Learning Center – FAQs

What adjustments should I make to my thermostat before I leave on vacation?

There are many opinions on how to set your thermostat while away from your home for extended periods. At B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling, we advise our customers to set it no more than five degrees from what you typically set it at while you are home. If you set your a/c at 75 while home, you would set it at 80 while away. For heat, you would drop it five degrees below your normal setting. More than five degrees either way could affect the contents in your home and will take a lot of energy to make your home comfortable when you return from an extended leave.

What is the best temperature at which to set my thermostat?

75 degrees – 78 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees -72 degrees during the winter are normal for most homes.
At B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling we recommend our customers set their thermostats to the lowest temperature that will keep them comfortable in winter, and the warmest comfortable temperature in summer. This will mean savings on your energy bill. Typically, a one degree in temperature change means you experience 10% in energy savings!

How many times per year should my heating and cooling system be serviced?

We suggest once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Heating and cooling systems are just like your car. In order for them to run efficiently, reduce breakdowns, and last as long as possible, they absolutely require maintenance to the mechanics of the system. At B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling we offer our very affordable maintenance plans for homes and business. Please call us for the details.

How often should I change my air filter?

Heating and cooling system air filters should be changed once per month, unless you have a specific filter that requires fewer changes. Our technicians can tell you how often your filter should be changed. If you have animals in the home, you’ll probably want to change your filter every month. A clogged air filter causes system inefficiency, expensive repairs, and clogged coils, too.

How does air conditioning work?

Air conditioning works by moving air across a surface that has been cooled by mechanical means. Heat is absorbed by refrigerant flowing thru channels in the coil the air passes through, and then taken to the condensing unit/compressor where the refrigerant is compressed and heat is removed in the condensing unit. The refrigeration cycle was first described mathematically in the early 19th century.

What is that smell I notice when I start up my heater?

Typically, your heating system/furnace emits an unusual start-up odor due to dust that has collected on the heat exchanger inside the furnace. The smell is the dust being burned off. Under normal conditions, the burnt smell should stop being noticeable within 24-48 hours.

Should I turn down my thermostat in the winter while I’m away from home?

The Department of Energy recommends a change of no more than three degrees for maximum energy savings. Lowering your heat more than three degrees will cause your system to have to work harder when you return, thereby negating any savings you think you might have by turning it down even more.

Is there a benefit to closing off air vents (registers) in rooms that we don’t use very often?

It is best not to fully close your air registers in your home. Fully closing a register will cause that room to be too hot or too cold and that temperature can affect other parts of your home. That will make your system work even harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. You will not gain much in energy savings to make this a worthwhile move.

Does using a ceiling fan help lower my electric bill?

Yes and no. A ceiling fan actually does nothing to change the temperature in your home. However, moving air feels cooler to your skin, and you can be more comfortable even if your temperature setting is a few degrees higher. In this way, you can use less energy by choosing a higher set point in cooling season, and still be comfortable in your home.

Why does my air conditioning system leak water?
I see water dripping from a pipe outside when my air conditioning is on. Is this normal?

Typically, a clogged condensate drain pipe will cause your air conditioning drain pan to overflow. Debris like dirt and rust are the usual culprits.
If you see water dripping out of a pipe outside your house when your air conditioning is operating, this is probably a normal occurrence. Air conditioning works by removing latent energy (moisture) from the air, and the moisture it removes is normally piped to grade outside. Check with your B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling expert, because drips outside could also indicate a water heater condition. During your next regular tune-up, our service professionals would be happy to “walk” your system with you and explain how each of the parts work together to bring comfort to your home.

Why should I zone my home or business?

A zoning system is designed for the many ways you use your home. Do you have unoccupied areas that do not always require heating or air conditioning? A zoning system allows you to divide your home or business into separate areas, giving you the comfort and control you’ve always wanted.

Why is ventilation important for indoor air quality?

Pollutants in the air can cause poor indoor air quality in your home or business. This may cause dizziness, headaches, trigger your allergies and asthma. With tighter building envelope requirements, it is now more difficult to obtain natural ventilation while maintaining efficiency in our comfort systems. This means contaminants have no way to escape. Contaminants are removed from the indoors by exchanging recirculated, stale air with fresh, outside air.

What causes high humidity in a house?

If you live in the desert with warm weather and occasional seasonal high humidity, outside air conditions can impact your indoor environment. Showering, dishwashing, and many everyday activities can also contribute to high humidity, particularly if you have a large family.

Can excessively dry air affect my home comfort and health?

Yes, indoor air that’s too dry can leave skin feeling itchy and dried out. Dry air can also increase static electricity potential, create cracks in furniture, shrink wood floors, increase breathing difficulty, or even nosebleeds! When nasal passages dry out, the body can become more vulnerable to respiratory viruses.

Why is proper air circulation important in the home or business?

Circulating air throughout your home or business helps to regulate temperature, prevent buildup of particles and mold, and it makes breathing easier. If you enjoy cooking or have hobbies that include glue, spray paints, epoxy, etc., good air circulation can help dissipate odors and fumes.

What are the benefits of a whole-house humidifier?

With central heating, people are indoors with unnaturally dry air. Humidifiers help keep the comfort levels of moisture in the air, which is essential for your respiratory health. Whole-house humidifiers put moisture into the air, making the dry air easier to breathe. A major difference is that they improve the air in every room of your home and not in one room at a time.

What is the “Emergency Heat” setting on my heat pump? Should I use it?

A heat pump uses your condensing unit and the heat in ambient air to heat your home. If there is a failure, and your heat pump is equipped with a resistance heat strip, the system can use the electric heat strip to provide heat as a last resort. This is an energy intensive operation, and therefore is very expensive in terms of electricity. As the name implies, this setting should only be used in an emergency, when there is not a better, more efficient option available.

Do programmable thermostats work? Do they actually save money on electricity?

If set up correctly, a programmable thermostat can increase efficiency if you have conventional equipment that provides comfort for your home. Consistency is a facet of efficiency, and wide swings in temperature are worse than having no program at all. The US Department of Energy recommends against programmable thermostats with heat pumps. However, we at B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling feel a properly programmed comfort control for your heat pump, especially in the dry, warm conditions in the Sonoran desert, can be an effective tool for energy savings. For information about settings for thermostats, and other ways to make your comfort equipment more efficient, visit energy.gov, and click the ‘save energy, save money’ link. To have an expert help you with thermostat programming, give us a call!

I saw an article on social media that says air fresheners are bad for you. Is this true? Does that include air purifiers in my heating and cooling system?

We are not equipped to make a judgement of our own accord to the safety of chemicals in the indoor environment. We encourage you visit the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find scientific method studies and recommendations.

However, air purification in your heating and cooling system is NOT chemically based. Heating and cooling air purifiers work using ultraviolet energy to kill pathogens and render inert some of the contaminants in the air that moves through your heating and cooling system. Our comfort specialists can explain how the air purification system works in your home, and the benefits you can receive with this upgrade to your comfort system.

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