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!

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.

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!

Everything You Need To Know About HVAC Efficiency Ratings!

Everything You Need To Know About HVAC Efficiency Ratings!

One of the best ways to care for your family, protect the environment, and save your wallet all at the same time is to invest in high efficiency HVAC. Ultimately, the greater the efficiency, the greater the energy savings. That being said, it can be hard to know what brands and units that will be the most effective in your home. That’s why the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute of North America has created labelling systems so that you know exactly how efficient your HVAC system will be. When it comes to efficiency ratings, there are two acronyms you need to know:

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measure of air conditioner efficiency. The number is determined by taking the cooling output during a typical cooling-season and dividing it by the total electric energy input during the same period. Math aside, all you really need to know is that the higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency. Today, Canadian regulatory bodies require all new products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilisation Efficiency) is the measure of furnace efficiency. This value reflects how much heat the furnace will provide compared to the amount of energy needed to produce the heat. For example, an AFUE rating of 70% means that 30% of energy used is lost and 70% becomes heat for your home.

When perusing the labels, keep in mind:

  • Your budget for a new unit
  • Your budget for monthly bills
  • If you or anyone else in your home have respiratory issues
  • The size of your home

All of these factors will need to be considered when choosing the perfect HVAC system for your home. The key to high efficiency is keeping an eye on those labels and having expert HVAC professionals to come in to offer unique advice for your unique home. If you’re ready to take the leap into high efficiency HVAC, give our team a call today for an in-home consultation!