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  Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing  
Home HVAC Maintenance Q&A 

 
How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?
Is there any advantage to setting my fan to "ON" so it runs constantly?
Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?
What simple maintenance and troubleshooting can I do myself?
What should I check before I request A "Service Call?"
What temperature should I set my thermostat at if I go out of town?
When should I repair older equipment and when do I need to replace it?
Is it important to have maintenance on my home comfort equipment?

· HVAC Homeowner's Manuals

What simple maintenance and troubleshooting can I do myself?

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Safety precautions!

• Disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels to perform maintenance. Please note that there may be more than one power connection switch.

• Although most manufacturers takes special care to prevent sharp edges in the construction of their equipment, it’s best to be very careful when you handle parts or reach into units.    

Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil every 3 to 4 weeks.

A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type. (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it’s completely dry before you re-install it.) The prefilter and collection cells of an Electronic Air Cleaner should be cleaned at least three or four times per year.  If you have a Spaceguard Filter it should be changed once a year if you have a heating and cooling system and once every two years if you have a heating or cooling only system.

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Clean your indoor coil.

With a vacuum cleaner and soft-brush attachment, you can remove any dust from the top and underside of the coil. Make sure you only do this when the coil is dry. If you can’t get the coil clean this way; call Geisel for professional service.    

Keep your outdoor condensing unit free of debris.

If you keep grass clippings, leaves shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care to operate properly. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris, to help the unit drain correctly.

If the outdoor coil becomes dirty, use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact Geisel for professional maintenance.

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Make sure your outdoor unit stays in a level position.

If the support for your split-system outdoor unit shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it promptly to make sure moisture drains properly out of the unit. If you notice that water or ice collects beneath the unit, arrange for it to be drained away from the equipment.    

Inspect your furnace’s combustion area and vent system before each heating season.

If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call your servicing dealer and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.

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Have oil-fired boilers inspected annually.

Call Geisel before each heating season to replace your oil filter cartridge and conduct a thorough inspection of the unit’s operation.    

Clean your humidifier at the beginning of every heating season.

Review your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to clean the external and internal components of your unit. The evaporator pad should also be replaced before each heating season. If the water in your area is hard or has high mineral content, you may need to clean or service your humidifier more frequently.

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Clean the core and air filters on a ventilator at least every three months.

You can vacuum the core of an energy recovery ventilator as long as it is dry and the outdoor temperature is between 60 F (16 C) and 75 F (24 C). Heat recovery ventilator cores can be soaked for three hours in a solution of warm water and mild soap and then rinsed. Ventilator air filters are washable: just use a vacuum to remove the heaviest accumulation of dust and then wash them in lukewarm water. Replace them after they are completely dry.

Before you request A "Service Call"

Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system). Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.

Check for sufficient airflow. Make sure air filters are clean and those supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.

Check the settings on your thermostat. If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.

In addition to the routine maintenance you perform, your home comfort system should be inspected at least once a year by a properly trained service technician. Geisel will make sure your system operates safely and gives you the best performance at the lowest cost. You may also want to ask your dealer about an economical service contract that covers seasonal inspections for a flat fee.

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When should I repair older equipment and when do I need to replace it?

When you’re frustrated with an equipment break-down, it can be tempting to find the least expensive "quick fix" to get on with your life in relative comfort. That "quick fix" may be the least expensive now, but it may not give you the most value — or cost you the least — in the long run.

Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. It’s almost like putting a bandage on a serious injury. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again ... and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.

There’s also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you’ve recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won’t save on your energy bills.

Even six-year-old heat pumps and air conditioners are considered grossly inefficient by today’s energy efficiency standards. So are most furnaces built before 1980. So you could save up to 60% on your energy bills with new high-efficiency equipment. That’s why installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.

Looking at the Big Picture.

When one component of your system breaks down unexpectedly, it’s easy to just focus on repairing or replacing that component. But each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.

Replacing your old furnace with a new higher-efficiency model but leaving your old mechanical thermostat in place, for example, won’t allow you to enjoy all the efficiency advantages the furnace has to offer. Likewise, if you install a new furnace but don’t get a humidifier, the air will seem cooler, forcing you to operate your new system at a higher temperature to be comfortable. Plus, you can often save on installation costs if you have several components of your system (for example, a furnace and an air conditioner) replaced at the same time.


Why Is It Important To Have Regular Maintenance On My Home Comfort Equipment?


You wouldn’t buy a brand new car and never expect to have to put air in the tires, change the oil, and check out any unusual noises, would you? Well, in the same way it is important to have regular inspections of your indoor comfort equipment by Geisel.

Just as a well running car can get the best gas mileage and keep you safe on the road, properly running home comfort equipment will run more efficiently and keep you comfortable and safe in your home.

Carrier Has Some Of The Best Warranties In The Business
Prevent Problems Before They Start
Benefits Of Planned Service
Planned Service Will Help Keep Your Home Safe
Geisel Offers Extended Protection
The Company You Trust

 

Carrier Has Some Of The Best Warranties In The Business

As a matter of fact, good warranties can make you complacent about the need for regular inspections for your Carrier equipment. If not regularly inspected and maintained, there are many things which over the years can compromise your comfort equipment’s performance and reliability.

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Prevent Problems Before They Start

One of the best ways to avoid problems with your home comfort equipment is to prevent them from occurring. The best way to do that is scheduling regular maintenance. Geisel is highly qualified to maintain all your heating and cooling equipment year-round. Ask Geisel about our planned service program and head off problems before they start.

Even the best equipment, if not maintained properly can cause problems. Changes made to your home during remodeling or careless activity can result in kinks, blockages and even leaks in your ductwork which can lead to poor airflow, discomfort and even higher utility bills.    

Benefits Of Planned Service

Having your equipment serviced on a regular basis has many benefits for you:

  • Regular service lengthens the life of the equipment by keeping it in good working condition.
  • It maintains efficient operation which saves you energy dollars.
  • It will save you money by eliminating costs of needed repairs and reducing any major repair expenses.
  • It will establish you as a priority customer which you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever needed cooling during the hot days of summer or heating during the coldest blizzard of the year.
  • It assures you of service by experienced and qualified technicians.
  • Regular service protects your warranty.

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Planned Service Will Help Keep Your Home Safe

Carbon monoxide in your home is an invisible threat to your safety, but it is a threat that is preventable. Cars and trucks, lawn equipment, water heaters, stoves, clothes dryers, furnaces, space heaters, and other combustion appliances are some of the potential sources of carbon monoxide. Though designed to be safe and not produce carbon monoxide, home heating systems are only one of the many sources. In addition negative pressure in your home, coupled with improper combustion, can lead to carbon monoxide entering your living space. Negative pressure can be cause by central vacuum systems, high volume kitchen range hoods, countertop range exhaust systems, bathroom exhaust fans, and particularly fireplaces which can remove an enormous amount of air from your home when burning.

Prevention is the most important step to take to reduce carbon monoxide problems. That’s why it is important to schedule annual maintenance visits by a qualified technician to check combustion appliances to make sure they are operating properly and to be sure that all chimneys and vents are connected properly and not blocked.

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Geisel Offers Extended Protection

In addition to planned service, Geisel offers the opportunity for you to purchase additional protection and peace of mind through our extended protection plans. This is an extended warranty and does not take the place of planned service. In fact, to keep this warranty in effect, it is required that your equipment be properly maintained.

That way, with extended protection, if your air conditioner goes out on the hottest day of the summer or the coldest day of winter, you’re covered. You can rest easy knowing that relief is on the way and you won’t have to sweat the bill.   

The Company You Trust

And if you like to think ahead, consider this: Planned service and an extended warranty can save you money down the road because your costs are fixed. That’s one more reason to trust Geisel.

For over 68 years people have trusted their indoor comfort to Geisel. We’ve worked hard to earn that trust and we plan to keep it.

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What temperature should I set my thermostat at if I go out of town?

A: We recommend 55 degrees. It's low enough to save you energy and money but warm enough to protect your pipes and other vital parts of your structure. Also, it's a good idea to turn your main water supply off even if you're only going to be gone for a day. A water leak could cause serious and very costly damage to your home.

Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?

Covering the unit is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep your unit clean. Of course, because heat pumps run all year long, they should never be covered. 

If your outdoor unit is in an area which is susceptible to falling ice, etc., we recommend putting some sort of a hard cover over on the top of the unit (like a piece of metal or plywood) to  protect against damage. 

A specially made cover is a good idea but it's not absolutely essential. A cover will protect the finish and guard against rodents making the unit their winter home. Any cover, however, must be removed before the start of operations the following spring. Geisel sells a complete line of specially designed covers for Carrier air conditioners.


Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to "ON" so the fan runs constantly?

There are a couple. One is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The other is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout.

How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?

Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners need to take in and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.

 
 
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