How to choose an air conditioning repair company

How to choose an air conditioning repair company

How to choose an air conditioning repair company

When it comes time to have a new air conditioner installed or to have your current unit repaired, it can be difficult to choose a company. You’ll probably look up reviews online, but so many of them offer subjective advice and can be more about the reviewer’s personal experience and less about how the company actually performed. “My house is cool all the time now,” doesn’t help you at all in your search.

Reviews are a solid place to start, but there are several criteria you should consider when your A/C needs service or repair.

Read between the lines

Definitely start by reading reviews online, but scrutinize them and try to figure out what people are really saying. For example, if someone says, “Everything looks clean and new,” that is likely a testament to a company’s workmanship. The same goes for mentions of speed of service and can even extend to mentions of their air conditioner working even better than before.

When it comes to bad reviews, check and see if the company is responsive or not. It says a lot when bad reviews are answered, even if the complaint is justified. Remember to take every review with a grain of salt and look at the big picture.

BBB

The Better Business Bureau operates all over North America, and businesses must adhere to fairly stringent guidelines in order to maintain their ratings. Letter grades are given based on a number of criteria and can be lowered if a business fails to maintain its good standing and meet the minimum score.

Pyramid Plumbing and Heating has been accredited since 1983 and maintains an A+ rating (a score of between 97 and 100). We also maintain a 5-star review rating on the BBB website.

Beware of companies that are unwilling to share their BBB rating or those with ratings lower than an A-. Lower grades can be a result of numerous complaints, licensing issues, advertising inaccuracies, and more.

Are they insured?

To protect yourself, always make sure the company you choose is insured. This way, if your property is damaged or a worker is injured, you’re not liable for the costs. A company should have both public liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.

Public liability insurance protects the company in the event that they are sued by a member of the public (a customer), and workers’ compensation coverage protects both you and the company if a worker is injured on the job.

Do they sweat the small stuff?

When you finally do get a repair/installation technician out for a quote, evaluate how much time they spend on details. Do they ask you a lot of questions? Do they consider multiple repair options? Do they mention additional repair or preventative suggestions to help your HVAC system work better as a whole?

A company that takes the time to consider the small details is a company you want to work with.

Qualifications

Getting a “friend of a friend” to fix your air conditioning may save you money up front, but journeyman technicians have the education and technical training required to repair or install your air conditioner properly. The journeyman designation also indicates experience, which is invaluable when it comes to your HVAC system, since it comprises so many parts.

Do your research

Don’t let one bad review colour your opinion of an air conditioner service company, especially when it may have an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Read many reviews, from multiple sources if possible, and make sure the company is BBB-accredited before you make your choice.

If you have any HVAC questions, need your air conditioner fixed before summer, or need a brand new air conditioner, call Pyramid at 204-694-5088 or send us an email.

Save Up to 20% on Energy Costs by Upgrading Your Furnace

Local HVAC and plumbing company helps customers cut costs on heating bills

As homeowners hibernate for the winter, their heating systems work in overdrive. This is when the word “efficiency” matters a great deal. Imagine two homes that maintain the same temperature. One homeowner has a 15-year old furnace that is expensive to run and requires frequent heating repair in Winnipeg, MB. Meanwhile, the other homeowner has a newer furnace that provides better comfort control with lower operating costs. Both homes maintain the same temperature—but one homeowner is paying much more than the other.

With a furnace upgrade from Pyramid Heating, homeowners can save up to 20 percent on their heating bills. It’s important to note that HVAC technology has improved twofold over the past 15 years. Demands for eco-friendly enhancements have led to the development of furnaces that are over 98 percent efficient. Compare this to older systems that fell in the 70 percent range, and it’s easy to see why so many homeowners are upgrading.

Many of today’s systems have multi-stage capability. Unlike older furnaces that worked at either 100 percent capacity or not at all, these new systems are smarter. They can work in smaller, more controlled increments to provide consistent temperature at a lower cost. Other advantages include quieter operation, longer lifespan, reduced carbon footprint, various comfort features and more.

To help homeowners enjoy maximum energy savings, Pyramid Plumbing and Heating guarantees quality installation work the first time around. The company also offers free estimates and a number of financing options to assist customers with their purchases.

To learn more about the company’s products or installation services, call the nearest Pyramid Heating office:

204-694-5088

About Pyramid Plumbing and Heating
Pyramid is a one-stop solution for heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. The company has been serving customers since 1978 and offers everything from faucet replacement in Winnipeg, MB, to heating installation.  Homeowners and businesses alike continue to choose Pyramid Winnipeg for its exceptional customer care, innovative solutions and more.

 

How to Determine if Your Heat Exchanger is Cracked

When it comes to gas appliance and furnace safety, homeowners may assume that the flammability of gas is the main hazard to guard against.

However, experienced technicians will tell you that the more important safety concern with regard to gas furnaces is actually the accidental venting of carbon monoxide into the home.

There are high-temperature limiting devices on furnaces to protect against fire, so the primary problem is that carbon monoxide could leak into the home.

In a properly functioning gas furnace system, the flue transfers carbon monoxide (and other gases produced by combustion) safely out of the house; a damaged or blocked flue can send them into the home instead.

A gas furnace’s heat exchanger is another potential source of leaked carbon monoxide. The heat exchanger contains the gas combustion chamber. As air is circulated through the HVAC system, it passes over the heat exchanger and absorbs thermal energy before it’s circulated throughout the house.

Over time, the heat exchanger can crack or separate, allowing carbon monoxide to enter the house. Our technicians not only know why cracks in heat exchangers sometimes develop, but they also knows what homeowners should do when this problem occurs as well as how regular maintenance can help prevent it in the first place.

The Causes of Cracks in Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are subjected to extreme temperatures, and as they heat up and cool down over the course of a heating cycle, (Especially in Winnipeg furnace season) their metal expands and contracts; this stress alone makes them susceptible to cracking.

However, there are additional factors that can worsen the chance of cracking. Anything that pushes those high temperatures even higher will accelerate the deterioration of the heat exchanger.

Overly high gas pressure is one cause of overheating. Too little airflow through the system is another, and it is often the result of an oversized furnace combined with comparatively undersized ductwork.

On the other hand, too much airflow, which causes lower-than-normal temperatures, can be just as damaging. In a furnace, vent gases need to be kept at certain temperatures to keep the moisture in the gas from condensing in the wrong places.

“The moisture in burned gas is slightly acidic—about the same level as a tomato—and this acid will corrode a heat exchanger over time.”

How the Pros Identify a Cracked Heat Exchanger

At its outset, a cracked heat exchanger is a problem that will go unnoticed by most homeowners. However, professional HVAC technicians always check heat exchangers for damage during their pre-season maintenance inspection.

The first step is simply to look where most homeowners can’t. Our technicians do visual inspections using a telescoping camera; However, it’s difficult to see the entire heat exchanger, so we use other methods as well.

According to Lyndon one of Pyramid Journeyman gas fitters, in the brief period of time after a furnace is turned on—when the burner is operating and the blower is about to be activated—technicians often check the burner flame. “If a crack has developed, air from the house will be forced into the combustion chamber when the blower turns on, causing some visible disturbance of the flame,” he says.

Is a Cracked Heat Exchanger Dangerous?

Lyndon’s answer to whether or not a cracked heat exchanger can be dangerous is unambiguous. “Any verifiable crack requires replacement of the heat exchanger or furnace.

It’s only going to get worse, not better—the only question is when.” He adds that all homeowners with gas appliances or a fireplace should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home for just this possibility.

Some situations are more dangerous than others. The more severe the crack, the swifter the response should be

Enlisting Professional Help in Winnipeg

For homeowners with newer-model furnaces, there may be a more favorable outcome in the event that a crack develops in their heat exchanger. “A heat exchanger can be replaced without changing the entire furnace,  and usually under warranty.

In fact, most heat exchangers have a longer warranty than most other parts of the furnace—often 10 to 25 years. However, the warranty rarely includes labor costs, which can add up. Replacing a heat exchanger is a very labor-intensive process because the furnace has to be completely disassembled and reassembled.

Homeowners with older furnaces may find it more cost-effective to upgrade to a more efficient model, with added benefits that include lower operating costs.

One off the biggest factors to preventing all of this? Or getting a handle on it?    Maintenance

During yearly checks, a well-trained technician can resolve potential contributors to cracked heat exchangers with a few important tasks, including checking the gas pressure and improving airflow issues by setting proper fan speeds, cleaning dirty coils, and changing filters.

With each new model, modern gas furnaces are becoming safer and more efficient. However, regular maintenance is crucial to continued safety and efficiency. We liken it to the service you should provide your car. Keep it cleaned and tuned up.

“The more you keep your system clean and running efficiently, the better the performance you’ll receive from it.” Ultimately, as with many residential HVAC issues, preventative care is every homeowner’s wisest strategy.

Why Routine Air Conditioner Maintenance Matters

An air conditioner installed and maintained by Pyramid Plumbing & Heating in Winnipeg

The air conditioner is one of the most important appliances you own. To keep your air conditioner running smoothly for as long as possible, it’s important to undertake a routine AC maintenance. Inspect your Furnace filters every month or so and clean or replace as necessary.

If your air conditioning unit sits on the ground, make sure the area  around the appliance is free of overhanging branches, overgrown bushes, and other debris that can become clogged in the cooling element.

To make sure your air conditioner is operating as efficiently as possible this summer, schedule an air conditioning inspection and tune-up with an HVAC maintenance company in Winnipeg. Set up your AC tune-up soon to avoid the summer rush and make sure your air conditioner is ready to go as soon as the weather warms up.

Why is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

A KeepRite air conditioner — call Pyramid for financing options and installation

Protect your home A/C from Winnipeg’s summer heat by looking out for these common causes that require repair or maintenance to fix. Summer comes with no surprises every year, especially with our rise in humidity! It gets really, really hot. We crank the thermostat down and send our air conditioner into overdrive to try and keep us cool. Everything is great until the home air conditioning system freezes up. Home cooling systems and central air conditioners needing repair can ruin a hot summer real quick.

How does that even make sense? How can a unit freeze when it’s working around the clock in 30-degree weather? There are two fairly common reasons this happens to homeowners. And trust us, we see it every day. This is probably the most common issue our air conditioning contractors fix or provide maintenance for in Winnipeg.

A Winnipeg air conditioner with a frozen line

A dirty air filter like the one on the right is often the cause of a frozen air conditioner.
A clean furnace filter and a dirty furnace filter

1. Blocked air flow
The first potential cause of a frozen air conditioner is typically the air flow in your home. When your home’s air flow is restricted, there’s no air moving through the air conditioning system to keep the condensate on the coil from freezing. The culprit is usually a dirty air filter. This is a simple problem to prevent.

Best advice? Set reminders to regularly change your air filters, and get two A/C tune-ups each year to keep your system clean and efficient. Earlier in the season like April/May and September/October is better for maintenance, before HVAC contractors get busy with service calls.

If your air conditioner freezes up due to an air flow issue, switch it off to start the defrosting process. Next thing you should do is turn on the fan. Let it run for 60 to 90 minutes. Check and change your air filter during this time. After that, turn your air conditioner back to cool and it should start working again. Also make sure your coil is draining out of the supplied hose.

2. Refrigerant leaks
Then there’s the issue of refrigerant leaks. This is another common cause of your A/C freezing up. Whenever you’re leaking Freon or other coolant, it’s a decision point for homeowners. When you have a leak, it’s best to either get it fixed or invest in a new A/C, depending on the age of your current system.

Yes, you can get an HVAC company like Pyramid Heating and Air Conditioner to top off your coolant and get your system up and running again. However, it’s a temporary fix — and there’s no telling how long it will last. It could go a couple of months or a couple of weeks or a couple of hours before your A/C is frozen again.

If you suspect a leak, contact Pyramid Plumbing and Heating as soon as possible. Let a licensed journeyman technician pinpoint and repair the leak before it causes any other headaches.

Have you had problems with A/C freezing up? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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.