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FAQs - Your Frequently Asked Questions

About TE Certified
Q Are you licensed, insured and bonded? AOf course! We hold the highest electrical license offered by the State of Georgia and our electricians are licensed. Our license number is EN214217. We also carry General Liability Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, and a Commercial Umbrella Policy just to be safe. We also have code compliance bonds in counties that offer it.
Q How long has your company been around? AWe were founded in 1998 in Roswell, Georgia. Most companies fail within the first five years of start-up, so we are proud to still be here. We still service some of the same clients from 1998!
Q Where are you located? AWe are located in Roswell, Georgia. Our address is 9800 Old Dogwood Rd, Roswell, GA 30075.
Q What is your warranty policy? AWe warranty our workmanship and parts for life. If anything ever goes wrong with our installation we will fix it for free! If a part that we supplied ever goes bad, we will provide a new one for free! Installation is not included in our parts warranty after the first year.
Q What type of training do your technicians have? AOur Technicians all spent at least five years working inside homes with homeowners. Each one has passed a national background check and a written examination. We hold weekly safety and training meetings so they stay sharp and keep up with the latest in electrical material, tools, and practices.
Q What is a halogen bulb? AHalogen bulbs are light bulbs with tungsten filaments (the part that glows) and filled with halogen gas. They burn much hotter and brighter than normal bulbs which makes the light appear clearer or whiter. Halogen bulbs generally last longer and are more efficient than regular bulbs. Because Halogen lights burn much hotter, they are compromised if grease or dirt gets on their surface. Handle with care.
Q What is a fluorescent bulb? AFluorescent light bulbs have gas inside of them that “excites” when electricity runs through the bulb. This causes the bulb to glow. These lights are more efficient than Halogen or regular light bulbs and come in different colors. Because the light bulbs are gas based, fluorescent lights generally require a ballast to control the flow of electricity through the light bulb. This is why many dimmers do not work with fluorescent lights.
Q What is a Xenon light bulb? AXenon Lights are similar to halogen but contain Xenon gas. They are generally brighter and clearer than halogen lights. Xenon lights are relatively new but can be found under cabinet and art lights.
Q What is an LED light? ALED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED lights emit energy in the form of light when current passes through them. These lights are very energy efficient and represent the next wave in lighting. LED lighting is standard in electronics but is now making headway in household lighting.
Q Why do my light bulbs constantly burn out? AMost of the time, it is because the bulb is too big for the application. In these cases, the light gets too hot and the element burns. Check the fixture for the appropriate size light bulb. If the light bulb size is correct, there may be a loose or faulty electrical connection.
Q Why does my light hum? ACheck the light bulbs; they may be going bad. If it is a fluorescent light, your ballast may be causing the humming. Be sure to use the correct type of bulb for your fluorescent fixture to avoid this problem.
Q How do I get a broken bulb out of a socket? AAlways turn off the power because this is a dangerous situation. A good trick is to use a new light bulb to back-out the old socket. Just press the new bulb in and turn counterclockwise. Don’t press too hard. If the bulb does not come out, call a licensed electrician.
Q What is a GFCI device? AA GFCI is a “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting” device. (Pretty fancy, huh?) This means it interrupts power to the outlet when it senses any electricity leaking out of the circuit. Basically, this means the device shuts off power when its senses that electricity is going somewhere other than back to the power grid. Which is good, because sometimes that electricity is escaping into a person!
Q Why Have GFCIs? ASimply put, GFCI’s save lives. In the event of an electric shock, the current runs through the victim away from the source. GFCI’s sense this and shut off automatically. Since their inception in the National Electrical Code, GFCI’s have saved hundreds of lives. The US Consumer Safety Committee found that two-thirds of the 300 household electrical deaths that occur every year could have been prevented by the proper installation of a GFCI device. Click Here to read The US Consumer Safety Committee’s Fact Sheet on GFCI Devices in The Home.
Q Where should I have GFCIs installed? AKitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor locations, especially near water, are a must. Garages, unfinished basements, and crawl spaces are also required in most jurisdictions. These are places in the home where ground faults commonly occur and people are the most susceptible to electrical shock. Did you know that only half the homes we inspect have GFI’s in the kitchen (shocking…isn’t it!).
Q How do I know my GFCIs are working? AOn the GFCI there is a button labeled “test.” Hit the test button and you should hear a snap as the outlet shuts off. Hit the “reset” button to restore power. If your GFCI does not shut off when tested, get it replaced. The only way to really know if a GFCI is working is to test it with a GFCI tester (you can get one at your local hardware store). GFCI testing is standard in our whole house electrical safety checks.
Q My GFCI trips all the time; is the GFCI bad? AMaybe, but it’s probably just doing its job (protecting you from ground faults). Get the circuit checked out to make sure there is not a ground fault or leak somewhere in the wiring. Often appliances that have ground faults (electrical leaks) will cause a GFCI to trip. It’s a good idea to have any appliance that is tripping a GFCI checked out.
Q I have a Federal Pacific Panel, should I replace it? AProbably. Federal Pacific Panels are associated with numerous house and panel fires and were subject to a class action lawsuit before the company went out of business. Have a licensed electrician check the panel for damage. Click Here for more info.
Q There is a buzzing sound coming from inside my panel; what should I do? ACall us. Buzzing, Humming, or Sizzling sounds are often the first indicator of an electrical problem. The sound you hear could be your panel melting. Get an electrical safety check before your panel needs to be replaced.
Q My panel is full; what are my options? AWe can install a subpanel to create additional space or upgrade your panel to provide more room. Adding circuits to an overloaded panel is not recommended and can lead to major panel damage.
Q Half the power in my house is out; what is going on? AYour home is probably only getting one leg of power from your power provider. Call your power company and ask them to investigate your meter.
Q My panel is old; does that affect my power bill? AYes, it can. Old panels and meters with loose or damaged connections from age and use can create energy loss and heat. This means higher energy bills.
Q There is a breaker in my panel that is hot to the touch; is this normal? ANo. Breakers should not get hot during use. If a breaker is overloaded or bad, it will begin to lose electricity in the form of heat. Have any breaker that is hot to the touch checked out by an electrician.
Q My panel is missing screws for the cover; where can I get new ones? AMost home improvement stores carry panel screws. Be sure to get the screws for your panel only. The wrong type or length of screw can damage wires inside your panel.
Recessed Lighting
Q My ceiling is finished and there is no attic: Install recessed lights? AAbsolutely! In fact, most of the recessed lights we install are in finished ceilings with no overhead access. We use remodel type lights, special tools, drills, and a camera to fish the wires. Plus, we use a special saw that collects that dust as we cut (it’s pretty cool).
Q Will my ceiling be damaged if I get recessed lights installed? ANot if you use us! We are recessed lighting specialist (really, we are). Most of the time, we install recessed lights without any damage to the existing ceiling. In some cases, we are forced to cut a small hole to assist with the wiring, but never without your permission. We never remove large sections of drywall or cut multiple holes or channels. If someone told you they would need to ruin your ceiling, they did not know how to install recessed lights.
Q What type of lights should I get? A

Recessed lights come in several types and sizes. We install 6", 5", 4", 3" and even 2" recessed lights.

  • 6" recessed lights are the most common type and are great for kitchens, hallways, and sitting rooms.
  • 4" lights are great for theaters, bar areas, small kitchens, and fireplaces.
  • 3" lights are great for dramatic lighting around artwork, arches, curtains, and cabinets.
  • 2" recessed lights are great for showcases, cabinets, nooks, and arches.

Call us and we will schedule a lighting consultation with an expert who can answer all your questions and help you make a great decision.

Q My ceiling is sloped; can I still get recessed lights? AYes, you can. It may be a bit more difficult and can be messy (according to our standards) in some cases, but we do it on a regular basis. They even make recessed lights specifically for sloped ceilings.
Q I don’t like the look of my current recessed lights; what can I do? AMany recessed lights have interchangeable trim pieces (the part of the light you can see). That means we can change the whole look of the recessed light, just by changing the trim piece. This is a great option in rooms with cheap trims that have started to yellow.
Q One recessed light keeps burning out; what can I do? AGet the light checked out. There is probably a loose wire or connection that is reducing the bulb life.
Q I’ve replaced the bulb but the light is still out; what now? AThe light needs to be checked out. Regular recessed lights contain thermal sensors that can go bad and shut off the light. Low Voltage type recessed lights contain transformers that can go bad over time. Also, we find that many low voltage lights have damaged or corroded sockets.
Q Can you help me with layout or design? AAbsolutely! Many homes are built with the bare minimum and, in some rooms, no overhead lighting at all. We can help improve this by providing on-site lighting consultations that include help with layout, design, and lighting choices. We will show you what recessed lights will work best in your house and help you get the look you want.
Q Do I have to take down sheetrock to install new lighting? ANo! TE Certified Electricians have the experience and special equipment to run the wires through your walls and ceilings with no messy drywall patching in most cases. Don’t let an unskilled electrician cut multiple holes in your ceiling or walls. 90% of the time, we can install recessed lighting with ZERO drywall damage. Even with difficult installations, the damage is minimal, and we ask before cutting holes! Our electricians carry specialized drills bits, “fishing tools”, and in-wall digital cameras (like you see in an operating room).
Q Where do you recommend recessed lighting? AWe specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, sitting rooms, hallways, and anywhere else you need quality lighting. The kitchen is the most used room in the home, and it should have the best lighting. So we recommend starting in the kitchen. We also find that hallways and showers are often poorly lit and look great with recessed lighting. We have also installed recessed lights in soffits, porches, art nooks, stairwells, garages, theater rooms, offices, and playrooms.
Q What types of recessed lights do you carry? AWe carry 6", 5", 4", and mini recessed lights. We also carry multiple types of recessed lighting trims in multiple colors. If you need a directional trim or a black baffle trim or even an MR-16 art lighting trim, we have it. We can also special order from thousands of different types of trims if you are looking for something special.
Q What is an “IC rated” recessed light? AIC rated recessed lights can be installed with the insulation in your ceiling without creating a fire hazard. These light housings are a little more expensive but save you energy and prevent fires. Make sure your recessed light is IC rated.
Q What is an “airtight rated” recessed light? AAirtight rated recessed lights are sealed to prevent a draft in your ceilings. Recessed lights that are not airtight rated will reduce your home’s energy efficiency significantly and drain your wallet. Make sure your new lights are airtight rated.
Q Why are my recessed lights turning yellow or brown? AThe trims are made of plastic, and over time the heat from the lamp causes the trims to yellow. TE Certified Electricians only install full metal trims, so our installations look great for years to come. Most trims sold at the home improvement stores are plastic, so make sure your new trims are metal.
Q How much does it cost to have recessed lights installed? AIt depends on the size and type of recessed light that you choose, quantity of lights, and the location. However, generally recessed lights in finish rooms run $109 – $249 per light.
Q Can you install recessed lights on high ceilings? AAbsolutely! We have the right equipment for two story foyers, living rooms, and dining rooms. It is a little tougher, but we install recessed lights in high ceilings all the time.
Q Can I put a recessed light where there is currently a regular light? AYes, we can remove the old light and box and install a recessed light using the same switching circuit and power.
Q Why does the recessed light in my shower shut off randomly? AThe bulb in the recessed light is too large for the fixture. Recessed lights with shower trims require lower wattage light bulbs to prevent overheating. When the fixture gets too hot, it shuts off automatically. Of course, low wattage light bulbs are not very bright. Replace the light bulb with an LED type light bulb to fix this problem.
Smoke Detectors
Q Why is my smoke detector chirping? ASmoke detectors chirp to alert the homeowner that the battery is low. If your smoke detector chirps, replace the battery with a brand new battery. If your smoke detector still chirps after installing a BRAND NEW battery, remove the battery and check the polarity. Note that smoke detectors will still chirp after the “silence” or “hush” button has been pushed. This chirping should end within 10 minutes of silencing the alarm.
Q What if it’s just a false alarm? AAll alarms should be taken seriously and treated as an emergency. If the source of the alarm is determined to not be a fire, use the “hush” or “silence” buttons to end the alarm. The alarm may continue to chirp for a few minutes after pressing “silence.” If the condition has not cleared by the time the hush period ends, the alarm will sound again. Also, note that the hush button will not work if the sensor is significantly clogged or senses heavy smoke.
Q What are some common false alarms? ACooking smoke, steam, dusty air, and even bugs can cause false alarms. Consider moving your smoke detector if you are getting regular false alarms from cooking smoke or shower steam. If you are experiencing false alarms for an unknown reason, try cleaning your smoke detector by dusting the exterior and gently vacuuming over the sensor vent holes. ALL YOUR ALARMS will sound during a false alarm, but typically ONLY ONE alarm triggered the alert. You can identify the culprit by locating the alarm with the flashing red indicator light. Clean and clear out this alarm first.
Q What are some common problem spots? ASmoke detectors located in kitchens, near air conditioning return vents, or in unused or dusty parts of the house are the most likely to give you a false alarm.
Q Does my house need to be rewired? AGenerally, we recommend a whole house safety check before making that decision. The most important factors are age of wire, condition of wiring, and the safety of the home. Homes with cloth wiring or without a grounding system are examples of homes that we recommend for rewiring.
Q How do I know if I have cloth wiring? AGenerally, homes built before the 1960’s contain cloth wiring. Cloth wiring deteriorates over time exposing the live wires inside the cloth coating to your home. A whole house safety check will reveal the type and condition of your wiring system. You can also see your wiring by looking in the crawlspace or attic. Look for your electrical wires running through the studs and rafters.
Q Do I have to remove my sheetrock to rewire my house? ANo, we can rewire your entire home and leave the Sheetrock virtually untouched. Generally, only a few 4″ x 4″ holes will need to be cut when an entire home is rewired. We are experts at fishing wires through walls and have rewired many homes with no Sheetrock damage at all. If you are interested in rewiring your home, call us and we will show you hundreds of positive reviews and you can talk to folks that have had their entire home rewired.
Q Will I need to move out during the work? ANo, we will work around you and your schedule. We will keep the power to your home on and your air conditioning working. It is a little uncomfortable having electricians working in your home but the future increase in comfort and safety is well worth it.
Q How long does it take to completely rewire a house? AUsually, we can rewire an entire house in about a week. This includes the necessary inspections and work. Larger homes can take two weeks or more.
Q What are the benefits of a complete rewired house? A

The first major benefit is safety. A complete rewire removes any doubt that there is any electrical problem with your home. Plus, it includes looped smoke detectors, a new panel, GFCI outlets, grounded outlets, and plastic coated wire that will last a lifetime. Did you know that home insurance companies give better rates to homeowners with new wiring systems? They know the danger of old wiring better than anyone.

The second major benefit is comfort. We install additional outlets in every room including bathrooms, new outdoor outlets, switches, bathroom exhaust fans, ceiling fan boxes in all the bedrooms, closet lights, a new electrical panel that is completely labeled, and dedicated circuits to all your major appliances and outlets. Basically, your old home gets all the conveniences of a new home. Plus, this is a great time to get recessed lighting and dimmers at a really great rate. Whole house rewires come with a lifetime warranty which means you don’t ever have to worry about your electrical system again.

The third major benefit is resale value. A completely rewired home adds thousands of dollars in actual value to your home and makes potential buyers more interested in your home than others. Every home buyer gets an inspection report full of pictures and opinions before buying a home. An old and unsafe electrical system is a big red flag for potential buyers. A home with a completely new electrical system signed off on by your county inspector is really attractive to buyers.

Q I have two-prong outlets; can I just replace the outlets? ANo, just replacing the outlets will not help. The third prong is the most important – the ground. Without a ground wire to attach to, the new outlets are illegal. The only way to improve your outlet is to run new wiring to each outlet. This provides a ground wire to connect to your new outlet.
Q What is your warranty on workmanship? Is it really for life? A

Electrician Warranty: Yes, we are confident that our work will last a lifetime. Most modern electrical work will, if installed correctly. If we do not install it correctly, we want to fix it for free.

Heating and Cooling Warranty: Yes, we are confident in our installation abilities and want you to receive top notch professional work. TE will correct any installation that does not meet that standard free of charge, subject to certain limitations.

Q What is your warranty on parts? A

Electrician Warranty: Yes, we warranty every part we supply for life. If it goes bad in the first year, we will supply the part and replace it for free. If it goes bad anytime after a year we will give you a new part free of charge, but you have to pay for the installation. Some parts, like light bulbs, are not covered by the lifetime parts warranty.

Heating and Cooling Warranty: We offer a 10 year parts warranty for our heating and cooling installations and a 10 year labor warranty for properly maintained AC equipment, subject to certain limitations.

Q How can you offer a lifetime warranty when other companies only offer a year? AWe make it a point to do good work with good durable parts, the kind of work that will last. This means we have few callbacks, but when we do have callbacks, we are happy to fix the problem because we care about our name and product. Plus, we want you to be our customer for life. So, we plan on upholding our agreement to provide great service for life. As for the competition, we don’t know why they limited their warranty.
Q How do I make a warranty claim? ACall us at (770) 667-6937 with your name, address, and warranty claim. We will send an electrician or HVAC technician to fix it right away. Don’t live with any inconvenience. Call us, we want to help!
Electrical Problems & Troubleshooting
Q What sort of problems can you fix? ATE Certified Electricians are trained and experienced electrical problem solvers. We have successfully tracked and solved thousands of electrical problems, and we can solve yours too. Whether you’ve lost power to part of your home, have lights that flicker, or switches that are humming, we can fix it. More importantly, we will fix it right.
Q I lost power to an area of my home, but no breakers are tripped. What’s wrong? AThis means you have a damaged or broken circuit hidden somewhere in your home. Finding and repairing this type of problem can be difficult. But don’t worry, because we are experts at troubleshooting.
Q My breaker will not reset. Does that mean it’s broken? AProbably not. Breakers are designed to shut-off power when they detect problems on a circuit. The more likely cause is a problem somewhere on your circuit. Do not make multiple attempts to turn “on” a breaker that is tripping. This can be very dangerous and cause further damage to your electrical system. Let us find the problem, and then we can safely restore power to that circuit.
Q What is the sizzling or cracking sound I hear coming from my electrical panel? AThat is the sound of an electrical hazard! If you hear sizzling, crackling, or popping noises coming from your electrical panel, call a qualified electrician ASAP.
Q Why do my light bulbs burn out quickly? AThis is a common problem but the causes vary. First, make sure you are using the correct wattage bulb for that light. If your bulb gets too hot, it will burn out the filament. Second, have a qualified electrician check the connections and sockets in your fixtures. Third, consider switching to LED bulbs in frequently used rooms like kitchens. In a room with 6-12 regular recessed lights, you can reasonably expect to change a bulb every 2-3 months (this is assuming that each individual bulb lasts 1-2 years on average!). If you install LED bulbs, you will need to replace your bulbs almost never. We carry high quality LED bulbs on our trucks.
Q Why are all my lights getting really dim or really bright? AThis is a very serious problem! Unplug any sensitive electronics in your home and immediately call a qualified electrician to troubleshoot the problem. Whole house power fluctuations can seriously damage your home. This issue is generally caused by problems in your main electrical service, electrical panel, or meter housing. This problem can also be caused by your power company connections. Regardless of the problem, we will find it very quickly and help you get it resolved ASAP.
Q Why is half the power in my home out? AThis is actually a common problem because most homes in Atlanta operate on one “phase” split into two main power feeds. If one of these power feeds fails in your panel or meter, you will lose roughly half the power to your home. This problem can also be caused by your local power company. Regardless of where the problem is coming from, we will find it very quickly. We recommend getting this issue checked out ASAP.
Q What does troubleshooting cost? AWe charge $149 for residential power problem calls. This includes the service call, the solution-guaranteed troubleshooting, and any minor adjustments the system might need. After finding the problem, we will give you the exact cost to fix it and options so you can make an informed decision about your home. Whatever you decide, we will be ready to do the work right away.
Q What if it takes longer than expected to find the problem? Do you charge extra? ANope. We offer flat-rate pricing for troubleshooting. That means you don’t have to watch the clock while we work, and you’ll never pay for someone’s training. We will charge the same flat-rate price even if the problem turns out to be harder to solve than originally anticipated.
Q What kind of warranty do you provide for troubleshooting? AAll of our troubleshooting is solution-guaranteed. That means we will accurately identify the problem and provide a complete solution. We warranty all complete solutions for life. A band-aid or basic repair is always an option, but those types of repairs cannot be guaranteed. Regardless of your budget, we will work with you to get your home as safe as possible.
Q Do you repair appliances? ANo, we leave that up to trained appliance repair techs. However, we can troubleshoot and solve any power issue leading up to your appliance. That means if your dryer, dishwasher, or hot tub is not getting correct power, we are the ones to fix it. In other words, we can troubleshoot and repair the power from your electrical panel all the way to your appliance, but not inside the appliance.
Q Do you repair outdoor wiring issues? AYes, we troubleshoot outdoor wire, circuits, and lights. And if, after troubleshooting, we find you have a bad circuit buried in the yard, we can repair it. We have special locating devices and tracers that make repairs possible, which is a good thing. Replacing the entire circuit can be expensive.
Flood Motion Light Installation
Q Can I provide my own light? AYes, but we recommend getting the best light available. Poor quality lighting is incredibly frustrating. Don’t waste time and money with lights that will malfunction, trigger randomly, flash on and off, or even fail entirely within a short time after installation. In other words, avoid the motion lights from the big box stores.
Q Do I need to have a box already in place? ANo, we can install a new flood light anywhere you like.
Q How much does it cost to get a flood light installed? AIt depends on the height and accessibility of the light. Typical replacements range from $129 – $299. Brand new flood lights with new wiring, box, and installation range from $250 – $500 per light. This does not include the cost of the fixture.
Q Where should I put my motion lights? AWe recommend pathways, gates, and parking areas. Motion lights in these areas will provide light right where you need it and prevent you or your guest from being injured. For security purposes, we recommend placing lights near rear doors and in your backyard, side yard, and areas around your home that are not regularly watched or easily observable.
Q How high should I place my light? AWe recommend placing your light no higher than 20′ from the ground to provide maximum sensor coverage and easy access for changing settings and bulbs.
Q Can your motion lights stay on if needed? AYes, our motion lights can be set to provide constant light.
Q Can your lights be set to come on automatically at dusk? AYes, there is a dusk to dawn setting for our motion lights that allows them to come on when it gets dark, regardless of motion in the area. We do not recommend this setting often.
Q What bulbs do you recommend for flood lighting? AWe highly recommend using LED flood lights because they last for years and save energy. Installing LED lights means you don’t have to climb a ladder once a year to replace burned out light bulbs. If you’re not handy, it will save you from calling a pro.
Q Why is there ice on my air conditioning equipment? A

Ice on your air conditioning equipment is caused by a range of issues varying in complexity. If you have ice on your air conditioning equipment, you should shut it off immediately to prevent/minimize further damage to the equipment or home. Please note, once the equipment starts to thaw out, it will produce water that could leak out around the unit.

Ice on air conditioning equipment falls under two problems:

  • Restricted airflow which could be due to a dirty air filter, closed/blocked vents, a dirty indoor coil or a failed electrical component that is not allowing the indoor blower motor to run. Here is why restricted airflow causes ice to form on your indoor coil: When the air conditioning system is running, the blower of the furnace or air handler is circulating hot air across the coil and the refrigerant flowing through the tubes inside the coil is absorbing the heat from the air in your home. Once you remove the hot air being moved across the coil the refrigerant has no heat to absorb so it just continues to get colder and colder until whatever moisture on the surface of the coil gets so cold it freezes.
  • Low refrigerant charge – this usually indicates a leak in the system and is not something a homeowner is going to be able to remedy, like replacing a dirty air filter or opening closed/blocked vents. Why do low refrigerant levels cause the coil to freeze? When the air conditioning system is low on refrigerant the pressure of the refrigerant drops. A drop pressure results in the temperature of the refrigerant to drop as well, which in turn causes the surface area of the coil to get very cold. The moisture on the surface of the coil eventually freezes.
Q How long does the refrigerant in my air conditioner last? ARefrigerant is not like fluids in your car that need to be periodically topped off. An air conditioning circuit is hermetically sealed so the amount of refrigerant in your AC on day one should be the same as year ten. If you have an air conditioner that has served you well for several years and all the sudden is not cooling well because it’s low on refrigerant, it’s almost certainly due to a leak. Adding refrigerant back into a system that is leaking can be very expensive and bad for the environment. Unfortunately, there is little a homeowner can do to prevent a refrigerant leak. Keep your pets away from your outdoor unit. If your pet urinates on the outdoor unit, over time the acid in the urine can cause the coils on the outdoor unit to deteriorate to the point of leaking. The second thing a homeowner can do to minimize the inconvenience of a refrigerant leak is by having regularly scheduled maintenance performed by a licensed contractor.
Q How long does the average heating, ventilation and air conditioning system last? AHeating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems require proper and regular maintenance in order to work efficiently, but even in the best-case scenarios most components of such systems only last 15 to 25 years. Furnaces, on average, last 15 to 20 years, heat pumps 16 years, and air conditioning units 10 to 15 years.
Q What is SEER? A

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It's a rating system of the air conditioner's cooling capacity to power input. For example, it's the ratio of the amount of cooling produced (in BTUs) divided by the amount of electricity (in watts) used. The higher the SEER, the greater the air conditioner's efficiency.

Layman’s terms: SEER is to an air conditioner, what miles per gallon is to a car. Higher SEER rating equals lower operating costs.

Q How often should my air filter be changed? A

How often a filter needs to be changed is impacted by several variables; Pets, type of filter, poorly sealed ductwork, size of the home, number of people occupying the home, level of pollution and construction around the home.

Basic filters that are 1” in width on average need to be replaced every 30-60 days. Filters that are 4” or thicker on average need to be replaced every 6-12 months.

Q What temperature should I set my thermostat to? AThe department of energy recommends setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees in the Summer and your heater to 68 degrees in the Winter for optimal efficiency. At the end of the day, though there is no right answer, it’s about whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Q How can I improve my indoor air quality? A

There are some things you, as the homeowner, can do to optimize indoor air quality.

  • Change the air filter for your heating/cooling system on a regular basis
  • Dust and vacuum regularly
  • Buy indoor plants as natural air purifiers
  • Turn on the ventilation system when cooking if your cooktop or microwave have that feature
  • Replace the bags and filters on your vacuum cleaner consistently
Q If you are doing all the above and still feel as if there is room for improvement, please contact a licensed HVAC professional. There are several things a licensed contractor can do to help you and your family breathe easier, such as the following: A
  • Sealing up leaky ductwork that may be pulling in dusty air from an attic or crawl space
  • Installing air scrubbers in your central HVAC system that kill air born contaminants such as mold, mildew, and viruses
  • Installing high-efficiency air filtration units that can grab and collect large airborne contaminants, such as mold spores, pet dander, and everyday household dust.
  • If you live in a humid climate, controlling humidity is important as high humidity levels can lead to microbial growth, such as mold and mildew. Dehumidifiers that integrate with your central heating and cooling system are the best at removing moisture from your entire home
  • In the winter months, the air can become dry and irritate skin and sinuses, as well as cause the wood in your home to shrink and split. Whole-home humidifiers can add valuable moisture back into the air to help combat the negative effects of air that is too dry.
Q At what temperature should my water heater be set? AWe recommend a minimum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit due to the risk of the growth of legionella bacteria within the water lines at lower temperatures. Legionella thrives in temperatures of 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit and causes Legionnaire’s disease, a very dangerous type of pneumonia.
Q How often should I flush my water heater? AMost tank-type water heaters have a roughly 10-12 year life span. Depending on the use, water quality, and the number of people in the home, this number may vary. Regardless, we recommend flushing your water heater yearly to rid the tank bottom of sediment buildup and then having your plumber thoroughly inspect the heater for any other issues. Tankless water heaters require flushing as well, albeit in a different manner. They require descaling, a process that cleans the heat exchanger. You will need to call your plumber to perform this process, which requires specialized chemicals and equipment. Either way, this is a yearly process.
Q Do low-flow fixtures work? AThey do. Toilets are limited to a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush, and most faucets are now governed to a maximum of .5 gallons per minute. You don’t sacrifice much in usefulness, however, as these newer fixtures are designed to work efficiently with the smaller amount of water.
Q Why switch to a tankless water heater? ATankless water heaters are a representation of where the plumbing world is headed. They offer unrivaled efficiency, space-saving, and control. Tankless heaters are on-demand machines. This means they only heat water when it is called for, rather than heating and re-heating a tank of water all day, on and off. This saves gas, saving you money. And with recirculation-capable models, the wait time on hot water is cut down drastically, saving you more money by cutting back on water waste.
Q How can I get rid of the bad smell from my garbage disposal? ARun the disposal while dropping handfuls of ice, followed by hot water, down the disposal. This will break up all the loose particles along the walls of the disposal and flush them down the drain. Do this several times. Avoid citrus peels. While citrus will help with the smell, the peels tend to clog disposal discharge lines. And avoid bleach. Finally, wipe the splash guard. If all else fails, it’s likely time to replace the unit.
Q Why do all my toilets keep running/faucets keep dripping/etc? AWe often ignore warning signs of larger problems. In this case, multiple running toilets is likely indicative of a water pressure issue within the home. Same with dripping faucets. Your pressure will need to be checked and verified, and your home’s pressure regulator will likely need replacing. It is always possible that the internal parts of said toilets and faucets have failed, but this is unlikely.
Q Why do I have a sewer odor in _____ area of my home? ASewer odors (true sewer gas) are methane-based and are quite unpleasant, to say the least. Most of the time, sewer odors emanate from traps whose water seals have evaporated and are now allowing sewer gas to leak through. This commonly happens in bathrooms that are infrequently used, or from fixtures with low usage (garden tubs are notorious for this). Other times, sewer gases can be coming from improper venting, failed seals on toilets, or even a dead animal in the home.
Q Why do I hear sounds from my plumbing system? APlumbing systems make all sorts of sounds, most of which are harmless, if annoying. The less insulation your home’s walls contain, the louder these sounds can be. These sounds can range from light ticking or popping, which is typically harmless, to squealing or humming sounds, which are typically indicative of a problem.
Q Should I have my drain lines inspected? How often? A

The answer to this question depends on several variables. Older homes will need more frequent inspections due to the type of materials that were once used in residential drainage systems. Cast iron, lead, and even clay piping all have their own sets of issues, and if your home still contains these materials, you should have the system inspected at least once per year.

Newer homes will almost always contain PVC drainage piping. When properly installed and maintained, PVC drainage has an extremely long life. The inside of PVC is glass-smooth and therefore flows easier. PVC does not rot or rust, and when properly installed, will never leak. PVC drainage/sewer lines need to be inspected only when a problem is suspected.

Q How can I decrease my water consumption? A

There are several ways. Low-flow fixtures and appliances are always an easy solution but can be an expensive upgrade. All new faucets and toilets are considered low flow as well and are an inexpensive solution.

One aspect of water waste that many homeowners overlook is the time waiting on hot water. Depending on your home’s size, it can take upwards of 1-3 minutes for hot water to reach the desired fixture, once called for. This wastes an enormous amount of water over the course of a year. An easy solution to this is to have a recirculation pump installed. This pump will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for hot water to reach the desired fixture. Wait times are typically reduced to less than 15 seconds, saving water in the process.


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