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Frequently Asked Heating and Cooling Questions

Here are some of the questions we get most often about heating and cooling. Of course, if you’d like to speak to us directly, please call 703-253-7469 and we’ll make sure you get all the answers you want.

How often should I have my equipment serviced?
Why should I have my equipment serviced?
When should I use my Emergency Heat?
What is Emergency Heat?
So when do I actually use the Emergency Heat?

Q: How often should I have my equipment serviced?
A: Heating and Air Conditioning equipment should be serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning checked in the Spring.

Q: Why should I have my equipment serviced?
A: Annual servicing includes cleaning the system, checking for any problems or potential problems and adjusting for Peak efficiency. The benefits include:

  • Increased dependability
  • Find potential problems and fix them quickly
  • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
  • Prolongs the life-span of the equipment
  • Maintains safe and healthy operation
  • Can help to protect the environment
  • Drastically reduces the chance of a break-down which usually happens at night or on weekends when repair rates are higher.

Q: When should I use my Emergency Heat?
A: The Emergency Heat switch on a Heat Pump thermostat confuses many people. The fact of the matter is that most people don’t seem to understand exactly what Emergency Heat is and when they need to use it. Many people think that Heat Pumps don’t work in cold weather and they are supposed to use the emergency heat whenever it gets really cold… Wrong!

Q: What is Emergency Heat?
A: Simply put, usually it is in the form of electric resistance heating. This is an all-electric Heat Pump. The supplemental heat is also referred to as “second-stage” or “back-up” heating, “first-stage” being the Heat Pump only. The supplemental heat is also what is used as the Emergency Heat. Different systems have different ways of determining when the second-stage comes on to assist the heat pump but it is always done automatically. So the two stages will work together in the colder months and it is not necessary to switch your thermostat to Emergency Heat. Now we know what supplemental heat is and that it is also used for Emergency Heat.

Q: So when do I actually use the Emergency Heat?
A: As the name implies, it is only used in emergency situations. It is used when there is something wrong with first-stage heating [the Heat Pump itself]. In other words, if you notice your house is cold and it isn’t heating properly that would be a good time to switch to Emergency Heat and call for service.