Get your Furnace ready for Winter with these 7 to do's

It's night time and suddenly you feel cold. You rush to the Furnace and try to turn it on, only to figure out that it ain't turning on. This is a situation common to a number of homeowners who do not get their HVAC systems ready well before the season actually begins. Professionals endorse time and again that turning a system on randomly is such a bad practice. So if you really do not wish to end up in one such situation where you need the system but the system says no to support, consider these prerequisites.

Ready your Furnace for winters


1. Begin with the Thermostat

Summer as well as the moderate temperature after that is over. So begin by switching from cooling to heating settings. Set your Thermostat device a few degrees higher than the usual room temperature. You'd see the system making the changes. In case it does not happen, remove the plate to see the wire connections are fine. In the case the connections are fine but the system still does not turn on, check the Furnace and its fan blower. Beware to not mess with the components. If you don't have any HVAC know-how, avoid any DIYs.

2. Change the Filters 

We highly recommend changing of filters at the end of summer. If you had shut off your Air Conditioner without changing filters, this is the time to do it. Change or clean the filters so that the Furnace could easily blow air.

3. Clean the Heat Exchanger 

Heat exchanger is the component of the Furnace which is responsible for heating the air. Over time dust & debris builds up on it. In addition, the component may sometime get rusted. This could lead to serious consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning. So while preparing the system for winter, the heat exchanger needs to be properly brushed cleaned. It is highly recommended to get this done by a HVAC professional but if you've been watching enough of tutorials, a careful DIY would do. The unit must not be connected to the power when the cleaning is being performed.

4. Clean and lubricate the blower motor 

Here, please note a point; not all blower motors require lubrication. Lubricate the blower motor if the user manual suggests so, else just remove the covering after disconnecting power supply and brush clean the motor.

5. Test electronic igniter switch 

The days are gone when you had to light the pilot with a matchstick in hand. Now the igniters are electric and they ignite as the switch is turned on. Test the igniter to see if its working. If yes, congratulations! If not, give a look to the circuit breaker. Turn it off, then turn back on. No progress? Okay! You must run to an HVAC tech for help.

6. Give a look to the chimneys 

Animals and pests are always on a hunt to find a place to make home. They must have made your chimney their home. So check the chimney and clean if found clogged.

7. Check batteries of CO alarm 

This mistake is often made by homeowners. The CO alarms are not check for battery change needs. The system fails to alarm even when there's a CO leak. So right before the winters, make sure to change the batteries of the CO alarm. Even if they are working, consider changing them with new so that they could be relied on for an entire season.

This winter, be sure not to randomly turn your Furnace on. It's cruel, it's unethical, to wake someone up abruptly from deep sleep. Ain't it? ;)

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Leaking Evaporator Coil - Why it happens and how to prevent it?

Air Conditioner can be called a complex appliance. And it becomes even more complex when it starts to have problems frequently. A leaking evaporator coil is an issue commonly faced by homeowners with only a handful of people knowing the reason of it and the fixes to it. Before the fixes or reasons are learned, it is imperative to explain what component of the AC is called evaporator coil and what function does it perform.


Evaporator coil - The What, The How?

An evaporator coil is a component located within the condenser unit of an Air Conditioner. It consists of a panel with several twists of tubes. These tubes fill in themselves the refrigerant and then circulate it within the tubes. Doing so lowers the temperature and the cooling of tubes cools the air. The function of the evaporator coil suggests that a leaking coil would definitely result in a AC system losing its cooling efficiency.

Causes leading to evaporator leak - The WHY?

Experts suggest that the manufacturing of the coils is such that they should last as long as the system is generally expected to last; 15-20 years. But for this to happen, routine maintenance and annual tune-up is a must. When that is not provided, the system's evaporator coil may leak or get damaged in a way that cannot be repaired.

While there could be many reasons behind a leaking coil (sometimes a neophyte tech who repaired your system lately) but one of the most common reasons is the presence of volatile organic compounds VOC's in the indoor. These are usually present in paints, air fresheners, cleaning products etc. As the air is sucked by the AC to cool, a chemical reaction takes place when the refrigerant reacts with these VOC's. Resultantly, acid is produced which creates holes in the refrigerant coil/pipe. Since the holes are usually very tiny, they cannot be observed with naked eyes. However, there are signs to figure out a refrigerant leak situation.

Signs of a leaking refrigerant coil 

Look out for 3 major signs to identify a leak in your coil.
- If your home takes too long to cool the indoor and this has happened suddenly with no significantly big change in the temperature outside, consider this sign
- If the airflow right in front on the registers feels very mild and very different from usual, mark this sign as well
- In addition to a mild airflow, a warm airflow is another indication of leaking refrigerant coil. The refrigerant is leaking and therefore, there is not enough refrigerant to cool the air

Fixes for Leaking Refrigerant Coil 

Leaking refrigerant coil also means insufficient refrigerant. Since exposure to the AC refrigerant could be very dangerous, is is highly recommended that a professional is called to repair the leaks and then refill the refrigerant. Homeowners can do little in this regard. The best thing homeowners can do in order to avoid refrigerant leaks is to follow preventive measures.

Preventive measures to avoid Refrigerant Leaks 

- In case you make use of VOC containing products too much; being a painter, artist etc, consider performing these activities in porch or garage to avoid accumulating VOC's in the indoor
- UV Lights and some specific Air Purifiers offer VOC's combat. Consider investing in those
- Ensure proper ventilation on a daily basis
- Keep the signs of leaks in mind and ask your maintenance, tune-up technicians to specifically check out for leaks
- Do not let animals and pests make your outdoor unit their home. Animal urine also leads to corrosion

Instead of spending bucks later on repair, consider spending some time to look out for these signs and some care to not produce the situation for leaks.



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The Major Types OF HVAC System

When it comes to purchasing an HVAC system, homeowners often have been overwhelmed with the great number of choices. Every HVAC system is designed to provide maximum indoor comfort year round. Before setting the mind on any system, homeowners must be aware of all its ins and outs.

In case you want to buy the HVAC system for a new property or to replace a unit in the existing property – Our in-depth guide will help you out to make a better purchasing decision. Let’s have a glimpse at some of the significant types of the HVAC system. 

Major types of HVAC Systems

Three Different Types of HVAC systems:

Latest systems can provide you with more features like multiple fans and various stages for heating and cooling. However, making the right decision is contingent upon your need, budget, and other vital factors.

HVAC systems fall under the following categories:

Single spit system

A single split system is considered the best choice for small buildings, offices, shops, or where there is need to heat or cool an individual room. Single split systems are the most popular and affordable types of the HVAC system, and in case you have a large space, they work better together to comfort the entire place.

Pros:
- As compared to central systems, installing a single split system is way cheaper. 
- The system is self-contained, meaning if one part breaks, the other remains functional.

Cons:- It takes up most of the space when you need more than one system, as each indoor unit requires one outdoor unit.

Multi Split System

The multi-split system is somehow similar to the wall mounted AC. The only distinction is the capability to connect more indoor units to the one outdoor. These systems work on inverter technology, meaning the compressor enables it to operate at various speed. With a high energy efficiency ratio, these systems cut down the energy expenses by detecting small changes in temperature and making minor adjustments when needed.

Pros:
- As opposed to a single split system, the multi-split system preserves your outdoor space. 
- Each indoor unit can be controlled independently.

Cons:- The installation is time-consuming and costly.


VRF or VRV System

VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) and VRV ( Variable Refrigerant volume ) possess no distinction and are used interchangeably – just VRV is copyrighted by Daikin and when the same technology is employed by other brands say “Fujistu” then termed as VRV.

These are the perfect pick for the medium to large sized businesses. VRF and VRV are further divided into heat recovery and heat pump system.

A heat recovery system is designed to provide cooling and heating simultaneously and works great when the building has several small rooms. Whereas with the heat pump system; you get either cooling or heating to a building.

Pros:
- They are reliable, efficient, and can meet the heating and cooling requirements of large buildings.
- The heat recovery system is flexible and has a quick installation.

Cons:- Both purchase and installation are expensive, and you have to make arrangements for the backup condenser unit in case outdoor unit fails.

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Ways To Make Bypass Humidifier More Water Efficient

If you've been struggling with dry skin, scratchy throat, or a nagging cough, you know what's missing in your life: humidity. It's super high in summer. It's super low in winter. Relative humidity (RH) hovers between 40 to 55 percent on the ideal or rare occasion and doesn't stay that way long. During summer, the best approach is to run your AC more frequently or to install a whole house dehumidifier. While in winter, you might need to add humidity and installing a Humidifier is the right solution. 
How about the level of water wastage by these humidifiers. Surprisingly, Ontario's water rates rise even more rapidly than our property taxes. And to lower the water bills, you might have struggled all from fixing leaky faucets to shut down your lawn sprinklers, also tried to shorten your showers – but in your ever-growing utility bills, it hardly makes a dent. 
To make any Bypass humidifier more water efficient, we need to understand:
- How a humidifier works
- Difference between fan-powered and bypass humidifiers
- Top ways to make any bypass humidifier more water efficient 



How a humidifier works?:

A humidifier is of two types, Portable Humidifier that only humidifies a surrounding area and another is the Whole House Humidifier that has the power to humidify the entire house. 
A humidifier tends to push moisture into your indoor air. The Cold air will expand when it warms up. In case the quantity of water vapor remains the same as the temperature increases, the relative humidity drops in space. Humidifiers counteract this by increasing the air moisture. There are several ways to do this – some humidifiers produce steam, while others use a moistened ' vapor pad ' to draw air.

Difference between fan-powered and bypass humidifiers

Bypass humidifiers use the Furnace's blower motor while fan-powered humidifiers push air through the unit using their own fan. To run a bypass humidifier, the Furnace needs to run while a fan-powered unit can operate on its own. Bypass humidifiers require additional ductwork, known as a bypass duct, and air must be recirculated back through the furnace before being distributed to the home, whereas fan-powered units can be directly installed.

Top ways to make any bypass humidifier more water efficient:

Bypass humidifiers are way more efficient and quiet but have one disadvantage: Waster waste.
- The device switches on automatically when the humidifier receives a call for water and limits the supply of water to the vapor pad. The humidifier is functioned to release the amount of water necessary to keep the pad moist – no more and no less – so less water ends up in the drain. To cut water waste by minimum, 50% make sure to use default settings. If you adjust the settings to a specific model, settings, and season, savings of up to 96% can be achieved.
- Like any other part of the heating system, a bypass humidifier also requires proper maintenance and care to perform more effectively. Regular service is also essential to prevent expensive leakage of the humidifier. 

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Could these 9 avoidable mistakes be making your bill spike in summer?

Want to stay cool this summer? Know these 9 avoidable mistakes impacting adversely on cooling efficiency of the Air Conditioner and making the bill spike.

The rising temperature is good news for most of the Canadians who were desperate to beat the winter
fatigue. But how about the hydro bill, which is soaring too? You will be surprised to know that air condition accounts a mere 3% for the overall energy use for most of the Canadians. If still, any wallet senses a heat, there lie some common factors which are driving up the cost.


1. Installing the right sized system:

The air condition should size right to the space they need to chill. A big air conditioner creates an
imbalance and inconsistency in the house and disturbs the on and off frequency. While a small AC stays in a continuous struggle to cool your place and ends up wearing out prematurely.

2. Having clogged filters:

The air filter is a vital part of the air conditioner. It catches debris so dust does not blow around your
place. Dirty air filter results in freezing evaporator coil and increase 5-10% to a hydro bill. The filter needs to be changed after every three months or more often if the unit is running all the time.

3. Opening windows:

Opening windows is probably a fair way to undermine the HVAC system’s efficiency and to keep a home in the best comfort zone. If you want to enjoy the cool breeze, don’t turn the a/c on at the same time. Instead, when you open the windows, consider running a ceiling fan.

4. Use the newest version of thermostat:

A Smart Thermostat can save hundreds of bucks annually by adjusting the temperature. The newest
version of thermostats is more advanced and user-friendly.

5. Right positioning of a thermostat:

Right positioning of a thermostat is essential since most thermostats are functioned to measure the
temperature of the nearby surrounding. Placing the unit right beneath the sun throws off reading and
the unit will begin working unnecessarily. Therefore, while positioning air condition, make sure it is
placed away from sunlight.

6. Incorrect use of Thermostat:

The common misconception is to lower some degrees of the thermostat to quickly cool a place. In
reality, it does nothing but increases the burden on the air conditioner. It eventually cools the room faster which further needs to be adjusted to raise the temperature.

7. Use windows covering in summer:

Make sure to keep shutters and blinds close in summers to prevent sun rays from heating up your
room.

8. Install a ceiling fan:

Ceiling fans take the burden off of an air conditioner. Make sure it runs counter-clockwise in summer.
You can install any type of fan but a ceiling fan helps in the even distribution of air in winters and
summers as well.

9. No need to cool unused part of the home:

There is no need to cool any part of the home that is not being used. We are not recommending to close the registers, however, the load can be significantly reduced by shutting down the doors and windows of a room.

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4-Signs that your Central Air Conditioner needs repair

The time to think about summers and how will you be cooling your indoor during summers is not in summers at all. These are the things you should be done with well within Spring. And that is because, during summers, the technicians have loads of work. And during that peak season, if you rush out to make a purchase, get an installation tech or find a service for maintenance and repair, it is most probable that you wouldn't find things as easy as they might have been during the spring. So, let's come to the point now; to find out whether or not your system needs a repair/upgrade, the time is now.



Before we talk about identifying system issues, the question is that, should homeowners inspect the system themselves or call a professional technician for this? The answer is; it is better to schedule a session with a professional in order to get a precision tune-up and have the components inspected but there are signs that can help homeowners find out whether or not the system is working properly. These problems indicated by the signs may not always allow the homeowner to resolve by themselves but the one benefit of recognising the signs is that they are identified in the first place and action can be taken in time.

Signs that your Central Air Conditioning Unit needs repair

Warm Air 

Warm Air is one big sign. The Air Conditioner is supposed to spill cool air towards you. When the air from the supply registers is warm to feel, know that the system needs help. It could be a leaking refrigerant, a fault in the compressor or dirty coils. Note that warm air supply instantly after running the AC is normal. But if the air remains warm even after running the system for a few hours, there's a problem!

 Low Airflow

A compromised airflow is another indication of the Air Conditioner needing repair. This could be because of filthy filters or fault in the blower fan. Try replacing/cleaning the filters. If the problem persists, there's a need to call for professional help. You might consider checking the ductwork. As one of the reasons for a compromised airflow is often leaking ductwork.

Unusual noises 

You know well what the usual noises are. Every homeowner can identify them after using the Air Conditioner for a few months. So anything other than the usual noises is the unusual noises. This could be a banging, rattling, hissing or any other sound. If the noise comes from near the registers, the reason could be an accidentally fallen object stuck there. If the noise comes from the main unit, you'd have to call a professional.

Rising energy bills 

A rise in energy bills is not always an indication of high usage. You could be using the Air Conditioner with the same patterns and still receiving high bills. This signifies that the system is pushing hard and running more to cool the indoor because of its reduced efficiency or damaged/unmaintained parts. 

This summer, before you start using your system, make sure to try a test run and see if it shows the above-mentioned signs. If it does, don't delay the repair.

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Avoid these Air Conditioner repairs this Spring | Go for a tune-up!

One reason why HVAC professionals emphasize on tune-up is that this reduces the possibilities of repairs. Unmaintained appliances have to go for frequent repairs. In addition to increasing repairing frequency, the efficiency level drops significantly and the energy bills rise as well. So as a result, you have to pay more for insignificant comfort. When it comes to Air Conditioner, a spring tune-up can actually save you from 3 most common AC repairs that homeowners have to go through frequently in Summer.


- Damaged evaporator coil

The evaporator coil damage can result in preventing the refrigerant from cooling the air or can result in freezing the coil. This one damage becomes the core reason for damaging other components as well. With a spring Air Conditioner tune-up, a professional technician can inspect such damages in the evaporator coil saving you from hefty repairs later in the middle of the summer.

- Leaking condensate line

During a tune-up, a technician also inspects the condensate line to make sure there's no blockage or leakage in the line. While this might seem an unimportant inspection, this saves from very hefty repairs that result as the leakage from condensate line damages the attic, cabinets, kitchen and other parts. Once a tune-up takes place in Spring, such damage is fixed in time.

- Electrical Components 

As the unit remains unused for long, the electrical components are often damaged by insects or animals. If the damage is not massive, the unit may work as it is turned on but will soon become problematic. Getting a spring tune-up ensures safety for the unit and your family as well. The most common types of HVAC accidents include fire because of damaged electrical components. 

- Emergency Breakdowns 

Above all other benefits is the benefit of protection from a sudden breakdown. In the middle of summer, as the unit fails, it becomes difficult to deal with the failure provided that the technicians are not available and the services become expensive. A Spring tune-up let's a professional see the possibilities of breakdown and he can identify them well in time.

Why should you avoid unprofessional tune-up if you have a new unit

If you have a new unit and it is still on warranty, abstain from performing DIY tune-up or taking service from an unprofessional technician. Doing so will keep the appliance at risk while will also cancel the warranty.
And if your unit is old, it is even more important to avoid DIY or unprofessional tune-up as it will deteriorate the efficiency even more. Also, since you shall not be able to inspect possible threats, the possibilities of breakdown and repairs will still remain there.

If you are living in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Barrie, London, Etobicoke or anywhere else in the GTA, we are here to serve you for your Air Conditioner tune-up needs. With over 15 years of experience, we serve homes and homeowners with the best of the best HVAC services.
Call today: 1-855-245-4328

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