Common HVAC terminology every homeowner should know

Common HVAC terminology every homeowner should know

Common HVAC terminology every homeowner should know

As a homeowner, it’s important to maintain your furnace and air conditioner by performing regular cleaning, changing your filters regularly, getting semi-annual tune-ups, and taking care of the little details that will keep your units running for years to come. If either your furnace or air conditioner isn’t working, it’s equally important to know some key terminology so that you can describe it to a qualified repair specialist.

These are the HVAC terms every homeowner should know.

Furnace

An appliance fueled by gas, oil, electricity, or wood in which air or water is heated to be circulated throughout a home in a heating system.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but some homeowners confuse their furnace for their entire heating and cooling system or only certain components of the furnace itself.

Condensing unit

“Condensing unit” is the technical term for an outdoor air conditioner or a heat pump. It is called a “condensing” unit because it changes the refrigerant from its gaseous state to a liquid by cooling it. HVAC condensing units usually comprise the following components:

  • Compressor: Increases refrigerant pressure to keep the liquid refrigerant moving
  • Fan: Blows outside air through the heat exchanger to help cool the refrigerant
  • Condensing coil: Helps heat carried by the refrigerant to travel outside

Maintain your condensing unit (air conditioner) by keeping it free of leaves, excess grass, and yard debris so that it doesn’t overheat.

Cooling coil

Also known as an evaporator coil, a cooling coil is a coiled pipe usually made of copper, steel, or aluminum. It’s a channel meant to allow its contents to cool down, which in turn helps control the temperature of various other components of your unit, aiding in the heat exchange process.

Thermostat

A thermostat is a device that automatically regulates temperature and/or activates another device when the temperature goes above or below a specified threshold. Basically, your thermostat controls the temperature in your home by sensing the temperature and sending an electrical signal to your furnace or air conditioner to kick in.

Filter

A filter is any porous device that is used to remove impurities or solid particles from a liquid or gas. In the case of your HVAC system, a furnace filter is generally a simple cardboard and mesh construction that traps dust, pet hair, and other debris and prevents it all from entering your furnace.

Dirty, clogged filters can cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to, which can lead to motors burning out, so make sure you regularly replace your filter.

Condensate pump

A condensate pump takes in the water created in your HVAC system (usually in the form of water vapour in cooled or heated air) and pumps it out to a drain. A malfunctioning condensate pump can cause condensation to build up in your HVAC system, which can lead to mould, rust in your ducting, and other issues in the inner workings of your furnace.

Refrigerant

In the context of HVAC, refrigerant is a gaseous or liquid substance used to cool various components of the system. The compressor in your A/C unit compresses the refrigerant, which makes it very hot. As it moves through the cooling coil, it cools down and becomes liquid. The liquid refrigerant then absorbs heat from the outside air and pushes the cold air out. Hot air in + cold air out = comfort.

If you find that your air conditioner is working but isn’t quite keeping up like it did the year before, it’s likely low on refrigerant.

Humidifier

A furnace humidifier helps to keep the humidity in your home at a moderate level so that the air isn’t incredibly dry all winter. Adding a humidifier to your heating system can help prevent those annoying static shocks, can keep your hardwood floors from separating, and can help with household allergens
like pet dander during the winter.

Knowing these key terms can help you hire the right person to fix your malfunctioning A/C or furnace, since you’ll be able to describe any issues you may be noticing. Knowing how these various components work will also help with your regular maintenance and cleaning.

If you suspect a faulty component, need a part replaced, or have any questions about your HVAC system, we would love to help. Call or text Pyramid any time at 204-694-5088 or send us an email. We perform all types of air conditioning, furnace, and HVAC repair in Winnipeg.

How to keep cool this summer without breaking the bank

How to keep cool this summer without breaking the bank

How to keep cool this summer without breaking the bank

Though a Canadian spring can often be a mixed bag of weather, our summers are generally quite hot, especially on the prairies. During those sweltering few months of reprieve from the snow, a fan just doesn’t do the trick. Air conditioning saves us all from the heat, but that comfort can come with a hefty utility bill depending on your situation.

If you find that your cooling bills are astronomical throughout the summer or if you simply want to keep things reasonable, here’s how you can keep cool and keep your energy costs low.

Prevention is key

Preventative maintenance can go a long way to ensuring that your air conditioning runs smoothly this summer. Just as an oil change for your car has an impact on your gas mileage and how well your car runs, a spring check-up and tune-up is just what you air conditioner needs to run efficiently.

Pyramid can help out with our professional Tune-up, Check, and Clean. We’ll check for damaged or blocked vents; make sure your A/C unit starts without issue; provide lubrication where necessary; check your system’s blower, motor, wheel, and housing; make sure all electrical connections are sound; check your thermostat; and double-check the functionality of your evaporator coil (if accessible).

Efficiency is the name of the game

Keeping cool efficiently is how you’ll stay comfortable all summer long without shelling out hundreds in energy costs every month. The simplest place to start is using your window blinds effectively. While it’s nice to let in that morning light, resist the urge; keep certain windows covered depending on where the sun is during the day. If the room where your thermostat is faces east, keep the blinds closed in the morning. This will help keep the temperature down, preventing your thermostat from kicking in unnecessarily when the rest of your home might be perfectly comfortable.

A programmable thermostat is another way to make sure you’re cooling your home as efficiently as possible. Program it based on when you’ll be home and actually benefiting from it being cooler and then let things get a little warmer when you’re not around.

As a part of the aforementioned check-up, it’s important to make sure the exhaust or HRV system is operating properly to make sure your system is not needlessly exchanging air in your house. Pyramid can help!

My A/C is running all the time — what do I do?

If your air conditioning seems to be less effective than in the past or seems to be abruptly inefficient, check your filter. A plugged or very dirty filter is the most common cause of air conditioning issues. If air’s not passing through freely, then your system has to work much harder to cool your home, and that may result in it running more often than what would normally be necessary.

If you find that you’re changing your filters regularly and that your system ran fine last year, but it’s just not keeping up this year, then you’ll want to get a professional like Pyramid in to see if you’re low on Freon. Freon is the gas/liquid that is used in your cooling system to help with the transfer of heat. It naturally dissipates over time, so your A/C unit may just need a top-up. A Freon leak is a potentially dangerous situation, so it’s important to have your system checked if one is suspected.

Need help?

For all of your air conditioning, furnace, and HVAC repair needs in Winnipeg, including unit replacements and installation, Pyramid is available to help you stay cool and comfortable all summer long. We’re even around 24/7 for emergencies. Call or text 204-694-5088 or send us an email with any questions you may have or to book an appointment.

How Much Does a New Furnace Cost in Winnipeg?

A KeepRite furnace, installed by Pyramid Plumbing & Heating in Winnipeg

Buying a new furnace is a major investment in your Winnipeg area home. When a new or a replacement heating system is needed, the price is an important factor. Some heating contractors in Winnipeg may include some vague price information or too-good-to-be-true discount offers in their advertising, but the actual cost of a new furnace, completely installed, can’t be priced over the phone or in an advertisement. As a leading KeepRite Authorized Dealer, we receive volume discounts and we pass the savings on to our valued customers. We would like to help you understand the many factors that will determine what you pay and how much you save.

  • Which Manufacturer?

    There are several furnace manufacturers in Canada , including KeepRite, Carrier, Lennox, Bryant, Trane, Goodman, Rheem, Daikin, Ruud, Payne, York and more. Some specialize in making economy-priced products and others make high-efficiency models with advanced features and long warranties. As a KeepRite Factory Authorized dealer, our top-reviewed Winnipeg heating company offers a complete range of home heating products in all price ranges from KeepRite and Goodman. We’ll show you all of your options. You choose the option that’s best for your home and your budget.

  • Which Product Line or Model?

    All manufacturers offer a range of models, each offering different features, warranties, controls and other specifications. Our sales staff can help you choose a model that has the features you want at the price suitable to your budget. We’ll help you understand all those features and answer all of your questions.

  • What Efficiency Rating?

    Energy efficiencies are measured by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE rating. In general, efficiency ranges between 80% and 97% AFUE or even higher. High-efficiency furnaces include additional components, which increases their prices. However, because of its lower fuel cost in the long run, choosing an efficient model will save money over the long run.

  • What Is the Installation Cost?

    Another factor in the total price for any furnace is installation and any additional materials that may be needed. If your existing ductwork or venting needs to be altered, more work is required.

  • What Is the Total Cost of Ownership?

  • Since furnaces are designed to last for 20+ years, it’s important to consider your total cost of ownership before making a buying decision. For example, the higher the efficiency is, the lower your heating bills will be. That can make heating your home in the years to come much lower than if you chose a lower efficiency one.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace or Air Conditioner?

A mother and her child enjoying the comfort an upgraded furnace provides

When Should You Consider Repair or Replacement of Your Heating or Air Conditioning Unit?

When your heating and cooling system is working properly, your home is comfortable and you’re probably not experiencing any significant increase in your monthly utility bills in Winnipeg. So when a part malfunctions or your unit stops working, how do you decide if it’s time to repair or replace it? Your local KeepRite® dealer like Pyramid Heating in Winnipeg can provide a thorough diagnosis of your system and make a professional recommendation. To help you decide, we’ve put together a list of factors to consider.

Here are some reasons to repair the unit:

  • The cost of repairs is less than one-third the cost of a replacement
  • The unit is less than 10 years old
  • The unit is still under warranty (see your warranty terms)

A mother and her child enjoying the comfort an upgraded furnace provides

When Should You Replace Your Unit?

Replacing all or part of a heating and cooling system can be a big investment. When an older unit has continuous issues or shows signs of reduced energy efficiency, it could be more economical to upgrade your home comfort system. A contractor like Pyramid Heating in Winnipeg can help you diagnose your heating and cooling system, as well as help you choose a replacement that fits your needs and budget.

Here are some reasons for replacing your heating or cooling unit:

  • The cost of repairs is near 50% of the cost of a replacement
  • The unit requires frequent repairs.
  • Humidity problems that signal operating issues
  • Warranty expirations
  • High dust and low air quality problems
  • The furnace is more than 15 years old, and the heat pump or AC is more than 10 years old

What Does ‘Room Temperature’ Really Mean?

A parent and their child

For the residents of Winnipeg, room temperature is a term that gets a lot of use—not always in the same way. Generally, the term “room temperature” can have one of two meanings. Let’s look at those here.

Room temperature, in one sense, means the temperature of a room in which there is no heating or cooling systems in operation. It refers to the ambient temperature of the room. In this case, the temperature of the room may or may not be equal to the temperature outside. Wall, curtains, and shades will often have a cooling effect on a room during a hot day.

Room temperature, in the other case, is the temperature of a room that is under the effects of a cooling or heating system. Generally, the temperature in this instance will be higher or lower than the temperature outside, depending on whether the furnace or the air conditioner is running.

In either case, most Winnipeg residents find that a room temperature between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius (65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit) to be comfortable. During the winter season, temperatures below this range can become uncomfortable, and the lower the room temperature the more discomfort one experiences.

If you live in or around Winnipeg and your furnace or air conditioner is not delivering the room temperature that you want and need, give us a call. One service call with Pyramid Plumbing and Heating is often all it takes to get your home warm and cozy again.

Pilot Light Safety: What You Need to Know

A mother and her child enjoying the comfort an upgraded furnace provides

At Pyramid Plumbing and Heating we want all of our friends and neighbors to be safe and secure. One of the most dangerous tasks that some Winnipeg residents face is lighting their pilot lights on their furnaces. Here are some important tips on how to do this safely.

While we can offer some general safety tips on how to light your pilot light, the very best information will come from your owner’s manual. Your furnace manual will have step-by-step instructions for the particular model of furnace that you have. This should always be your first source of information.

If you do not have a manual, the following are the steps that you should take when lighting your pilot light.

Make sure the gas is on.

Locate the ignition switch and a small red button. Press the red button and keep it held down and press the ignition button. This sends a spark to the gas port. The ignition button should make a clicking sound as you depress it.

Make sure that you keep the red button depressed for at least 60 seconds after the pilot light is lit. This will allow the thermocoupler to warm up. After a minute, release the red button.

If the pilot goes out again, you can retry after about five minutes of waiting. This allows gas fumes to escape. If the pilot will not light or will not stay on, contact us for assistance.