Frequently Asked Questions
Q) What methods of payment do you accept?
A) For service work, we accept cash, cheque, e-Transfer, Visa and MasterCard. For installations we accept pre-approved financing, cash, certified cheque, and e-Transfer. Visa and MasterCard are accepted for deposit only.
Q) Do you do free estimates for new equipment installations?
Q) How can I tell what kind of furnace I have?
A) Most furnaces will have a name brand affixed to the front of it. Gas furnaces that have a metal vent that connects to the main chimney of the house are standard-efficiency or mid-efficiency. If it has black, grey, or white plastic pipes going from the furnace to outside through a side wall, it is a high-efficient furnace. Electric furnaces will have a large gauge cable leading to the main breaker panel.
Q) What are these black/white/grey plastic pipes that stick out the side of my house and blow steam in the winter?
A) If you have a high efficient furnace or water heater, those pipes are the intake and exhaust. They should be kept free of snow, ice, and any other debris for proper operation of the equipment. A blockage from snow can cause the unit to shut down, leaving you cold and unhappy.
Q) There is a blinking light behind one of the panels of my furnace. What is it for and what does it mean?
A) Many furnaces from the 1990s and onwards carry limited diagnostic functions in their circuitry. A blinking LED light is used to represent the status of the control circuitry. The number, pattern, and color of the lights varies by manufacturer, as well as what the appliance is doing at the moment. If you find your furnace not working or working improperly, observe the blinking light(s) and make note of any patterns they make. For example, 3 fast flashes followed by one long flash on a single light system, or alternating flashes on a two light system. Providing this information to the service technician will assist in the diagnosis of your problem.
Q) What is a "heat exchanger" and why does it matter if it is cracked?
A) A heat exchanger is a device that transfers the heat from the combustion of gas to the air stream of your house. The heat exchanger keeps the harmful products of combustion, like carbon monoxide, separate from the air flowing through your duct system. If it has holes or cracks in it, dangerous combustion fumes may enter the air in the ducts and spread throughout the house.
Some examples of failed heat exchangers:
Q) If my heat exchanger HAS failed, do I need a new furnace?
A) Not necessarily. Many furnaces have 20 year heat exchanger parts warranties. If your heat exchanger has failed while on this warranty, the factory will issue a new one to you. However, you will still have to pay the labour to replace the heat exchanger.
Q) How do I know that a "cracked heat exchanger" isn't just a scam to make me spend money?
A) As cracks and other failures often require a trained eye or even specialized equipment to identify when the equipment is in service, Grassland HVAC has found the following methods the easiest for customers to see for themselves.
1. If you chose to replace the failed heat exchanger with a new furnace through us, upon removal of old furnace Grassland HVAC staff will show you the cracks/failure on the old heat exchanger. Failures are much easier to see when the unit is free of ductwork.
2. If you chose to replace the failed heat exchanger with a new heat exchanger through us, during the replacement process Grassland HVAC staff will show you the failure as the assembly is removed from the furnace.
3. If it is found during a service call, and you wish to see the failure before seeking estimates for repairs or new equipment, staff will remove the heat exchanger and set it on the floor in front of the furnace for your convenient inspection. We do not charge extra for this option, but understand that it will not be reinstalled, and your equipment will not be functional until you replace the failed heat exchanger or the furnace.
Q) I was told that if I replace my standard or mid efficient furnace with a high efficiency one, I will have to get a new water heater. Is this true?
A) Not necessarily. If you have an existing electric water heater, or power vented gas water heater, you will most likelynot have to replace them. If you have a standard gas water heater, you may end up with issues because your house chimney was sized for a furnace and water heater. Once the furnace (the larger appliance) is removed from the chimney it may be too large for the water heater to function properly.
Q) I was told that if I replace my furnace, I will have to get a new air conditioner. Is this true?
A) If your existing A/C is of proper size and in good repair, no, you will not have to replace it. If the A/C evaporator drain pan is made of metal and is showing signs of severe corrosion, it would be a good idea to replace the A/C as well, as any condensation leaking from the A/C may damage the furnace, and that would not be covered by the manufacturers warranty.
Water heater FAQ
Q) Is a standard gas water heater cheaper to operate than an electric one?
A) Considering ONLY fuel costs, yes.
Q) Why do companies suggest going to an electric water heater then?
A) Electric water heaters are not susceptible to negative pressure problems common in homes today. Many standard gas water heaters suffer from a dangerous condition known as "back drafting" and it is most commonly caused by a negative pressure in the mechanical room, or even entire house. To over come negative pressure requires the installation of fresh air intakes, or sometimes even a heat recovery ventilator. These are intrusive and expensive upgrades, and they quickly eat up any savings by going with standard gas water heaters. Power vented gas water heaters are available, and can overcome temporary mild negative pressures, but they are more expensive than standard water heaters, and still susceptible to strong negatives.
Q) Is installing a non-metallic electric water heater a good idea?
A) Non-metallic water heaters carry a higher price tag than steel ones, but have significantly longer leakage warranties. If you intend to remain in your home for 20+ years, they are an excellent idea.
Q) What is the "condenser", and why does it need to be cleaned?
A) The condenser is the outside unit of your air conditioning system. It also contains the compressor, condenser fan, and associated electrical components. The condenser coil is the part that rejects the heat from your home to the outside air. If it is dirty, your air conditioner loses efficiency. If it is plugged on a hot day, it can cause long run times, poor cooling, and ultimately compressor failure.
Some examples of dirty condenser coils:
Q) What is the "evaporator", and why does it need to be cleaned?
A) The evaporator is the inside unit of your air conditioning system. It is usually found in the downstream ductwork of your furnace or air handler. It absorbs the heat from your house so it may be sent to the condenser. If it is dirty, your air conditioner loses efficiency. If its very dirty or plugged, it will cause system freeze ups. It can also damage your gas furnace in heating season by restricting airflow through your ducts, causing overheating.