Homeowner Tips

General Tips for Heating and Air Conditioning

Getting the proper amount of air across the indoor and outdoor coils is very important. Check the filters every month and keep area around the outside unit cleared. Use water under pressure from a hose to clean outside coil once a year.

  • Do not close off more than one supply register at a time, closing off more will restrict air flow too much for efficient operation.
  • Keep return grills free so that unrestricted air can flow back to the indoor unit.
  • Have a W.A. Tolbard service technician check over the unit at least every two years.

How does a typical residential electric heat pump work?

An electric heat pump is a mechanical system that has the ability to gather heat and move it from one location to another. In the summer when heat needs to be removed from a structure, the electric heat pump compressor circulates a refrigerant which absorbs heat from air inside the structure and releases it outside. The summer operation of an electric heat pump is similar to that of a standard air conditioner. For winter operation, the flow of refrigerant is reversed, allowing an electric heat pump to gather heat from the outside atmosphere and move this heat inside the space to be heated.

Homeowner Tips for Air Conditioning

What to do if….
You are having a heating problem:

Gas Furnaces:Furnace Filter- HVAC, Heating, Air Conditioning in Frederick MD

  • If you smell gas, you MUST call your gas supplier and report it IMMEDIATELY.
  • If your unit is not running, ensure your breakers, service switches and thermostat are on.
  • Always check your filter. A dirty filter may cause a furnace to shut down.
  • Propane Customers – check to see if you have gas in your tank.

Heat Pumps:

  • Indoor unit icing up – turn off unit and switch to emergency heat until our technician arrives.
  • Outdoor unit icing up – A small amount of ice is normal and part of the defrost cycle. If ice remains after 48 hours or is thick, a service call is required.
  • Water at the indoor unit – turn unit off (and humidifier) until a technician arrives.
  • Water at the outdoor unit – this is normal and part of the defrost cycle.
  • “Smoke” from the outdoor unit – most likely the defrost cycle has come on. If it is still “smoking” in an hour, schedule a service appointment.


  • Always check the water panel. If it feels squishy, or if it has a lot of residue, it should be changed. The manufacturer recommends changing the pad annually.
  • House too dry – Check the humidistat setting. Raise the setting and see if water drains from the unit. If not, schedule a service appointment.
  • Water leaking – turn the unit off and schedule a service appointment. Water will continue to leak if the unit stays on.

Gas Fireplaces:

  • If you smell gas, you MUST call your gas supplier and report it IMMEDIATELY.
  • What type of unit do you have: gas logs, insert, stove or fireplace?
  • Propane customers – check to see if you have gas in your tank.
  • If you are scheduling a service appointment, please have the owner’s manual available for the technician.
  • Having issues igniting your gas fireplace?  Here is a video and instructions to assist you.

What to do if….
You are having an air conditioning problem:

If your air conditioning will not start, please check the following:

  • Check the circuit breaker and/or switch to make sure the power is on.
  • Check to make sure all switches are on.
  • Check the thermostat setting. Is it set to COOL and below room temperature?
  • Check to make sure the condensate pump is plugged in.
  • Check your filters and replace them if necessary.
  • If you are getting any water leaking from your indoor unit, turn the system off. Water will continue to leak if the system is running.
  • If any of your equipment begins to make unusual noises, call and let us know. It may be the first sign of a bigger problem.
  • If you are not getting enough cool air, check your filter. Dirty filters can decrease airflow and can cause the system to freeze up.