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Hillestad: Your experts for all your heating and cooling solutions!


Frequently Asked Questions


    What is HVAC?
    HVAC is short for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. HVAC is most often used to depict the whole heating and cooling system consisting of the duct work, air filters, humidification controls, and registers.

    Where are you located and have you been doing this for long?
    We actually have 3 locations in Wisconsin! They are in Lodi, Madison, and Wisconsin Dells! But we service most areas in between. We started in 1988.

    Do you really install boilers?
    Yes, Hillestad Hillestad Heating and Cooling installs and repairs boilers! Give us a call to find out if a boilers system is right for your home or business.

    What brand boilers do you use?
    Triangle Tube Triangle Tube: Excellence. Ingenuity. Efficiency. Three distinct qualities that have made Triangle Tube an industry leader. For over 60 years, we’ve provided innovative ideas to the North American heating and hot water industry; for residential, commercial and industrial applications. We proudly offer a complete line of stainless steel hot water heating products. Each of our carefully designed, peak performing products reflects an abiding concern for sustainability and low ownership cost.
    Buderas Buderus: Floor standing cast iron boilers are designed in Germany, where fuel costs are significantly higher. Each cast iron section uses the Buderus patented silicone injected grey cast iron technology for greater flexibility to resist thermal shock. (colder water returning to a hot boiler).

    What happens if I have an emergency in the middle of the night on a Saturday?
    Don’t worry! Just give us a call at 608.231.3888 and our team of professionals that are waiting on hand to assist you will be right there with the necessary tools on hand to get all of your problems fixed! (Available 24 hours a day)

    Is there any way of paying online?
    In fact there is! For your convenience, you can pay off your Hillestad invoice from up to $5,000 online with a credit card!

    How do I clean my air filter?
    Most of today's filters are disposable. Identify the size your furnace needs, keep a couple on hand, and simply re-install a new fresh filter as needed. (check monthly)

    What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?
    The most important part of HVAC maintenance aspect is maintaining unrestricted air flows. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor unit, you must keep all filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions. We recommend that your heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year; ideally a spring and autumn tune-up. We also recommend that you change your filter regularly, depending on the type of filter you have. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.


    Why do I need to change my filter regularly
    Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require weekly or monthly filter replacements.

    What size HVAC system should I have?
    Unfortunately, there’s no simple rule of thumb for determining the ideal size of system for each home. For example, depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to heat or cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional.


    Is a system with more capacity better?
    No. A larger heating system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when it is first turned on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well.

    Tips to increase life of HVAC
    Clean and replace your filters frequently
    Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the "on" position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration
    Install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight to keep room temperatures at moderate levels


    How long should my air conditioning system run in a cycle?
    There is no exact answer for how long your system should run during each cycle. The average air conditioner is sized to remove the heat from your home as fast as it comes in. Therefore, ideally, on a 100° day the system should be able to keep up with the incoming heat, but not gain on it and not be able to turn off. The cooler it is below 100°, the more the system will cycle on and off. So it depends on the environment of each individual home and the condition of the equipment.

    What is ENERGY STAR?
    ENERGY STAR is a program that was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help businesses and individuals make energy efficient purchases.
    This program places the ENERGY STAR label, a small blue and white logo, on items that meet superior energy efficiency standards. This label provides an easy way for consumers to identify quality, high efficiency products.

    What is I.A.Q.?
    I.A.Q. stands for Indoor Air Quality. Today, various products are available as add-ons to your existing heating and cooling system to improve the quality and healthiness of the air inside your home. These items include ventilators, filters, and humidifiers

    How important is air quality and what factors need to be considered?
    An air quality system can greatly improve both your comfort and your health. The areas of air quality to consider are (1) purification, (2) filtration, (3) humidity control, and (4) ventilation. A wide number of air quality features come standard with many new heating and air conditioning systems; others can easily be added to existing systems. Contact Horizon Systems to discuss your air quality options.


    We’re running tight on money and would like to avoid paying for a service call from your HVAC Expertise contractors. Would you tell us how to do that?
    1. Check your thermostat—Do you have it set for heating or cooling and is the choice appropriate for the season or is it inadvertently in the "off" position?

    2. Check the air filter. If it’s very dirty – if it hasn’t been changed in months and it’s clogged with dirt – your system’s working hard to get ANY air through. Replace the filter and see if the system then operates properly. AC season : If the filter was extremely dirty, the system may have experienced buildup of ice on the cooling coil that the average person will not know how to identify. If this is a possible problem, turn off ac for a couple hours and watch for water to drain from AC condensate drain, this usually leads to a floor drain, nearby.

    3. Check that nothing is blocking the free access of air to your outdoor unit—this applies to air conditioners and heat pumps. Shrubs and bushes can block and restrict airflow to outside units and snow can drift against outdoor heat pump coils.

    4. Check your electric fuses or breakers. As you certainly know, your HVAC system uses electric power to do its job. Your load center has fuses or circuit breakers. One or more provides power to the HVAC system. You might have one for the furnace and another for the air conditioner. For a heat pump, one is usually provided for each separate piece of heat pump equipment; one for the air handler and one for the outside unit if you have a split system, for example. If the fuse is blown or the breaker has “flipped” to the “off” position, you can play with the thermostat for an extended amount of time and you won’t accomplish anything!
      It is kind of wasteful to call a service person to “re-set” a circuit breaker! However, that is one of the first things our service people check. And you’d be surprised how often a service call consists of not much more than resetting the circuit breaker.
      Additionally, your unit might have one or more Disconnect Switches. Perhaps your home has such a switch outside the house. Perhaps a mischievous youth moved the switch from “on” to “off” without you knowing it.
      Again, it will be easier for you, the contractor, and the HVAC technician, if you took care of this yourself. However, if you reset a circuit breaker or replace a fuse and it immediately trips or blows—call for expert service assistance.

    5. HVAC experts recommend regular replacement of dirty filters. Perhaps you have done the required thing and replaced the filter very recently. Very soon after that effort, you might discover the system isn’t doing the job!

    6. If the filter was in the HVAC equipment, go back and check that the system’s fan door is installed properly. Many heaters have a door interlock switch. Your furnace probably will not begin operating until the access door is tightly in. Others simply will not work well if the access panel is allowing air to bypass the unit.
      Good luck and please contact us the next time you need HVAC advice or assistance. We want your business!


    How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repair?
    Some facts to consider:
    1. The age of the current system. Today, any system that is more than ten years old is probably behind the times in terms of efficiency.

    2. Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between “builder grade” and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience.

    3. How much will the repairs cost…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money and the inconvenience? Sometimes you need to know when to cut bait and say goodbye to your old heater or air conditioner.


    What is the average life of a unit?
    Average Lifetime of an Air Conditioner: 12-15 yrs.
    Average Lifetime of a Furnace: 15-20 yrs.
    Average Lifetime of a Boiler: 15-20 yrs.