Air Conditioner FAQs

If you have questions about your cooling system, you’re not alone. Read what other homeowners are asking about air conditioning, and what our helpful pros have to say.
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Expert Advice From Our Air Conditioning Professionals

At Gross Heating & Air Conditioning, we know that a little help goes a long way. We’re happy to answer questions about your air conditioning, because honest advice is what we’re all about. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for below, just call or send us a message.

two friends enjoying the air conditioned room

Can any home have central air?

Almost any home can include central air conditioning, if you’re willing to invest in ductwork and make design allowances for it. But before you make that decision, schedule an in-home consultation with an HVAC expert like Gross Heating—we can give you a better idea of what would be involved and also explain alternative cooling options, like ductless split systems.

When should I replace my existing AC unit?

Ideally, you should do it before your current system fails and leaves you rushed to make a replacement decision. Fortunately, there are a few signs that indicate it’s time to start looking at your options: your unit is more than 10 years old, it’s not keeping up with your needs, you notice a big increase in your cost to run it, or it needs regular refrigerant refills. In some cases, a simple repair may be all that’s needed, but if it’s no longer safe or practical to put more money into your AC, we’ll explain that, too, and make recommendations for the most appropriate replacement.

How much does a new air conditioner cost?

It depends on the size of your home and the type of unit, but systems typically start at $2,750. Check out our promotions for special savings, or consider financing, available with approved credit, if you’re ready for a new AC before your bank account is. Finally, consider installing a new cooling system when you buy a new furnace—by adding both units to your forced air system at the same time, you can save on time and labor.

What is the average life of an air conditioner?

Many air conditioners can last 15 to 20 years, if maintained properly. You may need a few repairs along the way, but your Gross Heating technician can usually catch and fix small problems during your annual Clean & Check.

How do I know what size air conditioning unit my house needs?

A licensed and insured HVAC specialist like those at Gross Heating should be consulted before you add or replace a cooling system. We’ll do a proper calculation that factors in the layout and square footage of your house, average climate, the number and type of windows, insulation, and even the number of people living in the home. Without these considerations, you could end up with a unit that is not big enough, meaning it will likely not keep up with your cooling needs or last as long as expected—or a system that is so big that it constantly cycles on and off and wastes energy.

What is SEER?

All air conditioners have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The higher that number is, the more efficient your unit is. The current industry minimum for new air conditioners is 13, but state-of-the-art equipment can reach a SEER as high as 21. While the initial cost of the latter may be higher, the lower monthly operating costs will actually save you money over the life of the system.

When running my AC, should the thermostat fan switch be set to "auto" or "on"?

If you’re interested in keeping your cooling costs down, use the auto setting so the fan only runs when needed to maintain the set temperature. However, if you prefer a more consistent temperature, use the on setting for uninterrupted airflow. This option may also be beneficial if you have allergies or asthma because air will constantly be filtered as it flows through the system.

My AC isn’t working—what should I check before calling Gross Heating?

Before you call us, check the basics: test the batteries in your thermostat, check for a tripped breaker or blown fuse, change your air filter, make sure the system is set to cool, and that the setting is at least three degrees below current room temperature. If one of these five simple problems are not to blame, call us for a complete cooling system checkup.

My air conditioner runs for a while but freezes up—why?

There are lots of reasons for this, and almost all of them will require help from a professional technician. Start by making sure your air filter is clean and that airflow is not restricted. If the filter was at fault, speed up the thawing process by turning your system off, then turning on the fan only—just make sure you switch the system settings back to normal after. Other possible causes are low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil, or a defective blower motor or relay.

Is there anything I can do to make my air conditioner more energy-efficient?

Here are a few easy ways to minimize your summer energy use and cooling costs:

  • Make sure all air vents are open and unrestricted.
  • Get a programmable thermostat so your AC doesn’t run continually when you’re gone.
  • Do regular maintenance and filter changes.
  • Use ceiling fans so you can turn your thermostat up a few degrees and still feel comfortable.

How often does my AC need maintenance?

Your spring cleaning to-do list should include air conditioner maintenance. Regular preventive service can extend the life of your unit, but there’s a certain point when repairing your AC is no longer cost-effective. When this time comes, Gross Heating can walk you through the steps of comparing and choosing the best new system for your home and budget.

Should my outdoor unit be covered in winter?

The outdoor condenser is built to withstand the environment and should not be covered. If the cooling system is accidentally turned on before the cover is removed, the restricted airflow could cause serious damage. Instead, we recommend a spring Clean & Check so our technician can remove any debris, lubricate moving parts, and make routine adjustments to get your AC ready for the summer ahead.

Do you service window air conditioners?

In most cases, it’s not practical to repair a window air conditioner. But before you replace it, consider a better option: a ductless mini split system. It allows you to cool a room without ductwork or one that is often too hot in spite of central air, but it’s more efficient, much quieter, and safer because you can lock your windows and run lines through just a three-inch hole in the wall.
Have more questions about air conditioning? Click here to ask an expert from Gross Heating!

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Maintenance Agreements

Maintenance agreements from Gross Heating & Air Conditioning are designed for your peace of mind. They’re a great way to reduce or eliminate unexpected repair bills, ensure top performance, save money, and prolong the life of your equipment.

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Gross Heating & Air Conditioning
3260 N. 126th Street
Brookfield, WI 53005
Phone: 262-783-6000
24-Hour Emergency Service Available
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