How To Verify An Electrician’s License

It’s well known that poor or outdated electrical work — in residential or commercial buildings — can lead to fires, cause your homeowners’ insurance to be cancelled, and accrue a lot of extra money in repairs for what was thought to be a simple renovation project. What isn’t as well known is how to spot a good, licensed electrician from an unlicensed electrician.

The importance of spotting the difference cannot be overstated.

Why Is An Electrician’s License Important?

Similar to the other trades, electrical work requires years of training & study. This includes five years of education, 10,000 hours of on-the-job training, and in Waterloo Region, passing certain tests to verify their knowledge & skill. In fact, electrical training is one of the longer trades requiring apprenticeship.

It isn’t just the electrician’s skill & knowledge that matters, it’s also the local laws and codes the electrician must know inside and out. Building codes vary by Region & province, which is why it’s even more important to make sure the electrician you hire is aware of local laws and bylaws. The tips below will help you determine if the person you’re hiring has done their due diligence to be fully certified in Waterloo Region.

Questions To Ask

Who will be doing the work? Is it the person providing the quote? The owner? One of their employees? A Subcontractor? If it is an employee, make sure you also ask how many years of experience they have. If it is a subcontractor, ask for their contact info to speak with them directly, and ask them to provide the proper licensing. If they can’t, find a new contractor. If they are lax or seem to avoid the topic instead of producing right away, find a new contractor.

Tips For Verifying An Electrician’s License

There are three main types of information that you can use to verify a license. You can use the number that appears on the license. You can get the information using the electrician’s full name and then logging onto The Ontario College of Trades Website (We reference this in an earlier post about plumbers). Verification of the electrician’s license can also be provided by the company they work for.

If you call us at CJ Brubacher Ltd., we could tell you we have a Master Electrician, verified by the Region of Waterloo.

An additional step you can take is to ask for proof of liability insurance. The insurance company can verify the license.

If the company is not willing to stand behind their employee, you might want to question the legitimacy of that organization. Additionally, if the person scheduled to do your electrical work is an independent contractor, feel free to ask them for their license.

If you are left in doubt about an electrician’s skills or license validity, we recommend skipping them by and finding an organization that you feel you can trust.

If you are curious what some typical skills that an licensed electrical worker might have, we’ve got you covered:

Skills

  • Electrical Systems & Controls
  • Installations & Maintenance
  • Electromechanical Repairs
  • Generators & Transformers
  • Switches & Circuit Breakers
  • Electrical Code, Safety & QA
  • Wiring Diagrams
  • Testing Instruments
  • Blueprints & Schematics

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

Four Tips To Finding A Trustworthy Plumber

The difference between an inexperienced handyman and licensed local plumbers is not always easy to know. Especially at first glance.

And if you’re a homeowner, the odds are you will need work done at some point. Often the fastest way to finding a tradesperson is to search something like ‘plumbers near me’, or ‘local plumbers’ and click around on the first few that come up. That isn’t always the best option, given that you aren’t necessarily able to verify the quality of work that plumber provides.

It could be replacing a water softener or just fixing a small leak in that ‘thing that makes noise sometimes’. Regardless, you need the job done right at a cost that’s right for you. The problem is that sometimes you get what you pay for, and the cheapest handyman might give you a cheap fix that leaves you with a headache later on.

Here are some tips to help you find a quality plumber!

The Ontario College of Trades Website

If you’re going to hire an independent contractor, this should be your very first stop. Firstly, you can enter the contractor’s name and instantly see if they are registered. Let’s say you called CJ Brubacher Ltd., and scheduled a call that our licensed plumber, Geoff, is going to respond to. When you search Geoff Martin on this homepage, you can see that he does have a license and is a Journeyman Plumber.

Secondly, you can use this website to view all appropriate legislation relating to the trade you are seeking to hire. Why do you need to be aware of this info? For starters, a good tradesperson will be up to date on all of the laws and regulations affecting their trade. Being knowledgeable about potential rebates, government regulations, and proper code means that you can be sure the job is being done right.

Regarding local plumbers, you can click here to read it, then question each potential hire. This ensures they follow provincial regulations and laws.

The Ontario College of Trades is an industry-driven, professional regulatory body that protects the public by regulating and promoting the skilled trades.

The College is also responsible for:

  • Issuing certificates of qualification and statements of membership
  • Establishing apprenticeship programs and other training programs
  • Maintaining a public registry of its members
  • The process for determining appropriate apprentice to journeyperson ratios
  • The process for trade classification reviews
  • Establishing the scope of practice for trades

Google “Local Plumbers”

It’s 2017. You can check a website with a quick Google search. Additionally, you can read reviews left by previous customers. You will want to read both positive and negative reviews, not just one or the other. This will ensure a balanced perspective. Keep in mind that one or two negative reviews does not necessarily mean they are truly bad. In some cases, people only leave a review when they are angry – positive feedback is much more rare.

Also, you can check various Facebook groups for feedback. For example, in Waterloo Region, you can check “Buy/Sell Kitchener” or similar pages and ask for feedback. If you don’t want to be the person posting, go into the Facebook group and use the search bar. Search phrases like, “good plumbers”, “plumber”, or “local plumbers” should yield all the results of past searches by other members.

Call a Friend

Seriously, call a friend. Ask a neighbour. We highly recommend it. Someone who has had work done can speak not just to local plumbers’ rates, but also to the quality and experience a certain plumber provides. You can ask if there are pictures of the work done, or go to your friend’s place and see it for yourself.

Did they install a faucet that has had to be repaired a dozen times since? The faucet they installed 10 years ago works like the day it was put in?! The latter is recommended, while the former might be a service to avoid.

Ask Them Questions

Remember the legislation we mentioned earlier? Now is a good time to put that to use. If you have reservations about the cost of a quote, the parts being used, or the methods your plumber is taking, just ask. Additionally, you can check on them while they are working. A certified professional plumber will answer your questions without being annoyed, and will provide you with any extra information you require.

  • Some questions to remember to ask:
  • Can you provide me with a written quote?
  • In addition to the quote, can you show me examples of similar jobs you’ve completed in the past?
  • What is the expected amount of time to complete this task?

Furthermore, will I be notified if it takes longer than expected?

Your Trusted Local Plumbers Since 1923

We at CJ Brubacher Ltd. have been in the trades since 1923, so there are few certified professionals we have not done business with. If you need a quote, or just some advice you can count on — and you aren’t sure which local plumbers you can rely on — feel free to call us @ (519) 669-3362. Alternatively, you can send us a message at our Facebook page or leave an email from our website!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

Five Easy Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

The Importance of Air Conditioner Maintenance

At CJ Brubacher Ltd., we have been servicing all makes and models of air conditioners since 1923, from central air conditioning to window AC units to newer floor units. That’s why we know the importance of homeowners being vigilant and having the knowledge to perform light air conditioner maintenance on their own. To help you out, we compiled a short list with five tips that will help your units last longer and save you money in the long run.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tip #1

Clean/replace Your Air Filter

Replacing your air filter (for reusable filters, simply follow the cleaning instructions provided) is the #1 most common service tip our technicians give out. Although many air conditioner owners in Elmira, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge and surrounding areas are already doing this, it is still worth mentioning because the unit will provide cleaner air and last considerably longer.

If you are not aware if your AC unit is equipped with an air filter, where it is on the AC unit, how to remove/replace it, or where to buy a new one, we recommend giving your nearest air conditioner service professionals a phone call. If you’re looking for air conditioner service in Waterloo Region, we’re happy to help.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tip #2

Examine Your Thermostat

For replacing or technical servicing of a thermostat, we recommend calling a professional, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t simple checks you can do to determine if your thermostat is working properly or needs service in the first place. If you have an older mechanical unit, we suggest upgrading to a programmable type, as they are more accurate and allow you to save money on cooling by choosing the best times to cool your house down (such as just before you arrive home).

If your air conditioning seems to be not turning on when you feel the temperature rise it could indicate your thermostat isn’t working properly and needs to be serviced.

Double-checking that all of the functions work properly according to your thermostat guide, or using Google, will help you determine if a service call is needed.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tip #3

Inspect Internal Wiring
Ensure your air conditioner is turned off and unplugged from the wall! Never pull, cut, or tamper with wires. We recommend only a visual inspection.

Follow our above advice thoroughly, then continue.

Next, you will want to look at all the wires and check for signs of damage/decay. Are there signs of melted wires? Blackened wires? Can you see any fraying or rust near the connectors? We aren’t suggesting you begin tampering with or trying to fix any internal components, but a thorough glance will let you know if an expert needs to service your unit before continuing to use it.

This maintenance tip requires the most technical knowledge and we want to advocate safety first, so if you are uncomfortable removing the casing or inspecting the wires, please contact your local mechanical contractor for a service call. A complete list for air conditioner services in Waterloo, Kitchener, Elmira, Guelph, Cambridge, and surrounding areas can be found on YellowPages.ca.

While you have the casing off feel free to clean out any dirt & dust that may have accumulated.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tip #4

Central AC Outdoor Unit? Clean, Clean, Clean!
If you have central air conditioning, it is important to clean around your unit. This includes making sure there is no thick brush or overgrowth blocking the vents – trim long branches that push into the open vents. It’s also important to sweep the top of your central air conditioner unit if you have trees or other vegetation that “sheds” its blooms on top of your unit, such as Maple Keys.

The fan blades on your outdoor AC unit should blow strong enough to reduce most light dust & dirt naturally, but if you’re coming back from a few days vacation or another period where your unit was shut off for a prolonged period (ie. winter), make sure the screens and coils are cleaned well.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tip #5

Ensure Your Evaporator Drain is Flowing Properly (Not Plugged)
Evaporator drains hold a lot of moisture in a tight space which means that over time, biological matter like mold or algae may grow.

First, find the drain line where it leaves the evaporator coil enclosure. The drain is usually a one-inch PVC pipe (white, grey, or black). Typically, the line drains outside or into a basement utility sink, but it may also run right into a laundry room floor drain.

For the next step you will need a wet/dry vacuum, and you will want to remove the dry filter as leaving it in may ruin it. Hold a cloth over the opening to make a tighter seal, and run the wet/dry vac against it for a few minutes to ensure any debris that may be in the line has been pulled out.

Congratulations, you are now an Air Conditioner Maintenance Guru ready to take on the world! If you aren’t quite comfortable servicing your AC unit by yourself, and are living in Waterloo, Kitchener, Elmira, Guelph, Cambridge, or surrounding areas, feel free to call us here at CJ Brubacher Ltd., your family-owned Air Conditioning experts since 1923.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

Home Maintenance Tips For Fall

The leaves are changing colour and the nights are getting cooler. The smell of Pumpkin Spice Lattes is filling the air and your home is quiet again from 9:00-3:30 while the kids are in school… Ahh, the fresh fall air is finally here!

To help you prepare for the cooler weather, we’ve compiled a list of home maintenance tips for fall. Many of these can be done by you, depending on your own comfort level with handy-work. Anything else, feel free to call your go-to local HVAC or plumbing company.

  • Clean or replace all filters in your home. (This should be done in most furnace or AC units once per month anyway.)
  • Seal cracks, gaps, leaks and add insulation to save up to 20% on heating costs.
  • Don’t run bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans longer than necessary. They replace inside air with outside air.
  • Check all smoke & CO alarms/testers. Replace batteries and test them. The National Fire Protection Association recommends homes should have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Upgrade your thermostat. Mechanical thermostats are likely 10+ years old at this point and the springs become worn out, causing inaccuracies in reading your temperature in-house, which then costs you more money in heating.
  • Drain & winterize outdoor taps & faucets. Not sure how? Give us a call!
  • Do you have any gas appliances such as a gas fireplace? Don’t clean it yourself, have it inspected by a professional. This isn’t just a plug to have one of our extremely professional, talented, handsome gas fitters come out and service your fireplace, it’s also the law that only a licensed Gas Fitter 2 or 1 does the servicing; your insurance could become void if it was found out you did certain work on a gas line.
  • Have young ones? Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency such as a fire. Cool Fall evenings around the dinner table are great for rehearsing your safety plans.
  • Do a walk-around of your home exterior. Are there gaps in the driveway? Brick or siding that is eroding? Fixing these now will avoid a lot of headaches later on.

We will be adding to this series as the seasons’ change and new requests for information arrive from our customers!

As always, if you need any heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or plumbing work done, you can contact us via our phone @ (519) 669-3362, our Facebook page, or our Contact Information page!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

Waterloo Air Conditioner Technicians

Looking For Dedicated Air Conditioner Experts in Waterloo Region?

Call Waterloo’s most trusted team of AC Service Technicians for immediate service. CJ Brubacher Ltd provides quality solutions and service you can trust.

When a heat spell strikes, you can’t go without your air conditioner. If you have poor venting in your home or don’t own a fan, that is doubly true. Leaving a pet at home? You definitely want to make sure your home stays within a reasonable temperature. You need air conditioning technicians that can get you up and running with no delay, and make repairs that last.

Our technicians are qualified to work on industrial, commercial, and residential units. We also carry a wide variety of stock in our shop which means we can assess and solve problems same-day. Products we don’t have on-site can usually be delivered the same day it is requested, due to our extensive history and partnerships with all the areas biggest names. Residents across Waterloo Region have relied on our service technicians since 1923.

REASONS TO CHOOSE CJ BRUBACHER LTD

  • Flat-rate pricing, quotes provided up front and no hidden fees or add-on charges
  • 24/7 emergency service calls — we are there for you when you need us
  • Expert team led by Senior licensed HVAC Technicians, with nearly 100 years in business

DO YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL AIR CONDITIONER INSTALLATION?

Whether a small window unit or a commercial rooftop unit, we are here for you. All of Waterloo Region relies on us to keep them cool during our hot, muggy Canadian summers. We can help you from start to finish with a solution that is affordable for you.

CENTRAL AC UNIT REPAIR + SERVICE

We touched on some ways you can look after your own AC repair in an earlier entry, so start there if you’re looking for air conditioner repair. If you’ve followed those tips and determined you need a professional opinion, we are more than happy to help. Repair, service, & replacing of air conditioners in Waterloo Region is our specialty. We also service Guelph / Eramosa, Drayton, Mapleton Township, Woolwich Township & surrounding areas.

YEARLY AC UNIT SERVICE

We can provide yearly maintenance for your ac unit, even if we didn’t install it! Just call us and ask about our specials for yearly service on your central air conditioner, window ac unit, or commercial air conditioner.

CONTACT US

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

4 Tips to Stop Frozen Pipes from Ruining Your Winter

Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and frozen pipes can burst. This can be inconvenient, cause costly repairs to home and business owners, and is usually an easily avoidable problem.

The Facts About Frozen Pipes

A Canadian Problem?

Sort of. While the problem is certainly most common in cold climates, it also happens when homes that aren’t originally designed for colder temperatures experience cold for the first time, such as a colder-than-usual winter.

This also happens to us in Ontario, especially if we go away for a few days and temperatures drop way below 0.

Frozen Pipes May Burst

Frozen pipes on their own can prevent water from flowing. This can cause emergencies in your home or business and is doubly as bad when it happens at an essential service building like a hospital or hospice.

Even worse, those pipes can burst because the oxygen in the water expands. After enough expansion, the pipes will break, burst, and can cause significant flooding from any water that thaws.

TIP #1: Keep The Heat On

If you or your tenants are leaving home, such as a trip down south or a vacation to see family over the holidays, make sure you/they keep the heat on. The cold weather doesn’t care about your utility bills! Not to mention the heat bill will never be as high as the potentially thousands of dollars in damage and repairs to burst pipes.

You don’t have to keep the heat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit like you maybe normally would, but also don’t turn it down too low, especially if you know there are rooms or spots in your home or business that tend to be a few degrees cooler.

TIP #2: Allow Faucet To Drip

If you are afraid a pipe will freeze, you can allow the faucet to drip slightly. Flowing water won’t freeze—think of a river in the middle of winter. Everything around it is frozen but it is not.

In addition to flowing water, allowing a faucet to drip means it will actually relieve pressure in your plumbing system. This is important because if the pipe does freeze, the tension against the pipes that form between the blockage and your faucet is what will cause the pipe to burst.

Trust us, a frozen pipe can be warmed up; a burst pipe will require a professional (or many) to fix.

TIP #3: Keep Interior Doors Open

Think of where your pipes are… In cabinets, mechanical rooms, next to cold walls of your home. Keeping interior doors open allows warm air and cold air to flow more freely, so the cold air won’t pool as easily around the pipes.

TIP #4: Add Extra Insulation

Calling your local plumbing professional to fix burst or frozen pipes will likely be hundreds of dollars. Preventative insulation could cost as little as dollars and cents per piping section.

Insulate any pipes running through areas you worry may lack proper insulation, such as an attic, unfinished basement, or cold room. Keeping those pipes insulated will greatly reduce your risk of frozen pipes.

As always, if you need any heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or plumbing work done, you can contact us via our phone @ (519) 669-3362, our Facebook page, or our Contact Information page!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario

10 Tips For Winterizing Your Home

Save money and remain cozy throughout winter by acting now before the bitter cold arrives. Most of these tips can be accomplished without even leaving your home!

1. Prep Your Fireplace

Many people aren’t aware that their fireplace needs to be serviced yearly. This will ensure it runs smoothly all winter long. Most of the time, a quick clean and test of the internal components — such as ensuring no natural gas or CO can leak — is all that is needed.

If you have a wood fireplace, ensure the chimney is in good repair and cleaned out. If you don’t have a chimney liner it is now required by code in Ontario.

2. Change Furnace Filters


Dirty filters restrict airflow and don’t do their jobs properly. This can mean more dust & allergen particles coming into your home. Another side effect of clogged filters is forcing your furnace or air cooling system to work harder, exhausting its lifespan.

We recommend switching from fiberglass filters, which capture 10-40% of debris, to a HEPA filter, which can capture 99.97% of air pollutants.

3. Drain Outside Hose Pipes


Every Spring we, unfortunately, have to assist with a few surprise home renovations after internal pipes freeze & burst. This is almost always from an outside faucet being left active over the winter. Typically, these renovations end up costing the unsuspecting homeowners anywhere from $1,000-5,000.

The worst part? It’s easily avoided. Here’s how: Turn off the water from the water shut-off valve inside your home. Then, turn on the outside tap until all of the water has drained. It’s seriously as easy as that!

4. Check To See If Your Furnace is Working (Before the cold weather hits!)


The important thing here is to have your furnace serviced before the cool weather hits. September-November is extremely busy for mechanical contracting companies and they often book 1-2 weeks ahead. You do not want to find out on the first night below zero that your furnace won’t turn on and you have to pay emergency rates for an after hours plumber.

You could save hundreds of dollars if you 1) Test your furnace before freezing temperatures arrive, and, 2) Book a yearly inspection. Yearly furnace inspections test the efficiency and safety of your furnace, ensuring a cozy winter for you and your family.

5. Automate Your Thermostat


The average family spends 50-70% of their energy budget on heating, so make sure you aren’t paying for what you don’t need! If you program your thermostat to only fire your furnace when it reaches a certain temperature while you’re home, and a lower temperature when everyone is gone, you will save huge!

Every degree you lower your thermostat setting equals $1-$3 in savings. Don’t have a programmable thermostat? They are widely available and easily installed. We will supply & install your Honeywell 2000 Pro Thermostat for $110.00 — money you will get back on your bills during an average Canadian winter.

6. Caulk Your Windows


Caulking & weatherstripping your windows can stop leakage by up to 30%! That’s an easy $30 per month on your energy bill!

Look for places where two building materials meet such as windows, corners, chimneys, where pipes exit, or along your foundation. Use a lit stick of incense and move it slowly near these areas and if the smoke wavers, you have air escaping or sneaking in.

7. Lower Your Water Heater


Most installers set your heat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but in reality, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is all you need. Lowering that temperature can also result in savings by 6-10% off your energy bill.

If your water heater is old, or you have concerns about its efficiencies, call your local plumbing & heating experts. We can advise the best options right over the phone, including purchasing a new water heater or adopting a rental unit.

8. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans


Fans are great all summer long when you want to keep cool. Did you know that if you run them clockwise they will disperse warm air that pools against the ceiling? This will make a room feel much warmer, allowing you to turn the thermostat down a degree or two.

As air is circulated back into your living spaces, you can actually help save as much as 10% off your energy bill.

9. Insulate Your Interior


Your heat is escaping through your roof. At least 25% of all heat loss occurs when an attic or roof is uninsulated. It’s an easy fix. You can insult your attic floor, your basement ceiling, and other areas you think are culprits for air leakage.

This will guarantee a cozier winter while you save $$$ on your monthly energy bill.

10. Insulate Water Pipes


This is one that you can choose to do yourself, or hire an expert for. Most pipe insulators can be purchased at your local hardware or plumbing store, and you can cut/fit them to their proper size.

If you aren’t sure which pipes are your water pipes, call an expert. We don’t recommend putting your hands on pipes to see which ones are warm, as this could scald your skin very badly.

As always, if you need any heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or plumbing work done, you can contact us via our phone @ (519) 669-3362, our Facebook page, or our Contact Information page!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about electrical work, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please contact us at:

(519) 669-3362
CJ Brubacher Ltd.
Facebook Page
19 First St E
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E6

Air Conditioner Buying Tips

Keep Your Cool

Canada doesn’t get as much hot weather as our neighbours to the south, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a grueling summer if you don’t have a means of staying cool. Depending on your budget and square footage in your home, there are different options for air conditioners. If you only require a window unit then you won’t have to spend much money and they are efficient for rooms 100-300 sq ft, but won’t help in a larger home. Inversely, an over-sized A/C unit can leave a room feeling way too cold and a bit clammy.

Consider This

EnergyStar states the average Canadian spends 13% of its annual energy bills on cooling.

Note the Noise

Models that scored excellent in noise tests mean that you will only hear a slight hum, which comes from the fan running. Air conditioning units that scored lower for noise may disturb light sleepers, even when set on low. Additionally, when running on higher settings these units could drown out conversation.

Factor-In the Window Location

Window air conditioners, or “window shakers” as they’re often called, force air in one direction. That isn’t an issue, assuming the window is centered properly. The reason for this is that to properly cool the room, the air should be directed into the centre of the room. If your window A/C unit is pushing air into one corner, or towards another window, you may find that your room isn’t cooling like you want it to.

Install It Correctly

To get the most from your window air conditioner it must be properly installed. Most units are intended for double-hung windows. If you have casement windows, you may want to consider a through-the-wall air conditioner. Make sure your window unit is level so that it drains correctly. And move any heat-generating devices such as a TV or lamp away from the unit.

Check Filter Location

This one seems obvious, but if you aren’t sure how to access your filter or even where your A/C filter is, you’ll want to check the instruction manual.

Intelligent Cooling

Some air conditioners have been built to be smarter, allowing you to control and adjust them from your smartphone. These units will pair with a smart thermostat to learn your habits and routines to keep you cool at home while cutting energy costs. You can often interconnect them to other cooling units in your home.

Watch the Warranty

Don’t buy without a full understanding of what your air conditioner’s warranty. This includes knowing what is, and isn’t, covered by it. Also, ensure you understand the length.

Sizing Up Your Options

It is of course important that you consider price and features, but equally as important is determining the size of unit you need for the space you want to cool. Window air conditioners have cooling capacities ranging from 5,000 to 12,500 British thermal units (Btu).

The general rule is that an air conditioner needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. To measure your room, multiply the length of the room by the width. With that information in hand, be aware that there are other considerations that affect your Btu allowance. These include (but are not limited to): the height of your ceiling, the size of your windows and doorways, as well as where your air conditioning unit will be placed.

  • If the room is usually shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the room is extra sunny or has large windows, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 Btu for each additional person.
  • If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 Btu.

But Which Air Conditioner is Right For You??

Some small window units may cost less than $200, which makes them a tempting proposition—but only if you need to cool a very small space. If you need to cool a larger area, you’ll want to focus your search on units that better match your square footage.

Window Air Conditioners

Small—Capacity ranges from 5,000 to 6,500 Btu/hr. Cools roughly 100 to 300 square feet. These units are the smallest, lightest, and least expensive, but they can’t adequately cool a room measuring more than 300 square feet.
Cost: $100-$300.

Medium—Capacity ranges from 7,000 to 8,200 Btu/hr. Cools roughly 250 to 400 square feet. Prices start creeping up, and their size and weight can make them harder to install and remove for winter storage.
Cost: $200-$400.

Large—Capacity ranges from 9,800 to 12,500 Btu/hr. Cools between 350-650 square feet. Best for cooling a large room, but the bulk and weight make these models awkward and difficult to install.
Cost: $400-$600.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are intended for homes in which window configurations or building regulations prevent installation of window units. Most residential portable air conditioners range from 5,000 to 15,500 Btu. But don’t compare portable and window air conditioners by that measurement alone.

The latest air conditioner tests found that portables aren’t as good at cooling as manufacturers claim. Plus, they’re pricey and use more energy than similarly sized window units. They tend to be noisier than window-mounted units. And while technically “portable,” their 50- to 80-pound weight can make them cumbersome and ungainly to roll across carpets or thresholds.
Cost: $300-$600.

Split Ductless Air Conditioners

Split ductless is a smart way to add air conditioning to a limited number of rooms without having to open up walls to install ductwork—as you would with a central-air system—or install and remove multiple window units each year.

Split ductless is more expensive than window or portable units (and professional installation is recommended) but is less expensive than central air if you are cooling only a few rooms. However, if you are looking to cool the majority of your home, a central air-conditioning system is probably the more cost-effective choice.
Cost: $1,000 and up.

5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

Air Conditioners can be a large investment, so we understand when customers are willing to spend time & money on repairs. However, sometimes it is best to opt to replace your air conditioner. If your unit is getting older, is inefficient, or you are constantly calling CJ Brubacher Ltd to come repair your A/C unit, then it might be time for a replacement. But how will you know for sure? Here are 5 tips to help you know when it is time to buy a new air conditioner.

5 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

  1. Is your air conditioner older than 10 years? If so, that may be the first sign. Most units should last approximately 15 years, if they are properly maintained. Given the huge advancements in efficiency over the last 10 years, however, it may end up being cheaper to buy a new model in the long run. This is especially true if you are about to spend a large portion of a new unit on repairing your old air conditioner.
  2. Your air conditioner is inefficient. If you own an A/C unit, now is a good time to check the SEER rating. Newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13, but if yours is more than a decade old, there’s a strong chance it doesn’t meet this new standard. Replacing your air conditioner with a SEER 13 or better model will cut back on energy costs, as well as be positive for the environment.
  3. You just fixed it and… it has a new problem. If your air conditioner is breaking down frequently and CJ Brubacher’s technicians are finding new problems with it each time, you’ll want to start adding up the constant repair costs. Our technicians can provide a free quote while on-site, so make sure you consider all options.
  4. It feels uncomfortable in your home. If your home isn’t cool, yet your air conditioner is running constantly or more frequently than you feel it should, your A/C unit is probably past due for a replacement. If this is combined with breakdowns and the age exceeds a decade of use, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will do its job and help you keep cool!
  5. Your repairs are going to break the bank. If you’re facing an expensive repair, you should definitely weigh the cost of the repair against the costs of a new unit. Does the repair cost cover a significant portion of a new air conditioner install? You will want to consider the other tips on this list and decide if it makes the most financial sense to repair or replace.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact CJ Brubacher Ltd, your Waterloo Region air conditioner installation and repair company.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Spring cleaning is an annual tradition for many homeowners. It is a sign that warmer weather is coming, and it feels great to throw open the windows and let the fresh air and sunlight purify your home. Cleaning comprises a big chunk of any spring home maintenance schedule, but cleaning alone isn’t enough.

Maintenance aimed at various structures, appliances, and systems within the home is, just as important. Nearly all homeowners love to see spotless windows for that first sunny, 20-degree day, but you can’t forget your roof and the possibility that ice dams formed over the winter. Indeed, just as much as that first spring day should provide an excuse to go for a hike or a picnic, it should also provide a reminder that your outdoor spring maintenance is waiting. Follow CJ Brubacher Ltd.’s spring maintenance checklist to ensure your home is in optimal condition for the rest of the year.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all the eroding caulk and re-caulk the needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a dime, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they can flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Hot water heater: Ensure no lights are flashing. If you have a digital readout, check to make sure no error codes are on display. Call us and schedule a service call if you have any hesitation about doing this yourself or if you suspect your water heater is not functioning at its full capacity.

Air conditioner: CJ Brubacher Ltd offers a general A/C service and if you sign on for an annual check, it is at a preferred rate. Please keep in mind residential A/C services work best when done while the temperature is above 15 degrees Celsius.

Heat pump: We offer a service on this as part of an annual check up.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.