Maintenance Tips for your Heating/Cooling System

 

Furnace maintenanceBelow is a list of maintenance tips for some of the equipment LSM installs in an average new home construction:

Furnace: LSM installs only high efficient Lennox or Aire-Flo furnaces in new homes. Below are a few tips you can do to maintain your furnace:

• Change your filters regularly: 1” wide fibreglass filters change monthly; 1” pleated every 3 months; 5” wide Lennox filters every 12 months. Check the filter packaging – it could vary by manufacturer. If you have pets in the home, you may have to change your filters more often. Other air cleaners like the Lennox PureAir have other components that also need to be changed every 12 months. If you’re not sure, give us a call 780-532-4418 – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. We carry a stock of all of the filters we install.

• Check the drain line from the furnace. When the furnace is heating your home, some moisture should be draining into the drain (a small drizzle). If there is none or you suspect that the drain line might be blocked, call us for service (780-532-4418).

• Check the outside of your home where the furnace intake and exhaust are mounted. Trim any shrubs or vines that have grown up close to them. Keep the intake and exhaust clear of snow, furniture, or other objects.

Thermostat: LSM usually installs digital thermostats in new homes. Depending on the model, they may require batteries. The Honeywell models have a battery compartment at the back, right of the thermostat towards the wall and it will usually flip down towards the floor and can be removed from the thermostat (usually take AA type). Some touchscreens you may have to remove the front of the thermostat to change the batteries (usually take AAA type). Change the batteries every one or two years. The Lennox CS7000 and the iComfort thermostats do not require batteries (they take their power from the furnace). If you’re not sure of your model, give us a call 780-532-4418 – we can look up your installation file to tell you more information about your thermostat.

Humidifier: We install Lennox drip-style humidifiers with a flow-through design. Our standard installation is to have the humidifier operate only when the furnace is heating the house. The humidistat (the humidifier control) is usually mounted above the humidifier in the ductwork and will turn on the humidifier if your home’s humidity is less than the humidistat setting. If the Lennox CS7000 or iComfort thermostats are installed, the humidifier controls may be within the thermostats.

• Change the pad once per year, in the fall just before the heating season. The instructions are on the box of the Lennox humidifier pads. You may need to change the pad more often if minerals in your water are building up on your pad (you can usually tell my looking at the pad, or if the humidifier is running but not bringing the up the house’s humidity). In a new home, it may take a few weeks to reach and maintain proper humidity. We have the pads in stock. When changing the pad, clean any mineral build up inside the pad frame and humidifier case.

• Check the drain hose to be sure the water is drizzling into the drain and not plugged. The drizzle is proper operation as that’s what flushes minerals off of the pad and into your drain.

We also install steam humidifiers. They usually have a cartridge that needs to be changed (recommended 1/year). Some models will shut down if the cartridge has gone past a pre-set run-time.

Air Conditioning: LSM installs Aire-Flo and Lennox units.

Before starting your air conditioning system in the spring:

• Remove the winter cover (if applicable).

• Ensure that the power to the condenser (the outdoor unit) is off. Gently wash the unit with a garden hose (careful not to use a high pressure nozzle or high pressure washer). You may have to remove the side panels to access the coil.

• Check that there is nothing stored close the condenser or bushes growing close to the unit. Trim or remove them. The unit needs a lot of air movement to operate properly.

• Turn the electrical disconnect switch to “on” (on the outside wall by the condenser). Check the breakers in the electrical panel that are assigned to the air conditioning are in the "on" position.

• Switch your thermostat to cooling (a switch on the thermostat, or on a digital thermostat set the system to “cool” or “cooling”). We recommend that you set your cooling temperature to 22oC and leave it there for the air conditioning to kick on as needed. Setting your thermostat lower than 21oC could cause your system to freeze up.

• It's a good idea to put in a new furnace filter just prior to starting up your air conditioning system for the season. Please check that you only have one filter in the rack. More than one or a plugged filter may starve your system for air and can be very hard on your furnace blower and could freeze your indoor coil. You may want to switch to a less expensive, basic fiberglass filter for the cooling season. Some washable electrostatic filters can be too restrictive.

• Get your ducts cleaned regularly and be sure to let your duct cleaners know that you have air conditioning. You have an indoor coil in the ductwork above your furnace that will require the ducts to be cleaned more often to operate efficiently.

In years of high airborne fluff, from vegetation or if there is a dryer vent nearby, cleaning the outdoor condenser may need to be done regularly throughout the cooling season. Check periodically for build-up as this can cause freeze-up.

At the end of the cooling season (in the fall):

• Turn the electrical disconnect switch to “off” (on outside wall by the condenser). You may also want the breakers in the electrical panel that are assigned to the air conditioning in the "off" position.

• Ensure that the power to the unit is off. Gently wash the condenser (the outdoor unit) with a garden hose (careful not to use a high pressure nozzle or high pressure washer). You may have to remove the protective side panels to access the coil. If you washed it, allow a day to dry. Put the winter cover on (if applicable).

• Switch your thermostat to heating (on a digital thermostat set the system to “heat”).

Garage Heater: There are two types of garage heaters that LSM installs: forced air and radiant tube. It is recommended that you maintain 15 degrees C in the garage as turning on only on the very cold days can be very hard on the unit. These extreme temperature fluctuations cause metal fatigue or condensation to form (the latter can lead to rusting). Both of these conditions can cause heat exchanger failure.

Air to Air Exchange or HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator): There are two types of air to air exchange that LSM installs:

• Exhaust fan (like a bath fan) usually located in your furnace room or hallway and in conjunction with your furnace system, work as an air to air exchange. The switch to activate this fan is usually in the hallway, near your furnace thermostat. This fan is wired to your furnace fan, so when the switch is turned on, it activates your furnace to circulate air which brings fresh air into your home through your fresh air intake (a duct from the outside that goes directly into your ductwork). When this system is running, it may feel like your furnace is blowing cold air – this is normal.

• Some homes may use an HRV – a unit designed specifically for air to air exchange. In a new home this unit is usually installed to take stale air from the bathrooms and kitchen replacing the bath fans and kitchen exhaust. It will draw fresh air directly from outside and warms it with the exhausting stale air (heat transfer via intersecting tubes) and delivers it directly to the rooms it draws from. This unit can be activated by a switch in the bathrooms, like a bath fan switch. The HRV looks like a box hanging from the ceiling with round hose/pipe (usually in the furnace room). The HRV has a filter that can be removed and washed. It’s recommended that you do that a few times per year. Check that the drain line is clear. Check your manual for more information.

It is recommended that you run your air to air exchange system several times per day, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and turn them off again. It’s also a good idea to run this system if you have excess amounts of humidity, cooking odours, and when other indoor contaminants are present (e.g. cleaning supplies). Leave this system off during your vacations or extended periods when your house will be vacant.

Check the outside of your home for the intakes and exhausts (they usually look like large dryer vent hoods). Keep these clear of any storage, debris, shrubs, and snow.

Duct Cleaning: We recommend duct cleaning every two years, or more frequent if you have pets or air conditioning. LSM has a vacuum duct truck and we can clean and/or sanitize your ductwork. Be sure to tell us when you’re booking your appointment if you have air conditioning as special care needs to be taken in the ductwork that contains the air conditioning coil.

You may wish to have regular furnace and air conditioning maintenance performed by a professional service technician. A Planned Service appointment could prevent future repairs and will help to protect your warranty and will ensure longer life and efficient operation of your heating or cooling equipment. For more information, or to book a Planned Service appointment, call LSM at 780-532-4418 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..