Air Conditioning and Heating FAQ

Need some help understanding heating and cooling systems? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have further questions, please contact us by calling 416-520-0574.

How often should I have my system professionally inspected?

Ideally, it is best to have a licensed technician confirm the correct operation of your HVAC system every six months: once in the spring to check the AC unit, and once in the fall to check the furnace system.

When do I need a new heating or air conditioning system?

The frequency of maintenance and servicing are the major determinants in the lifecycle of a heating or air conditioning system. If the recommended servicing is performed as required, an air conditioning system should last you approximately 15 years. Fully-serviced gas furnaces will last a little longer, around 20 to 25 years.

What happens if I need to replace my old system?

Before any components are installed, it is essential that you have a detailed inspection of your homes HVAC system. This inspection should include the following components: duct work, electrical wiring, thermostat(s), insulation, refrigerant and condensate piping, flue piping and terminations, evaporator coil, drain pans, filters, driers, registers, and grills.

Only after this stage, can a complete HVAC system be recommended to ensure your new system is the most appropriate and efficient choice for your home. We will work with you and help inform you of all of the latest technologies and potential rebates available to you.

How often should I replace my air filters?

To keep your air conditioner or furnace working at maximum efficiency, it is recommended that you change the filter every 2 to 3 months. The frequency depends on the efficiency of the air filter that you select. A very efficient air filter may need to be changed more frequently. Selecting a less efficient filter will remain cleaner for a longer period of time (because the dust remains in the air, rather than trapped by the filter).

What type of refrigerants are in use today?

R-22 (short form for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon) has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years. However, recent studies shown that R-22 contains chlorine, which is an ozone-depleting agent. Commencing January 1, 2010, all US HVAC manufacturers must end the production of any products that use R-22. As a replacement, R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22. Starting in 2010, the use of this new refrigerant will be required in HVAC manufacturing.

What does SEER stand for?

SEER stands for "Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating", which is an efficiency rating of air conditioning systems. The ratio is calculated by divinding the annual BTU's of cooling provided by the amount of electric energy input used. This value is calculated over a range of temperatures.

What does Energy Star mean?

Products that have been marked with the Energy Star label indicate that the equipment meets a premium level of energy efficiency. The mark ensure that consumers are easily able to choose the most energy-efficient products that are sold in the Canadian marketplace.

What is a variable speed motor?

A furnace's indoor blower motor moves the flow of air throughout your home's ducting system. A "variable speed" motor provides more concise control over air movement, as it can operate at a variety of speeds. This improved airflow control allows for improved electrical efficiency, higher cooling efficiency, cleaner air quality, and humidity control.

What does AFUE stand for?

AFUE is the abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio. It measures a furnace's efficiency by dividing the heat output by heat input. This calculation describes how efficiently the natural gas is consumed by the furnace in order to produce heat. A higher AFUE rate means a more efficient furnace, and therefore, lower fuel costs.

What is a heat pump and how does it work?

A heat pump is a mechanical device that can be used to either heat or cool a space by transferring hot and cold air between its two reservoirs. To act like an air conditioner, a heat pump transfers heat from inside to outside. To function as a heater, it transfers exterior heat to the interior.

How often should I have my duct work cleaned?

HVAC systems can collect a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health: mold, bacteria, hair, pollen, and fine dust particles. The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system should be considered as part of a plan to improve your indoor air quality.

The frequency of duct cleaning is left up to the home owner. You may want to consider cleaning your ducts more frequently if:
  • there are any smokers living in the household
  • there are any pets that shed a large volume of hair and dander
  • any water contamination or damage to the home's HVAC system has occurred
  • any residents of the home have allergies or asthma
  • you have recently completed home renovations or re-modeling
  • you are about to move into a brand new home