Common Heating & Cooling FAQs
Tom’s Heating Service has been in business for over 60 years, so you can bet we’ve heard and have an answer for just about every home comfort question there is. Whether you have a quick one-off inquiry or are hoping to brush up on your HVAC knowledge, read through these frequently asked questions (FAQs) about heating and cooling. We’re covering the most common questions, including if you really need furnace and AC maintenance every year and what the average system lifespan is.
Does my system really need maintenance every year?
How can I save money on my heating and cooling bills?
- Keep blinds and curtains closed during the summer to keep the sun’s heat out—but open them on winter days to let the sun’s natural warmth in.
- Leave your thermostat alone as much as possible—frequently adjusting the temperature up or down may make your system work harder to keep up.
- Make sure leaky windows and doors aren’t letting your heating and cooling energy seep out and wasting money.
Find more tips from the Tom’s Heating pros on our heating and cooling energy efficiency tips page.
Why is my furnace blowing cold air?
What is the average lifespan for home comfort systems?
- Furnace: 15 to 18 years
- Boiler: 15 to 30 years
- Air Conditioner: 10 to 15 years
- Heat Pump: 10 to 15 years
How often should I replace my air filter?
- Smoking in your home
- Burning candles
- Cooking without ventilation
- Aging carpet
- Living near busy roads or industrial areas
- Leaving windows/doors open allowing dust and dirt to enter the home
Why is there ice on my air conditioner?
What Do the Different HVAC System Ratings Stand For?
- Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)—measures how effectively air filters capture airborne pollutants. A higher rating indicates that more particles can be captured.
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)—measures air conditioner efficiency during cooling season. The higher the rating, the more efficient your AC is.
- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)—measures how much energy your furnace or boiler converts to heat. A higher percentage means better efficiency.
- British Thermal Unit (BTU)—represents how much energy a boiler, air conditioner, or heat pump needs to increase/decrease the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. BTU doesn’t represent efficiency, but rather the system’s capacity.
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)—ratio of BTU heat output over the heating season to watt hours of electricity used. This rating measures the efficiency of air source heat pumps. A higher rating indicates higher efficiency.