FAQs

SERVICE

Q: Do you provide 24-hour service?

A: Yes – Our CHS emergency team works 24/7/365 to keep your family safe and comfortable.

Q: How long do customers have to wait for emergency service?

A: The average waiting time for emergency services is about two hours.

Q: Do you use your own installation specialists or do you hire subcontractors?

A: CHS uses our own certified, factory-trained technicians, not subcontractors. Your comfort and our reputation are too important to put in anyone else’s hands.

Q: How long does it take to get an estimate?

A: Estimates generally take a couple of days. CHS can come out to your home at your convenience, day or evening, to assess what you need for your home.

Q: How long does it take you to complete an installation of an air conditioning or heating system?

A: Most installations are done in two days or less, although some may take longer. In extreme weather conditions we usually get your system working the same day.

Q: Is annual maintenance necessary?

A: Yes! Your heating system works hard to keep you warm in winter, operating virtually nonstop for months. An annual tune-up from CHS helps keep your system working at peak efficiency and allows technicians to spot minor problems before they turn into expensive repairs. An annual tune-up also protects your family by helping prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and regular maintenance can extend the life of your equipment.

Q: How do I know what size system to install?

A: The expert team at CHS will come to your home and calculate how large a system is needed to heat and cool your house (called your heating or cooling “load.”) They can then recommend a system that “fits” your home. Contact us for more details.

AIR CONDITIONING

Q: How much does an air conditioner cost?

A: Many factors influence the cost of an air conditioning system – including the cost to properly install it, which depends on your home space. CHS estimates are FREE, so there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything.

Q: Can I get a quote over the phone?

A: We can give a ballpark estimate if we have enough information, but it’s hard to determine a more exact number without seeing the equipment in person.

Q: What’s the difference between a regular installation and an Energy-Star™ rated qualified installation?

A: A regular installation (also called a “change-out”) simply replaces your equipment and usually takes a day. An ESQI follows strict industry standards set by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to make sure you get the most efficient performance possible for your home. Most houses across the country deliver less than 60 percent efficiency per Btu; in other words, while these homeowners pay for a 5-ton unit, they are getting the performance of a 3-ton unit. An ESQI helps to prevent that problem.

Q: What does SEER stand for?

A: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is used to measure the efficiency of air conditioning systems. The higher the SEER number, the more cooling you get per unit of energy.

As of January 2006, only units with a SEER of 13 or higher can be sold in the United States. Today’s cooling units are up to 40 percent more efficient than those made as recently as 10 years ago.

Q: Is it OK to “mix and match” air conditioning components of different efficiencies? Just because my compressor is on its way out, does it mean I have to replace my indoor unit as well?

A: While you might save money initially by replacing only your outdoor equipment with a more efficient unit, you’ll do it at the expense of comfort and efficiency. In the long term, it’s not a cost-effective strategy. If it’s time to replace your equipment, contact CHS to get a FREE estimate and we’ll show you how much money you can save over time.

Q: My home has a forced-air furnace but no air conditioning. Can I add central air?

A: Yes! CHS can mount a cooling coil on top of the furnace and install a condensing unit outside. Contact us today to learn more.

Q: My home does NOT have forced-air heating and there is no ductwork. Can I still get central air conditioning?

A: Absolutely! Today’s simple ductless air conditioning options make it possible to install a quiet, efficient air conditioning system in your home even if it doesn’t have ductwork. Ductless air conditioning systems consist of one or more indoor air distribution units linked by refrigeration lines to an outdoor compressor. These flexible “refrigeration lines” can be positioned inside your walls and ceilings with a minimum of inconvenience. Installing ductless air conditioning costs a little more than standard central air conditioning systems but much less than the cost of installing ductwork and a central air conditioner.

Q: Do I really need a tune-up for my air conditioner?

A: Many breakdowns occur on the hottest day of the year, because that’s when your A/C is under the most stress. A CHS tune-up helps to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency, which reduces the chance of burnout and helps lower your electric bills by as much as 30 percent. Contact us to schedule your annual tune-up!

HEATING

Q: What should I do if my heating system doesn’t work?

A: Before you contact CHS, please go through the troubleshooting steps below to make sure a service call is really needed. It will save you the cost of a service visit and will ensure our technicians are working where they are most needed.
1. Check to see if the thermostat is set above room temperature or in the “heat” position.

2. If you have a digital thermostat and the display screen is blank, you either need new batteries or the power supply has been interrupted – check for a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse.

3. Make sure the power switch for your heating system is turned on. Sometimes these get turned off accidentally.

4. Check your tank for heating fuel.

5. If you have an oil heating system, press the reset button on the burner relay ONLY ONCE. If your system doesn’t start after you push the reset button the first time, do not push it again. Pushing this button more than once can cause your heating system to “flood.” Too much oil will get pumped into the combustion chamber, resulting in a lengthy and costly repair.
If after these steps you still don’t have heat, contact us immediately. When a technician arrives, tell him everything you did before he commences work. Be sure to tell him if anything out of the ordinary happened – an unusual noise, a strange smell or smoke, for example. In many cases, this will help the technician find the problem—and get your heat back on again—faster.

Q: How does a furnace work?

A: A furnace generates heat by burning fuel in a combustion chamber. Air absorbs this heat in the furnace’s heat exchanger. A blower then sends the heated air through ducts throughout the home.

Q: What is a cracked heat exchanger?

A: The heat exchanger is the main component of your furnace. If the heat exchanger has a crack or a rust hole, combustion fumes (including carbon monoxide) can leak into your home. This is an extremely dangerous and potentially deadly condition that must be addressed IMMEDIATELY. A cracked heat exchanger usually requires replacing the furnace. If you think you have a cracked heat exchanger or a carbon monoxide problem caused by your furnace, turn the system off immediately and contact us.

Q: On mild winter days my furnace runs in short blasts and my home alternates from being too hot to being too cold. How can I fix this?

A: Installing a new furnace with 2 levels of heat and a variable speed motor is a good solution. These “smart” motors automatically adjust the volume and speed of air based on your home’s temperature requirements, resulting in fewer on/off cycles, smaller temperature swings, consistent and even heat, and lower fuel bills. Contact CHS to learn more.

Q: I hear a lot of talk about high-efficiency heating systems. How do you determine a heating system’s efficiency?

A: One indicator is of energy efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating measures a heating system’s efficiency over an entire season of starts and stops. Modern heating systems can range in efficiency from 81 to 95 percent. If your system’s AFUE is lower than this range, contact CHS for a FREE replacement estimate that can save you money every month your heat is on.

Q: At what temperature should I set my thermostat?

A: Comfort varies from person to person. Pay less attention to the number on the thermostat display and more to how comfortable the room feels to you. When you feel comfortable, check the setting.

Q: Should I install a programmable thermostat?

A: Yes! Programmable thermostats are especially useful for people who are away from home regularly. They allow you to set temperature preferences around the clock, and they can cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 10 percent!

Q: My thermostat is suddenly reading Celsius. What can I do?

A: Refer to your equipment’s owner’s manual, or contact us for help.

REPLACE OR REPAIR

Q: How do I know if it is more cost efficient to repair my old heating or air conditioning system or replace it?

A. Here are some rules of thumb to help you decide whether to replace or repair your system:
Replace your system if:

  • It is more than 10 years old
  • Is in average condition
  • It does not keep you as comfortable as you would like
  • It breaks down frequently
  • You will be living in your home for at least five more years

Repair your system if:

  • It is less than 10 years old and in good condition
  • Your cooling costs have been acceptable
  • You’re pleased with your level of comfort
  • Its performance is reliable
  • You will be moving within the next five years
  • It is still under warranty

AIR & WATER QUALITY

Air Cleaners

Q. Why do I need an air cleaner?

A. An air cleaner can make a big difference in your family’s comfort, helping to relieve allergies and respiratory symptoms caused by irritants such as dust, dander, smoke, mold spores, dust mites, dirt and pollen.

Q. What is the difference between a HEPA filter and an Aprilaire Air Cleaner?

A. HEPA filters are good at removing small particles from small volumes of air, but because they restrict airflow in addition to pollutants, they can’t be used to filter all air flowing through a residential furnace.

Many air cleaners are sold as “HEPA-type” because they use the same technology as true HEPA air cleaners, but they don’t deliver the same performance.
Aprilaire’s air cleaner uses the same type of filtration as HEPA filters, but with a lower restriction to airflow. This means it will filter all air moving through the furnace. Aprilaire air cleaners offers units for general air cleaning and an electronic air cleaner that is the most efficient (non-HEPA) residential air cleaner on the market.

Q. What is the difference between an electronic air cleaner and a media cleaner?

A. An electronic air cleaner uses electronically enhanced media to charge particles and trap them in the filter. A media air cleaner is less expensive than an electronic air cleaner and does not use electricity, but it is also less efficient. It uses a simple but effective HEPA-type filtering media that actually improves its particulate-capturing capability the longer it is used.

Q. How often should I change the filter in my Aprilaire air cleaner?

A. If you have an Aprilaire Model 5000 electronic air cleaner, the media will typically last one year. If it is installed on a 5-ton system or in the presence of high concentration of particulates, it may need to be changed more frequently.
If you have an Aprilaire Model 2200, the media can last up to 2 years. If installed on a 5-ton system, in the presence of high concentration of particulate, or if the furnace fan is on continuously, it may be necessary to change the media more frequently.
In any application, the life of the media is dependant upon the total volume of air being moved through it as well as the amount of particulate it is filtering.

Q. Where can I buy replacement filters?

A. Carroll Home Services sells replacement filters for every air cleaner we sell. Contact us to learn more.
Humidifiers

Q. Why do I need a humidifier?

A. A humidifier helps automatically maintain proper humidified air in your home, which helps to:

  • Reduce energy bills, since properly humidified air feels warmer and more comfortable even when the thermostat is set at a lower temperature.
  • Relieve dry skin, hair, nails, and throat
  • Reduce static shocks.
  • Preserve and protect wood fixtures, artwork, and wood and leather furnitureProtect computers and other electronic equipment from static

Q. How can my humidifier save me money on my energy bills?

A. When the humidity in your home is at the optimal level (between 40 and 60 percent), your home actually feels warmer at lower temperatures. The money you save in setting back your thermostat a few degrees can offset the cost of a humidifier over time.

Q. Will an Aprilaire humidifier cause mold in my home?

A. No. An Aprilaire humidifier will never grow mold when installed, operated and maintained properly. Aprilaire humidifiers are designed to accurately control the level of humidity in the home using sensors that sample conditions in your home more than 345,000 times per day. Aprilaire’s Automatic Humidifier Control also responds immediately to changing outdoor conditions.

Models 400, 600 and 700 come with automatic controls that allow the humidifier to deliver the optimum humidity based on indoor and outdoor conditions. This will typically range from 20 percent on a cold day to as much as 45 percent when it’s warmer outside. Mold typically does not grow in humidity levels below 60%.

Q. What should I do to properly maintain my humidifier?

A. Replace the humidifier’s water panel and clean the scale control insert, floats and float chambers once a year if you have an Aprilaire Model 600 or 700, and twice a year if you have an Aprilaire Model 400. This simple procedure can be completed in less than 10 minutes. We recommend doing this either prior to the start of or at the end of the heating season.

Q. Where can I buy humidifier replacement parts?

A. Carroll Home Services sells replacement parts for every humidifier we sell. Contact us online or via phone at (410) 246-6988 to order replacement parts.

Q. Should water be draining from my humidifier?

A. Yes, water should drain from your humidifier, because all of the Aprilaire flow-through humidifiers incorporate a self-flushing action. This action flushes down the drain many of the mineral deposits left on the water panel from the evaporation process. This helps to minimize the amount of maintenance required.

Q. Why do I need a dehumidifier?

A. A dehumidifier helps automatically maintain proper humidified air in your home, which helps to:

  • Eliminate unhealthy mold, mildew and dust mites
  • Eradicate musty odors
  • Remove clamminess and stickiness
  • Relieve allergies
  • Preserve and protect wood fixtures, artwork and wood and leather furniture.

Q. Can’t I just run my air conditioner to dehumidify my home?

A. No. An air conditioner will not remove as much moisture from your home as a dehumidifier will, especially on cooler days. A dehumidifier actually operates independently of an air conditioner to remove moisture from the air by a precise amount. By maintaining optimum humidity levels without affecting air temperature, your dehumidifier will keep you comfortable and protect your home from the damage and health risks that over-damp air can cause.

Q. Can I use the dehumidifier in my whole house or just in one area of my home?

A. Both: the Model 1700 can switch between whole-home and localized (basement/crawl space) dehumidification automatically. With the Living Space Control, you can override the Model 1700 main control sensors, permitting you to manually monitor and control moisture levels in a specific location (e.g. the master bedroom).

PLUMBING

Q. What kind of plumbing service do you offer?

A. We work on all types of residential or commercial plumbing system. Our technicians are trained, licensed and certified, so your job will be done correctly and efficiently.
Our team is dedicated to giving you the best customer service experience possible.

Q. Do you offer a warranty?

A. Yes, we offer a one-year warranty on labor and parts that we have supplied. We also back all of our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Additionally, we can supply references to you upon request so that you can feel fully confident in our work.

Q. Are you licensed?

A. Yes, we are licensed, insured and bonded. We are also registered members of the Better Business Bureau, and our technicians have more than 400 years of combined experience in the industry.

GENERATORS

Q. What is an automatic standby generator?

A. An automatic standby generator is a backup electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of a power outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.

Q. Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?

A. During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator:

  • It is safer than home than a portable generator.
  • Properly installed, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Running on the home natural gas or LP fuel supply, it is less expensive to run than gasoline and does not need to be refilled.
  • Standby generators operate automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.

Q. How do I correctly size a generator for my home?

The most logical way to determine your needs is to envision your home without power. Some outages may be short in duration, while others could last for days or weeks. What would your family miss during an outage? Contact CHS for a FREE assessment and estimate on a backup generator for your home.

Q. Can I install a backup generator myself?

A. For safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, particularly for non-prewired or larger systems, we recommend you use a licensed contractor like CHS for your generator. Contact us for details.

Q. Do backup generators have to be maintained?

A. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules – or sign up for a CHS Service Plan and let us take care of it!

Q. If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?

A. Contact us!

For everything you need in home heating, trust the pros at Carroll Home Services – keeping Maryland homes warm for more than a century! Contact us to get started today!