5 Common Heating & Air Conditioning Questions Answered

HVAC technician

The E.F. Martin Mechanical Contractors team here in Columbia, SC knows how confusing and complex your heating and air conditioning system can be. We also know the crucial role your HVAC system plays in keeping your home cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Most homeowners don’t think about their HVAC system at all until problems arise however, you don’t have to wait until your HVAC system malfunctions to learn a little bit about your system. Below, we will look at some of the top questions people frequently ask the team here at E.F. Martin. 

How often should I have my system serviced?

Most HVAC experts recommend that you have a technician inspect and maintain your heating and cooling system once before each extreme weather change (think before summer and before winter). An inspection may not be as important if you just had your HVAC system replaced, but it is always a good idea. For older furnaces and air conditioners, regular maintenance checks are a must to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

How often should I replace my air filter?

The answer can vary depending on your lifestyle and your home environment, but inspecting your air filter once a month is a good rule of thumb to go by. If your filter is darkened, dirty, or clogged, you know it’s time to change it. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how often your air filter needs to be changed. 

What size furnace and AC unit should I get?

Most Columbia, SC homeowners think that the bigger their HVAC equipment, the better. This however is not necessarily the case. If you buy a furnace that’s too big for your home, it will get your home up to the desired temperature quickly then shut off. That means it will be frequently turning on and off which increases your energy usage and adds more wear and tear to your furnace. It’s important to have your home sized for any HVAC equipment to keep your energy bills at bay and keep your comfort high. If you’re not sure what size is best for your Columbia, SC home, the E.F. Martin team is here to help!

How long will my furnace and AC unit last?

This will also depend on how well you care for your HVAC equipment and the amount of use it gets but typically, a well-maintained furnace can last you around 15-20 years. Central air conditioners can last you around 10-15 years when properly cared for and maintained. Many things factor into the longevity of your HVAC equipment like the size, maintenance, your home environment, etc. 

How can I lower my heating and cooling bills?

Finally, there are many ways to decrease your household energy usage. Here are a few things you can do to decrease your energy usage and lower your utility bills:

  • Upgrade to a smart thermostat to cut down on unnecessary heating and cooling 
  • Have your HVAC equipment regularly maintained and serviced
  • Seal up your home by fixing any air leaks and installing energy-efficient windows
  • Upgrade your furnace and your air conditioning equipment to high-efficiency models

When you cut back on your energy usage, you are lowering your utility bills and extending the life of your HVAC equipment. 
Have more questions about your Columbia, SC home heating and air conditioning equipment? No problem, the team here at E.F. Martin Mechanical Contractors is here to help you! Call us today to have any of your HVAC questions answered or to schedule your next professional heating and cooling service. 

The Importance of Air Conditioning Maintenance in Columbia, South Carolina

EF Martin Technician

Even though the official end of summer is less than a month away, we know that here in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area that the head and humidity will stick around for a bit. That means you’ll still need your home feeling cool and comfortable, which is why you can never be too cautious or careful when it comes to your air conditioning unit. Annual AC maintenance is one of the most effective ways to maintain the function of your Columbia, SC home’s air conditioner. Air conditioning maintenance is also one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency and to extend the life of your AC unit. Keep reading below to learn the importance of AC maintenance.

Catch Potential Problems & Avoid Costly Repairs

An air conditioning tune-up is performed in a relatively short amount of time but in that time, the entire unit will be carefully inspected by a certified and trained HVAC technician. We will check for any potential and developing repair or maintenance issues and catch them before they become expensive problems. Catching these AC problems in the early stages allows you to address them before your air conditioner stops working and leaves you and your family sweating in the Columbia, SC heat and humidity. 

Inspect & Test Components

Regular AC maintenance will also include checking the function of components in order to ensure that they continue to work well. Our experienced technicians will test that components such as the blower motor, belt, vents, electrical connections, refrigerant levels, drainage lines, and the thermostat are all properly working. This helps to ensure your Columbia, SC home will keep cool and comfortable during the warmer months. 

Improve Energy Efficiency & Save Money

An air conditioner that is properly taken care, cleaned, inspected, and tested will function and operate much better than a poorly maintained AC unit. Well maintained air conditioners don’t have to work as hard or run as long to cool your home. This improves energy efficiency and lowers your monthly utility bills. 

Improve Comfort

Finally, regular AC maintenance will improve your homes comfort. Maintenance ensures your unit is prepared to tackle the Columbia, SC heat. Without maintenance, you are more prone to breakdowns major repairs which lead to home discomfort. If you are in need of AC maintenance or heating and cooling service, give E.F. Martin a call today! Our team is staffed with knowledgeable HVAC professionals who are ready to help you whenever you need it.  

4 Advantages of Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat

Smart Thermostat Technician

Summer in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area is an extremely hot and humid time, so it’s important that you’re doing everything you possibly can to keep cool and comfortable. One of the most important things you can do to combat the brutal heat is to control and use your thermostat wisely. Cooling your home at the right time so that it’s comfortable for you and your family while you’re home without racking up expensive energy costs is a difficult balance to find. Installing a smart thermostat can greatly help. Below are four advantages of upgrading your thermostat to a smart thermostat in your Columbia, South Carolina home. 

Control Your Thermostat Remotely

One of the biggest advantages of installing a smart thermostat in your Columbia, SC home is that you can control your thermostat from anywhere in the world with your smartphone. Your smart thermostat connects to your home WiFi which enables you to manipulate your thermostat and the temperature of your home with the touch of a button on your phone. If you’re coming home earlier than expected and want your home cooled before you arrive, you can log into your thermostat app and adjust your home’s cooling schedule for the day. Smart thermostats are extremely convenient and easy to use thanks to their remote use capability. 

Lower Your Energy Costs

Another huge advantage of owning a smart thermostat is energy savings. Smart thermostats allow you to easily schedule your heating and air conditioning system schedule. So while you’re out for the day, you can schedule your HVAC system to use less energy by cranking up the thermostat a bit in the summer then scheduling your thermostat to come back down to your desired temperature upon your arrival. This way you are not missing out on any comfort and you’re saving energy and money in the long run! 

Track Your Energy Usage

Most smart thermostats allow you to track your daily, weekly, and monthly energy usage. You can build a home energy profile that will tell you how your energy usage has changed over time, how your energy usage changes can affect your energy costs, and how you can adjust your heating and air conditioning preferences to decrease your energy costs and save money. 

Learning Features

Like we mentioned above, upgrading to a smart thermostat means that you’ll not only have a thermostat, you will have a thermostat that can learn your heating and cooling patterns and schedule. That means if you are sick of having to schedule and program your thermostat yourself, your smart thermostat can use the data they have learned to adjust your heating and cooling schedule on its own to help maximize your comfort while lowering your energy costs. 
If you are in the greater Columbia, SC area and are interested in learning more about smart thermostats and how they can benefit you, your family, and your home, give E.F. Martin a call today! We provide quality HVAC service to Lexington, Irmo, Lake Murray, Orangeburg, Richland, Blythewood, and Chapin, South Carolina. 

The Truth Behind Common Air Conditioning Myths

AC Technician

If you live in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area, you know how hot and humid the weather can get here. At E.F. Martin, we are all about saving our customers, friends & family some money and providing tips and tricks when it comes to keeping your home cool and comfortable in the Columbia, SC heat. Below, we will talk about some of the most common air conditioning myths that we hear from our customers and debunk them. We hope by doing so that our customers are using “best practices” when using your air conditioner at home to stay cool & comfortable this summer.

Ceiling Fans Cool Homes

Your ceiling fans are there for a reason, but the reason is not to cool down your home in replace of your air conditioning unit. This long time myth really does make sense on the surface, but it is far from the actual truth. Fans cool people down, not your entire home or even a room for that matter. Fans help to circulate air inside your home and cool your skin which is caused their cooling effect. The cooling effect that fans provide don’t actually reduce the temperature in your home so in order to save money on your electricity bill, make sure you turn your fans off when you are not present in the room to enjoy the cooling effect from your ceiling fans. 

Bigger is Better

When you think about this idea, it makes sense. If you buy a bigger AC unit for your Columbia, South Carolina home, your home will cool faster and more efficiently. But the opposite is actually true – a bigger air conditioner doesn’t necessarily mean it will cool your house better because of its size. If you purchase an over sized unit for a home that is too small for its cooling capacity, it can actually cost you more money to operate by expending more energy than needed. It will cycle on and off repeatedly which adds unnecessary wear and tear to your AC unit.

Close Off Vents in Unused Rooms

Just because a room in your home does not get used much does not mean that you need to close off the vents in said room. Your air conditioning system is designed to cool your entire home, including those unused rooms. If you close an air vent, you are not actually improving the efficiency of your HVAC system. All you’re doing is cooling the inside of your air ducts. Closing off parts of your Columbia, South Carolina home can even cause your AC unit to work harder to compensate for the imbalance. Make sure you keep all of your air vents open, even in the rooms you don’t use as much. 

Regular AC Maintenance Is a Waste of Money

Finally, this is a heating and air conditioning myth that we hear all too often – HVAC maintenance is not necessary and is a waste of money. This could not be farther from the truth. Regular air conditioning maintenance is in fact extremely necessary and a great investment, especially if you want an AC unit that is reliable and lives a long life. Regular HVAC maintenance can help keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly and efficiently for a long time!
Just like dental checkups, regular HVAC maintenance check-ups need to happen at least twice a year. It allows for technicians to catch any problems with your equipment that might have developed since the last maintenance service. If you’re in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area and are in need of a heating and cooling company you can trust to provide you comfort this summer, give E.F. Martin a call today

The Importance of Duct Cleaning

Duct Cleaning

To understand why duct cleaning is so important, it’s essential that you understand what your ductwork is and the role it plays in your heating and air conditioning system. Your air ducts and your ductwork are responsible for transporting air to and from your HVAC system. The important thing to know and to remember about ductwork is that it has to be properly designed and installed in order for your home to achieve optimal airflow. If you have been noticing uneven temperatures throughout your home, an increase in your energy bills, loud noises coming from your floor or ceiling, or maybe more frequent headaches and allergy symptoms – it is likely due to an issue with your ductwork. 

Like we mentioned above, it is important that your ductwork is properly designed and installed in order to achieve optimal airflow but it is also important that your ductwork is clean in order to achieve this optimal airflow. When you receive duct cleaning, it can actually alert you to several issues including the following:

  • Air Leaks
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Mold & Mildex Growth
  • And More

One of the biggest benefits of having your Columbia, South Carolina home ductwork cleaned is that you can see if you have any issues with your ductwork like we mentioned above. If you do have any air leaks, you will be saving yourself from future issues by having the issue fixed now instead of waiting a few more years to find out what the issue is. Another huge benefit of duct cleaning is the increase in HVAC efficiency you will experience. Much like air filters, when your ductwork becomes dirty it can restrict the airflow throughout your HVAC system. With clean air ducts, all the dust, dirt, mold, mildew, etc. is removed so air can flow freely throughout your home. This also improves your indoor air quality & comfort. If you are interested in learning more about our duct cleaning services here in Columbia, South Carolina, give E.F. Martin a call today! We are always ready and willing to help our customers out with whatever heating and air conditioning service is needed.

Spring AC Maintenance and Why You Need It

AC Maintenance Technician

Even though we’ve already seen temperatures in the mid 80’s here in Columbia, South Carolina, we know that springtime is only the beginning and that the temperatures and the humidity will only continue to climb from here. That is why spring is such an important time for all heating and air conditioning contractors. It’s the time when we start to change from working on broken heating systems and begin to help our customers prepare their Columbia, South Carolina home for the summer heat. 

During the summer, we keep busy with working on repairing AC units to keep our customers cool. Because all HVAC contractors are busy in the summer taking care of emergency AC issues, spring is the perfect time to perform maintenance to avoid major breakdowns in the summer when you need your AC unit the most. Below are the four biggest benefits you and your family will enjoy when you schedule preventative AC maintenance for your Columbia, South Carolina home this spring. 

Benefits of Spring Air Conditioning Maintenance

  • Increased System Lifespan: It’s no secret that your air conditioner is not a machine you will have forever. But if you are consistent with your AC maintenance, your AC unit can last up to and possibly beyond the manufacturer’s estimated service life. With regular maintenance, you can expect your AC unit last around 12-15 years. Without consistent maintenance, your system lifespan can drop by half the estimated system life. Regular maintenance will ensure you are getting what you pay for in your system’s lifespan.

  • Peace of Mind: With regular maintenance, you can have peace of mind heading into the summer heat and humidity that your AC unit is working the way it should and that no parts seem to be out of place or not operating efficiently. It’s important to have confidence that you’re AC unit will last you all through the summer without breaking down and regular maintenance from E.F. Martin provides that confidence. 

  • Increase Efficiency: Finally, regular maintenance will help to increase your AC efficiency. When your system wears down, your system loses efficiency and in turn, costs more money to run effectively. Maintenance reduces the wear and tear on your system so it won’t age as fast as it would without maintenance. You will be saving money in the long run while maintaining home comfort when you need it the most.

E.F. Martin is always ready and willing to help the homeowners in the greater Columbia, South Carolina area with their comfort. If you are interested in learning more about our heating & air conditioning services, give us a call today!

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