Frequently Asked Questions
A recent survey of household energy use found that 23% of Canadian single and semi-detached and row housing reported having a gas fireplace and of those, 22% reported using them every day once the temperature dip. Depending on the size and location of the fireplace, the added warmth can help ease the furnace’s heating burden , causing it to turn on less frequently. But, will that save money? Not necessarily, according to research undertaken at the Canadian Center for Housing Technology (CCHT). The study tested gas fireplace use and its impact on both furnace use and total energy consumption in the CCHT’s R2000 certified research house. Researchers wanted to find out if operating a gas fireplace would reduce total gas consumption. It also looked at whether running the furnace fan continuously had any benefits on heat distribution to rooms away from the fireplace compared to having the fan automatically turn on only when the furnace was required to provide heating for the house. The results showed that, while the furnace came on less frequently during fireplace use, total gas energy consumption overall actually increased by approximately 10 to 16 per cent. This is because the gas fireplace, which had a measured efficiency of only 76%, was offsetting the operation of the furnace with an efficiency of 94%. The study lso found that even when the fireplace was not in use, overall gas energy use was 6% higher compared to the control house because of the gas consumption by the small, but continuously running, pilot light. While running the furnace fan continuously was expected to distribute heat from the fireplace to other rooms more effectively than when run intermittently, the researchers found that operation of the fan had very little influence on the temperatures in other rooms in either mode. In fact, not only was there no difference in heat distribution, continuously running the furnace fan actually increased daily electrical energy use from 6 kWh to 11 kWh, which can be significant given that typical Canadian homes use a total of 15 to 30 kWh per day. Researchers concluded that while gas fireplaces provide a warm ambiance during cold Canadian winters, use of a high efficiency furnace as the main method of home heating will save homeowners energy and money in the long run.
Radiant Tube Heaters are NOT recommended in most residential garages, due to the clearance restrictions. These units must be 6” below the ceiling from the reflector; the tube is approximately 4” in diameter, and is 4” below the reflector. You must then still have 5’ of clearance to any combustibles from the low side of the tube. Basically, with the average 9’ height in residential garages, you will be left with only 3 ½ ‘of storage and would be unable to park a vehicle under the heater, or store any boxes, etc. Most radiant tube heaters that are installed do not meet code and are hazardous. We recommend a Unit Heater as the heating system to install for residential garages.
Most new furnaces come with a 10 year manufacturer limited parts warranty and a 20 year manufacturer warranty on the heat exchanger which is the heart of the furnace, and the most expensive to repair or replace. The manufacturer offers the 20 year warranty on the heat exchanger because they know they will have very few failures of the heat exchanger within the 20 years. Therefore, that is a fairly good gauge as to the life of the furnace, however proper installation and regular service can extend the life of the furnace.
Air conditioning units vary. Basic units will generally have a 5 year compressor warranty while better units, will come with up to 12 years of limited compressor warranty. The actual longevity of the a/c system depends on the maintenance and service the system receives.
When purchasing a new furnace or a/c unit, you usually get what you pay for! The least expensive units may not last as long or may require more repairs over the years then the more expensive units. It is important to remember as well to purchase brand name equipment that parts are readily available for in your community. You don’t want to have to wait for parts to be shipped if your furnace breaks down in -40 degree weather! TRANE equipment is rated #1 for customer satisfaction, and they have a wholesale dealer in Grande Prairie for parts.
Air conditioning costs can range substantially, depending on the size of your home, the efficiency of the unit you choose, the number of windows the home has, etc. Also installation costs vary depending on a number of factors, such as where the furnace is located and how the refrigeration lines will need to be run. A rough estimate for a 1200 SQFT home would be approximately $2600.00 to $5600.00 plus GST. If you are considering air conditioning for your home, the best thing to do is call us to schedule an in home evaluation and job quote.
It is a myth that air conditioning is not required in our climate. In the summer months, we have sun from 5 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. which can cause our homes to heat up to over 25 degrees or hotter with a reasonably high relative humidity. Many people find it difficult to sleep! People open windows or use fans to try and cool down, which can cause security concerns or allergy issues. Another alternative people try is sleeping in their basement which stays cooler, but why be forced out of the comfort of your own bed!
Air conditioning is generally turned on in mid-May in our climate. Once turned on the air conditioning will run as required to keep you comfortable, controlling not only the temperature of your home but the humidity as well. Generally the air conditioning is used until mid-September, at which time we recommend disconnecting the power to the condenser for the winter months.
Indoor Elements Mechanical Ltd. offers 24 hour emergency service to its customers however overtime rates do apply. Labour charges will be $165/hour as well as the additional $20 truck charge and for out of town work the $1.50/km mileage rate applies. After hours rates apply to any jobs after 5 p.m., before 8 a.m., or on Saturdays, Sundays, or Statutory Holidays. Keep in mind that one of the benefits of an Equipment Service Agreement is that there are no overtime charges. Call us today for more details!
Our standard workday rate for labour is $110/hour and an additional truck charges applies ($20 flat rate for in town and $1.50/km for out of town jobs).
Single stage furnace is a basic furnace. When the thermostat calls for heat, the furnace starts up at maximum capacity and runs until the heat call is satisfied. A two stage furnace works differently and will save you money in the spring, summer and fall, when you don’t require as much heat. When the thermostat calls for heat, the two stage furnace starts up at about 65% of the furnaces capacity and the fan speed is lower. If the heat call is not satisfied within ten minutes, the furnace will increase the gas pressure and fan speed to full capacity to satisfy the call for heat.
Filter sizes vary depending on the Brand and type of furnace that you have, however the most common sizes are 16x25x1 inch and 20x25x1 inch. Unless you have allergy concerns, we would probably recommend a standard filter because they are less restrictive. Most High Efficiency filters slow down airflow which can then increase your heating and cooling costs. Another good option, although a more expensive one, is an air filter with a low static pressure drop which normally costs between $700.00 and $3500.00.
It is important for all homeowners to remember that with any filter, they will only work when air is flowing through them! Regular maintenance of your furnace and replacement of the filter is important and if you purchase an expensive filter you should ensure that you run your fan continuously.
A new furnace can range from $1400.00 + GST to $3200.00 + GST for the furnace itself. However when you factor in the cost of installation and any other required parts the cost ranges from $3200.00 + GST to $5000.00 + GST depending on the Brand and the efficiency of the furnace you choose. ** Remember TRANE equipment is rated #1 in customer satisfaction! **
This depends on the square footage of your home, the size of the duct-work, the number and type of windows and doors your home has and the type of furnace that you are interested in. Homeowners also need to factor in the cost of installation. A good starting point for choosing a furnace would be approximately 50 BTU/SQFT above ground.