FAQs

Air Conditioning
Heating
  • Why should I purchase a new heating or air conditioning system?

    How long will my System last?

    What type and size unit will our home need?

    What is a BTU?

    What is a SEER rating?

    What does HSPF stand for?

    What does AFUE stand for?

    How often should filters be cleaned or replaced and what type of filter should I use?

    What is Freon R-22?

    What is R-410A?

    What is Energy Star?

    What is a heat pump?

    Do I need to change my indoor coil?

    What is an air handler?

    How does your air conditioner work?

    Why should I purchase a new heating or air conditioning system?

    If your existing system is old, or in need of repair or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit can offer long-term benefits. Instead of paying for continuous repairs and high heating and cooling monthly bills, you should invest in a new system today that will save you money for many years to come. We can answer all your questions concerning replacing filters, energy efficiency ratings, and we can show you how to save on your utility bills, by replacing your unit with a more efficient one. Please contact us anytime to request an appointment to have a qualified, licensed and certified technician perform a preliminary diagnostic inspection and answer all your heating and cooling questions.

    How long will my System last?

    If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken an air conditioner/Heatpump can usually last upto 12 to 15 years or longer and gas furnaces can last 20 to 25 years. At Essential Air we offer money saving value maintenance agreements to help upkeep your system for maximum heating & air conditioning reliability & efficiency. Contact us and we can further discuss the benefits of a maintenance agreement for your system today.

    What type and size unit will our home need?

    At Essential Air we will consider many factors before making a recommendation. For example, the size and age of your home, your utility costs and other factors will affect the functionality and efficiency of the system. Essential Air will utilize the latest technology to consider all these factors while assisting you in choosing the best system for your home. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable technicians to give you an estimate, and assist you in your selection.

    What is a BTU?

    BTU, short for British Thermal Unit, is a basic measure of thermal (heat) energy. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. When speaking of cooling power, the BTU also works in reverse. The aircooling power of an air conditioning system refers to the amount of thermal energy removed from an area. The higher the BTU output, the more powerful the heating or cooling system.

    What is a SEER rating?

    The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, (SEER) rates only the air conditioning part equipment. The higher the SEER rating the more efficient the unit. The lower the SEER rating the more energy is required to produce the desired effect. SEER is the ratio of the amount of BTU’s used for cooling in normal annual use to the total amount of electrical power (measured in watts) over the same period. (Annual Cooling in BTU’s/Total Watt Hours = SEER).

    What does HSPF stand for?

    The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF rates heat pump equipment in the heating mode only. This factor rates the efficient operation of the heating portion of the heat pump. As  HSPF increases, the unit functions at a more efficient level.

    What does AFUE stand for?

    AFUE is the abbreviation for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” ratio. AFUE is used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input. This measurement describes how well the fuel; gas or oil is consumed to produce heat by a furnace. As the AFUE rate increases the efficiency of your furnace also increases,therfore lowering your fuel costs. Furnaces manufactured in Canada are required to have at least an 90% AFUE.

    How often should filters be cleaned or replaced and what type of filter should I use?

    While some special filters can be changed less frequently most filter manufacturers recommend that filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month. The best recommendation however, is to start with changing your filters once per month and then inspect them. Make sure to always replace your filter with the same size as the original to filter ALL of the airflow. Make sure air can’t go over the top of or behind an improperly sized filter – it will cause big problems down the road.

    What is Freon R-22?

    R-22 is a common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 45 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the Canadian Clean Air Act has set a target date for January 1, 2012, on which HVAC manufacturers must cease the production of products that use R-22.

    What is R-410A?

    R-410A is the common name for a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that is being used as a refrigerant in the HVAC industry. R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is the most likely replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufactures.

    What is Energy Star?

    Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol in Canada and monitors its use. Major manufacturers and retailers of energy-efficient products, utilities and energy retailers, and interest groups from Australia to Europe recognized the benefits of ENERGY STAR to consumers and have joined in promoting the symbol.

    ENERGY STAR is the international symbol of premium energy efficiency. Products that display the ENERGY STAR symbol have been tested according to prescribed procedures and have been found to meet or exceed higher energy efficiency levels without compromising performance

    What is a heat pump?

    A heat pump is a device used for either the heating or cooling of a space by transferring hot and cold between two areas. A heat pump can act like an air conditioner, transferring heat from inside to out, or like a heater as it transfers exterior heat to the interior.

    Schedule an appointment today to have one of our certified and licensed technicians come to your home to give you a preliminary diagnostic of your heat pump system.

    Do I need to change my indoor coil?

    There are two main coils, the evaporator and the condenser. There is also a third major air conditioning component called the compressor. The compressor, which is a pump, is responsible for keeping the refrigerant flowing through the coils. It is generally a good idea to replace the indoor coil if you are also replacing your air conditioner or heat pump. There is a definite correlation between the efficiency of your system and the performance of the indoor coil and changing out the current indoor coil for a new one may be critical if replacing an existing R-22 system, and to optimizing the performance,  efficiency and the savings potential of your new system.

    What is an air handler?

    An air handler is the inside portion of a central air conditioning or heat pump system and is responsible for the movement of the heated or cooled air throughout the area covered with the system. An air handler in combination with a heat pump performs the task of circulating both the hot and cold air through the desired area. Clean and safe air handlers in your home ensure that you and your family can have fresh and comfortable air all the year round. Contact us at Essential Air and we can have one of our knowledgeable technicians come to your home to give you a preliminary diagnostic of your system’s needs.

    How does your air conditioner work?

    • Short Version – Heat is removed from the air in your home, pumped outside, and given off to the outside air.
    • Longer Version – Warm air in your house is sucked into the return vents (the vents that are not adjustable), through the return ductwork system, and is then blown across a coil (the evaporator coil which sits on top of your furnace). The evaporator coil contains refrigerant (freon) which was pumped into your house from the outdoor air conditioning unit (the condensing unit). Like a dry sponge absorbing water, the refrigerant absorbs the heat out of the warm air. Once the heat is absorbed out of the air, the now cooled air is blown back through the supply ductwork system into your house through the supply vents (the vents that can be adjusted with the little knobs). The refrigerant, which has just absorbed the heat from your house, is then pumped to the outdoor condensing unit. The outdoor condensing unit operates in a similar fashion to the evaporator coil in your house. A fan pulls outside air across another set of coils (the condensing coils) where the air absorbs the heat out of the refrigerant. This is similar to wringing out the sponge and giving the water to the outside air. After this process, in which the refrigerant just gave the heat that was absorbed from your house to the outside air, the refrigerant is rejuvenated and is then sent back to the evaporator coil in your home to absorb more heat.

  • Heating System FAQs

    What temperature should I set my thermostat?

    What are the benefits of an energy audit?

    What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

    How often should I change my furnace air filter and what type should I use?

    Where is my air filter located?

    Where can I purchase air filters?

    What is priority service for Maintenance Agreement members?

    How do I know whether to replace or repair my heating equipment?

    How old is your furnace or boiler?

    What should I look for when choosing a new heating system?

    How much does a new heating system cost?

    What temperature should I set my thermostat?

    It’s up to you! Most people are comfortable with a setting of 68° to 72° but there are also a lot of people who are comfortable at 65° or 78°! Your comfort also depends on humidity levels. . We also find that many thermostats are inaccurate and a few degrees off – so the thermostat could display 72° when it’s really 68°. You can get a new thermostat or just set the thermostat to the temperature that feels comfortable –remember temperature is just a number! To save energy with some systems, you can set your temperature several degrees lower in the winter or higher in the summer when no-one is home or get a programmable thermostat that will do it for you.

    What are the benefits of an energy audit?

    An energy audit will show you where you can get the best returns on your initial investment in energy efficiency. Perhaps there are drafts that can be reduced, Or areas that need more insulation, Or an old, inefficient furnace that is throwing money out the chimney? You’ll get answers to these questions and many more with an energy audit.

    What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

    Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than the old familiar mercury thermostats. They allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat. You don’t have to remember to turn the thermostat down at night or when you leave. And if your schedule changes, you can easily override the programmed settings to keep your home warm and toasty.

    How often should I change the air filter in my furnace and what type should I use?

    While some special filters can be changed less frequently, most filter manufacturers recommend that filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month. The best recommendations, however, is to start with changing your filters once per month and inspect them. If they are pretty clean then try going two months and so on until you find the filter frequency that is best for your home. Make sure to always replace your filter with the same size as the original to filter ALL of the airflow. Make sure air can’t go over the top of or behind an improperly sized filter – it will cause big problems down the road.

    Where is my air filter located?

    Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, or in an attached filter case. If you cannot find the air filter, our service technician will be happy to show you where it is located and how to change it during your next annual tune-up.

    Where can I purchase air filters?

    Most hardware stores carry a large selection of the most basic filters. They are inexpensive, so buy several at a time to make sure you always have one on hand when needed. Essential Air Heating and Air Conditioning also carries a large variety of standard and high performance air cleaners and filters for anyone intereseted in filtering the air for your own personal health.

    What is priority service for Advantage Plan members?

    It’s simple really. When it’s really cold, we get lots of “no heat” calls. If you have signed up for an advantage maintenance plan, and you call with a “no heat” emergency, you get bumped to the front of the line for service. It’s like walking into a crowded restaurant with a filled seating area, requesting the next open table – and getting it!

    How do I know whether to replace or repair my heating equipment?

    We can’t give you a definite answer to this question. It’s a bit like trying to decide when to replace your old car. Here are some things to consider thou:

    • How old is your current furnace or boiler? If it’s more than 12 years old, you should think about replacement because old heating equipment is much less efficient than new equipment.
    • What is the history of your heating equipment? Has it needed frequent repairs? Is it noisy? Has it been well maintained or neglected over the years?
    • Are there any provincial or federal rebates available to help offset the cost of new equipment? Is attractive financing available? What is the payback from an investment in new high efficiency equipment?
    • Does your current system provide the level of comfort that you want in throughout your home?
    • How much will repairs cost now…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an old system running worth the time, money and inconvenience?

    What should I look for when choosing a new heating system?

    Here are some general things to keep in mind:

    • Choose an equipment manufacturer with a good reputation for quality and durability. Consumer Reports can be helpful.
    • Choose a high efficiency system for a more comfortable home and lower heating bills.
    • Make sure that your new equipment is correctly sized for your home and climate.
    • Finally, choose a reliable company for your installation. Talk to your friends and neighbors.

     

    How much does a new heating system cost?

    Sorry, we can only answer this question by visiting your home, learning about your needs and completing a thorough assessment of your existing heating equipment. A qoute over the phone is much like calling your Dr. and asking for a prescription without ever receiving a proper diagnosis.