Frequently Asked Questions

Click on question to reveal the answer(s). Collapse the answer(s) by clicking on the question again.

How much does it cost for a duct cleaning?

Companies that perform duct cleaning charge by the number of duct runs.  Most legitimate duct cleaning companies that own duct cleaning equipment like the ROTOBRUSH system charge around $100.00 per duct opening.  This should include removing the supply grills and then thoroughly vacuuming the system, cleaning the cooling coil, and blower motor.  The final procedure is a fogging of the duct work with a sealer and microbiocide.  This procedure assures a squeaky clean system and should solve any respiratory problems.

Why is there a big difference in price on installed equipment?

Old unit metal boxes not changed

Old unit metal boxes not changed

When homeowners are getting prices for a new installation, they can see as much as several thousand dollars between contractors. Why is this? Most of the time the price difference is what the lowest priced contractor ISN’T doing. A quality contractor will replace the metal plenum box, transition and emergency drain pan. The old unit obviously is old and the metal components will have dust and even mold on the inside. A quality contractor will replace the condensate drain lines. A quality contractor will replace the thermostat. A quality contractor will replace the concrete pad the outdoor unit sits on. Check the warranty. Most good contractors offer at least 10 years on parts. As you get prices compare what the lowest contractor is not offering. You will be better off paying a little more and getting a better system.

How do I select a contractor?

In selecting a heating and air conditioning contractor, ask the following questions:

How long have they been in business?
Finch Air Conditioning was founded in 1988. Since then, Finch Air Conditioning and Heating has grown to become one of the largest air conditioning and heating contractors in the Metropolitan Houston area.

Do they have several locations?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating has several branches throughout the Metropolitan Houston area for your convenience.

Do they employ certified factory-trained technicians?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating has over 30 employees. These include certified, factory-trained sales and management personnel, as well as technicians. Our technicians are not only factory-trained and NATE certified, but also receive ongoing training and certifications – a minimum of 40 hours per year in-house and factory. We use state-of-the-art tools and testing equipment, including Freon® recovery equipment to protect the environment. Our fleet of over 25 radio-dispatched trucks enables our technicians to provide you with timely, professional service.

Are they bonded and insured?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating’s technicians are fully bonded, insured, and covered by Workman’s Compensation.

Do they handle several reputable manufacturers?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating carries the most reliable products of several reputable manufacturers to provide you with lasting quality.

Do they have in-stock inventory?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating has over half million dollars in parts and equipment on hand. Our trucks are also well stocked with the most needed parts so that the technician has them at hand on the job site.

Are they a full service contractor?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating is a full service contractor with complete service departments and installation departments, including duct cleaning.

Are they fully licensed to do all of the work themselves?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating is registered with the State Board of Contractors in Texas. We are fully licensed to do complete service and installation throughout the state.

Are they competitively priced, with written estimates up front?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating offers competitive pricing and written estimates using flat rate service pricing to ensure no surprises when installing or servicing our customers’ equipment. We also offer many different financing plans*.

Do they offer emergency service?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating’s phones are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. And, we never charge over-time.

Do they offer service agreements?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating knows that homeowners have many concerns and activities in their lives. Our mission is to design, install and service heating and cooling systems in a way that provides homeowners with worry-free comfort. We offer several excellent service agreements. You may choose from our ESA or Annual Tune-Up Programs. Any of our programs are certain to meet your needs and provide you with necessary convenience and peace of mind.

Are they knowledgeable in the latest industry technology?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating is well-versed in all the latest technological advancements in the industry. We offer computer-automated design to properly size your air distribution system and equipment. Also, complete, comprehensive records are kept on every service call, providing instant employee access to your equipment’s history. All employees are linked via their own extensive network for rapid sharing of information concerning your equipment when it is needed. Our technicians and sales representatives are in constant communication with the office via cellular phone/radio systems. No expense has been spared to provide you with the best, most timely and knowledgeable service possible.

Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau? And are they members in good standing of other professional organizations?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and an active member of several important professional organizations. We are also a qualified CenterPoint™ Gas contractor and a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.

Can they service both residential and commercial needs?
Finch Air Conditioning and Heating offers commercial services for businesses through our commercial division. We can service all business and residential comfort needs. Finch Air Conditioning and Heating is large enough to serve you, yet small enough to know you.

* with approved credit

Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older system to save money?

No. Replacing only the outdoor unit will sacrifice your comfort and lower the efficiency of the unit. In fact, you can lose up to 15% of the unit’s efficiency! Even worse, your system may fail sooner than normal and most manufacturers’ warranties will be voided. You should seriously consider buying a complete system.

Where can I get information about financing programs?

Finch Air Conditioning and Heating has several financing programs available with approved credit. For more information, please call our office or fill out this Sales Request Form to schedule a Sales Call.

What is the average life expectancy of equipment?

Most systems have a lifetime of 12 years or less. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. If your system is over five years old, you should have a heating and cooling contractor check your system for maintenance or replacement.

Should I have my ducts cleaned?

Yes. Mold, mildew, pet hair, skin cells, smoke film, dander, dust mites, dirt, pollen, and even bacteria take up residence in your air ducts. With each breath you take you inhale these contaminants. Dirty air ducts can not only make you sick or raise your utility bills, but they can also reduce your air flow and cause premature failure of your expensive heating and cooling system.

Why should I purchase a service agreement?

Proper care of your equipment can save you real dollars on your utility bills. Some air conditioning and heating problems can double operating costs without reducing comfort. Just one 100th of an inch of dirt or film on an evaporator coil can reduce cooling and heating efficiency by 5%. All leading manufacturers recommend regular maintenance to maintain peak performance. A service agreement will give you the peace of mind that your system is operating at optimum efficiency and performance.

Should I replace or repair my equipment?

There are five main questions that need to be considered when deciding to either replace or repair your heating and cooling system:

  1. How old is your system?
    If your system is more than ten years old, it may be wiser to invest in new, higher efficiency equipment, which could cut your energy costs by up to 40%.
  2. What is the efficiency level of your current indoor comfort system?
    Unfortunately, replacing parts of your old system will not improve the efficiency. If the energy savings of using a higher efficiency system will cover all or part of the cost of investing in new equipment, you should seriously consider replacement of the old system.
  3. What is the overall condition of your system?
    If your system is in good working condition, it could be wiser to simply repair it. But, if your system breaks down often, you should consider replacing it.
  4. How often is your system operating?
    If your system has been used extensively, it may be time to replace it.
  5. Are you planning to move soon?
    If you are moving in the next year or two, and believe investing in a new indoor weather system will improve the value of your home, you should consider making the investment. If you plan to live in your current residence for many more years, it may also be wise to go ahead and invest in your future comfort.

For more information, please call us or fill out our Service Request Form to schedule an appointment or Service Call. We will be happy to discuss any option with you.

How can I help reduce allergens and improve humidity in my home?

With a high efficiency air cleaner, such as the Trane CleanEffects™, you can remove up to 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into the home. There is also a great reduction in household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants. Your indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust that circulate throughout the house. With a whole house humidifier, you can relieve the irritating discomfort of dry indoor air. The humidifier reduces itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity, and damage to your furnishings and woodwork. Since humid air feels warmer than dry air, you do not have to set the thermostat higher to feel the comfort you want. A lower thermostat setting will reduce the costs of your energy bill. A humidifier improves your comfort while increasing the energy efficiency of your indoor comfort system. For more information, please call us or fill out our Service Request Form to schedule an appointment.

What do SEER and HSPF mean to me?

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency, which translates into greater energy savings. Today, U.S. regulatory agencies require all new models to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. Most major manufacturers offer a line of air conditioners and heat pumps that range from 13.0 SEER to 16.0 SEER, or even higher.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the efficiency measurement used to gauge the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. Again, the higher the number, the greater the efficiency. Today’s models are required to have a minimum 6.8 HSPF. Most major manufactures offer heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.4.

How will the new environment friendly refrigerant affect me?

The 1990 Clean Air Act and the internationally binding Montreal Protocol call for an international phase-out on future manufacturing of the refrigerant R-22, which is currently used in most air conditioning and heat pump systems. Historically, when a refrigerant has been phased out, the cost of that refrigerant has risen dramatically. Also, the costs for servicing products using a phased out refrigerant have risen as well. By the year 2012, the production of R-22 will be reduced by nearly one-half of the current production. That means all products that utilize R-22 refrigerant will eventually need to be replaced by products utilizing the new chlorine-free refrigerant (R410A).

Should I be concerned about Carbon Monoxide in my home?

Yes. Each year, carbon monoxide kills more than 300 Americans and sends nearly 5,000 more to emergency rooms for treatment, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Where does it come from? When carbon-based fuels – such as gas, oil, kerosene or wood – burn, they produce gases. When fuel combustion or burning isn’t complete, carbon monoxide enters the air. The CPSC advises that carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to alert yourself to the presence of toxic gas in your home. As per the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, if you wake in the night with a headache – and especially if another member of the family complains of a headache or is difficult to arouse – get out of the house fast and seek emergency medical care.

How can I reduce my energy costs in the Winter?

  • Limit the loss of expensive heated air to the outside. Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans sparingly. Keep fireplace dampers tightly closed until you prepare to light a fire. When using your fireplace, limit the amount of heated air drawn from the rest of the house. Open dampers in the bottom of the firebox if provided, or open the closest window about 1 inch and close any doors leading into the room.
  • Draft-proof windows, doors, and other air leaks. Caulking and weather stripping are reasonably easy, so you may be able to save money by doing the job yourself.
  • Lower your thermostat to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. For each degree you turn down your thermostat, you’ll save about 3 percent on your heating bills. Consider the comfort and convenience of a digital programmable thermostat to do this for you.
  • Avoid heating unused areas by closing off unoccupied rooms and shutting off heating vents. Note: this does not apply if you have a heat pump system. Leave it alone, as shutting vents could harm a heat pump.
  • Keep your heating equipment operating efficiently. Clean or replace the filter in your forced air heating system each month, and check the duct work that is readily accessible for air leaks about once a year. Be sure that heating ducts in unheated areas are insulated. Keep the heating system well tuned with periodic maintenance by a professional service.
  • Insulate your attic floor or top floor ceiling to reduce winter heat loss.
  • Consider installing storm windows and doors.
  • If you have an attached garage, keep your garage door closed. This will prevent cold winds from infiltrating the connecting door and other areas between the house and garage.
  • If you’re ready to make your home more efficient, contact us and ask about our energy audit program to identify areas where you home might be wasting energy and money. For more information, please call our office or fill out this Sales Request Form to schedule a Sales Call.

What does ENERGY STAR® mean?

ENERGY STAR® stands for high-efficiency and energy savings according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. ENERGY STAR® heating and cooling products are a good investment. Owners of such equipment realize returns in the form of lower utility bills.

Should I change my compressor or replace my whole unit?

When the compressor (a refrigerant pump) fails on your outdoor unit many people ask the question, “why not just change the compressor?”  The reason is cost.  The labor cost to properly change a compressor is as much as the cost of the compressor.  The refrigerant has to be reclaimed, the old compressor removed, the refrigerant lines flushed, install the new compressor, install refrigerant driers, pull a 45 minute vacuum, and recharge with new refrigerant.  Properly changing a compressor can take up to 6 hours.  As an analogy, it is like putting a new engine in an old car.  The new compressor comes with a one year warranty.  Most new complete outdoor units come with a minimum of 5 years warranty and cost slightly more than changing a compressor.

 

I have a R-22 system. Can I just change my outdoor unit?

The simple answer is YES.  Shipping a new unit with R-22 (freon) already installed became illegal in 2010.  Equipment manufactures’ figured out quickly that they can ship a unit without refrigerant and still obey the law.  We call these “dry” units.  Have your contractor check the cooling coil for soundness and compatibility before installing a “dry” unit.  The disadvantage of the dry units is the warranty.  Most dry units only have a 5 year parts and compressor warranty.  New units with the new refrigerant R-410A come with 10 year warranties and some manufacturers offer 12 years and lifetime warranty.