11 Health Benefits of Air Conditioning

Everyone wants to know they’re living in a house that’s safe and healthy. One way to keep your home’s air healthy is by installing an air conditioner. There are many health benefits to air conditioning that you may not know about. 

1. Reduce High Humidity

The most important health benefit of air conditioning is reducing your home’s humidity. Living in a house that prevents high humidity creates a less damp home, as well as keeping you healthy. High humidity is linked to dust mites, mould, heatstroke and dehydration.

Although there are other methods to stay cool, owning an air conditioning system is the best to reduce high humidity.

2. Reduce Asthma Attacks

For those suffering from asthma, you want your home to be a safe haven, a place you can call a safe haven. One of the health benefits of air conditioning is it reduces the chances of asthma attacks. 

This is done by filtering dirty air that may contain dust mites, pollutants or allergins, as well as eliminating any dampness that can lead to mould. These are all symptoms of increasing asthma attacks.

Don’t neglect to change your air filters. By keeping the same air filter, you’re cycling dirt through your air conditioner back into your home. On average, you should be changing your air filters from 30 to 60 days.

3. Better Air Quality

Another reason to breathe easy is by installing air conditioning. From dust to bacteria, your indoor air can become a hazard to your health thanks to improper ventilation and overheating. You can develop coughs, colds, headaches and fatigue.

Your air conditioner is the Brita filter for your house by improving ventilation and controlling the temperature of your home. There are many other ways to improve your air quality but air conditioning is the best option.

4. Reduce the Risk Dehydration & Heat Stroke

Since dehydration’s cause is lack of water, one key factor that some forget to account for is sweat. Our sweat contains water from our bodies. The more you sweat, the more water you lose, and the more vulnerable you are to dehydration.

With heat stroke, you can obtain this illness when your body begins to overheat due to the surrounding temperature.

Both of these illnesses can be prevented by air conditioning. The cool air in your house will reduce sweating and lower your body temperature. Remember to stay cool on those crazy hot days.

5. Stop Insects & Parasites

People are looking for any method, tool or spell to put a stop to mosquito bites, ant invasions and house flies.

Not many know this, but your air conditioning reduces the number of insects and parasites. These pesky critters aren’t only annoying to deal with but also can transmit diseases.

A few ways air conditioners stop insects and parasites are by:

  • Cooling your house to create a cool atmosphere for insects, who desire a warm climate
  • Cooling your body temperature to make you less desirable for mosquitos, who enjoy warm body temperatures
  • Creating a dry atmosphere for insects, who desire damp atmospheres

6. Decrease Work Stress

When you’re working, the last thing you need is added stress from the heat of a hot day. You can become unfocused and stressed due to the temperature of a room.

Creating a good work environment allows your workers to get their job done without the stress of turning into a melted popsicle.

7. Count Sheep, Not Sweat

What’s worse than a nightmare? A hot, sweaty sleep. Tossing and turning in your bed, flipping your pillow, and feeling around for any sliver of cold not yet absorbed by your body heat.

When you’re not able to achieve REM sleep, the restlessness of the previous night will carry into your day and cause you to be more tired and grumpy you.

The best way to maintain a cool sleep is by owning an air conditioner. Using your air conditioner at night lowers your body temperature for a more restful and cool sleep.

8. Odours & Fumes

Whether it’s fumes, dirty air, cleaning chemicals, or expired milk, air conditioning helps keep those odours and fumes at bay. 

By cycling out the smelly air with clean air, you’re destroying any smells or chemicals that can affect your health. 

9. Mould Growth

Without air conditioning, your room can become damp and wet. Which, allows your room to be susceptible to mould. The health benefit of air conditioning is preserving a dry atmosphere and thwarting any trace of mould.

10. Better Living

Smile! Maintaining a room with cool air makes for a happier home. Instead of complaining about how hot it is, you can take time to appreciate whatever you’re doing indoors.

Prescribed Remedy: Air Conditioning

Our prescribed remedy for a healthier house is an air conditioner. The health benefits of air conditioning allow you to maintain peace of mind and focus on enjoying summer.

At Dr HVAC, we provide homeowners like you with efficient and top-notch air conditioning services. To learn more about our AC installation services, request a quote and see why it’s important to trust the doctor.

Interested in learning more about what Dr. HVAC can do for you?

Learn More About Our Air Conditioning Services

man-upset-expressing-his-worry

Why is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

An AC that’s not cooling your home is a big problem.

After all, that’s its one job.

When your AC doesn’t perform as it should, it’s frustrating, time-consuming, and very hot.

There are several reasons your air conditioner may be failing to perform. We’re going to walk through each one – and how best to fix it.

1. Your Thermostat Isn’t Cooperating

Your first stop is your thermostat.

You should make sure that your thermostat is not only set to ‘ON’ but that it is set to ‘COOL’. Test that it’s working by setting the thermostat several degrees cooler than the stated temperature. You want to feel that chill!

If you can hear the air conditioner running, but minutes later still don’t feel any cool air coming through the vents, there could be something wrong with your thermostat and its electrical wiring. Fixing that problem is best left to a professional.

Dr. HVAC’s Note: You should also make sure all your windows and doors are sealed shut, and your supply and return vents are open and unblocked. It’s little things like this that are easy to forget about but super easy to fix.

2. A Breaker Has Been Tripped

Dr. HVAC’s Note: This tip is only for those homeowners whose air conditioners are not running at all.

Your AC runs on electricity. No electricity going to your air conditioner means no cool air making your home a summer paradise.

It’s time to travel to the location of your breaker panel, and do a check. The breakers for your air conditioner should be clearly labelled. Flip them off and on again, and see if this makes a difference.

3. Your Air Filter is Clogged

Next stop: the air filter.

Just because your air filter is located in your furnace’s blower doesn’t mean it isn’t used by your air conditioner. Your furnace’s air handler is what pushes the cooled air through the filter, through your ductwork, and into your home.

Therefore, if your air filter becomes clogged with dirt and debris, it’ll act a lot like a cork in a bottle: little to nothing is getting past it.

We recommend checking your filter once a month, and changing it at least every 3 months – more often if you have hairy pets, allergies, or a lot of people living in your home.

Air filters can be found at local hardware and home stores.. Make sure you replace your current filter with one that is the same size.

4.Your Outdoor Unit is Coated in Dirt and Debris

Sensing a theme here? Dirt is no friend to an air conditioner.

Your air conditioner condenser is located outside your home, and left exposed to the elements when in use. After awhile, all that wind and rain is bound to blow some dirt and debris into it.

If there’s too much dirt, your condenser can’t perform the heat exchange process efficiently.

There are things you can do to help with this particular problem. For example, tidying up the landscaping around your condenser will help keep branches, bushes, and other vegetation from adding to the debris buildup. We recommend keeping about 46 centimetres of space clear on all sides of your condenser.

You should also wash your condenser regularly with water and soap. Gently wipe away dirt from the condenser fins, being very careful that they don’t break.

In the off season, make sure your condenser has a cover and it is secured tightly.

5. Houston, We Have a Mechanical Problem

While annual maintenance is an excellent want to reduce your risk of mechanical breakdowns, they can still happen.

Whether it’s a broken fan motor or compressor, a mechanical problem could be the reason your AC is not cooling properly.

If you suspect a mechanical problem, you should call us right away.

6. The Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner is Leaking

Air conditioners use continuously circulating refrigerant to cool air. Normally the level of refrigerant never changes and your air conditioner is perfectly fine.

If you spring a leak, that refrigerant level drops – and so does the amount of cool air you get.

Refrigerant leaks can be identified by ice buildup, hissing noises, or a noticeable decrease in cooling efficiency.

If you think you have a refrigerant leak, turn off your air conditioner and call us right away. This is a problem that should only be handled by experienced professionals.

7. Your AC Wasn’t Properly Installed

Unfortunately we see this all the time with both air conditioners and furnaces.

An improperly installed air conditioner just won’t provide the cool air you need in an efficient manner.

This is something you’ll notice after you get a new air conditioner. We can provide you with a second opinion, and do what we can to fix any potential problems.

Dr. HVAC’s Note: The size of your air conditioner is also incredibly important. If it’s too big or too small, you won’t be able to efficiently cool your home. Before you buy an air conditioner, meet with a qualified home specialist who can perform an evaluation and make recommendations.

8. Your Ductwork is Leaking

Any cracks or spaces in your ductwork will let cool air seep out and away. It’ll never reach you, and you’ll think your AC is not cooling your home.

In fact, it is – just not where and the way you want. That’s a waste of your money, and is incredibly frustrating.

We can perform a ductwork inspection, diagnose the problem, and provide recommendations for next steps.

9. Your Air Conditioner is Over the Hill

There comes a day when even the best air conditioner in the world just gets to be too old.

Generally after 15 years, you want to start paying close attention to how your air conditioner performs. If it gets to a point where you’re spend hundreds of dollars a year to keep it going, or your AC is not cooling your home at all, it’s time for a replacement.

The experts at Dr. HVAC can perform an in-home consultation and walk you through the latest models, making recommendations for your home and your needs.

Get Help from the Professionals at Dr. HVAC

When your AC is not cooling your home, the best thing to do is call in the experts. We’ll respond quickly, arrive on time, and get your cool air back as soon as possible.

After we get the cool air back, we can keep it that way with annual maintenance. A tune up each year will not only minimize the risk of breakdowns, but will increase the lifespan of your AC and save you money on your energy bills.

Receive My Free Repair Quote

Man-checking-time-on-watch

Should My Air Conditioner Run All the Time?

Long story short: no.

Your air conditioner should not run all the time.

But…

It depends on what you mean when you say ‘all the time’. Sometimes it’s normal for an AC to operate more frequently.

Let’s break it down.

Your Air Conditioner Should Run More than Normal When…

It’s hotter outside. The warmer the temperature is outside, the longer your AC will run to get your home to your desired temperature.

Longer runs times are good in these conditions: it means your air conditioner is working the way it should.

But even then, you should still be able to hear your air conditioner turn off and on as needed.

When You Should Be Concerned

There are a few indicators that all is not well in your air conditioner.

  • Your air conditioner never turns off. It’s literally running all the time.
  • Your energy bills are going through the roof, yet you aren’t operating your air conditioner any differently.
  • The air temperature doesn’t seem to be changing, no matter how low your thermostat goes.

If you’re noticing these problems (particularly the first one), it’s time to look for a problem.

What’s Causing My Air Conditioner to Run All the Time?

Several things can cause your air conditioner to run all the time.

1. Air Flow is Blocked

Your air conditioner needs to be able to breathe.

If air flow to or from your air conditioner is blocked, your air conditioner is going to struggle to work. That means it’s going to keep running.

Things that can restrict air flow to your AC include:

  • A dirty, clogged air filter
  • A bad motor
  • Ductwork leaks
  • Closed or blocked vents

You can test this theory by holding your hand up to an open vent. You’ll feel a cool but weak stream of air.

The first thing you should do is turn off your AC and change the air filter (located in your furnace). Then make sure all vents are clear of blockages.

If you’re still not noticing a difference, it’s time to call us.

2. Dirty Evaporator Coils

Refrigerant runs through the evaporator coils and absorbs the heat from the air in your home. When the evaporator coils are clean, this is a piece of cake.

But the more dirt and grime builds up on the evaporator coils, the harder it is for the refrigerant to absorb heat. All those layers create a barrier, and your AC just keeps running. Yet you don’t get any cooler.

This is something that is included in our annual tune ups, and should be left to the pros.

3. There’s a Refrigerant Leak

When you don’t have enough refrigerant, your AC runs all the time trying to make up the difference.

Refrigerant is never supposed to run out or need topping up. The only time it’s necessary? When there’s a leak.

You’ll know you have a leak if there’s icy buildup on your AC, your home isn’t getting any cooler, or your AC hisses at you.

If you do have a leak, get it fixed as soon as possible.

4. Your AC is Old and Needs to Be Replaced

An AC is not something that’s going to grow old with you. Most air conditioners that receive annual maintenance last approximately 15 years. After that, it’s time to upgrade.

As it ages, your air conditioner will naturally have to work a little harder to give you the same results. But an AC that runs all the time, is over 10 years old, and needs regular repairs is just costing you money.

We recommend you talk to our home comfort specialist about getting a new air conditioner.

5. Your Air Conditioner is the Wrong Size

This one is a bitter pill to swallow, because there’s only one way to fix it.

An air conditioner that is too small for your home will have to run constantly to keep it cool. This means more wear and tear on your AC. More wear and tear = more repairs and a shorter lifespan.

We’ve seen it countless times. Instead of getting a professional at-home consultation, homeowners are just given the same size air conditioner they had before in the latest model. But air conditioners are getting more efficient every year: what worked for you 10 years ago is not going to work for you today.

Unfortunately, the only way to permanently solve this problem is to get a properly-sized air conditioner, which costs a lot more money.

If you’re due for an air conditioner, choosing the right installation company is the first step to avoiding this problem.

Call the Dr. – It’s Time for a Tune Up

The best way to make sure your air conditioner is working as it should? Make a Dr.’s appointment.

Our air conditioner tune ups are thorough: we’ll go over more than 20 points of inspection to make sure that your air conditioner is in tip-top shape. And if you sign up for our platinum maintenance package, you’ll actually save money on the tune up costs!

Keep your AC running when it should by booking your appointment with us today.

I’d Like to Book My Appointment

fun ac facts

Air Conditioner Fun Facts

Nowadays, an air conditioner is a must in Toronto. You rarely see a home without it. We never even think of a time when there wasn’t AC.

But back when it was first invented, it was a huge step forward. It caused a lot of cool things to happen.

We’ve gathered a few air conditioner fun facts from then and now to show you just how much AC has done for home cooling everywhere.

1. Ice Power

When AC first started out, the output setting was measure in Ice Power, or how many blocks of ice it would take to produce the same amount of cooling power.

2. It Was Invented for Paper, Not People

Willis Carrier invented the AC in 1902 not to cool people down, but to reduce the humidity so that a printing company could get the ink to stick to the paper when it was too hot out.

3. AC Created ‘Summer Blockbusters’

Movie theatres were some of the first establishments to integrate air conditioning technology into their venues. People flocked to enjoy the films and the cool air, hence why movies were so popular in the summer.

Hollywood took note and released their biggest movies in the summer. And so was born the ‘summer blockbuster’, a term that is still used today.

4. Architecture Was the Original AC

Before AC, homes were built with high ceilings, breezeways and other features to achieve cooler air.

5. AC Spurred on Science

AC helped further scientific medical research. Without a consistently cool environment to work in, some medications and procedures would not have been possible.

6. We’re Programmed to Need It

AC is so good that if we lost it, it would be bad for us. Scientific studies show since the invention of AC, human tolerance for heat has gone done. We’re so used to a cool environment we can no longer handle heat as well as we used to.

7. U.S Uses as Much AC as Africa Uses Power

Each year, the U.S uses the same amount of energy to power air conditioners as Africa uses to power its entire country.

8. Summer Vacation Predates AC

Remember how exciting it was to have summer vacation? The idea was implemented before air conditioners were invented and it was too hot to learn. Happily, the practice stuck around.

9. What Happens In Vegas Would Have Happened Elsewhere

Without the invention of air conditioning, chances are Las Vegas would be in a northeastern part of America due to the high heat the city and surrounding states experience, particularly in the summer.

Populations in southern states like Nevada and Arizona didn’t spike until after the invention of AC, because then people were able to live there without having to combat the heat.

10. Driving In Style

Every car has an air conditioner now; we don’t think twice about it. But imagine how exciting it would have been to own the very first car to have air conditioning, which was made by Packard in the late 1930s.

11. AC in the Oval

The Oval Office in the United States installed air conditioning in 1929, right after the stock market crash and at the beginning of the Great Depression.

The system cost $30,000 to install. The president who got to experience it? Herbert Hoover.

12. The First Fully Air Conditioned Home

Charles Gates, heir to the barbed wire fortune, was the first person to have a home that was fully air conditioned. It was built in Minneapolis in 1913.

Unfortunately, due to his untimely death on a hunting trip before the house was completed, he never got to enjoy it.

AC Today

While we certainly don’t measure output in ice power, the basic principles remain the same as they were in 1903. Those principles are: lower the humidity, stay cool, and keep your machine well maintained so it is always up and running when you need it most.

Learn More About Air Conditioner Maintenance

family at home in summer

7 Smart Ways To Save Energy and Cut Air Conditioning Costs

Your air conditioner can increase your electricity bill by up to 50%,.

But you can lessen the impact of your AC by making some easy adjustments around your home. Simply follow these 7 steps and you’ll stay cooler without having to spend a fortune.

1. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a huge money-saver that will easily pay for itself in a single cooling season in many cases.

That’s because it never forgets to shut off the system when you’re not home, or adjust the temperature when you can get away with it. There are some wonderful new systems out there that allow you to manage your home’s temperature from your smartphone, so you can leave it off most of the day and turn it on half an hour before you get home.

A thermostat stops the compressor when the temperature in your home reaches a comfortable level, keeping the unit from working harder and using more energy. For maximum savings set your programmable thermostat to a higher temperature when you are not at home and lower it to 25° Celsius (78° Fahrenheit) when you’re indoors. If 25° sounds too hot, remember that your AC also removes a lot of the humidity from your air, so it will actually feel much cooler.

2. Clean Your AC Filters Regularly

This is the second most important thing you can do to reduce your electricity bills.

Even if your home is kept clean, natural dust and hair accumulation can clog your filter, making your air conditioning unit use more power to reach the temperature you set. This can send your electricity bills skyrocketing, so replace or clean your filters (if you have the washable kind) every few weeks.

3. Close All The Vents In The Lower Areas Of Your House

As you may remember from your science classes in school, heat rises and cool air falls. In your home, you may have noticed that the second story is the hardest part of your home to keep cool. Meanwhile, your basement always seems to be cooler.

Closing all the vents in lower areas of your home will redirect the cold air to warmer areas and keep the temperatures more even without consuming more energy.

4. Use Ceiling Fans for Air Circulation

Ceiling fans help offset the natural tendency for cool air to fall.

If you’re trying to save energy by keeping your home set to a slightly warmer temperature, they’re a great way to keep air circulating air while using much less energy. As well, they can actually make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler because they keep the air moving – it’s like a fresh breeze inside your home.

5. Schedule an HVAC Check Up Annually

HVAC technicians inspect and service the unit to ensure that it operates efficiently. They remove accumulated dirt, check for defects, service the unit, replace air filters if necessary and address problems that would otherwise grow into expensive repairs and replacements. Schedule a check up annually and you’ll increase the energy efficiency of your unit and lengthens the service life of your air conditioning system.

6. Seal Crevices and Cracks

You don’t need to be super handy to use a caulking gun to seal up the cracks and crevices around doors and windows. This prevents the cold air from escaping and keeps the hot air leaking from inside. DIY weather stripping for doors will also help ensure that you’re not paying to cool the outdoors.

7. Close The Drapes On the South and West Sides

Everyone knows that a car gets extremely hot when parked in the sun, but most people don’t know that the same thing happens to your home. This is due to sunlight entering through windows and converting to heat once inside. Keeping blinds and drapes shut on any windows facing south or west will mean you don’t have to pay to remove that extra heat.

Keep Cooling Costs Lower

With a little bit of effort, you can reduce the cooling costs for any kind of air conditioning system.

Learn more easy tips for keeping cooling costs under control

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Author Bio

Dan is the Digital Marketing Manager for Service Champions. He blogs about home improvement in his spare time.

Trane Comfort Specialist logo

How Hiring a Trane Comfort Specialist Helps You

Anyone with a truck and a toolbox can sell you a furnace or air conditioner, but very few of those one-person operations know how to do it right. Fewer still will be there for you if you ever have a problem.

With this kind of operation, if you ever have a question or need a repair, you’ll often find out that they’re “installation only” providers. In fact, you’re lucky if they even answer the phone!

While Trane focuses on building a dealer network of quality heating and cooling providers, they wanted to take this principle one step further.

That’s why the Trane Comfort Specialist (TCS) program was created. It holds companies like Dr HVAC to a higher standard, and keeps us accountable for how we treat you.

What Is a TCS?

A Trane Comfort Specialist is a heating and cooling company that has met Trane’s strictest standards, and agrees to fulfill Trane’s ongoing inspections, training, and other requirements as well.

Only TCS companies are entitled to display the TCS shield on their website, and appear as TCS qualified in the official Trane dealer directory.

Benefits to You

Why should you care that Dr HVAC has the TCS shield?

  1. Rest easy knowing you’ve got the Trane quality you paid for. Only specially-trained technicians know how to install Trane equipment so that it functions to its full efficiency, works reliably, and lasts as long as possible. Incorrect installation can cause operational issues and even damage your air conditioner or furnace.
  2. You’re covered by extra guarantees. While uncertified companies can repair individual parts, TCS companies can give you more comprehensive protection:
    • Performance Guarantee: if your Trane doesn’t work as designed, Dr HVAC will give you a new unit for free.
    • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: if a year has passed and the unit is still not satisfactory, Dr HVAC will give you a full refund.
    • You get excellent customer service – guaranteed. These days everyone says they give excellent customer service, but few actually deliver.
  3. If something goes wrong, you’re covered by liability insurance. TCS companies are required to have full liability insurance in case of the unexpected.
  4. Four hour response time: if you need help, you won’t be left hanging.
  5. Your 10 year parts warranty from Trane is solid – but only TCS dealers have the ability to go beyond the standard Factory Warranty. In certain circumstances, TCS dealers can claim parts beyond the 10 year warranty. For example, if your AC fails a month after your warranty expired, only a TCS dealer can ensure you’re still covered!

We feel all these things make good sense – they’re how we would want to be treated in your shoes.

What it Takes to Become a TCS

Only 17 Trane dealers in Ontario hold the TCS designation. Charles Cotton, a Trane Territory Manager in the GTA, talks about the program’s strict criteria.

“Many companies seek this designation, but not all can be approved. We’ve made the requirements hard to meet on purpose,” says Charles.

He adds, “The Trane Comfort Specialist program allows homeowners to rest easy knowing that their installation is done right. We put a lot of work into developing our equipment, and we want to encourage companies to keep their training up to date as technology improves.”

In order to get a Trane Comfort Specialist certification, a company has to meet a list of qualifications three pages long.

On that list are items like:

  1. Minimum two technicians on staff full time – not just subcontractors.
  2. Qualified customer service reps must be available to answer the phones.
  3. Attending all training courses scheduled every year.
  4. Must agree to random facility inspections and random inspections of work done in customer homes.
  5. Honouring all Trane promotions, including financing, trade-in rebates, etc. Must also participate in current government and utility rebate programs.
  6. Must have excellent record with the Better Business Bureau and pass spot-checks of other online reviews.
  7. Full liability insurance to protect customers’ homes.
  8. Must pass at least 30 customer satisfaction surveys each year.

The list goes on.

Every year, all TCS companies have to meet a minimum quality score. If this score is not met, the TCS certification can be revoked.

Dr HVAC is Proud to Be a Trane Comfort Specialist

At Dr HVAC, it makes us proud that we can meet the exacting standards of a company like Trane. We fully intend to ensure that we continue to meet their standards…and yours!

Find out more about Trane air conditioners

Find out more about Trane furnaces

man relaxing in living room summer

Ductless and Mini Split Air Conditioners vs Central Air Conditioners

If you’re considering a new AC system you may be wondering if it’s better to get central air conditioning or one of those new ductless systems you’ve heard about.

The answer, of course, will depend on your personal situation. But don’t worry, we’ve listed the main factors to consider below, and once you’ve read them you should be able to figure it out pretty easily.

So What is a Ductless System Anyways?

ductless mini split diagram
Ductless air conditioner – for image credit please see below.

In case you don’t know, a ductless or mini split air conditioning system is a lot like a central air conditioner system. They both consist of two units: a condenser that sits outside the home, and an evaporator/air handler that sits inside the home. Coolant passes between the two units, carrying the heat from indoors to the outdoor unit where it is released.

With a central air system, however, the cool air is sent through the air handler on your furnace into the your ductwork, where it is carried into the rest of the house. A ductless system uses slim cable between the condenser and a box on your wall, and no ductwork is involved and vents are not needed on the floor.

How to Decide Which One is Right for You

Here are some of the questions we ask our customers to help them decide which type is the best match for their home and needs.

1. Do You Have Existing Ductwork?

This is the main decision maker for most people. If you have ductwork in your home already, it will be more cost effective to stay with a central system.

If you have no ductwork, it will cost much less to install a ductless system “from scratch”. There will also be much less construction mess: all you need is a 3-inch hole in the wall to run the cable through. Ductless systems are also great for homes with new additions that aren’t connected to the ductwork that runs through the rest of the house.

2. Will You Mind Looking at Your Air Conditioner?

When you’re indoors, a central AC is invisible. A ductless system, however, requires a vent in the ceiling or slim unit on the wall. While the manufacturers go to a lot of trouble to make the boxes as stylish as possible, there is still something to see.

If you’re very particular about your décor, a central system may be a better choice for you. But these homeowners found some pretty inventive ways of disguising them.

mitsubishi ductless air conditioner in living room

3. What Size is Your Home?

Most ductless systems just plain don’t have enough power to cool a large home. If you home is larger (2,500 square feet and up) go with central. From 2,000 – 2,500 square feet, the greater power of a central air system will pay off, and you’ll probably get better efficiency out of a central air system.

If your home is 2,000 square feet or less, consider ductless.

4. Are You Sensitive to Noise?

As a general rule, ductless systems are quieter.

If noise levels matter to you, be sure to ask your technician for the noise level (in decibels) for any systems you’re considering. Some ductless systems are louder and some central systems are pretty quiet.

5. What is Your Cooling Budget Like?

A good ductless air conditioning system will start around a couple of thousand dollars for a single indoor unit (installed), but can go higher if you need multiple indoor units or wish to buy the highest energy efficiency model available. In general, central air systems are more expensive for comparable models, although some top of the line ductless systems will be more expensive than a low-efficiency central AC.

Unfortunately we can’t print exact prices right here because there’s such a huge range it would be meaningless. Also, sometimes we have a special or rebate happening that will reduce the price.

The good news is that we offer some excellent financing options, so you can get the system you need for about $40 per month (sometimes a lot less) no matter what you’re getting.

6. How Important is Energy Efficiency to You?

Now this is a bit of a loaded question, because with central air the quality of the ductwork and the installation job play a huge role in helping a central system reach its efficiency potential.

For example, if the ductwork wasn’t designed well (more twists and turns than needed) or if it isn’t sealed properly and air is leaking, the efficiency of a central system drops. In terms of installation quality, the technician has to do things like ensure the right level of refrigerant, a level surface for the outdoor unit, the system matches the air handler, etc.

All that being said, the best ductless systems have a higher potential energy efficiency (up to 27 SEER) than the best central systems (21 SEER).

7. Do You Need Individual Zoning Control?

If you have some areas of your home that get way hotter than others, or different family members who like different temperatures, a zoning system is the answer.

You can get zone control in both central or ductless, but it’s cheaper with ductless. This is because to get zoning control with a central air system, you need upgraded ductwork with internal dampers.

8. Do You Need Supplemental Heating as Well?

Some ductless systems aren’t just an air conditioner, they are what’s called a ‘heat pump’. That means when it gets cold outside it can reverse direction and bring warm air in (as long as it doesn’t drop below about -7° C).

This can be helpful if you want to use your furnace less, as heat pumps are incredibly efficient.

Questions? We’re Here for You!

While this general guide should help get you started, it’s always best to talk to a heating and cooling professional to make sure you’re getting all the facts as they relate to your exact home.

Whichever system you’re leaning towards, we’ll make sure you get one that’s matched to your home size and will get you the level of comfort control you are looking for.

Learn More About Our Air Conditioner Installation Services

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Solar Panels

Solar-Powered Air Conditioning is Coming

We all love our air conditioners, but it takes a lot of power to keep them going, as we know from our electricity bills. There’s an environmental cost too, as Ontario still uses fossil fuels to generate electrical power. Every year in the summer as the air conditioners switch on, the power grid strains to keep up.

But keeping cool isn’t just about personal comfort – it’s also interwoven with our entire economy.

Imagine if you’re the owner of any kind of business where you need to keep equipment cool. The heat output of a room full of computers, a manufacturing facility or a restaurant is huge. And when the electricity grid goes down, as it did in the 2003 blackout, it meant that most businesses had to temporarily shut down. The estimated economic impact of the blackout was between $7 billion and $10 billion.

Cooling isn’t just a luxury anymore, it’s an essential.

The good news is that better cooling alternatives may be right around the corner, and at Dr HVAC we’re doing our part. Dr HVAC owner and chief technician Brendon Aldridge has teamed up with two groups of engineering students to build a working model of his solar-powered cooling unit. Once completed, it is expected that it will be way more efficient than anything available on the market today.

As early as summer 2016, the new machine should be ready for testing. Then we’ll know how efficient it will be and we can take the next steps to bring it to market.

Using the Sun to Keep Cool

The new cooling unit will not only save a ton of energy, there are other benefits. It will work without a lot of moving parts, which means a lot less to break down. It will also be almost noiseless. The noise you hear from most air conditioners is from the compressor, and the new unit won’t have one. It will even be able to work without producing harmful byproducts.

How Does Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Work?

The new solar AC will cool by taking advantage of one of the fundamental principles of matter: when a substance changes state, energy (in the form of heat) is either released or used up.

For example, when a liquid turns to a gas, energy is released in the form of heat. You see this whenever you boil water on the stove. But when a substance changes back from a gas to a liquid, energy is absorbed. Again, because the energy is in the form of heat this can create a cooling effect.

Depending on the substance and how it behaves in different temperatures, you can either force this process by applying energy, or you can allow it to happen naturally. Water, for example, will evaporate on its own at room temperature, provided the air isn’t already saturated with moisture.

All air conditioners (including the refrigerators in our kitchens) use the energy released by a cycle of heating and cooling to cool our homes. Most of them use a chemical called a refrigerant that changes state more easily. The difference lies in the fact that Brendon’s design won’t need a chemical refrigerant, just water warmed by the heat of the sun.

Here is a very simple explanation of how the new solar powered AC will work:

  1. Heat from the sun is used to warm water.
  2. As the water warms up, it starts to evaporate faster.
  3. The airborne water molecules are pumped to a cooling area, where they are exposed to a specially coated surface. The surface encourages the gas to cling, where it liquifies very quickly and cools down.
  4. The cooled water is circulated back to the heating chamber to be reused.

There is no electricity used in the cooling process. The only electricity that’s needed is a small amount to keep the water pump working to circulate the water around from the heating area to the cooling area.

An Idea Is Born

Brendon_Aldridge_Owner_of_Dr_HVAC_2

“I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of free energy,” Brendon says. “I know it’s not supposed to be possible to get completely free energy, but even if we come closer it would still help.”

Brendon has always loved following the progress of solar power. While solar isn’t efficient enough to power everything we use yet, he was really interested in how it keeps making baby steps forward. Brendon took courses in solar power and kept following the engineering advances of teams around the world.

In 2007, Brendon started sketching and tinkering, and coming up with a small tabletop model of a way to use the heat of the sun to create a cooler indoor environment. His first idea was using solar power to heat water.

The Dream Takes Off

As a busy business owner, Brendon didn’t always have the time he wanted to devote to his project. But he didn’t give up. He joined the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) which encouraged him to find other ways to turn his idea into a reality. From there he learned about the RIC – Research Innovation Commercialization Centre. Through this program Brendon was put in touch with a couple of teams of engineering students who could help.

The RIC Centre has a rigorous control process to make sure ideas are valid before they are handed out to students. The colleges involved have to approve them as well. A board has to review the idea first, and after approval student teams have to find them interesting enough to work on.

Luckily for Brendon, two colleges – George Brown and Sheridan – have approved the idea. The students from George Brown will be working on a smaller version, and Sheridan will be building a larger scale model. Currently the George Brown engineering team is almost finished the CAD design, with completion scheduled for December.

Dr_HVAC_Solar_Powered_Air_Conditioner

By spring, the new models should be ready for testing as the sun gets stronger.

An Idea With Potential

It’s ironic that the greatest source of energy we have, the sun, can be difficult to harness and use. Capturing it isn’t always efficient. Plants use sunlight to fuel themselves, but they don’t move around much. It takes animals, who consume a lot of plants, to really take advantage of the sun’s power.

With human understanding of the laws of nature, that is starting to change. With ingenuity, hard work and time, we’ll soon be able to use the heat of the sun to help keep us cool.

Check Out How it’s Going on the Goldsun Website

Oldest Air Conditioning Contest Winner 2015

Oldest Air Conditioner Contest Winner Revealed!

Dr HVAC is pleased to announce the winner of our 2015 Oldest Air Conditioner contest: Len DiSalvia! Here’s a video of Dr HVAC owner Brendon Aldridge presenting the freshly installed Trane to Len.

Len wins a brand new Trane XR13 air conditioning unit. It’s EnergyStar rated, and nice and quiet. At SEER 14.50, it provides a nice level of energy efficiency, and is built to last with the famous Trane reliability.

The Trane will replace his old AC, which was the oldest unit that was still running of all the entries. It turned out to be over 30 years old. When we switched it on to verify it was still working (which was required by the contest rules) we were amazed to see it was actually still cooling his home.

While it is impressive that Len’s old air conditioner was still running, it had been breaking down fairly frequently and Len was excited to hear he’d won a replacement.

When we called Len to let him know he had won, he said, “ No way, awesome!”. He was even more thrilled when we arrived to remove his old air conditioner and install his new one.

Len Will Enjoy Great Energy Savings

Not only will Len’s new air conditioner provide reliable performance and save money on repair costs, it will help him save money on energy too. Ontario’s energy costs are expected to rise by 68% by 2032, with the biggest jumps coming in the next 5 years. And that’s including the projected energy surplus.

We did some calculations, and it looks like Len’s new air conditioner is about 47% more efficient than his old one. He should save about $3,614.00 on electricity costs over the next 5 years even if the cost of electricity doesn’t rise at all. (We used the average rate, assuming he would use his AC evenly throughout mid-peak, off-peak and on-peak hours).

Once again, congratulations Len from everyone here at Dr HVAC, and enjoy your new air conditioner!

Humidity caused by high relative humidity

5 Overlooked Reasons Why You Need Air Conditioning For Your Toronto Home

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Toronto summers are more tolerable when you’ve got air conditioning. We all know that feeling of stepping out of a hot day into an air conditioned home: comfort.

How bad is the problem? Well, in Toronto the outdoor humidity can climb as high as 94%. That’s a far cry from the recommended humidity of around 30%-50%. To put that 94% number in perspective, in an average summer, according to Tarion, most houses will see 7,300 litres of water pass through them, just from humidity.

Add to that the fact that relative humidity (RH), which is a more accurate measurement of how hot something feels gets much worse during the summer because of the interaction between heat, pressure, and water. In other words, 60% humidity in the winter does not feel like 60% humidity in the summer. Instead, the temperature difference is more pronounced that it would be without the humidity. And for many, that’s reason enough to invest in air conditioning. However, it’s not the only reason.

In fact, far more pressing for some are the health and property risks that come with Toronto’s unbearable humidity, something that air conditioners help to mitigate. So here are five more ways that air conditioners help us in everyday life.

1. Humidity Causes Damage To Your House and Belongings

A few weeks ago, the Telegraph reported that damage had befallen one of Raphael’s priceless works of art. The culprit? A faulty air conditioning unit. It’s truly a shame that so much damage can be done just because the importance of air conditioning wasn’t recognised. Interestingly, it was the popularity of the painting that created the problem, as hundreds of warm and humid bodies crowded around it, something the designer of the air conditioner did not correctly account for.

That’s a perfect example of how small deviations in heat and humidity can cause enormous damage to objects. It’s for the same reason that guitars and other sensitive items or even your kitchen cabinets must be kept away from high (and low) humidity conditions: certain materials are very sensitive to it. There are many horror stories to point to, but what is clear is that ignoring your humidity levels can put your furniture and belongings in serious danger. If you ever want to move, it can also lower the resale value of your home.

2. Humidity Brings Unwanted Guests into Your Home

Health Canada sees humidity as a major factor in pest control. According to some studies, dust mite infestations are often cured completely simply by reducing the humidity below 50%.

In addition, high humidity levels increase organic decay which bugs and all manner of things love. Think of it this way: by letting humidity levels rise in the summer, you’re providing a major food source to the neighbourhood’s small animals. They’re going to visit, and when they see the humidity levels in your home, they’ll want to stay.

3. Humidity Can Cause Toxicity in your Home

It’s scary but true: water is going to draw some toxins out of your furniture and home. In fact, higher humidity levels increase the rates at which dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde seep out of things and into the air.

These chemicals are found in many things: couches, lamps, the metal in your stove — it’s very difficult to have a modern life without them. So when you live in a home without an air conditioner, you’re taking a risk, and likely taking more of these chemicals into your system.

Additionally, many moulds are only found in places with high humidity. Mould needs water to grow, and if a room is humid, you’ll usually start seeing mould spores take root pretty quickly. Mould and humans often do not get along, as many moulds can be toxic to humans.

4. Humidity Can Make You Sick

And that brings us to one of the biggest reasons we can think of to have an air conditioner. People have a general sense that low humidity in the winter is bad for your health, but did you know that high humidity can also wreak havoc with your immune system?

In some cases, the health problems are the result of allergies to the increased levels of dirt and pests in the air, but many people may simply be having a normal human reaction to increased levels of mould spores in the air. Many doctors will recommend that their patients who experience respiratory issues minimize the humidity in their home, usually with an air conditioner.

5. Humidity Can Make You Unhappy

For many years, scientists have been suspicious that humidity levels are correlated in some way with mood. In 1975, Persinger et al. showed that there is a significant relationship between high humidity levels and low mood. But let’s explore that idea a little more.

It seems likely that, since high humidity causes many negative experiences for many people (see reasons above), people just naturally feel less happy because their lives are that much worse. Plus, how often have you been on a hot bus and just felt miserable?

Air Conditioners Are Good For You

The bottom line is this: humidity, low or high, is bad for you. Air conditioners make it possible to control the extremes of Toronto humidity, and thereby allow you to have a bit more control over your health. And remember you did it to stay healthy!

About DR HVAC

We are experts in Air Conditioning , Furnaces and Air Quality. We Service the following Toronto areas: Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Milton,  Peel,  Maple, Concord, Woodbridge, Caledon.

For more information, call us at: (905) 457-4425 or

Request a Free Quote Online

An old Air Conditioner

WIN a New AC in Our Oldest Central Air Conditioner Contest

This month, Dr. HVAC is turning his stethoscope toward the rich history of the Greater Toronto Area. We’re looking for Peel and Halton’s oldest central air conditioner! Why? Because we love old air conditioners, and we want to give you a brand new one in exchange.

Send us Your Pics

We’re not looking for just any old air conditioners. Your poor old air conditioner has to be still running. We don’t want just a pile of rubble.

Once we’ve found it, we’ll trade you for a powerful new one. The winner will get a brand new air conditioner courtesy of Trane worth about $3500.

For the Love of Air Conditioners 

We’re so excited. We can’t wait to see how old all your air conditioners are! We’ll all gather around the photos and go “ooooh…” and “ahhhhh,” and “how is that still running?”

Once a we’ve narrowed down the list to only the oldest of the old, we’ll visit every AC ourselves and appraise them. We’ll use forensic science on it, and figure out its exact age. The winner must legitimately have the oldest running central air conditioner of the entrants.

So, Peel and Halton, show us what old thing you have cooling your home. We can’t wait to see what it looks like, or even hear what it sounds like. It’ll probably sound something like, “dagnabbit,” “get off my lawn,” and “where are my slippers?” What an old codger!

How to Enter 

Before you do anything else, head down to the basement or walk outside and use your phone to snap a pic of your air conditioner. Next, email your picture to info@drhvac.ca, or just tweet it at us @_DRHVAC. If your air conditioner is old enough, trust us, we’ll be able to tell by looking at it.

What are you waiting for? Win that brand new Trane Air Conditioner, Peel and Halton! We know you can do it!

Contest closes Friday, June 12th 2015. No purchase necessary. For more details check out the image below. Good luck, and may the oldest AC win! 

old-ac-contest

eco-friendly air conditioned home

Ways to Stay Cooler Naturally and Save

Air conditioners make life so much better in summer, but we are often asked if they are bad for the environment.

The answer is no. Today’s air conditioner are more eco-friendly that the old CFC-using models of the 1980s. The problem with CFCs is that they depleted the ozone layer. But now, air conditioners use refrigerants that are WAY better. Called R-410A or Puron, they are virtually harmless.

The only potential problem with air conditioners is that they do use energy. If you use them wisely, however, they don’t have to use much. With electricity bills soaring in Ontario, many people are making it a priority to use their air conditioner as little as possible. The good news is that there are lots of ways to reduce your cooling costs by keeping your home cooler to begin with.

Add Landscaping

Planting trees around your house will provide shade that can add up to big savings. While it does take many years to see the benefit, a few trees between the sun and your home will pay off significantly.

There are other benefits too – adding trees and other landscaping to your property can increase the value of your home by up to 28%. Just make sure you research and find the right tree for your size of property and the best location to plant them- you don’t want roots interfering with your plumbing, your gas line, or your foundation.

If adding trees doesn’t make sense in your yard, shade the outdoor unit of your air conditioner. Called a condenser, its job is to disperse the heat removed from the inside of your home. The cooler you keep your condenser, the better it can do its job. As long as the condenser has a foot or two of open space on every side, you can add fencing or shrubs to keep it shaded.

Keep Southern and Western Exposure Windows Shaded

You know what it’s like when you get into a car that’s been sitting in the sun for a few hours. Well, your home experiences the “hot car effect” too. Called “passive solar gain”, it’s all about sunlight getting in through windows, heating up the air inside, which then has nowhere else to go.

You can reduce passive solar gain by keeping blinds or drapes closed on any windows that face south or west.

Change What You Eat

In summer when the heat is on, you don’t need to add to it.

Instead of using your stove or oven, change your meal plan so you’re eating more healthy salads, fresh fruit and other cool meals. If you must have heated foods, consider using your microwave instead, or treat yourself to a restaurant meal. And of course, nothing says summer like an outdoor barbecue!

Avoid Using Other Heat-Making Appliances

Use your clothes dryers, hair dryers, and irons in the evening or early morning. And if it is really hot, why not use the outside clothesline and eliminate the clothes dryer altogether? On the light side, use LED light bulbs which generate less heat than incandescent light bulbs do.

Rearrange Your Furniture

If you have couches, long drapes or other furniture blocking vents, move things around so that there’s no interference with the airflow in your home.

Maintenance Matters

Keeping your air conditioner in good working order will mean it can perform more efficiently. A yearly service check will also find small problems before they become large ones and extend the lifespan of the machine.

Find Out More About the Benefits of Air Conditioner Tune Ups

 

 

Family enjoying amazing benefits of fully functioning air conditioning system

How Your Air Conditioner Helps Your Health And Well Being

As I’m writing this piece, I am enjoying the amazing benefits of my properly installed, fully functioning air conditioning system.

Being cool and comfortable enhances my concentration level. And as I’m also asthmatic, I can positively tell that my air conditioning unit is vital for my health as well as well being. For example, when I recently suffered a particular nasty asthma attack and had to call 911, where did I wait for the ambulance? You got it right, as close to my HCAV system as I could.

Here are some benefits of having a properly functioning air conditioning system at your place.

Keeping Humidity in Check

Without a properly functioning air conditioning system at my place, I would certainly get sick more often and so could you. Studies show that humidity levels of 50% or greater can trigger asthma attacks. One theory says that very humid air is heavier and therefore harder to breathe.

All I know from experience is that I am more likely to have an asthma attack if the humidity gets too high.

Filtering Irritants

The other way air conditioners help is through filtration systems that remove asthma triggers from the air. Mould, dust mites, and fungus can all bring on asthma attacks, and make them more severe. As a side benefit, viruses and bacteria are filtered out too, as long as you have the appropriate filter in place.

Staying Comfortable and Getting Rest

In Toronto, our summers are hot. As we all know, if it’s too hot it’s impossible to sleep.

The white noise from your air conditioning system can help you sleep better at night. If you live in a place where you are constantly disturbed by neighbours and traffic, your AC system can help mask these annoying sounds. You’ll have a better chance at a peaceful night’s sleep…which is also essential for your health.