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Radabaugh HVAC 

6364 Brandy Ln. 
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

509 Rohrerstown Road
Lancaster, PA 17603

Service & 24/7 Emergency Call



Emergency Service: 24/7
Office: 8am – 4:30pm M-F

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Emergency Heat?

Simply put, all heat pumps in northern climates (below 35 degrees) need a supplemental heating source. Usually it is in the form of electric resistance heating – at the indoor unit. This is an all-electric heat pump, but it could also be a gas, oil, or hot-water back-up system as well. The supplemental heat is also referred to as “second-stage” or “back-up” heating, with “first-stage” being the heat pump only. Emergency heat is when you use your supplemental heat (second-stage) by itself without the use of your heat pump (first-stage heat).

Different systems and thermostats have different ways of determining when the second-stage heat comes on to assist the heat pump, but it is always done automatically. The two stages will work together in the colder months, and it is not necessary to switch your thermostat to emergency heat.

How often should I replace my air filter?

We suggest checking filters monthly. If you have a disposable type filter (these usually have a cardboard edge), and if it is dirty, replace it. Don’t attempt to clean it. Some higher efficiency 1″ pleated air filters can go up to three months before needing replacement. But in the higher-use seasons, it’s better to check more often

Different systems have different filter locations. If you don’t know where your filter is located, we can help! Usually, there is a removable filter access door in the return air duct next to the furnace or indoor unit. This can be in a basement, crawl-space, utility closet, garage, or attic.

Sometimes, especially with older systems, the filter is located inside the furnace itself, next to the blower motor. Some systems have a central filter grille installed in a wall or ceiling. The grille swings open, revealing the air filter.

Keep in mind, many air filters are directional, meaning the air is meant to flow through the filter in one direction only. Look for an arrow or airflow symbol indicating direction. The arrow should point towards the furnace or air handler. If your filter does not have any arrows, see if one side of the filter looks rougher than the other side; that would be the side to collect the dust, so the other side would face the equipment.

How humid should my home be?

The optimum indoor range is around 35% relative humidity, but 30% to 40% tends to work best for many homes. If you go above this level, condensation on the windows can occur, breeding mold that leads to allergy and respiratory problems.

Dust mites, the leading cause of allergies, thrive in as little as 50% relative humidity. Allergens like molds thrive in relative humidity conditions above 60%, leading to a variety of ailments including asthma, allergies and respiratory infections.

So yes, too much humidity is a bad thing!

Too little humidity on the other hand, can lead to dry nose and throat, dry skin, and static electricity, which can also ruin electronic devices such as computers, VCR’s, and DVD players.

Maintaining proper and consistent humidity is also important for the wood inside your home; flooring, doors, and even pianos can shrink, crack, and warp if not properly humidified.

Another benefit of keeping the proper humidity level is energy savings. You actually feel warmer and more comfortable in humidified air, so you can turn your thermostat down about 2 degrees (saving money) and still feel just as warm. Seriously, it works!

How does Air Conditioning actually work?

An air conditioner can change the temperature, humidity, and even the air quality in your home. More specifically, an air conditioner makes your home cooler by absorbing heat energy from the house and transferring that heat outside, then replacing the air inside your home with cooler air.

The air conditioner in a central heating and cooling system provides cool air through ductwork inside your home by a process that draws out the warm air and removes its heat. In a split system, the compressor condenses and circulates the refrigerant through the outdoor unit, changing it from a gas to a liquid. The liquid is then forced through the indoor evaporator coil or cooling compartment. The indoor unit’s fan circulates the inside air to pass across the evaporator fins. The evaporator’s metal fins exchange the thermal energy with the air around it. There, the refrigerant turns from liquid into vapor, removing any heat from the surrounding air. As the heat is removed from the air, the air is cooled and blown back into the house.

From that point, the condenser or outdoor unit turns the refrigerant vapor back into a liquid, removing any heat. By the time the fluid leaves the evaporator again, it is a cool, low-pressure gas, eventually returning to the condensor to begin its trip all over again. This process continues again and again until your home reaches the cooling temperature you want, as programmed and sensed by your thermostat setting.

How often should I have my equipment serviced?

Heating and air conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the fall and the air conditioning checked in the spring. Oil-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually, at the beginning of each heating season.

What Size Heating / Cooling System Do I Need?

A system that is too large will cool or heat your house quickly, but you may not feel comfortable. That’s because it satisfies the thermostat before it can adequately remove sufficient moisture from the air during the cooling mode, leaving you feeling sticky and humid. This could even lead to moisture and mold problems. Further, the stress of short-cycling (too many starts and stops) shortens the life of your equipment and increases your heating and cooling bills.

On the other hand, a system that is too small cannot get the job done, especially in extreme weather conditions. The air conditioner will run constantly in the summer and the furnace will do the same in the winter.

But a correctly sized system isn’t just based on the size of the structure. Many factors go into determining the size of the system including the type of house and walls, type and size of windows, insulation, basement and attic conditions, house orientation, and so on. Our experienced staff will survey your house and take detailed measurements and notes to help you determine the best system for your unique needs.