Ask Breezy Cool - FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

There are questions regarding Air Conditioning and Indoor Air Quality that we hear frequently. We've listed them here, with answers, in hopes of helping you quickly and easily find the information you need. However, if your question is not here, you can always e-mail us your question, and we will reply within 2 business days. Thank you!

  1. What are the major components of an AC unit?
  2. How often should I change my filter?
  3. What type of filter should I use?
  4. How much does a new AC system cost?
  5. Is it important to get a dirty coil cleaned?
  6. What is the best way to run my AC for the lowest energy usage?
  7. How long does an AC unit normally last?
  8. How long will R-22 be used, and do I have a choice in refrigerant?
  9. How does a humidistat work?
  10. What is a UV light and what does it do?
  11. Why do I need maintenance in my AC unit(s)?
  12. How do I operate my programmable thermostat?
  13. Why there is a smell when I first turn my AC on?

What are the major components of an AC unit?

Most common is a split system, where you have an Air Handler in the garage, attic or closet and the Condensing Unit is outside the home sitting on a concrete slab. The Air Handler cools air and sends it through your ducts. It has a coil inside and the filter is in it or attached near it. The Condensing Unit contains the compressor, and also has a coil, but releases hot air into the outdoors. Both the Air Handler and Condensing Unit have a fan.

There are also Package Units where components of both the air handler and condensing unit/compressor are found in one unit, usually located outside on a slab or on a roof, but if it is a water-cooled unit, it will be in an interior closet or attic. These are more likely to be found with commercial buildings. [Top of Page]

How often should I change my filter?

This depends on how much traffic (people and pets) you have coming and going from the home, where you live (such as near a busy road), and other factors that affect the amount of dirt and dust in your air. It also depends on how good your filter is. In general, filters should be changed a minimum of 4 times per year. Dirty, clogged filters cause a loss of efficiency, and can lead to warm air and system breakdowns. [Top of Page]

What type of filter should I use?

Basic filters are inexpensive, and can be purchased at most stores. But these don't do a very good job of cleaning your air. You get much better filtration from a high performance filter such as special pleated or Air Sponge filters. For details on the best filters, call or e-mail Breezy Cool @ (866) 737-1528 or [Top of Page]

How much does a new AC system cost?

There are many factors that determine the price of a new AC system. Capacity (tonnage), SEER Rating (efficiency), brand, model, and ease of installation/unit location all affect price. Just like cars, refrigerators, TVs, and other large appliances – there is a wide range of manufacturers, styles, and features to choose from in new AC systems. Also, the larger the home, the greater the tonnage required. The SEER rating, with higher numbers meaning higher efficiency, is another factor in price.

It's difficult to quote a price without inspecting the home/property. However, as a rough idea, the average-size split system or package unit could range from $1800 to $5600. (Large commercial units of course can cost more.) And as with anything else, there is standard and state-of-the-art equipment. [Top of Page]

Is it important to get a dirty coil cleaned?

If a technician sees that your coil is dirty, it's his duty to tell you and recommend cleaning. If it's not taken care of, more dirt will build up, until the coil gets so dirty that a breakdown occurs. Dirty coils result in a loss of efficiency and premature equipment failure. Coil cleanings are labor intensive, but should not be ignored. [Top of Page]

What is the best way to run my AC for the lowest energy usage?

Keep your AC unit set at the highest setting you can use while still feeling comfortable. Some homes are better insulated than others so the ideal room temperature varies. If you're going to be gone for more than 24 hours, it certainly makes sense to place it at a higher temperature. Programmable thermostats allow you to change your weekday and weekend settings so that the temperature adjusts automatically. [Top of Page]

How long does an AC unit normally last?

This can vary based on location and usage, but in general, life expectancy is 10 to 13 years (assuming a unit is properly maintained). Once a unit is more than 8 years old, its efficiency is in question. The older a unit is, the more the likelihood that it is not operating at peak performance and so wasting energy. An estimate on higher efficiency units will tell you if the utility savings you'll receive will pay for your new unit within the first few years. This is often the case. For a free estimate on a new system click here or call us @ (866) 737-1528. [Top of Page]

How long will R-22 be used, and do I have a choice in refrigerant?

R22 is being phased out, due to its harmful effect on the ozone layer. Production will be decreasing every year. Alternate refrigerants are being developed. Carrier introduced an environmentally friendly refrigerant well ahead of government-mandated deadlines. Called Puron, this new coolant is highly efficient and won't harm the ozone. [Top of Page]

How does a humidistat work?

A humidistat can be configured to operate your AC based on a humidity and a temperature setting. These are ideal for winter residents who have long periods where their home is vacant. Or for businesses that close down a month or two each year. [Top of Page]

What is a UV light and what does it do?

An ultra violet light, placed inside your AC unit where it's dark and damp, controls mold. The other benefit is that the light "zaps" the dirt, bacteria and allergens in the air as it passes through the AC system. So these lights do an exceptional job of sanitizing your indoor air. [Top of Page]

Why do I need maintenance on my AC unit(s)?

Just like a car, an AC unit needs maintenance to achieve efficiency and good performance. Preventive maintenance tune-ups keep the unit operating efficiently, saving utility costs, and also catch potential problems before they cause a breakdown. Breezy Cool Energy Saving Maintenance Plan give homeowners and business owners an inexpensive way to take care of their AC systems. [Top of Page]

How do I operate my programmable thermostat?

There are many styles in programmable thermostats. Call us and tell us what model you have, and we'll do our best to explain its operation. In some cases you can go online and search for the manufacturer's website and obtain instructions by contacting them. If you're uncertain about programming your thermostat, you can also wait until you are due for a maintenance visit, and ask the technician to explain it to you at that time. [Top of Page]

Why is there a smell when I first turn my AC on?

If you go for several weeks and don't run your system, dust and dirt accumulate on fans and coils and around the entrance to your ducts. When you first run the AC, this dust gets hot and can give off a "scorched" smell. This is not cause for alarm.

However, if your lines are clogged or your drain pan is full from lack of maintenance, you may notice a musty smell. Your AC unit is an ideal place for bacteria, mold and algae to thrive. Over time, these contaminants can build up, to a point where they give off an odor. Regular maintenance tune-ups and frequent filter changes help prevent this situation from occurring. UV lights work well, also. [Top of Page]