Frequently Asked Questions

» How Can I Troubleshoot My Heater Before Calling for Repairs?
Imagine waking up or coming home to a frozen house because your heater never kicked on. Your first impulse may be to call a heating contractor for a repair. But before you do, here are a few things to check that may help you avoid a costly repair bill.
  • Check that the thermostat is set to “heat”: This sounds obvious, but in many instances, an improperly set thermostat is the cause of your heater not working. Also, when you throw programmable thermostats into the mix, it can make things even more complicated. So, before you call a repair technician, check to make sure your thermostat is correctly set.
  • Check the filter: If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t think much about your HVAC system until there’s a problem. But, if you don’t keep your air filters clean, you can wind up with various issues that impact the performance of your system. Dirty air filters impede airflow, which makes the system work harder and less efficiently. A thoroughly clogged filter can stop even the most reliable heater, and that’s the last thing you need during winter.
  • Check the gas: As with the thermostat, it’s easy for the gas valve to get turned off and forgotten about. So, check that the gas is turned on and while you’re at it, check the pilot light too.
  • Check the exhaust flue: Another problem that can cause your furnace to malfunction is a clogged exhaust flue. It’s not uncommon for birds or other critters to leave debris in the exhaust flue.
  • Check the ducts: If it’s only a few rooms in the house without heat, check the ductwork for blockages. Also, check to see if any separations have formed at the branching joints and repair them with duct tape until you can get them repaired by a professional.
To avoid heater and furnace problems, it’s wise to schedule furnace maintenance and tune-ups in the fall before the heating season starts.
» What Does a System Efficiency Rating Mean?
You may have heard that to get an HVAC system that performs well while saving you money; you should look at the SEER rating. Well, what is a SEER rating, and what is a good one? The SEER rating measures the efficiency of a heat pump or air conditioner. This rating is calculated by the cooling output for a cooling season divided by the total electric input during the same season. A good analogy is that a SEER rating is like a vehicle’s MPG. You might get 25 MPG on the highway, but much less if you’re driving in city traffic. So, whatever SEER number your system is rated at is the maximum efficiency in which it operates. A higher SEER rating means a more efficient system, which saves you energy without sacrificing performance. The minimum standard SEER rating is 13 for air conditioners, and most systems range from 13 to 21. For a system to qualify for an ENERGY STAR® rating, it must have a rating of at least 14.5. Now that you know what the SEER number means, you’re probably tempted to get the system with the highest number for your home because bigger is better, right? Well, not so fast. Various factors determine which system is suitable for your home, including location, size, and heating and cooling needs. Also, the SEER rating depends on geographical location, so in the Southwest and Southeast, you can get by with a system that’s rated 13 or 14 without compromising performance or energy usage. Also, consider that the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the system. So if you’re on a budget, it’s best to consult with a professional to determine which system is best for your needs.
» Why HVAC Size Is Important?
While you may be tempted to purchase the largest and most expensive HVAC system for your home, remember that with HVAC systems, size matters, and bigger isn’t always better. If you install a too-small system, it may run harder to regulate the house’s temperature, which reduces its lifespan more quickly. If you install a system that’s too large, it could develop dehumidification problems. The best way to determine the perfect sized HVAC system to install is to determine the square footage of your home. Once you have that number, determine the base BTU, which is the unit used to measure energy for HVAC systems. The amount of energy required to heat or cool one square foot of your home is about 25 BTUs. With the square footage, you can estimate the number of BTUs you need to provide effective heating and cooling. Also, take into account high ceilings. If your home’s ceilings are over 8 feet, multiply the base BTU by 25%. Of course, if you’re not the best at math, you can always call Performance Based Heating & Cooling for a consultation. We’ll do the work for you and determine which HVAC system is right for you.
» What Areas Do You Serve?
Although many HVAC contractors are serving the area, we strive to provide service to as many Tuolumne and Calaveras residents as possible. Our service areas include:
  • Murphys
  • Angels Camp
  • Twain Harte
  • Copperopolis
  • Groveland
  • Tuolumne
  • Jamestown
  • Sierra Village
If your particular area isn’t listed, call us and ask or contact us online.
» How Do I Know When to Replace My HVAC System?
As climate change affects temperatures across the globe, people experience greater extremes in temperatures. Currently, the warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Because your HVAC system does double duty by heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer, it’s prone to wearing out more quickly, especially during extreme temperatures. Since the last thing you want is for your HVAC system to fail and be without the comfort you desire, it’s good to know when your system is getting long in the tooth and replacing it before it breaks down. Here are the five most common signs that it’s time to replace your aging HVAC.
  • Increase in Running Time: As your HVAC unit ages, you may notice that it’s running longer than it used to. As the system loses efficiency and starts breaking down, it must work harder to do the job, which means less comfort and higher energy bills.
  • Loud Noise During Operation : It’s normal for an HVAC system to get louder as it gets older; however, if you notice that the noise is something you’ve not heard before, such as grinding or squealing, it means it’s probably time to replace your system.
  • Frequent Repairs: Although many of the parts in your HVAC system are replaceable, if you notice that these repairs are coming more frequently, you should consider whether it’s worth putting money into an old system or investing in something more reliable.
  • Lack of Maintenance: With regular maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your system for a few years; however, if you’re one of those people who have neglected your system for most of your ownership, it may be past the point of no return once it begins failing.
  • Age: The average lifespan of an HVAC system is about 10 years, and as mentioned, you may be able to stretch that with regular maintenance. However, once your system reaches the ten-year mark, plan on replacing it sooner rather than later with a more efficient system.

Whether you need HVAC repair, maintenance, or installation, you can count on the experienced professionals at Performance Based Heating & Air. Contact us today at 209-588-7340!