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Frequently Asked Questions About Home Heating And Cooling Systems

Very Interesting…

To most homeowners, the last thing, if at all, on their overflowing “to do ” lists is to study how their home heating and cooling system operates. More common than not, home owners have very little knowledge about the system they rely on each and every day. A consistent temperature throughout a home is necessary for obvious comfort reasons but it also helps to prevent damage due to freezing, humidity, air quality and more.  This topic may seem boring but being well informed of the operation of the furnace and air conditioner not only assists you in making informed decisions but also saves you money. Here are some answers to common questions:

Question 1: What does home heating and cooling in Calgary mean?

In the industry there are many types of heating and cooling systems. Each has their pros and cons. Some  are for large buildings, some for one room only, some are for very hot sunny regions while others are for locations that experience frigid temperatures.

Generally, for the homes in Calgary, the heating and cooling needs would be best served by one or more furnaces and one or more air conditioners depending on the amount of stories and the size of the home.

Question 2: Do all furnace companies in Calgary install and service both furnaces and ac units?

The short answer is no. Keep in mind both heating and cooling systems are for the most part interconnected. It is always a good idea to use a company that supplies, installs, services and repairs both furnaces and air conditioners “in-house”. This means that the company uses their own technicians to perform not only the original install of both systems (heating or cooling), but if there is a problem with either system or you require servicing, they are able to address the issue properly and efficiently.

Question 3: How much are heating and cooling repairs?

The cost of Repairs involve a lot of factors that may not always be obvious to the homeowner. Some of the factors that could affect the price of furnace repairs are:

  • The type of repair to be performed.
  • The brand of equipment and availability of parts.
  • The time of day, year or season of the repair.
  • The complexity of having the repair completed….is it in a crawl space or attic.
  • Whether the repair is scheduled or emergency.
  • The company you choose to perform the repair.
  • And many more….

Choosing a company that can arrive at your home and give you a price upfront, before the repairs are started, is always a logical solution. This will give you the information and pricing  you need to know before you allow them to proceed.

Question 4: Should I repair or replace my furnace and/or air conditioner?

This is a question that many homeowners throughout Calgary ask themselves when facing a potential repair, especially when the cost of the repair is substantial.  Use the following list of questions to assist you in your decision making process:

  • What is the cost of the repair?

If the cost of the repair is very minimal or just regular maintenance, a new furnace or ac unit may not be the answer. If the repair is substantial you may want to review the rest of this list before making your final decision..

  • How old is your equipment?

The heating and cooling equipment in your home work very hard each day and may last for many years. Calgary, because of the mountains, has very harsh winters that fluctuate from double digit lows to double digit highs in a matter of days and the summers are just as unpredictable.. This erratic climate can be hard on your home heating/cooling systems. Knowing how old your equipment is may be  helpful in determining how much longer you have left. Try not to spend good money on a bad furnace.

  • What brand/make/model is your furnace?

This may seem like a very specific, technical question but it may be very helpful. There are brands that are manufactured for a price point only, while there are others that are designed for quality and longevity. Similarly there are models within the manufacturers product lines that are better then another model from the same manufacturer. The take away from this is that if you have a top of the line make and model you may decide to pay to repair instead of replacing. Conversely if you have an economy model from a defunct manufacturer, you may want to replace instead.

  • What is your budget?

When deciding how to proceed, one factor that affects people more than all the others is cost. The cost of a new furnace or air conditioner may be the overriding rule that dictates the final decision but keep this in mind…You always want to choose the best decision using all the information at hand. Sometimes you may be throwing good money after bad if you have a repair to an unreliable, old or problematic unit. If you currently do not have the full amount for a necessary replacement, most reputable furnace companies can offer on the spot financing with very manageable payments.

Make sure to do your research and feel free to get your furnace specialist to advise you and possibly answer some of the questions listed above. Just remember to choose wisely. Your furnace is a large investment. A good decision will produce good results for a long time.

Question 5: How to Prevent Furnace Problems?

The most common problems with residential furnaces can include:

  1. Strange noises– These can be caused by an imbalanced bent fan blade, or a foreign object getting into the system, excessive buildup in the blower compartment or even an animal that has made a nest seeking warmth. These can be prevented by keeping the unit and ducting clean and the immediate area around vents and intake pipes clear of debris such as leaves, storage clutter or toys.
  2. Loss of power– The furnace in your home requires electricity to operate. Normally there should be a dedicated breaker for your unit. This ensures that your heat should not be affected by the use of other electrical appliances within your home. You do not want to lose power to the furnace due to someone using a hair dryer in another room. Have a professional check to see if your furnace has its own dedicated circuit.

Keep in mind also Batteries in your thermostat should be replaced regularly to prevent a loss of heat in your home.

  1. Odor– If you smell any odors coming from your equipment you should contact a professional immediately to determine the next step. Odors can originate from many items  including mildew, excessive buildup, overheating etc. This issue should be taken seriously and the problem identified by a professional and resolved.
  2. Not enough heat– Always keep furniture, area rugs, appliances away from heat vents and return air openings. This allows the warm air to circulate properly throughout your home. Blocking or restricting the flow causes one or more rooms to be cooled below the desired temperature.
  3. Have your furnace company’s  number close by

If any of these problems or others become your problem, you’ll want to contact a furnace company located in Calgary. It is best to have someone you trust so you can rely on their advice.

A company that has “set pricing” or “pricing by the job” is an asset, not all companies do. You will be able to review the work to be performed and the pricing before giving them the go ahead. Remember that “emergency no heat” problems happen when you least expect it, so make sure they have 24hr service.

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