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Frequently Asked Questions


Common Questions, Thorough Answers

The HVAC industry is full of jargon that the average person probably doesn't know. As a result, we are asked a variety of questions everyday about our products and services. To make matters simpler and help educate you on the home comfort systems of today, here is a list of the most common HVAC questions we encounter. Of course, we are always available to answer any questions you may have by phone if you have a different question or would like some elaboration on an entry below. So please, don't hesitate to contact us day or night!


Heating Questions

How long should my furnace last?

That mostly depends on the owner. Without proper maintenance, the life expectancy of the unit rapidly declines. In addition, newer furnace models have a more sophisticated construction, and as a result, last longer. So, a modern, well-maintained furnace has the potential to last upwards of twenty-five years. While at the same time, a poorly or unmaintained furnace will probably only last around ten. It's all about being proactive instead of reactive.

What does AFUE mean?

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: Listed as a percentage, this is a direct ratio of fuel pumped into the furnace and usable heat created from the fuel. For example, the SLP98V is 98% AFUE. Meaning for every 100 BTUs of fuel the furnace uses, 98 BTU's enters your home. Clearly, the higher the AFUE, the better.

What is a BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, it equates to the amount of heat and energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree fahrenheit. In terms of HVAC, a 10,000 BTU furnace is capable of creating 10,000 BTU's of heat per hour.

What is HSPF?

Once again, the important thing to note is that a higher score on the HSPF scale yields a more efficient Heat Pump. Specifically, HSPF measures a heat pump's estimated heating output for the Spring and Fall.

What size furnace will I need?

This is a complicated question that requires a complicated answer. There are numerous factors that determine which size unit will operate best in your home. The age, size, and ductwork of your home all play a role in sizing your unit. For best results, schedule a FREE evaluation with francegothic.ru to receive the most accurate answer. CAUTION: A larger unit does not necessarily mean a more effective unit. You need a furnace or air conditioner appropriately sized for your unique home to heat and cool effectively.

What efficiency should my furnace be?

In short, your furnace should be as efficient as possible. We recommend at least 92% efficiency. While 80% AFUE units are available, the money you "save" on up-front pricing will be negated by higher operating costs within a few years, and throughout the life of a furnace, the lower AFUE models will actually end up costing you more.

Who makes the most reliable furnace and air conditioners?

In all honesty, every company that comes to your home is going to tell you that the HVAC supplier they carry is the absolute best. But according to consumer reports and Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration News; the contractor's expertise and proficiency with their brand is far more important than the unit they install. At francegothic.ru, we prefer Lennox furnaces and air conditioners because of the integrity we see in the company. Lennox provides you, the consumer, a two-year 100% satisfaction guarantee backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal as well as the manufacturer's support. This guarantees that you aren't stuck with a lemon. Always be sure to purchase a heating or cooling unit branded with theGood Housekeeping Seal so you know it is a quality product.

Cooling Questions

How long should my air conditioner last?

That mostly depends on the owner. Without proper maintenance, the life expectancy of the unit rapidly declines. In addition, newer air conditioner models have a more sophisticated construction, and as a result, last longer. So, a modern, well-maintained air conditioner has the potential to last upwards of twenty-five years. While at the same time, a poorly or unmaintained air conditioner will probably only last around ten. It's all about being proactive instead of reactive.

What does SEER mean?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is calculated by dividing the typical cooling output of an average season by the total energy input during the same amount of time. The important thing to understand about SEER ratings is that a higher rating equates to a more efficient system.

What does EER mean?

The EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio of a cooling system, indicates how effectively the air conditioner will operate at a specific temperature (usually at 95 degrees). Once again, the higher the rating, the more efficient the system.

What is the difference between EER and SEER?

The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) measures how efficiently a unit will operate over the course of an entire season as opposed to under specific circumstances like temperature.

What is a BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, it equates to the amount of heat and energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree fahrenheit. In terms of HVAC, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner is capable of removing 10,000 BTU's of heat per hour.

What is HSPF?

Once again, the important thing to note is that a higher score on the HSPF scale yields a more efficient Heat Pump. Specifically, HSPF measures a heat pump's estimated heating output for the Spring and Fall.

What size air conditioner will I need?

This is a complicated question that requires a complicated answer. There are numerous factors that determine which size unit will operate best in your home. The age, size, and ductwork of your home all play a role in sizing your unit. For best result, schedule a FREE evaluation with francegothic.ru to receive the most accurate answer.

IMPORTANT: A larger unit does not necessarily mean a more effective unit. You need an air conditioner appropriately sized for your unique home to cool properly.

What efficiency should my air conditioner be?

In short, your air conditioner should be as efficient as possible. We recommend at least a 16 SEER unit. The money you "save" on up-front pricing will be negated by higher operating costs within a few years, and throughout the life of an air conditioner, the lower SEER models will actually end up costing you more.

Who makes the most reliable furnace and air conditioners?

In all honesty, every company that comes to your home is going to tell you that the HVAC supplier they carry is the absolute best. But according to consumer reports and Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration News; the contractor's expertise and proficiency with their brand is far more important than the unit they install. At francegothic.ru, we prefer Lennox furnaces and air conditioners because of the integrity we see in the company. Lennox provides you, the consumer, a two-year 100% satisfaction guarantee backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal as well as the manufacturer's support. This guarantees that you aren't stuck with a lemon. Always be sure to purchase a heating or cooling unit branded with the Good Housekeeping Seal so you know it is a quality product.

Plumbing Questions

How do I prevent clogged drains?

Preventing a clogged drain is just a matter of adopting a few good habits. First, never drop anything down the drain that isn't soap or water. Even grease (and especially hair and food) will eventually clog the drain. Keep your sink strainers in place and clean them regularly. Additionally, pour hot water down the drain once a week to break up soap scum, grease, and any particles that may have found their way in there.

What's the best way to check for toilet leaks?

Take a bit of food coloring and drip it into the toilet tank (not the toilet bowl). Do not flush the toilet. Then come back every so often and check the toilet bowl. If the coloring has found its way into the water in the bowl, your toilet is leaking.

What's the single best way to conserve water?

Don't use your toilet as a garbage can. How often do you flush used tissues, cue tips, or other small bathroom disposables down the toilet? Each time you flush in this way, you could be wasting up to 7 gallons of water! Extrapolate that to one wasted flush per family member (4) per day for a year, and you're looking at 10,220 wasted gallons of water!

How much water is wasted by a leaking faucet?

This largely depends on the strength of the drip and the number of faucets that are leaking. Use our handy Drip Calculator to determine how much water is being wasted in your home.

Energy Efficiency Questions

What efficiency should my furnace be?

In short, your furnace should be as efficient as possible. We recommend at least 92% efficiency. While 80% AFUE units are available, the money you "save" on up-front pricing will be negated by higher operating costs within a few years, and throughout the life of a furnace, the lower AFUE models will actually end up costing you more.

How much energy does a Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) Save?

A lot. As opposed to incandescent (the standard bulb you are familiar with) a CFL will cost approximately 75% less in energy costs and last ten times longer.

What are some great ways to save energy on heating and cooling costs?

Regular maintenance ensures that your air conditioner or furnace will operate at peak efficiency. It is recommended to schedule a Clean and Check before each heating and cooling season.

In addition, a more efficient unit will cost less to operate. Every year increasingly more efficient units are designed and developed by Lennox. If your furnace or air conditioner is roughly ten years old, there is a slew of vastly more efficient units available from francegothic.ru.

For a no-cost option to lowering your bills, you can simply raise/lower your thermostat. For each 2 degrees you raise (in the summer) or lower (in the winter) you cut energy costs by 10%.

How does a programmable thermostat save energy?

People are forgetful. We don't need to heat or cool the home while we are at work or on vacation, but it is very easy to forget when rushing out the door at 7AM to turn off the HVAC unit. The programmable thermostat prevents that human error from entering the equation. Program your schedule into the thermostat and it will always remember to turn off the furnace/air conditioner when you're not around to use it.

Insulation Questions

What is an R-Value?

R-value is a measurement of the effectiveness of your insulation. Depending on where you live, certain areas are recommended to have specific levels of insulation to keep their energy costs low. In the Houston and Northwest Indiana area, it is recommended to have an R-Value between R-38 and R-60 in your attic.

How do I determine if I have enough insulation?

The recommended R-Value generally equates to 14 inches of attic insulation. For a more specific measurement, contact francegothic.ru Home Services.

Why do you only use blown-in insulation?

In short, because it is vastly superior to the big pink sheets we are all familiar with. It is easier, faster, and less impactful to your home to install and will not degrade over time. In addition, it provides a tighter fit to the walls and attic which keeps out moisture and prevents the growth of pests and mold. Better yet, it is made from recyclable materials.

Can blown-in insulation be applied around electrical wiring?

Yes. If there is wiring in your attic or walls, it will not disrupt energy efficiency or the wires in question.

Why do you remove the old insulation when installing a new layer?

This generally occurs when the client did not previously have blown-in insulation. Other forms of insulation degrade over time. While it may seem productive and cost-effective to simply spray onto the old layer, this will yield

Air Quality Questions

What is considered good IAQ?

Good indoor air quality involves a comfortable level of temperature and humidity, a sufficient amount of fresh outdoor air, and a safe level of pollutants from inside and outside of the building or home.

Do I need a humidifier?

Yes. A humidifier will eliminate dry air problems in the home and ensure the most comfortable atmosphere for you and your family. With fresh water drains to prevent mildew formation and calcium/rust resistant designs, the humidifiers of the 21st century are leagues beyond older models.

How often should I have my ducts cleaned?

francegothic.ru recommends you have your ducts cleaned every 2-7 years or sooner if signs of dirty ducts begin to show. Visit our Air Duct Cleaning page to see the warning signs.

How does poor indoor air quality affect my health?

Indoor air quality can affect your health in a variety of ways. Irritation in the eyes, nose, and/or throat is common. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and other symptoms akin to allergies are also common. These effects are usually short term and alleviate once you have exited the building. However in severe cases asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever have also been reported.

What are some common indoor air pollutants that I should be aware?

There are many things in your home that can negatively affect your air quality. Here are just a few of them.
Radon: Have your home tested for radon levels. If the levels are too high, professionals will need to be contacted to remove the radon from your home
Tobacco Smoke: Don't smoke and ask others to smoke outside.
Pollen/Dander/Mold: Keep your ducts clean, and make sure you have a fresh filter in your furnace every month.
Paints, Cleaners, and Artificial Scents: Make sure you provide adequate ventilation when using these products.


We look forward to proving why francegothic.ru is the best HVAC contractor in the Houston region. For all the right reasons, choose francegothic.ru for every heating, cooling, and plumbing need!