What are Ductless/ Mini-Split Air Conditioners?

July 8, 2015

Mr. Slim Min Split Vancouver Mr. Slim Ductless Mini Split in a Vancouver BC home

Ductless air-conditioners are also called mini-splits because the two components of the equipment are separated by distance. One half is the compressor, which sits outside, like the compressor on a central air-conditioner. The other half of the ductless system, the indoor air-handling unit, is wall-mounted and connected to the compressor by a pair of hidden pipes. The indoor unit like a radiator that delivers cold air instead of heat. It can be located as far as 75 feet from the compressor and there is no loss of  power or efficiency.

Typical mini-splits include two or three indoor air-handling units to deliver cooling throughout your home. Hook up is relatively easy, requiring no ductwork and only a three- or four-inch hole drilled through an exterior wall to connect the pipes to the two parts of the system.

Mini-split systems save money through lower electricity use.

As the cooling action of a mini-split is delivered to different individually controlled areas in your home, you can choose to cool different zones depending on the time of day and where most people are located. Example, having more cooling in bedrooms at night versus living areas during the day.

Operating a ductless mini-split system without the sheet metal ducts has  other advantages. Homes that are duct-free and are heated with electric baseboard heaters or radiant in-floor heating,  offer cooling action that can’t be achieved with central air. Ductless systems also eliminate the risk of breaking and entering in homes that have window air conditioners/ window shakers. Some mini-split systems are designed to operate in reverse, supplying heat during cool weather. For homes without ducts, this can mean getting rid of those baseboard heaters, resulting in year-round energy savings.

Mini-split systems provide heating and cooling. They are a great option for home additions, or selective area heating and cooling, such as one floor or particular rooms in your home.

The advantages of a mini-split system over other types of cooling / heating equipment are:

  • Can provide heating and cooling in homes that do not have air ducts.
  • Provides independent temperature control for an area.
  • Allows for the addition of air conditioning and heating in homes without ductwork, and with the least amount of disruption to the interior space.

If you are thinking of installing a mini-split/ductless split system in your Vancouver area home, please give us a call at 604-283-2383 to set up an appointment for one of our advisors to help select the correct system for your home.

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What to Expect from an Air Conditioner Consultation

June 22, 2015

Air Conditioner Install in Vancouver

Summers are getting hotter in Metro Vancouver which may be a good thing for some people. But for those of us who are used to moderate temperatures, we may want to install an air conditioner in our homes to help us sleep at night or relax indoors during the evenings. There are a number of things that a professional contractor will need to know before selling and installing an air conditioning unit in your home.

An in-home consultation will have the air conditioning contractor first evaluates your house and performs a heat loss calculation. This calculation will reveal what size air conditioning unit you will need. We recommend that whoever you use does perform this calculation to make sure they are putting in the correct size unit for your home and are not recommending a unit based on their experience and site unseen.

Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Size

  • – Amount of wall and attic insulation your home has
  • – Where your windows and doors are
  • – Types of windows and doors you have
  • – Orientation of your home to the sun.

This heat-loss calculation can show you possible benefits of upgrading the insulation in your house to make your home more energy efficient. By making your home more energy efficient, you may be able to reduce the size of the air conditioner you need.

Properly Sized Air Conditioning Unit

An undersize unit won’t be able to cool rooms down completely on the very hot days and will cost more to operate because it has to run longer than a correctly sized one to try to keep the rooms cool. An air conditioner that is bigger than what you need also costs more to operate because it simply takes more electricity to run a bigger unit. An oversize unit doesn’t lower humidity effectively because it cools the air so quickly that it shuts off before it has a chance to circulate the proper volume of air past the coils to extract the necessary moisture. The result is that your room doesn’t seem as cool as the thermostat reads. The room may feel clammy and damp.

Air Conditioner Efficiency

After determining the correct size of the AC unit for your home, our air conditioning contractor will cover efficiency, which is expressed by the seasonal energy-efficiency rating (SEER). SEER rates how many Btu an air conditioner will remove for each watt of electricity it consumes. The higher the SEER, the less it costs to operate. Units with lower operating costs, tend to be higher quality, have more safety features, better sound shields and lower voltage requirements. The higher the SEER, the higher the initial cost for the unit.

Types of Air Conditioning Units

Next step is to decide on what type of system to buy. There are two kinds. A “package system” gangs the condenser, which cools the refrigerant and exhausts warm air, with the fan-and-coil system, which cools and blows the air. The ducting connects directly to the unit. This is essentially a large wall air conditioner with ducts.  The second option is a “split system,” where the condenser is outside the house and the fan-and-coil system are inside. The two parts are connected to each other by pipes that carry refrigerant. There are other items and pricing that will be covered during your air conditioning consultation and the contractor will leave you with a written copy of the quotation with the price of what the entire job will include. We do offer financing for those who want to pay over the course of months instead of at one time. If you are considering of installing an air conditioner in your home, please call our office to schedule an appointment at 604-283-2383.

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Mini Split Air Conditioning System Installation and Repair

June 16, 2015

Vancouver BC home with mini split air conditioning system

Mini Split Air Conditioning Systems (often called Ductless Split) are one of the most population options when installing an air conditioning unit in your home or business. Mini Split Systems, are small, quite and have the ability to cool large spaces efficiently.

Ashton Service Group installs hundreds of Mini Split AC Systems in single family homes, businesses to strata condos every year in Metro Vancouver. If you’re looking for mini split system repairs or installations, our Mitsubishi Electric certified and licensed air conditioning repair technicians can help.

We can repair any issues with your Mini Split System:

  • Loud noises
  • Not cooling
  • Blowing hot or warm air
  • System recharge
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Not turning on and everything in between

We can install and repair most Mini Split AC Systems:

  • Mitsubishi Mr.Slim air conditioning
  • LG air conditioning
  • Lennox air conditioning
  • York air conditioning
  • Daikin air conditioning
  • Fujitsu air conditioning
  • Toshiba air conditioning
  • Haier air conditioning
  • Carrier air conditioning
  • American Standard air conditioning
  • Goodman air conditioning
  • Samsung air conditioning

Call now for a Free Estimate on your new Mini Split System installation.

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Air Conditioner Sound Levels

June 9, 2015

Even the quietest condensers make some noise, so it is important to work with air conditioner contractors to find a location to place the condenser that is not near a bedroom or office/study window where you need some peace and quiet. Below is a comparison table of how loud a condenser (outside unit) and the indoor unit is when they are in operation. The Mr. Slim models from Mitsubishi run very quietly and are one of their selling features. The indoor unit that will be installed inside a room can run even more quiet than someone carrying a conversation in a whisper and the outside unit is slightly louder than a bird chirping outside your home. mr. slim noise level

Different brands and models have different sound levels so please consult with your contractor to determine how loud each component may be. People also have to take into account their neighbours if residing in an apartment/condo or townhome complex.

There may be strata rules or bylaws that prohibit exceeding noise levels or permanent outdoor installations. It is time saving and efficient to get formal approval and a written letter from council that states you are allowed to put in an air conditioner outdoors and the maximum number of decibels it can be before calling an air conditioner contractor to get a quote.

It will save you all the time and effort you will put in in deciding the type of air conditioner you want and then finding out council will not allow you to install it, making you redo the whole process again and picking another type of unit to put in.

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Wall Mount AC vs Floor Mount AC

June 5, 2015

There are many things to consider when deciding to install an AC in your home. You may have a particular brand or model in mind that you would like to put in to keep you and your family cool and comfortable this summer.

Our next series of blog posts will cover the different decisions that are involved in finding the right AC for your home and needs. We will also cover what you can expect if you schedule a free in home consultation with us to get a quote to install an air conditioner too.

You may consider a central air conditioner where contractors can add an AC component to existing forced air heating ducts that will allow you to cool your entire home. Most people only want to have air conditioning in a couple of rooms in the home, usually bedrooms and living room.

If you don’t want to cool your entire home, most people consider putting in ductless systems with the cooling head installed in the rooms they want AC in.

Types of Splits

 

Wall mount head ACs are best used for:

– Hot or cold rooms

– Additions or renovations

– Enclosed patios

– Homes without space for ductwork

– Larger, multi-room living spaces.

Floor mount ACs are best for:

– Areas with low ceilings

– Rooms with limited wall space

– Homes that use a multi-room system.

 

If you are considering installing an air conditioner in your home, please call us at 604-283-2383 to schedule a free in home consultation with one of our advisors.

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How to Save Energy Living In an Condo/Apartment Building

May 11, 2015

yvr apt

 

As more people are choosing to live in condos and apartments due to their lifestyle and needing less space as they downsize from larger homes. Multi-residential buildings offer many amenities of being nearby to stores and restaurants. Your apartment building may have a gym, pool/spa and other communal spaces that a single family home may not have and you now have access to.

There are always advantages and disadvantages when living in a condo vs a single family home. When you are living in a detached house, you have more control over how much you can do to save on energy costs but in an apartment building you can bring up to the council who looks after the common spaces on how the building can reduce their energy costs.

Strata councils can look for a company like Ashton Service Group to help assess their building’s energy use and propose recommendations on how they can lower energy costs and decrease the electricity bills in Metro Vancouver.

Lighting

– Installing energy efficient lighting like compact flourescents (CFLs) or LED exit lamps in common hallways and spaces. CFLs turn more energy into light and less into heat compared to regular incandescent light bulbs. As well CFLs last longer than normal light bulbs which saves on labour and material costs in having to replace the lights and having someone change them.

– Installing automatic switches or timers to turn lights on when it is needed will help save on energy costs. But remember fire regulations require lighting to be on in hallways and stair walls at all times.

Parking Exhaust Fans

– Use a CO sensor to activate the parking exhaust fans when the CO level in the parking areas approaches the level set by the building code in your city. This will help reduce the electricity cost in having the fans run continually as well as reduce the level of noise the fans will make throughout the day.

– If you do not want to link the CO sensor to the parking exhaust fan, you can also have your building maintenance contractor to put in a timer to shut off the ventilation fans during the times when there is little activity in the parking area such as late at night and early morning.

Pools and Spas

– If you have outdoor pools and spas, consider using a foam/polyethylene cover when they are not in use to reduce heat loss and lower the heating costs of operating them. For indoor pools and spas, using a cover also reduces the ventilation costs.

– Consider installing push button timers when operating sauna heater for pre-set time periods.

– Set pool water temperatures to 24°C – 28°C and spa water temperatures to 36°C- 40°C to reduce heating costs in maintaining the temperature of the pool and spa.

All of these are helpful tips to help save buildings money to put towards other items that may need to be address. But it is important to  make sure your equipment is being properly maintained. Dirty, old or uncalibrated equipment wastes money.

If you are looking for a  contractor to look after your building’s mechanical equipment and systems, give Ashton Service Group a call at 604-283-2383 today. We are experienced mechanical contractors that look after numerous  buildings across Metro Vancouver providing quarterly and semi-annually inspections to ensure the equipment is working as it should be.

Fortis BC also has rebates for building owners if they upgrade or make their buildings more energy efficient.

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This post is in: Air Conditioning, Ashton Service Group, How To, Uncategorized


7 Ways to Keep Cool During Hot Weather

May 7, 2015

weather

All the meteorologists are saying the same thing that the rest of the week and weekend is going to be warm with temperatures reaching as high as 28ºC in Metro Vancouver.

Remember it is only May!

People may want to consider installing an air conditioner if it is something that they have planned and budgeted for. For those where installing an AC is not an option at the moment read the list below to help you stay cool in your home.

1. Check Your Home for Air Leaks

The better sealed your house is, the less cool air it loses or is infiltrated by warm air. Check for gaps in caulking and reseal where necessary. Don’t forget to check the weather-stripping on your doors and windows to make sure they are airtight.

2. Seal Ductwork

If you have any leaky ductwork have a professional repair them as soon as possible. Air loss through ducts make up about 30% of a cooling system’s energy consumption. Where forced AC systems are in use, it is important  that the filters are changed regularly to help energy efficiency.

3. Open Windows

Controlling air flow is a cost effective way to regulate temperatures. If nights are cool, open your windows and balconies if it is safe to, to lower indoor temperatures and have the breeze come in. During the day, shut doors and windows to trap cool air inside.

4. Close Your Curtains and Blinds

During the day, draw your curtains and shut your blinds to keep the sunshine/heat out. AC vents should be kept clear of  drapes, furniture other items that can block airflow.

5. Ceiling Fans

Fans don’t cool air, like an AC does but ceiling fans blades rotates much more slowly than an electric desk fan and it cools people effectively by introducing slow movement into the still hot air of a room.  In the summer, the fan’s direction of rotation should be set so that air is blown downward so that the breeze created by the ceiling fan speeds the evaporation of perspiration on human skin leaving one feeling cooler.

6. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats can automatically turn down the air conditioning at night or when there is no one at home, saving energy and money when lower temperatures are not needed.

7. Cook Outdoors

Minimize running appliances that generate a lot of heat, like stoves, computers, dishwashers, and even hair dryers. If you have to use them, turn them on later in the evening when it is cooler than in the morning or afternoon. Barbecuing is a tasty alternative to cooking on your stove and having your hair air dry than use a hair dryer.

Contact Ashton Service Group to schedule a free in home consultation at 604-283-2383 if you are thinking of putting in an air conditioner in your home.

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This post is in: Air Conditioning, Ashton Service Group, How To, Vancouver


Earth Day: Looking at What We Are Doing

April 22, 2015

earth day

Earth Day has arrived where everyone pays more attention to environmental respect and look at what kind of actions and behaviour changes they can do to lessens our impact on the earth.

Here at Ashton we try our best to reduce our environmental impact in different ways and we are always looking to do more.

Over a year ago Ashton switched from having bottled water delivered to our office to installing a water filtration system available for our employees and guests to fill up their glasses and reusable drink containers whenever they needed water. We have switched from purchasing instant and grounds for our coffee makers to an automated machine that grinds the coffee beans for our cups of coffee.

We like to recycle and have numerous blue boxes all around the office to encourage recycling of paper materials. In our kitchen we have a large recycling receptacle to collect any bottles, cartons and drink containers that people may have consumed through the course of the day and keep them out of the trash and returned for deposit.

Ashton is working on reducing the amount of paper the office goes through and thanks to our customers who are reducing their paper use are requesting electronic versions of reports, quotes and invoices. It is starting to make a difference in the amount of paper we go through.

We also recycle pipes and other materials from our job sites to keep our garbage volume down and items out of the landfill. Every year Ashton is making improvements on how to be more environmentally friendly. Let’s see what changes have occurred when the next Earth Day comes around.

 

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How to Replace a Wax Seal in Your Toilet

April 16, 2015

wax seal for toilet

If you have experienced any plumbing problems, then you know how frustrating it can be to repair them yourself. Some issues may be outside your skill set and you may need to call a plumber who knows how to solve it.

If you consider yourself to be a handy person then you may be able to fix one of the most common toilet leaks that occur.

Your bathroom toilet has water leaking out from the base of the toilet.

This is a common problem and most likely caused by a faulty or damaged wax seal. First thing to do is turn off the water valve located behind the toilet and disconnect the water line. Flush the toilet and remove any water from the tank and bowl. Undo the bolts at the base of the toilet, there should be one on each side and carefully lift the toilet and move it to the side.

The wax seal can be identified as the yellow waxy substance that is around the drain. You can purchase a new wax seal at your local home hardware store.This inexpensive seal helps prevent damage to flooring and sub-flooring.

Remove as much wax as possible and replace the seal with a new one. To reinstall your toilet reattach the bolts at the base of the toilet, reconnect the water line and turn on the water valve. Turn on the water and flush, be sure to check for any leaks.

If this sounds like it is more than you can take on, feel free to call us at 604-283-2383. 

We can schedule one of our certified plumbers to come and help you out.

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This post is in: Ashton Service Group, How To, Plumbing, Uncategorized, Vancouver


Drain Cleaning Options

March 19, 2015

drain cleaning Vancouver BC

We get a fair number of calls from people who call us about a clogged drain or slow draining one. People usually have tried snaking it themselves with a store brought drain snake and/or using a chemical drain cleaner such as Draino but without the desired result. At Ashton Service Group we have a number of options available for drain cleaning.

Hydro Jetting

One of the most common solutions for a clogged sewer or drain is hydro jetting. Hydro jetting uses high pressure water to push any debris/blockages out of the water lines. This can also prevent future blockages because the pressure is so great that it removes any other potential clog-forming residue that may be left behind in the water lines.

Cables/Snakes

Drain snakes (also known as plumbing snakes) are cables with hooks on the end that are used to unclog and push through blockages to allow water to flow through. These commercial grade drain snakes/cables differ from those at the home improvement store where that they

Video Inspection

Video inspections can save people time and money by locating and pinpointing where the source of the sewer line blockage is. A fiber optic video camera is often used and snaked through the sewer line, where the problem can be viewed, diagnosed, and then propose a solution to get rid of the blockage. We can provide a recording to the customer so they can see where the blockage is with their own eyes.

If you need any help with cleaning your drains, please give us a call at 604-283-2383. We are a Vancouver BC Plumbing Contractor that can help with all of your drain cleaning needs.

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