FAQ

Frequently asked questions.

We have compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy SAVE program, service on equipment and new equipment installation — to help you better understand your heating and cooling system. The service questions are meant to help you troubleshoot or better maintain your system to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency. However, if you have a problem, don’t hesitate to Ring the Bell to have one of our trained service technicians come out and inspect your system.


SAVE PROGRAM

What is this new SAVE program that I am hearing about?
SAVE (System Adjustment and Verified Efficiency) is a program offered through MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy. The program requires that a SAVE-certified contractor (like Bell Brothers) must install new heating and cooling equipment in order for you to qualify for energy efficiency rebates. The new system must tested by a SAVE-certified contractor to verify the system is working to the manufacturer’s designed capacity and efficiency. Bell Brothers will do a pre-sale analysis to determine if your existing air distribution system will be compatible with SAVE certification. We will offer solutions to correct problems, and then guarantee the SAVE rebate.

Are there MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy SAVE rebates tied to having maintenance performed on my air conditioner or furnace?
Yes. MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy are offering up to $180 in rebates for routine maintenance on your HVAC system if there is a 10-point efficiency improvement. However, it is difficult to achieve a 10-point improvement with basic maintenance, and each home and system is different. Our trained technicians will be better able to advise you on potential SAVE maintenance rebates once they are on-site and doing an assessment.


SERVICE

How frequently should I change my furnace filter?
If you have the standard 1-inch disposable filters, you should replace them on a monthly basis. Other high-efficiency air cleaners and air purifiers will require less frequent filter changes. If you have a maintenance agreement with Bell Brothers, we will change/clean these filters for you. Otherwise, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on when and how to change the filters.

Which way does the filter go into the furnace?
When you are replacing your furnace filter, the arrows on the filter need to be facing the unit.

How frequently should I have system maintenance?
You should have your system professionally inspected and cleaned twice per year. Typically, we recommend once every six months. In the past, maintenance needed to be performed in the spring and fall before it was turned on for the season. With today’s equipment, this is no longer true.  As long as it receives routine maintenance the system will perform as it was intended.

Why is it important to have my furnace and air conditioner regularly maintained?
Just like your car, routine maintenance of your system is required to ensure it is operating safely, identify potential problems early and extend the life of your equipment. Plus, routine maintenance will pay for itself in energy savings. A clean system can operate as much as 40 percent more efficiently than a dirty system. In fact, with the advent of extended manufacturer warranties, most manufacturers require routine maintenance to keep their warranty intact.

What should I do if my furnace doesn’t turn on?
If the furnace does not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to “HEAT” and the temperature setting is higher than the room temperature. Then, check to see if the furnace filter is clean. A dirty or clogged filter is the No. 1 reason a furnace doesn’t turn on that first use of the season, or fails during the season. Another thing to try is to turn the power off on the furnace, wait 30 seconds and turn it back on. In most of the newer furnaces with electronic controls, this will reset the furnace. If there has been a lot of snow, be sure the furnace intake and exhaust pipes found on the outside of your home are clear of snow. If none of these things fixes the problem, please call for service.

What should I do if my air conditioner doesn’t turn on?
If your air conditioner does not come on, make sure the thermostat is set to “COOL” and the temperature setting is below the room temperature. Next, ensure the circuit breaker has not tripped. If it has, try to reset the breaker. If it trips again DO NOT reset. If these efforts don’t work, please call for service.

What should I do if my furnace blows cold air or my air conditioner blows warm air?
There are many things that could cause these problems. Ensure your filters are clean and your thermostat is properly set. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, please call for service.

What should I do if my programmable thermostat is not working?
Check to see if the batteries need replacing. We recommend changing the batteries once a year. Coordinating the battery replacement with your spring and fall maintenance appointment or daylight savings time makes it easy to remember. If you choose a Bell Brothers maintenance program, we will replace the batteries on an annual basis.

What should I do if the screen on the programmable thermostat is blank?
First, make sure the system is on — sometimes it accidentally gets bumped to off. Secondly, power it off and turn it back on. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, contact Bell Brothers to schedule a service appointment.


NEW INSTALLATION

What is the average lifespan of a furnace?
The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should start looking at a replacement unit — shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when it’s faltering or failed. Not sure how old your furnace is? Here’s a tip: Look to see if it has a pilot light. If it does, it is almost certain to be over 25 years old!

Why is my furnace making noise?
Old furnaces often start to make some strange noises as they get toward the end of their life. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling or squealing noises coming from your furnace? Or do you hear the furnace blower running excessively? Does your blower turn on and off frequently? Or does it sometimes blow cold air? If so, these are signs that your furnace may need to be replaced.

How long is the installation process for a new system?
Typically the installation of a new heating and cooling system in a standard-size house can be completed in one day.

What happens with my old equipment?
Our trained service technicians will dismantle your old system and carefully remove it from your home for proper disposal — per all local and federal EPA regulations.

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