The Basics

Maintaining a heating or air conditioning system in New England can be a tricky proposition for any homeowner. We’ve all seen heat waves blanket the region just in time for Halloween and snow cover the ground in late April. In a nutshell, the weather and climate is consistently inconsistent making maintaining HVAC systems a sometimes challenging and difficult chore. Fortunately, Better Comfort Systems, Inc., drawing on its decades of experience, is here to make things easy for you. If you have questions, we can help.

Before calling for service

Check your circuit breaker to make sure it did not trip. If that is not the case make sure your thermostat switch is in the position of either cool or heat as you desire. Set it a few degrees below or room temperature to see if your air conditioning unit turns on or a few degrees above room temperature to check heating. Also, make sure your filters are clean and not blocking air flow through your vents. If your system is still not working, please contact us for service.

Is it advisable to use a programmable thermostat?

Yes, if you have a large one zone system you could experience savings of 12/15% using a programmable thermostat set properly. Did you know that keeping the fan in the on position can save you money on you electric bill. Try it and see how much it saves your home.

How do I winterize my Air Conditioning System?

Shut off the power at the outdoor disconnect. Cover the machine with a piece of plywood cut to fit the top (protection from icicles) only if the system is straight A/C. For attic systems, pour approximately 2 cups of RV anti-freeze in the condensate drain.

How often should I change my filters? Are they really efficient?

A Standard 1 inch disposable filter should be changed once a month if systems are regularly used. They are easily available through your local hardware store. These filters are roughly 3% efficient at eliminating debris in your airstream. Should dust and debris be an issue in your home, please contact our office to discuss your options. Most air cleaners have a minimum of 90% efficiencies.

Should I have my system tuned up every year?

Yes. Tuning up your system ensures that it will run at peak efficiency. A technician can also spot problems before they create a break down of your equipment resulting in a costly repair. The manufacturer can require proof of maintenance for warranty coverage.

Have More Questions?

If you have additional questions you don’t see answered to the left, please give the BCS Service Department a call so we can help you out.


Set your thermostat no lower than 68 degrees for summer cooling and no lower than 58 degrees for winter heating. When your house is not occupied, set the temperature 2 degrees higher for cooling or 2 degrees lower for heating to save on cost. This can be accomplished by using your auto setting on your thermostat.

Q: What is a BTU?

A. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is the amount of heat that takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree of Fahrenheit.

Q. What is a SEER?

A. This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in BTU’s and the efficiency is rated in SEER; the higher SEER, the lower the electricity bill.

Q. How often should I change my filters?

A. Every month inspect your filters and change and clean as needed. Dirty air filters will severely limit airflow, which can cause the compressor to run continually and will increase your operation costs. If you have a reusable/washable filter, make sure that it is completely dried prior to reinstalling.

Q. Will a new heating or air conditioning system lower my monthly electric bill?

A. If you are looking to purchase a new heating or air conditioning system, consider purchasing a high-efficiency system. They can help reduce your energy costs as well as conserve our natural resources. When selecting a system, pay close attention to the SEER rating of the air conditioner and the AFUE of the furnace; the higher the SEER or AFUE, the higher the savings. A 12 SEER air conditioner can usually cut your electricity bill in half and a 10 SEER will lower your bill by approximately 40%. A new furnace can cut your heating bill up to 30% less.

Q. How long does a typical gas furnace or air conditioner last?

A. The average life of a gas furnace and air conditioner varies greatly.  Failure to perform regular maintenance can accelerate the breakdown and need for replacement of your system.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, getting regular maintenance on both your heater and air conditioner will help prolong the life of the system.

Q. How often should your heating and air conditioning system be serviced?

A. Like your automobile, your home’s heating and air conditioning system should have regular routine maintenance performed by a professional. Equipment that is properly maintained will continue to operate over a longer period of time, postponing the necessity of investing in new equipment. We suggest getting annual check-ups on your home’s heating and cooling system to give you peace-of-mind all year round.