EcoBee3 to help you stay cool this summer

The heat is on! We have some cool tips for you as the temperature rises, and for the “techies” out there, a great way to start saving money and make your home a smart home! Our feature product of the month is the EcoBee3 Smart Wifi Thermostat. The EcoBee promises “all over home comfort”. Ordinary thermostats read the temperature in one room (usually the hallway) which can make your favourite rooms uncomfortable. That’s why EcoBee3 was created. It works with remote sensors to deliver the right temperature in the rooms that matter most.

With a one-year warranty, Afterglow can install EcoBee in your home for $395 +HST and walk you through your new Smart Thermostat.

“We have installed many EcoBee3’s across Waterloo Region and Guelph. Our customers love the way it keeps their homes at a livable temperature and saves them money on their heating bills.” Stephen McDonald Afterglow GM.

dream-house-149899_960_720EcoBee is compatible with 95% of residential heating and cooling systems in North America and virtually all commercial heating and cooling equipment.

EcoBee is a one-time investment that gives you remote access, online reports and mobile app capability. Security is a top priority for EcoBee using similar security technology as banks, government agencies and e-commerce sites.

Don’t wait! Get access and start saving money. Call us to install EcoBee3 today!

Why not Nest

Nest is another smart wifi thermostat and arguably EcoBee3’s largest competitor. Nest has apps, allows you to change the temperature via the apps, set schedules and choose temperature preferences. What Nest doesn’t have is remote sensors to let your thermostat know you’re “home”. Using Echo, the voice activation technology associated with EcoBee, you can set your home to a specific temperature, turn the temperature up or down or simply as EcoBee to make your home cooler or warmer.

Air Con Maintenance for a Comfortable, Cool Summer

The sweltering summer heat has settled into Waterloo Region after a seemingly endless, chilly Spring.  Covers are coming off air conditioners and they’re being fired up for the first time this year.

Can you depend on your air conditioner this summer? With high temperatures and humidity levels, a breakdown could be disastrous. And, no, it’s not your imagination that it always happens when you need it most. Times of heavy use result in air conditioner failures. You can reduce your need for the AC by keeping windows shut and certain doors closed within your house, and closing the drapes on windows. This reduces the strain of heavy use on the AC.  

Air conditioners can fail for many reasons. Old age will certainly contribute to AC failure. Sometimes, faulty installation is to blame. It’s essential that an air conditioner be installed on firm, dry, level ground. Old contactors or small refrigerant leaks could eventually spell the end. How about rodents?!?  It happens! They tend to burrow into units, attracted by insulation and ideal nesting spots. Those gnawing teeth can wreak havoc on the electronic components in your air conditioner. We’ve also seen raccoons, rats, squirrels, snakes, bugs and spiders.

Afterglow - dead rat pic

Of all these causes, the number one reason your air conditioner will fail is inadequate maintenance. As dirty filters and condenser coils deteriorate, the end result is inevitable: your cool air will stop flowing.

Here are 10 diagnostic checks every air conditioner needs.

With a simple maintenance schedule, you can guarantee the longest possible lifespan of your air conditioner and prevent breakdown before it happens. When the Afterglow team checks an AC we look at several component: from the indoor thermostat to outdoor compressor. We check temperatures in several different areas.

  1. Clean the outside air conditioning unit: fins and electrical cabinet
  2. Check furnace filter to make sure the airflow is good
  3. Check and clean (if possible) the indoor coil
  4. Check condensate
  5. Check thermostat
  6. Check electrical connections
  7. Test electrical components
  8. Check fan blower speed setting
  9. Check and seal wall connections, don’t want any critters or bugs getting into the house.
  10. Test refrigerant levels

If any of these checks indicate a concern, further action will optimize the condition of your unit.

There’s no question – a little maintenance is worth guaranteeing your comfortable indoor escape from the sweltering humidity that fouls moods and robs us of sleep. Contact Afterglow and arrange to have your air conditioner checked today!

So, What Does a New Air Conditioner Actually Cost?

An air conditioner can improve your health and quality of life!

In Waterloo Region, air conditioners (ACs) aren’t a luxury anymore — they are a necessity during the sweltering summer months. In today’s market, new units are more powerful, energy efficient and quieter than ever before. But at what cost?

air conditioner gif

A new AC system’s cost depends on the size of the system, who you hire to install it, and your unit’s overall efficiency. Let’s break this down.

Why Size Matters – Smaller is Sometimes Better!

The first step in getting a new AC is determining what size you need. Sizing an AC requires a consultation with an HVAC professional, such as Afterglow. We will look at multiple factors that will affect your unit’s measurements:

  • Total size of your home’s living space,
  • The amount of sunshine in your home,
  • Existing ventilation and ductwork, and more.  

Why do we have to do this? AC units are measured in tons, which refers to the amount of heat they can remove from a home in an hour. ACs that are sized correctly, are able to remove the humidity in the home before reaching the desired cooling point. Over-sized ACs never get a chance to have a long run cycle to remove the humidity.

Larger homes often run into problems because the AC is oversized for a light load, and that is where two-stage ACs come in.

Two-Stage Air Conditioners

Two-Stage ACs are popular in the Southern United States where living with AC is a must, and controlling humidity is essential. This technology has found its way to Ontario now that AC is commonplace. If your home requires three tons of cooling or more, consider a two-stage AC or multiple ACs!

SEER Rating

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is also a critical factor. This ratio is a measure of an AC unit’s total cooling output during a season, divided by its total electric energy input. The higher the resulting number, the better! All units sold are over 13 SEER, and some can even perform at up to 27 SEER. If your old AC was 8 SEER, by going to 16 SEER you will cut your energy consumption in half!

Thermostats and Ducting

When purchasing an AC, also consider upgrading the thermostat. Or it may be time to address some duct-work issues or duct sealing.

Hiring a Contractor

For homes that have never had an AC, an installation requires new breakers in the electrical panel, wires run through your home’s foundation, and new duct work linking to your existing HVAC system. To ensure these crucial tasks are done correctly, ask an AC professional for a quote on your system — and if you’re happy with them, book them!

For a basic model, expect to pay $2,000, a mid-range unit will cost around $3,000, and top-of-the-line AC systems can be over $5,000.

Government Rebates

There are government rebates that cover some cooling systems, such as the Ontario Heating and Cooling Incentive, but they change periodically — it’s good to revisit these websites every few months.

Keep in mind that to qualify for these incentives, your AC needs to be purchased from and installed by a participating contractor. Afterglow is part of the saveONenergy program for residential customers, so ask us about what rebates are available for AC’s in the KW Region!

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

afterglow’s keep cool tips

We scoured the Internet to find you the best tips to deal with rising temperatures and heat waves. Whether you have an air-conditioning unit or not, we have some informative and fun keep cool tips to help beat the heat this summer.

1. Stay hydrated – In the summer it is more important than ever to stay hydrated. A hydrated body will stay cooler and keep you healthy and prepared for your day. Not sure how much water you should be drinking? Try this calculator that accounts for exercise, alcohol, and temperatures.

2. Protect your skin – You’re told this all the time, we know. And though sun exposure can be extremely dangerous for your skin, it can also hold in the heat. Your damaged skin will receive increased blood flow that will make you feel even warmer.

3. Don’t let the light in – Blocking sunlight is a great way to keep the heat out of your home. Over the summer months make sure all of your windows are covered with blinds or shades to avoid the direct light (and heat) from creeping in. The same is true for your body: covering your skin from direct sunlight, in natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, and linen can actually keep you cooler than exposing your skin.

4. Heat free dinnersTry it yourself! On a hot day, rather than starting up your oven, try some heat free meals that are just as delicious. There are many No-cook recipes available on line.

You can also keep cool with healthy treats by freezing fruit such as watermelon, pineapple or lemons.

Did You Know?

  • Spicy food can keep you cooler? Spicy foods will increase your perspiration, which cools your body as it evaporates!
  • Running cold water on both wrists for 10 seconds can reduce your temperature for up to an hour
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