Ready your Furnace for hibernation

Finally, after a long and tireless operational season, it's the time for your Furnace to get some rest. Spring has already begun and Summer is just coming. While in many GTA areas, the weather is still cold enough requiring Furnace, many others have already turned their Furnace system off until the next season. But before you turn on your Air Conditioner by randomly turning the Furnace system off some day, this blog is a must read for you to learn how to properly set your home heating system for hibernation.

Follow these steps before turning your Furnace off until next season

- Cleaning around the unit 

As Furnace is an indoor unit and is usually installed in the basement, many people keep the surroundings of the unit piled with all the possible junk. Although this is usually not done when the system is operational, it is surely done by more than half of homeowners when the unit is not in use; in summers. Keeping the surrounding of the unit conjested creates a suitable space for insects and animals to hide. Also, placing any items on the top of the Furnace can damage its parts or the pipeline which could turn out to be of real danger. So before you shut it off, clean the surroundings and keep them clean whether or not the system is in use.

- Change filter before power off

Cleaning of the filters during the use is understandable but why clean them when the system is put to rest? Well, doing so helps protect the unit from the consequences of dust and debris. And as you turn the system on the next winter, it will be relatively cleaner making things easier for you.

- DIY or professional inspection 

Your unit could be facing a very serious problem and you, not knowing about it may turn it off without resolving it. This will for sure aggravate the problem when the system would remain off for a long period. Therefore, it is necessitated to perform a thorough inspection. If you think you are good enough at inspecting the Furnace yourself, do a DIY else better call a professional for a brief checkup to make sure the Furnace is not having any serious issues.

- Checking CO detector 

CO leak is not a winter only phenomenon. The gas can leak from the pipes even in summers as a result of a damage, corrosion or any other reason. If you don't have a CO detector installed, install one. While we are relatively careful about leaks in winters, this careful attitude is not followed in summers so there's more danger. If you have one such device already installed, check batteries to make sure the device is properly functional.

Why professional inspection could be safe and beneficial 

Calling a professional tech to ready your Furnace for hibernation mode could be beneficial in many regards. For example;
- A professional checks for leaks and damages both in Furnace, it's pipes and ductwork
- A professional makes sure all electrical connection are alright and also protects them from prospect summer damages
- A professional performs a thorough inspection reaching out to parts where you can't and also lubricates the parts which keep the unit super functional for next season

You might be too good at  HVAC things but an HVAC professional remains an HVAC professional doing something extra and better than you. So before saying goodbye to your Furnace until next winter, give it a gift; a professional maintenance.


Inspect your HVAC system yourself!

You can save yourself from costly HVAC repairs and deadly HVAC dangers by performing DIY heating and cooling system inspection. Maintenance performed twice a year; one, when the winter is about to start and other when the spring begins, would take your HVAC appliance efficiency and the lifetime beyond expected. But before we begin, please note that not all maintenance to do's are safe and secure to be performed by individuals. There are some, like; checking flue pipes, inspecting leaks and electrical connections sort of maintenance tasks that should only be performed by a certified professional. For the rest, you can do it. Here's what you are required to do as part of DIY HVAC maintenance.

- Filter Inspection
Dirty filters not only block the airways and provide you with compromised quality of air, they also are one of the leading reasons for motor/compressor failure. As the system puts exceptional air to let the air pass through the dirty filters, it gets burdened. Therefore, the first thing to check is filters. A general time frame is 3-6 months but the duration may vary depending on the indoor activities performed and the kind of residential area. Inspect your filters and change/clean them.

- Ductwork Inspection
A leaking ductwork would ruin your system before you'd know it. In addition, the duct leaks significantly increase the energy bills. It is important that you look for any signs of duct leaks. For that, check;

- Dents in metal if it is a metal ductwork

- Streaks of dust. They indicate leaking air

- Torn pieces of duct (if it's a flex duct)

- Removing duct tape

Inspecting the flame
Your Furnace flame should be blue in colour. And it should be steady, not flickering. Yellowish, greenish flames indicate combustion problems.

Inspecting registers and grills
When checking the filters, don't forget to check the return duct, registers and grills for dust and debris. Often times, there are multiple casing & covers around the registers. Dust and debris on any layer would affect the flow of air.

Inspecting outdoors units
Outdoor Air Conditioner units or Heat Pump units should be checked for piles of leaves, animal faeces or any other stuff that has the potential to damage the unit in any way. Did you know that animal urine can corrode metal? Keep animals away from outdoor HVAC units.

Inspecting Thermostat and Detectors
Here's an important one that you should not miss when performing a DIY maintenance; Inspecting the Thermostat and Detectors. Clean the Thermostat by removing the outer lid. For the CO and alarm detectors, be sure to check the batteries. The batteries if they are expired, can put you in alarming situations.

Inspecting unusual signs and signals
HVAC system often shows some signs if there's something wrong going on. For example, smoke may emit from the vents, unusual sounds may come from the ductwork of heating/cooling units, Thermostat may off and on continuously etc. While you may usually ignore such signs on a daily basis, be vigilant enough to look for them when performing the maintenance.

Last note:
We have suggested what you can do as DIY maintenance being a common homeowner. But we also would like to remind you that for anything that you find beyond your capabilities to manage, call a professional. Also, do not try complex repairs yourself.
Have a great DIY maintenance!


A brief history of different methods of Central Heating

Having an inquiring mind is a blessing from God. If you are a person who thinks of whys and hows and wheres and whens, congratulations! You are a good learner and a man of knowledge since those that inquire are those that explore. So, let’s come to the point. Have you ever wondered while looking at your Furnace or Fireplace how the people of olden times used to comfort themselves in cold weathers? If yes, it is the time to get your answer. Today, we shall explore the human history to figure out what were the ways that our forefather had used for heating their homes (or caves, yes).

Fire – The earliest ‘’home’’ heating tool

So our ancestors didn’t have the type of homes that we have today. They had caves and huts. Archeologists believe that the earliest form of home heating was the very fire which was created by rubbing stones and burning woods. This fire was set up in the inside of caves and huts with some kind of opening in the roof for the smoke to escape. Later on, this form improved a little and men of the time used stones and other types of dwellings to place that fire into and they were the fireplaces that heated their homes.

Fireplace, Hearths, Stoves and Underfloor systems – Who used them and how and when?

Humans throughout different cultures invented different schemes of central heating. Archeologists have excavated 2500 B.C. old fixed hearths in Greece. The Fireplace Heating (crude) is said to have been only 800 AD old. This type of crude fireplaces became the widely adopted home heating method in Europe in the 1400’s AD. The designs were improved and a circulating fireplace was first formed in 1600’s while a combustion air fireplace was introduced in 1700’s. Similarly, the history of stoves tells that first ever metal stove was made only after 1400’s. Germany and Holland became central manufacturers of these stoves.

Radiant Heating and how it evolved?

Radiant heating or underfloor heating is as old as 1300 BC. Later on, Romans improved this method in 80 B.C. and made systems that not only heated floors but also walls. The old radiant heating methods also called the hypocaust method used stone floor supported with pillars over a chamber that had fire at one end. The heat would radiate and made the floor and the indoor warm. This kind of hypocaust systems totally vanished after the fall of Roman Empire.

Steam Heating – How old is it?

So you know Boilers as the modern steam heaters. The history of Boilers isn’t much old. It is said that steam heating idea originated in 1745 in England. In 1790’s steam heating was already being used in residencies of its pioneers. Initially, it was used to warm factories and mills but later used to heat homes.

Forced air/fan system – When did it begin?

So we have come all the way long to forced air systems (one of which we use in our homes today; Furnace). The first ever fan/blower heating system was designed in 1735 for British parliament. Benjamin Franklin designed a heat exchanger and fan combination in order to suffice for cooling purpose in addition to sufficing for heating purpose.

Thermostats – Why were they invented?

By the 19th century, there were a number of central heating methods in use throughout different demographics but the matter of concern was controlling the warmth. So in the 1800’s several devices were introduced at the same time and can be considered the earlier forms of Thermostats. The latest form of Thermostats are the Smart Thermostats that use WiFi technology and make the heating system controllable from any location in the world while also offer a very precise temperature control and temperature scheduling.

Modern world and modern heating

After the 1920’s the world became more democratic than it was before and so did the heating. As a result, a mutual corporation of inventors, manufacturers, engineers made heating appliances cheaper, reliable and easily accessible. Forced Air Furnaces, advanced fixed Fireplaces, Baseboards, Boilers and other heating elements were introduced and are still being introduced.

This is how mankind has taken his long journey of central heating. And this journey continues as we look forward to even more advanced forms of heating. Bon Voyage fellow humans!


Manual, Programmable & Smart Thermostats

A thermostat is basically a device which is used in different types of heating and cooling appliances, building architectures and other home/business appliances with the primary objective to sense the temperature of the system so as to keep it in the desired/preset limit. We are aware of one such type of Thermostat that is installed in our homes to control our HVAC system. While there has been a lot of advancements in the Thermostat technology, for instance, the latest Thermostats are capable of sensing the outdoor temperature and humidity as well, the homes in Canada still have all different categories of Thermostats ranging from the very old Mercury Thermostats to the very latest Smart Thermostats.
Today let us learn about these different types of Thermostat and what their pros and cons are. Let's begin:

Manual Thermostats - You control!

The Manual Thermostats are the oldest type of Thermostats that, as said above, as still in use in many Canadian homes. This type of Thermostats demand the homeowner to set the temperature manually by rotating the dial and only then they change the temperature. To keep it simple, no pre-set settings are available. There are some pros and cons of this type of Thermostats. The pros are that they are cheap and easy to use. People with little to no exposure to latest technologies can find ease with these Thermostats even now in the year 2017 and onwards. However, the cons of Manual Thermostats is that they are relatively imprecise and sometimes inconvenient too. Also, the disposal of the Manual Thermostats that are usually the mercury Thermostats is very difficult and it also poses threat to the environment.

Programmable Thermostats - Pre-set!

Programmable Thermostats were considered a big step up when they were initially introduced since they allow pre-setting of temperatures. You can simply set the temperatures on the unit and it automatically shifts to the set temperature at the set timings. There are many different types of Programmable Thermostats available today in the market that offer 4-7 days programming features. With easy to use interface, digital displays and reminder features, for many, this is the most suitable Thermostat type, however, some homeowners could still find it non-compatible due to limited features (compared with Smart Thermostats), high price (compared with manual thermostats) or some other reasons. So manufacturers didn't stop here at the Programmable Thermostats, they went a step ahead. 

Smart Thermostats, Disclaimer! Only for Smart Homeowners!

The Smart Thermostats is the latest thermostat technology available. Although the use of them hasn't become widespread as people are still continuing with their old thermostat technologies, the Smart Thermostats are likely to take the lead in the coming years owing to the benefits they offer. Let's first talk about the cons and then we shall move towards what do they offer.
The two major drawback of them is that;
  • They are very costly. (over $100 in any case. Some are even above $400)
  • Some people can find the use very difficult
  • They are not compatible with every type of HVAC system
Other than that, Smart Thermostats have everything smart to offer;
  • They offer up to 7-day programming 
  • They can be controlled from anywhere using wifi technology 
  • They notify regarding filter changing, maintenance etc 
  • They provide with energy usage data 
  • Many Thermostats come with a remote troubleshooting feature 
  • Some models offer voice recognition software using which you can make settings using voice command 
  • and much more.
If you are looking forward to purchasing a Thermostat but are wondering what would work best for your home, let us help you. Connect with us today for HVAC consultation, queries and quotes: 905-910-1488


Furnace maintenance - Is it really important?

HVAC appliances are huge investments that we make. They are the appliances that are meant to suffice for our indoor heating & cooling comfort for years to come. Therefore it is wise to purchase appliances that are not only economical but are also durable and reliable. The unwise of all homeowners, however, are those that purchase costly appliances that too after extensive research and consultation but forget to maintain them. No wonder why homeowners complain about sudden appliance failures and when asked about how frequently they have been performing maintenance, they've no proper record primarily because no regular maintenance has ever been done. Maintenance is important for all types of appliances be they HVAC or any other but it is of prime importance for appliances like Furnace that are meant to operate for an entire season. Until and unless a proper and regular maintenance is performed, there is no way your Furnace will ever complete its lifespan. It is, in the given case, more expected to break down anytime with a few or no prior clues. So maintenance is important! Never doubt that. Here are more reasons why maintenance is important;

Boost efficiency - Perform maintenance!
To keep it simple, understand it like this; over time, the Furnace gets tired and dirty and needs to be cleaned thoroughly so that it could get a fresh start. This is what it gets through maintenance. As the maintenance is performed, the overall falling graph of unit's efficiency begins to rise again.  

Avoid serious repairs - Perform maintenance!
A regular maintenance reduces the possibilities for the Furnace to fall into the ditch of serious repairs from where hardly any Furnace comes back. That is because when a serious repair is needed, it needs a professional and the unit is often required to be opened. When that happens, only rarely the unit gets back into its actual position with the same efficiency. Another matter of worry is the dishonesty of the repairing professionals who intentionally leave loopholes in the unit when they're in the authority to do so. That is so that you could keep calling them and they could keep making money out of your Furnace unit.

Diagnose in time - Perform maintenance!
Did you know that you can save yourself from costly repairs by diagnosing the potential threats in time? That is only possible when a regular maintenance is performed and you peek into the unit every now and then. This can not only help you diagnose potential repair needs in time, it can also save you from the dangers those repairs could cause as in case of gas leakage, electrical issues etc.

Increase lifetime! - Perform maintenance!
As said above, regular maintenance increases the lifetime of the Furnace. Is it not just a lip service, it is indeed true and there are homeowners in Toronto that can verify the truth of it. People who keep their Furnaces maintained enjoy them for years longer than those who do not. Their units often times, successfully cross the lifetime limit and continue to operate with excellent efficiency.
There are convincing reasons why it is important to perform Furnace Maintenance. The next time somebody argues Furnace maintenance isn’t much important, tell him this.

While a DIY maintenance is a thing you are expected to do on a regular a basis, a professional maintenance is something you should consider at least annually. Professional tune-ups add further to the efficiency of the Furnace unit.


Time to troubleshoot Electric Furnace problems

Is your Furnace giving you a hard time? Are you tired of trying all those ways you could and it still continues to pose issues every now and then? There are many homeowners that go into a panicking situation when their costly appliances begin to show issues and particularly the ones that aren’t yet too old. There are some common troubleshooting tips that we want you to learn so that you could either diagnose your appliance well in time or repair it before it is too late.
What to do when Furnace completely stops working?
This would happen to you at least once in a lifetime. Ooo not your lifetime, in the lifetime of the Furnace dude! And when that happens, below are the factors you need to take into consideration.  
  • Have you paid the bills?
This question could be asked if you have had a brownout or blackout. Even a brownout may mean the unit shuts down due to lack of power necessitating a restart to bring it back. A brown-out may cause a short circuit or short cycling in the wires. Check this!
  • Is the furnace wired correctly?
The second check you need to make is this. Correct wiring is vital for the proper functioning of an Electrical Furnace. If your wiring is not in order, it may cause the furnace to either turn off frequently causing you a higher bill or won't turn on at all. If you've no idea how to check whether or not the wiring is proper, call a professional.
  • Check if the fuse is not blown out.
A blown out fuse won't let the furnace to work as it is the connection between the main electricity and furnace wiring. So if the fuse is a blowout, the furnace can seem to blow out too!

What to do when the furnace keeps turning off?
There must be some issue with the fan or thermostat. A dirty filter can cause a blockage in front of the fan to an extent where it does not cool down the system working thus increasing the temperature and turns off.
  • Check the air filter!
      No matter what type of furnace you have, if it can’t breathe it can’t run! The air filter would be pretty dirty and greasy to have that smooth breathing take place, however, the same problem occurs if the furnace blower doesn’t work to distribute the hot air. For most furnaces, the inducer motor starts up before it ignites and the blower motor engages once the air is hot enough to distribute. The furnace will shut down if the limit switches and pressure decreases. The furnace won’t work if the inducer motor that has to supply air doesn’t work.
  • Check the thermostat!
Your furnace may not work properly if it is placed near a heat source such as direct sunlight or any warm source. It will turn off HVAC appliances early when it would sense the temperature rise. You can check this issue by yourself by relocating the Thermostat or if it is creating multiple problems, you may take it for a repair. Lastly, if your furnace is too big for your house it can also shut off quickly because after warming your house in a shorter time it will turn off shortly.


5 reasons why you should replace your HVAC system this Fall

Happy Autumn everyone!
We have just started the Fall venture for the year 2017 since the Autumn season has officially begun on 22nd September. Now that all your preferences and priorities would be towards the home heating solutions and Winter preparations, there's something else that we want you to consider. And that is; Replacing your old HVAC system. This suggestion might sound inconvenient at first but there are compelling reasons why you should consider doing so. If your HVAC system had given you a hard time lately in the Summer or there are necessary repairs that you know needs to be made, the possibility of a needing replacement is always there. Fall is the best time for replacement and it is also the best time to call a pro and have the system properly inspected so as to diagnose in time if the system needs a replacement. Here are 5 reasons why you should take HVAC system replacement seriously:

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Replacement in Fall saves you from falling -  O yeah!
You read it right. Replacement in the Fall season protects you from falling. From falling into the traps of untrustworthy retailers and installers. The logic behind is; you've a fairly enough time in the wake of Fall to make research and look for all the available models in the market while you also have sufficient time to reach out to different retailers and installers and compare rates. In addition to that, in the middle of the heating and cooling season, the installers and the HVAC technicians are relatively free and thus give quality time to you and your HVAC system. So yes, replacing in Fall saves you from falling.

The opportunity of ''get what you want'' is there in Fall
And yes, there's yet another convincing reason for choosing Fall for the replacement of the old HVAC system. What was the last time you had your HVAC system installed? Must be a decade or more. Since then, a lot has changed. While the exposure of homeowners towards the HVAC technologies is less, they usually do not get to know of the latest models available. But with a decision to replace in Fall, you not only have the time to choose the best retailers and contractors, you also have time to get what you want. To make sure all your home's requirements are satisfied with the system you purchase. You can decide to have the system setup on oil or gas, decide the model that suits, the type of filters to choose and much more. See? There are convincing reasons to go for replacement in Fall.  

Heat Pump sucks!
If you're living in an extremely cold climate and it's your first time to spend Winters with a Heat Pump, let us inform you that you might not be spending comfortable Winters and that is because Heat Pumps do help in Summers but often fail to serve as expected in Winters and the heating needs are then fulfilled using additional heaters.
If you've had a hard time with your Heat Pump in Summers, it is probably the best time to have the system inspected and if it is old enough, replace it. In addition to that, if you also have a Residential Furnace that you only use sideways, better to have it inspected as well. Since replacing both the systems at the same time is difficult in financial terms, better focus on the Furnace and replace it so that when the Heat Pump fails to warm you, Furnace could help.   
Change the system for the changes you've made
If you've had a home renovation lately and improved the doors and windows, renewed the insulation or upgraded some other parts that can contribute to heating and cooling the home better, the HVAC requirements for your home have now most probably changed. An HVAC professional can let you know what you need now after inspecting the system and the home in general. So if you've had the renovations and the system had already been in a need of replacement, Fall is the best time to do so. Go on!

High Efficiency - Low energy bills

Had a hard Winter with hefty energy bills? Don't let this happen this Fall. Replacing older system with newer and better system gives the benefit of saving on energy bills. The initial cost of these appliances are nonetheless high but the advantages they provide in long term cannot be neglected. So if you're tired of high energy bills, replace the system with a high-efficiency model before the Winter comes. Because we just told why Fall is the best time to change your HVAC system.