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Tips for selecting your HVAC contractor.

We recently shared our tips for selecting your HVAC contractor in the August edition of Neighbours Around the Park, a local magazine here sent to acreages in Sherwood Park. We wanted we’d share an excerpt here to help you out!


Tips for selecting your HVAC contractor 

Choosing your HVAC contractor can be a difficult decision to make, as not all contractors are the same. Doing your research may mean the difference between getting a solid, professionally installed air conditioner or furnace or just getting ripped off. We’re always taught that not all mechanics are the same, and that goes for your HVAC contractor as well. 

1. Written Quotes
Be wary of any HVAC contractor that tries to give you quote over the phone. There are far too many factors to consider that a technician cannot see over the phone such as ducting, return air and position of furnace room in your home. None of this can assessed over the phone, so if someone gives you a quote over the phone, they are either inexperienced, or are trying to gain your business without taking into consideration the full scope of the project. When a contractor is there to assess the project, also be wary of anyone who gives you a quote without properly surveying your house.  A real contractor will check your crawl spaces, walk around the entire house and may even take pictures of the project.  If they don’t do this, then they aren’t properly inspecting your house for installation of your equipment. Your quote should be unique to you, as all homes have different requirements based on the comfort level you require and design of the house. A timely quote is also something to consider as it can demonstrate the way in which a job will be completed. 
For example, at Ignite Heating and Air Conditioning, I provide free written quotes after a job site visit is completed to ensure I have accurate measurements and that product selection has been made. This ensures all parties involved are aware of the scope of work and the price to complete the work. When myself or someone from my team comes out to the job site to take measurements, we also block off the time for you to answer any questions about Ignite, the products we use and our installation process – I want you to feel confident in the investment you are making, whatever the job is.  

2. Experience and Insurance
When it comes to how experienced your HVAC contractor is, take it with a grain of salt as experience isn’t everything!  Be wary of someone who is telling you they have been “doing things this way for twenty years” because the heating and cooling industry, like all technology, is always changing.  There are new and exciting technologies that decrease your utility costs and are more efficient at cooling.  Be sure your contractor is well versed in cutting edge technologies, including the most up-to-date HVAC control units such as a smart thermostat that runs your home’s AC system for you, programmable with schedules and preferences.  
Experience is important, but it isn’t everything. Your HVAC contractor should have a sheet metal or refrigeration journeyman certificate. Other training courses like, a Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Certificate. Other licenses to look for include ensuring they have a business licenses for your area, so that they can pull the appropriate permits you may need. It is also important to choose a HVAC contractor that is insured so you can financially protect your home from damages.  

3. Quote Assessment
In some cases, a lower price doesn’t always mean it should be your first choice as it could mean you end up paying more in the long run. Paying a little bit more will often result in better equipment and service from an HVAC company. If there are huge discrepancies in price from one company to another, ask them why their prices are set that way. For example, higher prices can indicate better quality of equipment, training of technicians, and above average warranty agreements. A higher price can also indicate they’ve accurately captured the scope of the project, where as a company with a lower price may have missed including something in your price that will be an extra charge in the future. 
An example of this is that unlike other HVAC companies, Ignite installs Napoleon products that come with a lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger, as well as a 10 year warranty on parts and labour on all furnaces. The difference in the quotes is often in the details of the warranty provided, so always check to make sure you are comparing apples to apples!  

4. Customer Reviews
Ask your friends, family, or neighbours for HVAC contractor referrals. If you can’t get direct referrals, search local business directories with customer reviews. It is important to aware that some companies choose to pay or provide incentives for reviews on facebook and google, remember one tell-tale sign is if there is a sudden influx of positive reviews, these individuals may have been paid or provided an incentive to do so, and these may not be honest reviews.  

5. Product Selection
Replacing your HVAC equipment is a big investment, which is why it’s important to thoroughly research all your options. Choosing the right HVAC contractor also means considering which brand of equipment they install. When investing in an HVAC system, you’ll want to choose a reputable manufacturer with a good track record of quality. Most manufacturers offer products tiered in a good to best fashion with differences based on comfort features, energy efficiency ratings, and noise levels to name a few. As your HVAC equipment can last up to 30 years, this is a long-term investment, so you want to make an informed decision. 
Ignite highly recommend Napoleon’s line of products as they are built in Canada, which ensures they can handle our climate extremes. In fact, Napoleon is the only Canadian manufacturer of HVAC equipment. Napoleon has a 100-percent focus on new products, which is a strong reason why Napoleon products continuously surpass industry standards to provide you with confidence in the HVAC system being installed. Napoleon is one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and is not a publicly traded company, which results in superior products to customers, instead of concern over the bottom line for shareholders.  

At Ignite Heating and Air Conditioning, your comfort is our concern. I believe every job is to be completed in a professional manner with quality workmanship and respect for the homeowner. If you are unhappy with your current HVAC contractor or don’t have one, give Ignite a call at 780.919.4916 today. 

AC Maintenance Steps for the Start of the Season

We’ve heard from a few of our customers that they don’t really know what they should be doing to start-up their AC in the spring. If you’re just flipping the switch to cool and hoping for the best, there’s a few more steps you should be taking to ensure you maintain the longevity of your cooling system for the years to come. See our tips in the the steps listed below, or check out our video if your unsure of what we’re talking about! If any of the steps listed in this post seem like too much work, you can always have us do them for you and join our Maintenance Club. Click here for more information on joining our Maintenance Club or call us @ 780.919.4916.

Click here to see our Spring AC Start-Up video!

Please note, that the outside temperature must be above 12°C in order for your air conditioner to run.

Step 1: Change your furnace filter

Changing or cleaning the air filter is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain your air conditioner, as it heads off all these potential issues, improves energy efficiency and helps you avoid spending money on air conditioning repairs.

Here’s what can happen if you let air filter replacements fall by the wayside.

  • Short-Cycling: Your air conditioner is supposed to cycle on and off occasionally throughout the day, but a dirty air filter can cause those cycles to become more frequent than they need to be, putting additional strain on your AC system.
  • Freezing Up: A clean air filter allows air to flow freely through your unit. A dirty air filter restricts the flow of cold air, causing it to build up inside the air conditioner and lower the internal temperature. Given enough time, that buildup of cold air can eventually cause ice or frost to form on the coils outside.
  • Allergen Buildup: A dirty filter can cause allergens to build up and linger in your duct system. Whenever you have a forced-air system running, those allergens will be released into the air you breathe. 
  • General Wear and Tear: Air conditioners just last longer if they’re maintained properly. Your air filter helps to stop dust and dirt from building up on all of the unit’s internal components. Changing your filter on a regular basis helps to reduce the wear and tear on your system, helping it to last longer and perform efficiently.

Step 2: Change your humidifier’s settings

Many people with central humidifiers go into the cooling season forgetting to shut down the humidifier for the summer. A central air conditioner will not cool or dehumidify properly if the humidifier is running. Keeping your humidifier on during the summer pushes cooler air into your coils and could cause a freeze-up of your system.

Step 3: Clean up around your condenser (outdoor unit)

  • Rake back leaves and debris outside the condenser and cut back branches and vegetation at least 2 feet in all directions to ensure proper airflow around the unit. 
  • Remove a cover if you have used one. (Note: We don’t recommend a cover since moisture can build up inside and cause corrosion. Also, a completely covered unit encourages vermin to build nests inside and they may damage the condenser.)
  • Just to be safe, turn the power off while you clean the unit.
  • Spray down the outdoor unit with a gentle flow of water.
  • Don’t forget to turn the power back on to the unit.

Step 4: Adjust your thermostat

Turn your system on to cool. The air conditioner will now come on automatically when the temperature at the thermostat registers below the setting you have selected. We recommend you keep your temperature on your thermostat set between 19-23℃. Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature will not cool the home faster! 

Step 5: Adjust your registers

Keeping registers open improves comfort and moisture management, especially during summer months. You have the choice of adjusting the dampers in these covers to regulate the cool air flow within your home. 

Do not completely close off more than 20% of the registers as this will reduce the airflow from your furnace, putting unnecessary strain on your furnace. (At this point, we would like to remind you that register filters should never be installed, as they reduce the airflow from your furnace, putting unnecessary strain on your furnace. )

Step 6: Check your basement return air

For maximum comfort and efficient energy use, arrange furniture and draperies to allow unobstructed airflow from registers and to cold air returns. If cold air is unable to return to the furnace, the flow of cooled air to that area of your home becomes restricted.

If you don’t have a return air vent in your basement or you find it is really cold and want another one, give us a call to have one installed.

Step 7: Adjust your ceiling fans

Reverse the direction of ceiling fans so that they spin counter clockwise blowing straight air down. This will help redistribute the warm air trapped near the ceiling making the room feel cooler.

Step 8: Call Ignite for annual maintenance

At Ignite, we suggest annual maintenance of you unit to ensure it will perform optimally for the season. The steps listed in this post do not replace the steps taken during our maintenance visits! A maintenance visit consists of a deep clean of the outdoor condensing unit, checking for signs of refrigerant leaks, and ensuring the unit is will perform efficiently for the season. However, if any of the steps listed in this post seem like too much work, you can always have us do them for you when we do your annual maintenance. Also, have you heard about our Maintenance Club? Click here for more information on joining or call us @ 780.919.4916.

Join the Ignite Maintenance Club!

At Ignite Heating and Air Conditioning, we know that your HVAC system is critical to your family’s comfort and safety. The benefits of annual furnace maintenance include: lower energy bills, fewer repairs, reduced risk of a surprise breakdown, longer equipment life and safer equipment operation. At Ignite, we offer 4 different levels of protection plans so you can find the package that is best for you. Click here for more information!

Want to join the club? Fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you shortly!

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