Air Conditioner Buying Guide 2019-2020

Our unbiased guide will run you through the essential factors you must consider before buying an air conditioner for your home. There are various kinds of central air conditioners available, and each associated with different pros and cons. To beat the heat effectively - choose the air conditioner that can cool the entire place effortlessly. Eco-conscious consumers are more inclined towards the energy efficient air-conditioner which are less costly to run and can keep you cool and comfortable for the extended period of time.


Basic types of central air conditioner:

Before you are all-prepared for installing the new air conditioner; acquaint yourself with the major distinctions of two types of air conditioners that are presently in-use in Canada.

Ductless Air Conditioner
The system will have two major components evaporative coil and a condensing unit.
A ductless air conditioner will have a wall-mounted indoor unit and one compressor.
The compressor unit delivers the refrigerant to evaporator coil and removes moisture.
It distributes the air through piping, not from large air ducts.
Split air conditioners are easier to fix and repair.
Ductless air conditioners are comparatively less expensive.
If you have a furnace in the home, it is possible to amend the existing ducts in such a way, that air conditioner can be easily accommodated.
The ductless air conditioner can only be installed in a place that has no pre-existing ducts.
A split air conditioner is larger in size.
It is perfect for small finished attics

Perfect sizing:

An air conditioner is a long-term investment for your place and it should be the one that accurately fits your home and budget. When it comes to perfect sizing, you should acquaint yourself with two fundamental terms:
·         Cooling load is the sum of heat that accumulates in space, in the absence of a cooling system.
·         Cooling capacity is synonymous with the size of the air conditioner and it is designed to remove the heat.
Sufficient cooling capacity is essential to meet the cooling load of a home. in order to mitigate the discomfort, humidity and dampness, calculate the cooling load effectively through any method developed by the Canadian Standards Association.

Efficiency:

Efficiency is the amount of cooling generated by the unit against each watt. The more SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency rating) means the less cost to run an AC. There are some factors like advanced compressors, efficient heat exchangers and a good refrigerant flow that act as core determinants to make the SEER as high as 17. Make sure you choose a split air conditioner with a minimal SEER rating 13.

Programmable Thermostat and a maintenance plan:

A programmable thermostat has the potential to reduce the cooling cost by 10%. When buying a central air conditioner choose a maintenance plan that has a well-constructed inspection plan with labour discounts and other benefits in repairs.

Noise rating:


Most municipalities in Ontario have a certain level of noise allowed. Therefore, Canadians have to consider noise factor in-check prior to installing an air conditioner in the home. Generally, an energy efficient air conditioner will have minimal sound ratings. 

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Signs of a Failing Furnace

Winters can become horrendous with a failing Furnace. In order to prevent yourself from an ice age inside your home, you may need to repair or replace your Furnace as soon as possible. As a responsible homeowner, you should keep an eye on your Furnace and if a malfunctioning is found, get it repaired instantly.
Here are 7 furnace problems you should never ignore. With a little hand, you can save the day!



1. Strange Noises

Ever experienced strange noises coming out of your furnace? If yes, then that’s quite a big sign of a failing furnace. Not paying attention to this problem may cause you a big deal. This failure may need a technician to repair or replace the blower motor as the set screw on the blower wheel may have loosened causing the wheel to wobble on the motor shaft and create noise.

2. Pungent Smell

That awful rotten cabbage smell we all experience is a sign of gas leaking from the Furnace. This pungent smell is actually a component added to natural gas for safety precautions. If your house is becoming smelly like a rotten egg or cabbage, immediately leave your house and call the gas company to fix this problem.

3. Mounting Utility Bills

Utility bills emptying the pockets cannot always be blamed on utility companies because a malfunctioning Furnace can give you chills through bills. If a Furnace is not working efficiently, it consumes more energy to produce the desired results increasing utility fees. To fix this problem, a professional needs to check and repair your Furnace and in some cases even replacing the whole unit.

4. Carbon Monoxide Leakage

Now, this is quite dangerous as leaking carbon monoxide may not be deducted instantly. If a yellow flame appears in your Furnace flame rather than striking blue (a proper functioning furnace has a blue flame), moisture on the nearby surface and no upward airflow from chimneys then it’s a clear sign of carbon monoxide leakage from either exhaust flue or heat exchanger pipes. Cracks and rust in these areas are a sign of dying Furnace too. If any of these signs along with nausea, headache, burning eyes or vomiting are noticed, make sure to leave the house immediately as it is Carbon monoxide exposure which can be lethal and call the gas company to shut your gas immediately.

5. Heat Distribution

When some rooms in the house remain colder than others, that’s a sign of malfunctioning Furnace which is caused by the internal systems not working properly. Call a professional immediately to prevent from greater damage.

6. Frequent Repairs or Replacements

A Normal modern furnace has a lifespan of 15-20 years, however, every machinery depending on its usage and annual inspections may encounter mechanical failure. Any machine beyond its age limit can cause a big deal. If your Furnace requires a repair every few months then you should consider getting a new furnace for your own good!

How old is your Furnace? What was the last time you had your Furnace repaired?

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Zoning system, have you tried it?

Zone controlled heating and cooling refers to the heating/cooling of different parts of the indoor at a different temperature. Initially, with the introduction of the central cooling system, the only way to zone was to close the vents. But later on, it was found that closing vents actually leaves very bad impacts on the entire HVAC system. With time, new technologies were introduced and today, there are multiple solutions available in order to enjoy zoned heating/cooling in the indoor. In addition to providing with the temperature of choice for every homeowner, its most attractive feature is the energy saving that it offers.


How does zoning help in saving on energy bills? 

In the case of central heating/cooling, the conditioned air moves through the ductwork and reaches every room. Whether or not there's someone in the room or regardless of what temperature the person in the room wants, the system cools/warms the entire indoor at one specified temperature. This way, even when one room is being used, all the rest of the rooms consume energy and raise energy bill. As a zoned system is used, the supply to the unused rooms can be completely shut off by turning off the Thermostat setting of that room. Similarly, for family members who don't want very highly warm or highly cold temperature, the temperature can be reduced a few degrees which once again reduces the energy bills. Also, in multiple storey homes, there's usually a temperature difference when conventional Central Cooling/Heating is used. The zoning system covers this as well since it differently regulates different zones.

In the case of Split Air Conditioner system, the saving scheme is evident. Simply shut the systems off in unused rooms. While this may seem insignificant, you'll be surprised to see the difference that this makes. Every single degree matters and while zoning system is costly, it definitely offers with long-term saving on energy bills which suffices for the initial investment.

Different zoning options available 

Damper Zoning 

One of the most efficient zoning options is the Damper zoning option. Dampers are installed and are regulated with the help of Thermostats. So as the temperatures for different dampers are set differently, they open/close accordingly allowing only the amount of conditioned air that is necessary to cool/warm the room to the set temperature.

Split System 

Instead of installing an entire ductwork or renovate the ductwork with dampers, a number of homeowners prefer Split Systems. With Heat Pump technology supported, Split Air Conditioners can be used both for heating as well as for cooling. With separate units, different areas can be conditioned differently.

Smart Vents 

Smart vents are a new introduction in zoned controlled systems. Smart vents do what you do. The difference is just that they do it smartly (sort of). They are installed just where the vents are installed and work in collaboration with the WiFi Thermostat. Depending on the temperature requirement, they open/close accordingly. While they may seem an attractive option, they are not really recommended by HVAC professionals for the same reason closing of vents is not recommended.
So, have you ever tried zoning system? If yes, how beneficial did you find it?

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Energy saving tips for holidays

December is coming and so is Christmas; which means the holiday season is here. You'll be spending more time at home, there will be giving and taking of gifts and the heating appliances will be used almost constantly. All of this suggests that energy bills will rise. Since there are a lot of other expenditures in winters, it is important to keep other expenses in control. And energy bills is something which can be controlled easily. In this blog, we'll share 5 energy saving tips so that your energy bills don't disturb your expenses and you could enjoy your holidays.



- Christmas lights is a good idea 

Instead of spending on costly decoration lights which consume a whole lot of energy, a better idea is to choose Christmas lights. These lights not only illuminate the area well but are also more energy efficient. So when you are out to make the Christmas decoration purchase, make sure to buy wisely. Decorate but decorate economically. This will save you some dollars for exclusive holiday meals.

- Timers help save! 

The sun is out there for an entire day to give us free light. It is, therefore, unwise to turn the light on even in the day. This tip is not just for holidays. It's a lifetime tip to use timers for lights. So that the lights are turned on only when it gets dark. Sometimes, the lights are left turned on by mistake for long hours or as you leave for a weekend out of the town. One benefit of timers, in this case, is that the lights automatically turn off after 6 hours.

- Gifting HVAC stuff? Choose wisely!

This holiday season, if you are planning to gift an HVAC appliance or accessory to a friend or family, make sure to purchase an energy efficient unit. This will help them save and the saving will make your gift an exclusive gift for them.

- Cook smartly!

In holidays, there's a lot of cooking and meet-ups. Plan your meals well before time so that you don't have to cook meals separately and can place two, three dishes together in the oven. This will save on energy bills. You could also think of washing the dishes yourself instead of using a dishwasher, using a microwave for quick cooking instead of using a conventional oven which takes longer. Together, this will help save.

-  Use a Programmable Thermostat 

 Upgrading to a programmable thermostat will help in saving a whole lot of energy and will also ensure a comfortable indoor environment for you and your guests. With snowfall outside, the home inside will be perfectly warm. Like a warm toaster.

A lot of us are worried about tight budgets these days. Some people think saving is not possible. The truth is, it's all about managing the usage. We have just told how by managing the energy usage at home, you could manage to save a great deal on energy bills.
Looking for more energy efficient ideas? Explore our blog. We have a lot more to share.

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5 smart ways to cool factory floor

While we are concerned about making our homes cooler, making the workplaces cool especially places like factories is a matter equally important. A factory with a bad temperature will create problems not only for the workers but will also add to damaging the installed equipment and the manufactured products. With a constant operation and a constant release of heat, the machinery gets heated and this heat heats up the factory floor as well. The high temperature could be bearable in winters or under normal climate but this certainly goes beyond bearable in summers. Today, we are sharing some smart and cost-effective tips for maintaining a desirable temperature in factories and actively combating heated factory floor.


- Door & Windows - Make use of this blessing 

Every factory has its own requirements. While many factories are bound to work in a sealed environment, there are many others that are not bound by such limitations. In such factories, the simplest of all ways to cool the floor and the overall environment is to let the doors and windows open. Doing so at the right time and with the right strategies will expel a lot of heat resulting in a cooler environment.

- The wonder of HVLS fans 

The high volume - low-speed fans are larger than ordinary fans and follow the principle of high volume with low speed. As they operate, they help break the hot-spots and also create an effective and significant temperature difference of 7%. While these fans could be stand alone, they can also operate in tandem with the HVAC system.

- HRV system 

A heat recovery system is one of the best investments that can be made in order to maintain a desirable environment on the factory floor. Since this system will run to expel the heat and continue introducing fresh air in the indoor, the heat will not accumulate on the floor not causing any hot spots.

- Choosing between Central Cooling or Evaporative Cooling 

Here's a choice you have to make carefully. Evaporative cooling is a wonderful and compatible choice for low humidity climates as this creates a cooling effect while also lifts the humidity level. However, in highly humid climates, evaporative cooling is not a good idea. In that case, Central Cooling works best. In case of severe conditions, a combination of HVLS fans can be used, as mentioned above.

- Sealing and zoning in the factory floor 

We understand that not the entire building needs the same temperature. It is evident that offices and factory space have different temperature requirements but even in the factory space, not all units have the same temperature requirements. Overall overheating of the factory floor can negatively affect some units. A smarter choice, in this case, is incorporating a zoning system so that the units needing extra cooler temperature can be kept accordingly.
But as the desired temperature requirements are created and the needed equipment is installed, make sure that the factory floor is also properly sealed so that the cooling does not escape and the system does not have to run constantly.

Does your factory incorporate ways to cool the factory floor? If yes, how? And how effective does it prove to be?

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Soaring energy bills? Here's what is causing it

So one of the worries associated with summers is rising energy bills. It becomes difficult to control the bills when cooling becomes a need. But many times, it is not the operation of the system that soars the bills but the improper usage and bad HVAC practices that do so. In this blog, we'd highlight those wrong HVAC practices and mistakes that lead to high energy bills.

- Ignoring pre-season maintenance

There are a number of homeowners that do not have their appliances maintained until the appliance begins to show some signs of repair or gives compromised efficiency. This is one of those practices that not only keep the unit at the threat of a sudden repair but also lowers its efficiency. As a result, the system takes longer to cool and loses efficiency earlier. This increases the energy bills.
To make the most of your system, always choose pre-season maintenance and do not put a system into use without maintenance after a break of several years. That's our suggestion number 1.

- Leaving Air Filters Dirty

You might say you already know that changing filters is important. But knowing is not enough. You have to be very regular about changing the filters. Although it is suggested to change the filter after every 3 months in peak season, you still have to check your usage and the type of area you live in. If your system runs too much and you live in an area with a high level of pollution, you may consider replacing/cleaning filter once every month. But do it after 3 months in all cases.
The dirty filter blocks the passage of air, causing the AC to push harder to let the air pass through it. This overburdening increases the bills while also put the blower at the risk of a breakdown.

- Too low Thermostat setting

We understand that when it's hot, you feel like wanting to slip over ice cubes or to set your Thermostat at the lowest possible but that won't give a longterm relief. Many people, as they feel hot in the afternoons set the Thermostat too low and keep changing the temperature the entire day. Once again, a wrong practice. Changing the settings frequently or setting them too low makes the system trip frequently as well. And the system takes the most of energy as it trips off and on. A better practice is to set a moderate temperature and let the system run for long at the same temperature. 

- Not sealing doors and windows

Sealing doors & windows is not just for winters, particularly, if you are using a Split system, you should opt for proper sealing of doors and windows in order to waste minimum cooling through holes and leaks. One of the reasons for high energy bills is when homeowners leave doors or windows open and the system has to work longer and harder to cool the indoor.
Also, to keep the sun from warming the indoor, using blinds makes a big difference.

It's your turn now. What ways do you use to control the energy bills? Have you tried any of the above-mentioned and did it work for you?

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If this is what you observe, your Water Heater is failing

So you might wonder why are we even talking about Water Heaters in the middle of hot Summers. Well, wise people think wisely and one of the thoughts of wise people suggests that it can be very economical to purchase heating appliances in summer and vice versa. In summer, the prices of heating appliances like Furnace and Water Heaters are lower than the peak season prices. So it can save you a great deal of money if you replace heating appliances in summer. Some other benefits of doing so is that you will get enough time to research about the right product and will get a good quote from a good installer as well.


If you have been using your Water Heater since the times of Queen Victoria, and your water heater still warms water for you, it does not mean you completely overlook the thought of replacement since it is highly risky to use outdated appliances. So once you know your Water Heater has completed its lifespan or has already gone a few years more than the expected lifespan, think seriously about a replacement. Here are 3 ways that can help you decide your Water Heater is failing

- Rusted water

The system can give an indication of its failure by giving rust coloured water. When the Water Heater gets old, the inside of it starts to develop rust. This rust mixes with water and comes to the supply lines. So as you open the tap of hot water, you can see coloured water through it. Replace!

- Noisy water heater

It is not about the sound of boiling, it is the sound of rumbling and banging which is a result of sediments that get hardened on the bottom of the Water Heater. These hardened sediments as they vibrate due to heat can also create holes and leaks in the unit. So as you hear any unusual voices, consider it among the signs of your Water Heater in trouble.

- Pools of water around Water Heater

Here's the most easily observable and the most serious indication; pooling water around the unit. Leaks in the unit allow the water to drip and constant dripping creates pools around the unit. It could either be due to the leaks in the water heater unit itself or in the incoming/outgoing water lines. In both cases, it suggests the system has been installed long ago.

Ways to make your Water Heater last longer

The lifetime of an appliance changes as per use as well as the regularity of maintenance given. Your Water Heater can last longer and it is in your hands how long you want it to come along with you. Here are a few ways to elongate the lifetime of a Water Heater;

- The best suggestion we can make is that of maintenance. Keep your unit cleaned and maintained regularly. Also, call a professional plumber at least annually for a professional maintenance check.

- Do not postpone repairs. Doing so will only put your system at a greater risk

- Choose quality brands and quality installers. Also, make no compromise on the quality of pipes and additional installation material

- Look for the services that offer free of cost Water Heater inspection and take advantage of every single one of it

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