Here's why your Furnace is not working

Don't panic if this winter your Furnace stops working and that too on an extremely cold night. There are some common causes behind a Furnace suddenly shutting off and by exploring the causes, you can provide yourself with a quick self-help.

Did you change the filter? 

Place your hand on your mouth and try to breathe. How does it feel like? Suffocating, yes? This is the same that the HVAC system feels when it has to push and pull air through dirty filters. While clogged filters affect the airflow, they also do one more thing and that is; the burden the fan motor as it has to push harder to let the air pass through the filters. So if your system suddenly shuts off, it is probable that the filters are dirty and the system has just said no to cooperate any further. Thoroughly clean the filters and try to give a kick-start to the system. Hopefully, this would work.

It could be the naughty Thermostat 

If you've been too lazy to change the Thermostat batteries or are too bad at setting the Thermostat with the right settings, then better give a quick check to the Thermostat as well. Reset the Thermostat and make sure the fan is on ''Auto'' and try to recall what was the last time you changed the batteries. When grandma was alive? It's been long, change the batteries now.

Too small a size to warm 

In order to efficiently warm a space, the right size of Furnace is a key requirement. A Furnace too small in size will have to work constantly in order to keep the place warm. The continuous operation will result in wear and tear and in some cases, a sudden breakdown.

Have you been regular with maintenance? 

If you have not been performing regular maintenance and more importantly, if you had not provided your Furnace with a seasonal tune-up, then don't be shocked by a sudden breakdown. The dirt, the clogs and the component problems will all combine to stop the Furnace system from operation.

What to do to avoid a Furnace breakdown in Winter? 

It is not easy to bear the cold winter of Canada. And with no heating element, it becomes even harder. So in order to avoid such a situation where you'd be shivering with cold, consider the following;
- Always get your Furnace professionally tuned-up before winter. This will help fix any possible issues
- Change your filters not only before the season but also during the season as frequently as is required. The suggested 3-6 month period may not be suitable for you if you have indoor activities that cause more dirt
- If your system is already over 15 years of age and needs to be repaired frequently, then better replace in time
- Last but not least, choose the right size and consult a professional before purchasing a unit. Also, avoid DIY or unprofessional installation because faulty installation leaves lasting impacts on appliance efficiency.

How old is your Furnace? Did you find this blog useful?


Reasons to upgrade from Wood Fireplace to Gas Fireplace

Fireplaces have been used for centuries in houses in colder regions all over the world where
people needed to keep their homes warm during chilly winters. They were even one of the most
striking features of the traditional homes as they were placed in the living rooms or major rooms
of the house and were easily visible and accessible whenever needed. However, with the passage
of time, the conventional wood-burning fireplaces have become less adaptable as it causes
dangers like smoke-filled rooms, complaints from the neighbourhood, health issues, pollution etc.
These issues can be overcome by replacing the wood fireplace with Gas. Therefore the
popularity of Gas fireplaces has increased over the past years.
Here are some of the reasons which will throw a light upon the significance of converting Wood
Fireplace into a Gas fireplace.

Clean Burning: Less Pollution

Gas Fireplaces are significant for their clean burning factor because as compared to wood
fireplaces, natural gas and propane fireplaces produce less carbon monoxide and harmful
emissions. Hence both natural gas and propane are clean-burning fuels. But it should also be kept
in mind that no energy source is completely environmentally friendly. Natural gas and propane
also release some pollutants when burnt but they are relatively less as compared to the pollutants
emitted from wood smoke. Wood smoke, however, is considered as the source of wintertime air
pollution. While it could be said that having a wood fireplace can be pleasant to watch, it is
also polluting, so, Gas is a better alternative to avoid such pollution.

Wood smoke causes serious health issues

Some people like the smell of wood smoke; however, they do not realize that this smell is
dangerous for their health. It is especially harmful to children, elderly and people with lungs and
heart disease. As discussed before, wood smoke contains particles which can cause serious health
issues. When people use wood stoves and fireplaces, chemicals are released into the air and these
chemicals are poisonous which can cause damage to the respiratory tract. When people breathe
air with wood smoke in it, they inhale these chemicals which can go deeply into lungs; these toxic substances may also remain in lungs for months and cause diseases like cancer, asthma,
emphysema, pneumonia, headache etc.

Wood fireplace: Troublesome for neighbours

One more thing that should be kept in mind is that not only the homeowners of wood fireplace
get affected but also the neighbours; because the smoke from one family’s fireplace can
seep into neighbour's house through doors or windows and they can also get affected by this
smoke. Wood smoke is more of a problem in the winter when cold, stagnant air prevents it from
rising and dispersing.

No Chimney is required

If a gas fireplace is installed, then no chimney is needed in homes because gas fireplace burns
cleanly. Instead of having a chimney one can simply vent the exhaust to an external wall. The extra
task of cleaning the chimney is also eliminated. On the other hand, for a wood fireplace chimney is an essential element to be installed at home because it can be troublesome otherwise.

Simple On/Off Operation

Last but not least, it is easy to install a gas fireplace and the usage is as equally easy. With the flip of a switch or the push of a button, one can have a wonderfully comforting, heat emanating fireplace.

Hence from the above-mentioned reasons, it is safe to say that gas fireplace is a better option to install in homes to avoid the dangers and pollution that is caused by wood fireplaces.


Improve airflow in a stuffy office

Probably the reason for discomfort that you are lately experiencing in the workplace is not because of the workload but because of the airflow. The bad airflow causes hot and cold spots, compromised HVAC efficiency, odour and noise problems. As a result, the discomfort makes you leave your seat several times to breathe in the fresh air outside. This problem can be fixed by following the below-mentioned ways;

- Ventilation blockage and its impact 

In an uneven indoor temperature, people usually fix the discomfort by opening/closing the supply or vent registers. And like we have explained this before, doing so burdens the systems. If there's a noticeable temperature difference, make sure all supply and return vents are open.

- Ductwork may be old 

There are people concerned about their ductwork and there are some others least concerned about it. And with least concern comes dragging a ductwork for years without maintaining or repairing it. Over time, holes and leaks in ductwork damage it, making it unsuitable for airflow. Using a damaged duct results not only in the cooling/heating loss but also in deteriorating the indoor air quality. So if it's feeling stale and rough, give a check to the ductwork for leaks and holes.

- Condenser Coil cleaning 

The dirty condenser coil makes it difficult for the AC to remove the heat from the system which results in burdening it. The system should be thoroughly cleaned before bringing it in use. People living in more polluted areas should consider cleaning the coil more often as the soot and dust etc makes a thick layer over the unit. Since a dirty condenser coil affects efficiency, make sure to check it when the system does not perform well.

- Refrigerant might be leaking 

One of the reasons for a compromised comfort could be a leaking refrigerant. A system with a leaking refrigerant does not cool the indoor properly. Or takes very long to cool.

- Damaged fan 

It is the fan that blows air into the rooms via the duct. When a damaged fan motor is not efficiently working or the fan is covered with dust and debris, the overall operation will be compromised resulting in compromising the airflow.

- Thermostat issues 

The thermostat could be the primary problem behind an improper air flow. If the Thermostat is installed at a wrong location, has old batteries or is programmed improperly, the system will create a compromised airflow as a result. 

- Sizing matters 

One of the primary factors behind improper air flow is the size of the system. An overly big system trips frequently which causes a high humidity in the indoor while a smaller than needed system takes longer to cool the indoor and trips after so long that the system gets burdened. If an airflow problem is experienced, it is probable that it is because of the wrong size.

Have you been facing airflow problems in the workplace? Does your air flow feel stale and stuffy? Then look for the above-mentioned reasons.


Ways to fix uneven temperature in a multiple storey home

Keeping an even temperature in a single storey home is easier compared to keeping an even temperature in a double or a multiple storey home. As you go upstairs, the temperature is different and as you come downstairs, it's an entirely different temperature here. And did you know that with a central heating/cooling system, there's usually a temperature difference of 10 degrees between the storeys? So as you, being in the lower storey set the Thermostat at a higher setting, somebody with his room in the upper storey will complain about the indoor too hot and would want to lower the temperature setting. This becomes especially problematic when family members are living in lower as well as upper storeys.
So, is there a way to smartly tackle this problem and make everyone happy? Let's find out:


Zoned heating/cooling 

From the conventional central air conditioning and heating, we are now entering into the realm of zoned heating/cooling. So one of the best ways to tackle this temperature difference problem is to install a zoning system. There are two possibilities in this regard:

- Split Air Conditioner:

One possibility is to install separate split units in every room so that everyone can enjoy the temperature of his own choice. There are several brands that have now launched models supporting up to 5 indoor units with one single outdoor unit.

- Electronic dampers | Zoning system:

The other possibility is to go for electronically controlled dampers. These dampers can be opened or closed in order to control the flow of air to every room. With the latest Smart Thermostat model of Honeywell, up to 12 zones can be controlled with different heating/cooling settings.


Solution#2 involves inspecting the causes of the temperature difference that are creating discomfort. Usually, there are some other underlying problems that create a significant temperature difference and this leads to creating discomfort for family members.
So here are certain problems that you should look for:

- More than many times, the temperature difference in multiple storeys becomes significant as a result of blocked supply or return vents. So if you're having a rug over a return or supply vent in your study room in the upper storey, you will experience the temperature difference for sure. This applies to even the single storey homes but the multiple storey homes should especially not create any hindrance in the way of supply or return ducts.

- Leaking air ducts is another reason why one storey is colder/hotter than the other. If the ductwork leading to the upper storey has leaks in it which is causing a loss of cool air, it is certain that the air that will reach that storey will not remain as cool as is the air reaching the lower storey.

- Insufficient attic insulation may as well lead to a significant temperature difference. The heat that falls on the roof reaches the first storey from the top. With a poor insulation, that storey will receive more heat in summer and more cold in winters resulting in a temperature difference.

- If you do not have a humidity problem, then consider keeping your AC fan on ''ON'' setting so that the fan keeps running and circulating the air in the indoor. This will add to creating an even temperature. But hey! expect some rise in energy bills with this.

Do you face similar issues? Have you tried something that has worked wonderfully for you? We'd love to hear from you your HVAC hacks and DIY solutions.


AC Refrigerant leaks | Threats and Preventions

There are several Air Conditioner problems that can be ignored for months and your system will still continue to cool you off. But there are others that are relatively serious and need to be quickly fixed else the entire system comes at a risk of sudden breakdown. One such serious Air Conditioner issue is the refrigerant leak. Though a refrigerant leak could be very small, it still has the potential to turn the system completely off as the refrigerant starts to finish.

Refrigerant basically is a gas usually Freon. This gas helps cool the air during the refrigeration process and it is because of this refrigerant that the Air Conditioner is able to cool your indoor. When the refrigerant leaks, the system's capacity to cool the air lowers and eventually diminishes as the refrigerant finishes. The unit if run without refrigerant can burn the entire system. So it is important for you to keep an eye on refrigerant leaks. 

Causes of refrigerant leaks

There are some common causes of refrigerant leaks some of which are wear and tear, chemical reactions on the refrigerant lines overtime, vibrations, loose joints and copper corrosion. These causes the refrigerant lines to create holes or leaks allowing the refrigerant to leaks through them.

Signs of refrigerant leaks

Since refrigerant leaks could be fatal for your system, it is, therefore, important to keep a check on the refrigerant level. A maintenance tech can help you with this on his maintenance visit but there are some other easily observable signs that can help you detect refrigerant leaks.

- If your system is losing its cooling efficiency and takes longer to cool the indoor, it is an indication of refrigerant leaks

- The register check is a quick check to see if the system is cooling the air properly. Just go a little closer to the supply registers and place your face or hand in front of it. Feels cool? No? The refrigerant might be leaking.

- Sounds like hissing or gurgling are also among the indications of a refrigerant leak

- The ice build-up on evaporator coils is also an easy to observe indication that the refrigerant/coolant might be leaking.

Preventive Measures

Note: It is important to get the coolant/refrigerant level checked every season. If there's a 10% loss of the coolant, it will raise the energy cost up to 20% and will also burden the system.

Solutions to fix AC refrigerant leak problems

There's only one thing that you can do in order to fix the leaks and that is calling a professional to repair the leak and refill the refrigerant. It is highly recommended to not perform any DIY's in this situation. Also, please remember that straight away refilling of the refrigerant is not the right solutions for leaks. The right way is to first fix the leaks and then get the refrigerant refilled else the newly filled refrigerant will again leak through the leaks.

HVAC appliances are costly appliances. The better preventive measures you take, the longer they will last to comfort you with optimal efficiency. It is in your hands to keep your energy bills controlled and HVAC expenses least and that is by being responsible with regards to your HVAC appliances.


5 Bad Habits that make your utility bills fat

So there are many homeowners that are making use of energy as if the power grid station is owned by their dad or the gas supply company has a share with their mom, and they won't therefore, receive any bills for the consumption they make. While every other person is complaining about the soaring energy bills as equally in winters as in summers, there are only a few who critically analyse their own practices and routines to realise that it is their own wrong ways and bad habits that are causing obesity to their energy bills. This blog is to help highlight that 5 major bad habits that actually suck your energy and as a result, bring those energy bills that leave you in shock. Let's begin; 

- Bad Habit#1 As if it's all yours

As said already, a lot of people make use of energy as if there's no tomorrow or as if they'll never have to pay for what they are consuming. On factual grounds, the more you consume, the more you'll have to pay and the more damage you'll cause to Earth as well. Did you know that heating and cooling combined, consume 67% of the total residential energy consumption? Keeping yourself in limits will not only keep you comfortable but will also reduce your energy bills. Set the Thermostat at the recommended settings. What sense does it make to shiver in the extremely hot weather and feel hot when there's snowfall outside?
Don't use your heating and cooling appliances constantly and don't use them at higher settings.

- Bad Habit#2 Unnecessary use of lights

The sun is there for a whole lot of time and sufficient light comes through the windows and doors not leaving any need to turn the lights on at daytime. But hey! You still keep all the lights on. And doing so consumes lots of energy annually even if you are using energy saver lights. Make the most of natural light and turn your lights on only when the natural light goes off.

- Bad Habit#3 Not turning the computer and TV off

How much time does it take to turn off the computer or TV? A second or let's say a maximum of 30 seconds for the computer. And yet, it is a common habit of leaving computers and tv's on as we go to have lunch, to have a bath or just for a nap. Once again, this habit on a daily basis if multiplied by the monthly and yearly consumption turn out to be extremely energy consuming, in fact, energy-wasting habit. Turn your TV's and computers off as you take breaks. Give them a break too.

- Bad Habit#4 Everything's always plugged in

All the home appliances and devices that you plug in and never plug out in total can take as much as 11% of energy. The mobile phones that are put on charging, the computers and playstation, toasters and all other household devices and appliances keep consuming energy as long as they're plugged even if they are not used. Change the habit of always plugged in to plug off. After all, how much time does it take to plug off? This time, it's certainly not more than a second.  

- Bad Habit#5 Unnecessarily using washing appliances

Whether it's a dishwasher or a washing machine, some people are in a habit to do a few rounds every day whether or not they have enough to wash. Using a washing machine to wash a few socks or trousers is a complete waste of energy. Similarly, turning your dishwasher on with a few plates and spoons makes no sense. Change this habit and use your washing appliances only when you have a sufficient stock to clean.

So how many of these bad habits have you been in? It's time to change for good, change for saving.


A homeowner's complete guide to AC Filter Replacement

When we talk about regular HVAC maintenance, cleaning/changing of Filters comes on top of the list. And that is because the efficient functioning of a whole home heating & cooling system depends to a great extent on clean and efficient filters. And did you know that one of the main causes of sudden HVAC appliance break down has been recorded to be dirt and debris? Which indirectly indicates towards the absence of regular filter cleaning/maintenance. So, how does an Air Conditioner filter works, what filter sizings and qualities are available, which one can work best for your system and how often should you replace your filters? This blog is all about Air Conditioner filters so brace yourself!

What does an Air Conditioner filter do?

Air Conditioner Filters help keep your indoor air as well as your HVAC components clean. For this purpose, a filter is installed between the return air duct and Air Conditioner. The indoor air that rushes towards the AC passes through this filter which is designed in a way so as to capture the dust, debris and other such air pollutants. The cleaned air reaches the Air Conditioner and after getting cleaned comes to the indoor.

MERV ratings and Filters

The Filters have been classified into a range of efficiency ratings; MERV rating from 1-20. The MERV rating filters of 8-13 are considered extremely good for residential use. Lower than 8 MERV just perform a formality filtration and don't do enough good to make the indoor air clean. However, there's one thing that should be noted. And that is while purchasing filters, the system requirements should be known. Usually, the Filters any higher than 13 MERV are not suitable for conventional residential HVAC setups. Installing them can actually block the airway resulting in motor damage.

How often should I change/clean my filter?

The time of replacement of filters varies from home to home. It depends on what kind of indoor activities take place in the home, whether the home is in a commercial area, how often the HVAC appliances are used and some other factors. But roughly, an Air Conditioner filter should be replaced once in 3 months. For filters of different sizes, the following routine can be followed;
- For filters of 1-inch width - 1-3 months
- For filters of 2-inch width - 3 months
- For filters of & 3 & 4 inch width - 6-9 months
- For filters of 5 & 6 inch width - 9-12 months
But as said, the duration can vary and since the routines and practices change too, it is recommended to check your filter once a month to see if it's dirty enough to be replaced.

How do I find out my Filter size? 

Well, most homeowners never get to know their filter size and keep purchasing filters of random sizes. This is dangerous for your system and safety. But as it takes money to consult a professional regarding the filter sizing and calling him home, homeowners prefer to follow their estimates. The interesting thing is you can find out the size all by yourself that too very easily. Just slide the already installed filter out of the compartment and check the frame of the filter. Almost always, the size is printed on the frame in length x width x format! Problem solved!

If there's something that worries you regarding Filter selection, Filter replacement or upgrading your Filter type, connect with us today at 1-855-245-4328