Equipment Buying Guide

Purchasing new equipment for your home comfort system can be a daunting task. But don't worry, at MHR we are here to help every step of the way! Below is an easy to understand guide to the different types of equipment available. As always, one of our comfort advisers is only a phone call or click away with any questions you may have. If you decide to set up a free in-home estimate, our comfort advisers will help you decide what's right for you and your home.


Furnace Burner and Blower Operation - Different furnace types can be categorized according to the operation of the burner and blower with the term "stage." Stage is used to refer to the operation of the furnace's burner and blower and indirectly, the level of sophistication of the technology controlling the burner and blower.

These stages include:

  1. Single Stage Furnace
  2. Two Stage or Dual Stage Furnace
  3. Modulating Furnace
  4. Variable speed/DC motor
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  1. A single stage furnace is the least expensive and means the burner and blower has one "on" stage.
  2. A two stage or dual stage furnace has electronic controls that allow the burner flame and burner to be on at a high and a low setting, depending on the level of heat required.
  3. The modulating furnace has electronic controls for the burner and blower motor. These controls allow very fine adjustments to the burner setting and blower motor speed, and modulates them to maintain a temperature that's very close to the thermostat setting.
  4. A variable speed motor is capable of running at many different speeds and is not limited to preset speeds. They are more efficient to operate (33% less power consumption) and run much quieter than a conventional motor. One of the biggest benefits of these types of motors is the ability to leave the fan running constantly on a very low speed, to even out the temperature within the entire home.

The efficiency of a furnace is indicated by its AFUE rating. The higher the number out of 100 the more efficient it is!

Air conditioners can also be divided into similar categories.

A single stage air conditioner has only one compressor unit outside and has only an "on" and "off" stage.

A two stage air conditioner has two compressor stages and will adjust to either low or high depending on the level of cooling required. The result is energy savings and a more comfortable and evenly cooled space.

The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured in SEER rating. Just like furnaces the higher the SEER the more efficient it is.

A decent humidifier can help make the air you breathe more comfortable. A dry mouth, nose bleed or static shock can be a sign you may need extra humidity as part of your home comfort system. Experts recommend having a humidifier installed whenever real wood products such as hard wood floors are present in the home.

A good thermostat is equally important as your other equipment for maintaining reliability and comfort. A variety of options exist from straight forward "on, off" functionality to full colour touchscreens that can be controlled from your smartphone. Ask one of our Comfort Advisers what may best for you.

The filtration system in your furnace is your first line of defense against dust, allergens and possible contaminates in your air. MHR offers a number of solutions depending on your needs. We offer an air testing service to help you identify which of the above mentioned offenders may be present in your home.

Explore our products page to put your new skills to use or contact one of our Comfort Advisers who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • Change Your Air Filter Regularly
  • Keep Your Furnace Fan Running
  • Install A Programmable Thermostat
  • Consider Installing ENERGY STAR Qualified Heating and Cooling Equipment
  • Ask About Proper Installation Of Your New Equipment
  • If Your Furnace Is Over 20 Years Old Consider Replacement

Check your filter every month, especially during the heavy use months like winter and summer. If the filter looks dirty after one month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder, therefore wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system that could potentially lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

Tune Up Your HVAC Equipment Yearly

Just as a tune­up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune­up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Learn more here.

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Contrary to popular belief, running your furnace fan continually when combined with a variable speed motor can actually save you money. DC motors are capable of running extremely quiet and at low speeds. The result is power savings of up to 33% and a more evenly distributed temperature throughout the home, especially in 2 story homes.

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A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre­-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR rating. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problem rather than your HVAC equipment.

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Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy ­efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30%, ­ costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the life of the equipment.

Furnaces become inefficient over time and the average life of a furnace is about 25 years. As a rule of thumb, if your repair bill is a third of the cost of new equipment, it may be time to consider replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Before you take the step to call us for a repair, Try these remedies for common issues first.
  • What is a diagnostic charge and why do I have to pay before you have even fixed anything?
  • I diagnosed it myself do I still have to pay a diagnostic fee?.
  • What is straight forward pricing?
  • When do I pay?
  • I was given a 1 hour window for arrival, Why?
  • Has your filter clean/been changed lately? Dirty filters can have a profound negative effect on your heating and cooling system. Change your filter and allow your furnace to sit idle for an hour or so before retrying your heating or cooling.
  • Have you checked the batteries in your thermostat?
  • Is the thermostat set to heat/cool?
  • If you set your thermostat to fan on does the fan run? (if not and the above mentioned items have been checked, try the switch on your furnace and make sure there is power
  • Did your furnace power switch get turned off?
  • Try turning off the power switch to the furnace and turning it back on again this will reset the control board.

Our Diagnostic fee covers the technicians dispatch, driving time and the time required to accurately diagnose the failure.

The simple answer is yes. We still have to dispatch our technicians to your location and in most instances a diagnostic is required anyway as we have to be reasonably assured that the repair we recommend is going to result in the problem being fixed correctly.

Straight forward pricing is how we charge for our repairs. After the technician has completed the diagnostic they will recommend a repair. Repairs fall into different level categories with a pre-determined cost for the parts and labour upfront. This means that there is no chance that you will be charged more than you were quoted for your service Call.

All invoices are due upon receipt. We except many forms of payment for your convenience-Visa, Mastercard, debit, cash or cheque. Our commercial clients will receive payment terms of 30 days as a professional courtesy.

Due to the nature of our business it is not always possible to give an exact time of arrival. While we strive to be as accurate as possible our technicians are dealing with a variety of different scenarios throughout the day and sometimes may be delayed on their previous Call.

Equipment installation

  • How long does it take to install a furnace?
  • My furnace broke in January.! Will my family freeze?
  • My new furnace moves way more air.
  • Why should I do maintenance if I have 10 years of labour?
  • I'm selling my house so should I change my furnace and Ac first?

Most of our installations can be completed in a single day. Occasionally when we are doing combination air conditioner and furnaces we will need to return for a second day to install the compressor unit outside. In all situations during the winter months your furnace will take priority and will be up and running by the end of the day.

In most cases your furnace will only be offline for approximately 6 hours during installation and your temperature should never dip below 60 degrees. If you are waiting for an installation date we will loan you complimentary heaters free of charge to any of our customers who may need them. (based on availability)

A common question we get is in relation to air flow with newer furnaces. Because of advances in furnace technology newer furnaces generally move more air through the ducting system than older models. It may take a little getting use to but the result is much more even heating and cooling throughout the home.

It is true that your new unit is covered for parts and labour for 10 years. Regular maintenance is still required to protect that warranty however. Just like your car, your warranty won't cover you if there is no oil in the engine. Regular maintenance helps to keep your unit running many years after your warranty has expired. In the event that you put your house up for sale potential buyers will have the confidence that the equipment has been properly maintained.

There is two schools of thought on this. If you have old equipment in your house many real estate agents for the buyer would try and use this to their advantage to try and get the value of the home reduced. More often than not the value of the reduction is significantly higher than the actual cost of the equipment replacement itself. Replacing the equipment before the house goes on the market will eliminate this possibility. The other option is to wait until the negotiating stage. As a seller you have a right to get replacement quotes from local companies that can be used to counter the buyers proposal.

Our Experience keeps you in your comfort zone

Serving clients across Medicine Hat, Dunmore, Bow Island, Brooks, Taber, and the surrounding areas.

For HVAC Installation & Repair Services, Contact Medicine Hat Refrigeration