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A Buying Guide for Central Air Conditioning


Installing or replacing central air is a big commitment and investment in your home, and all the choices available can be overwhelming. We’ve put together a buying guide for central AC to help you make the most informed decision you can.

Types of Central Air Conditioning 

Split System

The split system is the most common design for central air conditioning. If your home has a split system, then ductwork is used to distribute the cooled air around your home.

The steps to cool your home are as follows:

  • • Your home is feeling a little warm (or downright hot!), and you adjust the thermostat. Your system turns on. (The thermostat will maintain your desired temperature once the house cools.)
  • • Refrigerant circulates between the outdoor condenser with compressor (the large box that sits outside of your home) and an indoor coil.
  • • The refrigerant cools and dehumidifies the air as a blower circulates the cooled air throughout your home using ducts.

A variation on the split system is the heat pump system, which functions as both an air conditioner and a heater.

Split Ductless Systems

Some homes cannot accommodate central air because there isn’t room to install ductwork. For those homes, a split ductless system is installed. The cooling effect feels like a central air system.

Like central air, a split ductless system has an outside condenser and compressor, but that is where the similarities end. Air handlers (indoor blower units) distribute the air and are mounted high on the wall. These handlers cool the individual room in which they are installed and are controlled with a remote. The outdoor and indoor elements of the split ductless system are connected by a conduit that encloses the refrigerant tubing, power cable, and condensate drain. The channel is hidden behind each air handler.

Important Factors When Choosing Central AC

Once you’ve confirmed that your home can accommodate central air conditioning, there are other factors to consider.


The larger your home is, the bigger your central air conditioning’s cooling capacity will need to be. AC size is calculated in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour or tons.


Home Size                                        Air Conditioner Size

600–1,000 square feet                    1.5 tons (18,000 BTUs)

1,000–1,500 square feet                 2 tons (24,000 BTUs)

1,500–2,000 square feet                 3 tons (36,000 BTUs)

2,000–2,500 square feet                 4 tons (48,000 BTUs)

2,500–3,300 square feet                 5 tons (60,000 BTUs)



Efficiency in an air conditioner equals how much cooling the unit produces for every watt of electricity. An air conditioner’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating will signal whether a system is efficient or not. The higher the rating, the more efficient the cooling equipment is, and the lower your energy costs will be. You should purchase a unit with a SEER rating of 15 or greater.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats are an easy way to reduce your energy costs. Learn more about ideal settings and thermostat use here.


Scheduling a routine HVAC system checkup before each season will keep your heating and cooling system running at peak efficiency and save you money on energy bills. Plus, identifying and fixing minor problems helps you avoid expensive repairs later on. It also validates the manufacturer’s warranty for your units with certified, twice-a-year service. Learn more about our Comfort Plan.

Upgrading an Existing Central Air System

Upgrading your central air? You may need a different size from your old system. Upgrades you’ve made to your home such as new windows, adding insulation, etc., can affect your HVAC size. However, if you have expanded your home, you may need a larger system. The good news is that modern systems are 20–40% more energy-efficient than past models.

When upgrading your central AC, you will need a load calculation from your contractor, which includes whether your ducts will need to be resized, insulated, sealed, or even replaced.


If you are installing a brand-new AC system, your contractor will need to calculate the size of the system you need. If ductwork for your heating already exists in your home, adding a central system can cost less. However, heating ducts may not be in the right location or the correct size for optimal cooling. To be sure that your old ducts will work in harmony with your new system, your contractor must check that ducts are the correct size and that there are enough supply registers to deliver cooled air. Undersized ductwork can waste energy and be noisy. Other ways to optimize your ducts:

Clean Your Ducts 

Having your ducts professionally cleaned results in better indoor air quality and an HVAC system that runs more efficiently with better airflow. It could also mean fewer colds and respiratory problems for your family and a decrease in your energy bills. If you are unable to have your ducts professional cleaned, then be sure to clean dirt and other debris from the condenser coils, change filters monthly, and check for blockages in the drainpipe. Also, be sure to keep any hedges or bushes that are close to the outside unit trimmed.

Seal and Insulate Ducts

It’s easy to recognize drafts coming in through a door or window, but a drafty door doesn’t have near the effect on your energy bill that an improperly sealed or insulated duct will. A leaky duct can waste 20–30% of the energy used to run your system. Yikes! Be sure to seal and insulate your ducts to save money and to stay cooler in the summer, and toasty in the winter.

Installation: Call on Stuart Pro! 

When looking for a company to install or replace a central AC, we hope that we are the first you call. We’ve worked for years to build and maintain a trustworthy reputation in our community. If you would like to investigate before making your final decision, here are the steps to take.

Ask Around

Talk to your neighbors, friends, and family. Whose work do they recommend? Visit competitor websites and look at online reviews. Then call and speak to the different businesses. Ask questions, get a quote, and get a feel for each company.

Background Checks

It may seem extreme, but people who work on your air conditioning system will be in your home. You want to be sure that they are reliable. Things to look and ask for:

  • • Verification of bonding and insurance
  • • Required contractor’s licenses
  • • Standing with the Better Business Bureau and consumer affairs office
  • • Certification with NATE – North American Technician Excellence
  • • Online reviews and feedback

Get It In Writing. 

When getting a bid, ask for a detailed analysis of cooling needs for each room in your home. Request a printout of all calculations, including ductwork design. It is important to get a document from each contractor so that you can compare what each is offering. If a bid is drastically lower than a competitor’s, it may be because something crucial isn’t included in the less expensive bid.



6 Fun Fall Football Ideas!


We love the cooler temperatures that fall brings, and we also LOVE football! Why not combine the two with our six fun fall football ideas?


Chili Buffet: Chili and fall just go together, and it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser when you have friends over to watch the game. Make a giant pot of chili and ask friends to bring fixins’ such as tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, radishes, olives … The list goes on and on! 


Single Serve Seven-Layer Dip: Seven-Layer Dip is delicious. But when lots of people, particularly kids, are dipping their chips in, the layers get all mixed up and icky. Solution! Make a big dish of dip for the adults, and single-serving dips in clear plastic cups for the kiddos. 


Mini Chicken and Waffles Sliders: Here’s a ‘fancy’ finger food that only takes minutes to make. Buy mini frozen waffles and hit the drive-thru for your favorite boneless fried chicken. Toast the waffles and sandwich the fried chicken in-between. Secure with toothpicks and serve. (You may need to cut the chicken into smaller pieces.) 


Tailgate Party for Your Kids: Some kids love to watch football, while others get wiggly after a few minutes and want to play. Set up an indoor or outdoor area of your home that’s easy to supervise and stock it with kid-friendly food and games. Tell the kids that this is their very own ‘tailgate party’ where they are free to play, eat, and make lots of noise – away from the TV!  


Pumpkin Carving: Pumpkin carving is a fun fall activity that’s best enjoyed with friends. Invite them to come over an hour before the game to carve pumpkins. You can even challenge your friends to carve the logo or mascot of their favorite team into their pumpkin! 


Football M&M’s Popcorn: If you’ve never poured a bag of M&M’s into a hot tub of popcorn, do it now! Then, when you’re finished snacking, make another batch of popcorn. Let it cool down this time, and pour in M&M’s that are the colors of your favorite football team. Can’t find those colors in the store, and don’t want to spend time hand separating them? Go here and choose your team!


Now, bring on fall and football! 

allergies and hvac

Your HVAC System Can Reduce Fall Allergy Symptoms


If you suffer from spring allergies, chances are you are also affected by fall allergies. Did you know that your HVAC system can be a powerful ally in reducing your fall allergy symptoms?

Fall Allergies: Ragweed and Mold

Most people who are allergic to pollen—common in the spring—are also allergic to ragweed, which is the most common cause of fall allergies. Ragweed flourishes in Georgia. One plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains in a season. Yikes!

Mold is another common fall allergen. Cool, humid air and piles of damp leaves make fall weather an ideal environment for mold growth. Homes that are surrounded by trees are especially vulnerable to mold.

These two common allergens combined with cooling temperatures, which reduce the effectiveness of your immune system, make fall a tricky time for allergy sufferers. But never fear! You can take simple steps to reduce the severity of your symptoms – and your HVAC system is the first-line in your defense.


Clean Your HVAC System: Clean any dust, dirt, and debris from your outdoor system. Have Your Ducts Cleaned

Clean Your Home: Regularly vacuuming your home will help get rid of ragweed, mold, dust, and other pesky allergens. 

Rake Your Yard: Rake leaves away from your home, bag them up, and dispose of them. If you suffer from allergies, you may have to hire someone to do this for you.

Check and Change Your Filters

The newer your air filter, the better it is at catching and trapping air pollutants. Filters that are clogged up with dust and hair cannot do their job correctly. Check and change your air filters often. If you are especially prone to allergies, consider thicker filters.

Manage the Humidity in Your Home to Reduce Mold

Turn the air conditioner on during warm fall days to remove excess humidity from your home. Also make sure to use your exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms when cooking and after showering. 

If you have questions about how your HVAC system can reduce allergy symptoms, please give us a call at 770.813.1316. We are here for you!


Easy Dinner Ideas


Getting back into the groove of your kids’ school schedule is tough. Everything can feel rushed and hectic. Here are some easy, kid-friendly meal ideas to take the stress out of dinner!


Orange Chicken

Mexican Rice and Beans with Avocados

Chicken Tetrazzini


Mongolian Beef


One-Pot Chili Mac & Cheese

One-Pot Chinese Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Cacciatore

One-Pot Cheesy Chicken Tex Mex

One-Pot Jambalaya


Lasagna Grilled Cheese

30-Minute Skillet Lasagna

Taco Grilled Cheese

Farmhouse Egg Bake

Bacon Cheeseburger Gnocchi


Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Sun-Dried Tomato, Kale, and Chicken Sausage Bake

Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole

Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Spinach Casserole


Taco Pasta Bake

Baked Ziti

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower

Baked Stuffed Shells

Loaded Pizza Pasta Casserole


Comforting Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup

Tortellini, Sausage and Kale Soup

Roasted Tomato and Red Pesto Soup

Taco Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


Managing Humidity and Your HVAC Performance During Summer Months


Did you know that the level of humidity in your home can affect both HVAC performance and your comfort? It’s important to find and maintain the right humidity level for your home.

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air around you.

What is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. This means that as temperatures rise or fall, the capacity of the air to hold water changes.

Summer Air and Humidity

During warm summer months, the average humidity in your home should weigh in between 30-45% (below the 50% mark). Maintaining the proper humidity levels means that your home feels cooler in the summer without having to adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature. On the flip side, humidity that is too high or too low in your home will result in an uncomfortable atmosphere and possible respiratory problems. Improper humidity levels can also damage the interior and exterior of your home.

Summer air feels sticky because warm air holds more water. For this reason, humidity is higher during the summer months than at any other time of year. Too much moisture in a home can cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mold growth
  • Muggy conditions

For these reasons, you should discontinue using humidifiers during the summer, use your air conditioner to remove moisture from your home, and regularly use exhaust fans in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms.

But how do you know if the humidity is too high in your home? Sometimes mold growth doesn’t make itself known for a long time, and there can be many reasons for not sleeping well.

Here are some signs that there is too much humidity in your home:

  1. Use your nose! A musty, damp smell in parts of your home is a sign of too much moisture.
  2. The air in your home feels moist.
  3. Your windows often fog up. 

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends a range of 45–55% humidity in your home to manage health effects and illnesses.

Comfortable: 30–60%

Recommended: 45–55%

High: 55–80% 

Humidity and Your HVAC System

It’s your air conditioner’s job to both cool your home and to remove excess moisture from the air. During the summer months, when it is hot and extra humid, your air conditioner has to work hard, which can take a toll on your equipment. If your HVAC system is older or the wrong size for your home, it may be inefficient in removing water from the air. This means that your system will have to work longer and harder to cool your home, adding wear to the unit, and it may never deliver the result that you want: a cool and comfortable home. In fact, your home may end up feeling warmer than it is because the humid air isn’t being properly removed.


Dehumidifying your home in the summer may allow you to set the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees higher, which should save your money on your energy bills.

Installing a dehumidifier directly on your HVAC system is the most reliable and efficient way to manage both temperature and humidity levels in your home at the same time. The dehumidifier works with your air conditioning system to pull water from the air before it is sent into your home. We are happy to recommend a compatible dehumidifier for your system. If you are installing a new system, it’s an ideal time to add a dehumidifier.

You can also purchase a stand-alone dehumidifier and manage the humidity level manually. This will require you to monitor humidity levels continually and run the dehumidifier when needed.

Maintaining Outdoor Equipment

Heavy, moist air carries large amounts of dust, dirt, and debris, which can settle in the unit’s coils and fins. During the summer, you’re running your air conditioner for more extended amounts of time, which also results in more wear on the physical unit. We have a simple solution – a garden hose!

Using a garden hose, you can easily remove the collected dirt and debris. And as a bonus, misting the unit cools the air that passes through the condenser coils, which allows it to cool your home more efficiently for some time.

Please give us a call if you would like further instruction on how to properly clean your outdoor unit. And if you have any questions at all about maintaining the ideal humidity levels in your home, we are waiting by the phone to speak to you! 770.813.1316


Get Your Family Competitive this Summer


Challenging someone to a friendly competition can be a lot of fun. It’s also a great way to bring your family together! Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Trivia Night

There are many places, such as the Mellow Mushroom, that hold family-friendly trivia nights. Pit your family’s brainpower against other teams – and enjoy pizza or other treats at the same time!


Split your family into two teams and bowl your way to glory. If you really get into it, you can make your own team bowling shirts!

Miniature Golf or Disc Golf

Depending on the age of your children, you could challenge them to disc golf or miniature golf.

Hold a Readathon

If your family isn’t into sports but loves to learn, a Readathon may be in order. Challenge your family members to read as many books as possible.

Escape Room

There’s nothing like working as a team to bring people together. You’ll be working against the clock to ‘escape’ the room. There are different levels of difficulty available, depending on the ages of your children.

Set a Run/Walk Family Goal

Have you ever dreamed of completing a half-marathon? Why not downgrade your goal (just for this summer) and set a family goal of doing a 5k or 10k together?

Board Game Night

Start a tradition of playing board games once a week. Gather around the table, roll the dice, and see who has bragging rights at the end of the evening.


Tennis is excellent exercise for the mind and body, and if you have four people, you can play doubles together.

Neighborhood Olympics

Hold your own neighborhood Olympics and train for it! Plan your activities and invite your neighbors to compete. It’s a fun way to get fit and bring lots of friends together.


Is there an ideal temperature for your home? Recommended Thermostat Settings


People can be passionate about where they set their thermostat. Some like it cool, while others prefer a warm house. But, is there an ideal temperature for your home? It depends on what your goal is: comfort or energy savings – or a combination of both.

The fact is, the closer your thermostat setting is to the temperature outdoors, the more you will save on your energy bill. However, if it is 100 degrees outside, you’re not going to want to set your thermostat to 95 degrees!

Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer and Winter

The following recommendations for thermostat settings are suggested with your comfort and cost efficiency in mind.


78 degrees Fahrenheit when at home

88 degrees Fahrenheit if not at home for 4 or more hours

For every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, you could save approximately 6-8% off your energy bill – per degree. That can add up to significant savings.


Just as in the warmer months, thermostat settings for the winter should be adjusted if you are away during the day.

Generally, 68 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours is recommended for both comfort and energy savings.

According to, turning your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower in the winter for 8 hours per day will reduce energy usage by 5–15% per year.

The above are our basic recommendations; let’s talk about a few other things to consider. The first thing is incredibly important: sleep. Scientists agree that the temperature for optimum sleep for adults is somewhere between 60 to 67 degrees. That is considerably cooler than our recommended settings for summer. If you know that you sleep better at cooler temperatures, you may want to lower your thermostat before you go to bed and turn on your ceiling fan if you have one.

The next thing to consider is your family’s activity levels. If you have children who are very active or you’re doing strenuous exercise, then it may be beneficial to set your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the summer.

Finally, some people seem to be always hot, while others seem to be always cold. If you told a hot-natured person to set their air conditioner to 78 degrees, they would likely laugh! The money saved would not be worth the misery they experience being hot and sweaty in their home. So, if the above recommendations seem unrealistic, strive to find a comfortable compromise. If you usually set your thermostat to 70 degrees during the daytime, try setting it to 71 degrees instead. Chances are you won’t notice the difference in temperature—especially if your ceiling fans are on—and you’ll save a little on your energy bill too.

Programmable Thermostats

If the temperature schedule of your home is on a long list of things that you know you will likely forget about, then consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule according to your preferences, habits, and the outdoor temperature.

When programming your thermostat, think about your typical daily schedule and preferences. If you like to sleep in a cool house, set the thermostat to begin lowering the temperature in your home an hour or two before bedtime. Other considerations, such as when you are typically at home, are also important factors. It may take you a day or two to find the ‘perfect’ schedule, but eventually, you will find what’s right for you. Best of all, you can manually override your programmable thermostat anytime.

The ultimate goal is to find the settings that keep you and your family happy and comfortable while saving money on your energy bill.


4th of July Family Fun


Summer is here, and the 4th of July is just around the corner! Here are our 10 favorite ways to have fun with friends and family on Independence Day.


1. Make festive food!

Search for ‘red, white, and blue recipes’ online. Pick a few that look appetizing and serve up a patriotic platter!

2. Pack a picnic.
Now that you have your red, white, and blue nibbles made, pack them up and head to the park for a picnic.

3. Take a walk in the park.
While you’re at the park, take a walk. Point out interesting flora and fauna to your kids. Enjoy the fresh air and stretch your legs. Or…

4. Go for a bike ride.
A bike ride with your family is a great way to have a more active 4th of July.

5. Plan a patriotic trip
It’s likely too late to plan a trip this year, but you can always plan for next July 4th. Ideas: Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty. So many patriotic places to visit!

6. Sing!
Teach your kids your favorite patriotic tunes.

7. Host a block party.
Go old school with a block party. Ask everyone to bring a dish and a game. You supply the sparklers so that everyone can celebrate safely.

8. Baseball: America’s pastime
Go to a big game at the closest stadium, or head to a park with friends and challenge them to a game. Losers have to make hotdogs for the other team!

9. Make a July 4th inspired craft.
Are you crafty? Make a patriotic craft with your kids. Go online for ideas.

10. Have a banana split party.
Stock up on bananas, ice cream, cherries, and other delicious ingredients and have a banana split party! Both kids and adults will love making – and eating! – their own dessert.

11. BBQ! (Bonus)
Speaking of yummy food, why not invite your family and friends to a summer cookout?

What’s your favorite way to celebrate this patriotic holiday?



5 Ways to Save Money on Summer Energy Bills


Keeping your home comfortable can be pricey when you’re trying to beat the sweltering heat. We’ve got 5 ways to save money on summer energy bills while keeping you from getting overheated this summer.

1. Change your air filters.
We say this so often that you’re probably tired of hearing it, but – change your air filters! It really is one of the simplest ways to assist your HVAC system’s performance so that it runs efficiently, thus saving your money.

2. The shade is your HVAC unit’s friend.
You aren’t the only one who enjoys cooling off in the shade. Your HVAC unit does too! Keeping your system in a shaded area can cut energy consumption by as temperatures rise. Is your air conditioning unit exposed to the sun? Plat a few hedges or bushes nearby that will cast shadows onto the unit.

3. Invest in a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow you to control your HVAC unit even when you’re not there, which cuts down on energy costs. You can set the thermostat to adjust the temperature in your home around your schedule; warmer when you’re at work, cooler when you are home. For each degree above 72F, you’ll save 120 lbs of CO2. Wow!

4. Turn on your ceiling fans.
Did you know that if you turn on your ceiling fans, you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees (F) with no reduction in comfort? Amazing! One caveat: fans are designed to cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. Turn off fans when leaving a room to avoid wasting energy.

5. There is no such thing as ‘quick cooling’ your home.
You come in from a scorching hot day and want to cool off quick. Don’t set your thermostat to a super low temperature! It won’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and increased cooling expenses. Lay by or underneath a fan instead to cool off quickly.


Giving Back


At Stuart Pro, we believe in giving back to our community. That’s why we offer scholarships every year to graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, and Forsyth County. We also provide up to three scholarships for technical college students currently pursuing an HVAC career.

It means the world to us when we hear back from recipients about how the scholarships have helped them achieve their academic and career goals. Here is what three of our scholarship recipients had to say about their college experiences so far:

Ashley Alverson

I learned about the Stuart Pro Scholarship and its benefits through my guidance counselor. After I was chosen for the scholarship, I realized how much it was going to help me throughout the school year. This was my first official year at the University of North Georgia, although I had completed one year of dual enrollment. I am currently working on finishing my core classes and leaning toward a bachelor’s degree in healthcare services and informatics administration. The Stuart Pro Scholarship allowed me to cover additional fees that the Zell Miller Scholarship didn’t cover. Thanks again for investing in my academic journey!

Joseph Olmsted

With the help of the Stuart Pro Scholarship, my first year at the University of Georgia has been amazing! I’m extremely grateful for all the experiences I’ve enjoyed and the diverse and fun opportunities presented to me. Athens is such a lively city, and the people at UGA are amazing. Everyone is so talented and passionate. It’s impossible not to get involved. I volunteer weekly at the Thomas Lay After School Program, became an employee for the incredible UGA Dining Services, and received an internship to teach a biology laboratory course my second semester. Also, the friends I’ve made and the memories we share are irreplaceable. I always seem to be doing something, but I couldn’t ask for a better way to enjoy my first year of college.

Emily Wallace

The Stuart Pro Scholarship has been a blessing and has helped me succeed throughout my first year of college at Truett McConnell University. I learned how to manage my time better and enhance my leadership skills as I transitioned into a new phase in my life. I have made new friends and seen growth in many areas during my college experience. I’m so thankful for Stuart Pro Heating & Air assisting me in this journey!

We are so proud of these students and excited for their bright futures!

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Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

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Type Of Inquiry

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

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Type Of Inquiry

Stuart Pro Heating & Air is OPEN and closely monitoring the status of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued federal guidance to states and municipalities regarding “essential” work. Based on their definitions, the activities conducted by an HVAC installation and service company are considered essential.

We are taking every precaution to keep our employees and customers safe during these uncertain times, such as wearing shoe covers and latex gloves, sanitizing hands and tools before each job, and maintaining a social distance – no signature required. Payment by phone is also an option if needed. So, if you have any service or maintenance needs, please call us right away. We are here for you!