this is the largest determining factor, there are other circumstances to consider: Including type of house and walls, type and size of windows, insulation, basement and/or attic conditions, house orientation, and so on.

What should I know about refrigerants, R-22 vs R-410A?

To protect our environment, numerous changes have taken place with refrigerants used in air conditioning and heat pump systems. These changes are having and will continue to have a significant impact on the air conditioning industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Clean Air Act, is regulating the production and use of refrigerants. These changes will eventually eliminate air conditioning and heat pump refrigerants containing chlorine because of the concern about depletion of the ozone layer.

In response, Service Experts is offering consumers a choice in environmentally friendlier refrigerants. The chlorine-free refrigerant R410A will reduce damage to the ozone. R410A is used by all manufacturers but is often marketed under different names.

Providing products that protect the environment and providing consumers with a total home comfort solution have been and will continue to be priorities of Service Experts. Our products that use the environmentally friendlier R410A refrigerant are win-win solutions for consumers wanting high-efficiency products that are less taxing on our environment. Although the government has begun phasing out a commonly used refrigerant, consumers who have cooling systems that use this product should not worry. The HCFC family of refrigerants, which include R22, will still be available for many years. Sufficient quantities of R22 refrigerant will continue to be produced until the year 2020. After 2020, recycled refrigerants will be available for many years.

Why is my system freezing up?

There are several things that can cause your HVAC system to freeze up. Making sure the filter is clean and/or replaced and making sure the airflow on the outside unit (pet hair, leaves, etc…) is not restricted are about the only things you can check or handle yourself. If your system is still freezing up, please contact us at ATCAC to schedule a visit. Low refrigerant: In some cases, freezing up is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, leaking valves or loose fittings can cause leaks. The age of the system and the nature and location of the leak are the determining factors on whether to have the system repaired or replaced.

Dirty evaporator coil: Over time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. When this happens, the results are similar to those of having a dirty filter. Gradually you will lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or is not cooling adequately. You will need to contact us at ATCAC to schedule a visit.

Defective blower motor or relay: A blower motor not running at the proper speed or not running at all can cause freezing. It can also be intermittent, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to have an ATCAC Technician come check out the issue.

Note: Should you find that your system was freezing due to a dirty filter, after replacing or cleaning the filter, you can speed up the thawing process by turning the system off and turning on the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact us at ATCAC to schedule a visit to look over the system.

When replacing the outdoor unit, should the indoor unit also be replaced?

The answer is most likely yes, and here are the reasons why.

Matched System Design: All air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance. The result of this matched system is a coordinated, top-performance team that ensures dependability and efficiency. Air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units may “work” with indoor units other than those for which they have been specifically designed; however, the result is a definite compromise in system performance. Design Advances: Through the years, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.

Higher Cooling And Heating Efficiency: The cooling and/or heating efficiency ratings that are advertised for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on their performance as matched systems. While changing only the outdoor unit may result in improved efficiency compared to the old system, it will not be as efficient as it was designed to be and your savings will be lower than with a matched system.

Equipment Age: If an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear. Replacing both units means you won’t have to replace the indoor unit in a short time…you’ll have years of service from both units. New Warranty: A new unit also gives you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit results in peace of mind, knowing the new warranty covers the entire system.

A Bargain?: At first glance, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain. But when you consider the lower cooling and heating efficiencies, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership that results, it’s not such a bargain. Replacing an entire system costs more, but you get more efficiency, reliability and comfort.