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Sun over a home. Woman popping out of the home with a snowflake in the background.

We spend the majority of our energy dollars controlling the temperature of our home.

Soaring temperatures can have us rushing to lower the thermostat, but instead of blasting the air conditioner, check out these resources, rebates, and natural cooling tips to help cool your home as efficiently as possible. You will stay comfortable while controlling your costs.

See incentives

Au naturel: home ventilation

Of all the ways to cool your home, ventilation is the least costly and most energy efficient.

Install a ceiling fan


A ceiling fan allows you to raise your thermostat by 4°C without affecting your comfort. Set blades to run in a counter-clockwise direction to circulate cool air downwards.

Create a cross breeze


Open a few windows to create cross ventilation. For the best results, open a lower window on one side of your home and an upper window on the opposite side.


Is it time for a new central air conditioner?

Think about upgrading if:
 
Illustration of a sun with a high thermometer
Rooms served by your air conditioner are too hot
Illustration of a spider web
Your system is more than 10 years old
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It’s unusually noisy
Illustration of a rain drops
Your home’s air is too humid
Illustration of a spider web
You need major parts replaced
 

Did you know?

Central air conditioners are more efficient than room air conditioners.

How to choose

Choosing a contractor:
  • Start with our list of participating contractors near you
  • Read online reviews
  • Ask friends and neighbours for recommendations (check to ensure they are on the list of participating contractors)
  • Get at least three quotes and compare estimates
  • Ask for an inspection of your current system
  • Get everything in writing
  • Ask about rebates for high-efficiency systems
  • Ensure your contractor has general liability insurance to protect yourself
  • Ask about services post-installation, including annual servicing, maintenance, etc.

What to look for

What to look for in an agreement:
  • Detailed list of all work to be completed
  • Itemized list of all equipment to be installed, including name, quantity, model number and energy rating
  • Proof of warranty for both the equipment and installation
  • Documentation of sizing calculations or results of any tests performed
  • Liability insurance information (minimum of $2 million)
  • Proof of licences and certification to install an ENERGY STAR® certified CAC system :
    313A Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Licence or
    313D Residential Air Conditioning Licence
  • Payment terms and schedule
  • Start and completion date

What to expect

Annual servicing: Your contractor should:
  • Check refrigerant levels and test for leaks
  • Clean condenser coils
  • Replace or clean air filters
  • Inspect ductwork for air leaks
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Inspect, clean and tighten electrical connections
  • Lubricate motors and inspect belts
  • Check thermostat and controls for accuracy

Spring checkup

10 ways to cool your home efficiently
  • 1

  • Book a spring tune-up
  • Annual servicing can reduce your cooling costs by up to 10 per cent and extend the life of your system.

  • 2

  • Change or clean furnace filters
  • Clogged filters restrict airflow and make your system work overtime. Refer to your owner's manual to see how often you should do this.

  • 3

  • Deal with your ducts
  • About 20 per cent of airflow is lost to leaks. Seal cracks and holes with mastic sealant or foil tape – this will also help control humidity.

  • 4

  • Clear away clutter
  • Keep weeds and debris away from your outdoor condenser unit to allow the air to circulate freely. Prune foliage at least 24 cm back.

  • 5

  • Set to save
  • Set your thermostat to 25°C when you are at home. Raise it to 28°C (or, better yet, off) when you are away.

  • 6

  • Shade to save
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade your outdoor condenser and improve efficiency by up to 10%. Keep your thermostat out of direct sunlight as well.

  • 7

  • Let your attic breathe
  • Proper attic ventilation can reduce the strain on your central air conditioner by moving hot air out.

  • 8

  • Switch on the fans
  • Remove heat and humidity by using your bathroom fan during and after a shower and your range hood while cooking.

  • 9

  • Seal the leaks
  • Caulk, seal or weatherstrip around doors and windows to keep hot air out and cool air in.

  • 10

  • Close the blinds
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day to block out the sunlight and naturally cool your home.


Shopping for a central air conditioner?

Man standing beside a new air conditioning unit

An ENERGY STAR® certified high-efficiency model can cut cooling costs as much as 30 per cent*. While you may pay a little more up front, you will save on energy costs over time. 

Added benefits:
  • ✔ Proven reliability

  • ✔ Quiet performance

  • ✔ Better warranty protection

  • ✔ Improved air quality

  • ✔ Use less energy

* Assumes replacement of a model 12 years or older.

EnerGuide AFUE label
Look for the labels

The official Canadian EnerGuide label displays the model type and seasonal energy efficiency ratio or SEER. The SEER measures how efficiently the system runs over the entire cooling season. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system. You can use this rating to compare the energy efficiency of different models.

The most energy-efficient units will also be ENERGY STAR® certified.


Cool tip: Double up and save

Your central air conditioner and furnace share a blower motor to push air through your ducts. If it's about time to replace both your heating and cooling systems, your new AC will perform at maximum efficiency if you do it at the same time.

More than $4,000* in heating and cooling rebates

AC unit

Get a $600 cooling rebate

when you install a new high-efficiency central air conditioner

Newer models are more reliable and less prone to breakdowns.

Must be ENERGY STAR® certified, minimum 18+ SEER/13 EER rating.

Furnace

Get a $250 heating rebate

when you replace your furnace with a new high-efficiency model

Reduces home heating costs by 25% per year

Must be equipped with ECM motor. Offer ends December 31, 2018.

Electrically-heated home?
Air-source heat pump unit

Get up to $4,000

when you install an air source heat pump (ASHP)

Save up to 50% on heating costs. Also works for cooling!

BONUS!

Get $50 when you install a new adaptive thermostat. Reduce energy costs up to 15%

Hydronic heating system?

Get $30

when you install a new ECM circulator pump for your hydronic heating system

Significantly increases energy savings and is easy to install

Must have a variable-speed ECM motor