FAQ’S From McCarthy Services in Lorton, VA

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.

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, emergency heat is created via electric resistance heating to provide heat when other heat sources aren’t working. This is achieved via 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.

Q: How can I increase my home’s heating and air conditioning efficiency?

A: To increase the energy efficiency of your home, it is best to select an air conditioning and heating system that is designed to be efficient. It’s important to keep in mind that larger models don’t always mean better heating. Often times, larger systems can lead to reduced efficiency. You should select a system that is appropriate for your living, depending on the shape and size of your home. Staying on top of filter maintenance, regularly cleaning and changing them will also increase your energy efficiency. Another great way to be energy efficient is to install equipment that helps moderate temperatures like shades, drapes, and shutters.

Q: How often should I have my filters replaced?

A: Filters are incredibly important for maintaining clean air quality and increasing energy efficiency. If you have filters that are washable, we suggest that you have them cleaned monthly. We also suggest monthly replacement if you have disposable filters. Regardless of the type of filters you own, you should service them every month for the best results.

Q: Which HVAC system is the best for my home?

A: In order to decide which HVAC system is best for your home, it’s important to consider the dimensions of your house and needs of those under your roof. By contacting us at (703) 253-7469, we’ll help you decide the best route to take for your HVAC system. We’ll happily assess your home and evaluate size and needs to deduce the perfect fit.

Q: When should I replace my air conditioner?

A: It’s important to have a properly functioning air conditioner in order to stay energy efficient and comfortable at home. As the average life of a unit is between 10 to 20 years, it may be time to replace yours if it falls in this range. You may notice that your energy bills are rising while your usage has stayed the same. As air conditioners get older, they become dramatically less energy efficient. By comparing your previous month’s bills, you can conclude whether or not your unit is wearing out. Leaking refrigerant is another indicator that your unit is in need of replacement. Leaking refrigerant is expensive to buy and can cause serious damage to your compressor. If you’re experiencing issues with your air conditioner, give us a call today at (703) 253-7469 for a free quote on repairs. Whether your unit needs replacement or repair, we’ll help you decide the most cost effective route.

Q: What happens if I need emergency repair?

A: As your trusted HVAC service company, we are always a call away. Whether it’s midnight or on the weekend, we’ll provide high quality service when you need it the most. Our technicians are standing by, ready to help you through any issues that may occur. When facing an emergency, you can always rely on us!

Schedule your service today and call (703) 253-7469.

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Why Choose Us?

  • 24 Hour Emergency Service
  • Background Checked Technicians
  • Convenient Appointment Times
  • Upfront Pricing
  • Exceptional Service Guarantee