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What to do and what not to do when using your air conditioner

By: Karine Dutemple

What to do and what not to do when using your air conditioner

By: Karine Dutemple

Interior renovationsExterior renovationsWhat to do and what not to do when using your air conditioner

We all know that the yearly heatwave is imminent, as summer heat records continue to soar under the weight of our rising global temperature. For many homeowners, dealing with this means installing an air conditioning system, making sure family and friends have a place to feel calm, cool, and comfortable.

But, using your AC unit incorrectly can lead to a lack of efficiency, effectiveness, and potentially make it unsafe. How do you know what to do and what not to do when it comes to air conditioning?

A poorly installed or maintained system can end up with a whole world of problems and may even affect the health of your loved ones. This article will look at some of the most common mistakes when using an air conditioner, plus the correct ways to live with one of these units.

Using your air conditioner: what to do and what not to do

air conditioner

source: Pinterest (

The AC filter: forgetting to clean or change it

When it comes to a home air conditioner, forgetting to clean or change the filter is one of the most common mistakes. It is crucial to change the filter on your central AC unit at least once every 3 months. If your system is running all the time, we’d recommend somewhere closer to changing the filter once a month. 

Forgetting to change your filter may not seem like a big deal, but we’d argue otherwise. Neglecting this small step can lead to a world of problems, including poor airflow or even the freezing of the unit’s evaporator coil. Poor airflow or a frozen evaporator coil will cause your AC bill to go up as much as 5% to 15%. Not to mention, a dirty filter will also greatly affect the lifespan of the system itself. 

How can you remedy this? Replace or clean your filter. Most AC units will have a removable filter that can simply be washed or wiped off. When it comes to a ductless ''split'' unit, there will be a removable panel that allows you to wipe off the filter without removing it. Since this step is not so complicated, make sure you’re completing it in the timeframe we mentioned.

The system: having your AC unit annually serviced 

Another common mistake with air conditioning units is not having them serviced each year. Many homeowners believe this to be an unnecessary step, and we’d argue otherwise. The coil and fins inside your AC unit need to be cleaned each year so that it runs as smoothly as possible. Much like forgetting to change the filter, not servicing your AC until will lead to the system not running properly which can cause an eventual breakdown as well as higher utility bills.

So, what should you do? You can service your unit by looking up video tutorials online and carefully following instructions. If you don’t feel confident about your skills, we’d recommend getting in touch with a professional who can perform these maintenance tasks for you. Having a clean, properly functioning AC unit will assist in its longevity and keep these energy bills down.

air conditioner

source: Pinterest (

Programmable thermostat: do you have one?

Older air conditioning units may not come equipped with a programmable thermostat. For a small minority of homeowners, this could be fine as long as you’re able to remember to adjust your thermostat every time you leave the house.

For the rest of us, a programmable thermostat is essential for saving a large chunk of money on your annual utility bills. They work by automatically changing the temperature when necessary, raising it when you’re out or away, and lowering it when you and your loved ones are trying to cool off. Not to mention, within our current technological landscape, it shouldn’t be surprising that many contemporary models can be controlled by your smartphone.

So, do you have a programmable thermostat? If not, we’d suggest updating your unit to install one that does. Get in touch with a professional for the installation itself. It may cost a few dollars upfront, but we assure you it’ll lead to savings in the long run.

Your AC unit and thermostat: are you using them correctly?

The placement and settings on your thermostat make a huge difference when it comes to how your AC unit is functioning. Firstly, if your thermostat sits in a place inside your home that attracts the full sun, it could cause your AC unit to believe your home is hotter than it is and up its usage. Your system may be working harder than it needs to as a result of the placement. Also worth mentioning is that AC vents around your home need to be uncovered by furniture or other household items so cool air can flow freely. 

Examine the placement of these things and make sure to move them if necessary. Again, the job may be annoying initially but in the long run, it’ll pay off.

Another common mistake that homeowners make is setting their thermostats too low. Of course, after a long, hot day outdoors, who doesn’t enjoy coming inside to some freezing cold air? However, setting your thermostat too low is bad for both the human body as well as the environment. 

Instead, consider keeping your thermostat somewhere in the ’70s and buckle down through a period of adjustment. 

air conditioner

source: ac wholesalers

Blinds and curtains: do you have them?

Lastly, let’s discuss blinds and curtains and if you’re using them. Employing blinds and curtains to block out the bright sun will offer your air conditioning unit some relief, as these can help to dampen the heat that accumulates inside your home.

If you’re not already aware of this, and not yet using blinds and curtains, then we’d suggest taking a trip down to your local homeware or fabric store and picking some up or even making some yourself. This could be a fun weekend DIY project or an excuse to update your interior decor.

If you're looking for even more information about air conditioners, check out our in-depth article: Everything you need to know about air conditioning.

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Last modified 2023-10-12

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9 min read 19 Jul 2023

How to Choose Glass Inserts for Your Front Door

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Different Types of Glazing Source: Canva Right off the bat, one might think that triple glazing is better compared to double, but that’s not always the case. Before choosing, consider the different factors involved. Here’s everything to know about the different types of glazing: Double-glazed Double-glazing is achieved with two layers of glass, separated by a cavity filled with either air or gas inserts. Air, argon gas, or krypton (immobilized between two glass panes) are great insulation. Given that it’s more resilient than single-glazing, the latter can effectively insulate a home, thereby slowing down heat transfer and limiting heat loss. As such, cold air is retained throughout the summer much like warm air during winter, preventing issues like condensation. Additionally, the home isn’t affected by external noise pollution. Triple-glazed Triple glazing is the preferred option to optimize the energy efficiency of low-energy or passive homes. The detailed manufacturing process of triple-glazed windows provides excellent thermal performance, during both winter and summer. Windows are known culprits responsible for 10% to 15% of heat loss in households. With this in mind, one might assume that triple glazing, with air-, argon gas-, or krypton-filled cavities, is the way to go. However, this isn’t entirely true. While triple glazing is highly effective in cold, sun-sparse regions, it isn’t recommended for sunny regions. Decorative glazing Although decorative glazing only accounts for a select portion of a front door, it’s often the main appeal of modern entry doors. This type of glazing, whether featured as an insert or applied to the panel, is typically translucent, coloured, frosted, or acid-etched. It comes as a single piece or an amalgamation of geometric patterns or abstract shapes that seamlessly blend together, reminiscent of a mosaic or stained glass window. It showcases all the appeal of front doors. 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Full-view garage door or with windows Much has changed since the time when garage doors merely featured tiny square-shaped windows in the upper part of the panel serving the sole purpose of letting light in. Nowadays, windows have merged into a decorative element that’s either clear or tinted, transparent, mirrored-like, acid-etched, frosted, sandblasted, translucent, with stained glass or decorative film. That’s without accounting for fully glazed garage doors. New finishes are the perfect balance between privacy and natural lighting, no compromise is needed. Full-view (glass) models are increasingly sought-after and aren’t limited to garages, they’re also used for verandas, gyms, and summer kitchens. Their modern, commercial look offers a unique look onto the outside world as it has never been seen before. Note that these doors aren’t insulated, and due to the extensive nature of their glazing, their thermal resistance value is nearing that of R-2. 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5 min read 17 Aug 2023

Optimize Your Construction Site: Cut Expenses Through Excavation Equipment Rentals

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One hiccup: Over those 7 years, the machinery will have racked up quite a bit of maintenance expenses, as any and all excavation projects wear out the equipment and expose heavy machinery to potential damages. 2. No maintenance For a dozer, a single tilt blade costs at least $2,700; the same goes for an excavator. Albeit we’re simply stating the most obvious parts, heavy machinery also includes: electrical systems; motor; hydraulic and brake systems; air conditioning; hydrostatic; etc. There are as many circuits as there are parts that may need to be repaired, or at the very least, maintained. Still, rental equipment may be broken or damaged too. However, as Éric Senécal, of Location d’Outils MS, explained, malfunctioning or damaged equipment is dealt with on a case-by-case basis; the client never has to pay for faulty or damaged equipment. Even though it’s something to think about, assurance can cover some of the repair costs. 3. No storage fees When detailing a business plan, budgetary constraints are often overlooked, yet storage fees are especially important to consider in construction work. Heavy machinery, especially those needed to carry out excavation work, require a decent amount of space. To store said equipment, you have two choices: lease or; purchase a lot. Should you lease a plot of land, note that the rent due amounts to 6% of its market value. Should you purchase the lot, you can pay between $2/sq.ft. (North Shore) and $25/sq.ft. (Montréal), excluding GST (HST), QST, and administrative fees. Consequently, it can be difficult for a company to pay back such significant investments. As such, at the very beginning, it may be best to resort to excavation equipment rentals. Machinery You Can Rent Source: Canva Excavator An excavator is the ideal tool to efficiently dig up dirt. The quality of the work done by such machinery far exceeds that of the result obtained with a backhoe, for example. However, the former isn’t a necessity on all construction sites. Hence the reason why renting excavation equipment is a worthwhile option compared to purchasing. Moreover, to be fully operational, the excavator must be fitted with the right accessories. The cost of the latter further inflates the bill. Other Heavy Machinery As mentioned in the first part of this article, to excavate, other machinery is required, like a mini excavator, compactor plate, and dumper truck. Such equipment is much less expensive than a dozer or excavator and, therefore doesn’t necessitate such a substantial down payment. However, before making a significant financial commitment, you first must establish your company within the construction industry. Doing so allows for the following: establishing a reputation amongst clients; highlighting areas of expertise; assessing your needs. You might never need a mini excavator but may need an excavator on a regular basis. However, on the flip side, the use of a dump truck would be rendered useless if a smaller machine could do the job just fine. Equipment Rental Costs Source: Canva Éric Senécal, of Location d’Outils MS, further stated that “the cost of renting [a mini excavator, Ed.], amounts to about $500/day,” and renting periods typically range from: 1 day 7 days 28 days However, he emphasized, “Rental costs are determined by several factors, such as size, transportation, diesel, insurance, initial purchase, and most importantly, the client’s specific requirements.” Next up: type of machinery. As Éric Senécal mentioned, “There are several types of excavation equipment that can be rented, like a tracked excavator and wheel loader,” knowing that “the tracked excavator is the most commonly used excavation equipment.” Therefore, to learn more about the exact rental costs, the best way to do so is to request a quote while detailing to the rental company exactly what you’ll need. Here are other excavation-related articles that might be of interest: Quel est l'impact des conditions du sol sur l'excavation des fondations ? Les normes de sécurité à respecter pour des travaux d'excavation

7 min read 16 Aug 2023

Get Quality and a Stylish Design with Glass Tile

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ANSI A137.2 standard divides recycled glass tiles into 3 categories, based on their composition: Category 1: at least 25%; Category 2: at least 40%; Category 3: at least 60%. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected to top-rated contractors! Glass Mosaic: Its Multiple Uses Source: Canva Glass mosaic is a very sought-after tiling technique that consists of assembling pieces of glass together to design colourful and complex patterns. The durable and shiny finish achieved with glass tiles allows for a variety of uses: inside, both as flooring or as wall treatments; outside, as a pool liner or terrace surface. Glass Paste Glass paste, or “pâte de verre,” is most often used to make glass mosaics. It’s a cold-casting technique that consists of moulding glass sheets. A known technique since Ancient history and rediscovered at the end of the 1800s in France, this process gives glass mosaic a texture that’s similar to that of ceramic. The tiles are then glued together to create a mosaic that can withstand the following: scratches; shocks; heat. All that, treatment-free. Bathroom or Kitchen Wall Tiles Glass mosaics are perfect for wet areas: kitchen; wet room; bathroom. The reason why is that glass tiles are super easy to clean. Whether it be grease or soap residue, simply wiping the surface with a sponge will suffice in most cases. Glass Mosaic Flooring Glass tiles used as indoor flooring are typically fused glass tiles. They can be laid on every type of rigid infrastructure, such as: cured concrete slab; cement panel (0.5-inch thick) on a plywood subfloor; double-layer plywood; mortar bed on a plywood subfloor. Prior to installation, spread a crack insulation membrane over the surface to be tiled. Large glass tiles will then be laid atop this very membrane. To prevent air bubbles from forming in the tile mortar, use as little as possible. As such, avoid following the manufacturer's recommended mortar thickness. In fact, since the tiles are see-through, air bubbles forming beneath the tiles are clearly visible once installed. How to Cut Glass Mosaic Tiles Source: Canva For clean and precise cuts, it’s best to use a glass-specific diamond blade mounted on a wet saw. Naturally, not everyone can whip out a wet saw at a moment’s notice, and purchasing such a tool runs about $120 to $500. Luckily, there’s a more artisanal method that can be used, requiring a glass-cutting knife. This cutter-like tool isn’t equipped with a metal blade but a diamond-shaped tip. With this tool handy, follow along with the steps detailed below. Step 1: Mark the tile Lay your glass tile on a flat surface. Grab a second one to use as a makeshift ruler and place it where you want to make the cut. Run the glass-cutting knife’s diamond tip along the tile to mark it. To effectively mark the tile, avoid pushing down on the tool too hard, or not pushing down hard enough. Step 2: Snap the glass tile To snap the glass tile, you’ll need to use something to lift up one side of the tile where it was marked. It could be a piece of cloth or neoprene foam. The only thing left to do is to push down the glass tile’s edge to break it along the guideline. Once the cloth or neoprene is in place, simply push down on the edge to break up the tile. Step 3: Use running pliers However, if you only need to cut a small section of your tile, rather than cutting it in half, you risk having a hard time doing so using the cloth or neoprene method. To successfully cut a small section of a glass tile, you can use running pliers to snap off a small section of the tile. Some are used much like straightforward pliers, others like grip pliers, but both are easy to use. A Few Examples of Glass Tile Prices Source: Canva Given that glass tiles basically come in every shape and size, they can mimic pebbles, hexagons, or bricks. The cost of the following creations are as follows: Random shape and size mosaic: $11.50/sq.ft.; Hexagon mosaic: $16/sq.ft; Brick tiles: $13/sq.ft. To cover an entire wall with recycled tiles, budget about $38/sq.ft.

5 min read 09 Aug 2023

Translucent Concrete: When Innovation Meets Nature

Concrete is one of the most common construction materials on the planet. Up until the end of the 1900s, it was bestowed with numerous qualities, but none were that of luminosity… Well, consider it done! Since the dawn of the new millennium, this solid grey mass stuns with light-filled shadows. In fact, the arrival of translucent concrete, a robust and versatile material, marks the beginning of a new era. Once again, it revolutionizes the architecture and construction industries with its somewhat incredible light effects that are rather dazzling. And, let’s not forget that this type of concrete retains the valuable properties of standard concrete. It was first exclusively used when building cutting-edge hotel and tourism facilities, but little by little, it’s increasingly used across the industry. And despite its steep price tag, the residential sector sees grounds for innovation. Without further ado, let's shed some light on translucent concrete. The Definition of Translucent Concrete Source: Canva Translucent concrete—or light-transmitting concrete—was invented in 2001 by a Hungarian architect, and possesses optical fibre properties that aren’t readily visible to the naked eye. These fibres arranged perfectly parallel to one another, attract and transmit natural or artificial light across pre-fabricated concrete panels. This interplay of light and shadow is reminiscent of the shoji concept unique to traditional Japanese architecture. However, the translucent sheet of washi is replaced by the solidity of concrete. With the quick-evolving nature of technology, the latest process currently incorporates optical fibres that guide light emitted by an LED source, to then transmit it to the outer surface of a building. Software-activated and controlled, LEDs make for great light shows, from displaying static elements to conceiving colour schemes and animated images. As such, in broad daylight, building structures channel that of any standard concrete or stone façade. However, once night falls, and backlighting kicks in, the siding comes to life with a dazzling display. Concrete, which was once a simple mixture that included cement, water, and aggregates, bedazzled itself into a literal artistic gem, igniting the creative mind. What are the properties of translucent concrete? As of now, translucent concrete is being used in building the façades of exceptionally avant-garde buildings or as interior wall treatments for high-end constructions. With dynamic lighting breathing life into silhouettes, using translucent concrete in a shower for example may be an interesting way to benefit from this unique technology without so much as paying through the roof. (The price of translucent concrete can easily be 5 times that of standard concrete.) Transparent concrete allows light to filter through, making for brightly lit interiors. As such, there no longer is a need to worry about window placement or positioning or which direction a particular room is facing. What’s more, it allows natural light to stream in, while blocking UV rays. Based solely on aesthetics, it’s important to highlight that the incorporated optical fibres won’t result in any particular constraints. The material benefits from all the much sought-after properties of standard concrete—solid and durable. It’s definitely a technology that suits the masses. However, keep in mind that translucent concrete is an expensive construction material. Aside from the list above-mentioned regarding its uses, interior design architects often employ it in the making of stairs, guardrails, countertops, and other strictly decorative features. We’re ready to bet that the success of translucent concrete will drive major breakthroughs over the next few years, perhaps making it more accessible. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How is translucent concrete made? Source: Canva Throughout the years, two processes have made translucent concrete attainable. The first method consists of changing the formula for concrete in terms of binders and aggregates. The material becomes translucent when glass pieces are added or resin is injected into the cementitious matrix, while still retaining a sufficient strength. The second technology features optical fibres embedded in the matrix allowing light to shine through. Using simple electrical systems, the light intensity can be controlled, much like the walls’ colour rendering. Composition and materials Translucent concrete is retailed as custom, pre-fabricated panels (of various shapes and sizes), or as concrete construction blocks. The polymer-based process can transmit up to 90% light, which results in as much as 20% translucency, while still retaining the material’s strength. Translucent concrete is often used without traditional rebar. In cases where reinforcement is necessary, plastic rebar can serve as a viable substitute to steel rebar, ensuring the distinctive properties of translucent concrete remain intact. When translucent concrete contains polymer, the binder (cement) is partially replaced by a transparent polymer. This technique ensures the translucency of the material from all angles. Translucent concrete is typically neutral in colour (white, light or dark grey), but its colour can be altered upon request. It also boasts a wide range of colours, courtesy of a set of LED bulbs. Benefits of Translucent Concrete In the making of translucent concrete, mixing in transparent compounds solely account for a mere percentage of its overall composition. As a result, it benefits from all the same properties as traditional concrete. Concrete is resilient and durable—it’s basically fire-, fungus-, and insect-proof, and is resistant to physical impacts. It’s also highly resistant to adverse weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Lastly, it’s thermally inert and has a high porosity. Translucent concrete not only harnesses the above-mentioned properties but also introduces an unprecedented level of luminosity. It’s contemporary, unique, and distinctive—transforming structures and buildings through visually stunning light shows. In broad daylight, it brightens up rooms while effectively blocking UV rays. As such, natural light replaces artificial lighting, thus limiting energy consumption. Last but certainly not least, translucent concrete is recyclable.

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