HVAC FAQs

How often should my furnace filter be changed?

Most manufacturers recommend changing 1-inch thick air filters every one to two months at a minimum, depending on your home’s indoor environment. If you have pets, a big family or are a smoker, you probably should change it monthly. The thicker, three to five inch filters used by newer high-efficiency furnaces need to be checked every 6 months. Most homes need them to be changed at that time, but some can actually last up to 12 months.

Filters are inexpensive and easy for most homeowners to change themselves. There are many benefits to frequently changing the filter. First, it can save you lots of money in energy costs. A clogged filter makes your furnace work much harder to push air through the ducts. Second, a filter that’s plugged with hair, dander, dust, bacteria and other junk will allow smaller particles to get through and into your home, lowering your air quality.

Don’t forget to change the filter in the summer, too. If the AC is running, air is moving through the filter and it will get clogged. That will result in higher energy consumption and less effective air conditioning.

What routine maintenance is needed for my air conditioner?

Keeping the coils clean on the exterior unit is the most important maintenance your air conditioner needs. Clogged coils can cause up to 25% waste in energy and makes the AC unit work much harder to cool your home. Manufacturers recommend cleaning the coils at least once a year. If there are cottonwood trees nearby, you should clean them more frequently, especially when there is a lot of cottonwood in the air. Keeping the coils clean may also prevent manufacturers from denying a warranty claim due to lack of maintenance.

Cleaning the coils, fan and housing can be done by the homeowner with a garden hose, but care is needed to make sure electrical power is disconnected properly and disassembly and reassembly of the housing and fan is done correctly.

Inside the home, there is a drain hose or pipe that removes 10 to 12 gallons of condensation water per day from the system. Often it will empty into the floor drain. The line needs to be kept clean so that water does not back up into your furnace unit. Ditter performs regular cleaning and maintenance of the entire AC unit for members of our Maintenance Program, or you can simply call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

How can I find out if my indoor air quality is unsafe or unhealthy?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is just as important for our health as it is for our comfort. It is especially important for homes with people who have allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions. The air inside your home can carry a wide assortment of pollutants ranging from everyday dust and dander particulates to more dangerous chemicals such as radon and other gasses, molds, spores, bacteria and other minute airborne organisms.

You can tell if your indoor air quality is bad if you or family members have a lot of headaches, cold-like symptoms, dizziness, fatigue and irritation of eyes, nose or throat.

Ditter can test your air quality by placing an AirAdvice IAQ Monitor in your home for 3 to 4 days to check for the presence of allergens, dust, dander, certain odors, chemicals, volatile organic compounds, temperature, humidity, and it will perform a safety check for carbon monoxide. We can also test for radon. To find out more about getting an AirAdvice IAQ test, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

What routine maintenance is needed for my furnace?

The most important maintenance for your heating system is to change the air filter frequently, which can easily be done by the homeowner. Other routine maintenance tasks should be performed by a professional HVAC technician, such as checking the CO levels, inspecting the heat exchanger for cracks, checking for gas leaks, thorough cleaning of the burners/heat exchanger, examining electrical connections and other important safety checks.

Ditter performs regular cleaning and maintenance of the entire heating system for members of our Maintenance Program. If your furnace has not had routine maintenance for more than a year, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

How do I find out if my heating and cooling system is efficient?

Most homeowners don’t realize how much energy is being wasted by their old or poorly-maintained furnace or air conditioner. Many utility bills give a comparison of your home’s usage compared to your neighbors or your community. Some utility providers have online calculators that help you determine if you are wasting energy heating or cooling your home.

Ditter uses a precision device to test the efficiency of your furnace. Our HVAC experts can perform an efficiency and cost-benefit analysis to help determine how to save money and improve air quality. If you think your energy bills are too high, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

What does the ENERGY STAR® rating mean?

If your furnace or air conditioner is less than 25 years old, you probably have seen the yellow Energy Star label on the front if it. It’s part of a government-backed labeling system to help consumers choose energy efficient equipment. It allows consumers to consider how much an appliance will cost to run when deciding which model to buy. High-efficiency furnaces can pay for themselves in energy cost savings over a relatively short period of time.

There are two important indicators to look at; the Consumption Figure and the Star Rating. The consumption figure estimates how much energy, on average, that the appliance will consume in a year. The figure is represented in Kilowatt- Hours (kWh). The Star Rating is a quick way to judge efficiency; the more stars, the more efficient the appliance is.

But there are many other factors to consider when looking at replacing your furnace or air conditioner. An analysis of your home heating zones, air quality requirements, future remodeling plans and fuel source options can provide a bigger picture to help you decide what is appropriate for your home. Ditter home comfort experts will show you what options make the most sense for your situation. To arrange for a review, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

What is included in the Ditter Maintenance Program?

Members of our Maintenance Program receive priority service, a discount on all repair services and lower diagnostic fees. Enrollment in the program includes a visit from a Ditter technician twice a year for a complete inspection, adjustment and lubrication of motors on your air conditioner, furnace or all of your air comfort equipment. See our Maintenance Program page for details on the program and how you can join.

How can I protect my HVAC investment?

Your home’s heating and cooling system is a substantial investment. A modern, efficient home air comfort system has many components that work together to provide a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. In addition to a furnace and air conditioning unit, there may also be a humidifier, dehumidifier, heat recovery ventilator, HEPA filter, air exchanger, UV germicidal lamps, advanced ventilation and smart thermostatic controls. The investment will pay for itself over time in reduced energy costs and fewer health issues.

To get the most value, it is important to protect that investment so that your equipment lasts for a long time. The best way to make sure your equipment has a long service life is to change your air filter frequently and have regular inspections and routine maintenance performed by a HVAC professional. That will keep the system running at peak performance and reduce the likelihood of a breakdown during extreme conditions. Ditter performs regular cleaning and maintenance of the entire heating system for members of our Maintenance Program. If your home comfort system has not had routine maintenance for more than a year, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

When should my furnace or air conditioner be replaced?

Replacing a home furnace or air conditioning unit can be expensive, so it’s important to know when it makes more sense to repair or replace. It’s more than just a question of whether the cost of repair is worth it for an older appliance. Other considerations such as energy savings and healthy air quality are important to consider. Here are a couple of indicators that it may be time for replacement:

The unit is more than 20 years old. Even with proper maintenance, the average lifespan for a furnace or air conditioner is 15 to 20 years.

The cost of a repair is more than 50% of the cost to replace. Even if the unit has not reached it’s expected service life, the likelihood of further breakdowns makes this kind of investment in repairs a risky gamble.

Your energy costs have risen substantially. An inefficient furnace costs more to run every month. Replacing it with a high-efficiency unit will cut your utility bills and provide long-term savings as well as better home comfort.

Ditter has experts who can perform a detailed assessment of your system and advise you on the cost vs. benefit of replacing your furnace or air conditioner based on your situation. They can explain the latest advancements in home comfort systems and let you know what options you have. If you are wondering whether you should repair or replace, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

Does Ditter service water heaters?

Yes we do. We have service technicians who are licensed plumbers with expertise in home water comfort systems. If you are having trouble with your water heater, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

Does Ditter provide free consultations and estimates?

Of course we do. When we say we are not comfortable until you are, that means we want to make sure you know what your options are and that you feel good about your air quality system choices. Ditter Cooling Heating and Electrical has been designing, installing and maintaining both residential and commercial cooling and heating systems for more than 70 years. We want you to benefit from our knowledge and experience. If you have questions about your heating or cooling systems or are interested in a no-pressure estimate to show you how you can cut energy costs and improve air quality, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

How do UV germicidal lamps improve air quality?

Many homes and businesses use ultraviolet lights to kill and remove micro pollutants like mold spores, mildew and bacteria. They are also helpful in controlling other common airborne pollutants such as dust mites, tobacco smoke, pet dander, and dangerous gases such as radon and carbon monoxide.

UV germicidal lamps produce ultraviolet wavelengths that are lethal to microorganisms. By placing a UV germicidal lamp in the ductwork, the air can be disinfected. Depending on the unit, you can sterilize 80, 90 or even as much as 98 percent of bacteria. Ditter can advise you on the correct size and intensity required to fit your home or business. To learn more about using UV technology to improve your air quality, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

What is a “mini-split” system?

Mini split systems supplement the main heating and cooling system in large homes that have living spaces positioned far from the central furnace. They are ductless heat pumps that serve spaces that are hard for the main furnace to reach efficiently. Using a mini-split is a smart solution for reducing overall energy costs when only a few rooms are being used. Mini split systems are also ideal for room additions, sunrooms, attics or other rooms that do not have ductwork to the main system. If your home has rooms that don’t stay as warm or cool as the rest of the house, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

How can a humidifier or dehumidifier help air quality?

Temperature is only one of the factors that determine the air quality and comfort in your home. Humidity, or the level of moisture in the air, has a dramatic effect on both comfort and health safety. Seasonal changes in Minnesota have a dramatic effect on humidity in our homes. Installing a humidifier will prevent dry air in the winter, and a dehumidifier will remove moisture from the air in the summer. For advice on whether your home needs a humidifier or dehumidifier, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

What does a heat pump do?

Do you ever notice in the summer how there is heat around an outside air conditioner? A heat pump has reversing valves that actually pull heat out of air, using the warm air by the air conditioners and bringing it inside above the furnace in the A/C a-coil to heat your home.

Heat pumps can eliminate the need for separate heating and air conditioning units. Smaller heat pumps can be used as supplemental heating and cooling in spaces that are difficult or impossible to reach with ductwork. To find out if a heat pump makes sense for your home or office building, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

Does Ditter offer financing on new equipment?

We understand that families don’t always have room in their budget for replacement of a furnace or air conditioner. Ditter offers financing and rebates through its Lennox and Carrier partnerships. There are many programs that provide incentives and Ditter has the knowledge help you determine what HVAC system is best and show you how to get the best pricing and finance options. If you think your furnace or air conditioner may need replacement sometime soon, you can apply for financing through Lennox or Carrier in advance, so you know how much is available should your furnace or air conditioner fail. For help, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

How can I have remote access to my heating and cooling controls?

New thermostat technologies have dramatically changed the way we control our home comfort. Programmable thermostats now have WIFI capabilities, allowing you to have access to the controls remotely from a computer, laptop or smartphone. Newer “Smart” thermostats offer an even wider range of capabilities that can track and adjust your controls for optimal comfort and energy efficiency.

What is a “smart” thermostat?

For one thing, they are a smart investment. Since your HVAC system is the largest consumer of energy in your home, efficient management of it’s usage can save a lot of money in utility bills. In addition to being able to program temperature settings for different times of the day and different days of the week, smart thermostats can also determine when no one is home, learn your schedules and adjust to changing patterns. Smart thermostats allow you to fine-tune your energy consumption without sacrificing home comfort. They provide feedback on energy consumption, temperature, and humidity and will send you alerts if something is wrong. Smart thermostats can pay for themselves in energy savings in as little as two years. If you would like to learn more about saving money with a smart thermostat, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

Will I be charged for a diagnostic of my system?

We do charge a standard diagnostic fee for a Ditter professional to perform a thorough analysis of your cooling or heating system in order to determine the extent of a problem. Our expert technicians can identify the age of the equipment and the extent of wear or damage. We pride ourselves on being honest with customers and advising them on their options so they can make a wise decision about their investment in repairs or replacement. If your furnace or air conditioner won’t start, or is making unusual noises, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule an Appointment Now.

What does a HEPA filter do?

Family members with allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions face health risks when air in the home contains tiny organisms and other particulates. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter removes these harmful pollutants to provide a healthy atmosphere that is 99.7% free of particles .3 microns in diameter. That’s 300 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. Dust, dander, pollen, smoke, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria and viruses are filtered out of the air. If you or anyone in your family has a lot of headaches, cold-like symptoms, dizziness, fatigue, irritation of eyes, nose or throat or are sensitive to airborne pathogens, call us at 763.478.9558 or click here to Schedule a Consultation Now.

Happily Serving the cooling and heating needs of the twin cities for more than 70 years!

Ditter service vehicles have been a familiar sight in many Minnesota communities for decades. Serving the Twin Cities western suburbs, our expert service technicians and installers have experience with all makes of air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps and indoor air systems. Whether you need routine maintenance, emergency repair or better air quality, Ditter will make sure you are comfortable.

Call 763-478-9558 today. We’re not comfortable until you are.

Ditter Cooling, Heating & Electrical 820 Tower Drive Medina, MN 55340