Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average life expectancy of a system?
How can I reduce my energy costs?
Will a bigger system perform better?
What determines if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?
How do I know if I need a new heating and cooling system?
How do I know which HVAC system is right for my home?
What brands do you install?
Can you give me a price without an in-home consultation?
Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older air conditioning system to save money?
Do I need to have my ductwork replaced?
Will I need a permit?
What are advantages of equipment with variable speed fans?
What is a tune-up?
I have an extended warranty on my HVAC system. Are tune-ups covered by my extended warranty?
When do I need to have my unit serviced?
Are seasonal maintenance plans worth the investment?
What brands or equipment do you service?
Do I really have to change my air filter often?
Is there a fee for a visit?
My HVAC system is over 7 years old and runs constantly. Can it be repaired?

What is the average life expectancy of a system?

The average life of a residential HVAC system is 12-15 years. However, that doesn’t mean 12-15 years without any problems. It just means that the typical system lasts 12-15 years before it is in need of replacement or is outdated with higher efficiency models.

How can I reduce my energy costs?

There are a number of ways to reduce your energy costs. The most effective being MAINTENANCE.

The North Carolina Alternative Energy Corp. conducted research and found that 90% of the units they tested exhibited some sort of energy wasting problem. 50% had an improper refrigerant charge, 40% failed to meet minimum air flow criterion, 20% were barely inside the range specified by the manufacturer.

By having a consistent maintenance plan, homeowners can reduce their operating costs and repair cost, and increase the length of life for their systems.

Will a bigger system perform better?

With HVAC systems bigger is not always better. While a larger system will drop the temperature faster in your home, it may create negative issues as well. By oversizing what is required in your home, a system may not run long enough to remove a correct amount of humidity.

This may create an uncomfortable cave like feeling in your home and becomes a better breeding ground for molds, fungus, and virus. This will also have a negative impact on your utility bill. You will be running a larger system that uses more electricity.

It is recommended by every HVAC manufacturer to have a heat load performed to evaluate what size system should be installed. Northside includes this heat load FREE of charge with all new equipment installations.

What determines if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?

The factors that should be considered when deciding repair or replacement should include age of equipment, price of repair, warranty status and operational efficiency (SEER rating).

New systems will have 10 year warranty on parts and typically a higher operational efficiency rating. In most instances these savings can actually pay for the system, in as soon as 5 years.

How do I know if I need a new heating and cooling system?

This is really up to the homeowner. Northside is really just there to help the client with the process, and replacement discussions are no charge. That being said….any systems out of warranty, needing extensive repairs, over 15 years old, or operating at 12 SEER or LESS needs to be considered.

How do I know which HVAC system is right for my home?

That is why we are here. Northside will help the client along with the purchasing process with no hard sales. We simply offer solutions that are available for our clients and let them decide. That way, the homeowner gets the system they want, and we get a happy client. And that is what we want.

What brands do you install?

Although we have the ability to purchase and install all brands of equipment, we choose to be selective.

We have a long standing relationship with American Standard. They have routinely introduced high quality products that are extremely reliable. They have won many awards and have been Consumer Reports top brand numerous times.

Besides, how can you expect your employees to do their best work if you aren’t giving them the best products to install?

Can you give me a price without an in-home consultation?

Over the phone pricing is a poor practice. It allows a customer to have a price in their minds without even considering what solution best fits their needs. We highly discourage this since it typically leads to poor customer satisfaction.

Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older air conditioning system to save money?

There are situations that arise where replacing the outdoor unit only is an option. The thing to consider is this. Although you may be spending money on a higher efficiency outdoor unit, you may not be getting what you paid for.

Ex. A 16 SEER outdoor unit matched with an indoor unit that only gets 10 SEER may only operate at 10 SEER. This is typically the option delivered with lower cost companies. Some contractors do not want to educate their customers of this. Conversely, Northside loves to educate clients.

Do I need to have my ductwork replaced?

Although it’s not common to replace all the ductwork on a system, there are many times that adding duct, repairing, rehanging or redesigning ductwork will payoff for the homeowner in both comfort and efficiency.

NCAE Corp. found that a 15% return air leak from a 120 degree attic could reduce the efficiency of a 12 SEER to a 6 SEER! That would double the operating cost for the entire unit.

Will I need a permit?

City or Building Permits are required when replacing certain types of equipment and provide a 2nd layer of safety to the buyer. We pull permits on all required work and welcome any 3rd party to inspect our work.

What are advantages of equipment with variable speed fans?

Variable speed fans create huge advantages in both comfort and efficiency. A variable speed fan can remove more humidity when cooling, therefore creating a more comfortable feel at a higher temperature.

That leads to higher settings and lower utility cost. They’re also very efficient on their own. A standard fan set to run constantly costs on average $800 per year. A Variable speed fan motor can run constant and only costs an average of $ 70 per year. One additional benefit is that your system can perform air filtration at a higher level.

What is a tune-up?

A tune up is a recommended maintenance action that should be performed at least 2 times a year. Don’t be fooled by low cost checkups that only “CHECK” system operation. Our Maintenance Advantage Agreement includes 2 inspections per year that also include cleaning.

We use a performance evaluation sheet to make sure your system is operating at its top performance level and can likely prevent failures before they happen.

I have an extended warranty on my HVAC system. Are tune-ups covered by my extended warranty?

Maintenance is not included on Extended Warranties, and this is very important.

Lack of maintenance is most likely the cause selected on why a warranty company won’t cover certain repairs. So it is highly suggested that if you have an extended warranty of any kind i.e. home warranty, manufacture warranty, or extended warranty.

Have a Maintenance program in place to routinely service your equipment.

When do I need to have my unit serviced?

It’s recommended to have your systems cleaned and serviced at least 2 times a year. Our Maintenance Advantage Agreement can set your home up on scheduled inspections to keep your system clean and running at its highest efficiency.

Are seasonal maintenance plans worth the investment?

Definitely. Louisiana State University and Gulf States Utility found that consumers could save about $30 per month just by making sure that their air conditioning system was cleaned and serviced regularly.

What brands or equipment do you service?

We service all brands of commercial and residential equipment. Northside sends all employees to mandatory continued education training classes every year. This allows us to provide our clients with the most positive experience we can offer.

Do I really have to change my air filter often?

YES… YES… YES!! In our experience the filter is the #1 cause of repair issues. The standard throw away filter is only designed to protect the equipment and should be replaced every month. It will not provide any other air cleaning improvement.

A pleated filter may provide cleaner air but has the tendency to restrict air when it is dirty. This causes operational repair problems. So it is imperative that the filter be changed on a timely basis to avoid any related problems.

Is there a fee for a visit?

We offer No Cost equipment replacement evaluations that also include a heat load. We also offer a No Cost 2nd opinion to verify other contractors diagnostics and offer competitive repair prices. A scheduled service call to diagnose a system problem is $ 85.

My HVAC system is over 7 years old and runs constantly. Can it be repaired?

If you notice the system operating in a manner not consistent with normal operation, have a professional diagnose the system. We can be reached at 972-318-5097