Frequently Asked Questions: HVAC and Plumbing Services in Northern Virginia

Q: What range of HVAC and Plumbing Services do you offer?

A: At Comfort Solutions Inc., we pride ourselves on offering a wide array of services. Our expertise spans the installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air conditioning systems. We adeptly handle both new constructions and upgrades or repairs for existing residential properties, ensuring your home’s comfort and efficiency.

Q: Are your technicians certified and what training do they have?

A: Absolutely! Our team is composed of highly skilled professionals, each certified and continuously trained in cutting-edge HVAC and plumbing technologies. We ensure they stay updated with the latest industry practices, offering you top-notch service.

Q: Do you provide emergency HVAC services?

A: Yes, we are committed to your comfort at all times. Our emergency services are available 24/7. Whether it’s an unexpected breakdown or an urgent repair need, our responsive team is just a call away, ensuring prompt resolution of your HVAC emergencies.

Q: How often should I opt for HVAC system servicing?

A: Regular maintenance is key. We recommend a bi-annual servicing of your HVAC system to maintain peak efficiency, prolong its lifespan, and avert costly breakdowns. Our Comfort Membership plans cater to your specific needs, simplifying scheduling and providing peace of mind. Leave the planning to us, and focus on what matters most to you.

Q: Can you enhance the quality of my home’s indoor air?

A: Certainly! We specialize in improving indoor air quality. Our solutions include state-of-the-art air purifiers, like the NASA-grade Air Scrubber, as well as humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These services are integral to maintaining a healthy indoor environment for your family.

Q: Do your solutions include Energy Efficient HVAC options?

A: Yes, we are at the forefront of providing energy-efficient HVAC solutions. Our focus is on reducing your energy bills while contributing to environmental sustainability. Ask us about the latest eco-friendly options!

Q: What brands of HVAC equipment do you recommend and service?

A: We work with a broad spectrum of HVAC equipment brands, capable of servicing nearly any model. Our expertise covers both contemporary and older HVAC systems. While we recommend Carrier and Mitsubishi for their superior systems, we also offer a range of other options tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Q: What warranties do you offer on services and products?

A: We stand behind our work with comprehensive warranties on both our services and the products we install. The details of these warranties vary, so we encourage you to contact us for more information. Notably, we offer a Lifetime 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on our workmanship, reflecting our commitment to quality and your peace of mind.

Q: What should be a high priority when purchasing a heating and cooling system?

A: The quality of installation. Replacing a heating and cooling system is a big investment. Although there are a lot of good manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment, the equipment is only as good as the installation. For example, air conditioners and heat pumps should be charged per the manufacturer specifications. This procedure is known as the Superheat or Sub-cooling method. The contractor you choose should know these procedures, if they don’t, your installation will not be done correctly.

Q: When should I start considering replacing my heat pump or air conditioner?

A: The Department of Energy recommends considering replacing heat pump and air conditioning systems that are more than 10 years old or that are not keeping you comfortable.

Q: When should I start considering replacing my furnace?

A: The Department of Energy recommends considering replacing furnaces that are15 years or older or that are not keeping you comfortable.

Q: Can I really save money by installing new equipment?

A: According to the Department of Energy, installing ENERGY STAR certified systems can save you money on your monthly utility bills. Installed correctly, a high efficiency heat pump or air conditioner can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. An ENERGY STAR certified furnace can save you up to 15 percent in operating costs, if installed correctly.

Q: What is a Hybrid Heat dual fuel system?

A: Pairing a heat pump outside with a gas furnace inside is called a Hybrid dual fuel system. This allows automatic switching between the appliances, to provide the most energy-efficient operation. As the temperature drops outside, the system automatically switches from heat pump operation to furnace operation when it becomes the more economical way to keep your family comfortable.

Q: Why install Ultraviolet Lights (UV Lights)?

A: Ultraviolet lights reduce the amount of pollutants, such as mold, bacteria, fungi and viruses that can breed inside the heating and cooling system. The UV Lights are mounted inside the duct work near the indoor coil. They emit intense UV-C light to sterilize the coil surface and surrounding area which maximizes the system’s efficiency. As a result of installing UV Lights, your home will have cleaner and fresher air.

Q: Why should I install a Humidifier?

A: There are many reasons to install a humidifier. One is to keep you from getting sick. Have you ever noticed that we tend to get sicker in the winter than in the summer? This is not because it is cold outside (actually there are fewer viruses in the winter than in the summer). This is a result of your body’s membranes drying and cracking which allows a direct channel for viruses to enter the bloodstream. Other reasons are to reduce dry itchy skin, static electricity and to protect wood, furnishings and musical instruments in your home. Also, by adding a humidifier, it allows you to remain comfortable at lower temperatures, which lowers your utility costs.

Q: How often should I change my filter?

A: This is a very good question. The type of filtration system you have determines how often you should clean or change your filter. If you use entry level throw-away filters, then you would want to change the filter monthly. If you have an upgraded filter, you could go as long as 6 months before a replacement is needed. If you have an electronic air cleaner or electrostatic filter, you should consider cleaning the cells on a monthly basis. If you have a Carrier Infinity Air Purifier (this is a maintenance free air purifier that not only captures, it kills airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and mold) you may be able to go as long as a year before the filter needs to be replaced.

Q: Does the refrigerant piping need to be changed if I install a new Air Conditioner?

A: All air conditioning equipment has product data documentation provided by the manufacturer indicating the approved refrigerant pipe sizes for the air conditioner you purchased. If the piping you currently have is a different size than the manufacturer’s standard, the piping will need to be changed. If the piping is the proper size, it can be reused.

Q: One company is offering me an Air Conditioner that they say is 15.5 SEER and another company is offering the same Air Conditioner (same model #) and telling me it is 19 SEER.Who do I believe?

A: This is a common question we hear. If you look at the brochure for the proposed air conditioner, it probably states that the air conditioner can operate up to 19 SEER. Each split system cooling unit has a nominal SEER rating. The SEER rating of a system is derived based on the combination of equipment installed. The outdoor equipment (heat pump or air conditioner), as well as the indoor equipment (evaporator coil and furnace, or air handler), play a vital role in the rating. Ask your contractor to show you the data that shows what SEER you will actually achieve for your application.

Q: What energy efficiency do I look for when purchasing an Air Conditioner?

A: All air conditioners have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The higher the SEER, the more efficient and lower the operating cost.

Q: What energy efficiency do I look for when purchasing an Air Conditioner?

A: All air conditioners have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The higher the SEER, the more efficient and lower the operating cost.

Q: What is the lowest SEER rating available for an Air Conditioner or Heat Pump?

A: Recently, the SEER rating was increased by the Department of Energy from 14 to 15 for residential air conditioners.  If a company offers you an air conditioner that is lower than 15 SEER….BEWARE.

Q: What is HSPF?

A: HSPF is the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This is similar to the SEER rating, except it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of the heat pump. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the unit.

Q: Can I reuse my old thermostat when installing a new Heating and Cooling system?

A: You can, but it is not suggested. The thermostat is the brain of the system and controls the operation. A new digital thermostat is included with all of our complete installations.

Q: How long will it take to install my new Heating and Cooling system?

A: Typical installs for a complete heating and cooling system takes approximately 8-10 hours. Typical installs for a furnace only or air conditioner only takes approximately 4-5 hours.

Plumbing FAQ’s

Q: What is a Hybrid Water Heater?

A: Hybrid water heaters are known for their energy efficiency. They use a heat pump to extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water, making them more efficient than traditional electric water heaters. If you’re looking to reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills, ask Comfort Solutions about the hybrid water heater options we offer.

Q: How often should I schedule maintenance for my plumbing system?

A: Annual plumbing inspections and maintenance are good practices to prevent major issues. However, some systems may require more frequent attention and Comfort Solutions can tailor a plan to meet your specific needs.

Q: Why is my sink/faucet dripping?

A: A dripping faucet is often caused by a worn-out or damaged washer or O-ring inside the faucet. Replacing these components can typically resolve the issue.

Q: What is the lifespan of different plumbing fixtures and components?

A: The lifespan varies, but generally, toilets and faucets can last around 15-20 years, while water heaters may last 10-15 years. Pipes can last much longer, depending on the material.

Q: What causes low water pressure in my faucets and shower?

A: Low water pressure can result from mineral buildup, leaks, or problems with the water supply. Comfort Solutions can diagnose and address the specific cause.


Q: How can I unclog a drain or toilet?

A: You can use Comfort Solutions for toilets and sinks or a drain snake for tougher clogs. Chemical drain cleaners are an option, but they should be used cautiously as they can damage pipes.


Q: Is it safe to use chemical drain cleaners?

A: Chemical drain cleaners can be effective but should be used sparingly and cautiously, as they can damage pipes and harm the environment. Mechanical methods like plunging or snaking are safer alternatives.


Q: What should I do if I have a leaky pipe?

A: Turn off the water supply to the affected area, and then either repair the pipe with a patch or call Comfort Solutions for professional assistance.


Q: Why is my water heater not producing hot water?

A: Common causes include a malfunctioning thermostat, a broken heating element, or sediment buildup. You may need to adjust settings, replace parts, or flush the tank to resolve the issue.


Q: How can I prevent frozen pipes in the winter?

A: Insulate exposed pipes, keep faucets dripping in freezing weather, and ensure adequate heating in areas with plumbing.


Q: How do I replace a toilet or a faucet?

A: Replacing a toilet or faucet involves turning off the water supply, disconnecting the old fixture, and installing the new one. It’s often best to hire a plumber like Comfort Solutions for these tasks if you’re not experienced.


Q: What should I do if I smell a gas leak in my home?

A: Evacuate immediately, don’t use any electrical appliances or switches, and call your gas company or emergency services.


Q: How can I reduce my water bill?

A: Fix any leaks promptly, install water-efficient fixtures, and practice water-saving habits like shorter showers and running full loads of laundry or dishes.

Q: What are the signs of a sewer line blockage or backup?

A: Signs include slow drains in multiple fixtures, gurgling sounds in drains, sewage odors, and sewage backup in lower-level fixtures.


Q: Are there any eco-friendly plumbing options available?

A: Yes, eco-friendly plumbing options include low-flow fixtures, tankless water heaters, and rainwater harvesting systems to reduce water consumption and energy usage. 

Q: What is the lifespan of water heaters?

A: Tankless Water Heaters typically have a longer lifespan compared to traditional tank-style water heaters. They can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years or more with proper maintenance.  Annual maintenance is very important.

Gas and Electric Tank-style Water Heaters: Traditional tank-style water heaters have a lifespan of around 8 to 12 years. Gas water heaters may have a slightly shorter lifespan compared to electric ones.

Heat Pump Water Heaters: Heat pump water heaters can last 10 to 15 years or more, but their lifespan can be affected by factors like the quality of installation and usage patterns.

Q: Do I need a plumber for minor plumbing repairs, or can I DIY?

A: You can handle some minor plumbing repairs yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools. However, for more complex issues or if you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional plumber like Comfort Solutions to avoid potential problems.

Q: What are the different types of toilets?

A: Two-piece toilets: These consist of a separate tank and bowl, making them easier to install and maintain.

One-piece toilets: These have a tank and bowl integrated into one unit, which is often easier to clean and has a sleeker appearance.

Wall-hung toilets: These toilets are mounted to the wall and have a concealed tank, saving space and providing a modern look.

Corner toilets: Designed to fit in corners, these can be space-saving options for smaller bathrooms.


Q: Are there toilet seat options available?

A: Bidet Seat: Bidet seats, also known as washlet seats, come equipped with water jets for cleaning after using the toilet. They often include features like adjustable water temperature, pressure, and air drying. Bidet seats can be a more hygienic and eco-friendly option compared to traditional toilet paper.

Heated Seat: Heated toilet seats have built-in heating elements to provide a warm seating surface during colder weather. This can be a luxury feature in some high-end toilets.

Child-Friendly Seat: Child-friendly toilet seats are smaller in size and designed to accommodate young children. They often include integrated potty training features, such as a removable training seat.

Q: How long should my garbage disposal last?

A: The lifespan of a garbage disposal can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the unit, frequency of use, maintenance, and the type of food waste it processes. On average, a well-maintained garbage disposal can last between 10 to 15 years. However, some high-end models and those with more durable components may last even longer, while cheaper or less well-maintained disposals may have a shorter lifespan.

Q: Do garbage disposals come in different sizes?

A: They do and this is referred to as horsepower.  The decision to purchase a higher horsepower garbage disposal depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when deciding on the horsepower for your garbage disposal:

Usage: How often and how much you plan to use the garbage disposal is a crucial factor. If you have a large household and generate a lot of food waste, a higher horsepower unit may be more efficient and durable for frequent use.

Type of food waste: Consider the types of food waste you’ll be disposing of. If you frequently deal with tough or fibrous materials, like bones or vegetable peels, a higher horsepower disposal may handle them better.

Plumbing and electrical capacity: Ensure that your kitchen’s plumbing and electrical systems can support a higher horsepower disposal. Upgrading these systems may be necessary, which could add to the overall cost.

Noise level: Typically, higher horsepower disposals are quieter because they can process food waste more efficiently. If noise is a concern for you, a higher horsepower unit might be worth the investment.

Budget: Higher horsepower garbage disposals tend to be more expensive than lower horsepower models. Consider your budget and whether the added cost is justified by your needs.

Environmental impact: Keep in mind that higher horsepower disposals may consume more energy and water, potentially increasing your utility bills. If you’re environmentally conscious, you may want to factor this into your decision.

Q: Is it a good investment to remodel my bathroom?

A: Yes, remodeling your bathroom can be a worthwhile investment for several reasons, one is increased property value. A well-designed and updated bathroom can significantly boost the resale value of your home. Potential buyers often place a premium on modern, functional bathrooms, so remodeling can help you get a better return on your investment when selling your house.