WHAT IS SAFE TO PUT IN MY GARBAGE DISPOSAL?
Municipalities within Ontario have banned the use of residential garburators. Those include: Toronto, Ottawa, Markham, Vaughan, and Guelph. Why? Treatment of garburator solids places an extra strain on water treatment plants. The build up of food waste inside of pipes, whether it’s inside someone’s home or inside the municipal sewer system, can cause clogs.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A LEAK?
Broken water lines can cause standing water, excessively high water bills, running water sounds, and even low water pressure. Regular inspections by a plumber can help identify major problems.
IF I HAVE A MAJOR WATER LEAK IN MY HOME WHAT SHOULD I DO?
First, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve. As a homeowner it’s important to know where this is located and educate your family member as well. Second, always contact a professional plumber during emergencies. And don’t touch any wet electrical fittings – call in an electrician to deal with that.
WHAT CAUSES MY LOW WATER PRESSURE?
In addition to water line problems, water pressure can be affected by valve problems, deposit buildups, and other blockages. Try consulting with your neighbours to see if their water pressure has been affected, and check for major blockages that could be lowering the pressure in your home.
IS THERE REALLY A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARD AND SOFT WATER?
Yes. In fact, the difference can be damaging to your home and your body. Maybe you have experienced damaged clothing from the laundry, excessive soap consumption, pipe scaling, faucet and fixture deterioration, skin problems, or undesirable tastes or odors from your water. If you have, then you have a water problem.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY TOILET IS CLOGGED?
If your toilet is clogged, a plunger or bucket of hot water might be able to get things running. You should also check that the water level is high enough and that the rubber flapper and chain are both in good working order.
WHY DOES MY DRAIN GET CLOGGED?
Usually drains are clogged because people are not careful of what they put in them, especially in the kitchen. Other drains, like in the bathroom, get clogged because of the oil residue from soaps, shampoos and hair. It is recommended that you are conscious of what you put down your drains and treat them regularly with a drain cleaner such as Bio-Clean.
IS IT SAFE TO USE CHEMICAL DRAIN CLEANERS?
Drain cleaners are usually very toxic, not a good thing to keep around the home especially if you have children or pets. These toxic chemicals also have a negative effect on your pipes, causing deterioration from the inside out. When this happens, the drains lines will need to be replaced. There are various products on the market that contain “friendly” bacteria and enzymes. These work great for keeping drain sludge and grease from building up on the pipes. For serious clogs contact a professional plumber.
WHY DOES THE TOILET KEEP RUNNING?
The is one of the most common plumbing questions asked. The usual reason is that the flap in the bottom of the tank isn’t sealing shut. Take the top off the tank and flush the toilet while watching the rubber flap. Does it completely close? If not, even though water is entering the tank, some of it is flowing out through the unsealed flap and therefore, the water continues to run because the float ball trigger is never activated to stop the flow since water never reaches the fill line. That’s why jiggling the handle works to stop the running. It’s attached to the rubber flap with a chain, and jiggling it will reposition the flap so that it may seal more securely.
WHY DO WE RUN OUT OF HOT WATER SO QUICKLY?
Depending on the age and type of your water heater, there are a couple of reasons you don’t have enough hot water:
Electric water heaters commonly have two heating elements, one on top and one on bottom. Either of these elements can stop working. If the bottom element goes out, only the top portion of the water heater is being heated. If the top element goes out, there will not be any hot water.
There is a reset button that could have been tripped causing the water heater to stop working. If that reset button has tripped, that is an indicator that something is wrong.
WHAT CAUSES OUR WATER HEATER TO MAKE LOUD RUMBLING NOISES?
The two most common causes for such noises are steam and sediment in the tank. You can often correct steam problems by merely lowering the thermostat setting. If you suspect a faulty thermostat, turn the setting all the way down: then if the heat source doesn’t go off, replace the thermostat. To get rid of problem-causing sediment in your water heater, open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and drain off a little water until it runs clear. Draining the sediment should eliminate noise problems and allow your heater to operate more efficiently.
WHICH FLOOR COVERINGS CAN I HAVE WITH AN UNDERFLOOR HEATING SYSTEM?
Underfloor heating can virtually be used under any floor finish. The best floor type for underfloor heating is flooring with a good thermal conductivity to enhance the floor to heat up quicker, give more heat output and run more efficiently. The only difference between which floor coverings to use with an underfloor heating system is the thermal conductivity of the material.
WHAT THERMOSTATS SHOULD I USE WITH MY UNDERFLOOR HEATING SYSTEM?
Without a doubt, choose thermostats that are most practical for you and your family in the long run. It’s great to have lots of control options but how many would you still be using eighteen months later? If you and your family are quite ‘techy’ then go for ‘techy’ controls, if you want simplicity just stick with nice dial or digital thermostats.
CAN I HAVE UNDERFLOOR HEATING UPSTAIRS?
Yes, you can, if you have a solid floor then it is just the same as the ground floor. If you have suspended timber joists then it is a different method. Common installation methods include overlay or countersunk methods. You can also have a mixture of underfloor heating in bathrooms, for example, and radiators in bedrooms if you so desire.
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF UNDERFLOOR HEATING PIPE TO USE?
Arguably, multilayer pipe has a better output due to the aluminium layer’s ability to transfer heat quicker than other pipes. I am a great believer of adding up lots of small improvements to achieve better overall efficiencies so I have always favoured the MLCP (Multi-Layer Composite Pipe). PEX-a pipe is slightly less efficient than the MLCP but on the plus side, it is marginally cheaper and (arguably) quicker to install.
WILL MY UNDERFLOOR HEATING SYSTEM REQUIRE MUCH MAINTENANCE?
All working parts of a heating system require some level of maintenance. The benefit of an underfloor heating manifold is that all serviceable items are located at one point. Should your project have multiple manifolds you will have a series of these points. Items included in an annual service are system pumps, actuators/motorized valves, and the system inhibitor. Pretty much all of these are a quick check whilst your plumber carries out your annual boiler service. You should periodically make sure that the thermostats are working correctly.
HOW MUCH DOES THE COST COMPARE AGAINST NORMAL RADIATORS?
For a project with a screed system and a total floor area of about 150m2 is roughly, where the cost of Underfloor Heating is comparable with radiators. However, there are many variables; the number of zones, heat load requirement, heat source, and installation costs etc.
Underfloor Heating costs to a suspended timber floor are higher than that of a screed system. The cost of a suspended timber floor system will include construction materials, which represents the increased costs. These materials are not required as part of a radiator system and in comparison, this type of system carries higher costs.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF THE EQUIPMENT?
Most systems have a lifetime of 10 to 20 years. As your equipment gets older, its efficiency can decrease dramatically. You may notice that it gets noisier and needs repairs more often. When a unit begins to show it's age, you have two choices. You can overhaul the system or replace it. Because heating and cooling technologies improve over time, a new system designed with newer, more energy-efficient equipment makes sense, especially if your system is 10 or more years old. We can estimate the cost of a new system as well as a payback schedule that will show you how newer technology will pay you back in lower energy usage.
WILL A BIGGER SIZED SYSTEM PERFORM BETTER?
No, you don't want your air conditioner to be too big. Air conditioners control the comfort level in your home by cooling the air and by removing humidity. An oversized air conditioner will cool your home faster, but it will use more energy and will not remove humidity adequately.
A unit that is too big for your home will have short run cycles. It may take only a short time to cool the air, but the unit shuts off before enough air blows across the indoor coil where moisture condenses into water and drains from your system. Too much moisture left in the air can lead to mold and mildew problems.
These short run cycles also mean your system starts and stops more often which uses more energy and causes a lot of wear and tear. An air conditioner operates more efficiently during long run cycles.
The same holds true with heating systems. An oversized furnace will warm the house quicker, but it uses more fuel and causes greater temperature swings in the home.
WHY IS A SYSTEM WITH MATCHED COMPONENTS SO IMPORTANT?
A matched system is important for a variety of reasons. One is comfort. When all your components are properly sized to your home, you can control exactly how much heating or cooling you need so you can relax.
Also, a properly sized matched system enables every component to perform as designed, meaning proper cycle times are maintained, humidity is controlled, and system sound is minimized.
Another reason matched systems are important is efficiency. Most systems people buy are too large for their homes, which uses more energy than needed for your home. A matched system outlined by a dealer who has completed a load calculation for your home provides just the right amount of heating and cooling you need so you get the most value for your utility dollar.
SHOULD I HAVE MY FURNACE AND AIR CONDITIONER SERVICED EVERY YEAR?
Yes. Keeping your system properly maintained will lower energy and repair costs, prevent breakdowns and prolong the life of your equipment. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
HOW CAN I REDUCE ALLERGENS AND IMPROVE THE AIR QUALITY IN MY HOME?
With a high efficiency air cleaner, you can remove up to 99% of the pollen and spores that find their way into the home. There is also a great reduction in household dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants. Your indoor air will become cleaner and fresher while reducing the allergens and dust that circulate throughout the house. With a whole house humidifier, you can relieve the irritating discomfort of dry indoor air. The humidifier reduces itchy skin, scratchy throats, static electricity, and damage to your furnishings and woodwork. Since humid air feels warmer than dry air, you do not have to set the thermostat as high to feel the comfort you want. A lower thermostat setting will reduce the costs of your energy bill.
I AM CONCERNED ABOUT MOLD GROWTH, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
When humid air passes over chilled cooling coils, water condenses and drips through the coils into a collection pan, from which it continuously drains. Problems with these systems may occur when this water collects and becomes stagnant when it becomes blocked, either on the coils or in the drip pan. The pan will grow mold that can infect your home with dangerous mold spores very quickly. Problems also exist when the HVAC ducting contains microscopic mold spores that stay continually present and blow contaminants around the home or office often caused by mold in other parts of your home.
You can do 3 things to prevent mold growth in your system:
Regular maintenance will ensure that the collection pan under the indoor coil stays clean and clog free.
Install ultra violet lights next to the cooling coils to kill any mold or bacteria growing on the coils or collection pan.
Keep your ductwork clean by using a duct cleaning service and use a high-efficiency filtration system to keep your entire hvac system clean.
WHAT IS DUCT CLEANING?
Duct cleaning refers to the cleaning of the various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.
WHAT DO SEER, AFUE, AND HSPF RATINGS MEAN TO ME?
SEER, AFUE and HSPF are all measures of energy efficiency. Air conditioners may look similar, but their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) can vary widely. Higher SEER numbers save more money spent on electricity. A 13 SEER air conditioner, the EPA "current minimum standard", uses 23% less energy than a 10 SEER unit (EPA standard up until Jan. 2006). Even though 13 SEER is the minimum efficiency available, we currently offer a line of air conditioners that start at 13 SEER and go all the way up to a 20 SEER . Depending on your average usage, higher SEER air conditioners can significantly reduce your electric bill.
Heat pumps have SEER ratings like air conditioners and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings for measuring heating efficiency. Higher HSPF ratings mean greater energy savings. The HSPF scale range is 7.5 to 9.0.
Today's new high-efficiency furnaces can save up to 50% in operating costs over a ten-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 65% or less.
HOW CAN I REDUCE MY ENERGY COSTS?
Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioner - Swapping your old, inefficient air conditioning system for a high-efficient one can cut electricity bills by one-third. Consult one of our professional technicians to ensure your system is the right size for your home, and you aren't over- or under-cooling for your space needs.
Turn up the temperature - To save electricity during the summer, set the temperature above 25° as every degree below this will add an extra three to five percent to your energy bill.
Install ceiling fans – Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction as a way of creating a nice, gentle wind.
Have an annual maintenance performed – Having an annual maintenance performed on your air conditioner by a licensed technician will help ensure it operates at its peak efficiency and catches any potential breakdowns before they occur.
Don't block vents in well-used rooms – Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds, carpets or furniture so your air conditioner can operate efficiently and there is even cool air distribution.
Close vents in less-used rooms – By closing the vents, you won't be spending money cooling rooms that are used less.
Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace - New high-efficiency furnaces use up to 50% less fuel than an older system. It can save you up to 25 per cent of your home-heating costs in one year, and within a few years, you'll have recovered the initial cost of replacing/upgrading your furnace. Choosing a model with an energy efficient motor can save 20 to 50 percent of the energy needed to continuously operate a fan motor. Let us show you the advantages of replacing your old furnace today.
Have an annual maintenance performed – Having an annual maintenance performed on your furnace by a licensed technician will help ensure it operates at its peak efficiency and catches any potential breakdowns before they occur.
Install a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat enables you to control your home's temperature when you're away or asleep. For every 1° you lower your thermostat for seven hours per day, you save one percent on your heating bill.
Don't block vents in well-used rooms – Keep your supply and return air vents free of objects like blinds, carpets or furniture so your furnace can operate efficiently and there is even heat distribution.
Close vents in less-used rooms – By closing the vents, you won't be spending money heating rooms that are used less.
Install ceiling fans – Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. In the winter, the blades should operate in a clockwise direction helping to push the warm air from the ceiling down into the room.
WHY SHOULD I BUY ENERGY STAR LABELED EQUIPMENT?
The average home spends about $1,900 annually on energy bills. Heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of a home's energy use. The EPA provides important recommendations for energy-efficient equipment, including proper sizing, quality installation and maintenance, and other home improvement considerations to help you get the most out of the heating and cooling products you purchase, save energy, and save as much as 20% annually on your total energy costs.
ENERGY STAR qualified products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EQUIPMENT WITH VARIABLE SPEED FANS?
Variable speed fans operate on a simple principle: they are able to spin at different speeds depending on the heating and cooling needs of your home. Usually, they operate at lower speeds, delivering a steady, reliable stream of warm or cool air to your home. This helps control humidity levels, utility costs and system noise. When conditions become more extreme, the fan speed increases so that the system can meet increased demand, guaranteeing that on even the hottest days or coldest nights, your comfort needs will be met.
HOW DOES 2-STAGE COOLING OR HEATING WORK?
2-stage cooling is a method of cooling that can better manage the cooling of your home while outdoor temperatures are changing. It can also better maximize indoor comfort and energy efficiency. 2-stage cooling systems are typically the most energy efficient systems out there.
2-stage cooling can be done by having one unit with two compressors, one small and one large. The small one is typically capable of putting out about 50% the capacity of the larger one. The second way to have 2-stage cooling is to have a single scroll unloading compressor. This compressor can unload its capacity down to about 66% of maximum capacity. Both these methods of getting 2-stage cooling allow the unit to run at a lower stage when the high stage is not needed. By doing this, energy is saved.
2-stage heating has the same principle as 2-stage cooling. It allows the unit to adjust itself based on the amount of heating that is necessary. 2-stage heating is a good way to save on heating costs.
A heat pump system would have two different sized compressors, a small and a large one. The compressor that is used at a given time would depend upon the need. If only a small amount of heating is necessary, the smaller compressor would be used to save energy. The large compressor would only be used when a large amount of heating was needed.
A gas furnace that is 2-stage has a modulating gas valve that regulates gas flow depending upon the need.
AT WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I SET MY THERMOSTAT?
Normal cooling settings are 75 degrees - 80 degrees. Normal heating settings are 68 degrees- 72 degrees. You should always set your thermostat to the highest possible setting that is comfortable for you in the summer, and the lowest comfortable setting in the winter. Setting your thermostat in this way will maximize your energy savings. On average, every 1 degree of temperature change is equal to about 10% energy savings. For example, changing your thermostat setting from 75 degrees to 76 degrees in the summer could result in about a 10% savings on your cooling costs.
MY SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK WELL IN A COUPLE OF ROOMS, WHAT DO I DO?
This can occur for many reasons; uneven solar heat load through windows, an undersized system, improperly balanced or clogged system or a single system serving a two-story home with no zoning control. Each situation is different, usually requiring an onsite analysis with problem specific recommendations.
MY AIR CONDITIONER IS VERY LOUD WHEN I ENTERTAIN OUTSIDE, WHAT CAN I DO?
A difference of 6 decibels (such as between 72 dB and 78 dB) is technically a four-fold increase in compressor sound when rating air conditioners or heat pump units. However, it takes a difference of 10 decibels to double the loudness. It is also noted that it takes approximately 3 decibels for the average human ear to discern any difference in loudness at all.
Great strides have been made in reducing the operating sound level of equipment. We will be happy to show you the difference in sound ratings with our product line.
WHAT IF I SMELL GAS?
Propane (LP) gas: You have this type if your gas comes from a tank located outside close to your house. Propane is stored as a liquid under pressure in tanks and cylinders. In most residential applications, propane is used as a vapour. When liquid propane changes into a gas vapour, it expands in volume. This means that even a small leak of liquid propane can result in a much larger quantity of propane vapour, which can be especially dangerous in a confined space. A chemical odourant has been added to propane to give it a distinct smell. Learn to identify this odour. Propane gas is heavier than air, so it will sink to the floor and spread. To check for the presence of propane, carefully smell all over a room, especially in low spots.
If you smell propane (LP) gas:
Exit your home immediately.
Propane gas can ignite easily. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark.
From a safe area, contact your propane supplier and call 911.
If you are able, shut the propane gas supply off at the tank.
Stay away from your home until you've been told that it is safe to return.
Natural gas: You have this type if you have a gas meter and pay a natural gas supplier or utility. A chemical odorant has been added to natural gas to give it a distinct smell. Learn to identify this odor. If you smell gas faintly, check all areas of your house for strong odour. If the smell is only faint throughout all areas of your home, call your heating contractor to get it fixed within 24 hours. Keep the house well ventilated by opening windows.
If you smell a strong, persistent odour:
Exit your home immediately.
Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark.
From a safe area, contact your gas company or call 911.
If you are able, turn the gas off at the meter.
Stay away from your home until you've been told that it is safe to return.