Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Although it has no detectable odor, CO is often mixed with other gases that do have an odor. So, you can inhale carbon monoxide right along with gases that you can smell and not even know that CO is present. CO is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood.

2. What do I do if I suspect a gas leak?

Can you smell gas or do you think there’s a gas leak? The first thing to do is to make sure that you stay safe, so please:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t light matches or cigarette lighters.
  • Don’t turn light switches or anything electrical on or off.
  • Put out any naked flames such as candles.
  • Open all the doors and windows.
  • Turn off your gas supply at the meter (and leave it switched off until you’re sure it’s safe to turn it back on again).
  • Leave your home or business immediately and call Xcel 1-800-895-2999 or 911.
3. How do I determine the right furnace to meet the heating capacity for my home?
Unless you are knowledgeable in construction design and the HVAC industry, you are unlikely to be able to determine your home’s needs. Our comfort advisors do a full industry accepted Manual J load calculation on your home to determine both the heating and cooling needs of your home. Some of the information that determines your home’s needs are the amount of windows, doors, directional exposure, square footage and insulation values.
4. It’s never the temperature I set my thermostat for, what am I doing wrong?
You may not be doing anything wrong. You may simply have a defective thermostat or your thermostat may need recalibration. Other contributing factors could be a very poor ductwork design or blockage somewhere in your system such as a plugged evaporator coil.
5. Why do I hear strange clicking metal or whirling noises when my system starts up?
This may well be the ignition of the furnace and initial startup of the blower system. Another cause could be expansion and contraction of the ductwork in the home.
6. How often do I need to change my air filter?
This varies from home to home based on a variety of factors. For example: the size of the filter, the number of people in the home, pets (cats or dogs), or even activity level in the home (foot traffic). Some filters can last as long as a year. In other homes the filter may need to be changed monthly.
7. What can I do about high electric or gas bills?
Many furnaces in excess of 12-14 years old become very inefficient and can be costly to operate which increases your gas and electric consumption. Today’s high efficiency furnaces can greatly reduce your gas and electric consumption and are as high as 98% efficient. Another helpful technique is the proper use of a programmable thermostat for added savings.
8. What is meant by a ton of refrigeration?
There are 12,000 BTUs of cooling per ton. Therefore, a 2-ton condenser would be 24,000 BTUs. The cooling need for your home is determined by window surface, volume size, and insulation value along with other factors.
9. Some rooms are warmer or colder than others, what can I do?
The basic ductwork design of your forced air system is the largest factor. Most ductwork systems have dampers (or doorways) that can increase or decrease flow to a given area. These can be balanced in order to improve temperature indifference throughout the home. Another major factor is where the utility room is located in your home. For example, a utility room located in the center of the home can distribute airflow more evenly versus being located at the perimeter of your home.
10. What is two-stage cooling/heating?
These are comfort systems with the ability to heat and cool at different capacities versus most of the older technology where the furnace and air conditioner are full on or full off at all times. A 2-stage furnace and AC will operate at a lower capacity on the mild days for a specified amount of time and as the need increases, kick into its high capacity stage. Simply states, it is like have two furnaces and two ACs in on piece of equipment. The latest technology can allow your furnace/AC to operate as low as 35% of their capacity all the way up to 100% of their capacity and anywhere in between based on the home’s need on any given day.

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