Q: How long should my old furnace and air conditioner last? Typically a furnace or air conditioner will last 15-20 years. Sometimes it pays to replace the old system sooner because of the higher efficiency (and lower gas & electric bills) provided by newer equipment.
Q: My gas & electric bills are high. Will a new furnace and air conditioner lower my bills? YES! A 14 SEER air conditioner will cut the electricity used by the old air conditioner in half depending on the age and efficiency of the old air conditioner. A new 90% furnace can usually cut the gas used by the old furnace by as much as 30%, and a new 80% (minimum allowed by the federal government) will use approximately 20% less.
Q: What is SEER? This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The “size” of an air conditioner is rated in BTU or Tons, however the “efficiency” is rated in SEER. It’s like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car – the higher the mpg (or SEER) the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill.
Q: What is a heat pump? Is it better than an air conditioner? In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in “reverse” and heats the indoors. Heat pumps need auxillary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to help them when it is real cold or when the thermostat is moved more than 2 degrees at a time. The initial investment for a heat pump is higher than for an air conditioner, they have higher maintenance costs, they don’t last as long and the ductwork must be exactly “right” for proper operation. One common complaint of a heat pump is that the air coming out of the registers is not hot enough (compared to a gas furnace). With all their drawbacks, heat pumps will reduce the winter heating bills. If you have a gas furnace, the savings usually isn’t enough to justify a heat pump, however if you have electric heating, the savings is dramatic and you will probably want to stay with a heat pump.
Q: What about a Water Source heat pump? A water source heat pump, or geothermal heat pump, is similar to but more efficient than a standard air to air heat pump. Instead of using the outside air to transfer heat, water is circulated through a specially designed coil to provide a more efficient heat exchange. The water can come from wells or can be circulated in pipes buried in the ground. Water Source heat pumps are very efficient and will use less electricity than a traditional system. If you already have a Water Source heat pump, you probably want to replace it with a Water Source heat pump. If you have a high volume well and a pond to discharge water to (or a disposal well), you may want to change to a Water Source heat pump.
Q: Should I replace my furnace and air conditioner at the same time, or can they be installed separately? Either way. If they are installed at the same time, the coil cabinet (part of the air conditioner and sits on top of the furnace) will match the furnace in color & style. Also it may be more convenient to replace them at the same time, but they will operate OK whether they are installed at the same time or not.
Q: It’s winter and I need a new furnace and air conditioner. Should I wait until spring to buy a new air conditioner? If you think you are going to install an air conditioner in a few months you probably want to have it installed with the furnace. Generally the cost will be lower to have an air conditioner installed in the winter. Also, the warranty doesn’t begin until we “start up” the unit in the spring.
Q: It’s summer and I need a new air conditioner. Should I install a new furnace too? Not necessarily, however the blower in the furnace moves the air for air conditioning as well as heating. Usually the new furnaces have stronger blowers and can move more air which can help cool your entire house better. If your furnace is getting old, you should have the heat exchanger inspected to determine if it is cracked, corroded, or leaking. If it is defective, you should have the furnace or heat exchanger replaced before winter anyway.
Q: What is a “cracked” furnace? How serious is this? The part that transfers heat from the gas flame to the air in the house is called a “heat exchanger”. If the heat exchanger has a crack or rust hole in it, the fumes (part of which is carbon monoxide) enter the air that comes out of the registers. This is why a “cracked” furnace can be so dangerous. A small crack may not be dangerous yet, but will get bigger and even small amounts of carbon monoxide can be dangerous to some people. Heat exchangers can be replaced, however if they are out of warranty, it is usually not much more to install a new higher efficiency furnace.
Q: Won’t my carbon monoxide detector tell me when I need a new furnace? Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector, but the fact that it is not going off doesn’t mean everything is safe. Even small amounts of carbon monoxide have an accumulative effect and detectors have a minimum threshold before they sound their alarm. If your alarm does go off, call Roth and have a serviceman check your furnace immediately.
Q: Is it OK to install a different brand of furnace (or air conditioner) to work with my existing air conditioner (or furnace)? Yes, this is fine. It is important that the furnace have the proper size of blower to match the air conditioner, but this can be determined easily.
Q: My home has a forced air furnace but no air conditioner. Can I add central air? Yes. Air conditioners require more air flow than furnaces and it may be necessary to add more ductwork. Also, local codes require that your ductwork be insulated in attics and crawl spaces, and your electrical service may need to be upgraded. Roth can determine all of the costs required to add central air.
Q: How long does it take to install a new furnace or air conditioner? Generally allow one day for replacing a furnace and one day for replacing an air conditioner. Ocassionally an additional day is required, especially if you are having an air cleaner or humidifier installed.
Q: Does someone need to be home when the new system is installed? Much of the time it is not possible for the homeowner to be home during the installation. Possibly a friend or relative can be home during the installation, or you can be there to let the installers in before you leave for work. Sometimes homeowners give us a key and our installers don’t even meet them until the installation is complete. As added protection, all of Roth’s employees are bonded.
Q: How do you pour a new concrete pad that the air conditioner sits on? We bring them in on a two-wheeler. They are pre-cast concrete and are steel reinforced.
Q: I want a “big” air conditioner. Someone told me this is not good – what are the advantages & disadvantages? An “oversized” air conditioner will cool your house quicker, but it will use more electricity and will not remove humidity adequately. If your ductwork is not big enough for the “oversized” air conditioner, the coil may freeze and then the air conditioner won’t work at all. Obviously the air conditioner must be big enough to cool the house, but too big is just as bad. We recommend the proper size to cool your home to 75 degrees when it is 102 degrees outside, then increase the size slightly, if needed, based on your temperature preferences.
Q: Will a larger furnace work better than a smaller furnace? An “oversized” furnace will warm up the house quicker, but it will use more fuel and there will be greater temperature swings. A smaller furnace will maintain more even temperatures, use less fuel, but will take longer to raise the temperature. Roth will calculate the proper furnace size to maintain 80 degrees inside when it is zero degrees outside.
Q: Does Roth take care of permits, gas connections, electrical work that is needed, etc? We always obtain all required permits. We can take care of the electrical and gas connections also, and we can work with your electrician or plumber if you prefer.
Q: Some rooms in our house don’t get enough heat (or cooling). Can this be fixed? Sometimes running the blower continously will solve this problem. Usually the new furnace will have better air flow which will help, and there is usually a way to install an additional register in the area to obtain more air flow.
Q: What brand of equipment is best? There are several excellent brands available as well as several “cheaper” brands. Roth could choose any brand to sell and install, however we have chosen Rheem & Amana because of their quality, reputation, availability of parts, support from our distributors, etc. Even more important than the equipment, is the quality of the installation and the reputation of the dealer behind the installation.
Q: How many bids should I get before I decide on a new system? Three bids are generally enough. If Roth is servicing your current system, or if we have installed equipment for you in the past, you should be comfortable in obtaining a proposal from Roth, then determining if you feel the need to obtain additional bids. Another way to obtain several bids without the effort is to call current customers that have had a system installed recently and ask why they chose Roth (your comfort consultant can give you a list of customers).
Q: How do I check out the companies I am considering to install my new system? This is the easiest, yet most important step – call customers. Eliminate any company that doesn’t give you a long list of customers that they have installed during the last 1-24 months. Call a few customers at random and tell them you are considering a new system and ask about their experience with Roth (or any other company you are considering).
Q: Why should I consider a new high-efficiency filter? High-efficiency filters remove more of the smaller particles from the air. This will help you breathe better and reduce sinus problems, headaches and colds. Many people miss fewer days from school & work and use less allergy medication. The air is filtered before entering the furnace and air conditioning A-coil which makes the equipment last longer and will reduce fuel consumption 10%-15% over the life of a new furnace and air conditioner. Roth has several different filters available and can show you the differences in efficiency and installation cost.
Q: What about a new humidifier? Aprilaire humidifiers are great! They reduce dry skin and especially help with dry sinuses. They help reduce colds and allergies, keep furniture from drying and eliminate shock from static electricity. You will also be able to set temperature one or two degrees lower and have the same comfort. We have several models available and the investment is surprisingly low.
Q: Should I have a new programmable thermostat installed with my new system? Programmable thermostats allow you to have the temperature raise and lower automatically at specific times each day. They will reduce your energy bills and increase your comfort (ie. get up to a “warm” bathroom during the winter). If your family follows a fairly regular schedule, a programmable thermostat will pay for itself in a few months.
Q: Should I have my ductwork cleaned? Does Roth do this? Dust builds up inside our ductwork just like it builds up on our furniture. It is important to clean the ductwork every few years to prevent this build up of dust, pollen fungus and bacteria. You will breathe better, your home will be cleaner, possible health hazards will be eliminated, and your heating & cooling costs will be reduced. Included with each “PowerVac” duct cleaning, is a complete cleaning and inspection of the combustion components of the furnace.
Q: What are Roth’s installation rates? All installation work (except minor duct changes) is performed at a pre-agreed upon price and you will receive a proposal showing the total investment and detailing the work to be done, model numbers of all equipment, warranties, etc.
Q: What are Roth’s service rates? We are competitive with other reputable companies. Please call us for current rates.
Q: What brands does Roth work on? All brands and types of equipment. We even work on many systems that other companies won’t touch.
Q: Does Roth have experienced servicemen? Absolutely! All of our servicemen are licensed and bonded. We have some of the best & most experienced servicemen anywhere.
Q: What are Roth’s hours? Our regular service hours are from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday. Our regular service rates will apply within these hours. Emergency service is available after our regular service hours. After hours rates may apply.
Q: Do I pay the serviceman at time of service? Yes, unless other arrangements have been made. We also accept VISA, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
Q: What kind of maintenance/ service plans does Roth offer? Roth has several plans available. Our most popular is the “Blue Ribbon” plan which includes a pre-season preventive service and system cleaning in the spring and fall. This is performed at a reduced rate (payable at time of service – not prepaid in advance). Any additional work during the year is performed at a reduced rate also. The “Blue Ribbon” will make your equipment last longer, reduce your utility bills and assure you of a safe & properly operating system. We have pre-paid maintenance plans available too.
Q: Why should I have my air conditioner checked in the spring and my furnace checked in the fall? The equipment should be cleaned and serviced prior to the season they will be used to insure that they will run at peak performance (efficiency) and to help extend the life of the equipment. Also, it’s important that the furnace is not only cleaned and operating efficiently, but that it is operating safely.
Q: Is there a charge for diagnosing what is wrong with my system? Yes, this is part of the service call. If a new furnace or air conditioner is needed for your home, the diagnostic portion of the service call is voided if you purchase the new system from Roth.