Frequently Asked Heating & Cooling Questions - Lambert Heating and Air Conditioning

With four decades of heating and cooling experience, we get asked many questions; however, some are more common than others.

Here are some of the things our customers ask us most about.

If your heating or cooling system isn’t working properly, it’s normal to call a professional for help. However, there are things you should check before you do.
  • Check the Thermostat The thermostat tells your heating or cooling system what room temperature should be, so if you’re not getting the comfort you desire, check the thermostat to ensure it’s set to the correct setting. Sometimes, a switch gets accidentally flipped, and that’s all it takes to get your system functioning again. Also, if you have a programmable thermostat, check the clock and date settings because these can interfere with your system’s operation.
  • Check & Replace the Batteries Most thermostats run on batteries, so replacing them may be the solution if your HVAC system won’t power on or if it runs but can’t deliver the temperature you desire.
  • Check the Circuit Breaker When an appliance doesn’t start, sometimes simply checking the breaker to see if it’s tripped will solve the problem.
  • Install a Clean Air Filter If your furnace powers on, but you can’t get warm air, it could be that the filter is dirty. Dirty filters impede airflow and cause the system to work harder, which can lead to it breaking down sooner than expected.
  • Check the Registers Finally, if you notice that some rooms are more comfortable than others, check the registers to ensure they’re open and unblocked.
If your system still doesn’t respond after checking these things, call a heating and cooling professional to diagnose the problem.
If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, you’ve probably read that you should look for a model with a good SEER rating. But what is it, and why does it matter? A SEER rating measures how efficient your cooling system is, and it’s calculated by the output for a typical season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time. A good way to think about SEER ratings is by comparing them to a car’s MPG. The better the number, the more efficient the system is and the more money you save on energy bills.
  • What is a Good SEER Rating? So, a high SEER number means your air conditioner is more efficient than the ones with a low number. However, that doesn’t mean you should always buy the system with the highest number. Finding the right air conditioner for your home depends on many factors, including size, location, usage habits, and budget. Most experts say to choose an AC system with a SEER rating of 13 or 14; however, it’s best to consult with a cooling specialist to assess your needs and determine which system is best for your home and budget.
Many homeowners who don’t have homes with ductwork want the benefits of a central air conditioner but don’t want to spend the money and deal with the hassle of installing ducts. One option available is a ductless mini split AC system, but are these units worth the money, and can they provide cooling on par with a central AC?

One of the primary benefits of going the ductless route is that they’re easy to install because you don’t need expensive ductwork compared to a forced air system. With a ductless AC, you only need to cut a small 3-inch hole to connect the indoor and outdoor units, and this installation is typically done in a few hours.

Another benefit of using a ductless system is that it provides better security than window units. Depending on the location of a window air conditioner, it’s easy for someone to open the window and get into your house, which isn’t an issue with ductless air conditioners.

Ductless mini split air conditioners are more energy efficient than their forced air counterparts because they don’t lose cooling through holes or leaks in the ducts. Ductwork wears out over time, causing joints to separate and cracks to form, making air escape easy. Because ductless systems deliver cooling directly to the room, they remain more energy efficient.

Compared to central air conditioners, ductless mini-split systems give you greater control over your home’s temperature, allowing you to cool rooms individually instead of the system cooling the entire house. This “zone cooling” is ideal for families who can’t agree on the desired temperature, and it allows you to cool only the rooms you’re using, which saves energy and money.

Despite the benefits, there are some downsides to installing a ductless system. Many people don’t like the aesthetics of indoor units placed throughout the house, thinking it looks cluttered and unsightly. Forced air systems are typically more discreet, and you can paint the registers to match the wall, so they blend in more seamlessly.

Another disadvantage is that you must clean the filter monthly to keep the system operating efficiently, compared to a central HVAC system, where you can go up to three months or more between filter changes.

If you’re on the fence about installing a ductless mini split air conditioner, call the professionals at Lambert Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss your options.

Replacing an air conditioner is an expensive investment, so when your old system is acting up, you may wonder if it’s better to repair it or bite the bullet and spring for a new one. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to replace your air conditioner or not.
  • Age The average lifespan of an air conditioner is between 10 and 15 years; however, if you’ve kept it well-maintained, you can squeeze out a few more. Having said that, if your air conditioner is over ten years old, developing problems, and is out of warranty, you’re typically better off replacing it.
  • Repair Cost Another factor determining whether to replace or repair your AC is how much it will cost to fix it. A good rule of thumb pros use is the $5,000 rule, in which you multiply the system’s age by the repair cost, and if it comes out to $5,000 or more, it makes more financial sense to purchase a new system.
  • Maintenance Routine Annual AC maintenance and tune-ups are key to your system’s performance and longevity. So, a system that’s been well-maintained, but needs a little TLC, can run for a few more years compared to one that’s been neglected.
  • Your Cooling Demands Often, a household will outgrow the capabilities of the air conditioner. Whether it’s add-ons or more family members, your old air conditioner may not be able to keep up, so upgrading makes more sense.
  • Incentives Sometimes, the government offers tax credits and other incentives to homeowners upgrading to more efficient heating and cooling systems. If you’re on the fence about repairing or replacing your unit, an incentive may sway you in one direction or another.
  • If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or your current system needs repairs, call the experts at Lambert Heating & Air Conditioning today.
Many people think that bigger is better when choosing an air conditioner; however, as we’ll see, this isn’t always the case. If you purchase an air conditioner that’s too large, you may experience issues with short cycling, uneven cooling, high indoor humidity, and increased electric bills.

The best way to determine how large your air conditioner needs to be is to measure the area you want to cool by multiplying the width by the length of the rooms in your house to get the total square footage. Once you know the approximate square footage, you can choose a system with an appropriate BTU rating to cool that area.

Another thing to consider is what kind of air conditioner you need. If you only need to cool one small room, you can get by with a window unit, a ductless mini-split system, or a portable air conditioner.

As always, the best way to choose the right air conditioner for your home is to consult a cooling professional.

There’s much confusion and debate about how often one should change their air conditioner filter. Some people say every month, while others say every three months. However, most experts agree that regularly changing the filter keeps your system running efficiently and helps reduce repair costs. But, how often does the filter need changing?

The answer is: it depends. HVAC filters go by a MERV rating, which stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV rating determines how well the filter traps dust and particles, so filters with a high rating are more effective. However, that doesn’t mean you should always opt for the filter with the highest number because the wrong filter could make your system perform worse and put excess wear and tear on it.

Most typical homeowners should change their air filter every 90 days; however, if you have pets or live in a dusty environment, you might change it more often. Neglecting regular air filter changes make the air conditioner work harder, which can shorten its lifespan.

Call Lambert Heating & Air Conditioning for expert air filter replacement.

Most homeowners rely on their HVAC system year-round, but many don’t schedule annual maintenance from a trained professional, thinking it’s too expensive or not necessary. However, annual HVAC service isn’t a ploy to get more money from you; it’s crucial to your system’s health, longevity, and performance. Let’s look at why yearly HVAC maintenance is so important.
  • It Improves & Maintains Efficiency With constant use, the typical HVAC system loses up to 5% efficiency yearly. Lost efficiency translates to poor performance and higher energy bills. By scheduling service from a trained professional, your system remains in top condition, keeping you more comfortable and your energy bills as low as possible.
  • It Can Extend Your HVAC Lifespan Normal wear and tear can reduce your HVAC’s lifespan significantly. The average lifespan of an air conditioner or furnace is between 10 and 15 years; however, with routine maintenance, you can extend that a few years, helping you get more out of your investment. A new air conditioner installation is expensive, so it’s in your best interest to keep your current system running as long as possible.
  • It Protects Your Warranty Something many HVAC owners don’t consider is their system’s warranty. Most HVAC manufacturers stipulate that the owner keep their system well-maintained to keep the warranty valid. Considering the expense of a major HVAC repair, a yearly service call is a cost-effective way to protect your investment.
  • It Protects Against Sudden Breakdowns Many people ignore annual AC maintenance because their system works without issue year after year. However, minor problems can worsen over time, causing a catastrophic failure, requiring an expensive repair or replacement. Having a professional inspect and service your system allows you to replace worn-out parts and ensure the unit is in tip-top shape so you’re not surprised one day when it stops working.
  • As you can see, annual HVAC maintenance is crucial to the overall health of your system.

Lambert Heating & Air Conditioning is the go-to heating and cooling specialist in Downey, CA. We have four decades of experience and guarantee your satisfaction. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 562-861-2727.