HVAC Frequently Asked Questions - Sarasota air conditioning

Sarasota Air Conditioning Frequently Asked Questions

What Is NATE?

North American Technician Excellence (NATE,) headquartered in Arlington, VA., was founded in 1997 and is the nation's largest non-profit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians.

NATE is the only technician certification organization governed, owned, operated, developed and supported by the HVACR industry.

What does NATE do?

NATE, North American Technician Excellence Inc., is an independent, third-party non-profit certification body for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians. NATE tests technicians; others train.

NATE's certification tests represent real world working knowledge of HVAC and HVACR systems and candidates can earn installation and/or service certification in one or more specialty areas. NATE certification tests are developed by the NATE technical committee. The NATE technical committee is comprised of industry experts who developed and oversee NATE's Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs). Each exam is developed based on these knowledge areas of expertise. The technical committee represents a wide variety of perspectives including contractors, educators, manufacturers, and utilities. Members also are diversely spread throughout the country.

Why Should I Ask For A NATE-Certified Technician?

NATE's HVAC and HVAC/R testing validates the technician's knowledge and a training program's instruction. The NATE tests are rigorous, multiple-choice, knowledge-based tests that represent what 80% of technicians have an 80% chance of encountering once a year.

What Specialties Are Covered By NATE Certification?

There are 21 NATE installation, service, and senior tests. Specialties include Air Conditioning, Air Distribution, Heat Pumps, Gas Furnaces, Oil Furnaces, Hydronics Gas, Hydronics Oil, Light Commercial Refrigeration, Commercial Refrigeration, and Senior HVAC Efficiency Analyst.

Where Do I Find NATE HVAC Certified Training, Testing And Technicians?

NATE-approved training, testing organizations and technicians are located throughout the U.S. and Canada. (Click Here to locate an HVAC contractor near you.)

Who Supports NATE?

NATE has many partners throughout the HVAC industry, NATE partners include industry associations, utilities, and manufacturers. (Click Here for more information on NATE's Partners)

Consumer Reports said, "It's a plus if a technician is NATE-certified."

EPA tells consumers to ask if a contractor's technicians are NATE-certified.

Under the Montgomery GI Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reimburses veterans who take the NATE tests.

The U.S. Army recognizes NATE Certification for promotion points. No other certification exam enjoys this industry support.

Please click here to visit the NATE website.

What Is AskTheSeal.com?

Anyone can tell you that they are licensed and insured. Are they really?

Anyone can tell you that they background check their employees. Even if they actually do, what does that mean? Anyone can send you an email from themselves with a photo. Don’t just take a sales person’s word for it, get a third party validation. Look for the Seal of Approval.

That’s why Sean McCutheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. is part of AskTheSeal.com.

AsktheSeal.com verifies license, insurance and customer service. The company performs nationwide criminal background and sex offender checks on the actual employees interacting with your property or family. It issues photo IDs confirming background checks and companies with the Seal of Approval – like SMAC - can initiate an email to you from AsktheSeal.com with a photo and proof of background check of the employee working for you.

Why should I replace my existing air conditioning system?

Newer Air Conditioning Systems can be as much as 60% more efficient than older systems.

If you are facing a costly repair you may want to seriously consider replacing your system. Not only will you dramatically lower your energy bill, but you will also be able to take advantage of new features such as zoned cooling.

How do I know if an air conditioning contractor is licensed?

When it is time to hire a certified HVAC company for maintenance or new installation you need to choose the right contractor.

One of the things you should always do is make sure the contractor is properly licensed.  The easiest way is to visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr and click the "verify a license" button on the top menu. Then you will be able to search by contractor name, license number, city and state, or license type.

This will also give you the Licensure Date. Make sure you check this date with how many years the contractor claims to be in business. If there is a discrepancy here it should raise a red flag.

Another great resource is http://www.sunbiz.org/ where you can search corporation records.

Just a little bit of research can help prevent you from accidentally hiring a bad HVAC tech who coulld possibly cause you much frustration and create expensive repair bills.

How often should filters be cleaned or replaced?

Typically, filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month.

However, if you have inside pets you need to check your filter more frequently. Restricted air flow will reduce the amount of cooling capacity from your unit.

What do I set my thermostat to?

The most economical operation of your system comes from setting the thermostat properly.

Set the thermostat at the highest summer setting or the lowest winter setting at which you are comfortable. Typical settings are 78 degrees for summer cooling and 70 degrees for winter heating. When cooling, your operating costs increase from 3% to 8% for each degree your thermostat is lowered.

What is the best air conditioning system?

Many factors go into choosing the right system for a home or business.

Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. takes pride in working closely with clients and educating them so they can make the best decision and choose the system that is most efficient for their needs.

Although we can service and repair all makes and models of Air conditioning and heating equipment – we have certain brands we recommend for a number of reasons. Among the things we look for in a good AC System are:

How energy efficient is it?

Is it the best value for the money?

Is it a well built and reliable system that will last and require the least amount of maintenance?

Will the company stand behind their product and do they offer a great warranty?

Based on our extensive experience working with many different types of Air Conditioning systems, we have certain brands that we highly recommend. The brand we most often advocate would be Bryant. In fact Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. is the largest Bryant dealer in Southwest Florida, and the second largest in the West coast of Florida.

Of course an Air conditioning system is only as good as the contractor who installs it.

It can be a great system – but it also relies on the quality of the duct work, and performance depends on the size and condition of your home, the climate where you live and other factors.

This is why we take all of these factors into consideration and spend the time to discuss the different alternatives with you. Our goal is to make sure we give you all of the information you need to choose the right system for your home and your budget.

Whether it is a new installation or routine service, our technicians provide the expertise your comfort depends on.

Q. How can I make my AC system more energy efficient?
A. Make sure all air vents are open and unrestricted, get a programmable thermostat, get the system inspected and serviced by an authorized service provider twice per year, and change the filter regularly.
Q. Is regular air conditioning maintenance important?
A. Regular preventive maintenance can cut your cooling costs by as much as 15% and it will extend the life of your system. A properly serviced AC will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home and regular maintenance is a warranty requirement.
Q. How often should I change my AC filter?
A. It depends on the type of filter, some are meant to be cleaned or replaced once a month, others are designed to last up to 6 months. The conditions inside your home also play a big part, e.g. do you smoke in the house or have pets that shed.
Q. Is regular air conditioning maintenance important?
A. Regular preventive maintenance can cut your cooling costs by as much as 15% and it will extend the life of your system. A properly serviced AC will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home and regular maintenance is a warranty requirement.
Q. Should I install a programmable thermostat?
A. Used correctly, a programmable thermostat can cut your cooling costs by up to 25%.
Q. Should the thermostat fan be set to "auto" or "on"?
A. If you want to keep your cooling costs down, set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when it needs to in order to maintain the set temperature.
Q. When should I replace my AC system?
A. If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, if it’s not cooling as well as it used to or if your electric bill is higher than it should be – it may be time for a new system.
Q. Do you offer residential AC service?
A. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating has been providing residential repair, installation, and maintenance throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties since 2003.
Q. Do you offer commercial AC service?
A. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating has been providing commercial repair, installation, and maintenance throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties since 2003.
Q. How much does a new Air Conditioning system cost?
A. It depends on the size of your home and the type of unit. We would be glad to show you the different options and help you make the best decision for your budget and comfort needs.
Q. How do I know if I’m buying the right air conditioning system?
A. We understand that a new HVAC system is a big purchase so we encourage customers to get a courtesy replacement estimate so they feel comfortable with their decision and we’re always ready to provide a free second opinion.
Q. What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?
A. Most HVAC systems last between 15 and 20 years. Regular preventive maintenance will keep your system running efficiently for as long as possible.
Q. Should I replace my old AC system if it still works?
A. If your system is more than 10 years old, a new AC system can be up to 60% more energy efficient so your old AC could be costing you more than it is worth.
Q. What temperature should I set my thermostat to?
A. For the lowest utility bill, set your thermostat to the highest temperature at which you are comfortable when you’re running the AC and the lowest temperature when you’re running the heat.
Q. What is the best air conditioning system?
A. It depends on your needs. At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, we pride ourselves on taking the time to educate our clients so they can choose the best system for their budget and comfort needs.
Q. What is SEER?
A. A higher SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating means that your unit is more efficient. The minimum for new air conditioner is currently 13, but it can go as high as 21.
Q. What Is NATE?
A. NATE is the North American Technician Excellence. It is an independent, third-party, non-profit certification body for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians. Make sure the technician you hire is NATE certified.
Q. What is Ask The Seal?
A. The Seal performs nationwide criminal background and sex offender checks on the employees that interact with your property or family and it issues photo IDs confirming that these checks have taken place so you know who you’re letting into your home.
Q. How do I know if a contractor is licensed?
A. To ensure that you are working with a licensed contractor, visit www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr and click the "verify a license" button at the bottom of the page.
Q. How do I know if my AC is running properly?
A. The best way to ensure peak efficiency is to have your AC system serviced by an authorized service provider twice per year. During a preventive maintenance visit, we’ll run diagnostics to ensure that your system is performing as it should.
Q. Can you install a central air conditioning system if I don’t have already have ductwork?
A. If you’re willing to invest in ductwork and make design allowances, the answer is probably yes, but there are more cost effective solutions, like mini splits, available today and we would be happy to discuss them with you.
Q. My AC just stopped working, what should I do?
A. Before calling for service, check your circuit breaker and make sure the filter isn’t clogged.

Air Conditioning Resource Links

Josh Wynne Construction: Josh Wynne Construction was voted the area’s ‘Best Builder’ in SRQ Magazine’s 2010 Best of Local edition. Josh was voted the first runner-up in the ‘Best Innovative Thinker’ category of the same contest. Josh is the President of the Green Building Council, a committee of the Sarasota/Manatee Home Builder’s Association. He also serves as the Builder/Director on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota/Manatee HBA.


U.S. Green Building Council - LEED Resources: LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.


Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) : MACCA is the not-for profit Trade Association that represents professional air conditioning contractors for Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties in the State of Florida. We are an organization that is continuously looking for ways to improve our industry through education and communication. It is one that recognizes that the contributions of its members are the sole success of the organization. It is a partnership of industry contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers and industry affiliate members who commit to providing business management tools for Air Conditioning Contractors and other Industry Professionals.

American Lung Association: Air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation's health. At the American Lung Association, we work to ensure that the air you breathe is clean and safe. Learn more about how polluted air can make you sick and how we are fighting to keep our air and nation healthy.


US Department Of Labor / OSHA: The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers' comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.


United States Environmental Protection Agency: What are you breathing? It is a good question to ask ourselves. All of us face a variety of risks to our health as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, engaging in recreational activities, and being exposed to environmental pollutants all pose varying degrees of risk. Some risks are simply unavoidable. The good news is indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about. Find out more below about what you are breathing and how to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) around you.

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