Friday, 2 September 2016

Reasons for an AC Service Call

If your air conditioner is no longer cooling, you are probably going to need a service call. When we visit your home, we'll look at a number of factors that could contribute to poor performance.

A common problem is small leaks in the system that result in the loss of refrigerant. Refrigerant levels only need to be off by a little bit to reduce the efficiency and capacity of the air conditioner. When the system charge is low the AC will run longer in an effort to maintain the demands on it and on warm days it may not be able to maintain the set temperature.

In the past it was common practice to simply "top up" the refrigerant charge but present environmental regulations require us to find the leak and repair it before adding refrigerant to the system.

Damaged or loose wiring can also be an issue. Often over the winter months, mice and other small rodents will build nests within the AC unit that's outside. Some older AC models have little heaters in the compressors that run during the winter. The warm environment inside the unit is very attractive to small rodents. They can disturb the wiring, or chew on the wires, causing a short.

As the unit gets older there is a greater probability that there will be a failure of the contactor, capacitor, condensing fan motor or even the compressor.

A dirty condenser coil (the outside unit) can negatively affect your air conditioner's performance. Dirt, dust, weed and tree pollen, and leaves can all build up on the coil reducing the transfer of heat from the refrigerant to the outside air. Since the unit is outside in the elements it is necessary to clean it periodically. Don't allow nearby bushes to grow around your air conditioner. The unit needs space for good air flow to operate correctly.

Don't forget to change your furnace filter before the cooling season and check it regularly. The blower in your furnace is required to circulate the cool air produced by your air conditioner throughout your home and maintain a sufficient flow of air over the coil installed in the ductwork (evaporator coil). A plugged furnace filter can result in reduced performance of your AC and lead to coil icing.

There are other causes and remedies for icing that you can read about on our blog about icing.

If your unit is older than 15 years, depending on its' condition and the cost of repair, purchasing a new unit may make more sense, although our first priority is to repair your equipment, if this is your best option. Like any piece of equipment, it's not going to last forever.

Today's air conditioners are quite a bit more efficient than an older unit, so the savings in energy costs will help take the sting out of the cost of a new unit. The government also has attractive rebates on air conditioners. Rebates on new units currently vary from $250 to $400, depending on how efficient the new equipment is.

Warranties on new equipment are also very attractive. Daikin offers a limited full replacement warranty for up to six years and a limited parts warranty up to twelve years. You can learn more about new equipment on our website.

Monday, 25 July 2016

What Causes Air Conditioner Icing?

Icing is a condition where the evaporator coil for the air conditioner ices over and your unit no longer can cool the home properly. The evaporator coil is located in the ductwork, usually just above your furnace. Your furnace fan moves air over the coil and distributes the cool air throughout your home.

Often if an air conditioner is icing, it can be traced to improper use. This is a common problem for new home owners and it is easy to fix.

If you set the thermostat too low, it can cause the unit to ice. Many people think that by setting a lower temperature it will help to cool down the home faster. That is not how your air conditioner works. If you set the temperature too low, your air conditioner will run continuously trying to get your house to the temperature you set.

The volume and temperature of the air flowing through the coil affects the surface temperature of the coil. As the temperature in the home drops the lower temperature of the air flowing over the coil is not sufficient to keep the surface temperature of the coil, which is being cooled by the refrigerant, above freezing. As a result, the water on the coil (condensate) freezes and air can no longer flow through the coil. Evaporator coil freezing can also occur if the outside temperature drops quickly and the air conditioner is left running to cool down the home. We often see this if the thermostat is set too low or the AC was left off all day and turned on in the evening to cool the house down. If there is a change in the weather and the outside temperature drops quickly the refrigerant temperature at the evaporator coil is so low, it can cause the moisture on the coil to freeze.

Your air conditioner coil will ice if there is not proper air flow over the coil. Some people close too many vents in an effort to drive cool air to the second floor of their home. Closing vents restricts air flow, which can cause your unit to ice.

A dirty furnace filter can also cause your unit to ice. Dirty filters are another cause of restricted air flow.

What To Do When Your AC Ices:

  1. Turn off the air conditioner. It has to thaw out and cannot do this while it is running.
  2. Make sure all your vents are open.
  3. Make sure you have a clean furnace filter installed.
  4. Change your furnace fan setting from ‘auto’ to ‘on’. This will thaw the coil faster.
  5. Wait a few hours for the ice to thaw from the coil. Set the temperature at a reasonable level (72-75° F) (22-24°C) and start up your air conditioner again.

If these steps don't solve the problem, it's time for a service call.

A low refrigerant charge can also cause icing or frosting but it will require a mechanic to check the system pressures to confirm this.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Back-Up Sump Pumps

Many Londoner’s rely on a sump pump to keep their basement dry, particularly in the Spring. Rainy weather and quickly melting snow can result in your sump pump running regularly.

A sump pump failure can lead to a flooded basement and lots of costly damage. Sump pumps are mechanical devices and eventually will fail. Your sump pump will also not work through a power failure, which often happens in stormy weather.

We recommend that you have a battery back-up sump pump that will kick in should your pump fail or during power outages. Battery back-up pumps are plugged in like your main sump pump. They use a trickle charger to keep the battery fully charged.

Battery back-up sumps pumps are also equipped with an alarm. It’s important for you to know that your back-up pump is running, so you have time to attend to your main pump.

Care of Battery Back-up Pumps

It’s important that your test run your back-up pump 3 or 4 times every year, cycling the pump 8 to 10 times. Batteries last longer if they are fully discharged and then charged up again. If you don’t do this, the battery will only last for a couple of years and may not be functional when you need it.

Batteries normally last 5 to 7 years. We would recommend that you change the battery every 5 years.

Cost of Installation

A battery back-up pump is often less than the deductible on your home insurance policy. If it is only needed once, it will pay for itself.

New Homeowners

We often talk with new homeowners that may not be sure if they even have a sump pump or how it works. Give us a call, we will service your pump and give you instructions on using and caring for your sump pump. For the cost of a service call you’ll get piece of mind and information that every homeowner needs.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Best of London, 2016

Salmon Plumbing & Heating would like to thank all of our customers that voted for us for 'Best of London'. We are very proud to be selected as London’s Best Plumber for a second consecutive year.

Best of London Winner, 2016, The London Free Press

The company was founded by Bill Salmon in 1955. Over the last 60 years, we have grown with London and now operate out of a modern new facility on Clarke Road. The company continues to be family owned and operated by the second generation sons; Bill, Brock and Paul Salmon.

Salmon Plumbing Shop, 96 Clarke Road, London Ontario

The company has always prided itself on service. Everyday we repair plumbing, furnaces, boilers and air conditioning equipment. We offer 24 hour emergency service to make sure our customers are taken care of 365 days of the year.

Our fleet of red service trucks that can be seen around the city everyday have become our trademark.

Salmon Plumbing Red Truck

We always try to repair equipment first. When the time comes that equipment needs to be replaced, we offer a full line of furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, hot water heaters, toilets and faucets. We sell only quality equipment that we would use in our own homes.

We are very proud of our fully licensed tradesmen including; plumbers, sheet metal workers, gas fitters, electricians and HVAC mechanics.

We are also proud of our office staff. We take all of our calls and do all of our dispatching right here in London. Our shop on Clarke Road has a fully stocked parts department and a sheet metal shop. This makes it possible for us to take care of our customers in a timely manner.

We’d like to invite all Londoners to visit our website www.salmonplumbing.com where we have several tips and lots of information for homeowners about plumbing, heating and air conditioning.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Government Rebates on New Furnaces and Air Conditioners in Ontario

The Ontario Government is currently running a program called ‘saveONenergy’. The program is run by a department called IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator). This provincial department ensures that there is enough power to meet the province's energy needs both today and in the future.

The saveONenergy Heating & Cooling Incentive offers rebates to Ontario residents looking to replace their old central air conditioning or heating systems with ENERGY STAR® qualified models. With 60% of your yearly electricity bill going toward heating and cooling your home, it makes good sense to look for ways to reduce your usage and your bills.

The program offers consumers very attractive rebates. If you purchase a qualifying furnace, there is a rebate of $250.00. For a qualifying air conditioner there is a rebate of $400.00.

When you are buying a complete system that adds up to $650, which is a pretty attractive incentive to purchase new equipment. You also see the benefit of lower utility bills and improved home comfort. New equipment carries worry free warranties of up to 12 years, providing peace of mind for our customers.

Why is the Government Doing This?

To meet the increased demands for electricity the provincial government has two choices. Build more power plants and infrastructure or encourage consumers to use less energy.

It is cheaper for the government to offer these rebates and encourage consumers to move into more energy efficient equipment that it is to build new power plants.

Is it Complicated to get the Money?

We will make sure that you are choosing equipment from Ruud or Daikin that qualifies for the rebates.

We strive to make the process simple, we do this all the time. We’ll help you with all the paperwork and ensure that you get your rebate after your new equipment is installed.

Bill Salmon talks about Government Programs:

Monday, 1 February 2016

Scheduling a Service Call

Salmon Plumbing & Heating has built its' reputation on providing timely and quality service to our customers. A large part of our business is repairs. We don't have this work at the start of the day. Customers call in and we try our best to get them serviced on the same day.

We all have an experience where we've sat at home for an entire day waiting for a serviceman to arrive. We don't run our business this way. Scheduling in our business can be a bit of a juggling act, because we don't know for certain how long our men will be at each call.

The only service appointment we can make with certainty is the first one in the morning. After that, we give people a time range to expect our arrival. We do the best we can to meet our schedule. If we are running late, we'll call you with a new E.T.A.

We understand that customers have to work during the day. If you plan on coming home to meet our serviceman, we'll call you at your work and let you know he's on his way.

Everyday Londoners have a choice who they will call for their plumbing and heating needs. We want to make sure we do quality work and meet time commitments so customers will choose us again the next time the need arises.

We offer 24-hour emergency service outside of our regular office hours. We have our own staff answering the phones after hours. Emergency service is more expensive, so if possible we'll try to give you a short term solution on the phone so we can come when we are charging our standard rates. If it's an emergency, we have licensed servicemen ready to go out at any time.