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.

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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.
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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.

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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.  

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Here's why you need your Fan to assist you in Summers

So what do you think the majority does and by the way what do you do in Summers when it gets overly hot? Turn the Air Conditioner ''ON'' and forget that there's a fan (stand alone or ceiling) too that can contribute to cooling the indoor air? Homeowners when they fail to keep themselves cool with the fan usually turn to Air Conditioner and rarely think of combining the operation of both the technologies assuming the Air Conditioner does not need a fan to add to its efficiency and turning it ''ON'' will only result in additional energy bills. Although the assumption is straightly wrong. But before we talk on that, let's take out some time to talk about why the word ON has been put in inverted commas? Was that intentional? O yes! By putting those inverted commas the intention was to take the kind attention of the readers towards another wrong HVAC practice. Quickly we're mentioning that. Why not kill two birds with one arrow? In one blog? ;)

The ''ON'' was referring to the most commonly chosen priority of homeowners while using Air Conditioners. A majority chooses to set the AC on ''ON'' instead of ''Auto''. What this does is that it continuously runs the blower and a large amount of electricity is wasted. Contrary to that, setting the Air Conditioner on ''Auto'' helps auto regulate the Air Conditioner and trips it when the desired temperature is reached. Electricity saved!

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AC+Fan - Is it worth it?

Done with the ON-AUTO debate. Time to come to the main topic for today which is; Is combining the Fan and Air Conditioner operation an effective and economical methodology to keep indoor air cool? The answer is, Yes! And here are the reasons why you should keep the fan turned on when the Air Conditioner is working.

- Fan as a circulator

While the fan does not actually lower the indoor temperature, what it does is that it produces a cooling effect. This cooling effect compels you to change the Thermostat settings. This way, the Air Conditioner takes less energy to function and the fan suffices for the cooling. In addition to that, another benefit that the Fan+Air Conditioner combination has is; the fan helps spread the cool air throughout the room quickly making the temperature comfortable for you as soon as you turn the AC ''AUTO'' (O yes, AUTO not ON). Whether you're using a Split or a Duct Air Conditioner, the cool air coming from the Split or Duct ways swiftly and quickly get's circulated in the room. Proving an even temperature

- Fan as an Energy Saver

Just like we've discussed above, a fan helps provide a cooling effect that makes you feel cooler and thus you automatically change the Thermostat settings. The energy used by the Air Conditioner is far more than a ceiling or tower fan. Lowering the Thermostat and turning the fan ON helps save hundreds of dollars on energy bills annually.

- Fan as a healthy choice

Air Conditioning, with these intense hot weathers, has become a necessity for us, the people of the millennium. But did someone ever tell you that excess of everything is bad? And the excess of Air Conditioning could be severely bad if the refrigerated air is directly taken. As said, the Air Conditioning has become a necessity, the use cannot be completely shunned. However, there's a simple tip that can help reduce the severities. Using a ceiling fan can help save from taking the direct air conditioned air; by sitting in front of the split unit or in front of the supply vents.
Health specialists suggest people with eczema, bone and muscle aches to not come in contact with the conditioned air directly.        

There are convincing reasons to use Fan in combination with the Air Conditioner. Not only does this help save cooling cost but also helps cool the home quicker and reduce the health risks at the same time. Just a fan can do all those miracles. Wow!

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Affordable and Effective Solutions to Improve Indoor Air Quality

For certain things, no compromise should be made. One such thing is Indoor Air Quality. According to a research, homeowners spend more than 80% of their life in the indoors. And there are several types of researches that prove bad indoor air quality the primary cause of numerous health problems. Certainly, neither you nor any other Toronto homeowner wants to have a bad indoor air quality but the question of concern is; how to provide for yourself a healthy indoor air in these times of escalated air pollution? (The solutions should be both affordable and effective, please!)
Alright, so here we go! Let us explore what are some wonderful ways other than using Air Cleaners to improve the indoor air quality without breaking your bank.

Improve indoor air quality


- Go Green - The natural Air Cleaner

Yup! Green's going to make every single breath of yours as fresh as you could imagine. Plants not only work as natural air cleaner they also give your home a cooling effect. Keeping plants in the indoors is the most effective and convenient way of breathing fresh and healthy. However, it should be noted that not every plant is suitable for everybody. Some people are allergic to certain types. It is, therefore, recommended that before keeping plants at home, it should be made sure you'd enjoy a good company with them.     

- Smoking? Outdoors, please!

While most people ignore this fact, the truth is; smoking does not only kill the smoker, it slowly poisons the ones around the smoker too. So whether you're a father, mother or any other elderly one, realise the hazardous effects of the smoke clouds that you blow in the indoors. All those people that live in the house get affected by one smoker. Doing smoking or not is your personal choice, however, you should certainly not, as part of ethics, affect the lives of others through that. Improve the indoor quality, smoke outside!

- Cleanliness is next to Godliness

A lot of homeowners suffer bad indoor quality primarily because of lack of regular cleaning. The dust and debris remain stuck in the air and keeps going into the lungs. For a lot of people, the only thing they need to do to improve their home's indoor air quality is they should begin to clean. Different homes have different needs. Depending on where you home is situated, what kind of architecture it has and what types of activities are performed in the indoors, the need of cleaning would be different. It is you yourself who can better decide how often does your home need cleaning. At least once a day is suggested for all homes.

- Make use of exhaust fans

All homes have exhaust fans to spill the unpleasant air out but not all people make the right and in time use of the exhaust fans. While the food is being cooked, CFC products are used, smoking is being done or anything else that affects the indoor quality, turn on the exhaust fans right away so that the air moves out quickly and does not remain circulating in the indoors.

- Natural Ventilation     

If your home has windows, you can enjoy the benefit of natural ventilation. Ventilation is a process of continuously exchanging fresh air with the rough indoor air. When windows and doors are opened in the early morning time, the fresh air circulates and this is in itself a simple way of improving the indoor air quality. In a tightly packed home, it is hard to maintain good air quality since the stale air does not find the way out. A Heat Recovery Ventilation HRV system can be used in this case though it requires a sufficient amount of investment.   

The last resort - Air Cleaner

Since we promised we won't be suggesting anything non-affordable, we've tried to suggest all those things that can improve your indoor air quality without costing you beyond you could afford. But the truth is; some people feel nothing can clean their home as effectively as Air Cleaners too. For such people, our recommendation to improve indoor air quality is Lennox Carbon Clean 16 Air Cleaner.


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How to find and fix Refrigerant Leaks?

Among the common HVAC issues that homeowners face is the issue of refrigerant leaks. The foremost signs that an Air Conditioner displays when it has a refrigerant leak is; reduced cooling and hissing sound. The system takes more than required to cool the home and keeps on producing hissing sounds that are both annoying and irritating. Here we are mentioning ways you can use to find out a refrigerant leak in your Air Conditioning system and how to fix it. Brace yourself:

What is a Refrigerant by the way?

Before we move on to explore how to find and fix a refrigerant leak, let's first find out what a refrigerant is? A refrigerant is basically a gas/liquid that is responsible for cooling your air. Refrigerant leaks or low refrigerant means your system is at a high risk just like insufficient oil in a car makes it vulnerable to damage. Now let’s move on to the ways you can use to suspect refrigerant leaks.

AC Refrigerant Leaks

Sign your system has a refrigerant leak

AC takes time to cool

Usually, your Air Conditioner should not take more than 10 minutes to start giving a cooling effect if it is a Central Air Conditioner. In the case of Split, even 5 minutes are enough to figure out whether or not the system is okay. So one of the signs that there's insufficient refrigerant or refrigerant leak is that your AC will take longer than usual to cool the home and that cooling too will be unusual. For example, even after an hour of Air Conditioner running continuously, you can feel warm blows through the supply vents. When this happens, get alerted! Your refrigerant might be leaking.

Ice builds up around refrigerant coil

Refrigerant line or refrigerant coil gets an ice buildup when there's a refrigerant leak. If your AC is not giving sufficient cooling, and you feel warm air coming out of the supply vents, take the third step on inspection. Go to the outdoor AC unit and check if there's an ice buildup on the refrigerant coil. If yes, your system is certainly leaking the refrigerant.

Electricity bills become are higher than usual

If your electricity bills suddenly get higher than usual, this is another indicator of the refrigerant leaks. With insufficient refrigerant, the system has to insert extra energy to cool. This takes up extra electricity as well. As a consequence, for the same cooling (or even lesser) you have to pay more. So, fatty energy bills are actually one of the possible signs of refrigerant leaks.

How to fix Refrigerant Leaks?

It doesn't take much to fix the refrigerant leaks. The first and foremost thing that you should do is;
1. Find the source of the leak. Find out from where exactly the refrigerant is leaking
Secondly,
2. Fix the leak before filling the refrigerant. Remember that if you do not fix the leak and simply refill the refrigerant, it will take no more than a week for the refrigerant to finish again. Mend the loophole first. Patch the leak!
Thirdly:
Refill the refrigerant. Note that you need to be careful about the quantity of refrigerant your system requires. Neither fill it insufficiently nor extraordinarily.  

Important!
Most people rely on professionals to fix the refrigerant leaks which is good since it is a little technical job. But there's something you need to remember and that is:
Not all techs are honest techs. What happens with homeowners is that they hire a tech to fix the refrigerant problem. The tech refills it without patching the leak. And mind it! That is on a purpose. They want your refrigerant to keep leaking so that you keep calling them for refilling and keep getting charged. So, how to tackle that?

Well, we've already told you the ways to figure out the refrigerant leaks. So the next time you suspect a leak, call a tech and he tells you your system is low on refrigerant, ask him where the leak is and also to fix it before refilling the refrigerant. This simple step can save you from getting robbed. Your tech will know you know some HVAC. ;)

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Air Handler Maintenance

Since the term Air Handler could be new to some people, we better explain what an Air Handler is before going into the details of its maintenance. Air Handling Unit (AHU) or Air Handler is a device which is used to regulate and circulate the air as part of an HVAC system. Apparently, an Air Handler consists of a metal box large in size which has a blower, filter chambers, heating and cooling elements, dampers and sound attenuators. This device called an Air Handler is usually connected to a ductwork system that spreads the air throughout the home and then returns the stale and non-conditioned air back to the Air Handler. Not only does an Air Handler regulates and circulates the air, it also cleanses it by using Air Filters. In order to have an effective circulation of cold air throughout the home, Air Handler system is necessary if you’re using a Heat Pump.

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Air Handler Maintenance Checklist

Who doesn't want home comfort? Anyone in the house? Na! No one! All of us want to enjoy an ultimate comfort when we're at home but we often forget that this comfort comes with the help of some appliances and that appliances need maintenance too. In a hot Summer afternoon, what makes our afternoon soothing is the operation of an Air Handler. So if you wish to never run short of that comfort, make sure you're keeping good care of all your home comfort heating and cooling appliances, primarily your Air Handler. Consider checking the overall system efficiency. Here goes the checklist:

Check Fan Blades

Just like the fan blades of Air Conditioner need to be cleaned for optimal performance, the fan blades of an Air Handler also want this cleaning. Blades accumulated with dust and debris have a hard time doing their job. Ease their discomfort by cleaning the blades carefully as to neither damage the blades nor hurt yourself. Use a soft brush preferably.

Check Moving Parts

The moving parts of the device need to be checked for corrosion, rust and repair needs.

Check Fan Shaft

Done with checking fan blades? Now check the bearing collar set screws on the shaft. Are they tight? If not screw them.

Check Dampers

Do not forget dampers in your checklist. The dampers have to be clean for optimal performance and if dust and clogs are found on dampers, you know what to do; cleaning. Also, check that dampers linking and actuators are aligned and operational. The damper connections need lubrication too.

Check Coils, Valves and Refrigerant Lines

All the coils, valves, refrigerant lines, have to be cleaned and should be free from leaks and other damages

Check Condensation Pans

When checking your Air Handler, carefully check the Condensation Pan which sometimes gets rusted. It has to be rust-free in all conditions.  

Check Cooling Coils

Are your cooling coils drain and blown to remove moisture? If this is not the case, make the settings.

Check Freezestat

One of the most important checklists is checking of Freezestat. Carefully check its set temperature and also make sure that it is operating well.

Great! You did it you did it! Congratulations!
Taking care of the home comfort heating and cooling appliances does require an effort but once you're done with maintenance, not only you feel good from the inside, you also feel relaxed on the outside when the comfort is doubled. Remember that no appliance can ever work efficiently or last longer without proper maintenance. So whether it is a heating and cooling appliance or any other, maintenance anyway. That's good for you good for your appliance.

Happy DIY Maintenance!

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