Frequently Asked Questions
ARE YOUR TECHNICIANS CERTIFIED?
Yes. All techs are certified by the state of New Mexico in their respective trades. They also receive regular training and certifications from industry sources and manufacturers.
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES EXPERIENCED?
Yes. We have a combined total of nearly 100 years experience in the HVAC industry, primarily in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas.
WHAT IS A LOAD CALC?
A load calc is an absolute necessity for replacement or new installation of any hvac equipment including furnaces or air conditioners.
A manual J load calculation is a process of measuring the area that needs conditioning and ascertaining certain factors such as window efficiency, insulation values and more to determine the exact size of equipment needed for your comfort. There are a lot of systems that are not sized correctly because some contractors often use outdated “Rule of Thumb” calculations that are useless in todays construction. Make sure you have a contractor that does a Manual J. If improperly sized equipment is installed you will most likely have problems with air flow, nuisance trips or shutdowns and shortened equipment life. At Stockton Mechanical, we always do load calcs to make sure you get the proper equipment for your home or business.
IS AIR FLOW IMPORTANT?
In real estate it’s location, location, location. In heating and air conditioning it’s air flow, air flow, air flow. If your ducts, registers and return air are not properly sized, you can have all sorts of problems. Rooms to hot or cold, air conditioner freeze ups, limit trips on furnaces, noisy systems and more. Professionals like Stockton Mechanical take this very seriously and make it a point to size everything properly.
WHAT DO RATING NUMBERS MEAN?
The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a high rating indicating high-efficiency. The next two topics address this issue in greater detail.
WHAT IS A SEER?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. The higher the SEER rating, the less electricity it uses. WARNING: There are actually some contractors out there that think the higher the SEER, the colder the air it puts out.
WHAT DOES HSPF STAND FOR?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of varying types of equipment. Heat pump equipment in the heating mode is rated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the unit. Again, the less energy it uses.
WHAT DOES AFUE STAND FOR?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Gas furnaces are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit. The typical furnace is 80% efficient. There are furnaces made now that are up to 98% efficient (they burn more gas efficiently).
SHOULD OUTDOOR UNITS BE COVERED IN WINTER?
No. Heat pumps operate year-round and should never be covered. Similarly, air conditioners that operate seasonally are built to withstand an outdoor environment and should not be covered.
SHOULD A THERMOSTAT BE SET TO “AUTO” OR “ON”?
Preferably auto. That way, the fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most used and the most efficient setting. However, there are advantages to using the “on” setting. Air is constantly filtered through the unit’s air filter, and the constantly circulating air results in an even temperature throughout the house.
CAN SHRUBS OR FLOWERS BE PLANTED AROUND AN OUTDOOR UNIT?
Yes. However, we recommend that plants be no closer than 18 inches to the unit. This allows for plenty of room for air circulation in and out of the unit. Without this room for air circulation, the unit could overheat, resulting in a premature need for service.
IF AN OUTDOOR UNIT NEEDS REPLACING, SHOULD THE INDOOR UNIT BE REPLACED TOO?
Yes. All air conditioning and heating units are designed to operate as a complete, matched system. The efficiency rating is based on the entire system. Replacing the entire system ensures the system will be reliable and efficient.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT SIZE UNIT OUR HOUSE NEEDS?
Ask your HVAC dealer. He will consider many factors before making a recommendation. Factors like … size of the house, climate, the number and type of windows installed, insulation, and even the number of people living in the house. They should perform what is called a Manual J Load Calculation.IS SOUND AN ISSUE FOR HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING?
The louder the better doesn’t necessarily hold true for heating and A/C equipment. Heating and cooling equipment should offer maximum comfort with minimum noise. Fortunately, today’s technology has enabled manufacturers to produce air conditioners and heat pumps that are not only highly efficient, but also exceptionally quiet. Especially the new Rheem line. Loud heating and cooling equipment contribute to sound pollution. Although no financial savings are tied to lower sound levels, the sound rating of a cooling system can have a considerable effect on comfort and enjoyment of your home. The sound level of an air conditioner or heat pump depends on a variety of factors. The age of the unit and whether the compressor is insulated or not can contribute to the amount of noise it makes. You also need to choose a contractor that will look at your duct system. Ducts that are undersized (both return & supply) can create noise. Ask your contractor if your ducts are sized correctly. They should measure and run some calculations before answering. Although most heating and cooling systems manufactured today are quieter than ever before, it’s a good idea to compare sound ratings when shopping for a new air conditioner or heat pump, particularly if the equipment location is near bedrooms or living rooms. Great differences in the sound levels of products on the market today can make all the difference in just how comfortable you can be at home.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPLIT SYSTEM AND A PACKAGE UNIT?
A split system uses indoor and outdoor components to provide a complete home comfort system. A package unit or self- contained unit requires no external coils, air handlers, or heating units.
WHAT IS A BOILER SYSTEM?
Visit our Boiler System FAQ page >