Ask the HVAC Expert

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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Ask the Expert Glenn HoffackerRecently, Realtor Ann McClure with McEnearney Associates, interviewed our own comfort advisor, Glenn Hoffacker, and asked for his advice on:

  • Prolonging the life of your HVAC system
  • Service agreements
  • Common questions during home inspections
  • Indoor air quality

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Glenn, he is a Washington native who raised 4 children and is a raving Washington Redskins fan (now The Washington Football Team).

Glenn first started working in sheet metal at the Washington Harbor…until he was almost blown off the roof! Fortunately for us, he chose a career in heating and air conditioning and joined the Presidential Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. family in 2013.

Glenn has a very consultative approach with his customers, providing education on electric, gas, or oil furnace and central air systems backed by his own extensive personal experience in the industry.

Realtor Ann McClure is comfortable referring her clients to Glenn because she knows he will treat them well and provide the high quality service McEnearney Associates would expect from a partner.

Here is a snippet of their interview. You can watch the whole interview here: Ask The Expert

Q: Clients want to know what they should do to maintain and prolong the life of their HVAC system.

A: The best thing home owners can do is:

  • Keep their filters clean
  • Maintain good air flow around the unit by keeping debris from around the unit and trimming back any shrubbery and grasses.

Quarantine during COVID means more time at home and lots of opportunity to get those home projects completed. Glenn pointed out that some of those projects can impact the performance of your heating and air-conditioning systems.

When doing construction inside your home, turn off your HVAC system and do not run the fan. When the fan is running, dust particles get caught up and are blown through your home and the entire ductwork system. This not only can cause breathing issues but can also gum up the HVAC system itself. When working during the colder months, have your contractor include portable heaters as part of their service so that your furnace doesn’t get damaged in the process.

Q: Can you share your opinion on service contracts? Are they worth it?

A: You don’t want your central air to stop working in 100-degree weather in July and not have a service contract. Typically customers with service contracts receive priority in the event of an emergency call out.

A service agreement (like Presidential’s Advantage Maintenance Plan) includes two comprehensive checks a year. Service technicians will check for safety issues such as faulty or loose wiring and leaks, as well as the operation of humidifiers, UV lights and filters. They will also make recommendations if they see anything that needs repairing.

You should schedule your checkups prior to the hottest and coldest months of the year. At Presidential, we schedule checkups in the spring to prepare the AC for summer season, and in the fall to prepare the heating system for the winter season.

Q: There are some common questions or situations we see during home inspections – Is the system adequate? How do you know if the system is heating/cooling correctly? Is their enough airflow? The humidifier hasn’t been maintained. How do we know if the condensate line is good?

A: The first thing to do is check the ductwork for leaks. Most ducts have leaks but can easily be sealed. There is a procedure called Aeroseal that seals your ducts from the inside which will increase the efficiency and comfort of the system.

In Montgomery county, cooling systems are designed to maintain an indoor temperature of 72-degrees on a 95-degree day. Heating systems are designed to maintain an indoor temperature of 70-degrees on a 0-degree day. This is why it’s so important that a correct load calculation is performed when installing a heating and/or air conditioning system.

Load calculation is how we properly size the system for your home to provide the correct amount of heating and cooling. There is more to a load calculation that just square footage. The type of insulation, the number of windows, the number of outside walls (is your townhouse an end unit or interior unit), which direction does the home face, direct sun vs indirect sun, and how much shade all play a role in determining the right system for your home.

Condensate lines should be checked during preventative maintenance appointments to prevent clogging. A safety switch can be added to the drain preventing the line from flooding and causing damage to the home.

Humidifiers can be checked during the preventative maintenance appointment as well. If they aren’t properly maintained they can quickly calcify and will not perform as they should.

Q: What is the MERV rating on a filter and which is best?

A: MERV is a rating system for filters. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that is trapped.

Filters with a higher MERV rating have more tightly woven filtration media that will catch more particles. However these tightly woven filters can also restrict airflow. This can cause some of the newer systems to send an alert advising you to change the filter, as it believes it is clogged since air can’t pass through easily.

The most common filter is a 1-inch filter, however a 5-inch filter is a better option as it has lots of surface area to capture particles without restricting airflow. Most systems can be adapted to fit this larger filter.

If you want to eliminate viruses from your home, you will want to install an electronic filter to capture and kill viruses including COVID. Be careful not to use one that produces ozone as it is an irritant to your lungs.

Filters are like N95 masks for your home. The 95 in the N95 stands for its effectiveness rating on filtering particles. To help you choose the right filtration system for you and your family

We created this handy Air Purification Chart.

Q: What do UV lights do?

A: UV lights clean and prevent mold from growing on your coils. I recommend UV lights for anyone who suffers from mold allergies.

Q: Do we need humidifiers?

A: You want your home to be in the optimum zone…not too dry and not too moist. If it’s too moist, it can cause mold to grow. If it’s too dry, it can cause illnesses, destroy furniture and electronics. In the winter the only real way to get to the optimum zone is to add a whole house humidifier.

Related Articles

Understanding The Quality of Air In Your Home
Presidential’s Advantage Maintenance Plan

* Note: this article has been written based on the interview between Ann McClure and Glenn Hoffacker and has not been captured verbatim. To see the live video please visit Ask The Expert

Ann McClure Realtor

To contact Glenn Hoffacker—our HVAC Expert—call (301) 719-3315 or schedule service online.

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