What to look for when choosing a heating and cooling contractor in Hamilton

Choosing a heating and cooling contractor can be difficult. There are many equipment manufacturers to choose from and installation prices can vary depending on the contractor. Sometimes it’s hard not to choose the cheapest price based on that aspect alone. The problem is the cheapest price doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Make sure you research the companies you are receiving quotes from before you sign any paperwork.

Below are some questions you may want to ask each contractor in order to understand what type of service you can expect.

  •  Do they have insurance?
  • Are they bonded?
  • Do they offer after hours service and do they have technicians on call 24 hours a day should you experience any equipment failure?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What accreditation do they have?
  • Do they have references?
  • Do they guarantee their work?
  • Do they have an office that you can physically go to should you require assistance or have questions?
  • What sets them apart from other contractors?
  • Do they offer financing?
  • Do they have an informative and user friendly website?

 

Once you have the proper information about each contractor, you will better understand the pricing, equipment, workmanship and post-installation service you can expect. Now your decision will be based on the contractor that best suits your needs, rather than just a number at the bottom of a quote.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping families in the greater Hamilton area comfortable for over 20 years. We are proud to be active in the community with charities and organizations.

Call Langton ClimateCare today and ask about our complete range of home comfort services, including maintenance, service and installation of furnaces, air conditioners, hot water heaters, tank-less water heaters, boilers, fireplaces, generators and more.

Signs That You Need Air Conditioning Service in Hamilton

Most of us assume that if our air conditioner is cooling the house, it is working perfectly. This may not always be true. In fact, even though your system may be cooling your home, it may not be functioning properly. Although diagnostics should be left to the professionals, like those at Langton ClimateCare, there are warning signs which can help you detect that there may be a problem.

  • Hot spots throughout your home: Assuming your air conditioner has been sized properly and professionally installed, you should be able to cool your home quite evenly. The sudden inability of your air conditioner to do so should be evaluated by a trained, qualified technician. Your air ducts may be compromised, you may have a refrigerant leak, or other operational problems may lead to this uneven cooling performance. If you are not sure who installed the unit because you inherited it when you bought the home or if you have added new additions to the home, the unit may not be sized properly.
  • Increase in cooling costs: Of course, the use of your air conditioner is going to increase your electricity costs. However, if you notice a sudden spike in your utility costs and it coincides with the usage of your air conditioner, it’s time to have it serviced. A complete diagnosis will determine whether your system is functioning at proper efficiency.
  • Unfamiliar sounds: Unfamiliar sounds may seem like a minor problem, but it may be warning signs of more serious problems to come or repairs needed. If your system is making noises that do not seem normal, service is recommended.

Of course, the best way to prevent repairs is with regular yearly maintenance. If your cooling system is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, call Langton ClimateCare for a thorough diagnosis. Our Service is “second to none”.

ducting-hamilton

How often should I have my air ducts cleaned?

There are many reasons to have your ducts cleaned, but how often? There are many factors that determine the frequency of duct cleaning. For instance, if you run your heating and cooling system more often, the air that is circulated through the system and the ducts can collect dust, pollen, and pet fur and dander. The less you use your system, that dirt; dust, etc just stays in the rooms it has settled in. Be aware that if you do not run your system often enough, the air is not being filtered properly.

Allergies can play a big part in how often you get your duct system cleaned. If someone in your household has allergies, removing dirt and dust can help to alleviate allergy symptoms. Cleaning the duct system and changing your filter more frequently can be an effective way to help allergy sufferers.

Pet fur and dander can settle in your ductwork or even clog furnace filters. Pets shed fur and dander that falls on the floor. It can then be drawn back through your system by the cold air returns or even land in your hot air supply vents. The fur and dander that sit in the return air ducts can get recirculated into your home or drawn back to your furnace. If it settles in your hot air vents it can be blown back into your home when your system is running.

Below you will find a check- list of reasons for having your duct system cleaned. Don’t forget to have the furnace tune-up as well because some dust, hair and other debris can get past your filter and into your furnace.

  • Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust – your ductwork should be cleaned.
  • Animals: Animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system, First of all, have the animals removed, and then have the ductwork cleaned. A furnace tune-up is also recommended.
  • Mold: Enough said. Any evidence of mold in your ducting system and the ducts should be cleaned.
  • Contaminants: If pet hair, debris, odors, etc are in your ductwork, a cleaning is recommended.
  • Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from allergies, you should consider having your ducts cleaned.

We recommend having your duct system cleaned every 2-5 years depending on the factors above. Call Langton ClimateCare for your next duct cleaning service.  Our technician is NADCA certified.

Spring into action with a home cooling system tune-up in Hamilton

When April rolls around, it’s time to think spring cleaning! Some of the more obvious jobs on the household list include lawn maintenance, gardening, and cleaning out the garage. However, homeowners often overlook one of the most important tasks: a thorough inspection of their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Although some may feel they can take care of their heating and cooling system themselves, your spring HVAC maintenance plan should be left to professionals. A proper seasonal air conditioner tune-up should include a full cleaning and inspection of both the inside A-coil and the outdoor condenser. Many HVAC technicians have seen the damage mice and other animals can do to the wiring of an outdoor unit, and can properly troubleshoot and repair if necessary. Spiders also like to make nests in the units, causing contacts to lose their connectivity. Again, this is something best left to a professional to uncover and solve.

For a more thorough cleaning and inspection of your supply and return ducts, have them professionally cleaned. Ensure the contractor cleans the supply and return ducts. Vacuuming the grills is a start, but it will not remove any dust or allergens that are continually circulating through your system. Only a complete duct cleaning will address those problems. We recommend having ducts cleaned every three to five years, depending on environmental conditions such as the number of pets, renovations, etc.

If indoor air quality is a concern, you can replace your current furnace filter with a similar sized, upgraded filter that captures more particles. Another option is to upgrade to a wider media air cleaner, which can be up to 97 per cent more efficient at capturing airborne particles than a standard one-inch filter. An electronic air cleaner is a more expensive option; but when regularly maintained, these units get excellent results by using an electronic charge to collect up to 99 per cent of airborne particles.

Spring cleaning is all about creating a fresh, clean and clutter-free home environment. Imagine cleaning and organizing your home, top to bottom, only to sit down at the end to breathe in dirty air! A thorough HVAC system tune-up will give you cleaner indoor air this spring, for the freshest home environment.

Give Langton ClimateCare a call for your HVAC system spring tune-up.

Can a programmable thermostat save me money in Hamilton?

Many people wonder if their programmable thermostat actually reduces energy costs. Those who do not have one wonder if they should upgrade. The answer is that a programmable thermostat can indeed save energy, but it depends on how you use it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 1% off your annual heating bill for every degree you lower the thermostat over an eight-hour period. For instance, if you lower the temperature by 4 degrees from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., you could save 4% on your yearly heating costs!

Some people find it difficult to program digital thermostats. If you are having one installed, ask the technician to program it for you before he or she leaves. For those who would rather program it themselves, but find digital difficult to use, there are electro-mechanical systems that typically feature pegs or sliding bars, and are relatively simple to program. The downside is that this type of thermostat normally has less programmability than the aforementioned digital type of thermostat.

Some programmable thermostats allow you to set “wake” and “sleep” times for all days, as well as “leave” and “return” times for the weekdays. This type of thermostat allows you to save during the night while asleep and during weekdays if the house is empty, when cooler settings will not affect comfort. There are even Wi-Fi controlled thermostats that can be programmed from anywhere, and “smart” thermostats that adjust to your lifestyle.

When programming your thermostat, think about when you want more warmth and comfort in the house, and when it’s not necessary. If there is a block of time where the house will be empty, it makes sense to adjust the temperature to a lower more energy efficient setting.

Langton ClimateCare installs all kinds of thermostats, including smart thermostats that can be programmed anywhere Wi-Fi is available. Call us for all your heating and cooling needs.

How can a furnace humidifier help in the Greater Hamilton Area?

Many people living in our northern climate find indoor air very dry come winter time, resulting in sore throats, dry noses and skin, and itchy eyes. Some even experience breathing difficulties when exposed to low humidity over the winter months. The ideal in-home humidity level is generally described between 30 and 60 per cent. When humidity is too low, the mucous membrane lining your respiratory tract can become dry and inflamed, increasing the risk of colds, flu and other infections. Low humidity can also dry out hardwood floors, causing them to separate or crack. When humidity is too high, it can result in nasal congestion or even contribute to the growth of mould.

So, how can you regulate your home’s humidity over the winter months? A furnace humidifier can be a very cost effective way to combat dry indoor air. The two most common types of cost-effective humidifiers are reservoir and flow-through. The reservoir type holds the water in a “reservoir” and uses a rotating drum to introduce the humidity to the air. A flow-through has the water “flow through” the humidifier and then drains it out. Although all furnace-mounted home humidifiers are designed to work by adding moisture from water and evaporating it using the furnace’s warm supply air, a flow-through with bypass can be mounted on the return air duct, allowing a more versatile installation.

How do you know if you need a humidifier? Have your home’s relative humidity checked by a qualified professional. If humidity levels are between 30 to 60 per cent in the winter, then you likely do not require a humidifier. If levels are below 30 per cent in the winter, then a furnace humidifier can help create a more comfortable and healthy environment.

If you find your home very dry in the winter, and would like to learn how you can enjoy a more comfortable and healthy in-home winter environment, call the professionals at Langton ClimateCare to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Proudly serving Hamilton, Waterdown, Grimsby, Smithville, Carlisle, Puslinch, Flamborough, Brantford, Caledonia, Stoney Creek, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, St. George, Troy, Millgrove, Freelton, Strabane, Hannon, Mount Hope, Lynden, Rockton, Aldershot, Beamsville, Lincoln, Caistor Centre, Sheffield and surrounding communities.

Can a new furnace actually save me money in Hamilton?

The answer to this question is more complicated than a simple yes or no. There are many variables to consider, including age and efficiency of the existing furnace and, of course, the efficiency and cost of replacement equipment. Typically, if the furnace is older or a mid-efficient model, significant energy savings can be obtained through upgrading. As a furnace ages, its efficiency can decrease. Its maintenance history will also contribute to how much its efficiency declines.

When considering a furnace replacement, you may also want to factor the available warranty into your savings calculations. A new furnace under full warranty is much more cost effective for repairs than an older furnace with an expired warranty.

A more in-depth analysis may show that the new furnace costs no extra monthly expenditure. Using your heating bills, calculate your yearly heating costs and divide by 12 for a monthly average. A rough estimate of your reduced monthly fuel costs can be calculated by subtracting your current furnace efficiency rating from the new furnace efficiency rating. For example: New 95% – Old 60% = 35% less fuel used to provide the same heat. Now, multiply your average current monthly heating costs by your fuel savings percentage and you will get a rough idea of what you can save on fuel monthly. In this example, average monthly cost is $110 X fuel savings 35% = $38.50 saved per month on heating fuel alone.

If you would like to know your furnace’s current efficiency, ask a trusted heating and cooling contractor like Langton ClimateCare to perform an efficiency test on your equipment. A good time to request this is when the yearly tune-up is scheduled.

In summary, if your new furnace has monthly payments equal to or less than your estimated monthly fuel savings, it is not actually costing you anything out of pocket and would be a good investment. And, we haven’t even touched on electricity savings if you purchase a new furnace with a DC motor, or the savings created by no repair costs due to new furnace warranty coverage.

For help with your decision or for expert service for your existing furnace, call the experts at Langton ClimateCare.

Proudly serving Hamilton, Waterdown, Grimsby, Smithville, Carlisle, Puslinch, Flamborough, Brantford, Caledonia, Stoney Creek, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, St. George, Troy, Millgrove, Freelton, Strabane, Hannon, Mount Hope, Lynden, Rockton, Aldershot, Beamsville, Lincoln, Caistor Centre, Sheffield and surrounding communities.

What are the differences between PSC and ECM blower motors in Hamilton?

In a forced air system, there are two main types of blower motors, a PSC and ECM. PSC (permanent split-capacitor motors) were the norm, and if your furnace pre-dates 2009, it probably has one. An ECM (electronically commutated motor) is typically found in newer furnaces with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) of 95 percent or higher.

A PSC motor runs only at full speed, so any time that the blower is on, it blows the air at full force. Because they always run at full speed, they are not the most efficient. PSC motors are louder than an ECM motor; and, unless properly adjusted by a professional, they may not be providing optimal airflow within the proper range of external static pressure. For instance, higher static rates result in lower airflows, and since a PSC motor cannot adjust speed or torque, its performance drops off.

An ECM motor is a variable speed unit based on direct current design. This makes the ECM motor more efficient than the alternating current-designed PSC motor, resulting in much lower operating costs for the year. Unlike standard blower motors, ECM motor technology provides continuous and gradual fan speed changes. The result is optimized humidity control, dramatically reduced sound levels, and greater comfort.

With an ECM motor, air is circulated for longer periods of time compared to a standard PSC motor, but at a fraction of the cost. The results are reduced air stratification while making your home more comfortable. Because ECM motors are more efficient, they may also qualify for government and/or manufacturer rebates.

 

If you would like to learn more about what furnace is best suited for your situation, contact the professionals at Langton ClimateCare.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A TANKLESS AND HOLDING TANK WATER HEATER IN HAMILTON?

The most common type of hot water system in Hamilton is a traditional storage tank water heater. This type of water heater looks like a large drum, typically with a capacity of 151 or 189 litres, which is heated by electricity, natural gas, oil or propane. The water heater maintains the internal water temperature that has been set on the tank, usually between 49 to 60 degrees Celsius. Every time you use hot water, cold water enters the tank and is heated for the next available demand.

A tank-type unit continually cycles on and off in order to maintain the programmed temperature setting. Storage hot water tanks are limited in the amount of hot water they can provide. Once it runs out, you must wait until the tank refills with cold water and heats it to the correct temperature.  Just about everyone has experienced a cool shower or bath because they ran out of hot water with this type of system!

Even when hot water is not being drawn by the household, a tank-type unit will turn on as the water inside the tank cools; this is known as “standby loss.”  This means you are paying to heat the water stored in the tank, even when it is not in use.

The second type of water heater in Hamilton is a tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater. This is a wall-mounted, space-saving unit without a storage tank. Water is circulated through a large coil or loop and is only heated by electricity, natural gas or propane when called upon. This unit supplies an endless amount of hot water and “standby loss” is eliminated. Tankless water heaters typically produce enough hot water to run two showers and a dishwasher at the same time.

Tankless systems tend to be more energy efficient than storage tank systems, due to the elimination of standby loss, and their rated efficiencies are higher as well. Since there is no storage tank, the life span of a tankless system is about twice that of a traditional tank-type water heater.

Generally, hot water accounts for about 20 per cent of a Southern Ontario home’s energy use. When it’s time to replace your old water heater in Hamilton, keep your options in mind. The professionals at Langton ClimateCare can deliver the information you need to make the choice that is right for you. Give us a call, and don’t forget to ask about our Clarity Un-rental program.

What is the function of a residential standby generator in Hamilton?

Most of us have experienced a power outage and the resulting hours or even days without electricity. Typically, the first hour or two are not too worrisome, but then thoughts of cold homes, spoiled food, and frozen pipes start running through our heads.

So, how can we avoid the unpleasant consequences of a power outage?

Luckily, there is something that can alleviate all of these concerns: a residential standby generator. A standby generator automatically supplies your home in Hamilton with electricity in the case of a power outage. The unit has two main components. The engine, which generates the electricity, is situated outdoors and the automatic transfer switch, located indoors, is connected to the home’s electrical box and generator. The transfer switch monitors power status. When an outage occurs it signals the generator to turn on, transferring power to your home from the generator. When power returns, it signals the generator to shut down and restores your home’s connection to the electrical grid.
Residential standby generators typically operate on natural gas or liquid propane, which means they can run for days without needing to be refueled. Once the system is installed by a qualified professional in Hamilton, like Langton ClimateCare, your home will have a secondary power source in case of an outage resulting from inclement weather, grid overload, etc.
Standby generators perform an automatic maintenance and system check, which means they turn on automatically once a week, in order to charge their battery and do a system check so that they are ready for action when the need arises. Another plus to installing a standby generator is its generous life span. You can expect them to last 15 years or more, which certainly helps to justify the investment.

So, in short, there is one simple word to describe the function of a residential standby generator: insurance. Like most insurance, you hope you will never need it; but if and when you do, you will most likely wipe your brow and think, “Phew, sure am glad we did this!”

Langton ClimateCare professionals would be happy to discuss standby generator options with you. Give us a call for more information or to book an in-home consultation.