Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago in the business of keeping you informed about heating and cooling.  Feel free to browse this page where you can find the most common heating and air conditioning frequently asked questions to better inform you about the science and workings of HVAC.


What is HVAC?

HVAC is a abbreviation for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. HVAC is most often used to depict the whole heating and cooling system consisting of the duct work, air filters, humidification controls, and registers.

How do I know if I have a warranty on my existing furnace, air conditioner, water heater or HVAC system?

Locate the label on the outer surface of the equipment for a manufacture date. If the equipment is less than five years old it may have a warranty, but also may not based on the model. Warranty terms and conditions change by manufacturer and the installing company. Faith Heating & Cooling can verify the warranty status of your heating and cooling system via System Inspection. We also offer a Faith Protection Plan for residential heating and air conditioning systems, regardless of how old your equipment is or manufacturer warranty status.

Is sound a issue with heating and air conditioning?

Yes. Heating and cooling that make a lot of noise increase sound pollution. Although no cost savings are tied to less sound in your home, the sound rating of a cooling system can have a serious effect on comfort and enjoyment of your North America home. The sound level of an air conditioner or heat pump depends on a number of things, such as the unit, and the degree to which the compressor is insulated can increase the amount of noise it makes.

Although most heating and cooling systems manufactured today are quieter than ever before, it's a safe  idea to compare sound ratings when assessing a new air conditioner or heat pump, particularly if the equipment location is near bedrooms or living rooms.

What is a service call fee?

A Service Call fee is a bill for the expense associated with the time and travel to diagnose, inspect and provide expert recommendations for a home's heating or air conditioning system by a certified professional technician. Coupons for the Service Call fee may be found on our web site or by email when joining our Email Club at the bottom of this page.

What is a Faith Heating & Cooling Tune Up and how much does it cost?

In addition to the professional visual inspection included with our System Inspection, a Faith Heating & Cooling Tune-up also includes a total maintenance cleaning and lubrication of the heating or air conditioning equipment components. Discover more here about Faith Heating & Cooling's Tune-up steps . The fee for a tune-up is seasonal, and printable coupons with seasonal discounts on tune-ups are also usually available on our Coupons page.

Whats causing my duct work to pop when the furnace starts or stops?

A popping disturbance is a typically sign of an under-sized duct design. It may have to do with greater air flow than the duct work can handle. Have a qualified company analyze your home's ventilation system for proper design and make necessary recommendations. Improper duct work layout can cause a number of ventilation and air quality problems, including: 

  1. excessive noise
  2. higher energy consumption
  3. lowered lifespan of the system
  4. uneven heating & cooling throughout your home
  5. damaged compressor in summer
  6. overheated unit in the cooler months

In addition, if your ductwork is undersized you may have other concerns, such as leaky ducts and poor layout that impacts airflow. In humid climates this can cause mold growth within your ductwork.

When substituting the outdoor system should the indoor system also be replaced?

The answer is, probably so. Here's why.

Matched System Design: All air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units are specially fabricated to work with a matched indoor unit for ideal efficiency and performance. The consequence of this matched equipment is a coordinated, top-performance team that ensures dependability and efficiency. Air conditioner and heat pump outdoor units may ”run” with indoor units other than those for which they have been specially designed; however, the effect would be a definite compromise in system performance.

Design Advances: Through the years, indoor blower coil units have undergone many design advances — especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also comprise the latest design advances.

Higher Cooling And Heating Efficiency: The cooling and/or heating efficiency ratings that are posted for an air conditioner or heat pump are based on their performance as matched systems. While changing only the outdoor unit may give you improved efficiency compared to the old system, but efficiency will be lacking from what it was designed to be, and your savings will be not as much as with a matched system.

Equipment Age: If an air conditioner or heat pump is 10 years old or more and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is likely just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of degradation. Substituting both units means you won't have to substitute the indoor unit in a brief time period… you'll have many years of efficient service with both units.

New Warranty: A new set of equipment also delivers you a new product warranty. Changing the indoor unit simultaneously with the outdoor unit results in peace of mind, knowing that the new warranty covers the entire system for the same period of time.

A Bargain: At first glance, replacing only the outdoor air conditioner or heat pump may appear to be a bargain. But, when you consider the lower cooling and heating efficiencies, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership that results, it's not such a bargain. Replacing an entire system may cost more, but you get much more efficiency, reliability and comfort for years into the future.

Why don't you charge by the hour?

Similar to a value menu at nearby  fast food restaurants, charging a flat rate cost in place of an hourly cost makes available more value for our customers because nothing is excluded, the pricing is up-front, and it does not get modified. Regardless of the cost of parts or how much time it takes to finish the repairs, the price will not change. This is just one reason why we plan on making Faith Heating & Cooling the most trusted name in Chicago.

Why is it important to have regular maintenance on my home comfort system?

You probably wouldn't get a brand-new car and assume to never have to inflate the tires, change the oil and examine any atypical noises. Your home comfort system is similar to your car’s engine; it’s a mechanical device with a motor, electrical components... and even fuel. So it is essential to have routine maintenance of your home comfort system by a Faith HVAC qualified technician. If not maintained properly and routinely, even the best heating and air conditioning equipment could experience complications and become less 'fuel' efficient over time.

Why is my AC system freezing up?

There are an abundance of possibilities that can cause your HVAC system to freeze up; almost all of them usually need to be corrected by a professional technician. Determining the air filter is clean or replaced and making sure the airflow is not restricted are about the only tasks a homeowner should safely identify or handle themself.

Low refrigerant: In some cases, freezing up is initiated by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, leaking valves or loose fittings can cause leaks. The length of time your system has been installed and the nature and location of the leak are the determining factors on whether to have the system repaired or replaced.

Dirty evaporator coil: Over time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. On these occasions, the results are similar to those of having a dirty filter. Gradually you will lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or is not cooling adequately. You will need to contact Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago to remedy the problem.

Defective blower motor or relay: A blower motor running at an improper speed or not running at all can cause freezing. It can also be sporadic, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to contact Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago sales and service center to correct the problem.

Should you discover that your system was freezing due to a dirty air filter, after replacing or cleaning the filter, you can hasten the thawing process by turning the system off and then turning on only the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact Faith Heating & Cooling in Chicago to solve the problem.

What is a zoning system for a heating and air conditioning system?

Zoning Systems separate your home’s duct work into different comfort areas, allowing for independent temperature control in distinct areas that require specific temperature conditioning.

For example, a cathedral-style room with large bay windows may retain too much heat in the summer and feel too cold in the winter. A Zoning System will deliver more conditioned air to this large, sun-drenched area to help compensate for the heat gained or lost through the windows. A different example of areas that might benefit from Zoning might be a nursery, home theater or music studio, where different temperatures may be needed in each room for the comfort and enjoyment of the people occupying these rooms. Contemporary families have different lifestyles and comfort needs. You could have a home office that needs extra conditioning during the day and none at night. Or you only use the upstairs or back bedrooms when guests visit. Whatever your needs, a zoning system can maintain each area of your house at the perfect temperature for you and each family member.

Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago provides free estimates and a complimentary consultation on Zoning Systems, call 773-633-7779 today if you think a new Zoning System might be right for you.

When should I install a zoning system?

If you are modifying your Chicago area home air conditioner, furnace or heat pump, it is the right time to also install new zoning systems to address hot and cold spots or special temperature preferences in the home. When your new comfort equipment is coordinated by a zoning system, your family benefits from customized temperature control in each zone.

Zoning is also excellent for new homes since the system can be installed during construction. If you are investing in a new home, check with your builder about a zoning system. It could make the difference between just enjoying your new house and being truly comfortable in it.

Are all air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary due to quality and size, and some have specs that others don't. In most cases we recommend installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing up with your installed system, though you might be tempted to try some other filter type for convenience or to remove additional debris from your residence. 

All filters have MERV ratings, which range from 1-20. MERV stands for "minimum efficiency reporting value". A higher MERV rating means fewer particles pass through, and it catches finer particulates. This sounds fantastic, and it can be, but a filter that stops finer dust and dirt will also clog up quicker, and pressure on your unit will increase. If your system has not been crafted to operate with this kind of filter, it can reduce your airflow around your residence, putting the hurt on your comfort and energy costs. So what should you do? Unless you live in a hospital, you probably don't need a MERV rating above 13. In fact, most residential HVAC systems are specifically designed to work with a filter with a MERV rating below 13, and frequently you will find that quality systems have been made to work with a MERV rating of 8 or 11. All filters with a MERV rating of five should catch most of the everyday nuisances people care about such as pollen, pet dander, and dust. While some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, we recommend having a professional remove any mold from your residence you find, instead of trying to hide the issue with a finer filter. 

Often the packaging indicates how often your filter should be replaced. There are one-month filters and there are 3-month filters. Additionally we have filters that are two dimensional, flat screens, and you have some that are built accordian style with supporting wire. In our experience, the accordian style filters hold up better, and are worth the extra pennies. 

You might also consider washable filters, also known as reusable filters. Some homeowners like the environmentally friendly aspect of it, since they don't pile onto a dump, and others think it more convenient to quickly slide out the filter and clean it off rather than making a special trip to the local hardware store for a filter of the right size. These filters are often created to endure several years and will save you money over those years, though they are pricier initially. However, washable filters should be dried out thoroughly before returning it back to eliminate mold growth in your ductwork. In addition, most washable filters reportedly have a MERV rating between 1 and 4, and they lose their efficiency over the years. Some washable filters have been built with new tech, such as electrostatic air filters, that are meant to basically improve the MERV rating. 

Last, filters are composed from different materials. Fiberglass filters are what we see most often, and are the disposable type. Polyester and pleated filters are known to catch more debris, but also reduce the airflow in your residence. And there are high efficiency particulate arrestance filters, or HEPA for short. While you could be tempted to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system and it's very unlikely that your unit was made to handle that kind of resistance.

Can indoor air be harmful to your heath?

Absolutely. Exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, making indoor air quality (IAQ) important for homeowners to know about. Many common household items contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric constantly emit fumes. Other sources of pollutants can include cleaning agents, paints and personal care products. The tight construction of today's homes also contributes significantly to poor IAQ. Things like weather stripping and storm doors are designed to save on energy costs. However, they also prevent proper ventilation by keeping indoor air in and outdoor air out. The result can be a buildup of contaminants within the home.

Poor IAQ can be a direct or indirect cause of several health problems. Medical groups report that as many as half of all illnesses are caused or aggravated by indoor air pollution. Pollutants within the home can cause homeowners to suffer from flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and respiratory irritation. As well, two existing health problems that can be helped by improving indoor air quality are allergies and asthma. By removing airborne dust particles, the amount of exposure the respiratory system has to them is reduced. Proper ventilation also plays an important role in improving indoor air quality, helping to reduce the concentration of pollutants inside the home.

How can I find carbon monoxide in my home?

The best method of detection is to use a carbon monoxide detector in a central location. A carbon monoxide detector is a device very similar to a smoke alarm. It monitors the air for carbon monoxide and emits an alarm if a specific level is detected. Ideally, you should have at least one detector adjacent to every living area, centrally located, or on each floor in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors are best when used in combination with a maintenance plan. Call 773-633-7779 for a complimentary consultation about purchasing a carbon monoxide detector.

How do I eliminate indoor odors?

You may have tried to cover up indoor odors by spraying air fresheners or lighting candles. Unfortunately, these tactics only mask the odors, they don't get rid of them. These remedies may in fact negatively affect indoor air quality from chemicals that cause allergic reactions or eye irritation for homeowners.

Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home's odor problem. One method to purify the air is integrating germicidal (UV) lights in your home, which helps kill odors and inhibit the growth of biological contaminants, sterilizing surfaces in the HVAC system. They also purify the air, preventing the growth of contaminants. The UV lights are installed to work with your home comfort system.

Sometimes poor ventilation contributes to unpleasant odors. Moisture condensation on walls windows and stagnate air are signs of poor ventilation. A qualified Faith Heating & Cooling technician can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is an issue that should be addressed. The technician can also inform you how to solve the ventilation system’s ability to correctly circulate and ventilate indoor air.

How do I choose the right humidifier?

An excellent way to choose the correct humidifier is by having a home health report performed by Faith Heating & Cooling. Every house is different, and every family is different. So, every humidification need is also different. There are a couple factors to evaluate when purchasing a humidifier for your home, Faith Heating & Cooling can help you understand and consider these issues.

Consider size. A humidifier's capacity, or the amount of moisture it can dispense in a given time, should match your particular household's needs. The capacity is measured as gallons per day of operation. One method that is used to determine the correct-sized humidifier for your home is by multiplying the total floor area in by the ceiling height. We can provide you with this information and additional suggestions for knowing which type of humidifier will best suit you and your family’s comfort needs.

Consider cost. Consider not only the basic cost of the humidifier, but also operating and maintenance costs. Some brands consume more energy than others, so choosing a model that is right for your home and budget is extremely important.

How do I know which indoor air quality system is right for me?

Every person and every home entails a different comfort need. The threshold of irritancy and triggers that affect people’s health and comfort combine to determine the proper solutions. High threshold levels may require simple solutions like a better air filter. Low threshold levels may require an air purification system for the reduction of triggers and irritants. With a free in home estimate, Faith Heatin & Cooling Chicago can help you decide which indoor air improvement products are right for you.

How healthy is my indoor air?

According to studies created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to air pollutants indoors can be 100 times higher than outdoors. Frequent dusting and vacuuming can help reduce the amount of dust and dust mites present in your home. However, not all airborne particles can be eliminated. Filtration devices can help eliminate particles that are too small to be caught by a vacuum. Some filtration devices include UV light units, air filters, energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and electronic air cleaners. A home air inspection with Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago will provide the information about which indoor air improvement devices are right for you. To receive a air quality consultation service call Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago 773-633-7779.

How much water does a humidifier use?

Depending on the product you choose and the size of your house, a humidifier may use from 1.5 to 12 gallons per day when the furnace is operating. The amount of water used is enough to raise the humidity to the proper level, but not enough to notice a difference on your water bill.

How often should I change my filter at home?

How often to change your air filters can depend on the following:

  • the type of air filter you are using
  • the overall indoor air quality
  • how many pets are in the home
  • the number of people occupying the home, and
  • the level of air pollution and construction around the home

For basic 1"-3" air filters, manufacturers usually direct you to change them every 30-60 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them [even more often|more frequently|every few weeks]3]. Or, if you're in a more remote area or less occupied home (like a vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be often enough.

Here are averages that might help you know how often you should change the air filter at home:

  • Vacation home or single occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6-12 months
  • "Average" suburban home without pets: every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
  • Add more than one pet or anyone has allergies: 20-45 days

Should I be concerned with carbon monoxide in the home?

Yes. Carbon monoxide may be an invisible threat to health and safety in the home. Though more commonly thought to be associated with fireplaces and vehicle emissions, carbon monoxide poisoning may be found any home unless certain precautions are taken.

What are the benefits of having a central humidifier?

When in heating mode, people are confined indoors with unusually dry air for many months each year. Humidifiers help the right comfort level of humidity, and properly maintained levels of humidity are beneficial for your respiratory system. Whole-house humidifiers work like your more typical room humidifiers. They distribute moisture into the air, making harsh, dry air much easier to breathe. And whole-house humidifiers add humidity throughout the house, no more moving a humidifier from room to room, spilling water on the floor as you go.

What are the effects of carbon monoxide?

When entering the body, carbon monoxide attaches to with the red blood cells in the blood and displaces the oxygen our bodies need to survive. Carbon monoxide combines with the red blood cells over 200 times more easily than oxygen and creates a condition known as carboxyhemoglobin saturation. Carbon monoxide, instead of oxygen, then gets carried to the vital organs through the bloodstream. Our organ tissues require oxygen; without it, our organs start to asphyxiate or suffocate. It takes the body a long time to eliminate carbon monoxide, however it can be absorbed much faster.

What are the benefits of clean air?

Allergies and asthma are two health concerns that could be helped with cleaner indoor air. When airborne irritants are removed, allergy and asthma sufferers often find relief from their symptoms. Even those in good health who may have never suffered from allergies could benefit from clean air. Dust, smoke and other particles float around in the air, causing your drapes and furniture to gather dust. By removing airborne dust particles, you reduce the amount of exposure your respiratory system has to them.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Unfortunately, the symptoms that are a result of carboxyhemoglobin saturation are easily overlooked because they appear to be flu-like. With mild exposure, most people experience headaches, fatigue and nausea. Medium exposure could cause a severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, disorientation, confusion and an accelerated heart rate. Extreme exposure could even cause unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, coma and possibly death.

What can be done to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in my home?

Prevention is the most important step. Taking proper safety precautions will reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Because automobiles are a major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, always take your car out of the garage to let it warm up. Never leave it running in the confined space of a garage. The same holds true for lawn mowers or snowmobiles.

Never use ovens or grills as a heater. These items are designed to be safe and efficient and not produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide. However, homeowners need to check all combustion appliances to be sure they are operating as designed and to be sure that all chimneys and vents are connected properly and not blocked. Schedule annual maintenance by a qualified technician to check the condition of these appliances.

What causes indoor air pollution?

Many everyday household items may contribute to poor indoor air quality. Compounds found in carpeting, furniture, upholstery and drapery fabric constantly emit gases or fumes. Other sources of pollutants include cleaning agents, paint and personal care products.

Though they are usually more efficient, newer homes do not breathe (ventilate) the way older homes have. Tight-sealing weather stripping and storm doors keep indoor air in and outdoor air out. This provides more energy savings, but the limited exchange of outdoor and indoor air can mean a buildup of contaminants on the inside of the house. In these circumstances, a whole home ventilation system is recommended. Ventilation systems exchange polluted indoor air for more breathable outdoor air, without sacrificing energy savings.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is created by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, coal and charcoal. It is caused by lack of oxygen or a disruption in the burning process. Household heating mechanisms such as a furnace, water heater, stove, space heaters, charcoal grill and gas dryer can be sources of carbon monoxide, especially if they are not in proper working condition or have been installed improperly. Vehicle exhaust fumes from attached garages, as well as poorly operating fireplaces may also be a source of carbon monoxide. CO is poisonous to the body and is fatal at high levels or with long exposure.

What is indoor air quality? (IAQ)

Indoor Air Quality is a term used to denote the level or amount of air pollution that exists inside a house or building, particularly occupied areas or rooms. Exposure to air pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors, and the American Lung Association estimates that most people spend 90% of their time indoors. So the IAQ level and IAQ products that can increase air quality and eliminate indoor air pollution have become an important concern for many families, especially those suffering from allergies and respiratory issues.

What is involved in a whole-home humidifier installation & maintenance?

Installing a humidifier is generally an easy job when, at the same time, you change out your furnace. But you can also have a humidifier fitted to your existing heating and cooling system. Periodic cleaning and draining of the reservoir is strongly recommended to maintain the system.  Faith Heating & Cooling Chicago can provide maintenance on the humidifier as needed, or proactively as part of our HVAC Maintenance Agreements. Call 773-633-7779 for more information about humidifier maintenance or for a free estimate on a new humidification system.

What is the proper amount of indoor humidity?

Indoor Air Quality Experts recommend a home's humidity level be between 30 and 60 percent. However, during extremely cold weather, a home loses humidity to the outdoors and the level may drop to as low as 10 percent. When humidity levels drop, we suggest you have a whole-home humidifier to help ensure that the proper level of moisture is present throughout the house. Not having enough moisture in the air can cause dryness in the membranes of the nose, throat and bronchial tubes and can be the source of several health-related problems. Relative humidity also has a significant effect on controlling the occurrence of airborne infections.
In addition to the health benefits, humidifiers are an easy way to help your entire home be more comfortable. Whole-house humidifiers work like old-fashioned room humidifiers. They put moisture into the air, making harsh, dry air easier to breathe, however, they work on a larger and more efficient scale. A humidifier uses from 1.5 to 12 gallons of water per day — just enough to raise the humidity in the home to the desired level, but not enough to make a difference on the water bill. And because a humidifier is installed into the ductwork, there is no need to carry one from room to room.
 

Why is my throat dry when Im at home?

Dry air is what tends to make your throat feel dry or aggravate respiratory ailments. During cooler or cold weather, your home rapidly loses its humidity to the outdoors. Humidity levels could drop to as low as 10 percent. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that homeowners maintain a humidity level between 30 and 60 percent.

Dry air may also begin to cause more than health problems. Static electricity is a direct result of very dry air and houseplants may suffer from "winter drought" caused by low humidity levels. A whole-home humidifier integrates moister with your indoor air and can help relieve ailments related to dry respiratory membranes and would be our recommended solution to this issue.

How can I better control my home energy costs?

With energy costs climbing, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the expenses of heating and cooling your home. HVAC equipment usually uses more energy than any other appliance in the home. This inevitably shows up every month on utility costs each month, but it's important to remember that energy costs can be controlled in several ways.

Maintenance: One method to control energy costs is to schedule annual maintenance to help be sure that your furnace and air conditioner is running properly and efficiently. Operating dirty heating or cooling equipment can result in unnecessary loss of efficiency and may even damage the unit.

High Efficiency: If you are in the market for a new home comfort system, consider investing in a high-efficiency system. They are designed to help reduce your energy costs as well as help conserve natural resources. When selecting a new home comfort system, pay close attention to the SEER rating of the air conditioner and the AFUE of the furnace. The higher the SEER or AFUE, the higher the efficiency and savings.

Zoning: Zoning can dramatically lower your heating costs. Zoning divides your home into separate comfort areas, which are heated or cooled based on the occupancy of the rooms. That means a zoning system allows each room in your home to potentially have its own temperature setting. With a zoning system, you no longer pay to heat or cool the space of your home that are rarely used, and you can have the exact temperature you want in highly occupied rooms.

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats can make a big difference in energy consumption. Since you can proactively set a schedule for the days and times that the home is occupied, these thermostats are able to deliver exact comfort, efficiency and energy savings. For example, if you're going to be away, you can set the whole house at an energy-saving temperature to avoid heating or cooling an empty house and conserving energy in the process.


Do you offer free estimates on new furnace and air conditioners?

Yes, estimates are free for all new equipment installations including: Furnace, Air Conditioner, Water Heaters and humidifiers.


Do you have customer service?

Of course! Our friendly and knowledgeable heating and cooling technicians are available to answer your questions 24/7/365.