Indoor air quality refers to the air in and around a building and the health and comfort of the occupants. With so many of us spending most of our time indoors, up to 90%, between school, home and office. That’s why IAQ (indoor air quality) has become such a concern in recent years. It’s more alarming once you hear that the indoor air quality is on average 2x-5x more polluted then the outside air and as severe as 100x more polluted. Its no surprise that asthma and allergies have steadily been on the rise since the 1980s. Just to put the severity of the situation into perspective, the EPA has ranked indoor air quality as one of the top 5 environmental dangers.
Common signs and symptoms you have poor air quality:
The following signs and symptoms are indications that you have poor indoor air quality: headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, sneezing worsening allergies, asthma symptoms, coughing and/or sneezing, nausea, dizziness, eye, nose, throat and skin irritations.
Common sources of poor indoor air quality include:
The most common sources for poor indoor air quality include the following: tobacco products, mould or mildew, household cleaning products, scented products, pesticides and inadequate ventilation. Most of these can be easily avoided moving forward.
Easy solutions to quickly improve your IAQ:
Here are some quick tips to improve your IAQ and breath easier: suck up as many allergens and dust as much as you can using a vacuum with good suction and a HEPA filter. Ensure your fuel burning appliances are operating as efficiently as possible with a tune up by a qualified company technician. Use household products with low VOC’s and free of scents. Air purifiers and air cleaners are an easy and cost-effective solution to drastically improve your home’s IAQ. Improve ventilation, ensure your kitchen and bathroom fans are working properly and vented to the outdoors. HRVs are an efficient solution to exchange stale air in your home for fresh air outside. Humidifiers are another easy solution to manage humidity levels in the home and keep everyone breathing easier.
*sources: https://www.aafa.org/, https://www.lung.ca/, https://www.epa.gov/
Buying a new furnace can be an exciting and somewhat challenging time. There are hundreds of makes and models, each with their own bells and whistles. Having a technician come to your home to discuss these options with you is an important step to make this process easier for you and for the installation technicians.
Often people think that getting a quote is as easy as just calculating the square footage of the house but in actuality there are many more factors. When deciding to replace HVAC equipment we must consider several things, such as the age of the home and existing equipment, whether the current ductwork can accommodate the new furnace and operate efficiently and quietly. They will also be checking to see if there are any preexisting code violations that can be corrected. Cost, warranty, ease of maintenance, and, most importantly, will it meet and exceed your family’s needs.
The technician is there to answer any questions you may have and can even provide a picture of what your new equipment will look like. They will go over the terms that you will want to understand, such as “single stage”, “2-stage”, “modulating”, “variable speed”, “ECM” and the pros and cons of each. They will take accurate measurements and confirm that you get exactly what you need to keep your home comfortable through the season at the best price possible.
So next time you’re in the market for a new furnace, make sure to find a company that is willing to take the time to meet with you in person. A no cost 30 minute estimate, now will make all the difference for the many years of comfort the right equipment from the right company will provide you and your family.
Take advantage of the great rebate programs on now and you can receive up to $6,500 on a new air source heat pump system. We love saving you money!
This is a question we get asked quite often. Your condenser is designed to be outside in the elements with sufficient air flow. That being said, covering the unit with a properly fitted cover will provide some added longevity and prevent snow from sitting inside the unit during the winter months. It’s important that you use a proper cover that will allow for some air movement throughout the unit. When you seal the unit completely with a tarp and bungy cords for example, you are encouraging condensation to form inside. Without air movement the condensation will just sit on the components and cause premature failure. Our Trane XLI air conditioning units come with a permanent built in cover, so you never have to worry about it.
So in short, it’s beneficial to cover your central air conditioning condenser with a properly fitted cover.
We often get asked about how and when you should be performing maintenance on your tankless water heater. The simple answer is that the manufacturer recommends it be done annually. Performing simple maintenance will extend the life of your water heater and prevent future problems. The main thing, as most people know by now, is the “flush” or “descaling” of the unit. To maintain good flow and efficiency through these units you must have them descaled, with a manufacturer approved solution. Some of the other things that will be done during a maintenance are; cold water inlet filter checked and cleaned, venting system checked and filter cleaned, wiring and electrical connections inspected for any loose or frayed wiring and inspect seals and gaskets for signs of wear or leaks. By maintaining your tankless water heater annually you will be ensuring a long lifespan on your newest energy saving product.
AFUE = Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
The simple truth is the higher the AFUE the more efficient the equipment. For example if your current furnace or boiler is 70%AFUE, that means you have 70% of your fuel turns into heat for your home and the other 30% going out the chimney! Most new furnaces and/or boilers are now 95%AFUE or higher and some come with rebates depending on current promotions. If you would like us to help save your money from flying out the chimney, give us a call. We provide free estimates, so there’s nothing to lose.We are your trusted local furance contractor and boiler contractor in Barrie and surrounding areas.
So What Exactly Is An HRV?
An HRV or Heat Recovery Ventilator is a system that keeps warm air in while pushing stale air out.
Due to today’s house building techniques and renovations being more thermally efficient, the air flow in our homes is lacking which results in fresh air changes only happening when doors and windows are opened. Opening a window can help, but it is not very economical. Thus, the HRV was born.
A typical unit has two fans – one to take out household air and the other to bring in fresh air. What makes an HRV unique is the heat-exchange core. The core transfers the heat from the outgoing air to the incoming air. So while the old stale air is removed, the heat we pay for remains.
Not only does it ensure that the indoor polluted air is regularly being replaced by an equal quantity of fresh clean air, but many allergy sufferers have found relief from symptoms using an HRV as well. The system filters the air coming into the home before dispersing it and can remove many common allergens, such as pollen and dust, in addition to regulating humidity levels preventing mold and mildew issues.
A heat recovery ventilator can make your house a cleaner and healthier living environment; all while helping keep fuel bills down. Call us today for more information, we are your local HVAC contractor in Barrie and surrounding areas.
“Why having a humidifier can improve your home, your skin, and your overall health”.
Winter air is dry. This dry air can cause a multitude of problems for your family and your home. Dry cracking skin and lips, nose bleeds, and sore throats are just some of the symptoms of not having enough moisture in the air. Many people don’t realize the benefit that humidifiers actually offer. For the most part, they’re only used during the winter months in order to help with the air being so dry. The reason why the air gets dry during these months is actually because we put the heat on in our homes. While the heat is desirable for warming us up, it decreases the humidity in the air, therefore leaving you with a very dry environment and very dry skin.
Humidifiers, at the most basic level, emit water vapor into a space to increase the level of humidity. When air has more moisture skin is more hydrated reducing sore lips and throats. It even serves as a preventative measure, limiting or eliminating viruses and bacteria that thrive in dry air, restricting their ability to cause colds and flu infections.
Wood furniture, wood molding or wood floors are another reason having properly saturated air is so important. Wood contains small pores that absorb moisture. When the necessary amount of moisture is unavailable the pores in the wood will dry out and shrink causing cracks and costly damage.
Having a humidifier is both a health conscious and financially responsible choice. Having a humidifier may help you avoid getting sick this winter, but it can also give you softer, more glowing skin, and even help preserve your home.
We are coming across many homes using the $30-$40.00 1″ Merv 11-13 furnace filters. The higher the Merv rating the finer the particles that are caught in the filter, which seems to be common knowledge at this point. However, that also means more restriction to your airflow. Straight out of the packaging it will restrict your airflow more than a basic Merv 8 pleated filter ($10), so it doesn’t take much dust to start effecting the efficiency and life span on your forced air system.
If you have allergies, asthma or just simply hate the thought of airborne particles in your home we would recommend you stay away from the 1″ Merv11+ filters, and upgrade to a 5″ filter to allow for better airflow. We can install this simple 5″ media filter rack in most homes for as little as $250.00. Which will prolong the life of your equipment and allow higher efficiency. We offer a full line of clean air products that are high in filtration and easy on your HVAC system.
“Set it and forget it”
Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and leave it alone. It’s much easier for your AC to control humidity when it’s left to a set temperature. Every time you turn the temperature way up or turn the thermostat off, your AC needs to work overtime to dehumidify and get your home back up to a comfortable temperature. Not only does this increase the wear and tear on your system, but will result in higher energy consumption as well.