So here we are. You’ve decided this year is the year you’re going to splurge and finally get out of the heat. You’re finally getting an air conditioner! Next, you did your homework. You asked around, read reviews, researched all the different plumbing companies in Regina, and finally decided on who you were going to have (likely you chose Family Plumbing and Heating) to do the work. We showed up, did some work inside, did some work outside, and left you with cool air. But what were we actually doing?
We were working hard (hardly working?) at making sure you had the best air conditioner install possible. A properly installed AC significantly decreases the issues you may have in the future. Certain steps need to be followed when installing air conditioners. Even skipping one step will reduce the efficiency of the unit. Outlined below are what one could consider the key steps (that often get missed) when installing an air conditioner.
A properly sized AC is key to it’s operation. One industry standard to follow is for every 600 square ft requires 1 ton of cooling. So a 900 square foot home would need a one and a half ton unit. Installing a unit too big for the area will provide too much cooling in a short amount of time causing the unit to short cycle, while an undersized unit will struggle to reach temperature adding undue stress.
2 Brazing with nitrogen
When brazing the lineset, nitrogen should be flowing through the pipe at all times. This will help prevent rapid oxidation inside the pipe. Without flowing nitrogen the inside pipe wall can begin to flake off. These flakes will soon clog the filter driers and can eventually make their way into the compressor which is a big problem you do not want.
3 Pressure testing
A compressor replacement is the last repair you want to be told you need. Next on the list would be a refrigerant leak. While freon is often nicknamed “gas” it’s kind of misleading. Freon does not run out so if you’re ever told you’re low of refrigerant it means you have a leak. We avoid this problem by filling the system up to a high PSI with nitrogen and watching to see if pressures drop.
4 Pulling a vacuum
Your install is almost complete! But first we need to de-gas and de-hydrate. Degassing removes the non-condensibles that can cause increased run times and derate the efficiency. De-hydrating removes the moisture within the line set. Moisture can cause premature failure of the oil inside the compressor. It will clog the metering device and eventually contaminate the lineset, ultimately leading for the need of a new system. (ouch). The goal of the vacuum should be to pull down (and hold) below 500 microns.
Above are 4 of the major steps, but as with everything else in life the devil is in the details. I’ve skipped over likely another 10 steps that while maybe not crucial to the operation of the equipment, are still important and must be followed.
If you are interested in an air conditioner installation this summer or would like to know more information always feel free to reach out and talk to us.
Wait, let me rewind for a minute. I forgot that a good plumber seduces their client with technical know-it-all-ness before dropping the new install bomb like that. So let’s start at the beginning.
R-22 is the short form name for chlorodifluoromethane (I don’t know why they shortened it.). A gas used regularly as a refrigerant. Introduced in the 50’s, this became the gold standard until its phase out in 2010. Basically, R-22 was found to be a major detriment to our ozone layer and numerous countries around the world began developing legislature against it as early as the 1980’s.
Every year since 2010 manufactures have been limited in how much R-22 they’ve been allowed to produce. This in turn has been raising the costs of the remaining gas in the market. Projected time lines (don’t quote me on this) suggest that by 2020, 95% of R-22 freon production that use to exist will be gone. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean bye bye R-22 as there are ways to recycle “dirty” gas and re-use it. But with such short summers and the material and labour it takes to “clean” R-22, I highly doubt you will see many companies in Regina putting forth such effort.
But Brenden, what does this mean to me as a homeowner? It means you need a new air conditioner. (Now it all makes sense!) Investing large sums of money into an R-22 system can become very self defeating as R-22 becomes increasingly more expensive and less available as years go by. While we all want to imagine our heating and cooling systems can make another season, when it comes time, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and invest in new equipment. $500 to fix up a leaking R-22 air conditioner could potentially be a 25% down payment on a new R410-A system with full warranty.
If you’re curious where your air conditioner fits into all this freon mumbo jumbo I recommend calling us out for an air conditioner maintenance (Normally $120+tax but if you tell us you read about it on here we’ll offer it for $99+tax, WHAT A DEAL!). It allows us the chance to go over your system head to toe. From there we can sit down with you and let you know how your air conditioner is currently operating and what the likely timeline is until you need a replacement
And that’s a wrap on the 2019 Spring Home Show! It was quite the weekend and was incredibly fun. Tyler and I had been working hard the past months getting our booth together. Neither of us had ever been in a trade show before so the experience was something new to both of us and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We are already cooking up some ideas of what we would add to our booth for next year’s show. (Can you start planning too early? Is a laser light show allowed?)
We met a lot of great people and are thrilled with the exposure Family Plumbing and Heating received from being apart of the event. Thursday started off a little slow and had me second guessing our decision to enter the show but as I walked into the building at 1:10 Friday (Yes I know the doors opened at 1) and saw the lineup out the door of people waiting to get in, I knew we were in for a pretty busy weekend.
If you asked us what we would do differently next year we would probably start by getting a bigger booth. This is both our first year in business and first time at the show so we decided to stay small so we wouldn’t over extend ourselves but we found while we were designing our booth that we were becoming too limited in what we wanted to display. We’d also like to develop more interactive displays for next year. Most of the plumbing/HVAC contractors that attended the show (us included) had quite a bit of product on hand, but if we can’t show off how it works is it really worth it? Third, I’d bring a dog. If this weekend taught me anything it’s that everyone has to stop and pet a puppy. The bed bug booth beside us had brought their bug sniffing dogs and were the stars of our row. Until I brought out the big guns….the kids!
Smith, Georgia, and Ginny showed up and were gracious enough to step in and act as my marketing team handing out pamphlets. Smith especially took to his new role in the company and showed us his inner used car salesmen. He was handing out pamphlets left, right and centre. At one point he turned to me with excitement
Smith: I’ve handed out 80 million flyers!
Me: Wow bud, good job.
Smith: If I hand out one more it will get all the way to the Mayor! Then the mayor will have to use you guys for his office.
But there is no rest for Family Plumbing and Heating and no time to nurse our home show hangover. It’s back to work ASAP out in the field. Once we get back into our rhythm we will be able to draw for the awesome prizes we were giving away this weekend and contacting the winners. We would like to thank everyone who helped us with getting to the event and lended a hand this weekend. A special thanks goes out to our families, the suppliers who helped us out with our displays and prizes, and a big thank you to Colby and Amanda for helping out inside the booth. Hope to see everyone again next year.
Tyler and I have started 2019 off the same way we left 2018; hitting up call after call and having a blast while we do it. January has included quite a few starts to some renovation projects and the beginnings to what looks like a busy spring with clients asking us to quote them on their new builds. Working with clients on a new build can be very rewarding because A) there is nothing better than roughing in a house in the Summer, and B) you get the opportunity to help build what is potentially the client’s dream home and know you’re working on a project that will last a long time. 10 years from now when I’m teaching Smith to drive I’ll sit in the passenger seat and annoyingly point out every house in the neighbourhood I’ve built like every other trades-dad does.
As usual furnaces and boilers are shutting down when you would least like them to. Furnace repairs in Regina love to take place on weekends and holidays for some strange reason, but fortunately it has not been an overly cold winter until recently, this has helped a lot of older equipment limp through one more cold season. For a lot of homeowners, remember to replace your furnace filter (obviously you have already read our last post though), get a furnace maintenance completed and you may be able to make it to spring in one piece.
We also have entered the Regina Spring Home Show and have been getting prepared for a busy weekend, meeting everyone excited about their home renovations and also seeing all the other exhibitors that are set up. I attended last year and couldn’t believe the amount of booths that were a part of the show. Whatever renovation you might be planning, this is definitely the event you want to attend. The sheer deck building prowess in the room is palpable.
As always please follow along with us on Facebook @ Family Plumbing and Heating and Instagram @family_plumbing and feel free to call us anytime 306-519-3722
A common question I get asked by clients is what kind of fixture they should buy for their upcoming renovation. Walking into Home Depot or Rona you can become overwhelmed with aisles full of faucets, shower trim, and toilets. It’s hard to tell where the quality fixtures are hiding and which ones are just shiny pieces of stainless steel. Here are some quick guidelines to help you make the best purchase possible.
1) Stick with the big names: Moen and Delta are the general go to’s. They have been around forever and aren’t going anywhere soon. This means that if a repair is needed the technicians have likely seen this problem before, have experience fixing it and replacement parts will be readily available. Large department stores don’t often carry the parts for their in-store brands. You may save money up front but will pay extra once it breaks down.
2) Cheaply priced, cheaply made: If you pay next to nothing for a kitchen faucet (less than $100), it would be considered a cheap faucet. It is likely made with a lot of plastic which degrades quickly especially depending on the hardness of your water. Sometimes it will be hard to stomach the price tag on some faucets but trust me, you’ll end up replacing the cheap faucet well before you replace a more expensive counterpart.
3) What about high end?: There are some very nice faucets and fixtures out there if you have the money. Two notes to remember for this category are the more expensive the fixture, usually the cost of install will rise as well. And as I’ve mentioned before, fewer clients go for the high end fixtures which means technicians have had less experience installing them which can lead to mistakes on the install.
4) Stick to the middle of the road: This will give you the most reward for your money. Not too expensive and not too cheap. These fixtures and faucets will check off all the boxes. Look nice, repair parts available, and technicians have experiencing repairing.
5) What type of toilet should I buy?: This is another common question. Now while there are some pretty cool fancy toilets out there, your money likely could be better well spent. I mean c’mon, we all know what we use it for! For around $150 you can find a lot of quality toilets.
If you find yourself standing in Home Depot scratching your head feel free to call Family Plumbing and Heating with any questions. We love talking about this stuff!