Advantage Airtech Blog

Why Spring Cleaning Should Include Your Air Conditioning System

April 15th, 2014

“Spring cleaning” is an annual ritual that means many things to different homeowners. However, one part of your home that you should include in any spring cleaning ritual is your air conditioning.

We don’t mean that you should pry open your air conditioner’s cabinet, lean in with a spray bottle of commercial cleaner and a rag and start wiping down components. In fact, you shouldn’t open your AC’s cabinet at all. Cleaning for your air conditioner means scheduling its annual tune-up and inspection from a trained HVAC technician. After a maintenance visit, you’ll have a cleaner, more efficient cooling system ready for spring.

Contact Advantage Airtech for your air conditioning maintenance in Markham, ON. We’ve helped people keep their ACs clean and working since 1987.

The advantages of “spring cleaning” AC maintenance

Spring is the season of air conditioning preparation. With worries about heaters fading with the winter, the spring offers a mild season when you can take care of your needs to combat the heat of the approaching summer. It’s also a time when HVAC companies have less crowded work schedules, making it easier to find a time for a maintenance appointment that is convenient for you.

Literal cleaning is a big part of what happens during maintenance. The technician will make sure your AC has a clean air filter to prevent loss of airflow. The components that can wear down from dirt and dust infestations, such as motors and fans, will receive necessary cleaning. If either the indoor or outdoor coils have started to develop grime that could hamper heat exchange, the technician will detach them and remove the dirt, and then put them back in place. This thorough cleaning will make sure the air conditioner runs at maximum efficiency and has the least amount of danger of developing malfunctions because of frozen coils or failed motors.

Maintenance goes past cleaning and includes adjustments, electrical connection tightening, and inspections for possible repair issues that will need addressing. If the technician finds any problems, he or she will help you schedule the repairs needed before the summer starts.

An AC with regular tune-ups will run, on average, 20% more efficiently than one that hasn’t received maintenance, and keep 95% of its efficiency over its lifetime if the maintenance is kept up. There’s less chance of a breakdown after a visit as well: of the 23 main causes of air conditioning failure, 16 are easily detected during maintenance. This will ultimately give you greater peace of mind for the summer.

Sign up for maintenance today

Take care of your air conditioning maintenance in Markham, ON while it’s still spring. Call Advantage Airtech today and speak to one of our technicians to schedule the spring cleaning for your AC.

Is Your Thermocouple Causing Problems?

April 8th, 2014

Heating maintenance in Toronto can encompass any number of issues and problems, ranging from the burners to the heat exchange. The thermocouple is designed for safety purposes: attached to the ignition system and regulating the flow of gas into the furnace. And like everything else, it runs into trouble from time to time. The good news is that you will probably know about it when it does. The bad news is that your furnace won’t operate until it’s fixed. That means heating system repair could be in order.

We have proudly provided heating maintenance in Toronto for over 25 years, and we offer 24-hour emergency assistance for those moments of life that don’t arrive at the ideal time.

Could your thermocouple be causing problems for your furnace? Here’s a little handy info to help with that question.

The thermocouple bases its function on two wires of different metals joined at either end. The connections between those metals create a voltage. The junction between them can be touched by the pilot light, or the electrical igniter in the case of more modern ignition systems. The voltage generated generates an electromagnet, which in turn controls the valve releasing the gas into the system. If the pilot light or ignition system doesn’t turn on, the thermocouple won’t engage this process and the gas won’t flow.

Again, that is actually good news, at least in terms of malfunctions. If any of those elements don’t work the way they should, if anything interferes with the system, then the valve remains closed and the gas won’t come on. Gas is dangerous, and regardless of the issue with the thermocouple, your house won’t be flooded with toxic flammable billows of it. However, that does make the thermocouple one of the most important parts of your furnace, and while it can probably sit for a few days in the summer, you can’t afford to waste a single minute in the winter.

That why, when your thermocouple is causing problems, the experts at Advantage Airtech are here to help.  Give us a call today to make an appointment, and let us fix or replace that faulty thermocouple with courtesy and care!

Which Needs More Repairs: A Furnace or a Boiler?

March 28th, 2014

Part of planning the installation of a new heating system in your home involves calculating long-term costs. This takes into account maintenance, fuel prices, and potential repair needs.

Homeowners searching for the right system to install often ask which type of heater will need more repairs, a boiler or a furnace.

On the surface, it seems like an easy question to answer. But many different factors come into play, and the real answer rests on individual cases. We can outline some of what must go into repairing furnaces and boilers to give you a sense of what you may need to deal with. For more in-depth information, and to schedule installation, call Advantage Airtech today. We have a long history with boiler and furnace repair in Scarborough, ON.

Repairs for Boilers and Furnaces

The easy answer to the question, “Do furnaces or boilers need more repairs?” is “furnaces need more.” Boilers are known in the HVAC world for their low number of repairs. The reason for this is that boilers have fewer moving mechanical parts than furnaces (and heat pumps). The major mechanical part on a boiler is the circulator pump; most of the remainder of the system works from hot water pressure and combustion gas.

However, a boiler with poor maintenance will have many more repair needs than a furnace with even average maintenance. Boilers will start to succumb to rust and leaks without proper care, and water leaks can be particularly destructive to a home.

Furnaces, although they generally require more repairs because there is more on them that can wear down, still require far fewer fixes than they once did because of modern construction and technology. A well-maintained furnace, with a regular visit from a technician once a year, should not have a significantly higher cost for repairs than a boiler. If a furnace warms up your home better than a boiler does—which is sometimes the case, as gas furnaces are among the most powerful heating systems—then it should be the clear choice for your heating. And if freezing pipes have caused problems in your house before, you might also consider leaving the boiler aside and opting for a furnace.

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance

Any heating system will need too many repairs if its owner neglects maintenance. Without it, neither a boiler nor a furnace is better than the other: they will both decay and drain money. Whatever your final choice for a heating system, make sure you enroll in a regular maintenance program.

Advantage Airtech will help you make the best choice for your home heating in Scarborough, whether it’s a gas furnace or a gas boiler. When the time comes that you need boiler or furnace repair, give us a call and schedule a service appointment..

Why Old Water Heaters Wear Out

March 21st, 2014

Water heaters, much like boilers, can survive for many years without encountering anything worse than an occasional repair need. If you make sure that your water heater receives annual maintenance to keep it in good shape, there’s no reason it shouldn’t survive for 20 years or more supplying you with a constant flow of hot water.

But nothing lasts forever, and even the best cared-for water heater will one day start to decline and eventually fail, requiring new installation. When that time arrives, get in touch with Advantage Airtech and speak to one of our specialists about our water heater services in Whitby, ON. We can help you find a new water heater that will do a superior job keeping your showers hot and your dishes clean.

What Causes Water Heaters to Wear Down?

The most common cause for an aging water heater to wear down is corrosion. Corrosion occurs wherever water and metal meet in the presence of oxygen. Water heater manufacturers design their product to resist corrosion as much as possible, and as long as you regularly replace the anode rod at the top of the tank (which prevents the oxidation in the tank that causes corrosion) you should never have to worry about water heater corrosion until late in its life cycle. Eventually, reaction with chemicals and sediment in the water will cause corrosion to develop inside the tank, and when that happens, it’s time to replace the heater with a new unit. If you have hard water in your pipes, this will probably happen sooner. (We suggest that you have a water softener installed for your home if this is the case.)

Sediment in general will cause a water heater to wear down. Sediment is any particle in the water that doesn’t dissolve. This includes minerals, sand, and dirt. A layer of sediment will start to build up in the tank. Regular tank flushing will usually eliminate this, but as the heater ages, more and more sediment will remain in the tank each time. Eventually, the sediment will start to clog valves and reduce the space in the tank until it starts overheating. Sediment will lead to a water heater producing less and less hot water.

You’ll know it’s time to replace your old water heater when you no longer receive sufficient hot water from it. With younger water heaters, repairs will usually fix the problem—but if you have a heater over 15 or 20 years old, it’s usually a sign it has worn down past the point of fixing.

Replace Your Old Water Heater With An Even Better One

Call Advantage Airtech when you are ready for a new water heater. Our technicians can recommend many advanced water heaters that they can professionally install, including tankless water heater systems. You’re certain to find the ideal water heater for your needs. When you’re in need of heating system services in Whitby, contact us today.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Heating Service Experts?

March 12th, 2014

People are always looking for ways to save money when it comes to their homes by taking on maintenance tasks themselves. We support this, but there are a few areas of home care where trying to accomplish the work on your own will end up costing you, not just in money in the long term, but in safety in the short term. One area where you should leave aside the “do-it-yourself” impulse is the installation, repair, and maintenance of your heating system. Nor should you relegate this work to amateurs who offer suspiciously low prices for their services.

Instead, call our heating service experts in Pickering, ON to work on your heater. At Advantage Airtech, we’ve delivered professional heating services Pickering and the Greater Toronto Area since 1987: we have experience you can trust.

Here Are Some of the Benefits of Relying on Experts:

  • Safety:
    Although there are many reasons to go to heating service experts instead of a) yourself or b) amateurs, the most important reason is safety. Since most homes use gas-powered furnaces or boilers, mistakes made during repairs or installation can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide leaks, which are toxic and combustible. This is not a chance you ever want to take. Even electrical systems pose their own danger from high voltage shocks. Experts take all the necessary precautions and then go beyond them to make sure you and your home remain safe.
  • Repairs that last:
    An amateur can tinker around with a heating system for a stretch and perhaps repair a minor problem—or at least, make it seem repaired. It’s unlikely a technician without the proper training, skills, and tools will manage a permanent repair. You will probably need to schedule repairs again a short time later.
  • Work done right the first time:
    Having a repair done incorrectly is sometimes worse than not having it done at all. (See “safety” above for one reason why.) Expert heating technicians will not leave your heater until they are certain they have targeted the repair that needed work and gotten the job done right.
  • Fair and honest pricing:
    This doesn’t apply to work you try to do on your own (although you’ll cheat yourself out of quality), but with amateurs you’ll never quite know what you’re paying for. Experts handle all jobs, from repairs and installation to maintenance with professional courtesy that makes certain you know what work needs to be done, what work was done, and how much it will cost.

Taking the do-it-yourself approach or calling up amateurs may seem like it will save money, but the price can turn out to be high. Avoid this mistake: have the work done right and safely so you won’t end up needing unnecessary work done only months later. In Pickering, ON, home heating services from Advantage Airtech can bring you the professionalism you need for your heater.

3 Things to Consider When Installing a New Boiler

March 7th, 2014

Few heating systems available today can offer you the advantages of a gas-powered boiler. With superb fuel efficiency and low-repair maintenance leading to many years of service, a boiler is a heating option that will return many times its installation cost.

Since 1987, Advantage Airtech has helped homeowners in Ajax, ON with boiler installation. Keep these following three things in mind when you plan for your boiler installation, and then give us a call to get started.

3 Things to Keep in Mind for Boiler Installation

  • Fuel source: Boilers, much like furnaces, can run from different power sources. Modern boilers usually run from natural gas, electricity, or oil. However, of the different models, gas boilers are the most popular because of their efficiency and low cost of operation. If you do not have a gas line into your home, than a boiler may not be the optimal choice for you. Talk to installers about your options.
  • Sizing: To work properly, a boiler needs to be “sized” to fit your home’s heating needs. A boiler too large or too small for your home will lead to problems and a short life for the unit. This is one of the reasons you need to have professionals involved from the start of the installation process: correctly sizing a boiler requires precision calculations that take into account multiple factors about your home. Professionals will also help you avoid the common mistake of going for a larger boiler than you need; there is such a thing as “too much heating power,” which will cause a boiler to short cycle and wear down much faster.
  • Pipe insulation: A problem that boilers can face during a tough Ontario winter is freezing in their pipes. Should this occur, the pressure increase can cause the pipes to burst. The pipes of boilers need insulation and protection as much as the pipes of your plumbing system. With the help of professional installers, you can rest assured that your boiler system will be installed with the proper insulation to prevent pipe-freeze during low temperatures.

You Need Professional Installation

Trying to go “do-it-yourself” for boiler installation can be disastrous. Hiring amateurs for the work can turn out almost as badly. You’ll likely end up with a boiler the wrong size that has numerous leaks from shoddy connections. You’ll save time and money with skilled professional handling the work from the start.

At Advantage Airtech, we specialize in gas boiler installation and a variety of other heating services in Ajax, ON. We are a full-service heating and cooling company with 24-hour service whenever you need repairs. Make us your first call when you think you’d like boiler installation for your home.

End-of-Season Heating Considerations

February 28th, 2014

The winter isn’t over yet, but we are heading into the last stretch of the deep cold. We hope that so far you haven’t had to struggle with your heating in Markham, ON and that you’ve enjoyed a warm house during the chilly months. However, don’t let your heating go slack during the final leg! Here are some important considerations for the end of the season.

Advantage Airtech has served the Greater Toronto Canada Area since 1987: we know how to bring your heating system the work it needs to keep it running no matter the time of the year. For repairs, maintenance, and more, give us a call.

Are There Any Current Repair Needs?

If so, don’t put them off until heating season starts again. You should always have heating system repairs done as soon as you detect a problem. A malfunction that goes without repairs can turn into a safety issue (especially with gas-powered heaters), and the fault will almost certainly get worse without attention. You don’t want to turn your heater on during the fall only to have it immediately start malfunctioning, or worse, break down entirely. Get the problems fixed now so you won’t have to worry about it later.

Should You Schedule Regular Maintenance?

Heating maintenance is usually done in the fall, before the cold weather starts, while air conditioning maintenance is done in the spring. However, if you neglected to have heating maintenance done in the fall, or were unable to schedule it, it’s never too late to have it done. You should have an easy time scheduling it as the regular heating season ends, since technicians will have more open calendars.

Is It Time For a Heating System Replacement?

This is also the time of year when you should consider the long-term for your heater. If the system is old (check the manufacturer’s expected lifetime to see if the unit has exceeded it), it might be a good time to have your heating system replaced so you’ll be prepared for next season. If you experienced more repairs than normal during this winter, or if the heater simply seemed to be performing less effectively and costing more to run, you should also look into having a replacement done as spring arrives.

Advantage Airtech is here to assist you no matter the season. If you’re in need of an experienced heating service in Markham, ON as the cold weather starts to wind down, our experienced technicians are ready to help you. Call us today for repairs, maintenance, or to discuss options for new heater installation.

Why Experience Matters in Furnace Maintenance

February 19th, 2014

Furnaces are the most common of all home heating systems, and they operate off a basic principle: the furnace burns fuel to raise the temperature of air inside its cabinet, and a blower fan then sends the heated air through conduits to vents where it spreads out into living spaces.

This simplicity is something of an illusion, however. Modern furnaces are complex devices with many mechanisms designed to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. You cannot provide the regular maintenance they need unless you have both training and experience. Instead, make a call to Advantage Airtech, where we have almost three decades of experience working on furnace maintenance in Toronto, ON, and sign up for our maintenance program.

Experienced Technicians and Your Furnace

The main reason you need experienced technicians for furnace maintenance is because of safety. This applies to all types of furnaces, but gas furnaces in particular. Maintaining a gas furnace requires checking on the gas line, gas valve, and burners. Training can tell you what to look for, but only experience can tell you all the possible problems that might develop inside the gas system. Even more important, only experience can tell you how to safely investigate systems hooked to gas lines. Electric furnaces can become hazards as well because of faulty wiring, and only years of work will help a maintenance technician target where electrical problems may lie.

The second reason experience matters for furnace maintenance is because it’s necessary for the proper handling of the equipment involved. Furnace maintenance doesn’t require a few store-bought tools; trained technicians need special analyzers to test airflow and power. The longer they’ve had working with these tools, the better.

Finally, experience is important because furnace technology is constantly evolving. Where once pilot lights ignited the gas burners, now electrical ignitions do it. Where thermocouples used to monitor heat inside the cabinet, now mercury sensors do the job. It takes years of constant work to absorb and learn all of these new technologies—and to stay on top of the new ones.

When Experience Matters, Call Advantage Airtech

Since 1987, Advantage Airtech has served Toronto, ON with heating maintenance that keeps furnaces and heat pumps humming throughout the winter. We are proud of the experience and knowledge of our team of technicians, and they are on-call 24-hours a day. “Reliability. Professional Service. Value.” That’s the Advantage Airtech difference.

Other Anniversaries of Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014

For more than a hundred years, people in countries around the world have marked the 14th day of February as a time for lovers to give each other gifts and for children to write cards to each other and eat heart-shaped candy. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only important event to occur on February 14th. There are many other anniversaries to mark on this day. Here are a few:

1400 – The death of King Richard II: The same English king whose engagement resulted in the first love poem mentioning Valentine’s Day (from court poet Geoffrey Chaucer) dies in prison in Pontefract Castle after his cousin Henry overthrows him. He probably starved to death, although another famous author, William Shakespeare, would portray his death as murder.

1859 – Hello, Oregon: The Oregon Country is admitted to the United States of America as the 33rd state.

1876 – Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for his new invention, the telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, applies the same day for a similar device, sparking a long controversy over who invented what first.

1912 – Hello, Arizona: Continuing the statehood tradition that Oregon established, the Territory of Arizona is admitted to the U.S. as the 48th state. Women are granted the right to vote in Arizona the same year, eight years before the rest of the nation.

1929 – The world’s most infamous mob hit: Unknown assailants shoot down seven people in Chicago, IL. Six of the dead are gangsters in the mob of Bugs Moran, an enemy of Al Capone in the business of selling Prohibition bootleg liquor. No one is ever arrested or charged for the crime—but there isn’t much doubt who masterminded it.

1931 – “I am… Dracula”: The most influential vampire movie ever made, and the start of Universal Studio’s famous monsters series, Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, premieres in theaters. Universal cannily uses Valentine’s Day to promote the film as “The Story of the Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known!”

1961 – The Periodic Table becomes larger: The 103rd chemical element, Lawrencium, is discovered at the University of California. The name comes from the laboratory where it is synthesized, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

2005 – Now it’s easy to watch funny animal videos: A group of college students launch a video sharing website call YouTube.

Even if Valentine’s Day itself isn’t a major holiday for you, February 14th has many reasons to celebrate—unless you are a member of Bugs Moran’s gang or a supporter of Richard II. All of us at Advantage Airtech would like to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, however you observe it.

Why Is Moisture a Concern with Furnaces?

February 7th, 2014

Moisture in contact with metal can lead to corrosion, and corrosion in turn weakens metal, eventually causing it to crumble away to nothing. When it comes to metal appliances in your home, corrosion is one of the #1 enemies.

But how does this apply to a furnace? Unlike a boiler, which circulates water as part of its operation, a furnace does not use water to work. It seems strange that a furnace might rust because of moisture, unless there was a flood in the basement where the furnace cabinet is located.

However, furnaces can and do rust because of moisture exposure. When corrosion starts, you’ll need repairs fast or you may end up needing to replace your furnace entirely. We’ll go over why you can encounter moisture concerns with your furnace in Markham, ON.

Call the experienced technicians at Advantage Airtech for all of your heating service needs in Markham.

Moisture and your furnace

Moisture can occur inside your furnace from three different sources. The first is from dampness that can enter through the ductwork from outside. This is most often a problem when the ducts develop leaks that let in external air.

The second source is from trouble with your air conditioner. Usually, an air conditioner sits directly above the furnace unit. If the air conditioner’s condensate pan drain becomes plugged, the water collected from the condensing coil will start to overflow and drip out. If this water gets into the furnace, it will rapidly promote rust. The moment you notice water dripping from the bottom of your furnace, you need to call for both heating and air conditioning repair.

The third source comes from poor exhaust venting inside the furnace. When the combustion gas inside the heat exchangers of a furnace cools down, it turns into a liquid vapor. The reaction between this exhaust vapor and the heat exchangers will eventually cause corrosion; however, the exhaust quickly vents outside through a flue. If this venting becomes inefficient, it will speed the corrosive action between the combustion gas and the metal. A corroded heat exchanger is potentially very dangerous, since cracking along it will permit the escape of carbon monoxide into the cabinet.

Time to replace?

Unfortunately, corrosion on a furnace is often a sign that the system is coming to the end of its service lifetime. If your furnace is over 20 years old and it begins to rust, you should probably schedule a replacement installation before a full break down occurs.

Advantage Airtech has brought quality heating and air conditioning to the Greater Toronto Area since 1987. When you need help with your furnace in Markham, ON, whether because of corrosion or any other repair need, make us your first call.