All About High Efficiency A/C

All About High Efficiency A/C

In the sweltering summer heat, air conditioners can be a lifesaver! However, owning a traditional air conditioner can come with its own set of problems. The solution is simple: upgrade to a high-efficiency unit. Though the price may be daunting at first, investing will help you keep your cool better than that old A/C unit ever could.

Traditional Air Conditioners

Older models utilize a single stage motor. This little motor is all or nothing, full speed or full stop. Once the temperature reached the desired setting, the unit would click off. The temperature would then increase again, triggering the air conditioning to turn on again and start the process all over. The constant on and off again functionality makes for an incredibly inefficient process.

Air Conditioners of the Future

High efficiency models combat this pitfall by having two-stage motors. This allows them to operate at both high and low speeds. The high speed is intended to get the temperature down to the programmed setting. The low speed is to maintain the temperature with less cycling. Less cycling means less wasted energy. Less wasted energy means that your utility bills will only reflect the energy you are actually using.

ENERGY STAR® to the Rescue

When looking at air conditioners, it is important to know what you are getting. A unit may claim to be energy efficient, but that doesn’t mean that it is the same calibre as other models. Utilize the EnerGuide label to determine whether or not a potential unit is adhered to national high-efficiency standards. If you see an ENERGY STAR® symbol, this is the unit you are looking for!

Not a One-Trick Pony

High-efficiency air conditioners do more than just keep you cool. They offer a plethora of other benefits for you and your family:

  • Humidity Management: Excessive humidity can cause mould growth, but too little can exacerbate allergy and cold symptoms. Modern air conditioners do better than their predecessors in maintaining humidity.  
  • Big Savings:
  • Longer Lifespan: The reduction in cycling means that your new air conditioner won’t experience the same wear and tear as your old one. That means less breakdowns and fewer repairs needed.

High-efficiency air conditioners are gentle on the environment, your home, and your wallet, without sacrificing comfort. If any of those factors interest you, give us a call today at (780) 934-4328. Let’s update your air conditioner and your life!

Is it Time You Considered Investing in A/C?

Is it Time You Considered Investing in A/C?

Summer has officially come to Edmonton. Now is the season of festivals and floating down the river. But while we are having a great time outdoors, we can’t neglect what is going on indoors. Our homes can be sources of unbearable heat during this usually lovely time of year. If you are considering having air conditioning installed in your home, now is the time to do it! Here are four signs that it’s high time you invested in air conditioning for your home:

You Break a Sweat Just Climbing Up the Stairs

According to Harvard Health, high temperatures can wreak havoc on our bodies. We need to work extra hard to release all of the heat building up inside of us. This means pumping more blood, faster. This can be uncomfortable for healthy people, but those with cardiovascular issues can downright suffer through the hot summer months.

You’re Tired of Sleeping with All the Windows and Doors Open

Depending on where you live in or around Edmonton, not everyone is comfortable leaving their homes open during the night. This way, your security is being compromised while you sleep. Air conditioning can help eradicate the need to open windows and doors to encourage air flow.

Your Appliances Don’t Seem to Last as Long as They Should

Heat isn’t just hard on us, it’s hard on our furniture and appliances. In confined spaces, heat breeds humidity. This moisture can actually shorten the lifespan of objects you’ve worked hard to bring into your home. Warped wood and moist leather aren’t just unsightly, but may effect your ability to use the affected surfaces.

You Find Yourself Tired and Irritable During the Day

Summer insomnia happens, especially in the absence of an air conditioner. Our bodies are designed to sleep in cooler temperatures, so the hot Edmonton heat can mess with our natural rhythm. Not getting enough sleep on a continual basis can lead to some negative health effects. Primary among those are moodiness and inability to focus.

If any of this sounds like you, it’s time to call the experts at Nor-Can Heating and Air at 780-934-4328. Don’t suffer the heat any longer, let’s get you set up with an air conditioner today!

Ease Your Allergies with a Humidifier

Ease Your Allergies with a Humidifier

It was a long winter, but spring has finally sprung! Pack up the long underwear and dig out the shades. While most of us are ecstatic about the return of the sun, allergy sufferers may be a little more hesitant to celebrate. Spring thaw means spring allergies.

Allergy Symptoms: Why Do We Suffer?

You know the symptoms: nasal congestion, irritation, itchy eyes, sneezing. Not exactly the most joyous of times for those of us that suffer from seasonal allergies. The cause of these allergies is the pollen and snow mold that the warmer weather brings. We can’t exactly get rid of all the nature that’s affecting us outside, so we often hide inside. But even tucked away from the floating pollen, we still suffer. Why is that? Alberta is a naturally dry place, which isn’t doing our noses any favours.

Bring in the Moisture

Dry air irritates your nasal passages, encouraging your body to overproduce mucus. That extra goop makes it more difficult for you to naturally purge any allergens that you’re being exposed to. Adding moisture into the air with a humidifier is a great way to counteract those negative effects. This will help your body’s natural methods to fight off the allergies.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

While humidity can relieve your allergy symptoms, there are a few things to consider when choosing and programming a humidifier:

  1. Humidity above 50% can encourage mold growth.
  2. Dust mites thrive in humidity levels around 70-80%.
  3. Proper maintenance is key. Left unattended, bacteria and fungi can grow in the humidifier and cause a whole host of problems.

Best Types of Humidifiers for Allergies

There are several types of humidifiers that can aid those allergy symptoms effectively. From evaporative humidifiers to steam humidifiers, you can bet that there is something out there to suit your needs. Some can be built right into your HVAC system, while others are stand alone.

Tired of seasonal allergies taking over your spring? Ask the specialists at Nor-Can what a humidifier can do for you!

Tips to Keep Things Steamy this Spring

Tips to Keep Things Steamy this Spring

Spring has officially sprung and things are finally starting to heat up. Peel off your parka and let the sun in. But while the outside may be getting warmer, don’t forget about the indoor temperatures. Do you remember the last time you looked in on your hot water heater? If the answer is no, it’s about time for a check-up.

Get to Know Your Water Heater

What do you really know about your water heater? You don’t need to be an expert—that’s what Nor-Can Heating and Air is for—but you do need to know some basics.

  • Where your water heater is located: Most water heaters live in attics or basements, out of sight and out of mind. Take time to get acquainted with the space. Ensure that the area is clean and free of clutter.
  • What type of water heater it is: Now that you’ve found it, it’s time to do some research. Is it powered by natural gas, electricity, or propane? Is it tankless? Take a moment to write down the model and serial numbers. For warranty and repair purposes, this will be invaluable information to a repair person.
  • How to turn off your water heater: Sometimes emergencies happen and you’ll need to turn off the water heater for safety reasons. For example, smelling gas is a good sign that the heater should be turned off as soon as possible. In this type of situation, waiting for a plumber can be dangerous. Know your machine and know how to disconnect it if the need ever arises.

Regular Maintenance

Like any appliance, your hot water heater will need to regular maintenance in order to keep it in tip top shape and extend its lifespan. There are two main actions you can take to do this:

  1. Drain/flush your water heater: Once a year, drain a few gallons of water out of your water heater. If quite a bit of debris seems to be coming out, opt for a full flush. A full flush is when you turn down the temperature and completely drain the tank. Once the tank is empty, turn the water back on and let it flow in order to remove lingering sediment at the bottom of the tank.
  2. Have an annual inspection: Remember the experts we mentioned earlier? This is where they come in. A professional technician will be able to spot leaks, corrosion, or any other signs that your hot water heater needs some loving.

Even in the warmer months, lukewarm showers don’t quite offer the same joy as hot ones. Follow these simple tips to keep your hot water heater doing what it does best, so that you can go out and enjoy spring the way you do best. Time for an inspection? Give the experts at Nor-Can Heating and Air a call today!

Why Does Your Skin Get All Chapped in Winter?

Why Does Your Skin Get All Chapped in Winter?

Here in Alberta, we deal with more than just subzero temperatures in the winter time. Coupled with the frost of the season, we get to battle dry air that chaps our skin and weakens our hair. But why is it that these snowy months cause us to descend into a climate of dehydration?

The Science Behind It

As a general rule, cold air doesn’t hold as much water as warm air. And our air isn’t just cold; it’s freezing.  Even our beautiful Bow River isn’t enough to pump that lost moisture back into the atmosphere during the winter.

How Our Bodies React

As a result, our skin gets dry for a number of reasons:

  1. Source of moisture is gone. We are not able to pull the same moisture levels from the air that we do in summer months.
  2. Blood flow is redirected. Our skin will have less blood flow as our bodies are naturally trying to keep our insides warm.
  3. Glands get cold, too. Our sebaceous glands do not function as well in the cold, so our skin is not being moisturized naturally.
  4. Bundling up draws moisture. Colder months bring heavy clothing. Heavy clothing, although necessary, tends to dry out skin.

What Can You Do?

One tactic is to put up with your dry, cracked skin for months on end, but we believe there is a much more comfortable solution. Having a humidifier installed in your home is a simple way to spare your skin. People who have asthma or respiratory problems also benefit from a good humidifier. Having one installed by experts can ensure that your humidity levels are constant, healthy, and beneficial for you and your family!

If you’re ready for relief from winter dryness, give the experts at Nor-Can Heating and Air a call today! Together we will get your home to feel like spring again.

Should You Turn Off the Hot Water Heater While Your Gone?

Should You Turn Off the Hot Water Heater While Your Gone?

In a previous article, we discussed the merits of programming your thermostat while you are away. In this month’s edition, we will go over what you should do with your water heater while you are on vacation.

Why You Shouldn’t Turn It Off

The heat of the hot water heater is what prevents bacterial and fungal growth—all of that water and darkness is a breeding ground for those nasty critters. To save energy and ensure that you don’t have unwanted growth in your water heater, many heaters have a “vacation” mode. While it will still be using energy, this is a gentler alternative to keeping your heater cranked the whole time you are gone.

When You Come Home

When you get back home after your vacation, make sure to check and see that nothing has leaked in your absence. Cold snaps and other sudden changes in weather can have an effect on the appliances in your home. It’s always good to periodically look at your devices and ensure that they are still in working order. Be aware that it may take slightly longer for your water to turn hot, as it will need to reheat back to the normal temperature.

The Alternative: A Tankless Water Heater

If wasting all that energy doesn’t appeal to you, it may be time to upgrade to a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters are one of the most cost-effective and energy efficient ways to heat water for your home. Another attractive feature of this system is that, without a tank, it also saves space. Not only that, but rebates of up to $1000 are available for those who invest in a tankless water heater.

If you have questions about your existing hot water heater, or are curious about upgrading, give us a call today!

Start the New Year off SMART

Start the New Year off SMART

With all of the short-lived resolutions floating around in the New Year, why not make a change that will last? Switching to a SMART thermostat is not only a better choice for the environment, but it is also the best choice for your wallet.

SMART Technology

You probably already own a smartphone, so it’s time to update your home now. Smart thermostats are the natural next step in programmable HVAC. Not only will you be able to adjust your settings remotely, but you will also be able to see your energy consumption statistics in real time.

Safety and Comfort with the Touch of a Button

A smart thermostat can be an incredible tool for you and your family. In the past, leaving your home for vacations might have been stressful. Forgetting to turn down your furnace over a long period of time away could be a potential fire hazard, which is not a problem if you have a smart thermostat. Or perhaps you’ve set the furnace quite low to save money, but you’ve heard that a blizzard will be blowing in and you’re worried about the pipes freezing. Just pull out your phone and adjust. With smart technology, you can change your furnace settings from virtually anywhere in the world.

Save the Planet, Spare Your Wallet

Programming your furnace to only heat your home when you will be there means that you will be wasting less energy. Efficient energy use has a twofold effect. For one, it will help to minimize your home’s carbon footprint. You can rest easy knowing that you are doing your part to be gentle on the environment. Secondly, this will reflect positively on your energy bill. It’s a simple matter of increasing efficiency.

A decision to install a smart thermostat is a smart resolution! If you’re curious about what an upgrade to your HVAC system would look like, give us a call today! We would be happy to discuss your options and bring your home into 2018!

How Low Can You Go? Programming Your Thermostat While You Travel!

How Low Can You Go? Programming

During this time of year, some of us are incredibly lucky to be able to travel. Whether that’s a weekend at the in-laws or a week in the Bahamas, a change in scenery is always appreciated in these cold winter months. One of the most common questions that we get asked is if you should program your furnace to a lower setting while you are away.

The Pros

Saving a couple of bucks on your heating bill is an incredibly attractive idea during an already expensive time of year. Lowering your furnace settings while you are away is a great way to do that! Don’t waste energy by forcing your furnace to heat up an empty house. Here’s a travel tip: program your thermostat to start heating your home the morning that you are planning on returning. That way you won’t be unpacking in the cold!

The Perfect Temperature

If you are going away, turning down your furnace is much safer than turning it off. The exact temperature to program is dependant on the 3 P’s:

  • Pipes: We recommend that you don’t program it below 10°C.Anything lower could run the risk of freezing your pipes. And you don’t want to come home that!
  • Pets: If you are leaving your furry or scaly friends at home, be sure to know their comfort level. A long-haired cat is going to have different needs than an iguana, for example. Also be aware that some animals, such as hamsters, will actually attempt to go into hibernation if it is too cold. Do your research or speak to a vet to determine the best environment for your beloved companions.
  • Plants: Houseplants thrive on consistency and most can’t handle rapid drops in temperature. Try to place them in areas of your home that will best meet their needs while you’re away and be mindful of your thermostat setting.

Turning down your furnace while you are away is one way to save money and be gentle on the environment. As long as you are aware of your pipes, pets, and plants while programming your thermostat, you shouldn’t have any surprises when you come home! From all of us here at Nor-Can Heating and Air, have a safe and happy Holiday season, see you in 2018!

Can a Carrier Smart Thermostat Help You Save Money?

Can a Carrier Smart Thermostat Help You Save Money?

Nowadays, everything is designed to be “smart.” Included in the plethora of intelligent technology, we have smart TVs, smartphones, even smart toilets! But did you know about smart thermostats?

What is a “smart” thermostat?

  1. Allows you to control the climate of your home remotely using your smartphone, computer, and sometimes even your voice!
  2. Allows you to view your usage history to better keep track of when your system is working. If you’re a data junkie, then this is the perfect product for you!
  3. Adjusts to your heating and cooling habits. That’s right, a smart thermostat can learn from your tendencies and shift accordingly.

That sounds cool, but how can it save money?

The idea behind smart thermostats is to be more efficient than ever before. They take the hassle out of programmable thermostats and allow you to program and set controls easily. Because of this automation, you won’t be running your HVAC when you don’t need it. Bottom line: if your system is running less often, it’s costing you less money. Especially in our Albertan climate where the summers are scorching and the winters are bone-chilling, smart thermostats can take a substantial chunk out of those dreaded energy bills. Imagine coming into your home and actually being comfortable regardless of what the weather looks like outside.

What’s so special about Carrier?

Carrier offers a wide range of options for every lifestyle. Your heating, cooling, and humidity can all be managed from virtually anywhere. Knowledge is power, so all of their technology is streamlined to keep you up to date with all of your data whenever you need it. Not so great with technology? Carrier has something for you, too! They offer products with easy-to-read screens and even easier-to-use interfaces.

Here at Nor-Can, we know how important it is to keep your HVAC efficient and your energy bills low. If you feel the same way, a smart thermostat may be the right choice for you. Switching may be the best decision you ever make for your home!

3 Warning Signs That You Need a Furnace Inspection

3 Warning Signs That You Need a Furnace Inspection

As the summer sun disappears and the cool autumn winds blow in, there is no mistaking it: Winter is coming. Don’t be left out in the cold; watch for these warning signs that you may need an inspection before the snow hits.

1) Your Furnace Isn’t Springing to Action:

Your furnace shouldn’t be taking aeons to heat your house. Sure, the first time you fire it up after a long, hot summer may take a little bit longer than usual. After that initial instance your furnace should be running at peak efficiency. If you’re not getting the heat you need in a relatively timely manner, that’s a warning sign that your furnace needs a tune-up ASAP. It’s time to give us a call.

2) You’re Sensing a Difference:

Mainly, you’re hearing weird sounds and you’re smelling strange smells. Although the Halloween movie marathon you just watched may have you convinced that your house is haunted, it’s probably just your furnace. That being said, you should be paying attention to those loud clunks and unseemly odors. Those definitely mean that something is going on in your HVAC system that should be addressed right away.

3) Your Energy Bills Skyrocket:

It’s only October, so if your energy bills have hit the ceiling already, it’s time for some professional investigation. Dramatically increased bills are the result of your HVAC system running at low efficiency. In other words: something is wrong and your system is working harder to make up for it. Not only does this hurt your wallet at the end of the month, it could also speed up the demise of your beloved furnace.

An inspection can reveal whether or not the issue is small, like changing your filters, or larger, like needing to replace your furnace. Either way, an inspection will ensure that you have the knowledge you need before the snow begins to fly. In the HVAC world, surprises aren’t always welcome. Avoid the hassle and give yourself peace of mind by knowing exactly what is going on with your system. If you’ve noticed any of these signs and you’re ready for a tune-up, give Nor-Can Heating and Air Inc. a call today!