Sunday 1 June 2014

Quick tips for air conditioner performance

By Advanced HVAC Systems

Quick air conditioner tips

Don't let your house get too hot.

While smart thermostats like the nest are great for saving energy, letting your house get to hot while you're away at work will only make your air conditioner have to work harder to cool you down. I recommend only setting it back a few degrees and not turning the cooling off during away times.

Also, keeping your curtains drawn or adding a reflective treatment to your windows is a big help.

Supply and Return.

Make sure your supply registers and return air registers aren't covered up. Your grills are usually placed near the outside walls of the home which makes it easy for them to get covered by furniture or long curtains. Ensuring these are not covered is critical to the airflow cycle. Return air registers are especially important. An air conditioner doesn't actually add cold air but it removes hot humid air. If you have a two storey home these registers should be installed up high to get rid of the heat.

Clean machine

A clean air filter is necessary. Too often, when on a "no cooling" service call I find that the air filter hasn't been cleaned or changed. Your air conditioners evaporator coil "indoor section"  needs airflow to do its thing. Regular filter maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and performance of your air conditioning system.
Your condenser or "outdoor section" must also be kept clean. Grass clippings, overgrown bushes and dust can clog up the fins or block the airflow needed for a good refrigerant cycle. A good spray with the garden hose should do the trick.

Scheduled maintenance

As with any piece of mechanical equipment a proper tune-up will keep things running smooth. I recommend my customers get this done in the spring to avoid any problems.


Saturday 10 May 2014

Why I like the Nest thermostat

By Advanced HVAC Systems There are a few "smart" thermostats on the market now, but one stands out above the crowd. Enter the second generation Nest thermostat.

Top features

  • Auto Away
Instead of having to turn down your thermostat when you leave the house (and back up when you return), Nest will automatically adjust to save energy by sensing that you are away.

  • Auto Schedule
Once installed Nest will default to a set temperature and hold those defaults until you change them. After a week Nest will have learned your basic schedule. You have taught Nest when you wake, leave, return and sleep.

  • Nest Leaf
When in energy saving mode a Nest Leaf will appear on the screen. Basically when you follow the leaf you save money. The leaf is visible straight away based on the default setting. After that Nest will personalize the leaf to your personal schedule.

  • Reminders
When set up Nest will remind you when to change your filters and have maintenance performed.

  • History
Nest will save up to 10 days of system usage, how often and for how long your system ran for. This will help you make smart choices about schedules and temperature set-points.

  • Looks
Nest looks good. The stainless steel ring will reflect wall colours and blend into your home. Because all adjustments are made by pressing the outer ring, no unsightly fingerprints or smudges are left behind.

By Advanced HVAC Systems

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Single stage, two stage or Modulating furnace.

By Ian Stringer If you are thinking about replacing your old furnace and you've done your research, you may have heard the terms single stage, two stage and modulating and are wondering which is best. Well, let me first explain the differences between them.

A single stage furnace basically has an on or off mode with a multi speed blower which can be set to deliver air at a given CFM or cubic feet per minute. Which usually equates to loud, louder or loudest. Basically a builders grade furnace and one I wouldn't recommend.

A two stage furnace starts at a low heat output (low fire) and will "ramp up" to high fire as the demand of the house requires it to. These furnaces also come with an optional variable speed blower motor which will also speed up as the output of the furnace changes. Variable speed motors are typically more quiet.

A modulating furnace will initially start up on high fire much like a single stage furnace. But once the home is satisfied the furnace will modulate the output so that the temperature never varies more than 1 degree. Basically it will fire more frequently for shorter periods ( quick bursts) without the usual blower noise or whoosh of air. These furnaces are whisper quiet when firing on the lowest output.

So which is best? I have always been an advocate of the 2 stage furnace with variable speed motor. They are efficient and relatively quiet and really only about $500.00 more than the entry level unit and quite a bit less expensive that the modulating variant. However if "total comfort" is your goal then choose the modulating furnace. I have had one installed since November (2014) and absolutely love it. The house feels neither hot nor cold, just comfortable. It can get a bit loud on high fire, but it rarely gets there. It will save me money, but it wont pay for itself in quite a while. Compared to my old single stage clunker it's a Cadillac. Quiet and comfortable but a bit more expensive. Advanced HVAC Systems

Saturday 3 May 2014

Why is my air-conditioner icing up?

By Ian Stringer The most common cause for your air-conditioner to "ice-up" is poor airflow. As an HVAC technician the first thing I check when called to check an air-conditioner that doesn't seem to be cooling is the air filter.
Yes there are filters in your air-handler or furnace. This is the number one cause of poor cooling. Air filters should be checked every month to ensure proper operation of your A/C.
Below are pictures of an iced up A/C and a diagram explaining the refrigerant cycle of a residential split air-conditioner.
If the refrigerant cannot extract the heat from the air inside the home (due to poor airflow across the evaporator) it wont take long until it freezes up.
If the air filter seems OK the next thing to check is the blower itself. Some older furnaces or air handlers have belt driven blower motors. If the belt is loose or broken there will not be sufficient airflow moving across the evaporator coil.
Next, if it seems that maintenance has been neglected and the filter (at present) looks good  then there is a good chance that the evaporator coil has become clogged.
If all these symptoms are not evident, its time to call a service guy.
At this point the cause is most likely an undercharge of refrigerant or a leak. Ensure that, if there is a leak, it gets repaired. In fact its illegal at least in Canada to add refrigerant to a system that has a leak. Just "topping up" the system is a band-aid, if not repaired it will leak again.

By Advanced HVAC Systems