Advantage Airtech Blog

Troubleshooting the Circulator Pump of a Gas Boiler

January 22nd, 2015

Boilers are some of the most effective heating systems out there because they fill the room with warmth. Forced-air heating systems heat up air to blow into a room, and it often results in spotty heating and uneven temperatures throughout the home.  Hot water boilers simply use circulator pumps to move hot water from the tank into the various rooms in the house including via an endpoint like a radiator, convector unit, or a series of pipes under the floorboards. It may be surprising when the boiler suddenly stops working as it should. But if the problem is only with a smaller part like the circulator, you may be able to have a professional simply replace the part.

Potential Problems with the Circulator Pumps

A circulator pump may run into any of the following problems over time, all of which require a professional to repair or replace the part.

  • Leaking at the Pump: The circulator pump both a pump and a connecting piece, which is why water may sometimes leak from an older pump, one that has worn down, or a pump that was not properly installed. It may wear down because of the high water pressure it handles every day. It may cause reduced heating due to the hot water deficiency.
  • Pump Not Running: If the pump is not working at all, it may only need replacement. It could also be a sign of an electrical problem like a broken relay.
  • Pump Only Works Intermittently: A pump that only works sporadically or only starts up sometimes could also be suffering from electrical trouble. It could also be a sign of a damaged valve in the pump.
  • Hot Water Only Pumps to Some Areas of the House: When hot eater only reaches some areas of the home, it could indicate an electrical malfunction. On the other hand, it could be an issue with the setup of the zone control system in a larger house.
  • Noisy Pump: A circulator pump should be fairly quiet. A noisy pump may have air inside of it that a professional can purge using a bleeding valve. It can also be a mechanical issue like a loose bearing.

At Advantage Airtech, we have experience diagnosing and repairing all kinds of problems with gas boilers in Whitby. Give us a call!

Is Your Thermostat Responsible for Your Heating System Repair Needs?

January 15th, 2015

It has the ultimate control over our heating system, but it is often the most overlooked item when the heating system needs repair: your thermostat. Your thermostat tells your heating system when to turn on and off, making it the control center for your heater. When your heater is operating poorly, or won’t come on at all, the thermostat should be the first place to check for heating system repair in Pickering. Why? Because your thermostats can malfunction and break just as any other part of your heating or cooling system can. Here are some common problems our Advantage Airtech technicians see with thermostats:

  • Dust and dirt – the instrumentation inside your thermostat is delicate; as such, a layer of dust and/or dirt can affect how the instrumentation works, which can cause problems with overall operation.
  • Thermostat isn’t level – thermostats need to be level in order to work correctly; a tilted thermostat may read the temperature wrong, which will affect when the thermostat cues your heater to turn on and off.
  • There’s a short – thermostats run on electricity which makes them as likely to develop as short as any other small electronic device. The best way to check if there’s a short is to see if a breaker has tripped in your electrical box.
  • It’s drafty – good placement is critical for correct temperature readings. If your thermostat is next to windows or doors, drafts can affect the thermostat’s readings.
  • The heat anticipator is off – the heat anticipator tells your heater how long it should stay on; if it isn’t calibrated correctly, your system may do what’s called short-cycling: constantly turn on and off. Your technician will know exactly how to fix the anticipator.
  • Corroded or frayed wiring – the wires inside your thermostat can become corroded or frayed over time, which will affect how they operate. Your technician can replace these wires during a repair appointment.

Problems with your thermostat can increase the wear and tear on your heating system, which can contribute to malfunction and aging.

If you suspect your thermostat may have a problem, contact Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment for heating system repair in Pickering.

Is a Heat Pump Enough for Heating in Scarborough?

January 8th, 2015

When you’re looking for a new heating and air conditioning solution in Scarborough, you may have found advice online recommending a heat pump. Heat pumps are used to replace both heaters and air conditioners, using refrigeration technology to both move heat out of a home in the summertime and bring heat inside in colder weather.

But will you get enough heating power from heat pump installation in Scarborough? Well, most likely, you’ll need an alternate source of heating installed as well. But this doesn’t mean you should write off heat pumps entirely. A heat pump is an efficient way to heat and cool and can help you to save money since you’ll only use your gas furnace sparingly.

How Heat Pumps Work for Heating

Heat pumps use refrigerant to move heat from one area to another, just like standard air conditioners do. Refrigerant has the ability to readily convert from a liquid to a gas and back again, given the right circumstances. When refrigerant evaporates into a gas, it can absorb heat, and when it condenses into a liquid, heat dissipates. With a standard air conditioner or a heat pump set in cooling mode, refrigerant absorbs heat at the indoor evaporator coil as a blower fan moves the warm air from your home over the coil. This heat is released outside at the condenser coil and the process begins again.

When a heat pump is set in heating mode, a setting made possible due to a special part called a reversing valve, refrigerant moves in the opposite direction. This means it can move heat from the outside of your house back indoors, even in very cool temperatures. However, when the temperature drops below freezing, you will likely need an alternate heating source, like a furnace.

While this may seem like an added cost, it’s important to note that a heat pump is efficient because it takes far less energy to move heat than it does to generate heat. This means that you can save money using your gas heater less frequently, and protect the lifespan of your furnace as well.

The experts at Advantage Airtech can help you to save money on your heating and air conditioning bills with professional heat pump installation in Scarborough.

Why Is There No Heat on One Floor of My Commercial Property?

January 5th, 2015

You may own or manage a very large commercial property, but even if there is a problem with the heating on only one floor, you’re bound to find out about it soon. When one floor of your multi-story commercial property has to go without heat, your business suffers. In order to keep clients, customers, employees, and/or residents happy, it’s important to get the trouble repaired as quickly as possible.

Always trust commercial specialist with large-scale commercial heating service in Ajax, like the friendly folks at Advantage Airtech.

While you wait for a technician to repair the issue, you may begin to wonder, why would heat cut out in only one area of the building? One possible culprit is the thermostat. This surprises many business owners to hear, but the thermostat is responsible for communicating to the heater when it is time to turn on, so a malfunctioning thermostat is a likely possibility. And the issue could occur on just one floor because most commercial properties have a zoning system that allows each floor, office, room, or zone to be controlled individually.

On the other hand, the commercial control system may be responsible as well. All commercial heating and air conditioning units have a main electric control system that automatically directs the supply fan, valves, and safety controls. A faulty controller may keep a damper or a fan from operating, which means it will not let warm air through the vent.

If your business heats via a commercial steam or hot water boiler, the issue may have to do with the circulator that directs hot water to that area of the property. A circulator pump could need replacement, or it may need to be rewired if there is an electrical issue.

Remember to call on commercial specialists for your repair needs. Residential technicians are often ill-equipped to handle such a large task. Commercial specialists are trained on these types of units with complex zoning setups and can address your issues quickly and accurately.

For your next repair, maintenance, or installation need for commercial heating in Ajax, call Advantage Airtech, serving the Greater Toronto area since 1987.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Advantage Airtech hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

5 Facts about Santa Claus

December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  2. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  3. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  4. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  5. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at Advantage Airtech, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

A Guide to the Different Types of Gas Ignition Systems

December 18th, 2014

If you’re used to gas furnaces that break down frequently, pilot lights that won’t seem to stay on, or an inefficient, low-performance unit, you may be wary about purchasing a new furnace for installation. But never fear: modern furnaces contain a variety of safety features and controls that allow them to be far more efficient than ever before and offer improved performance as well. Besides, today’s furnaces don’t actually use standing pilots, which cuts costs and involves much less of a hassle. In this guide, we’ll show you some of the new ignition systems for furnaces, so you can see for yourself that a new furnace may still be a viable option for heating installation in Pickering.

Standing Pilot

A standing pilot must remain lit throughout the day so that heat can be made available at any time. Today’s manufacturers no longer produce standing pilot models, for a few good reasons. For one, standing pilots consume a lot of energy, as they require gas to flow at all times. Most standing pilot furnaces only have a 50-65% AFUE rating (annual fuel efficiency utilization) meaning they only use about half of the energy they consume to heat a space.

Intermittent Pilot

An intermittent pilot solves a couple of problems common to older units. Electronic components open the gas valve and put out a spark only when the furnace needs to switch on, allowing for greater efficiency as it will only run for the length of time that it is necessary. They can have an AFUE of well over 90%, a significant improvement over old furnaces. They’re also a lot safer, as most modern units contain more safety features and control switches and there’s a lower risk of a sudden blast from an overfilled combustion tank.

Hot Surface Ignition

An even more efficient option may be hot surface ignition. Hot surface ignition systems are made of silicon carbide, a material which conducts heat easily when energized. The hot surface ignition system is one of the most popular ignition methods for today’s units. They are very tough, and can last a long time with proper care and maintenance.

Contact Advantage Airtech to learn which of these furnace features is best for your home when you schedule heating installation in Pickering.

Power Vented or Gravity Vented Water Heater: Which Do I Need?

December 12th, 2014

Water heaters are essential in any household, but there are so many different types available that it may be difficult to decide which unit is best for your new home. Do you need a tank or tankless water unit? And what size should it be? Gas-fired or electric? These are all questions to discuss with an installation technician, but one question many people don’t know to ask is whether they need a gravity vented or power vented water heater.

The gravity-vented water heater is the most common category of gas-fired water heaters. These involve the installation of a conventional gas-fired storage tank water heater and some piping to connect the unit to an exhaust pipe or chimney. This is so that the combustion gases formed as a by-product of heat production have someplace to go, instead of posing a fire hazard or the threat of contamination.

Power vents are somewhat less common and may be more expensive to install initially, but offer their advantages. They won’t need to be hooked up to a vent pipe or chimney, so for some home designs and placement choices, this is ideal or necessary. Instead they vent combustion gases through a vent installed directly on the wall near the heater. An existing vent pipe sometimes restricts the capacity of the water heater that can be installed, but when you choose power vents, the vent can be sized so that it is large enough to accommodate any sized water heater.

As a warning, however, a power vent water heater can ONLY be used with the separate ventilation system. If it is installed incorrectly, or if your installer attempts to hook it up to the chimney or an existing vent pipe, it could result in dangerous consequences for your home, including the potential for a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Always rely on specialists anytime you are dealing with combustion gases.

It’s difficult to say which type of water heater you need, as a trained expert is the best person to decide what’s right for your home.

Call Advantage Airtech to learn more about gravity vented units or installing power vents in Whitby.

What Can Go Wrong with D-I-Y Heating Installation?

December 4th, 2014

D-I-Y projects are all the rage right now, as online tutorials and forums provide many “do-it-yourselfers” with the ability to perform repairs, make something new, find a creative outlet, or assemble and install a new home fixture. While tinkering with a new recipe, building an arbor, or figuring out how to install that new DVD player may all be jobs you can do with little experience and some help from a D-I-Y guidebook or website, there’s a reason that heating and air conditioning installers go through years of training before they are considered experts: it’s simply not a job for amateurs.

You’re spending a good amount of money on your new heating system, so it’s only natural to look for ways to cut corners and save some extra cash. However, attempting a home installation can actually end up costing you far more than you save in the long run, so that it may hardly seem worth it in the end.

Any type of heating system—whether it’s a forced-air unit like a furnace or a hydronic heating system that involves the use of a boiler or hot water heater—is generally large and complex. There are many moving parts that must be secured in a particular way, and a technician with a trained eye can best ensure everything is where it should be for proper installation. When just one part of your system is a bit off, all of the other parts have to work harder to keep up which could lead to broken down parts and frequent repair.

Of course, the worst case scenario is that you’ll need heating replacement. Unfortunately, this is all too common in homes where the heating system is improperly sized or secured. Heating systems must be the right capacity for the necessary heating load in your home. Sizing involves some complicated equations, and if it is too small, your heater will not provide adequate temperatures and could break down early from the over-exhaustion. Similarly, one that is too large will run frequently, wearing down some key parts.

One of the final reasons you should always consider professional installation first is the possible risk to your health and safety. In order for a system to generate heat, it usually also produces by-products like carbon monoxide and water vapor, but an expert can ensure there are no leaks that threaten your home.

Contact Advantage Airtech for professional, succinct heating installation in Pickering and the surrounding areas today.

Why More and More Homeowners Choose In-Floor Heating

November 26th, 2014

Are you looking for a better way to heat your home than what you’ve had in the past? In-floor radiant heating comes highly recommended from our customers and from heating experts all over the world. Many people with in-floor heating boast of greater comfort and energy savings. In this guide, learn for yourself why new homeowners choose to install in-floor heating in place of a radiator or forced-air heating system.

In-floor heating involves the installation of a hydronic heating system (some type of hot water heater or boiler in the home) and a piping system underneath the floor boards. Often, this installation is done in new homes, but it can certainly be retrofitted into older homes as well. A boiler produces hot water which then moves through a network of piping that runs underneath the floors. Radiant heating is emitted and your entire home fills with heat quickly and efficiently.

The Advantages of Radiant Heat

Radiant heating is often described as more comfortable than forced-air heating. A forced-air heating system such as a furnace warms the air and then blows it into the home so that it can warm people. But this means that the warmest part of the home is the area directly in front of the vents. Because heat rises, much of the warm air moves upward, so it can take a long time for your home to truly feel warm with a furnace.

Besides, forced-air heating systems can use up a lot of energy and may be more prone to breakdowns as there are more electro-mechanical parts. And there is a high chance that heat can escape from the ducts before much of it reaches your home. Poor insulation and duct leaks are reasons that as much as 30% of the energy your system uses to produce heat isn’t used to heat the majority of homes.

Radiant heat instead provides a consistent warmth in a room as heat radiates to every object and person that comes into contact with the floor. Imagine stepping out of bed in the morning to a floor that feels warm to the touch. Radiant heat also saves energy and is considered healthier as you don’t have to worry about particles cycling through the ducts.

Learn more about how you can get unsurpassed comfort and greater savings Advantage Airtech offers many choices for heating in Ajax and the surrounding areas.