FAQ: New Homeowner
To our new customers:
Congratulations on your new home! As you may know, we at Wittman Mechanical installed your heating and air conditioning system. We welcome you as a new customer with us and look forward to serving you into the future. Should you have any questions regarding the function of your system, please give us a call or send us an email. Our friendly staff is happy to answer any questions you may have. Below are some frequently asked questions with some helpful answers to help familiarize you with your new heating/cooling system.
Where is my filter and how often should it be cleaned?
For the furnace in the basement, your filter is located in a slot in the ductwork right next to the furnace. If you also have a furnace in the attic, the filters for this unit are located in the ceiling return grille itself. There are usually two grilles, one in the upstairs hall and one in the master bedroom. These are the large square grilles. They have little tabs that, when moved or turned, release a hinged section of the grille, exposing the filter for replacement. We recommend cleaning or replacing filters once a month. Standard filters are available from any hardware/home repair store or from us. We do not recommend installing high efficiency filters that claim to remove more dust than the standard filter. These filters will remove more dust but at the expense of blocking airflow, which can result in poor heating or cooling performance. See the paragraph on air cleaning below. Also, you may already have a media filter bank such as manufactured by Honeywell, Aprilaire, or Carrier. Please call or email us for replacement filters. Most of these filters will last for one year.
Tell me about the thermostat. I understand the heat-off-cool switch, but should I be setting the Fan switch to Auto or On?
The fan switch, when set on auto allows the furnace or air handler blower to run only on a call for heating or cooling. When the temperature is satisfied, the blower will shut off. This is usually the mode preferred during the heating season. However, during the summer, the On position may be preferred. Often, certain rooms can heat up faster than others because of their direct exposure to the sun. If the fan is continuously running, air from other parts of the house that may be cooler can be circulated to areas that need this cooler air without the air conditioner running. This can allow more even temperatures throughout your home while saving energy due to less cycling of the compressor in your air conditioner.
My second floor is warmer in the summer. How can I correct this situation?
If you have one system (this usually means you have one thermostat), your thermostat is located on the first or main floor. Although this is the best average location, often it will not sense a faster rise in temperature upstairs. This usually occurs in early evening, when the attic has reached its peak temperature in the summer. Two solutions are possible. If you have one system, you will find ductwork running horizontally from the furnace or air handler and a duct from the top of the unit heading upward. The horizontal ducts feed the basement and first or main floor, while the vertical duct feeds the second floor. Dampers are located in all of the supply ducts leaving the furnace or air handler. Locate the dampers in the horizontal ducts by looking for a small handle with a wing nut on it. Loosen the wing nut here and on the opposite side of the same duct. The damper is in the duct between the two wing nuts. The handle is in the same direction as the damper. If the handle is parallel to the duct, the damper is fully open. If it is running perpendicular to the duct, it is fully closed. Slowly move the handle to a position about halfway between parallel and perpendicular, which is half closed. Do this on each of the horizontal ducts. There are usually two. The vertical duct should be left fully open. You have now forced more air to the second floor, which will aid in cooling this level. To further help this situation, you should run the fan in the On position. This will give you a constant circulation of air, which will tend to even out the temperature between levels. If you have two systems, one for each level, adjusting dampers should not be necessary, since the second floor has its own thermostat that can be set at the desired temperature.
My finished basement is cooler than the rest of the house. How can I correct this condition?
This problem usually occurs during the spring and fall when the furnace is not running very often. During a 55 degree day, the sun alone can heat the first floor where the thermostat is located. Since the basement is all or partially surrounded by 55-degree earth and usually does not get much sun, this level becomes cooler. There are two things that can be done to alleviate this situation. In the spring and fall, running the fan on the On position will constantly circulate air and even the temperature between the basement or rec. room level and the first or main floor. If this problem persists in the winter, running the fan on the On position will help but may feel drafty. We suggest partially closing some of your registers on the first floor, particularly near the thermostat. This will allow the heat to run longer, further heating up the basement. Make sure all outlets are open in the basement during the winter. They can usually be shut in the summer.
We are getting our first spring warm weather and our home does not cool. What's wrong?
If your air conditioner was installed during the winter months, it could not be started. Air conditioners simply will not run in the winter without doing damage to the compressor. It is necessary to have outdoor temperatures approaching 70 degrees to be able to charge the unit. We have kept records of the units affected. In early April we send out a letter to all of these customers, asking them to schedule their start up. If you have not contacted us, please call and make an appointment.
It's winter and I see steam or smoke coming off my outdoor unit. Is this normal?
Yes. Periodically your heat pump outside will defrost itself.During certain temperature and humidity conditions, this will produce water vapor that looks like steam as the ice melts. Your unit is not on fire. It's just doing what it is supposed to do.
What other options are available to enhance my heating and cooling system?
Although you have an efficient, fully functioning heating and cooling system, you may want to consider some additional quality products we offer to further improve the comfort and efficiency of your home.
- If you don't already have one, adding one to your system will eliminate the dryness in the winter, making it easier to breathe while minimizing cracking of trim, furniture and hardwood floors. We offer only the highest quality units that provide high humidity levels with little maintenance.
- Air Cleaning
- Although the filter at your furnace will work to keep your equipment clean, it does little to clean the air you breath in your house. There are several alternatives these days to clean the air and remove pollen, mold spores and dust. Along with high quality electronic air cleaners, we offer filter media systems that will clean the air as well as an electronic air cleaner, but at a lower installation cost.
- Taking it one step further, the Carrier Infinity Air Purifier will not only capture germs floating in the air, but will kill them, creating a healthier environment for your family.
- Programmable Thermostats
- With today's lifestyles, there are many times of the day when no one is home, and personal schedules vary from weekdays to weekends. We offer easy-to-program, high quality thermostats that can be set up to follow your personal schedule, allowing the heating to set back when no one is home or for more comfortable sleeping temperatures.