Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner Buying Tips

Keep Your Cool

Canada doesn’t get as much hot weather as our neighbours to the south, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a grueling summer if you don’t have a means of staying cool. Depending on your budget and square footage in your home, there are different options for air conditioners. If you only require a window unit then you won’t have to spend much money and they are efficient for rooms 100-300 sq ft, but won’t help in a larger home. Inversely, an over-sized A/C unit can leave a room feeling way too cold and a bit clammy.

Consider This

EnergyStar states the average Canadian spends 13% of its annual energy bills on cooling.

Note the Noise

Models that scored excellent in noise tests mean that you will only hear a slight hum, which comes from the fan running. Air conditioning units that scored lower for noise may disturb light sleepers, even when set on low. Additionally, when running on higher settings these units could drown out conversation.

Factor-In the Window Location

Window air conditioners, or “window shakers” as they’re often called, force air in one direction. That isn’t an issue, assuming the window is centered properly. The reason for this is that to properly cool the room, the air should be directed into the centre of the room. If your window A/C unit is pushing air into one corner, or towards another window, you may find that your room isn’t cooling like you want it to.

Install It Correctly

To get the most from your window air conditioner it must be properly installed. Most units are intended for double-hung windows. If you have casement windows, you may want to consider a through-the-wall air conditioner. Make sure your window unit is level so that it drains correctly. And move any heat-generating devices such as a TV or lamp away from the unit.

Check Filter Location

This one seems obvious, but if you aren’t sure how to access your filter or even where your A/C filter is, you’ll want to check the instruction manual.

Intelligent Cooling

Some air conditioners have been built to be smarter, allowing you to control and adjust them from your smartphone. These units will pair with a smart thermostat to learn your habits and routines to keep you cool at home while cutting energy costs. You can often interconnect them to other cooling units in your home.

Watch the Warranty

Don’t buy without a full understanding of what your air conditioner’s warranty. This includes knowing what is, and isn’t, covered by it. Also, ensure you understand the length.

Sizing Up Your Options

It is of course important that you consider price and features, but equally as important is determining the size of unit you need for the space you want to cool. Window air conditioners have cooling capacities ranging from 5,000 to 12,500 British thermal units (Btu).

The general rule is that an air conditioner needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. To measure your room, multiply the length of the room by the width. With that information in hand, be aware that there are other considerations that affect your Btu allowance. These include (but are not limited to): the height of your ceiling, the size of your windows and doorways, as well as where your air conditioning unit will be placed.

  • If the room is usually shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the room is extra sunny or has large windows, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 Btu for each additional person.
  • If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 Btu.

But Which Air Conditioner is Right For You??

Some small window units may cost less than $200, which makes them a tempting proposition—but only if you need to cool a very small space. If you need to cool a larger area, you’ll want to focus your search on units that better match your square footage.

Window Air Conditioners

Small—Capacity ranges from 5,000 to 6,500 Btu/hr. Cools roughly 100 to 300 square feet. These units are the smallest, lightest, and least expensive, but they can’t adequately cool a room measuring more than 300 square feet.
Cost: $100-$300.

Medium—Capacity ranges from 7,000 to 8,200 Btu/hr. Cools roughly 250 to 400 square feet. Prices start creeping up, and their size and weight can make them harder to install and remove for winter storage.
Cost: $200-$400.

Large—Capacity ranges from 9,800 to 12,500 Btu/hr. Cools between 350-650 square feet. Best for cooling a large room, but the bulk and weight make these models awkward and difficult to install.
Cost: $400-$600.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are intended for homes in which window configurations or building regulations prevent installation of window units. Most residential portable air conditioners range from 5,000 to 15,500 Btu. But don’t compare portable and window air conditioners by that measurement alone.

The latest air conditioner tests found that portables aren’t as good at cooling as manufacturers claim. Plus, they’re pricey and use more energy than similarly sized window units. They tend to be noisier than window-mounted units. And while technically “portable,” their 50- to 80-pound weight can make them cumbersome and ungainly to roll across carpets or thresholds.
Cost: $300-$600.

Split Ductless Air Conditioners

Split ductless is a smart way to add air conditioning to a limited number of rooms without having to open up walls to install ductwork—as you would with a central-air system—or install and remove multiple window units each year.

Split ductless is more expensive than window or portable units (and professional installation is recommended) but is less expensive than central air if you are cooling only a few rooms. However, if you are looking to cool the majority of your home, a central air-conditioning system is probably the more cost-effective choice.
Cost: $1,000 and up.

5 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

Air Conditioners can be a large investment, so we understand when customers are willing to spend time & money on repairs. However, sometimes it is best to opt to replace your air conditioner. If your unit is getting older, is inefficient, or you are constantly calling CJ Brubacher Ltd to come repair your A/C unit, then it might be time for a replacement. But how will you know for sure? Here are 5 tips to help you know when it is time to buy a new air conditioner.

5 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

  1. Is your air conditioner older than 10 years? If so, that may be the first sign. Most units should last approximately 15 years, if they are properly maintained. Given the huge advancements in efficiency over the last 10 years, however, it may end up being cheaper to buy a new model in the long run. This is especially true if you are about to spend a large portion of a new unit on repairing your old air conditioner.
  2. Your air conditioner is inefficient. If you own an A/C unit, now is a good time to check the SEER rating. Newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13, but if yours is more than a decade old, there’s a strong chance it doesn’t meet this new standard. Replacing your air conditioner with a SEER 13 or better model will cut back on energy costs, as well as be positive for the environment.
  3. You just fixed it and… it has a new problem. If your air conditioner is breaking down frequently and CJ Brubacher’s technicians are finding new problems with it each time, you’ll want to start adding up the constant repair costs. Our technicians can provide a free quote while on-site, so make sure you consider all options.
  4. It feels uncomfortable in your home. If your home isn’t cool, yet your air conditioner is running constantly or more frequently than you feel it should, your A/C unit is probably past due for a replacement. If this is combined with breakdowns and the age exceeds a decade of use, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will do its job and help you keep cool!
  5. Your repairs are going to break the bank. If you’re facing an expensive repair, you should definitely weigh the cost of the repair against the costs of a new unit. Does the repair cost cover a significant portion of a new air conditioner install? You will want to consider the other tips on this list and decide if it makes the most financial sense to repair or replace.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact CJ Brubacher Ltd, your Waterloo Region air conditioner installation and repair company.


Spring Maintenance Checklist

Spring cleaning is an annual tradition for many homeowners. It is a sign that warmer weather is coming, and it feels great to throw open the windows and let the fresh air and sunlight purify your home. Cleaning comprises a big chunk of any spring home maintenance schedule, but cleaning alone isn’t enough.

Maintenance aimed at various structures, appliances, and systems within the home is, just as important. Nearly all homeowners love to see spotless windows for that first sunny, 20-degree day, but you can’t forget your roof and the possibility that ice dams formed over the winter. Indeed, just as much as that first spring day should provide an excuse to go for a hike or a picnic, it should also provide a reminder that your outdoor spring maintenance is waiting. Follow CJ Brubacher Ltd.’s spring maintenance checklist to ensure your home is in optimal condition for the rest of the year.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all the eroding caulk and re-caulk the needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a dime, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they can flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Hot water heater: Ensure no lights are flashing. If you have a digital readout, check to make sure no error codes are on display. Call us and schedule a service call if you have any hesitation about doing this yourself or if you suspect your water heater is not functioning at its full capacity.

Air conditioner: CJ Brubacher Ltd offers a general A/C service and if you sign on for an annual check, it is at a preferred rate. Please keep in mind residential A/C services work best when done while the temperature is above 15 degrees Celsius.

Heat pump: We offer a service on this as part of an annual check up.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

Mercury Thermostat

Do You Know If You Have A Mercury Thermostat?

Are Mercury Thermostats Dangerous and Should I Replace Them?

Does your Kitchener/Waterloo home still have a mercury thermostat? Many homes do. If yours is one of them, there are some things you should know, such as the potential dangers of having a mercury thermostat in your home and how to recycle the thermostat when the time comes to replace it.

But I Don’t Know if I Have a Mercury Thermostat!

Don’t panic! There are a few easy ways to quickly determine whether your home’s thermostat contains mercury. The first is simply to look at it. Mercury thermostats are manual, usually rectangular or circular in shape, and do not use digital displays. So, if your thermostat has a digital screen and curved edges, it probably isn’t a mercury thermostat.

If you can’t tell just by looking at the thermostat whether it contains mercury, take the face off it and look at its innards. If you see a little glass ampule full of silvery liquid, it’s a mercury thermostat. (That little ampule contains up to 12 grams of elemental mercury, making it the single largest source of mercury in your home.)

Mercury thermostats were the standard for nearly 200 years, however they haven’t been made since the early 2000s. New digital thermostats and programmable thermostats are designed to work without mercury. This is due to the hazards that have been discovered to be associated with mercury.

So What Are The Hazards of A Mercury Thermostat

Mercury poses a threat to both the environment and to your health. Direct exposure to mercury can cause neurological damage, behavioral problems, kidney disease and problems with the lungs and digestive tract that can prove fatal.

If mercury is released into the environment it can get into our food sources, most commonly fish. While eating fish is a form of indirect exposure to mercury that is unlikely to affect most people, it is dangerous for expectant mothers. Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating fish and shellfish because ingesting mercury can cause developmental delays and behavioral problems for the child.

What Do I Do With My Old Mercury Thermostat?

Here in Ontario it is illegal to throw away a mercury thermostat. This is because the glass ampule containing the mercury can burst, releasing the toxic metal into the environment. You must have the thermostat recycled by an authorized HVAC contractor like CJ Brubacher Ltd.

Many Ontario local government offices also host occasional household hazardous waste collection events where you can drop your old mercury thermostat in an official disposal bin, but why wait for one of these events when CJ Brubacher Ltd will take of the disposal for you when we replace your thermostat?

If You Still Have A Mercury Thermostat, Now Is A Good Time To Upgrade!

New thermostats are not only mercury-free and safe for your family, but programmable thermostats also help your home be more energy-efficient. Rather than make do with your aging mercury thermostat, call CJ Brubacher Ltd at (519) 669-3362 to have the thermostat recycled and replaced with something better.

Snow covered

Winterization Tips to Save Energy, Time & Money

One thing us Canadians seem to never be prepared for is the first snow fall. We seem to forget to get our winter tires on, or maybe we are just trying to hold on to Fall for as long as we can? As the winter has arrived, you should be taking this time to get your home ready for the cold months ahead. Being proactive will help avoid financial disaster and prevent any personal injury that could occur. From the inside to the outside of your home, winterizing your property will protect your investment while keeping you comfortable.

Furnace Inspection

The first thing on your list should be to call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace to ensure optimal efficiency. It’s also a good idea to stock up on filters and change them regularly. If you haven’t done so already, switching out your thermostat for a programmable one is a great step in the right direction. Updating the thermostat for your families schedule is an easy way to slash your energy bill. You can also set these type of thermostats by season.

If your home uses hot-water radiators for heating, the valves should be bled by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.

**Reminder to remove all flammable material from around your furnace***

Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 to setup an appointment to have your furnace serviced by one of our HVAC technicians.

Check all Exterior Doors and Windows

This step should be completed routinely for your health and safety. Inspect your home on the outside for crevice cracks and any exposed points of entry around pipes. If you notice them, seal them up. Adding weather stripping around your doors will help prevent cold air from entering the home. Also check the caulking around your windows to see if any cracks have appeared. If your windows have cracked glass, it is recommended to replace them. If you end up replacing the entire window, be sure to prime and paint any exposed wood to prevent any damage throughout the winter. Do you have a basement in your home? Consider adding plastic shields to protect the window wells.

Service Weather-Specific Equipment

Being proactive will aid you in preparing for when the bad weather hits and you will inevitably need your seasonal equipment. Pull out your snow blower and have it serviced and give it a good tune-up. Take a look at your shovels and replace any worn or broken ones. Have your ice chopper sharpened and buy bags of ice-melt or sand. Equipment you use in the summer should be prepared to be to be stored away. Items like your lawn mower should have the gas drained to avoid any rust.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A good way to remember to change the batteries in your detectors is to change them when daylight savings time ends and begins. Ensure that you have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace or water heater, or both. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. This is also a great time to check your fire extinguisher and replace any that have expired.

Prevent Plumbing Freezes

Make sure you know where your main shut off is in the event of an emergency. To avoid any headaches, drain your garden hose, insulate exposed plumbing pipes, drain air conditioner pipes and if your AC unit has a water shut off valve, turn it off. If you plan to leave on vacation or for an extended amount of time, keep your heat on and set it to at least 12˚C.

Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 for any plumbing concerns, issues or advice.

CJ Brubacher has you covered!

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Severe weather can strike at any moment. Being prepared is key to keeping your family safe and comfortable. Your kit should include indoor candles, matches/lighter for use during a power failure. Having a battery backup can help charge your devices should you need to contact anyone during power failure. Pack extra bottles of water, non-perishable food supplies (don’t forget about your pets!), blankets, and a first-aid kits. This kit should be stored in a spot that is easily accessible and dry. You may want to consider a generator to eliminate down time at your home. Also, preparing an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency can give you peace of mind knowing that your family knows what to do. Putting the contacts of your utility companies, and trusted repair team, like C.J. Brubacher ((519) 669-3362), in your phone will help eliminate trying to locate them should an emergency arise.

Being proactive is always recommended, especially when dealing with an investment like your home.

Have any questions for our team? Need some assistance? Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 and book an appointment.


Benefits of Having a Humidifier Installed on your Furnace

One of the biggest health concerns majority of people suffer from is dehydration. Our bodies are comprised mainly with water, if the moisture leaves the tissue it dries up. With that, the elasticity goes and function declines. Besides having dry skin, the symptoms of dehydration can include raspy throat, sore eyes, joint and muscle pain and a lack of mental concentration.

There are two ways we can beat dehydration. The first is obvious, drink plenty of water and secondly, maintain the humidity in your home and office at a comfortable level with the use of a furnace humidifier.

Humidity and your Health

Did you know that inadequate humidity during cold weather is one of the major causes of respiratory infections? The cooler seasons when we require our furnace to be running causes people to have repeated winter colds. Most people blame winter for these problem, but the truth is, it’s caused by dryness. The dryness affects the membranes of the throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Relative humidity also has quite the effect on controlling airborne infections.

So what can we do? Have one of your HVAC technicians install a humidifier on your furnace in your home where you spend most of your time. For many, dry air can be an air quality issue. Some bacteria, viruses and respiratory irritants feed off dry air. Enough moisture in the body helps enable the immune system to defend better against indoor respiratory pollutants and irritants.

Humidity and your Comfort

The air in your home is constantly trying to reach its saturation point, meaning that it will absorb water from wherever it can find it. It will steal moisture from your body, your pets, your furniture and even your house plants. When the moisture is given up in your home to the air, your body (skin, nasal passages and throat) dries out and cracks causing some physical discomfort to you and your family. Some doctors will recommend to their patients that are suffering from allergies or asthma to have a humidifier set up in their home.

Humidity and your Home

Do you have any wood in your home? Chances are the air is stealing humidity from that too. When the dry air sucks the moisture out it causes the wood to crack and shrink, this can even affect your furniture. Some people will notice that their doors no longer fit properly in the frame as the moisture has been removed causing the wood to shrink.

Have you ever shuffled across the carpet only to touch something or someone and be shocked? Did you know that your body is capable of holding a 20,000 volt static charge? This may be the most annoying part of dry air in the home, static shock. This means that your body can wreak havoc on your computer and any other electronic devices. Keeping the relative humidity in your home above 35% significantly reduces the likelihood of static shock.

Humidity and your Wallet

You might be wondering how humidity can affect your wallet. Have you ever noticed that the humid summer air actually feels hotter than it is? That same idea applies to your home as well. By keeping your home at the proper humidity level, you can turn down your thermostat a few degrees while still feeling comfortable.

Want to discuss your options or have a furnace humidifier installed to keep you comfortable this winter season? Give CJ Brubacher a call at (519)669-3362 to book your appointment.