Reasons Not to Cover an Air Conditioner in Nanaimo

For more than 45 years, Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. has been a family owned and operated business serving Nanaimo’s gas fitting, heating, air conditioning and plumbing needs. Our team of certified, licensed journeymen can offer a same day response to both commercial and residential customers at competitive rates. During that time we’ve been asked a lot of questions like, should I cover my air conditioning unit during the winter months? Fortunately, we’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way that can help you, our neighbor, find the answers to your questions.

The short answer is predominantly no, with the occasional maybe, depending on the weather. Let me explain.

The most important reason is that it is not really necessary. All outdoor heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is made to withstand harsh weather conditions and varying temperature extremes. It’s what they are made for and part of the reasoning behind their cost – all of the parts and materials used are designed to stand up to hot summers and harsh winters. You can also add the fact that no major manufacturer specifically recommends that you cover your air conditioner in the winter.

There are a couple of other reasons that it is not desirable to cover your air conditioning unit, many of which might not be that obvious:

  • Rodents can infest covered air conditioners leading to secondary problems like chewed electrical wires and un-insulated Freon lines due to the rodents stripping them to make a nest.
  • Mold and mildew can grow inside your air conditioner in the winter, blocking proper airflow through your coils, which will also decrease your air conditioner’s efficiency.
  • Covering your A/C unit doesn’t prevent moisture from infiltrating your unit from humidity, condensation, and ground moisture.

While covering your air conditioning unit in winter is generally unnecessary, it may be necessary in some extreme weather conditions like hail or during a blizzard in order to keep excess snow from accumulating inside of your air conditioner. You may also want to take a few moments and do some occasional maintenance by removing the snow right around the outside of your unit after each snowfall – it will pay dividends in the long run.

While covering your air conditioner in winter is unnecessary, regular maintenance is a necessity to keep your unit working properly for years to come. This is also a great time to book your spring maintenance to ensure your air conditioning unit is in working order before temperatures rise.

If you want to save both energy and money while you cool your space, count on Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. in Nanaimo to deliver a product that does just that. At Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd., we have the equipment and expertise to install, service, and repair air conditioning for residential and commercial clients in Nanaimo. Contact Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. at 250-753-3641 for a free phone consultation and to set up an appointment for air conditioning in Nanaimo today.

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Air conditioners perform three basic functions: they lower the air temperature, remove air moisture, and filter the air. You have 3 options when it comes to purchasing an air conditioning unit: window units, portable, or built in.

  • Window units can be installed in either a single- or double-hung window and are the most popular because they are affordable and easy to install.
  • Freestanding portable air conditioners can be moved between rooms but can be heavy and are less efficient than newer window units.
  • Built-in air conditioners can be installed in your wall for permanent placement and can provide both cold and hot air. Larger central air units may require professional installation.

Now you need to select the right option for your space. By choosing the right amount of air conditioner BTUs, or British thermal unit, for your room size to get the most energy-efficient cooling system. The BTU rating is a number that essentially tells you how quickly and effectively a unit can cool a room. It’s important to consider factors such as ceiling height, room insulation, sun exposure, location and your area’s climate when choosing a unit with the right BTU rating:

  • Calculate your room size – Multiply the room length by the room width (in feet) to get the square footage of the area to be cooled.
  • Check your connections – Check out your power source (nearby outlet) and make sure to match the unit to that outlet.
  • Measure to fit – Measure the height and width of the opening and check the dimensions of the AC unit you select to be sure it will fit.

For increased savings, all air conditioning units are labelled with an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). Units with higher ratings offer lower greenhouse emissions and monthly electric bills. Check the yellow Energy Guide label on new air conditioners for more information.

At Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd., we have the equipment and expertise to install, service, and repair air conditioning in Nanaimo. All our work is guaranteed and covered under our no-hassle warranty with competitive rates and no hidden costs. Contact Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. at 250‑753‑3641 for a free phone consultation and to set up an appointment to discuss your air conditioning options in Nanaimo today.

5 Reasons You Need Drain Cleaning in Nanaimo

While a clogged drain is a sure sign that you need drain cleaning, it’s best not to wait until your drains are slow and sluggish. You’ll want to schedule regular drain cleaning in Nanaimo for these five important reasons:

1) To prevent flooding
One of the most common and frustrating problems caused by dirty, clogged drains is flooding. Wastewater can end up seeping back up through the drain or, if the clog is further down, even into other fixtures in your home. Clogged drains can become particularly problematic during a storm, when the main sewer may be overwhelmed by storm water.

2) To prevent water damage
Clogged drains don’t have to overflow to cause water damage. Stagnant water can damage your home by leaking out of old and rusty pipes, or even by evaporating and, over time, contributing to water damage on your walls, floors, and ceilings. Your Nanaimo plumbing is made to handle water passing through it, not standing still in it.

3) To prevent bad odors
Another issue with stagnant water is that it can become a breeding ground for germs, bugs, and bacteria, leading to the development of foul odours. If you notice a bad, musty smell coming from your drains, then it’s high time to call for a professional drain cleaning in Nanaimo.

4) To protect against disease
The germs, bugs, and bacteria that can proliferate inside of a clogged drain aren’t necessarily going to remain there. They can easily find their way out into the air of your home, causing issues such as skin infections and potentially triggering allergies and asthma attacks. Dirty, clogged drains will put the health of your home’s residents at risk.

5) To protect your pipes from corrosion caused by store-bought cleaners
It is possible to clear up some clogs with store-bought chemical drain cleaners, but you don’t want this to be your go-to drain cleaning strategy. Store-bought cleaners can be highly corrosive and may cause significant damage to your pipes over time. You can try them in a pickle, but, if your drains aren’t working properly, you’d be better off calling emergency plumbing services in Nanaimo instead.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services in Nanaimo

Drain cleaning and plumbing in Nanaimo should be left up to the professionals who have the tools and expertise to do it right. If your drains are getting sluggish, then the best way to make sure that they are properly cleaned is to schedule a drain cleaning with Nanaimo’s Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. We’ll make sure that you don’t have to worry about drainage issues such as flooding, pipe damage, or disease.

For drain cleaning or emergency plumbing in Nanaimo, don’t hesitate to contact the plumbing experts at Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd.

How to Maintain Your Heat Pump This Winter

Heat pumps are a perfect choice for many Nanaimo homes, which have comparatively fewer heating and cooling needs than the rest of Canada. They actually work in a very similar way to most air conditioners. Often, in fact, one unit can both heat and cool a house by reversing the same process of heat transfer, either bringing heat into or removing heat from your house. There are several different kinds of heat pumps that use these principles in different ways. Because heat pumps simply move heat rather than creating it, they are typically much more environmentally friendly than traditional heating methods. Whichever kind of heat pump you have, however, you should be sure to maintain them throughout the winter to keep them running at peak performance.

Here are a few tips on how to maintain your heat pump:

  • Protect your pump from the elements. Remove any dead leaves or other vegetation. Be sure to keep any snow or ice out of it.
  • Keep your pump away from the gutters. Wherever icicles form, that means there’s water dripping. If any ice or water gets into the internal mechanisms of the pump it can cause damage when the water expands and contracts with the temperature changes. Similarly, any ice that forms on your gutters may fall onto your pump, causing damage.
  • Check filters and clean the pump’s coils. This should be done particularly at the beginning of the winter to clear out any dirt or debris that has accumulated over the summer.
  • Keep your pump elevated and away from snow and ice.

The best way to maintain your heat pump is to have it regularly checked by a professional. At Norm’s Mobile Services Ltd. our journeyman heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals are fully licensed and experienced in every problem that can happen to heat pumps in Nanaimo. Contact us today to schedule an inspection or find out more about whether heat pumps are right for your Nanaimo home.

Protect Your Pipes & Your Property

If pipes are old or damaged, they may have been structurally weakened and be more likely to burst. The most common direct cause of burst pipes in Nanaimo is, in fact, water. Although it doesn’t get as cold on Vancouver Island as it does in many other parts of Canada, it’s still cold enough that any water in our pipes can freeze and thaw many times during the year. This constant change in temperature causes water to expand and contact, putting pressure on our pipes. If your pipes have also been structurally weakened, your chances of a burst pipe only go up. Here are a few preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from burst pipes:

  • Insulate your pipes, particularly those exposed to the outside air or in an unheated part of the house.
  • During the winter, leave your heat on at a low temperature to prevent water from freezing.
  • Fix any leaks quickly. They can get worse, or weaken the overall structure of your plumbing. Your pipes are only as strong as their weakest point.

Even if you take every preventative measure possible, leaks and burst pipes still occur sometimes. Here are a few steps you should take if a pipe does burst:

  • Identify the source of the water. This may be more difficult than it appears at first, as any leaks or burst pipes in the floors or walls may not be where you first see water.
  • Close the stopcock (the valve that regulates the flow of water for your house). This will prevent any damage from getting worse.
  • Avoid any electrical devices. They can be dangerous with excess water around them.
  • Move any furniture or valuables away from the affected area.
  • Remove any excess water.

Of course, the best way to prevent any plumbing problem is to regularly have it checked by a local Nanaimo professional. Whether it’s just a regular inspection or an emergency situation, we at Norm’s Mobile Services Ltd. are here for you. We’re a family-owned part of the community and have been plumbing experts in Nanaimo for 45 years. Contact us today to learn more about your plumbing or any heating, ventilation, or air conditioning issues.

Tips on Your Heating, Cooling & Plumbing Systems

Norm’s Mobile Service Ltd. believes that a little preventive action can go a long way to stopping future problems before they happen. That’s why we offer our clients in Nanaimo and beyond advice on how to catch and prevent problems from happening, which saves both time and money. Learn more below, or contact us today.

Locate Your Hot Water Shut-Off

Knowing where your hot water shut off is located can save you money, time and effort if something goes wrong with your system down the line. Don’t know how to find it? Give us a call and we’ll do our best to advise you over the phone, free of charge!

Locate Your Gas Shut-Off Valve

This is another important shut-off, and knowing where it is before you have a problem will save you a lot of headaches. If you’re having trouble locating it, just call us and we’ll be glad to help you over the phone.

Save Money by Saving Water

It doesn’t cost much to install low-flow toilets and showerheads, but this small measure can save you measure and also benefit your community.

Check Your Hot Water Heater

Did you know the average lifespan of a hot water heater is just ten years? Be sure to check the age of yours before it’s too late. If you can’t tell your hot water heater’s age, give us a call and we’ll help you over the phone free of charge!

Check Your Hot Water Thermostat

For every degree you lower your water heater thermostat, you can actually reducing your heating costs by 1 percent! Factory settings for hot water tanks is usually 140 degrees, but we recommend dropping that to 130, especially if you have children or the elderly in your home. Not sure how to do it? Give us a call and we’ll help you by phone for free.

Quiet Those Noisy Pipes

Loud pipes keeping you awake at night? You may need to check your water pressure. If you’re not sure how, just give us a call and we’ll guide you over the phone free of charge.

Inspect Your Washing Machine Hoses

The hoses on your washing machine will wear out over the years, and a broken or burst hose can cause expensive water and flooding damage. Regular inspection can prevent this, and a reinforced washer hose can offer additional inexpensive insurance against these problems. Furthermore, we advise that water supplies to toilets and taps should use stainless braided supplies, and be updated if they currently do not. Older poly and copper supplies can leak or blow apart, resulting in huge floods.