furnace installation calgary

After learning about how to get their furnace ready for the winter months, Calgary homeowners often want to know if they should run the fan even when the furnace isn’t heating and moving the air. As with most debates, there are two sides to every story. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of running the fan on your furnace in Calgary all the time.

Pros

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Running the fan all the time can even out cold and hot spots within your house. This is especially useful for multi-story homes where hot air can collect in the upper levels causing large temperature variations. Running the fan can serve to pull hot air down the stairs while circulating cool air through the upper rooms of the house.

Running the fan at all times has the added benefit of providing constant air filtration. This is a great way to help provide relief from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. Couple this with a high-performance filter and you’ve got a great method for cleaning the air in your house all day long.

Some speculate that running the fan at all times can actually extend the lifetime of the blower motors on furnaces in Calgary. This is because the stop and start of normal operation can be the most stressful time for any motor. By running the fan all the time, the motor is – theoretically – subjected to less stress (the stops and starts) and may last longer as a result.

Cons

The major drawback to running your fan all the time is the increase in energy use which isn’t good for the environment and which can drastically impact your wallet.

Some speculate that running the fan at all times can cause the fan to wear out sooner because of the constant use.

When you think about it, manufacturers build the fans to stop and start. If they thought it was a major problem, they wouldn’t put the Auto feature on their furnaces bound for Calgary.
Ultimately though, the choice is up to you about whether to run the fan on your furnace in Calgary at all times. If allergies are not a problem and you’re not concerned with – or haven’t experienced – cold or hot spots in your house, they you might choose to set your fan to Auto and let the furnace control when it comes on. If allergies are a major concern or the hot/cold spots in your house have some wearing sweaters and others wearing shorts – and you’re not concerned about the cost – you might choose to run the fan on your furnace all the time.

If you want to experiment for yourself, try each method for a month and see which you prefer. Be sure to keep track of your utility bill so you can compare what each method does to your wallet. It’s also a good idea to let the other people in the house know what you are doing so that they can keep track of how they feel (and how each room feels) when the methods change.

Having said all that, we do NOT recommend running the fan all the time – neither in the summer nor in the winter. Here’s why:

Furnace Calgary

In Calgary, all newer homes have a fresh air intake. This intake is typically a 5 inch pipe that brings air from the outside and pumps it into the return-air side of your furnace. Anytime the furnace is running, you are sucking air from directly outside. So if that air is +30 and muggy, you are going to make your house much hotter. If that air is -30 and freezing cold, it’s like trying to heat your home with a window open. From a comfort standpoint, it might be beneficial, but from an energy-saving standpoint (by that we mean electricity and gas), it’s very detrimental.

We have seen many homes left unoccupied during the winter (owner goes on vacation, for example) with the fan running all the time. At some point during the owner’s absence, the burners fail to ignite (because of a faulty gas valve, for example) but the fan continues to run and pump freezing cold air throughout the house. It’s easy to see that a home could freeze up very quickly under these circumstances.

If you have any questions about how to properly run your furnace fan or any questions regarding your home comfort needs, please call us at (403) 800-3261. We would be happy to spend some time talking with you.

In Calgary, one of the best ways to avoid the need for furnace repair and to keep your furnace running reliably, safely, and efficiently is to perform an annual maintenance tune-up.  Let’s examine a few of the steps involved in an annual maintenance tune-up in a bit more detail.

Check the air filter

The air filter helps trap dust and debris to keep it from being disbursed throughout your house.  The filter also helps keep the furnace clean and running efficiently so it’s important to ensure that the air filter is clean and in good condition.  It’s a good idea to check the filters in your furnace every few months and replace them as necessary.

Calgary Furnace Repair

Test thermostat operation

No special equipment required here.  Just set the thermostat to HEAT and select the desired temperature to make sure that the thermostat is in good working order and is communicating properly with the furnace.

Check gas pressure

It is important to check and adjust the gas pressure using a manometer so that the furnace will fire correctly.  What we do in Distinct Heating and Cooling is check the nameplate for the manufacturer-suggested gas pressure and adjust accordingly.  It’s a good idea to let a professional adjust the settings and perform much of the inspection in order to avoid the need for emergency Calgary furnace repair.

Make sure the burners and heat exchanger are in good condition

When the temperature drops below the desired level, the thermostat will send a signal to the furnace causing the burners to turn on and heat the heat exchanger.  Once the heat exchanger gets hot enough, the blower kicks in to push warm air throughout the house.

Keeping the burners and heat exchanger in good working order is essential to efficient home heating.  This is definitely a job for a professional as misaligned burners and a poorly adjusted heat exchanger can cause problems that inevitably lead to major furnace repair.

Inspect the blower compartment

Make sure the blower wheel is clean and free of debris and the bearings are allowing the wheel to spin freely.

Check the temperature rise

Adjust the thermostat so that the furnace turns on and allow the temperature to rise to its maximum set point.  Verify that the temperature rise across the furnace is within the manufacturer’s guidelines.  Again, this is a job for a professional who has the tools and knowledge necessary to do the job right the first time.

Check for carbon monoxide

Calgary Furnace Repair

Make sure that carbon monoxide (CO) levels in the home are 0 parts per million.  Carbon monoxide is produced whenever a fuel (i.e., wood, charcoal, oil, gas, etc.) is burned.  A furnace burner that is functioning properly has efficient combustion and produces little carbon monoxide.  A burner that is out of adjustment can, however, produce high levels of carbon monoxide.  It’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm/detector in your home but it’s also a good idea to have a professional perform an annual test.

If your furnace is producing carbon monoxide that is leaking into your house, in most cold-weather locations, including Calgary, furnace repair will be necessary.

Maintain humidifier (optional but recommended)

Maintaining the humidifier involves disassembling and decalcifying the unit as well as installing a new pad.

Once all that is done, your furnace should be good to go for another year.  As an added benefit, you also know that your system is running as reliably, safely, and efficiently as possible.  So take the time to call a professional who will perform an annual maintenance tune-up on your furnace.  This will help you stay warm in Calgary all winter long and avoid the need for furnace repair.

This time of year we get a lot of questions from air conditioner owners in Calgary about switching from cooling to heating. The most common question is whether or not to cover the outdoor unit (also called the condenser) of your Calgary air conditioning system during winter. If you are considering covering your A/C unit, here are some things to think about.

Covers may do more harm than good.

Calgary Air Conditioning

Calgary air conditioning units are set up to deal with the dry, semi-arid climate of the region where precipitation is relatively scarce; even the snow that falls during the winter months is dry. When it does rain or snow, it’s usually only for a short time. After that, the sun returns and dries up the precipitation fairly quickly.

Putting a cover on your outdoor air conditioning unit prevents this natural drying process from occurring. The liners within the covers have a tendency to absorb the moisture and hold it close to the unit. This can cause the unit to rust because the water is kept in contact with the unit longer than it would be if it was exposed to the sun and wind. This can lead to repairs on your Calgary air conditioning unit sooner than is normally necessary.

Sure, leaving the unit uncovered exposes the paint to the elements, but it also allows the sun and wind to keep the unit dry.

Paint quality has improved.

Outdoor air conditioning units now make use of high-quality, automotive-grade paints that are created to resist weathering and corrosion. In addition, manufacturers design these units to be out in the elements year-round.

Couple that with the weather conditions outlined above – short bursts of precipitation followed by drying exposure to the sun – and there’s really no reason to cover the outdoor unit of your Calgary air conditioning system during the winter.

It is damaging to run the unit with the cover still on.

This may seem like common sense, but on that first warm day in spring, it is easy to forget that the unit is covered. Running the outdoor unit with the cover still on deprives the mechanism of its ability to cool itself. Many owners have destroyed or damaged the outdoor units of their Calgary air conditioning system after forgetting to remove the cover.

If you do choose to cover your outdoor air conditioning unit, we recommend turning the breaker that supplies power to the unit to the OFF position. This will prevent you from accidentally running the unit with the cover still on and hopefully remind you to remove the cover in the spring when it’s time to cool your home.

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So the short answer to the larger question is no, it is not necessary to cover the outdoor air conditioning unit during the winter months. Some homeowners choose to do so, but we do not recommend winter covers for the reasons outlined above.

There is one situation where we would consider covering the outdoor unit: when it lies directly under or beside a large tree or bush that will be dropping leaves and debris all winter long. In this case, the cover keeps the debris from falling inside the unit where it can cause damage to the internal mechanism. For the most part, the outdoor unit in a Calgary air conditioning system is along the side of the home and there’s usually no fol

CZB-Air-Conditioner

The most important thing you can do to properly maintain your central Calgary air conditioner system is to clean it regularly.  Failing to consistently clean your cooling system results in:

  • Higher energy bills
  • Decreased cooling efficiency
  • Higher repair costs
  • Shorter appliance life

Three elements make up a central Calgary air conditioner system with electricity as its power source. They are:

  • An outdoor section (the condensing unit)
  • An indoor section (furnace/indoor coil)
  • Ductwork to transfer the cooled air throughout the home

Follow manufacturer’s routine maintenance directions and have the entire system checked once a year by a qualified service technician.

Here are some steps homeowners can take to maintain the efficiency of their central air conditioning system and to save on energy costs:

  • Replaceable filters should be replaced every 30 to 60 days, and it’s best to get maximum efficiency filters
  • Keep windows and doors closed when the air conditioner is running
  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors to seal air gaps
  • Close drapes and shades over windows facing the sun