Frequently Asked Questions

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Your HVAC Questions, Answered By Our Experts

Your heating and air conditioning is a complex system with lots of pieces working together to provide your comfort. Wouldn't you like to know more about how it works? At Bayside Heating & Cooling we believe an educated customer is a happy customer, as that learning helps you make informed decisions about your HVAC service. Read on to see answers to some common questions we get!

What is the SEER and AFUE Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. SEER is one of those hard-to-understand acronyms but SEER is a lot like the MPG for your car. The savings you can achieve with a higher SEER is similar to gas savings with a car that gets a higher MPG. For example, if you have a car that gets 8 MPG (many older air conditioners are about 8 SEER) and you upgrade to a 16 MPG car (or a 16 SEER AC) you will be achieving 50% fuel savings (or 50% energy savings on your AC use).

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This rating tells you how much of your heating dollars are converted to heat energy put into your home and how much is lost up the flue pipe. Most older furnaces are 60% efficient. That means that for every dollar you spend on gas from your utility company $0.60 cents is used to heat your home and $0.40 cents goes up the chimney. Federal law mandates that all furnaces being produced today be at least 80% efficient and many of our furnaces are 90% plus in efficiency. Oftentimes, if you replace an old, energy-wasting furnace the savings on your utility bills, will more than cover the cost of the new furnace.

Why should I have regular (or preventative) maintenance? How often should I have it performed?

Your heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your home every day. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down any machine if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing regular maintenance, you can maximize the life-cycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many common equipment failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts. You should have maintenance two times a year completed on your system to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent possible problems that may occur in the near future. At Bayside we also perform a safety check at no additional charge to make sure your HVAC equipment is safe for your family.

What equipment requires regular (or preventative) maintenance?

Manufacturers’ warranties state that you should have routine maintenance by a professional on your heating and cooling system. Failure to replace your filters on a regular basis as recommended can also cause excessive wear, equipment failure, and increased utility costs.

Poorly serviced furnaces will cause unhealthy air to be circulated through your home which could be the cause of allergies and sickness. Texas A & M University found that a 23% refrigerant undercharge could result in 52% efficiency loss. Pacific Gas and Electric found that consumers could have an average energy savings of 18.4% when the refrigerant charge is correct.

Is Freon, as a refrigerant, being discontinued?

Yes. As of January 2010, the refrigerant R-22 (what consumers call Freon®) is no longer allowed to be used in the manufacturing of new equipment. R-22 has been used as the “standard” refrigerant for many years but has been found to be harmful to our planet by our government. All new air conditioners and heat pumps use “environmentally sound” refrigerants, such as Puron® (commonly known as R-410A).

R-22 is still the most commonly used refrigerant in existing air conditioning equipment in residential homes today. However, per the Montreal Protocol, caps have been established to eliminate the production of R-22. In 2004, there was a 35% reduction; in 2010 there was a 65% reduction; in 2015 a 90% reduction; and finally in 2020 a 99.5 % reduction in the production of R-22. This means that during the time of these reductions with high demand, the price of each pound of R-22 refrigerant could potentially skyrocket.

How do I know if my AC unit is big enough?

Bigger isn’t always better; its performance and efficiency that count. Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly to match your needs and budget. Our Comfort Advisor will thoroughly assess your home, perform load calculations and talk to you about your comfort requirements to determine the proper size, and make the appropriate recommendation. According to the International Building Code, the only way to properly size residential equipment is a Manual J Load Calculation. Our highly trained Comfort Advisors will always do this prior to recommending a size of equipment – it’s the law! Ask about our no-cost, no-obligation proposals if you think your HVAC equipment is the wrong size.

Why are some rooms colder or hotter than others?

The cause may be your duct system. The Department Of Energy states that the typical duct system loses an astounding 25% to 40% of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump or air conditioner. In addition to putting a strain on your monthly budget, this energy waste causes temperature discomfort. If the conditioned air is leaking out of the ducts, it is not getting to where it’s needed and costing you money. Have your duct system examined by a professional to look for leaks, tears or the need for a new duct system.

My family has terrible allergies. Can you help?

YES we have indoor air quality solutions for your home!

We understand that living in Maryland with the change of seasons comes with a fair dose of allergens. We have a variety of options to bring relief. With a high-efficiency air cleaner, you can remove up to 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into the home. There is also a great reduction in household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants. Your indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust that circulate throughout the house. With a whole house humidifier, you can relieve the irritating discomfort of dry indoor air. The humidifier reduces itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity, and damage to your furnishings and woodwork. Since humid air feels warmer than dry air, you do not have to set the thermostat as high to feel the comfort you want. A lower thermostat setting will reduce the costs of your energy bill.

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