Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions about your HVAC equipment, and we have answers. At Berkeley Heating & Cooling, it’s our goal to provide you with exceptional heating and cooling services whether we’re on the job or not—that’s why we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked HVAC questions.

Make sure to check back soon because the HVAC FAQs page will be updated regularly—and  contact us if you don’t see your question here!

Why should I perform preventive maintenance?

Heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your household. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down a machine quickly and unexpectedly if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing preventive maintenance, or servicing your system regularly, you can maximize the life-cycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many unexpected failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts.

What type of filter should I use?

Standard furnace filters work well to keep your system and its duct work clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality. To do that you need a media filter. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal by seven times that of a standard furnace filter. However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from insecticide dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. A media filter can have a life exceeding two years, and its only drawback is that its tight fiber weave can cause your furnace to have to work harder to blow air through the house. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity.

How can I ensure that my heating and cooling system is operating as efficiently as it was designed to operate?

Here are several tips to help you keep your HVAC system running efficiently:

  • Change the air filters every month or as directed by your system’s manufacturer.
  • Cut back foliage and remove any leaves, grass trimmings or debris left by nearby dryer vents that might be blocking air flow to the air conditioner or heat pump.
  • Have your system serviced by a licensed professional HVAC dealer before peak season.

How do I know if I need a new furnace or air conditioner?

If your HVAC system requires constant repairs, is 15 years or older, or can’t heat or cool your home properly, we recommend you replace it. When an HVAC system ages, it doesn’t operate as efficiently and could actually end up costing you more money than it should.

How often should I change my thermostat batteries?

Change your thermostat batteries at least once per year, or more often if you notice any problems with inconsistent operation. Note that low batteries can cause your furnace or air conditioner to operate inconsistently, or not at all.

What is an AFUE rating?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This rating measures the amount of heat a furnace produces compared to the amount of fuel consumed. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 93 means that 93 percent of the fuel consumed will be converted to heat for your home while the remaining 7 percent will be lost to venting.

Why does water collect around my furnace when I run my air

It is normal for an air conditioner to produce condensation when it runs. This water should flow out of your home through a drain line; however, the line can become clogged with debris or a leak can develop in the drain pan. This can allow the condensation to pool around the system. You should call an HVAC professional if you notice this occurring since it can cause water damage and allow mold and mildew to grow.

What causes that burning smell when I turn my furnace on for the first

Dust collects on your furnace as it sits over the summer. When you turn your furnace on for the first time, the dust burns off and creates the burning smell. The best way to prevent this is to call an HVAC professional before the winter heating season to have your furnace cleaned and serviced to ensure that it runs safely and efficiently all winter long.

Why does my furnace only blow cold air?

The first step is to verify that you have the thermostat set to heat and that the fan option is turned off. If your thermostat is set correctly and you still get cold air, you should call an HVAC professional. There may be a problem with the thermocouple or igniter.

Are Whole-House Humidifiers Worth It?

Tired of dry skin, chapped lips and a stuffy nose? Dry air can be the root of many of these problems. Luckily, your air quality can be improved with the use of a humidifier.

Our knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any and all inquiries, so give us a call at 585-943-2589.