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Ask me anything about HVAC heating air conditioning air quality control

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  • Jul 27th, 2021 10:43 am
Sr. Member
Oct 19, 2020
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GTA
slowtyper wrote: Hi this was your reply to an earlier question if I needed a permit for a range hood exhaust. Do you happen to have anything official looking that states this so I can include it in my application to the condo board? I can't seem to find anything about this specific scenario.

Thanks
I don't.
I assumed it's for a house. It may be a good idea to contact municipal code enforcement as well as the condo corporation before applying for clarification.
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Nov 28, 2016
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So I had my tech that installed my furnace show me the static pressure tests he did with the old furnace and new furnace. Even thought it was done 3 weeks ago, I still had to pay him, and our schedules didnt line up.

While not perfect, but a lot better. Now while some of the numbers only went down a little, some went down a lot. The 5" media filter helped a lot as well.

The smaller zone the TESP went up some by .06, But when both zones are open, as in like just a regular furnance setup, my TESP was originally .70 and went down to .54. At the coil it went from .18 to .08 and at the filter went from .20 to .09

My "hand test" at the farthest vents has confirmed that I have way better air flow then I ever had. In fact if the air flow was like this originally, I never would of been in this scenario to begin with. On the lowest fan setting, I seem to be getting almost the same air flow at basement vents as it was when the old furnace was on high.

Some of the pressure numbers went down by half, which is allowing more air flow

The promising thing is I dont need a bypass as before. The capped bypass can stay as it is.
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Nov 7, 2003
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Hey guys... trying to figure out what to do for my parents' house... would love to get your input.

The house is a 1974 built bungalow 1800 sqft, finished basement, extra insulation in the attic, newer windows (if that matters?)

The furnace is around 15 years old and is a 60K btu York 80% eff Ultralux two speed. It used to give us issues but after changing almost everything it's been stable for a while.

The AC is a 2.0 ton unit from 1986.... it runs (or at least it did last year) but it's cooling efficiency is way down.

One issue we have is air pressure.... I think it's the ac coil but no matter how much we crank up the fan speed we get very little pressure at the vents, which slows down heating and cooling greatly. Fan coil is cleaned every year and the ducts were checked last time they were cleaned. All the intakes are clear.

The house tends to heat okay, and according to Ecobee the run times are not crazy long. Cooling is the real issue, with the low vent pressure the house can't really cool down in the summer.

So many questions....

1) any thoughts on the low air pressure at the vents?
2) I'm debating doing whether to do the Furnace and AC, or just the AC (the last dude told us to let the AC die)
3) Are newer coils less restrictive of the air flow?
3) Your recommendations please?

I am getting quoted Goodman and Lenox single stage units at what I think are reasonable prices. I never get clear answers on the topic of 2-stage and seer ratings above 13 for this house.

Appreciate any helpful suggestions that you could send my way please!!!
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Jun 16, 2009
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Woodbridge
1) any thoughts on the low air pressure at the vents? - This mostly happens due to clogged Evaporator coils ( see pic attached )

2) I'm debating doing whether to do the Furnace and AC, or just the AC (the last dude told us to let the AC die) - I am of the same opinion as you last dude. Replace the AC when it dies completely OR its not cooling anymore. If AC doesn't cool properly you will keep it running for hours and wasting energy without getting any results.
3) Are newer coils less restrictive of the air flow? New coils will be less restrictive as it will be super clean and also properly mounted given the right contractor
3) Your recommendations please? There were times when everyone was happy with single stage AC furnace. Now a days 2 stage furnace with ECM is prevalent especially since the price difference is not substantial. You will also not benefit in efficiency rating from AC given the size of the house. However higher the SEER, lower the noise level. Depending upon your budget and requirements there are many options available especially if you are in GTA
325i wrote: Hey guys... trying to figure out what to do for my parents' house... would love to get your input.

The house is a 1974 built bungalow 1800 sqft, finished basement, extra insulation in the attic, newer windows (if that matters?)

The furnace is around 15 years old and is a 60K btu York 80% eff Ultralux two speed. It used to give us issues but after changing almost everything it's been stable for a while.

The AC is a 2.0 ton unit from 1986.... it runs (or at least it did last year) but it's cooling efficiency is way down.

One issue we have is air pressure.... I think it's the ac coil but no matter how much we crank up the fan speed we get very little pressure at the vents, which slows down heating and cooling greatly. Fan coil is cleaned every year and the ducts were checked last time they were cleaned. All the intakes are clear.

The house tends to heat okay, and according to Ecobee the run times are not crazy long. Cooling is the real issue, with the low vent pressure the house can't really cool down in the summer.

So many questions....

1) any thoughts on the low air pressure at the vents?
2) I'm debating doing whether to do the Furnace and AC, or just the AC (the last dude told us to let the AC die)
3) Are newer coils less restrictive of the air flow?
3) Your recommendations please?

I am getting quoted Goodman and Lenox single stage units at what I think are reasonable prices. I never get clear answers on the topic of 2-stage and seer ratings above 13 for this house.

Appreciate any helpful suggestions that you could send my way please!!!
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Sep 27, 2006
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Not so easy there Ma…
325i wrote: Hey guys... trying to figure out what to do for my parents' house... would love to get your input.

The house is a 1974 built bungalow 1800 sqft, finished basement, extra insulation in the attic, newer windows (if that matters?)

The furnace is around 15 years old and is a 60K btu York 80% eff Ultralux two speed. It used to give us issues but after changing almost everything it's been stable for a while.

The AC is a 2.0 ton unit from 1986.... it runs (or at least it did last year) but it's cooling efficiency is way down.

One issue we have is air pressure.... I think it's the ac coil but no matter how much we crank up the fan speed we get very little pressure at the vents, which slows down heating and cooling greatly. Fan coil is cleaned every year and the ducts were checked last time they were cleaned. All the intakes are clear.

The house tends to heat okay, and according to Ecobee the run times are not crazy long. Cooling is the real issue, with the low vent pressure the house can't really cool down in the summer.

So many questions....

1) any thoughts on the low air pressure at the vents?
2) I'm debating doing whether to do the Furnace and AC, or just the AC (the last dude told us to let the AC die)
3) Are newer coils less restrictive of the air flow?
3) Your recommendations please?

I am getting quoted Goodman and Lenox single stage units at what I think are reasonable prices. I never get clear answers on the topic of 2-stage and seer ratings above 13 for this house.

Appreciate any helpful suggestions that you could send my way please!!!
Just in case don't pick a company off Kijiji, there's too much risk of getting a bad installation. As I recollect York doesn't have a great reputation among RFD members but maybe you've replaced the consumable parts that fail. You should have the cooling system checked for proper pressure, that may be the issue. @newlyborn an HVAC contactor who posts on RFD is also the type to let it die if you can get some good usable life out of it. He's among at least a couple of RFD members who are contractors have very good reviews and service the Toronto area. They post in these threads. I figure the house must be in that general vicinity as you couldn't get away with 60,000 BTU with that home where I am.

What you could do is check the air filter and make sure the basement vents are closed in the summer.
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Nov 7, 2003
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newlyborn wrote: 1) any thoughts on the low air pressure at the vents? - This mostly happens due to clogged Evaporator coils ( see pic attached )

2) I'm debating doing whether to do the Furnace and AC, or just the AC (the last dude told us to let the AC die) - I am of the same opinion as you last dude. Replace the AC when it dies completely OR its not cooling anymore. If AC doesn't cool properly you will keep it running for hours and wasting energy without getting any results.
3) Are newer coils less restrictive of the air flow? New coils will be less restrictive as it will be super clean and also properly mounted given the right contractor
3) Your recommendations please? There were times when everyone was happy with single stage AC furnace. Now a days 2 stage furnace with ECM is prevalent especially since the price difference is not substantial. You will also not benefit in efficiency rating from AC given the size of the house. However higher the SEER, lower the noise level. Depending upon your budget and requirements there are many options available especially if you are in GTA
Hey, thanks for the responses - appreciate your input. The AC does run constantly, never really turns off if we try to set the temp to 22-23 (except for in the evenings).

Regarding the evap coil - we actually have an opening on the side so I blow it out with an air compressor every year so that's not the issue.

One new thing I heard today was to install a larger evaporator coil? So a coil for a 2.5 ton with the 2 ton AC to help with flow? Not sure that makes sense....

Regarding the noise levels - I am assuming that a new Seer 13 would be quieter than our 1986 square AC.... at least I hope so. That keeprite unit just keeps on kicking :).

Thanks again for the info...
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Some Apple stuffs
Some Android stuffs
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325i wrote: Regarding the evap coil - we actually have an opening on the side so I blow it out with an air compressor every year so that's not the issue.
If it's not the filter, not the A/C coil, not any return vents that are blocked ... check your furnace blower and see if the squirrel cage is not slipping on the motor shaft or if the blades on the squirrel cage are not plugged up.
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Jun 16, 2009
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Woodbridge
Bigger is not always better. There should be a reason to upsize the coil. Have you asked the dimensions of 2 and 2.5 ton coil from your contractor? Any new AC will be quieter than your old AC since 13 SEER is the minimum requirement these days.
325i wrote: Hey, thanks for the responses - appreciate your input. The AC does run constantly, never really turns off if we try to set the temp to 22-23 (except for in the evenings).

Regarding the evap coil - we actually have an opening on the side so I blow it out with an air compressor every year so that's not the issue.

One new thing I heard today was to install a larger evaporator coil? So a coil for a 2.5 ton with the 2 ton AC to help with flow? Not sure that makes sense....

Regarding the noise levels - I am assuming that a new Seer 13 would be quieter than our 1986 square AC.... at least I hope so. That keeprite unit just keeps on kicking :).

Thanks again for the info...
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Dec 29, 2016
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Hi, I'm in Alberta and have some questions about my central AC install. I've got a few quotes that vary quite a bit in price, so would like to figure out what's what:

  1. I live in a duplex (2018 build), about 1640 sqft AG. The quotes I've gotten are anywhere from 2.5-4 ton units. Based on everything I've read and several calculations of my own, I think I should be around 2.5 ton unit, maybe even smaller. Any chance you can verify? The quotes are for Trane or Lennox units.
  2. Given my duplex, I may not have enough space on the side of my house and may have to place it by the detached garage out back. This would require a longer run for the line sets and some burying potentially (up to 100 feet total). What are the limits for the AC units for max lineset runs? Is burying line sets an issue? My internet searching suggests it's fairly routine (bury in PVC pipe), but I've got a lot of resistance from the installers wanting to do it this way.

    Thanks in advance!
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Jun 16, 2009
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Woodbridge
I am not familiar with Alberta weather conditions but I can assure you that 2 ton will be more than sufficient if installed in GTA for 1900 soft home.
Most ACs are factory charged for 50 fr of line set. 100 ft will need extra charging of the system as per manufacturer specs.
Fardashian wrote: Hi, I'm in Alberta and have some questions about my central AC install. I've got a few quotes that vary quite a bit in price, so would like to figure out what's what:

  1. I live in a duplex (2018 build), about 1640 sqft AG. The quotes I've gotten are anywhere from 2.5-4 ton units. Based on everything I've read and several calculations of my own, I think I should be around 2.5 ton unit, maybe even smaller. Any chance you can verify? The quotes are for Trane or Lennox units.
  2. Given my duplex, I may not have enough space on the side of my house and may have to place it by the detached garage out back. This would require a longer run for the line sets and some burying potentially (up to 100 feet total). What are the limits for the AC units for max lineset runs? Is burying line sets an issue? My internet searching suggests it's fairly routine (bury in PVC pipe), but I've got a lot of resistance from the installers wanting to do it this way.

    Thanks in advance!
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Jun 25, 2019
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I have air exchange at home that can only be turned on by manually pressing on the button.

I would like it to start based on air quality in the house.

Ex: CO2 levels and particul levels. I have pretty bad seasonal allergies, and I am assuming that this would help with them.

When I search online for something that would do this automatically, I can’t find any such wall switch on the market.

Can you please help?
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Jun 23, 2019
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besmirlikaj6 wrote: I have air exchange at home that can only be turned on by manually pressing on the button.

I would like it to start based on air quality in the house.

Ex: CO2 levels and particul levels. I have pretty bad seasonal allergies, and I am assuming that this would help with them.

When I search online for something that would do this automatically, I can’t find any such wall switch on the market.

Can you please help?
I don't know about a switch that will do it automatically, however you can get a 20/40 (20mins on, 40mins off) switch that will run the HRV for 20mins every hour. My old house had a HRV and I just set it on 20/40 and never touched the button again. This way the air in the house wasn't "stale" and it also wasn't constantly running exchanging the air. The only time I put it to run constantly was if I had a lot of people over, to help keep the air fresh in the house.

However keep in mind that with allergies the HRV can still bring in pollen since the filters aren't HEPA or anything fancy, they are just foam filters that barely filter anything. If you have bad allergies (I do) get someone to install an Aprilaire 2410 media filter with a MERV 11 filter. This will trap any pollen that gets past the HRV foam filters. Also the Aprilaire filter isn't restrictive at all, and generally only needs to be replaced once a year. Since the filter is almost 5" wide it wont restrict the airflow like 1" high MERV filters.
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Jun 25, 2019
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Do you recommend that I install it myself or that I get a professional to do it for me?
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Apr 8, 2018
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Tried to search for the answer in this forum but couldn't find what I was looking for, so sorry if I'm asking a question that has already been answered.

I have a newly built home (End of 2018) in Edmonton, Alberta. I have a Fantech HRV system. I've been reading and hearing mixed answers on running the HRV and furnace fans throughout the year vs. turning it off in the summer months/turning it off in the summer months and the really cold winter months.

I currently have the HRV set to Eco-mode which automatically chooses the "best" operating settings based on the home's current conditions and the furnace fan to run for 15 minutes per hour, these are the settings I use all year round. Should I be changing these settings during specific seasons? I also have a central AC system. Should the HRV/Furnance fan schedule be modified when I have the AC on in the summer months?

Any input would be greatly appreciated, please and thanks!
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Apr 24, 2006
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What's the proper way to seal off vents for the summer in the basement? It get's too cold down there (tenant) but if I block them off, that put's extra strain on the furnace?

Are there better/more proper ways to do it?
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Jun 21, 2003
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I could use some advice about cleaning of the coils. We bought our home in 2017 and the furnace and A/C were pretty old, assumed to be around 2000 but not certain. Admittedly I knew little about HVAC maintenance and probably haven’t done things I should. Middle of last summer our A/C started to run quite inefficiently. It ran a large portion of the day to maintain 72 degrees which is still warmer than we wanted but getting it lower was basically impossible. I had a few other problems and had replaced the outdoor fan and capacitor as well. Those unfortunately did not fix the problem in any meaningful way. I let it limp along as both of us were laid off for a very large part of the year and just couldn’t make it happen. Now it’s this year and while we are working again I’ve been essentially on part time hours for the majority of 2021. Needless to say again it isn’t the ideal time for us to replace the A/C and furnace (while the furnace has not presented any issues it seems it would be silly to do just the A/C given the age-correct?)

So I’m now trying a little more maintenance attempts that I had not known prior to reading the last few pages here. This evening I have my evaporator coil a good cleaning and it was quite bad on the inside of the “A”. In the hour before cleaning the house held at 73 for the entire hour of it running but in the half hour after it dropped a couple degrees. It could be a coincidence as the temp outside dropped, could be the cleaning helped or maybe a combo of both. Either way I’d like to take the cleaning a little further with some foaming cleanser as it’s really the last thing left I think I can do to try and get through this cooling season. Can anyone make some recommendations on cleaning foams you’ve had good success with? Ideally I want one of the heavy duty ones as we do have 2 cats. I’d also be interested in one for the condenser coils as well if that’s worth trying.

EDIT: While I'm here I guess I should attempt to also gather more information in the event I have to go with a replacement. In all honesty I am overwhelmed with the situation since it is an area I know absolutely nothing about and fear I won't make the right decision (I don't know the right questions to ask) and well the cost. I'm going to ask a bunch of questions and I apologize in advance for that.

1. From a heating standpoint the furnace seems to work without issue. It does not seem to have a problem heating the house that we have noticed in 4 winters here. The biggest issue is the lack of insulation in our home which is another issue for another day. It is definitely older without a doubt, and has ABS for the exhaust pipe. Am I right in assuming that it would be a fool's errand to JUST replace the A/C? Aside from cost would there be any other reasons not to do this? My assumption on cost is as follows: A/C replacement + separate furnace replacement > Furnace & A/C replacement due to 2 visits, not as big of a sale for the contractor on 2 individuals jobs compared to 1 big package sale. Beyond that are there other obvious concerns? As in would some work be done twice by doing them separately?

2. If we go with a replacement A/C, our existing lines run across a finished room in the basement. Should I be expecting they rip that ceiling open to replace it? I am an electrician and pretty skilled at fishing so I understand it so I'm hoping they could just fish from the outside in to the furnace room (the joists fortunately run in the same direction the lines go). I guess if they say they can't I could potentially tell them I'll get twine across for them. I have no skill when it comes to drywall repair so it's more expense I'd want to try and avoid. I should note the existing system is R22 so I understand the old lines shouldn't be re-used.

3. Any makes of A/C or furnace that I should avoid? And any I should be aiming for? Ideally I want something reliable but not a premium price tag.

4. We have a small bungalow. I believe around 900sq ft plus a finished basement. If I am reading correctly we currently have a 1 ton unit. The model number is 3231-9-12A so I think the 12A indicates it is a 1 ton. I understand you typically don't want your system oversized but to what degree is that. Would a 1.5 ton be of any benefit to us? If so, why?

5. One other issue, that I guess I forgot to mention when I spoke of heating is the fact we don't get amazing air pressure in my daughter's room which is the furthest point (in our tiny home) from the furnace. We don't know the workmanship of our ducts as they are fully hidden in our home. You can only see the portions from furnace in to the wall of the utility room so literally only a few feet total of our entire run. There's no way without ripping down our basement ceiling to confirm it is well done. If we replace A/C & furnace can anything be done to compensate for this and ensure we get a little better flow to my daughter's room?

6. We are with Union Gas in Hamilton. Are there any sort of rebates we can potentially take advantage either from them or the government? My current A/C technically says "high efficiency" and "seer 8". Would any of that disqualify any rebates?

7. Lastly (I hope), any recommendations of contractors in Hamilton area to get quotes from? I want to get a few of course, but some referrals on companies to get quotes from would be appreciated. Is there any point in calling a big company like Reliance or is HVAC typically better quality/price from smaller outfits?

Thank you in advance. Any help will truly make this stressful situation easier for myself and my family. We would greatly appreciate any help.
Last edited by ChicoQuente on May 18th, 2021 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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For AC, is it better to have the temperture threshhold rise more so the ac runs longer

The Ecobees have it so you have the ac cut in as soon as its .3 degrees above your set temp, all the way to 1.7 degrees. Example. If you have it set for 23 degrees, it can kick in as soon as it hits 23.3 degree, or 24.7 degrees.

I want to keep the house as level as I can with a new ac install last fall. But the ac doesnt run very long when it only has to cool the house .3 degrees.

Should a person increase that threshold to 1 degree so it doesnt kick in until 24 degrees and then run longer to reach the temp set on the thermostat?


There is also an Over Cool Max setting as well, which can be from .3 to 2.8 degrees. Which would make the ac run past the temp your set as well, thats mostly for dehumidification (so the setting says on screen)

The same can be done for heat, but in reverse.
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Dec 19, 2009
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ChicoQuente wrote: This evening I have my evaporator coil a good cleaning and it was quite bad on the inside of the “A”.
Seeing as you have a high efficient furnace and your A coil was pretty dirty it's safe to assume that your secondary heat exchanger will be just as or dirtier and restricting the airflow. You would have to remove your blower and take a look up inside. That will also give you a chance to clean the blower at the same time as the fins build up with dirt as well.
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Jun 21, 2003
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pootza wrote: Seeing as you have a high efficient furnace and your A coil was pretty dirty it's safe to assume that your secondary heat exchanger will be just as or dirtier and restricting the airflow. You would have to remove your blower and take a look up inside. That will also give you a chance to clean the blower at the same time as the fins build up with dirt as well.
Thanks. I’ll take a look at that as well. I never would have known. I guess that one will be a little time consuming.

EDIT: Does the blower require lubricating at all ever ? Something I should be considering at the time of this cleaning?
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Dec 19, 2009
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ChicoQuente wrote: Thanks. I’ll take a look at that as well. I never would have known. I guess that one will be a little time consuming.
Some furnaces are just two bolts to unscrew and the blower slides right our and the motor wiring just unclips.
Most direct drive motors don't need lubrication these days. You'll know if it has oiling ports.

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