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Do You Have an Annual HVAC Maintenance Budget? Why You Need One Now!

budget piggy bank

It is no secret that the costs of home ownership in Ontario have been steadily rising. Today, Ontario home prices are causing many first-time home buyers to delay their dreams of home ownership, making it a bucket-list goal instead of a next step in the adult order of things.

This makes perfect sense when you realize the average cost of an Ontario home in today’s market is $423,691!

For this reason, when they’re ready to purchase, most first-time home buyers don’t buy a new-construction home. They buy a fixer-upper that may come with “surprise” maintenance expenses along the way. These surprises can be really difficult to budget for in advance, especially for less experienced home owners.

One of the biggest surprise maintenance expenses is air conditioning and heating. Because of temperature extremes here, it is simply not possible to get by without air conditioning or heating during large parts of our year. So when your A/C or heater suddenly conks out, making the repair immediately isn’t optional.

Knowing this, it just makes sense to do as much as possible to plan for the possibility of major HVAC repairs as far in advance as you can. Learn what we recommend for starting your annual HVAC maintenance budget.

HVAC Preventative Inspection & Maintenance Service

Perhaps the number one strategy to prevent major unexpected repairs is simply to schedule one inspection and maintenance service call each year for your air conditioner and heating system.

Air conditioning inspection and service

We recommend scheduling your air conditioning inspection and annual service in the early spring (April or May) before the hot months roll in and you need your A/C up and running immediately.

Heating inspection and maintenance

Similarly, we recommend scheduling your heating system inspection and annual service in the early fall (September or October) before the cold season hits and you can’t afford to be without heat for even a day.

Why is this annual inspection and repair service so critical in controlling HVAC maintenance costs?

The answer boils down to preventative maintenance. You can pay a little bit now to have your HVAC system cleaned, inspected, maintained, and, as needed, repaired, and in this way, it is often possible to catch big developing problems while they are still small and very fixable.

It is easier to see why scheduling an annual air conditioner and heater inspection makes sense when we look at the cost ranges for preventative care versus major repairs:

  • Cost of annual inspection/maintenance service call (per visit): $100 to $200

  • Cost of major HVAC outage repair: $160 to $1,500+

What if you could avoid that surprise $1,500 bill later this year by investing $100 now in a simple inspection and maintenance service call? This is a smart question for any homeowner to ask!

HVAC Annual Maintenance Plans

You may be reading this blog post and nodding your head in agreement, thinking to yourself, “Yes, yes, this makes perfect sense. I must remember to do this!”

But we know how life can work. You make a mental note, and then you make several other mental notes, and then somehow your mental inbox gets hijacked by some urgent issue that crops up. Before you know it, you are sitting in your house freezing or sweltering, kicking yourself for not remembering to schedule that simple preventative HVAC inspection!

So let us take this chore off your hands. You don’t have to remember to schedule your air conditioner and heater “check up.” We will remind you!

We will also give you additional peace of mind and savings when you put your HVAC annual maintenance and inspection needs on our plate by joining one of our super-saver HVAC maintenance protection plans! These include:

  • Flat rate pricing

  • 20 percent discount on labour and parts

  • Lower or no overtime charges

  • Extra savings rewards of $20 to $50 per year

You get to choose the perks that work best for your HVAC system’s age, stage of life, and overall condition. Here is what we recommend:

Residential Energy Savings Agreement

You have a brand-new or still somewhat new air conditioner and heating system. You just need basic service—perhaps an annual safety inspection and a quick tune-up.

This awesome basic agreement costs just $8.99 per month and nets you flat-rate pricing, a 20 percent discount on repairs, zero overtime charges, and handy reminder calls to schedule your service.

Residential Advantage Savings Agreement

You have a mid-life air conditioner and heating system that is still working well but needs some occasional TLC. You may have a major repair brewing at some point down the line, but you’d like to head that off for as long as possible.

This mid-level agreement costs just $18.99 per month and you get the first $700 of repairs to each unit (so $1,400 total per year) FREE! Plus you will receive a 50 percent discount on any overtime diagnostic fees and handy reminder calls to schedule your service.

Residential Ultra Savings Agreement

You have a late-life system or a more complicated HVAC system with an unknown repair history prior to when you bought the home. You are not sure what the future has in store repairs-wise, so you’d like to build in a little wiggle room for yourself and your wallet.

This higher-level agreement costs just $24.99 per month and you get the first $1,000 of repairs to each unit (so $2,000 total per year) FREE! Plus all diagnostic overtime fees are waived and you get handy reminder calls to schedule your service.

Give Us a Call

Air conditioning and heating makes every day better! Let us help you control your HVAC maintenance costs and improve your peace of mind: contact us online or give us a call at 905-549-4616!

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Too Hot? Not Hot Enough? 4 Ways to Fix Commercial Heating Issues & Boost Employee Productivity

productive office

Doing business in today’s ultra-competitive global marketplace is challenging.

Even after we spring forward and gain that extra hour, it still doesn’t give us enough time to do everything we need to do in a day...and that is just when everything is running smoothly!

One thing no employer needs is distracted employees. And nothing distracts employees faster than feeling uncomfortable at work!

One oh-so-common issue in today's workplaces is uneven air distribution. This can cause some parts of your building to feel overheated and others to feel uncomfortably chilly year-round.

What causes this? Is it a simple lack of maintenance? Or do you need a whole new heating system, or at the very least a new set of air ducts? Let’s find out!

How Does Uneven Heat Affect Worker Productivity?

A survey conducted by the Globe and Mail revealed that a whopping 67 percent of employees argue about temperature preferences regularly at work.

This can be far more polarizing than first appearances indicate. As tensions escalate, so does gossip. Workers take sides, some due to personal discomfort and some out of loyalty to fellow team members.

Freezing workers may spend valuable work hours traipsing back and forth from the coffee machine, running their hands under the warm break room tap or heading over to tweak the thermostat yet again. Each time they do this, attention wanders from the tasks at hand. Mistakes get made while tempers flare.

Consider these employee-reported statistics:

  • 11 percent of workers state too-cold office conditions are distracting.

  • 22 percent of workers say the same about too-hot conditions.

  • Typing mistakes go up by 74 percent under too-cold conditions.

  • Employees tend to be comfier when temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius (a full 2 to 4 degrees higher than the generally recommended 21 to 23 degrees Celsius!).

So these statistics are rather grim, aren’t they! While it is likely true you won’t ever be able to fully please each and every employee with the general office temperature, there are some steps you can take that can help bring warring workers to the table to call a truce.

4 Fixes to Even Out Workplace Temperatures

Before you dive into a major HVAC system do-over, it is worth starting right at square one to see what can be accomplished with simple fixes.

We will take a look at four effective approaches to evening out temperature in the workplace, starting with the simplest and moving along from there.

1. Professional air duct cleaning

If you have been in your building for some time and have no record that the air duct system has ever been professionally cleaned out, this could well be contributing to the uneven heating and cooling throughout your building.

Over time, just as dust builds up on the crown moulding and dishes pile up in the breakroom sink, so too do dirt, debris, pollen, toxins, and allergens build up in the inner spaces inside your air ducts.

As this buildup worsens, it can begin to block the air ducts themselves. The same can happen at exit and entry points, such as exhaust vents and air registers. The more clogged with dirt, dust, and debris these important conduits become, the less efficient your entire HVAC system becomes.

A professional air duct cleaning typically takes one day or less and leaves your entire air duct, air register, and exhaust vent system clean, fresh and like new—oh, and smelling great, too!

2. Air duct repairs and HVAC insulation

Older air duct systems can begin to sag and leak as they age. When leaks along the air duct system are letting out heated or cooled air, that air never reaches its destination. This can also cause noticeable temperature imbalances from one room to the next—imbalances that aren’t explained by improper duct routing or space differences.

Making repairs to leaking air ducts by sealing cracks and juncture points and then adding extra insulation around the ducts and the HVAC system can help to conserve energy and make sure temperature controlled air makes it safely to its destination.

3. HVAC annual inspection and tune-up

When was the last time you had your air conditioner and heating system checked for safety? This can be such an easy chore to overlook when you are wearing a leadership hat! It just doesn’t seem as urgent as some of the other items piling up in your inbox.

And yet, once you realize that simple temperature issues are distracting your employees in ways that impact your bottom line, it becomes easier to move “HVAC tune-up” closer to the top of your priority list.

Sometimes small annual HVAC repairs such as tightening, lubrication, and cleaning can really improve both the performance and the useful life of your expensive HVAC system! As well, regular (at least annual) maintenance of both your air conditioner and your heater may win you safety discounts with your corporate insurer (it sure doesn’t hurt to ask!).

4. Zone heating/cooling support

There are times when an underlying issue, such as improperly routed ductwork or changes to the size and shape of a shared office space, can cause ongoing issues with temperature imbalance.

As well, if you have expanded your office, added a wing or a whole floor, or installed outbuildings or warehousing space, this can add another wrinkle to achieving temperature continuity.

Here, adding specific zoned heating and cooling systems can be a relatively simple answer to a very complicated heating and cooling question!

Give Us a Call

Need a new heater? Buy one now and get a FREE air conditioner! Give us a call at 905-549-4616 to learn more!

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This Super-Appliance Can Heat Your Home, Your Pool & Even Your Driveway!

unknown superhero

Imagine, if you will, an energy-efficient appliance that can provide heat to your home, water, pool, and driveway—and save you money on your heating bill, too.

If this sounds along the lines of Peter Pan finally deciding he wants to grow up or finding an actual pot of gold at the end of the next rainbow you see, we assure you it is true!

The amazing super-appliance we are talking about here is the heating boiler.

An Energy Star-certified heating boiler can not only accomplish each of the tasks we just described but, according to National Resources Canada, it can also save you up to 63 percent on your annual heating bill!

Best of all, heating boilers are no more challenging or costly to maintain than any other heating system, including the traditional furnace.

In this post, we share inside knowledge of what a heating boiler can do and how it can save you time and money while keeping you warm and toasty inside and outside!

What Is a Heating Boiler?

As you now know, a heating boiler is one of those unique appliances that can do several things well. A heating boiler makes heat with the help of hot water and circulates that heat with the help of a pump. In HVAC lingo, this is called a “hydronic” system. “Hydro” means water and “onic” means electronic.

Heating boilers can use hot water or steam to distribute heat. Since steam needs a higher base temperature to operate, a steam heating boiler tends to be less efficient than a boiler that uses hot water for a distribution system.

A heating boiler can function as a space heater, a zone heater, or a central heating system. It does this through a connection to radiant flooring or radiator pipes (either steam or hot water).

Which Type of Heating Boiler Is the Most Efficient?

In spite of its name, a heating boiler actually doesn’t have to use electric heat—it can also use natural gas, propane, biodiesel blends, or oil as a power source.

While electric heating boilers have the highest efficiency in terms of fuel use with minimal waste, the cost of the electricity itself can make these a higher-cost option in some areas.

Pricing out the fuel sources available to you can help you decide which is the most cost- and energy-efficient option.

How Efficient Is a Heating Boiler?

To fully answer this question, we can take a look at a brief efficiency history of the heating boiler.

Let’s say you have a heating boiler in your basement right now. It has been there for at least 20 years, or maybe closer to 30. It still works, but it is starting to look…rustic. It has a continuous pilot light.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this old heating boiler probably delivers around 56 to 70 AFUE. AFUE means “annual fuel energy utilization.” This means anywhere from 30 to 44 percent of the heat your old boiler generates gets lost in translation somewhere, whether due to leaks, evaporation, or some other cause.

Or perhaps you have a somewhat newer system that was installed within the last 10 to 15 years, when the AFUE requirements were raised to a minimum of 80 percent. So your boiler is currently delivering anywhere from 80 to 83 percent efficiency via hot water or steam.

But then there is the new gold standard of heating boilers, which sport sealed combustion (no escaping steam or heat), two heat exchangers (to extract even more heat out of stale waste air), and an overall efficiency score of 90 to 98.5 percent. Wow!

Since the average heating boiler can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, and the HVAC industry is currently knocking on the door of 100 percent energy efficiency, you really can’t go wrong upgrading to one of these beauties!

How a Heating Boiler Saves Heating Costs

It is absolutely true that a heating boiler can be pricier to purchase and install on the front end. But the investment begins paying for itself immediately with eyebrow-raising energy-efficiency improvements, which translate promptly to bottom line heating savings.

However, you likely noticed your cutting-edge new heating boiler still has an AFUE range of 8.5 efficiency points. You could realize 90 percent efficiency or you could realize 98.5 percent efficiency. And you would really prefer to realize the full 98.5 percent efficiency, right?

So how do you do this? You can help your home or workplace retain all that wonderful efficient heat your new heating boiler is putting out by doing some simple upgrades of your own:

  • Insulate the boiler and the hot water pipes. This will prevent heat loss due to leaks or evaporation.

  • Caulk and weatherstrip. If your doors, windows, and walls have developed cracks or the sealing has begun to degrade, making these simple repairs can noticeably impact your heating efficiency.

  • Perform proper maintenance on the heating boiler system. Small fixes like descaling the boiler and/or adding chemicals to control for mineral buildup, removing float chamber sediment, and cleaning the heat exchangers can really make a difference in efficiency.

Get in Touch

Part of realizing maximum energy efficiency for an existing or new heating boiler system is sizing the system properly for your space. Another part is performing routine maintenance to keep any fixes small and affordable.

We can help with both issues! Contact us online or give us a call at 905-549-4616 to schedule your boiler quote or tune-up!

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