Frequently asked questions about air conditioning and HVAC

What does the acronym “HVAC” stand for?
HVAC stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”.

What are some of the services offered by an HVAC company?
Licensed HVAC professionals provide a wide variety of services. These include cleaning, repairing and installing air conditioners, furnaces and their associated systems.


Are all HVAC contractors the same? How do I know which one to hire?
No, not all HVAC contractors are the same. When you hire a company to install or service your HVAC system, be sure they are licensed, insured, experienced and reputable. Always ask to see proof of certification and insurance and don’t be afraid to ask for references before you hire anyone to work in your home.

What kinds of issues can arise with HVAC systems?
Basically, all issues with HVAC systems boil down to this: A system that doesn’t work as well or as efficiently as it once did. Whether that means it doesn’t cool or heat the house as well as it should, or whether it cycles on and off too frequently or whether it simply doesn’t come on at all, all problems with HVAC lead to the system not working the way that it should. Technicians will look for problems with the fan, or the thermostat or the belts, for example that could result in subpar performance.

What does the acronyms AFUE, SEER and HSPF mean?
A system’s AFUE rating refers to its overall efficiency either at heating or cooling your home. The acronym stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Rating”.

A unit’s SEER rating refers to its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is specifically indicated for air conditioning systems sold in the United States, where the Department of Energy stipulates a minimal SEER rating that all units must meet.

HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This refers to how efficiently a heat pump does its job. The heat pump is the part of the system that transfers heat from the air outside into the house.

How does ductless HVAC work?
Instead of having the traditional ductwork through which air is circulated throughout the house, ductless systems utilize air handling components in conjunction with an outdoor compressor.

Is there anything a homeowner can do to reduce the amount of repairs needed on an HVAC system?
Yes! Regular maintenance and cleaning will reduce the amount of AC repair will need to have done on their systems. It’s very important to keep your system clean and in good repair in order to get maximum efficiency and lifespan out of your unit.

What is the average lifespan of an air conditioning system or furnace?
In general, most HVAC systems last for about 15 to 20 years. Beyond that point, you will probably start to find that you will have to repair and replace components of your system more and more frequently. When that happens, getting a new system is probably a good idea.