Advantage Airtech Blog

How Often Should I Schedule Geothermal System Maintenance?

November 12th, 2014

Regular maintenance is a standard and essential part of caring for your home comfort system. Whether you have a gas furnace or an air-source heat pump keeping your home comfortable, scheduling routine maintenance from a heating and cooling specialist is an important task to ensure that the system remains energy-efficient and reliant and returns you the longest lifespan possible on your installation investment.

That last point is particularly important when it comes geothermal systems. Installing a geothermal heat pump for a home is a significant undertaking and investment, but can they reward their homes with decades of quality heating a cooling, lasting many years longer than other comfort systems. But without regular maintenance, they won’t give that great return on investment.

Advantage Airtech offers geothermal system maintenance in Pickering, ON and the surrounding areas. We strongly recommend that you schedule maintenance once a year for your system, the same way you would for any heater or air conditioner. Geothermal systems have relatively simple inspections and tune-up jobs, but it is crucial for technicians to discover any possible problems with the components and operations as soon as they can so they can prevent larger issues and more expensive issues. Should trouble develop with the underground coils (which is rare but can happen) you will be very thankful that the maintenance specialists caught the problem in its early stages.

The inside heat pump elements of the geothermal system require the same kind of maintenance that other heat pumps do, and will need replacement parts and repairs sooner than the underground coils. During maintenance, the technicians will look over the coil of the pump, lubricate the motors, change the air filter, and check on the electrical systems: these are the standard maintenance steps necessary to see that this section of the geothermal heat pump does not wear down rapidly.

If you have an open-loop configuration for your heat pump (i.e. it runs water from the municipal supply through the loops) it will occasionally need an acid flush during maintenance to clear out mineral build-up. Technicians will be able to tell if it is time for this service during the annual visit.

We offer excellent geothermal system maintenance in Pickering, ON and throughout the greater Toronto area.

At Advantage Airtech, we want you to receive many decades of service from your geothermal heating and cooling system so you end up with immense energy savings.

Can I Replace My Older Heating System with a Different Type of Unit?

November 5th, 2014

One of the great advantages of replacing an old heating system is being able to choose a different kind of heating system for your home. There are a lot of choices available for homeowners these days, but working with a trained specialist from Advantage Airtech can help you find a replacement heating system in Whitby that fits you and your home perfectly. If you are ready to move forward with a new installation, call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Types of Systems Available

Here are the types of systems we carry at Advantage Airtech:

  • Gas boilers – boilers have been around a long time, and for good reason: they are reliable, durable and energy efficient systems. Boilers can be used for radiators, radiant floor heating and baseboard heating, as they are part of a hydronic system.
  • Radiant floor heating – the most popular forms of radiant floor heating are electric and hot water. Electric radiant floor heating uses cables that heat when electrical current flows through them. Hydronic floor heating uses durable tubing to heat floors via hot water.
  • Furnaces – furnaces are some of the most popular heating systems around. There are two main types of furnaces from which to choose: electric and gas. Both are energy efficient, so deciding which type of furnace is best for you will depend on your needs and the needs of your home.
  • Heat pumps – heat pumps can provide your home with both heating and cooling, something many homeowners appreciate. Heat pumps can do this thanks to a component called a reversing valve. There are several types of heat pumps from which to choose, and working with a trained professional can help you to determine which one is best for you.

As you can see, replacing an old, outdated heater can open the door to a new kind of heating system replacement in Whitby.

If you are ready for a new heating system, call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

Prepare Your Home During Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month

November 4th, 2014

Did you know November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month? Prepare your home by installing a CSA-approved CO alarm on each level of your home. If you already have CO alarms, be sure to check the batteries or replace the alarm if it’s more than 7-10 years old. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and colorless so you may be unable to detect it the way you would detect smoke or a fire in your home. Effective October 15, 2014 carbon monoxide alarms are required in all households in Ontario regardless of the age of the home.

Advantage Airtech supports the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation in bringing awareness about carbon monoxide and how to make your home safe for you and your family. Many people are aware of the dangers and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but do you know what to do in the event that your CO alarm goes off? Here’s a list of steps to take in the event of an emergency:

  1. Pay attention to the type and frequency of beeps coming from the alarm. Check the manufacturer’s user guide when you install your alarm so you are able to differentiate between the beeps. It will have a separate beep for low battery, end of life of the alarm, and an emergency. Emergency beeps are typically 4 short beeps at 5-second intervals. If you hear this, treat it as an emergency situation.
  2. Evacuate the home or move to an open window or door where you can access fresh air, even if no one is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms. Then call 911 or the fire department.
  3. Check to make sure everyone in your home is accounted for and no one is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning.
  4. Stay outside or near a fresh air source until emergency responders have investigated your home and give you clearance to re-enter your home and reset the alarm.

CO Alarm Info

 

 

Some Common Repair Issues with Gas Boilers

October 29th, 2014

Gas boilers are a fantastic choice for heating installation in Ajax. These systems are extremely efficient, as natural gas is an inexpensive source of fuel, and there are very few mechanical elements. And many people prefer gas boilers over furnaces because furnaces are not known for distributing heat in a uniform manner. Besides, ducts are prone to air leaks and may be poorly designed or have inadequate insulation. With a gas boiler, hot water is pumped into the rooms of your home and heat is emitted from a radiator or via piping underneath the floorboards.

Furthermore, gas boilers are durable, and many won’t need any repairs for a long time after installation. While a furnace owner may make frequent calls to a technician for maintenance or repairs, boiler breakdowns are less likely because there are few moving parts. However, at some point in the life of your system, it is likely to run into trouble.

  • Water Leaking from the Boiler: Water may leak from the boiler at one of many locations, such as the pressure relief valve or from a loose connection in the pipes. If there is a leak from the tank, it could indicate serious corrosion that may indicate the need for replacement.
  • No Heat or Not Enough Heat: Insufficient heat is often due to water leaks, although the problem could also be a faulty thermostat or a broken pump.
  • Noisy Operation: Boilers are known for their relatively quiet operation, so unusual noises should be a cause for alarm. One common noise you may hear is a knocking noise which usually results from “kittling.” Kettling occurs when too much sediment builds up in the tank, increasing the volume and causing an imbalance with the pressure in the boiler.

Gas boilers are complex systems that must be repaired by professionals. Anytime you deal with a gas line, you want to make sure you hire knowledgeable technicians who can apply proper safety techniques and ensure proper operation. For questions or concerns about gas boilers in Ajax, call Advantage Airtech today!

When you experience any of the following problems common with gas boilers in Ajax, call on the trained technicians at Advantage Airtech.

The Steps of a Furnace Tune Up

October 22nd, 2014

When your furnace was brand new, it was at peak efficiency, heating your home as quickly as possible and using little energy to do so. Over time, however, the parts begin to wear down and you may notice less than satisfactory heating or higher energy bills. Luckily, there is a service you can schedule that may reduce your heating bills and make your system run nearly as well as when you first bought it.

Calling a professional for a furnace tune up can restore a lot of the efficiency that your system loses over the course of a year. When you schedule a heating tune up every year, you may start to notice your home heats up faster and you’ll even see lowered utilities. When you schedule a heating tune up in Scarborough with Advantage Airtech, a technician will thoroughly inspect and clean your system and may make a few adjustments. We’ve detailed these steps below.

  • Inspection: First, a technician will carefully inspect your unit, testing the furnace for proper operation and ensuring there are no problems that need repair. Some minor adjustments can be made during maintenance, but others may need to be scheduled later on. However, catching problems early on means they won’t worsen as time goes on. And with a gas furnace, you may be at risk for a hazardous gas leak, which is why it’s especially important to have a professional check your system from time to time.
  • Cleaning: The technician will also clean any dusty components. Dust and dirt on parts of your system mean that it’s not running in optimal shape. Furthermore, debris may get in the way of the fan motor, but a maintenance technician can remove this debris and let you know if you need to replace your filter more often to prevent the problem in the future.
  • Adjustment: Finally, if there are any loose components or minor repairs needed, the technician may be able to adjust these on the spot.

It’s never too late in the heating season to get furnace maintenance. When you decide that it’s time to schedule a heating tune up in Scarborough, call Advantage Airtech today!

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!