When the summertime temperatures soar in Calgary, your central air conditioning will provide you and your family with welcome relief. Most of the time, you switch on the A.C. without a second thought. However, occasionally you come up with questions about how your air conditioner operates and how to get the most out of your cooling system.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of common questions our air conditioning customers are asking in 2023, together with our expert answers.
1. What Size Air Conditioner Should I Have?
A very general rule of thumb states that you should have 1 ton of air conditioning for every 600 square feet of space in your home. Another way to estimate air conditioner size is to allow approximately 20 BTU (British Thermal Units) per square foot. According to these computations, a 1,500-square foot home, for instance, would need a central air conditioner of roughly 2.5 tons or 30,000 BTU.
Be careful because an incorrectly sized central air conditioner will not provide the level of comfort you’re hoping for. Too small, and the A.C. won’t be strong enough to cool your whole house — but it will waste plenty of energy trying. Too large, and the system will quickly cycle on and off without ever properly dehumidifying the air. This may lead to mould growth and breathing problems.
Only an experienced HVAC professional can accurately size your central air conditioner for maximum comfort and efficiency. They will base their calculations on variables such as:
- Your home’s square footage
- Layout, including ceiling height
- Amount of insulation
- Sun exposure — directions and amounts
- Air handler flow capacity
- Your family’s cooling needs and budget
2. How Long Should My Air Conditioner Last?
Your air conditioning system should serve you well for 10-15 years, or even longer if you use it moderately (that is, not running the air conditioner full blast 24/7 throughout the summer). All you need to do is maintain it well and schedule regular professional tune-ups annually.
But no matter how much TLC you lavish on your A.C., sooner or later, you will be ready to look for a new air conditioner. When that time comes, you can rely on our HVAC experts. We’ll be happy to help explain what to look for. At Knight, you’ll find an excellent selection of today’s most trusted central air conditioning brands — Goodman, Trane, and Amana. We’re also professionally trained to install your air conditioner for you safely and correctly.
3. Are There Ways for Me to Save Money on Air Conditioning?
You certainly can cut your air conditioner bills while still staying comfortable on those hot Calgary summer days. All it takes is a bit of mindfulness and a few simple energy-saving actions.
To illustrate: Change the A.C. filter regularly (once every 1-3 months) to improve airflow and energy efficiency. Another example: Use an inexpensive-to-operate ceiling fan to circulate cooled air more effectively. This will allow you to save money by turning the air conditioner thermostat up several digress.
See? That doesn’t sound so hard, now does it? Would you like to learn more? Then check out our list of ways to save money on air conditioning painlessly.
P.S. These tips will not only reduce your electric bill; they will also help your air conditioning to last longer.
4. Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell So Bad?
If you notice a bad smell wafting from your central A.C., never ignore it or try to cover it up with an air freshener. There are various reasons why your air conditioner might stink (sorry to put it so bluntly). None of them are exactly good, but some are a lot worse than others. So it’s important to take a few minutes and analyze exactly what kind of offensive odour you’re experiencing.
To illustrate: An odour of smelly socks probably indicates that your cooling system needs professional cleaning. On the other hand, the scent of rotten eggs could point to a dangerous gas leak that requires immediate action; get everyone out of the house — fast — and call 911 before you contact us.
5. Where’s The Right Location For My Air Conditioner?
Before we answer this question, keep in mind that a central air condoning system consists of two primary components: the air handler, which is located indoors (typically adjacent to your furnace in the basement), and the condenser unit, to be found outside in your yard. You don’t have a lot of choice in where to install your air handler, so here we’ll focus on figuring out the right location for your air conditioning condenser.
Selecting the right location for your air conditioner’s outdoor unit is important. There are 3 main considerations to guide your choice:
Aesthetics. Let’s face it; an A.C. condenser doesn’t have a whole lot of curb appeal. That’s why you should place it in an inconspicuous spot behind your house if you possibly can. You might also want to shield the condenser from view with the help of some attractive plantings or lattice. If you do, make sure that you do not block the airflow. In addition, you’ll need to leave 2-3 feet of open space around the unit in case your air conditioning technician needs access.
Efficiency and damage prevention. Consider the “geography” of your yard. Position the condenser away from snowdrifts or direct sun and out of the path of rainwater or snowmelt running off your roof.
Noise. A central air condenser tends to produce quite a lot of noise. Ensure the unit is not placed too close to a patio or a bedroom window — either yours or your neighbours’!
6. What Temperature Should My Air Conditioner Be Set At?
The best temperature for your air conditioning in summer is somewhere between 22 and 25° Celsius — and a setting toward the upper end of that range is ideal. Turn the A.C. to an even higher temperature (27-28 degrees) before you go to bed or leave the house for more than a couple of hours. This is an energy-efficient habit that will keep your home comfortable in summer rather than icy cool. It will also save you money on your monthly electricity bill.
If your family has a hard time making such a drastic change, try to get them used to it gently and gradually. Raise the setting a degree or two at a time until you arrive at a temperature that you all enjoy.
7. How Can I Detect Air Conditioner Scams In Calgary?
A central air conditioning system is a big-ticket purchase. Yet it’s one that consumers often make under a great deal of pressure when their old A.C. has failed, and they want new air conditioner installation as soon as possible. As a result, some unscrupulous “business people” have started A.C. scams in Calgary. They tend to offer unbelievable deals on air conditioners at fantastic prices. But, as the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
How can you tell the scammers from legitimate, honest HVAC companies? Watch out for these red flags:
Pressure. Beware the fast-talking salesperson who suddenly shows up at your door and tries to bulldoze you into buying an air conditioner. Like our team here at Knight, reputable HVAC experts will patiently answer your questions and go over the pros and cons of various systems with you. And we’ll never come to your home without an appointment.
Poor online reviews — or none. While the occasional negative Google review is par for the course, watch out for patterns of poor service. And a lack of reviews is a warning signal that this company hasn’t been in business long enough to prove itself.
Lack of up-to-date knowledge. A bona fide HVAC pro will stay up to date on the current air conditioning code, complicated though it is. A scammer is too busy ripping off homeowners to bother.
8. Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?
Here’s how to decide whether to repair or replace your central air conditioner when things go wrong:
Age. Balance the age of the A.C. system against the amount of the repair estimate. For an older model, the cost to replace vs repair your air conditioning might not be worth it, particularly if you’ve already lived through 2 or more expensive breakdowns. In all likelihood, that’s a sign you should start looking for a new air conditioner!
Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness. Consider your summertime electric bills (A.C. is responsible for the lion’s share of charges) and how well the system cools your home. It could be time to say goodbye to an inefficient air conditioner rather than patching it up. Ditto if your central air uses ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant — which is currently being phased out by the Canadian government.
9. How Do I Prepare My Air Conditioner For Summer?
Get the most enjoyment at the lowest energy cost by making sure your air conditioner is ready for summer, before peak cooling season even begins. If you don’t have the time or patience to do this prep work yourself, a member of our team of qualified HVAC technicians will gladly take care of it for you. Here are the steps involved:
- Change or clean the filter, if necessary.
- Check your thermostat. Make sure it is set at the right temperature and according to the desired schedule (for a programmable version).
- Inspect the blower fan, circuit board, condenser, and evaporator coils to ensure they are all clean and functional.
- Check your A.C. refrigerant level.
- Lubricate all the moving parts.
Have More Questions? We’ve Got Answers
The team at Knight is here for you, ready to answer all your air conditioning questions just like we did for Leanne M:
“I was very pleased with Brian and the time he took to answer all my questions about an air conditioner, hot water tank and even my furnace.”(from an actual Google review)
We offer professional A.C. repair, tune up, and replacement. Count on us for reliable, affordable air conditioner repair service in the Calgary area.