heating & cooling

about the central heating and cooling system

photo of thermostat The buildings have a central heating and air conditioning system which can be individually controlled in your unit. This is the most efficient approach and uses the least amount of energy overall. For air conditioning, a chiller unit on the roof generates cold water which is circulated through the building to individual fan coil units in each suite. There the cold water is converted to cold air which is then forced out through ducts. Likewise, for heating, the central boiler sends hot water through the building which your fan coil converts to hot air which is then blown through your suite.

supplemental electrical heat

This central system is set to provide cooling during the summer months, and heating during the winter months.

However, there are times of the year when units on the sunny side of the building require air conditioning during the daytime, but when overnight temperatures are cool enough to require heating.

If you live in the phase 1 or 2 buildings, your fan coil contains a supplemental electric heater to provide heat during cold nights when the central system is in air conditioning mode. Simply set your thermostat to the desired temperature, and your fan coil will either deliver air conditioning to cool your unit until the selected temperature is reached, or will turn on the electric heater to warm your unit until the selected temperature is reached. Note that the electric heater uses a lot of electricity, so be careful about what temperature you set your thermostat to. In the spring and fall seasons, it can be most efficient to turn off your thermostat completely, and open your windows when needed for natural ventilation.

Where necessary, some suites also contain electric baseboard heaters near windows, as a supplemental heating source.

when is air conditioning available

In all three buildings, air conditioning is available in the late spring, summer and early autumn seasons. Note that there may be a few days in early spring or late fall when we would like to have air conditioning, but it is unavailable. At that time of the year, we may get a few unseasonably hot days, but also still have nights with the temperature below 5 degrees. The air conditioning system cannot be run at temperatures approaching freezing without the risk of expensive damage, and unfortunately starting it is not as simple as just pressing a button. This situation is similar to many buildings like ours. Each year the management and HVAC contractors closely monitor the weather to determine when the air conditioning can be started for the season. Typically it can be started some time in the first few weeks of May. During hot days in the early spring and late fall, it's recommended that we close blinds, open windows for natural ventillation and/or use a fan as necessary to control the temperature in our units, as described below.

getting greatest efficiency & effectiveness

To keep your unit at a comfortable temperature, while keeping our energy costs down:

  • During the summer, keep blinds/curtains closed when possible, especially if you will be away or are not using a particular room.
  • Use natural ventillation when possible. During moderate weather, opening windows and/or using a fan as necessary can be the most efficient way to maintain a comfortable temperature. Turn off your heating/cooling when the windows are open. Depending on the layout of your unit, especially if all windows are facing the same direction, you may find it necessary to use a fan to assist natural ventillation. Using a fan is substantially more energy efficient than running your air conditioning.
  • Likewise, keep doors and windows closed when the system is on. The system is a "closed" one that recirculates air within your unit. Humid air from outside disrupts this process, so you must keep windows and doors closed for the system to be effective and efficient.
  • Turn off your heating/cooling if you will be away.
  • When the heating/cooling is on, just set the thermostat to the desired temperature. The unit will automatically choose between heating and cooling. Note however that cooling will not be available during the time of the year when there are sub-zero temperatures outdoors, as the central chiller cannot be operated at these times.
  • Some windows have baseboard heaters below them to provide further comfort. For safety, keep furniture and other combustibles away from baseboard heaters if you have the heaters on.

air filters

In order to keep the air flow strong, your fan coil filter should be replaced about every three months, dependng on the amount of dust in your unit and how often your fan coil runs. The filter, which is available in major hardware stores, is accessed by opening the large panel below the main vent. Some units have two vents and therefore two filters that need replacing. The Condo Corporations have contracted with a company which will replace filters twice a year. This will be done around the time when air conditioning is started in the spring, and when heating is started in the autumn. Please monitor your own filters in case they need replacing more frequently than what the Condo provides. Should you not be at home when replacements are being done, the Superintendent or Property Manager will accompany the contractor inside your unit.

condensation

Because today's condominiums are more airtight than those of the past, lack of fresh air into a home may allow the humidity levels to increase considerably. Condensation or ice on the windows is a sign that the humidity is too high for existing weather conditions. If the humidity is not carefully controlled, water damage to the window frame, paint and drywall may occur. Damage of this type is not covered under warranty. Some hints on dealing with excess humidity:

  • Air your condominium regularly, especially if it has been left completely closed up all day. Allow for some infiltration of fresh air by opening windows slightly in different areas of the condominium. Turn your thermostat to OFF when windows/doors are open.
  • If condensation persists, leave the heating/cooling fans on by turning the thermostat to "On" instead of "Auto".
  • Do not cover up fan coil vents or block air return vents.
  • While bathing, washing or cooking, use the exhaust fans and/or open a window to ensure the excess moisture is released. Avoid moisture-producing activities such as hanging wet clothes to dry, running a humidifier, or growing excessive numbers of houseplants.
  • Do not lower/close your blinds and/or curtains completely - but leave a gap at the bottom to allow a good circulation of air to the windowpanes.

switching between fahrenheit and celsius

If you live in a phase 1 or phase 3 unit with the standard Honeywell thermostats installed by the builder, you can switch the themormstat's display between fahrenheit and celsius by doing the following:

  1. Pressing the down button, change the temperature setpoint to 10°C (50°F).
  2. Wait 3 seconds, or until the room temperature is displayed.
  3. Press and hold both buttons together until tS is displayed.
  4. Press the up button to choose fahrenheit or celsius. The current setting will be indicated by either F or C in the upper right corner of the display.
  5. Repeatedly press the down button until the room temperature is displayed again.
  6. Using the up or down buttons, change the temperature setpoint to the desired room temperature.

in case of trouble

If the heating or cooling system is not functioning, please contact the property manager. He/she will advise you as to whether there is a building-wide problem that is being handled, or if it is a problem specific to your HVAC fan coil. If it is specific to your own HVAC fan coil, it is your responsibility and cost to have fixed. The property manager can recommend a good contractor.