Common Heating and Cooling System Questions

Our certified Milwaukee HVAC professionals provide superior heating and cooling services across Southeast Wisconsin. We offer HVAC installation, repairs and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. We recently won the Top Choice Award for the best HVAC service in the Greater Milwaukee area.

With over 30 years of experience working in the HVAC industry, we have been asked many questions – some more frequently than others. We have compiled a few of the most commonly asked questions and answers below.

A good way to tell is to make sure the airflow arrow on the filter is facing towards the furnace or air handler. Most filters will have this arrow

It is recommended by furnace and air conditioner manufacturers to have the equipment maintained yearly. It helps keep the unit operating safely and keeps the units operating at the highest efficiency. Maintenance also helps keep the units reliable and contributes to the longevity of the equipment.

Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent or catch potential problems ahead of time.

Furnaces have a national average life expectancy of 18-20 years. Air conditioners have an expectancy of 16-18 years.

Typically, the serial number of the unit has information in it to tell the date the unit was manufactured. Unfortunately, the numbers mean different things from each manufacturer so it is something that has to be searched for sometimes.

It is recommended to have carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the home.

The right heating system for your home depends on several factors. For starters, the size of your home needs to be taken into an account. And the existing building insulation may affect how well each system works. Ask Donovan & Jorgenson HVAC technicians to find the best heating unit for your house.

While a broken HVAC system is a nuisance it doesn’t always mean you emergency repair services. For example, an air conditioner doesn’t need immediate repairs if it’s the middle of winter.

• Heat Emergency: A broken furnace in the middle of a freezing Wisconsin winter would be an emergency. A fireplace or space heater may help you stay warm for awhile, but you still want repairs sooner rather than later.

• Cooling Emergency: A broken down A/C unit is an emergency if temperatures are high (ex: over 82 degrees) and you have no other ways of keeping cool. If you have fans or windows and the temperature outside isn’t too high you can likely wait a few days for repairs.

• Homes with babies should be kept somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees since infants cannot regulate their own body temperature. For these families, almost any HVAC problem will be considered an emergency.

An Energy Star Rating is a US government rating given to products and practices which meet or exceed specific guidelines on energy consumption. Products with the Energy Star label effectively help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the users money on their energy bills without any reasonable loss in performance.
An annual tune-up for your furnace and air conditioning system will be sufficient. Your furnace equipment can be tuned up any time of year and does not have to be done before the start of the heating/cooling season if you keep up with regular maintenance. Air conditioning tune-ups need to be performed when the outside temperature is above 60 degrees.

Invest in energy-efficient appliances – save money and help the
• Air conditioners up to 19 SEER efficiency rating.
• Furnaces up to 98% efficient, look for at least 95%.
• Gas or electric dryer booster fans shorten drying times, reduce energy usage and costs, and avoid excessive wear and tear on your dryer.
• Programmable thermostats can save up to 20% on your heating costs.
• Area-by-area zoning – subdividing your house into different temperature zones can help conserve energy.
• Whole house humidifiers allow homeowners to reduce the thermostat setting 2-3 degrees.

Heat pumps work by taking the heat out of the air outside, and bringing it inside the living space.

The coil in the outdoor condensing unit extracts heat from the outside air. A heat pump has the capability to extract heat from the air well below 0 degrees.

A heat pump has the ability to reverse refrigerant flow with a reversing valve, which allows the unit to work as both a heating unit and a cooling unit.

The advantage is that you would have a hybrid heating system. You can use the gas heat when gas is less costly, and can use the electric heat when gas is more expensive.