What type of air conditioner should I buy?

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Vancouver summers are more tolerable when you’ve got air conditioning. We all know that feeling of stepping out of a hot day into an air conditioned home — instant relief and comfort.

Not to mention what a good night sleep can do! Instead of tossing and turning in a bedroom that nature has converted into an oven, you’re rested and ready to take on the day.

Air conditioners do more than cool the home. They can provide amazing benefits to people who suffer from allergies, asthma and chronic sleep deprivation. A properly installed and maintained system renews and improves air quality, maintains a proper humidity level and reduces bodily stress.

If you own your own home in the Lower Mainland, have a forced-air furnace and existing ductwork, in many cases you already have the infrastructure in place to add on an air conditioner.

Gandy Installations offer seven different models of air conditioners — starting from a builder grade 13 SEER mode — all the way to a variable capacity 25 SEER model. SEER is an efficiency rating for air conditioners.

The noise level of the air conditioner typically gets lesser as the model numbers get higher. For example, a low-end 13 SEER air conditioner may operate as high as 75 db or higher, where as a 25 SEER model may operate as low as 59 db.

There are single stage air conditioners, and two-stage air conditioners, which are more energy efficient, and finally variable capacity air conditioners which operate at an even higher efficiency.

A single stage compressor turns on when indoor temperatures exceed the temperature setting on your thermostat. For example, if you set the thermostat to 75 degrees, the air conditioner will run any time the indoor temperatures hit 76 degrees. After the AC cools the house back to 75 degrees, it will turn off again.

Single stage compressors always operate at 100% capacity. They turn themselves on and off continuously throughout the day. Two stage air conditioners operate at a more efficient, lower capacity most of the time, and only operate at full capacity when the demand is much higher (saving you money!).

A simple way to look at it is this:  single stage compressors blast your home with cold air and turn themselves off when the desired temperature is reached.

Variable speed compressors blow a smooth, steady stream of cold air into your home to maintain the desired indoor temperature,  and humidity, rarely turning themselves off.

The variable capacity units actually adjust the cooling outputs in 1% increments. One of the variable capacity units that Gandy offers  — the XC25 — is the most precise and efficient air conditioner on the market (however depending on your budget, you may be more comfortable with a mid-level unit).

Their most popular models are the EL16XC (16 SEER) or the SL18XC (18 SEER).

In the end, things to consider are your budget, what you are looking for in terms of comfort, efficiency, and noise levels.

For over 60 years and three generations, Gandy Installations has been proudly serving the Fraser Valley area for their residential and commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs. They stake their reputation on the thousands of happy customers who trust the folks at Gandy to put their family’s comfort first.

Remember — we’re here for you literally 24 hrs — 365 days a year. If you have any questions about how your home can be cool and comfortable this summer, or any home comfort related question, give the friendly folks at Gandy a call at 604-543-5555 or contact us at our website, gandyinstallations.net


What to do when your furnace gives you the cold shoulder

Three quick furnace fixes you can do yourself


We’re pretty fortunate in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver to live in a temperate climate, where extremes in heat and cold generally don’t cause us grief.

That is, until the power goes out, or our furnace acts up.

There’s nothing more annoying than waking up to a cold house — especially if you expected your furnace to be humming along, supplying a warm indoor climate that you’ve always taken for granted.

If you thought your teenagers were grumpy before, try getting them up for school when there’s no welcoming warmth to coax them out of bed.

The first thing to do— is not panic.

The folks at Gandy have seen several scenarios where simple “operator error” had inadvertently turned the furnace off or disabled it temporarily.

You can become the hero of the family by following a few quick troubleshooting steps. If they don’t work, give us a call, and our trained technicians will get your furnace up and running again.

The first place to look into is very simple. Check around and inside the mechanical room where the furnace is located for the power switch. It’s generally a switch that is commonly mistaken for a light switch. It’s usually higher up the wall than a typical light switch. If it’s on the “off” (down) position, turn it up.

If the switch is in the normal ‘on’ position, then check your breakers. It’s possible the breaker has been tripped.

Breakers are electrical switches that disconnect circuits in the event of an electrical surge.  Most breaker boxes are located in basements, utility rooms, closets or laundry rooms. Look for a metal door several feet from the floor. Open the breaker box door and look for the breaker in the “off” position. Most breakers come with an orange or red marker indicating a tripped breaker. This is normally a breaker with a switch pointing in the direction opposite the others. If your breaker box is properly marked, you should see one breaker with a “furnace” marking in pen. Reset the breaker by pushing the switch into the on position to reconnect your circuit and restore power. Regular power disconnections could be caused by other electrical issues. Call a professional if you’re experiencing routine breaker overloads. If it’s consistently the furnace causing an overload, give us a call.

We’re pretty sure you went to the thermostat first, and turned up the heat, only to find that nothing happened. However, now it’s time to really take a second look at your thermostat. Modern, more programmable thermostats have multiple settings depending on your comfort choices, and season. It is possible that the thermostat was tampered with at some point, and is set to a cooling cycle, when you’re looking for heat, or if it’s summer, it was set for heat when you’re looking for a cooling cycle.

One of the most common problems is short cycling. During cooler months — (in the Lower Mainland, we’re talking late September to May), we find issues with furnaces being set to a comfortable 22c, and then after four or five minutes the heat registers stop blowing warm air. It does this repeatedly and never actually heats the home properly.

Short cycling happens for a few reasons, but one of the most common is a dirty or clogged air filter.  If your filter is dirty, air cannot pass over the heat exchanger, causing the system to overheat and shut down permanently. Before calling Gandy, check your air filter and wash it (if it’s washable) or change it if it is dirty, clogged, or fits improperly. In general, it’s a great idea to check your air filter monthly for dirt buildup and wash or replace it if it’s dirty or clogged. Not only will it keep your furnace in top operating condition, but it will improve the general air quality of your home, as it reduces the amount of dust that’s been trapped in your air filter re-entering your home.


If the problem persists after checking your air filter, thermostat, and furnace switch, then it is time to call the professionals at Gandy Installations.

For over 60 years and three generations, Gandy Installations has been proudly serving the Fraser Valley area for their residential and commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs. They stake their reputation on the thousands of happy customers who trust the folks at Gandy to put their family’s comfort first.

Remember — we’re here for you literally 24 hrs — 365 days a year. If you have any questions about what to do when your furnace stops working, the best way to save on your heating and cooling costs, or any home comfort related question, give the friendly folks at Gandy a call at 604-543-5555 or contact us at our website.


Don’t risk your family’s comfort by buying your furnace online

Finding a quality contractor is just as important as having the right system.

We tend to take our warm and comfortable homes for granted until something goes wrong. Last week, while it was rainy and windy outside, we rested comfortably, with the furnace humming along, likely ignoring the signals of the disturbing sounds of grinding or humming noises coming from the furnace, And then, in what appears to be “suddenly without warning” the furnace isn’t working, and you’re left in the cold, literally.

Step one for many of us is to grab our laptop, get our search engines to do the work for us, and try to find an inexpensive solution online, cut out the middleman and order our furnace online. After all, you are only going to have to find someone to install if for you right? Wrong.

Without the advice of a knowledgeable HVAC specialist, you are likely to get a lower price for the equipment, but with major, money-draining consequences in many cases. These are three important reasons you should avoid buying a new HVAC system online.

You aren’t the expert

There have been significant changes in the industry since your old furnace was installed. High-efficiency furnaces will provide significant cost savings, but it’s not the only determining factor. Home Science — there are many scientific calculations and specific components to take into consideration before purchasing the right system for your home. How large of a furnace you need to purchase will largely depend on the size of your home and how well insulated it is, the condition of the installed duct systems, missing or damaged air plenums, attic and wall insulation and more. After all, choosing a furnace that is too small for your home will only be overworked, or even oversized units that can cause short cycling  — both which may lead to early failure.

The best way to determine the size you need is to have an HVAC professional come to your home and perform calculations that will provide you with the best solutions for your home and your budget.

Can you be assured of a warranty?

the warranty they were promised. Heating systems are not “plug-and-play”, like a refrigerator or microwave. New heating systems require professionals who understand how to properly install every aspect of the components. If installed incorrectly, or there is evidence of unprofessional installation, the warranty is null and void. You’ll notice that they state they won’t warranty anything purchased online “unless installed by a licensed contractor”, so great, you’re covered, right? That’s where the problems come in. You see, because the lines start to get blurry between what problem was created by installation issues, sizing issues, airflow issues, or actual equipment issues, both the installing contractor and retailer have reason to point at each other as the problem, with you in the middle.

If a homeowner contracts with a licensed HVAC company to supply and install a new unit and there is a problem, no matter if it’s an equipment issue or an install issue, it’s the contractor’s problem, not the customers. If deemed a manufacturer problem, the contractor has to work that out with them directly…but if you didn’t purchase the equipment from them directly, that’s another story

In the end, you will always get what you pay for.

The air conditioner or furnace you bought online is definitely too good to be true. You may be saving money now, but over time you will reap those costs in the form of inefficient performance and replacement costs sooner rather than later.

Hiring the right local contractor may cost you more now, but his expertise is invaluable when it comes to finding the right system to meet the heating and cooling needs of a home your size and in your area. He is trained and qualified to know just what system is right for you, and he can also inspect other things, such as duct work, that will affect the performance of your HVAC system.

The fact is, most of the people out there who are selling furnaces or cooling systems on the internet bought them wholesale, and are only doing so in attempts to turn a quick profit. Your actual well-being after making the purchase is in all likelihood, the last thing on their mind. They aren’t looking out for you, so it’s even more important that you look out for yourself, and really take the time to think about it before buying a furnace online. It may seem like a nice, convenient bargain, but the odds are it’s going to come back to bite you down the road.

For over 60 years and three generations, Gandy Installations has been proudly serving the Fraser Valley area for their residential and commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs. They stake their reputation on the thousands of happy customers who trust the folks at Gandy to put their family’s comfort first.

Remember — we’re here for you literally 24 hrs — 365 days a year. If you have any questions about what to do when your furnace stops working, the best way to save on your heating and cooling costs, or any home comfort related question, give the friendly folks at Gandy a call at 604-543-5555 or contact us at our website.

Expansion Tanks, what are they, and do I need one?

When replacing your water heater, it is recommended that if your current water heater does not have an “expansion tank”, you add one to the new water heater installation. You may find yourself wondering, “What is an expansion tank?” and “Why do I need one now when I never required one before?”.

What is an expansion tank?

An expansion tank is a small tank that is installed on the cold water line into your hot water tank. It is designed to alleviate excessive pressure that is built up when the water in the tank is heated, causing it to expand.

Why do I need one now when I never required one before?

In recent years, the plumbing code has changed, requiring a “backflow preventer” to be installed in the cold-water line going into your house. This prevents water from feeding back into the main water supply. Before the days of backflow preventers any expansion caused by the water in the tank being heated would simply flow outwards toward the water supply. Over-pressurization never became an issue due to this. Now that the supply lines are mostly equipped with backflow preventers, when the water expands it causes high pressure situations due to the system essentially being a “closed system”. High pressure systems can cause problems without an expansion tank including water being discharged from the tank’s relief valve, and early failure of the water heaters tank body due to cracks in the glass liner. Most municipalities plumbing codes are now requiring expansion tanks on water heater installations due to this reason.

As you can see, not only is it a code requirement, it is also a good idea to add an expansion tank to your water heater installation. It will protect your family from a potentially dangerous situation, having hot water discharge from the relief valve, as well as protect you from having to prematurely change your water heater due to a leak. If you have a situation where there is not room for an additional tank in your mechanical room, we have alternative solutions, such as an expansion valve, which takes up much less space.

Heat Up BC

Gandy Installations is working with Lennox on a Project called Heat Up BC. We are the first Dealer in BC to participate! Here is some general information about the project so everyone is aware.

We are looking for nominations of someone you know who needs a helping hand.

On Saturday October 7, Dealers across Canada and the sates will be installing donated furnaces from Lennox to the selected nominee. Lennox donates the furnaces, Gandy will donate the installation materials and a few of our Installers have already signed up to donate their time.

The Nomination deadline is Tuesday September 5th

For more details and to nominate a family in need, go to http://heatupbritishcolumbia.ca

Low Bidder

The Low Bidder By Jim Olsztynski

Although this tongue in cheek piece was not written by us, it rings true to so many contractors doing business in the Lower Mainland. So many people focus on trying to be the lowest price out there. Rest assured that this is not what we do! Gandy Installations focuses on finding the highest quality equipment and materials, as well as doing the absolute best job that we can. Sometimes this comes with a bit of a higher price, but it’s like the old cliché says “You get what you pay for” and “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of a low price has faded from memory”. We will not cut corners, or use inferior products or materials. We want your equipment to last you as long as possible, and provide you the most superior home comfort that can be offered! We’ll leave the low bidding to the competition!

Enjoy the article: 

Dear Potential Customer,

You don’t know me but you’ll love doing business with me, because I’m always the low bidder. No matter what price anyone else quotes you, I guarantee I can do the work cheaper.

What’s my secret? Simple. I keep overhead down. Other companies inflate their costs by paying high wages for top-notch workers. They’re too stuck up to hire the people so desperate for work that they will take any job offered them. Not me. Just like you look for the low bidder, I search for help that will work for as little as possible. And then I’m a merciless boss. Think of me as a throwback to the good old days when workers were expected to put in a week’s work for a day’s pay. If they don’t like it, they can go back to ripping out asbestos or whatever it was they used to do before I came along.

Nor do I pamper my workers with costly benefits like health insurance, paid holidays and so forth. Most of my help doesn’t stick around long enough to collect on any benefits anyway. The money I save goes into your pocket when you hire me because I’m the low bidder.

Another reason I’m the low bidder is because I don’t overpay for high-grade equipment when I know I can get stuff a lot cheaper that will work okay for a pretty long time. Do you realize that a lot of tools and equipment they use might actually outlive the plumbing contractor? What’s the point in that? When you really think about it, your best value comes from stuff that will collapse shortly after the owner does.

The same holds true for office machines, vehicles and all the other expensive things it takes to be in business nowadays. Fortunately for you, I save money by not splurging on the best. Also, I don’t buy anything until it’s absolutely necessary. Everything in my gar… uh, shop, dates back to the ’70s and ’80s when things didn’t cost nearly as much as they do now. I believe in using things until they fall apart. My trucks have the baldest tires in town. I make do with dull bits and rusty wrenches. Maybe this means my people have to use a little more elbow grease, but that’s their problem. It saves you money.

Another big cost saving is insurance. You wouldn’t believe what they charge for premiums nowadays. Yet on the vast majority of jobs, it’s a complete waste of money. So I don’t bother with it. It’s a lot cheaper to just keep telling my workers to be careful.

Another big waste of money is all those licenses, permits and other regulations the government is always telling me to comply with. Aren’t you sick and tired of big government? Just hire me, and I’ll show you how to dodge all that red tape.

How can I possibly be the low bidder on every job? People sometimes ask me that. They wonder how I can guarantee being the lowest even before I know what the other guys are bidding.

I’ll let you in on my secret. Because I’m such a sharp businessman, I simply refuse to be underbid. Show me anyone’s job quotation, and I’ll figure out a way to do it for less. I can always shave expenses a little more by cutting corners on labor or materials and employing other tricks of the trade, even if it means short shifting someone else’s job.

Another thing is, most contractors are greedy. They try to make money on every stinkin’ job. I know I can’t do that and still be the low bidder, so I don’t even try. Fact of the matter is, I lose money on most of my jobs. I believe in making it up in volume.

Some of my competitors are so greedy they expect people like you to pay enough to let them live in a nice house, drive a new car and put their kids through college. They don’t understand that this is trade work, and we’re not entitled to make as much money as lawyers and bean counters and all those other office folks who wear ties to work. I know my place. That’s why I’m the low bidder.

You might hear some of my competitors badmouth me because of the way I do business. They’re just jealous because I get so much work. Being the low bidder, I always have more work than I can handle. But rest assured that no matter how busy I might be, I would never turn down your job. I need that volume.

So quit messing around with all those companies that charge more than you want to pay. Just give me a call, and you can be certain that you’re doing business with the low bidder.

I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.

What is the difference between a furnace cleaning and a furnace tune-up?

There is a common question that comes up when we are scheduling maintenance for a customer, and that is “what is the difference between a furnace cleaning, and furnace tune-up?” Most of these customers have received a coupon in the mail for a $49 furnace cleaning special, or some other “too good to be true” deal. The fact of the matter is, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is. What we are seeing is companies that specialize in cleaning (ie. Carpet cleaning) wanting to break into the “furnace cleaning” market, without having any actual knowledge about how these complex pieces of equipment work. When Gandy Installations, or another reputable contractor, comes out to your house to do a true furnace tune-up we are running your equipment through a number of test and adjustments to ensure it’s safe and efficient operation. Cleaning the inside of the furnace is just a small part of the process.

There are also a number of companies, that are HVAC contractors, that use a low price on a tune-up, just to get in the door so that they can sell you un-needed repairs. The truth is, a company cannot afford to send a technician out to do a proper job for $49. Our advice would be to do some research on the company that you are doing business with, make sure they are accredited with the BBB, or Fortis BC Trade Ally Network. It’s a good idea to avoid companies that knock on your door unsolicited, or phone you when you are not currently a customer of theirs. If there is any question, ask what tasks they perform with their tune-up. Gandy Installations furnace tune-up includes:

  • Heat exchanger inspection
  • Venting inspection
  • Test of safety switch operation
  • Carbon monoxide test
  • Test mechanical room for gas leaks
  • Test hot water temperature
  • Clean thermostat and test operation/adjust schedule to customer’s needs
  • Observe furnace sequence of operation
  • Change/clean standard filter
  • Clean fan blades
  • Clean and oil fan motor
  • Adjust belts (if applicable)
  • Clean all furnace parts and cabinets
  • Clean and adjust air shutters (if applicable)
  • Clean burners/pilot assembly
  • Tidy electrical wiring and tighten any loose connections
  • Measure amperage draw from several components
  • Check temperature rise
  • Observe for proper clearances of venting and combustion air
  • Observe condition and alignment of burners
  • Clean hot water tank and check for gas/water leaks
  • Check and adjust gas pressure
  • Clean and check flame rectification system
  • Clean air sensing ports