Advantage Airtech Blog

How to Tell if You Need a Heat Recovery Ventilator

October 15th, 2014

Today’s homes are more energy efficient than ever. This is great for you, your family, your home and your wallet, but it can be a problem for your indoor air quality. The problem is that a home that is too air-tight may not have enough ventilation. But there is a solution that provides fresh air and better energy efficiency: a heat recovery ventilator in Manchester. Heat recovery ventilators, also known as HRVs, can help you achieve better ventilation and indoor air quality while also saving energy. We’ll explain how the device works below, but as with any upgrade to your heating system, it’s important to hire professionals for installation. Since 1987, Advantage Airtech has been helping customers with heating, cooling and indoor air quality, and we have the products and trained technicians to help you with any of your HVAC needs.

What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator is a device that exhausts the stale, warm air from your indoors and brings in the cool, fresh air from the outdoors. While the two air streams are in the HRV, the heat energy from the outgoing stale air is used to warm up the incoming cool air; this is done in the device’s heat exchanger, and the air streams do not cross. Small fans help to exhaust the stale indoor air and bring in fresh, cool air, and a filter in the system removes particles from the incoming air. The result is a constant stream of fresh, pre-treated air flowing into your HVAC system.

Do I need an HRV?

Here are some signs that you need an HRV:

  • Stuffy indoor air – when your home is too air-tight, there isn’t enough fresh air circulating; the result can be a stuffy feeling in your home.
  • Condensation on windows and surfaces – without proper ventilation, moisture can build up inside; if there is enough moisture, condensation can form on the inside of windows and on surfaces.
  • Excess dust – the average household creates 40 pounds of dust per year. This dust will circulate throughout your home and, without proper ventilation, can build to excess.

An HRV can help you have fresh, clean air in your home while helping to reduce the stress on your heating system with pre-treated incoming air.

If you’ve been struggling with the ventilation in your home, call Advantage Airtech and schedule an appointment to discuss how a heat recovery ventilator in Manchester can help you.

Some Things to Keep in Mind When Replacing an Older Gas Boiler

October 8th, 2014

Replacing an older boiler can offer a number of benefits, but certain steps and considerations should be taken to ensure that your gas boiler installation in Bowmanville goes as smoothly as possible. One of these steps is to work with a trained professional. The experts at Advantage Airtech are here to help you choose and install your new gas boiler, so call us today.

Factors to Keep in Mind

Here are a few things to keep in mind before installing a new gas boiler:

Correct Sizing

Whenever you plan to install any kind of whole-home heating or cooling system, it is critical that you purchase the correct size. Knowing your square footage is only one factor in the heating load calculation; you also need to factor in:

  • Insulation levels
  • Types of windows and doors, and how many
  • Floor plan
  • Number of occupants
  • Number of stories
  • Your home’s orientation
  • Daytime heat gain

When your system isn’t the right size, a few things can happen. With a system that is too small, you won’t be able to heat properly, and you run the risk of having a system that runs constantly in order to achieve the heating you want. This can lead to burnout, breakdown and premature aging. Conversely, a system that is too big may heat too quickly, which can result in short-cycling: the constant turning on and off of your heating system.

Energy Efficiency

Today’s systems are very energy efficient, but some may be more energy efficient than others. The best way to assess a specific model’s efficiency is to review its AFUE rating – its annual fuel utilization efficiency. For instance, a boiler with a 90% AFUE means that it puts out 90 BTUs of useful heating for every 100 BTUs of gas that it uses; the 10% loss represents the energy that goes out your heating system’s flue. High efficiency systems average between 90-98% AFUE.

Benefits of Replacement

Lastly, you want to keep in mind the benefits you’ll gain by replacing your aging system:

  • Better energy efficiency
  • Better indoor comfort
  • Reliability
  • Longer lifespan of equipment

If you think it’s time to replace your gas boiler in Bowmanville, call the heating professionals you can count on: Advantage Airtech.

What Are the Best Ways to Prevent the Need for Heating System Repair?

October 1st, 2014

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It may be a cliché, but it’s true nonetheless. The longer it’s been since you last had your heating system checked, the higher the risk of something breaking. So, the key to avoiding having to repair or replace expensive parts is to have your heating system checked at least once a year. The question then becomes, when is the best time to have your heating system checked? Let’s take a look at the benefits of conducting fall maintenance.

Reliability

The two biggest factors that determine your risk of a heating breakdown are:

  1. How long it has been since your last maintenance and
  2. How often you are using the unit.

Combining these two can give you a fairly accurate assessment of your heating system’s health. If you haven’t had your heating system checked in two years and you’re using it every day, your system is probably in pretty bad shape. The optimal way to address both of these factors is to schedule your regular maintenance right before the months when you use the most heat. That is, shortly before the winter months. This ensures that your heating system is healthy enough to deal with the increased demand during the winter.

Efficiency

As mentioned above, the longer your system goes without maintenance, the more it will degrade. This doesn’t have to result in a breakdown to have a deleterious effect on the efficiency of your heater. Parts will begin to wear down, causing your heating system not to function at peak performance. You could develop cold spots in your home, or longer wait between adjusting the thermostat and reaching the desired temperature. Regular fall maintenance will not only ensure that your heating system won’t break down, but that it will operate as it was intended.

Don’t let yourself freeze because of a broken heater. Call Advantage Airtech today!

If you haven’t scheduled your annual heating system maintenance, call Advantage Airtech. We conduct heating system repair and maintenance throughout the entire Toronto area.

Signs to Call for Repairs for Your Hydronic Heating System

September 24th, 2014

You don’t have to be an expert to know when it’s time to repair your hydronic heating system in Oshawa. All you need is to be aware of the signs that there may be problems developing with your system. Some signs are more obvious than others, as we’ll discuss in more detail, but one of the most important aspects of any repair is hiring a company that has the professionals who are trained to fix your heating system correctly and efficiently, like the ones from Advantage Airtech. Our technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can help with any heating repair you may have.

Signs It’s Time to Call for a Professional

There are a few common signs that your heating system may need repair:

  • No heat – when your heating system won’t turn on at all, there is clearly a problem. There are a number of things that can cause a break down, so it’s best to call a professional.
  • Not enough heat – is your thermostat set to one temperature but your home isn’t that warm? Uneven heating can be an indication of several problems, ranging from issues with the piping system to a kinked fuel line, so let a trained expert figure it out.
  • Water leaks – with a hydronic system, it is not uncommon to develop a problem with leaks. Leaks can occur at the heat distribution point (radiators, etc.) with the piping or with the boiler. Leaks can cause corrosion and/or a drop in pressure, both of which can be problematic for your system.
  • Some radiators work, some don’t – are some of your radiators/baseboards producing heat while others aren’t? This can be indicative of an issue with the piping, a problem with a circulator pump or an issue with the radiator or baseboard.

It can be tempting to ignore the signs of problems, particularly if your heating system is still working. The thing to remember is that problems do not resolve on their own and they usually become worse.

Don’t let your hydronic heating system in Oshawa become run-down or break down from malfunction; call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

When Is the Right Time to Schedule Heating Maintenance?

September 17th, 2014

As we head into fall and cooler temperatures, our attention turns to preparing for the winter. An important step to take in this preparation is scheduling heating system maintenance in Markham. Waking up in a cold house because your furnace has gone out is an experience no one likes to have, and conducting maintenance on your heating system can help prevent this from occurring. Fall offers a great time to schedule a maintenance appointment, but if you haven’t maintained your heating system in 12 months or more, any time is a good time to schedule a maintenance appointment, so call Advantage Airtech today.

Why Schedule Maintenance?

There are a few reasons why it’s important to schedule maintenance for your heating system this fall

  • Energy efficiency – dirt and grime build up on your heating system, which can reduce the performance of your system. Additionally, parts may be out of alignment from last winter, and it’s important to re-align these parts to ensure proper operation. Overall, a well-maintained system works better than one that’s not, and will use less energy as a result..
  • Helps prevent future repairs – during annual maintenance, your heating system is thoroughly inspected, allowing the technician to detect any existing or developing problems.
  • Safety – during a heating maintenance appointment, ventilation is checked to ensure that no toxic fumes infiltrate your home – this is particularly important for those with gas heaters. Fuel lines are also checked to make sure there aren’t any issues that could cause problems.

What Happens During a Maintenance Appointment?

Here are the general overviews of what happens during heating maintenance appointments:

Furnace and Boiler:

  • Safety check of your furnace or boiler for the presence of carbon monoxide
  • Clean furnace filters and ensure that your heating unit has the proper size of filter
  • Inspect the condition of the blower wheel and clean it if necessary
  • Check combustion chamber and heat exchanger for proper functioning
  • Clean burner compartment
  • Check pilot safety timing or flame sensor and replace the thermocouple if needed
  • Inspect burner flame to ensure gas and air adjustment and clean burner
  • Ensure that the chimney of your home or business vents warm air properly
  • Check all motors and belts
  • Lubricate all moving parts

Heat Pumps:

  • Lubricate as needed
  • Check defrost cycle and reversing valve operation
  • Adjust air volume for maximum efficiency
  • Check safety devices and electrical connections for tightness
  • Check blower belt wear, tension and alignment
  • Check for oil and refrigerant leaks
  • Test electrical controls for proper operation
  • Check refrigerant level
  • Check refrigerant controls and coil temperature for maximum efficiency
  • Replace air filter
  • Check condensate drain

Get ahead of this winter by scheduling a heating system maintenance appointment in Markham with Advantage Airtech. Call us today!

How a Heat Recovery Ventilator Can Increase Indoor Air Quality

September 10th, 2014

Energy efficiency is a great thing for you, your family, your home and your finances – but not so much for your indoor air quality and ventilation. With all the buttoning-up we do with our homes, we may be losing necessary fresh air, which can be unhealthy for us and our homes. But there is a way to keep fresh air coming into your home during winter without throwing open a window and losing your heat: a heat recovery ventilator. And in the North York area, there is no company better equipped to handle this type of installation than Advantage Airtech.

What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator, also known as an HRV, is a device that provides consistent, fresh air while helping with energy efficiency.

How Does an HRV Work?

An HRV is a ventilation system that has two fans: one that removes the stale indoor air and another that brings in fresh air. What separates an HRV from a regular ventilation system is the heat-exchanger core. This core transfers the heat energy from your warm, stale indoor air to the cold, outdoor incoming air. The airstreams never mix, so there is no cross-pollution, but the design of the core allows for the energy from the warm, indoor air to pre-heat the incoming cold air. HRVs can recover up to 85% of the heat from the outgoing airstream, helping to greatly increase your energy efficiency while also maintaining a constant stream of fresh, clean air.

How Does an HRV Increase Indoor Air Quality?

There are a couple of ways an HRV can increase your indoor air quality:

  • Constant fresh air – as we’ve mentioned, an HRV allows for a steady stream of fresh air into your home.
  • Filters particulates – HRVs contain filters that can remove dirt, dust, pollen and other particles from the incoming air.

An HRV can increase your energy efficiency, your comfort levels and your indoor air quality, and installation is seamless as the device is added directly to your HVAC system.

If you think an HRV could help you and your home, call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Repairs a Geothermal System May Need

September 3rd, 2014

One of the benefits of a geothermal heating and cooling system for a home is the number of years it can last without needing serious repairs. The ground loops can endure for more than 50 years, while the indoor heat pump elements are often in solid shape for more than 20 years. But repair needs are still a possibility, even with the most stringent annual maintenance. You should always turn to geothermal professionals when you need fixes for your ground-source heat pump, since they can ensure that the work is done quickly and correctly.

Advantage Airtech has kept homes in the Greater Toronto Area comfortable since 1987, and we are experienced with geothermal services. If it’s time for geothermal system repair in Toronto, ON, make us your first call.

Some occasional repair needs for a geothermal heat pump

  • Sealing ground loop leaks: The plastic loops that carry the refrigerant (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) through the ground and to the heat exchanger in the heat pump are made of tough material that resists corrosion and leaking. Nonetheless, leaks can sometimes occur, and if you detect a loss of heating or cooling power from your geothermal system, this leaking might be the issue. Geothermal specialists can pinpoint where the leaks are occurring using a dye inserted into the system, and afterwards they will use targeted excavation to reach the damaged loop and seal it with the least amount of disruption to your property.
  • Acid flushing the loops: Some ground-source heat pumps use an open loop system where they bring in water from the municipal system. This outside water can carry deposits that will build up inside the loops and cause a spike in water pressure. Technicians can easily remedy these with an acid flush sent through the loops to clear them out.
  • Repairs to the heat exchanger: The antifreeze solution in the ground loops is not what runs through the indoor heat pump to either absorb or release heat. Instead, the antifreeze goes into a heat exchanger and adds or absorbs heat from standard refrigerant, and this refrigerant is what enters the heat pump’s coil. Problems in the heat exchanger will prohibit the system from working correctly and will require that professionals apply repairs.

There are also standard repairs that any heat pump may need: defrosting the coils, recharging refrigerant, replacing capacitors and motors, etc. Geothermal specialists are familiar with all of these repairs and will know how to get to the bottom of the problem that’s afflicting your system.

A geothermal heat pump is one of the best investments you can make for home comfort: don’t let it spoil because you let a repair need go without attention. Contact Advantage Airtech in Toronto, ON for geothermal system repair whenever you require it.

What Are the Steps of Air Conditioning Maintenance?

August 27th, 2014

Fall is a great time of year to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Clarington. Maintenance provides a number of benefits, and with summer almost over, it’s the perfect time to call and schedule an appointment. Many customers wonder exactly what happens during a maintenance appointment that makes it so valuable, so Advantage Airtech wants to take the opportunity to explain here.

What Happens During a Maintenance Visit?

Here is a general overview of what happens during a typical maintenance appointment:

  • Check of the thermostat – your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to cycle, so it’s important to make sure it’s working properly.
  • Check of electrical connections – loose connections are tightened, and voltages and currents on motors are measured. Poorly maintained electrical connections can reduce the life of your components.
  • Lubrication of moving parts – ball joints and other moving parts need to be properly lubricated in order to work correctly as friction can cause resistance in motors and increase the amount of electricity used.
  • Inspect the condensate array – faulty trays can leak water and clogged drains can cause overflows and water damage.
  • Check system cycling – check that the system cycles properly.
  • Inspect and clean evaporator and condenser coils – dusty, dirty coils can reduce a system’s ability to cool your home. They can also cause the system to run longer, raising energy costs while shortening the life of the equipment.
  • Check and adjust the refrigerant level of your central air conditioner – too much or too little refrigerant can adversely affect the heat release/cooling process in your AC.
  • Check all fans – check the operation and components of the blower and condenser fans.

What Are the Benefits of Maintenance?

There are multiple benefits to scheduling maintenance for your AC:

  • Improve energy efficiency – dirty, worn out components can stress your air conditioner, causing it to use more energy to run. During a maintenance appointment, your AC is cleaned and small things like worn fan belts and frayed wiring are taken care of, enabling your air conditioner to run optimally. This can cut down on your energy usage.
  • Avoid or reduce future repairs – the thorough inspection, cleaning and adjustments that occur during a maintenance appointment help reduce future repairs by taking care of small issues before they can become big problems.
  • Extend the life of your equipment – a stressed air conditioner is one that can age prematurely. With regular maintenance, the components of your AC are kept in good working order, which can help increase longevity.

Fall is just around the corner – why not call Advantage Airtech today and schedule air conditioning maintenance for your Clarington property?

 

Advantages of HEPA Air Filters to Clean Your Air

August 20th, 2014

Poor indoor air quality can be a problem for all types of homes, and it doesn’t matter if you live in a dense city or rural town. One of the best ways to improve your indoor air is to install a whole-home air cleaner. There are a number of choices when it comes to choosing an air cleaner in Clarington, including mechanical filters and electronic air cleaners. Today we’re going to discuss a specific air cleaner Advantage Airtech has used for many customers with great success: HEPA mechanical filters.

What Is a HEPA Filter?

The acronym HEPA stands for high efficiency particle air, and it describes a specific type of mechanical filter. HEPA filters were developed during the 1940s to protect scientists from radioactive dust particles. For a filter to be labeled as a HEPA, it has to meet strict standards:

  • A HEPA filter has to be tested according to U.S. Military Standard 282 (MIL-STD-282) and individually certified and labeled with specific test results
  • Be able to trap particles as small as 3 microns
  • Have a minimum efficiency of 99.97%

How Does a HEPA Filter Work?

Another difference between HEPA filters and other mechanical filters is the filter media. HEPA filters are made of thin fibers of glass and contain a small level of activated carbon material. The fibers form a thick paper-like material that is pleated. There are 3 ways in which HEPA filters trap contaminants:

  • Particles come into contact with the filter material and stick
  • Particles that come within one diameter of the filter’s fiber are drawn back to the fiber and stick
  • Particles collide with other stuck molecules and also get caught in the fiber

Broken down more simply, for every 10,000 particles that come into contact with a HEPA filter, only 3 very small ones will be able to pass through it.

HEPA filters can be extremely helpful to those who suffer from allergies and asthma, and can help to improve the overall health in your home. In addition, the added strength of a HEPA filter can also help your air conditioner, as far less dirt and dust enter your system with the help of a HEPA filter. However, some HEPA filters can constrict the air flow in an AC, which is why it’s important to work with a professional when installing a HEPA air cleaner for your Clarington home.

Have questions about HEPA filters? Call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Don’t Let the R-22 Ban Scare You

August 18th, 2014

Have you been seeing ads lately that are leading you to believe you need to replace your air conditioner due to a ban on R-22 refrigerant? These are mere tactics to get you to buy a new system. The reality is, while things are changing and we have to comply to new stringent environmental regulations, there is no ban – just a phase out. There are also many alternatives to system replacement. Don’t let other companies scare you into doing something you do not have to do! 

Call Advantage Airtech and let us help you determine the best option for you and your home. As always, keep your heating and cooling systems properly maintained through annual maintenance checks. We’re happy to answer your questions and provide you with a list of options and alternatives to suit your needs. Contact us today!