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    • How much is a new furnace or Air Conditioner?
      Every home is different and our systems are custom designed to match your home. Sounds expensive, right? Well with our years of experience and efficiency combined with our massive buying power we are able to provide you with a true custom system at a cookie cutter price. Is a new system cheap? Not when compared to say a blanket to keep warm but for what we provide we believe we are not only the best but also the cheapest in town! You will find our customers agree. Check out our reviews here.
    • What sets you apart and why should we choose you over a “comparable” competitor?
      While there are many reasons you should choose Great Lakes, we believe the best way to sum that up is with an honest challenge- Call our office and see if you can get the home phone number for our owner. Then call our competitors and do the same. You will find our entire team from the owner down are here to serve you and are dedicated to ensure your happiness!
    • We are having trouble getting cool air upstairs in our two story home, what can I do to make the upstairs more comfortable?
      A comfortable main floor and a warm second floor is a common complaint with central air conditioning systems. This temperature variation is caused by the fact that cool air is heavy. Heavy air requires more effort to move, especially upwards. Your furnace fan has to work much harder to get the air up two stories. Additionally, cool air, unlike warm air, tends to fall, so that once you actually manage to get the air upstairs, it will naturally fall back to the first floor. Don’t despair, there are some things that you can do. Make sure your furnace fan is on the highest possible setting. Most furnaces installed today will have a multi-speed, direct drive fan motor. Have your service contractor check to make sure that the highest speed is being used for air conditioning. If your fan motor has belts and pulleys, check with your contractor about installing a larger pulley. Adjust the balancing on your ductwork to force as much cool air upstairs as possible. If your ductwork is accessible from your basement, and has dampers installed in each of the supply air runs, make sure the dampers for the upper floor are fully open. You can also close any dampers for rooms on the first floor that do not get much use, or are very small. Some examples may be a powder room, formal living or dining room. You should keep the dampers fully open for the kitchen and the main living or family area. If the ductwork is not accessible, or doesn’t have any dampers, don’t despair. You can balance the air flow by opening and closing the dampers in the supply air registers. If you cannot get a register closed, we have been told that covering the register with a telephone book works well. Don’t forget to re-balance the ductwork system when you switch over to heating. During the heating system you want most of the warm air delivered to the first floor, it will rise on its own to the second floor. Use fans to help move cooler air. Placing a large fan at the top of the stairway can help to draw the cooler air up. A ceiling fan installed on the second floor can also be a big improvement. Check the return air grills. Make sure they are clean. Consider installing “High Wall” return air grills on the second floor. High wall return air grills are installed near the ceiling, not near the floor. This enables the furnace to draw the warmest air from the top of the house back into the system. Your service contractor can give you more information and let you know if it is possible to install high wall grills on your system.
    • Is it necessary to have my air conditioner maintained regularly?
      Absolutely! Annual maintenance on your air conditioner can mean big savings on your Air Conditioning bills. Some studies have shown that proper annual maintenance can save you up to 30% on your energy bills. A well maintained unit will also last longer and break down less, saving you more money in the long run. When choosing a contractor to perform your tune-up there are some things you should keep in mind. Can the contractor service your entire system? Having one contractor for your heating and one for your Air Conditioning system leads to confusion. Make sure you get a written checklist of the work performed. A comprehensive tune-up should take an hour to perform, anything less and you may not be getting value for your money. Ensure that your contractor is licensed to work with refrigerants. Most states and provinces now require that technicians take special refrigerant training. In addition to professionally performed annual maintenance you also play an important part in keeping your system operating efficiently by making sure your furnace air filter is kept very clean. A dirty filter will affect the efficiency of a central air conditioning system much quicker than a furnace. Clean or change the filter regularly!
    • I would like to landscape around my central air conditioner, how close can I put shrubs and other plants?
      This will depend on the type and make of your central air conditioner, however all central air units require some clearance from trees and shrubs to allow for air flow around the condensing coil. Generally speaking you should try and keep any items that may interfere with air flow at least 30″ from your unit. To keep dust from getting inside the delicate coils, try and keep a ground cover around your air conditioning unit. If your unit is near a flower bed, a heavy mulch on the bed will keep dust down.
    • What do I do if the refrigerant is leaking out of my air conditioner?
      Turn your air conditioner OFF. Call your service contractor immediately. Refrigerant leaking is no simple matter. Gone are the days when it was more economical to just add more refrigerant to the unit and ignore the leak. Today it is against the law to knowingly allow an air conditioner to leak, and it is also very expensive.
    • What is the most important thing to look for when I buy a central air conditioner?
      The most important thing to look for when purchasing a central air conditioner, has nothing to do with the actual air conditioner and everything to do with the contractor you choose. The best piece of equipment, if installed incorrectly, will not give you the comfort you deserve. HVAC equipment, and Air Conditioning equipment in particular, requires that great skill and care be taken during the installation process. If just one braze or solder joint is not correct it could lead to leaks of refrigerant in to the atmosphere, and potential contamination in the refrigerant system. These items could be costly to repair, not to mention time consuming and an aggravation for you.
    • I have had several quotes for air conditioning and the contractors are recommending a 2 ton unit for my home. Should I have a 2½
      There is sometimes a tendency to believe that BIGGER is BETTER. Sometimes that maybe so, but not in air conditioning units. Actually with central air conditioners, SMALLER is SMARTER. The first thing an air conditioner has to do to cool your home is to remove humidity from your home. If the air conditioner is too large, the air is supercooled before the humidity is removed. This will make you feel cool and clammy, much like a rainy fall day. An oversized air conditioner will also come on more often for shorter periods of time. When this happens it is very hard on the compressor which can lead to premature burnout and it will use more electricity costing you more money on energy bills.”.
    • My home has radiators (or baseboards). Can I install central air?
      Anything is possible, but if you do not have a centralized air distribution system, or ductwork, in your home, installing air conditioning may be difficult. If your home is a bungalow and the basement is not finished, then the situation is not so bad. Ductwork and a new furnace or blower coil can be installed in the basement and your new air conditioner installed outside. If your home is two story, or the basement is completely finished, it becomes more difficult. Ductwork can still be installed in a finished basement, but you will probably have to tear down some walls and ceilings, and have to build bulkheads to hide the new ductwork. An alternative is to install the air conditioning system in the attic. There are units that are designed to be installed in attics and tight spaces. These units use a high velocity air system and the Air Conditioning is delivered from the ceiling. A major benefit is that the cool air is falling into the room, instead of being pushed up, making it more efficient. Remember, we have Comfort Advisors that will come out free of charge and give you expert advice.
    • What is the life expectancy of a typical air conditioner?
      Life expectancy is one of those things that will vary widely from location to location. Obviously an air conditioning units in warm climates will probably need to be replaced more frequently than units in cooler climates. How close you are located to the ocean will also be a factor. Generally speaking units in cooler climates tend to last 15 to 18 years. In warmer climates the range is usually 11 to 15 years. Of course you are going to find exceptions to these numbers, but these can be used as a general guideline.
    • What are the different types of air conditioners?
      CENTRAL Air Conditioners – Central air conditioning units will cool a large area by using an air distribution system. The most common application is to add a central air conditioning unit to an existing forced air furnace. The air conditioner unit (condenser) is placed outside and is connected to the evaporator coil, inside the furnace’s ductwork. VARIATIONS – Attic installations. In some warmer areas central air units may be installed with their own ductwork. In these cases a blower coil is used to circulate air through the ductwork. The ductwork can be installed in the basement or attic. SPACE Air Conditioners – Window or room air conditioning units are designed to cool a small room only. Usually these units are placed in a window and are removed after the Air Conditioning season is over. Sometimes window air conditioners can be permanently installed through a wall.
    • How often should I clean or change my furnace filter?
      How often you change your furnace filter will depend on the type of filter you use, and how you operate your furnace. Select the type of filter you use from the list below to find out what you should be doing? DISPOSABLE FILTERS – Disposable filters should be changed every 6 to 8 weeks. A lot of people try cleaning these filters but they are not really meant to be cleaned and may actually become even less efficient. Disposable filters are not very efficient and provide only a basic amount of air cleaning. If you run your furnace fan continuously, cleaning should be performed every 3 to 4 weeks. WASHABLE FILTERS – Washable filters should be cleaned every 6 to 8 weeks for normal use. If you run your furnace fan continuously, wash filters every 3 to 4 weeks. When you wash your filter be sure to inspect it for wear and tear. HAMMOCK – Hammock filters are not meant to be washed and should be replaced every 8 to 10 weeks. When you purchase a replacement hammock filter it may be a little larger than the metal frame it’s attached to. Install the filter on the frame and then trim off the excess. ELECTROSTATIC AIR CLEANER – Electrostatic air cleaners must be cleaned monthly. To clean them first vacuum the nylon media and then rinse the filter with water. Be sure to rinse the filter in the opposite direction from the air flow. Electrostatic air cleaners are very difficult to get very clean so as your filter gets older, clean it even more often. When cleaning inspect it for damage and wear and tear. ELECTRONIC AIR CLEANER (EAC) – The most important thing to remember about electronic air cleaners is to keep them clean. EACs are very efficient until the cells get dirty and then lose a lot of their efficiency. When cleaning the cells be careful not to break any of the thin wires that run along the outside of the cells. If one of these wires break, the cell current will be broken and will not work. Do not forget to clean the small prescreens as well. LARGE PLEATED MEDIA FILTER – This is the easiest filter to clean. All you have to do is replace the media cartridge annually. Arrange to have your cartridge replaced at the same time as you have your annual maintenance performed.
    • Is annual maintenance really necessary?
      YES! Your heating system is a finely tuned piece of machinery that is designed to squeeze the most heat from your energy dollars. Your heating system operates for months on end and if one of the components of that system is not working in harmony with the rest of the furnace, you are losing efficiency and money. Annual maintenance inspections often spot small problems before they become large, and very expensive repairs. Annual maintenance can also spot dangerous operating conditions that could lead to the production of carbon monoxide, which could be a potentially deadly situation. A comprehensive annual safety inspection and precision tune up takes time and should be performed with care.
    • Is there anything special I need to do to get my heating system ready for winter?
      Most heating systems are quite reliable and will provide you with quick, comfortable heat when you need it, providing you take good care of the system. We recommend that you check out your furnace BEFORE the first cold night hits. If you have air conditioning you should shut it down and cover it for the winter. Follow these easy steps: Clean or change your furnace filter If your furnace or boiler has a pilot light, make sure it is on. Some homes are equipped with a “FRESH AIR INTAKE” that brings in fresh air from the outside for combustion. If your home has one, make sure it is not blocked and clean the outside lint trap. Set your furnace to the “heat” position and turn up the thermostat. Allow your furnace to run through a couple of cycles to make sure it is working properly. Do a quick visual inspection of the furnace area to make sure there are no items that could interfere with air flow or combustion. Call us to arrange for a professional cleaning and inspection.
    • What are the different types of heating systems?
      Heating systems come in all sizes, types and fuels. You can check out a brief history of heating. In residential systems there are basically two different distribution systems, forced air (ductwork) and radiation (baseboards). These systems can be fueled by one or more of the following: electricity, natural gas, LP propane, oil, hot water, steam, geothermal, heat pump or wood. For most purposes you can categorize home heating systems into two broad categories, furnaces and boilers. Generally speaking furnaces heat air and use a system of fans and ductwork to move that air around the house. Boilers heat water and use a circulator pump and piping to move the water through radiators, thus heating the home. Furnaces come in all shapes, sizes, efficiencies and fuels. The most common furnace in urban areas is a forced air, natural gas unit. In rural areas, or areas that do not have access to natural gas pipelines, furnaces often use propane or electricity to produce heat. Regardless of the fuel all residential furnaces work on the same principle. A fuel is burnt in a heat exchanger to produce heat. Air is then passed over the heat exchanger where it picks up heat, the air is then delivered to the house through a ductwork system. Furnaces are often classified according to efficiencies. You’ll often hear furnaces being referred to as Standard, Mid and High Efficient units. The efficiency is determined by the furnace’s AFUE . According to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy a Standard furnace is one whose AFUE is below 70%, a Mid Efficient furnace is one whose AFUE is between 71% and 82% and a High efficient furnace is one whose AFUE is above 90. When a furnace is installed in a basement it is considered an “Upflow” furnace, meaning the cooler air from the home enters the base of the furnace, and exits out the top of the furnace. The furnace is connected to a series of metal boxes and pipes, which is the ductwork. The very first metal box on the top of the furnace is called the PLENUM. If you have air conditioning the evaporator coil is installed in this plenum. If a furnace is installed on the main floor of a home and the heat comes from floor registers, it is a downflow furnace. In a downflow furnace the cool air from your home enters the furnace at the top and the warmed air exits at the bottom.
    • How large/small is a micron?
      About 400 microns will fit inside an average size period in a sentence. A micron is one 300th the diameter of a human hair.
    • I have allergies, what is the best filter?
      Developed during W.W.II to remove radioactive particles from the air in manufacturing plants, a HEPA filter would be superior. Our HEPA will remove 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or smaller that pass through it.
    • What size furnace and A/C do I need and how much will it cost?
      We offer free whole home consultation to determine the size and provide a no obligation proposal, via in-home or virtual appointment. Click here to schedule a free consultation to see if you even need to replace it, sometimes they just need tuned up! 
    • What does SEER stand for?
      Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER number on your equipment, the less money you give the electric company.
    • What does AFUE stand for?
      Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. If you get a bill for $100.00 for using just your furnace, which is 60% efficient, you put $60.00 worth of heat in your home $40.00 worth of heat up your chimney to keep the starlings warm.
    • What does a 2-ton air conditioner mean?
      This is also a unit in which we measure the air conditioners ability to cool. There are 12,000 BTU’s per ton so 2 tons X 12,000 BTU = 24,000 BTU capacity.  “Ton” dates back to when ice would be cut into giant squares and stored in barns to cool places and things. 1 ton of ice was the equivalent value of 12,000 BTU.
    • What is a BTU?
      (British Thermal Unit) A unit in which we measure heat.
    • How do I know when it is time to replace my unit?
      Great Lakes recommends replacing any unit where the age of the unit in years multiplied by todays repair costs is greater than $4,000.
    • What does MERV stand for?
      It is a standard rating for filters. Similar to MPG values for your car, the higher the MERV value, the more efficient/better the filter is.
    • I know the square footage of my home, why can't you give me a price over the phone?
      We’ll answer with a question. Does every 5’8″ man wear the same size shoe? Of course not and like getting a shoe that is too big or too small, you sacrifice comfort and efficiency, plus it wears out quicker, resulting in early replacement.