What to consider when shopping for a new air conditioner

When you make the decision to replace your old central air conditioner in Hamilton, there are a few things to consider. We are going to touch on two of those considerations; size and SEER of the unit. Let’s concentrate on proper sizing first. An oversized unit will be expensive and inefficient to operate. An undersized unit won’t be able to get the job done and will not provide the comfort you desire. The sizing of the units cooling capacity also has an effect on the ability to properly dehumidify the air.

An over-sized air conditioner will quickly cool the air, without running long enough to operate at peak efficiency or dehumidify the air. This creates a cold and clammy feeling. An undersized unit can result in uncomfortably warm rooms even though the air conditioner is constantly running. This reduces its lifespan and creates high energy bills. A properly sized air conditioning unit cannot be determined by simply calculating the square footage of your Hamilton home. For instance; a home’s construction, insulation values and amount and quality of windows are just a few other determining factors.

Let’s move on to SEER and how it can affect your decision on the purchase of your new air conditioner? First of all, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient a given air conditioner is. Simply put, you will most likely pay more for a higher SEER rating at purchase, but it will use less energy to run, which saves you money on operating costs over the lifespan of the unit. A little more cost upfront, can save you a lot in the long term.
When you combine proper sizing, with the energy efficiency you desire, you will be much happier with your purchase.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping families in the greater Hamilton area comfortable for over 20 years. We carry a variety of products and are always happy to assist those who require heating and cooling services.

It’s time to get ready for spring

The arrival of spring often goes hand in hand with spring cleaning in Hamilton.  After what seems like an endless winter, many of us will declutter, weed and feed the lawn, plant shrubs and flowers and wash our windows and siding. But, do you prepare your home for spring? There are some things we should inspect and others that require maintenance when the winter season gives way to warmer weather. Preparing a checklist is a good way to make sure your homes gets the necessary attention it requires. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind each spring.

  • Clear the gutters – Make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves, branches or other debris before the spring rain starts.
  • Have your air conditioner serviced – Have you’re A/C tuned-up before the warm weather hits. A tune-up will keep it running efficiently and may uncover problems winter can create. For instance, mice and spiders like to nest in outdoor units during winter, which can cause wiring and connection issues.
  • Inspect the roof – A visual inspection from the ground can sometimes uncover lost or broken shingles as a result from inclement winter weather.
  • Duct Cleaning – Spring is a great time to have your ductwork inspected and cleaned. Winter weather causes us to keep windows closed for months on end and continually recirculate stale air. Don’t forget to have your dryer venting checked as well. Although duct cleaning is not necessarily an annual procedure, if it has been more than 3-4 years since the last time the ducts were cleaned, it is likely time to get them done again.
  • Inspect and repair walkways and steps – Inspect your walkways and steps to make sure they have not broken or been heaved unevenly by frost and ice.
  • Change outdoor light bulbs – Check all outdoor bulbs and replace any burnt out ones with energy saving bulbs.

Langton ClimateCare has been serving the Hamilton and surrounding area for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on providing service that is “second to none”.

Prepare your home before you leave on vacation

Many people suffer the “winter blues” and can’t wait to head somewhere south for a taste of warm weather when the cold has become overwhelming in Hamilton. We plan a nice vacation, making sure no detail has been overlooked. Many of us make a list of things we need for our winter getaway, checking off each item prior to locking the front door and heading to the airport. We pull out of the driveway in our car, or a taxi, and take one last look over our shoulder to make sure we didn’t leave any lights on. Nope, no lights left on, so off we go without another thought of our home until on the flight home, when we can’t wait to crawl back into our own bed.

Is there anything else we could do to help protect our home before we leave? Here are some tips on preparing your home for your winter getaway.

  • Turn off the main water supply valve. This can help prevent flooding while you are away. Drain some of the water in the lines to help prevent frozen pipes should the furnace fail.
  • Set the water heater to “vacation” or “off”.  On a gas water heater, you can set it on” vacation” or the lowest temperature setting. For an electric water heater, turn off the breakers at the Electrical box. This will save energy while you are away.
  • Have your furnace inspected. A proper tune-up and inspection of your heating system may uncover an issue that could turn into a problem while you are on vacation. Better to have it repaired before you leave, then discover you have no heat when you get home.
  • Turn down the thermostat. Lowering the temperature on your thermostat will save you money on energy while you are away.
  • Unplug nonessential electronics. Unplug TV’s, stereos, computers etc.
  • Put some lights on timer switches. This will give the appearance that someone is home. Outdoor lights on motion detectors are also recommended.
  • Give a key to a trusted neighbour, family member or friend.  Having someone check on your home every couple of days is also strongly recommended. Leave them a list of things to oversee, as well as contact information for your heating contractor and plumber, so they know who to contact should they discover a problem.

Langton ClimateCare has been one of Hamilton’s most trusted heating and cooling contractors for over 20 years. We offer maintenance and protection plans to help keep your system running at peak performance.

So, what is a Smart Thermostat anyway?

Most of us already know that a thermostat basically controls the temperature in your home by telling your furnace or air conditioner when to turn on and off. So, what makes one “Smart”?  Well, for one, Wi-Fi connectivity. A Smart thermostat allows you to stay “connected” with your Hamilton homes indoor climate, even if you are not there. But Wi-Fi connectivity is just the beginning of what makes a Smart thermostat, “Smart”. First, let’s take a quick look at what a non-programmable thermostat and a standard programmable thermostat can do.

A non-programmable thermostat is very basic; it will show you the temperature in the home and allow you to manually adjust it up or down. A programmable thermostat will not only allow you to manually adjust temperatures up and down, but also allow you to manually set times of day that will adjust temperatures up or down automatically, which can save energy and money. Typically, the programmed temperature settings depend on whether you are home or away. For example; by programming your heat setting lower while you are out during cold weather and having it return to a preferred setting just before you get home, will save on energy and therefore money. The same principal can be applied during the hotter weather by programming a warmer setting while out and then cooling back down just before you return.

A Smart thermostat is not only programmable, it can also learn from your behaviors, allows you to control the climate in your home remotely via Wi-Fi connectivity, show you energy consumption in real-time, and can even adjust themselves based on ambient conditions like humidity. Some, like the Ecobee 3 Smart Thermostat offer features like mobile apps for remote management, “learning” features that let it auto-program itself based on your habits by using up to 32 wireless remote sensors that can be placed in different rooms around the home.

Keep in mind that a regular thermostat is controlling your heating and cooling system based on the temperature of the home where the thermostat is mounted. The Ecobee 3 for instance, with its use of sensors which also include motion detection, can take temperature readings from more than one location in the home, notice if anyone is home, detect if someone is in a room(s) with a sensor and make heating and cooling decisions based on that data. The unit will then store this data and continue to learn from new incoming data in order to make future heating and cooling decisions.

There are many more features to Smart thermostats, but basically, depending on the model, the Smart thermostat can be the ultimate information station for your heating and cooling system. It can allow you to monitor and make adjustments yourself from just about anywhere connectivity is available, or with some units, you can let it learn and make all the adjustments for you.

For more information about Smart thermostats or to have one installed in your home, Langton ClimateCare has been serving the Hamilton and surrounding area for over 20 years and we would be happy to assist you.

How to save energy around the house

The rising cost of living seems to eat up more and more of our paychecks in the Greater Hamilton Area. It seems now, more than ever, we are looking for ways to save a few bucks. Some may already be using options like; carpooling and price matching at the grocery store for example, but what about ways to save on energy around the home? You may already be trying to make sure you shut off lights as you leave the room, turning off electronics when not in use and replacing old incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. Here is some other energy saving tips for your home in Hamilton.

  1. Turn down the thermostat. By turning down the temperature only 2 degrees while at home and wearing a sweater while watching television or putting an extra blanket on the bed instead, you will reduce your heating costs. Programming your thermostat to lower the temperature while at work is another great energy saving tip.
  2. Regular furnace maintenance including a yearly tune-up, will result in better furnace efficiency. Make sure your furnace filter is cleaned or changed regularly. A dirty filter will reduce furnace efficiency and cost you more money to heat your home.
  3. Weatherproof your home. Make sure you have enough insulation and check the caulking around windows for any cracks. A drafty home is not only uncomfortable at times; it uses more energy to heat.
  4. Dry two or more loads of laundry in a row to take advantage of an already warm dryer and make sure you clean the lint trap before every load. A clogged lint trap can increase energy usage and is also a fire hazard.
  5. Running your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher during off-peak hours if you have different usage rates for time of day will reduce energy costs.

Following these 5 simple tips can save you hundreds of dollars on energy in Hamilton every year.
Langton ClimateCare has been helping Hamiltonians with their heating and cooling needs for over 20 years.

GAS FIREPLACES – TYPES AND BENEFITS

Let’s take an introductory look at gas fireplaces. First of all, gas fireplaces typically come in three types: inserts, which are used to retrofit a wood-burning fireplace; built-ins, are typically installed where there isn’t an existing firebox; and log sets, basic burners that sit in existing, open fireplaces. Inserts and built-in fireplaces are very efficient heat producers. They fill your room with a mixture of warm air and radiant heat in Hamilton. Log sets are primarily used for looks rather than warmth.

Gas fireplaces, depending on the model, can burn propane or natural gas, which is less expensive and produces about 5 percent more heat. Typically, those who choose propane have done so where natural gas isn’t available in Hamilton. Most models are direct vent and do require a gas or propane line directly to the unit, consider this when choosing a location in your home.

Wood-burning fireplaces provide great ambiance and warmth, but natural gas and propane fireplaces have their advantages.

  • You don’t have to stack or haul logs.
  • There are no ashes to bag, no smoky smells, no chimney to clean.
  • You can start a fire or snuff a fire with the touch of a remote control.
  • The fire needs no tending and will not die out due to neglect.
  • A thermostat can control the flame size, and therefore heat output, allowing for a controlled, steady temperature setting.
  • The enclosed fireboxes on inserts and built-ins ensure that the furnace heated air in the rest of the house doesn’t escape up the flue, as it does with a wood fire.
  • You can get most of the fuel’s energy back as heat, compared to that of a wood burning fireplace.
  • Gas fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere in a home – Upstairs, in a basement, or outdoor, without needing a chimney
  • If you would like to learn more about natural gas or propane fireplaces we would be glad to help. Langton ClimateCare has been serving the Greater Hamilton Area for over 20 years and we stand behind all of our installations 100%.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP PROTECT MY HOME FROM WATER DAMAGE?

In our last Blog, we discussed ways to reduce Home Insurance Premiums in Hamilton with products such as leak detection devices. Now, we are going to take a more in depth look at one of those products and how they work. AquaTrip is a permanently installed and patented Leak Detection System with an inbuilt control valve to automatically shut off the water supply if a leak or a burst pipe is detected.
This product acts like a safety trip switch for your water supply, it continuously monitors the flow of water into your property, and will shut off the water automatically in the event of a tap left running, a burst pipe, or if a tap, fitting, pipe, toilet cistern or appliance is leaking. For example; let’s say you are at work and a pipe started to leak under your sink. Normally, you would come home to water on the floor, wet and possibly damaged cabinetry and a huge mess to mop up. Depending on the amount of damage, you may have to involve your insurance company. An Aqua Trip system would detect that leak, shut off the water supply to the home and drastically reduce the amount of damage and clean up.

A leak detecting device, such as AquaTrip, can help minimize property water damage, protect against excessive water bills and help by conserving scarce water resources in Hamilton. As an added benefit, AquaTrip can also connect to your water meter to provide real time water consumption and cost information via an information display and control panel, giving the user 24/7 programmable control over their water supply.

Langton ClimateCare has been providing “second to none” quality service and products for over 20 years in Hamilton. If you would like more information regarding any of our products or service, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

Is there a way I can save on Home Insurance Premiums?

Our home is our castle, it gives us shelter, it provides heat, and it protects our family and our valuables. In return, we protect our home with insurance, but home insurance can be pricy in Hamilton. As insurance premiums rise, and in some cases, replacement coverage is reduced; we are left to wonder if there is anything we can do to combat the costs involved to protect our home.
Is there a way to lower your home insurance premiums? Yes, and a qualified heating and cooling contractor may be able to help. Did you know that products such as; smart thermostats, tankless water heaters and leak detection devices can lower insurance premiums? Well, they can. How about converting your oil furnace to natural gas, or converting that old wood fireplace to natural gas? That’s right, fuel conversions can also save on home insurance premiums.

As an added bonus, many of the solutions listed above can also help you save on energy costs.

  • Smart thermostats give you the ultimate control over your heating and cooling system by allowing you to control temperatures via WiFi. It is possible to monitor your system from work or even on your phone with a smart thermostat.
  • Tankless water heaters are not only more fuel efficient than a holding tank system, they eliminate the costs associated with “standby loss”. Standby loss occurs when a conventional, holding tank hot water heater warms the water inside the tank without hot water being called for. Tankless water heaters do not have a holding tank and only heat the water on demand; this feature can reduce fuel consumption.
  • The cost of oil heating can be 2-3 times more expensive than that of natural gas. The cost to convert to natural gas can be much less than expected, depending on your homes current set-up.

There are options to help reduce Home Insurance premiums and energy costs in Hamilton. If you would like to more about any of the cost saving products mentioned above, please feel free to contact us. Langton ClimateCare has been serving the Greater Hamilton Area for over twenty years. We are not only a premier heating and cooling contractor in Hamilton, we are also your neighbours.

Can I have cooling in my home if I have no ductwork?

So, you want to cool your home in Hamilton, but do not have a conventional forced air heating system. What do you do? Well, a ductless mini-split system could solve your dilemma. Although a ductless heat pump, the most common type of mini-split system, is a relatively newer alternative in the heating and cooling industry, it can be a very energy efficient way to cool a home. Ducts are generally seen to be a necessary part of a heating and cooling system. A ductless heat pump removes the need for ductwork, giving homeowners in the Greater Hamilton Area a viable option for cooling their home.

How does it work? A ductless split system consists of one outside condenser/compressor unit and can incorporate a single-zone or multi-zone system inside the home. The outside condenser unit is connected to the inside air-handling unit(s) by individual conduits containing refrigeration and suction tubing, electrical and drain line. Since the indoor units are directly connected to the outdoor unit, they eliminate the need for ductwork. The indoor air handlers consist of wall, ceiling or floor mounted units, which provides a wide range of installation options.

Most of these systems are air-source heat pumps. When in cooling mode, refrigerant from the outside compressor runs through the refrigerant tubing to the indoor units. Cool air is then blown across the indoor unit’s evaporative coil, and out into the room. Just like conventional ducted split systems, these units can be effective dehumidifiers.

Keep in mind, this system is a “zone” system, which basically means that it heats or cools only the areas where an indoor air-handler exists. Deciding which areas you desire cooling, will determine whether you need a single-zone or multi-zone system. Each air-handler comes with its own thermostat allowing the homeowner to adjust temperatures per “zone”. Reducing energy costs can be as easy as adjusting the thermostats of each individual indoor unit in accordance to how cool you desire each “zone” to be.

To summarize, just because you own a home without ductwork, it does not mean you have to be hot and uncomfortable all summer.

We have been serving the Greater Hamilton Area for over 20 years and carry a wide-range of ductless mini-split products. Call us if you have any questions or would like to book an in-home consultation.

What is SEER and how does it affect my choice of air conditioner?

So you’ve determined that you need a new air conditioner in the Greater Hamilton area. You understand that there are different SEER ratings, but you are not quite sure what that means for your pocket book. Let’s start with the basics. First of all, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient a given air conditioner is. Great, but now you have to know how to determine how much a 13 SEER saves versus a 14 SEER, or a 16 SEER–and so forth. How much you’ll save depends on several factors, such as; amount of insulation in the home, quality of windows, proper sizing etc. For demonstration purposes, let’s assume that all is adequate and the unit is sized properly.

To determine how much each SEER rating will cost to run, you will need a few tools.  You will need to know how many hours you run your air conditioner annually, what the size (BTU’s) of the unit is, the SEER rating of the unit and cost of hydro per KWH.

Here’s how to determine energy consumed (watts)

Divide Btu’s produced by the stated SEER rating

Ex. 24,000 Btu (2 ton) divided by 13 SEER = 1846 (watts)

Convert this figure to Kwh (1000 watts per KW)

Ex.1846 watts divided by 1,000 = 1.9 Kwh (rounded up)

We will use 1,700 annual hours of operation as an example

Multiply the number of Kwh your air conditioner consumes (1.9) each hour times the number of hours it operates annually (1,700) to determine annual Kwh usage

1.9 Kwh X 1700 hours annually = 3,230 Kwh annual consumption

3,230 x 11 cents cost per Kwh (example) = $355.30 annual cost of operation for a 2 ton, 13 SEER air conditioner.

Now, let’s compare that to a 16 SEER, 2 ton unit under the same circumstances.

24,000 Btu’s divided by 16 Seer = 1,500(watts)

1,500 divided by 1000 = 1.5 Kwh consumed each hour

1,700(hours of operation) x 1.5 (Kwh consumed each hour) = 2,550 Kwh consumed annually

2,550 x 11 cents cost per Kwh = $280.50 annual cost of operation for a 2 ton, 16 SEER air conditioner.

 

Assuming an air conditioner lasts an average of 15 years, you can determine whether the annual savings is worth the investment in a higher SEER rating.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping families in the greater Hamilton area comfortable for over 20 years. We carry a variety of products and are always happy to assist those who require heating and cooling services.