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4 Reasons to Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

cold house furnace maintenance

Making the call to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance may not be the highlight of your season, especially during the hectic holidays.

But it sure can save you time, cash, and discomfort later, and that makes it worth remembering.

In particular, taking the time to schedule your air conditioner and heating inspection and maintenance each year provides four specific perks you can’t get any other way.

Now that we are headed into the coldest part of the year in earnest, it seemed like the right time to share why maintenance for these two major appliances isn’t something you want to put off!

Lowers risk of home fires

As Canadian Homeowner reports, there are seven major causes of home fires.

Guess what two of the most common causes of home fires are: electrical and major appliances malfunctions!

Just across the border, the U.S. National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that heating equipment causes 16 percent of house fires and 19 percent of fatalities from the same.

Failure to clean and maintain major appliances like heaters, as well as failure to clear adequate open space between heating appliances and flammable furnishings, is directly implicated in 30 percent of home fires.

These are some scary statistics indeed!

But here is the good news: you can drastically reduce your risk of enduring a home fire just by scheduling your furnace’s annual inspection and maintenance appointment.

Your technician will clean and inspect your heating equipment, make minor repairs and adjustments with your permission, advise you on any safety risks, and answer all your questions about home safety during fire season.

Avoids unexpected breakdowns

While it is easy to miss the signals, your furnace typically does its utmost to warn you in advance of an impending breakdown.

Noisy cycling on and off, rusting, rumbling and grumbling, rust, leaking, and thermostat inaccuracies are just some of the warning signs that your furnace is headed for an outage.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to cut your risk of an unexpected heating outage during the cold season:

Increases energy efficiency and saves money

Just as you have to work harder to run up a hill than to run back down it, so too does your furnace have to expend more energy to keep your home warm when it is working against a clogged filter, blocked vents, worn out mechanics, or leaking parts.

The fewer obstacles placed in your furnace’s way, the less energy it will draw to produce the same amount of heat.

This translates to greater energy efficiency AND more money back in your pocket—and at a time of year when most families need every extra cent they can save!

It can be challenging to believe a simple inspection and service call can actually save you money!

Nevertheless, it is the truth. By cleaning the exterior and interior of your furnace, maintaining and repairing worn, loose, or broken parts, testing performance, measuring thermostat accuracy, and ensuring connection safety, your technician ensures that your furnace is ready to deliver peak performance all winter long.

Clean indoor air to breathe

The cold season has earned the nickname “cold and flu season” honestly. As temperatures plunge, humidity levels often follow suit, and before you know it, everyone in your family is sniffling and sneezing.

Add to the already circulating cold and flu germs the airborne toxins from wood-burning or gas stoves and fireplaces, dust and debris from dirty vents and air ducts, firsthand or secondhand tobacco smoke, pet dander, and artificial, chemical fragrances from holiday air fresheners and candles, and what you have is a recipe for months of feeling under the weather!

One of your furnace’s main jobs is to trap airborne allergens and toxins before they enter your home’s air duct system and get carried to every room in your home.

But your furnace can only do its job well if it has a clean air filter and clean air ducts to work with. Otherwise, there is little your furnace can do to keep you from getting sick again and again.

Here, changing your furnace filter at least monthly, dusting and cleaning your vents and registers, and having your air ducts professionally cleaned can give your immune system a head-start on the winter’s germs.

Adding back valuable humidity to your indoor air through the use of a portable or whole home humidifier can also help your body fight off germs and allergens more successfully.

Shipton’s Golden Savings Scratch & Win Event Is Going On Now!

Right now, with Shipton’s Golden Savings Scratch & Win Event, you have the chance to save up to $1,000 on your purchase of any HVAC units!

Just complete this simple online form to confirm your participation.

Breathe Clean Air & Save 20 Percent!

Our Breathe Clean Air Event is still going strong! Purchase any whole home humidifier, ultraviolet light purifier or media air cleaner and save 20 percent on the purchase price!

Reserve your 20 percent discount now by completing this simple online form.

Give Us a Call!

Here at Shipton’s Heating and Cooling, we want your holidays to be merry and bright. But even more, we want to be sure you and your family stay healthy and safe all winter long.

Don’t forget that we offer 24/7 emergency repair service, including nights, weekends, and holidays! If you need us, we will be there—guaranteed. Just give us a call at 905-549-4616 or bookmark this page for urgent repair needs.

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Is a Wall Furnace the Right Choice For You? Find Out Now!

wall-furnace

Rewind history by a century or so and you would have to spend the winter with your entire household cozied up to a wood-burning fireplace or pot-bellied wood stove to keep warm.

Sounds fun, right? Thank goodness for modern technology!

The earliest actual furnaces (called “octopus furnaces” for their intricate network of individual ducts pointing every which way) used coal as fuel. They sent heat through the duct network as blasts of warm air.

Today’s furnaces are far more evolved in how they use fuel and what kind of fuel they use. They are also much more energy efficient and safe to operate.

Best of all, there are many more furnace options to suit a vast array of different-size spaces and heating needs. In this post, we will look at one of our newest additions here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling: the high efficiency wall furnace!

Meet the Direct Vent Wall Furnace

If you’ve been following along here on the Shipton’s blog for some time, you probably know we are coming up on a century of serving the heating and cooling needs for the Hamilton community and surrounding areas.

Over the last 10 decades, we sure have seen lots of changes in how homes and offices get heated! But in our opinion, this lovely little direct vent wall furnace by Cozy (what a great name!) is one of the hands-down best.

The Cozy high efficiency wall furnace is petite and compact. It runs on natural or propane gas. It installs off the floor for child and pet safety as well as saving space. The combustion area is completely safety sealed as well as efficient as the furnace pulls combustion-ready outside air in from outdoors and exhausts stale inside air outdoors again.

This furnace draws in cooler air from higher up in the room, heats it, and emits it nearer the floor, causing an ongoing cycle of warm air rising so the whole room stays nice and, well, cozy. The furnace has two sets of louvered heat output vents on the unit's front and another two sets on top of the unit to ensure even heat distribution throughout your space.

With its compact design, this furnace even includes a telescoping vent system, complete with an outdoor exhaust vent cover to prevent intrusion from bugs or other unwelcome visitors.

You can choose between a standard wall or bulb stat thermostat system to regulate the heat throughout your space. Each option is programmable and will remain operational even if you have an electric power outage. The burner system is stainless steel and easy to remove for inspection and cleaning. A safety pilot and pressure regulator is also built into the unit so you are always in control of operation and output.

The ignition system is match-less and manual, so you get all of the safety and all of the energy control a furnace can offer. All you need to do to activate the burner is push a button. Once operational, the unit is whisper-quiet, meaning you can even install it in a bedroom setting.

The unit itself is an attractive ivory colour over stainless steel to complement any décor. The unit also comes with a 10-year non-prorated manufacturer’s warranty.

Three Keys to Wall Furnace Energy Savings

The Cozy high efficiency wall furnace offers three key attributes to help you conserve energy and cash. Each of these attributes harnesses the natural airflow inside your space to minimize wasted energy.

  1. Fan forced efficiency. The more efficient fan in this furnace means less energy wasted keeping the unit itself cool.

  2. Counterflow heat delivery. By pulling in cool air at the unit top and pushing warmer air out at the base, the heat system ensures accurate, consistent heating temperatures.

  3. Sealed-combustion system with direct venting. This safety-first configuration leaves nothing to chance, using a single telescoping vent system to pull in outside air for combustion and exhaust stale air back outside.

Optional Add-On Accessories

One of the really neat features the Cozy wall furnace offers is the flexibility to install add-on accessories to accommodate different-sized and multi-room spaces.

In addition to a base unit design that permits easy template-based installation on any outside wall of your choice, there are several different models to choose from in different shapes and sizes for single and multi-story spaces. Units range from 15,000 BTUs and up.

You can add the following optional accessories to customize your wall furnace for your individual needs:

  • Remote thermostat controller

  • Blower system

  • Bulb-based ignition kit

  • Additional venting

Ideas for Using a Wall Furnace

Since we started offering the Cozy wall mount furnace, we have installed them in many different types of spaces, from garage apartments to single- and multi-room home additions, from multi-story commercial venues to vacation rental homes, and from manufactured houses to workshop studios, and more.

The flexible sizes and capacities, compact design, and all-inclusive kit system make this wall-mount furnace an easy fix in formerly hard-to-heat spaces. Even better, the low cost of powering this furnace lets you recoup your investment quickly in the form of energy savings.

Give Us a Call

Here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, we want to make sure that you spend each winter cozy and warm at a price that is right for you. We offer a wide range of heating appliances to suit any budget and space.

We also strive to make maintenance and repairs easy and affordable with our popular Shipton’s Protection Plans. These annual plans guarantee you savings in multiple ways, including valuable discounts on labour, parts, and repairs.

Give us a call at 905-549-4616 to learn more!

P.S. Our Indoor Air Quality event is still going on! Right now, when you purchase a new HVAC/furnace combo, you can pick one of three IAQ appliances FREE!

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Furnace & Fire Safety Tips to Protect Your Family This Season

space heater and candles fire hazard

If you ask Fire Prevention Canada, they will say winter is the hands-down worst season for home fires.

Of course, it is only natural to think a home fire will never happen to you. But home fires continue to occur all year, every year (and even more often in the fall and winter) to people just like you.

We have to assume that every home fire victim would have chosen to take more precautions earlier on had they known they were at risk of experiencing a home fire. But life can get pretty hectic during this time of year, what with back to school season and then a series of holidays and the start of a new year, and it is so easy to forget.

This timely post will review furnace and fire safety tips that can protect your family from a devastating home fire this winter season.

Household Fire Safety No-Nos

Do you ever do the following things?

  • Smoke in bed or while lying down on the couch?

  • Forget to blow out candles?

  • Run several loads in the dryer before cleaning out the lint trap?

  • Neglect to check the date on the fire extinguisher?

  • Place space heaters or candles in locations where kids or pets could reach them, or in areas where clutter exists nearby?

  • Run space heaters throughout the night even while you are asleep?

  • Store flammable liquids (gasoline, paint, etc.) inside your home?

  • Fail to put the fire gate up when using your fireplace (gas, electric, or wood)?

  • Use equipment that has a frayed electrical cord?

  • Plug extension cords into extension cords to power multiple devices from a single outlet?

  • Run extension cords underneath fabrics such as furniture or rugs?

  • Ignore fuses that blow repeatedly by simply resetting them again and again?

  • Not run safety checks to ensure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are operational?

  • Use open flame equipment (BBQ grill, blow torch, butane lighter, etc.) inside your house?

As you may have guessed, each one of these actions can quickly lead to a lethal home fire. Yet each one of these actions, and more besides, takes place each year inside of homes all across Canada.

Reviewing this checklist at the start of the cold season can be a great family activity.

An even better idea is to assign responsibility for each safety check to each family member in turn, so that the checks continue to happen all winter long. If one family member sees a potential home fire risk, that family member can then alert the others so the problem is resolved quickly.

Making the Kitchen a Safe Place to Cook

According to the Canada Safety Council, the kitchen is by far the most dangerous room in your home in terms of home fires.

In other words, statistically speaking, more winter season house fires begin in the kitchen than in any other room in the house.

The main reason for this is—no surprise here—cooking. The No. 1 cooking culprit is deep frying, but any kind of cooking that requires use of the stove or oven can easily become a fire safety risk.

If you deep-fry foods regularly, the safest appliance by far is a CSA (Canada Standards Association) electric-powered deep fat fryer. However, frying with a saucepan or frying pan is still very common.

Here, the safest route is to heat the frying oil as slowly as you possibly can to reduce the risk of grease fires. Grease fires must be extinguished with a fire extinguisher. For a small fire, baking soda dumped directly on top of the flames can also work. If the fire is inside a pan or pot, quickly covering that pot with a secure cover can also help to extinguish the flames by cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply.

So before you do any frying—or any cooking, for that matter—this winter season, make sure you have each of these assembled in an easy-to-access, clearly labeled place in your kitchen:

  • Working fire extinguisher

  • Working smoke alarm

  • Big box of baking soda

  • Matching lids for all cooking pots

  • If possible, acquire a CSA certified electrical-powered deep fryer

  • Develop a family fire escape plan with two possible exits and a meeting place outside your house. Post this plan and practice it.

Furnace & Heater Home Fire Safety

The two most common appliances used to heat Canadian homes are the furnace and portable heaters. Each can be efficient and cost effective if used properly.

But every week during the winter season, an estimated eight people die due to fires, and three-fourths of these tragic fatalities can be traced back to home fires. So clearly, not everyone knows what to do to operate furnace and heaters safely!

Here is a handy checklist to use to ensure your furnace and/or portable heaters are ready for service and safe to use:

  • Schedule your annual furnace inspection and maintenance check right away.

  • Clear away a three-foot (1-meter) space around the entire furnace for safety.

  • Designate an area in each room where a space heater can be operated. This area should have a three-foot (1-meter) area of clear space all around it. Be sure the heater cord is not frayed or torn.

  • If your household includes children or pets, place a safety gate around the heater.

Give Us a Call

Here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, we stay quite busy each fall visiting clients to do furnace and heater safety inspections and maintenance.

Give us a call to schedule at 905-549-4616 or book online here.

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