Advantage Airtech Blog

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!

Reasons Why Duct Cleaning Is Necessary

August 11th, 2014

Since you don’t see your ducts most of the time (they are hidden behind drywall, floorboards, and rarely frequented rooms) it’s often hard to understand why they may need regular cleaning. However, the ducts in a home circulate air through them regularly that comes through the return vents; the air that enters the return vents contains dirt, dust, hair dander, and other contamination. Over the space of a year, this debris will begin to build up along the inside of the ductwork, and after three years this contamination level is often enough to begin to create problems for your home, the quality of your air, and the HVAC system.

To combat the problems of dirty ductwork, you should schedule regular duct cleaning. Every 3–5 years is recommended, although some homes may need it more often. The job requires professionals with power vacuums and agitation equipment; it isn’t something you can handle yourself using a commercial long-hose vacuum and a broom. Call up Advantage Airtech today to arrange a thorough professional duct cleaning in Prince Albert, ON.

Why you need duct cleaning

  • To protect your indoor air quality: Indoor air quality has been on the decline since home design created more effective heat sealing. This heat sealing helps a house save energy, but it also prohibits fresh air circulation that can remove stale air from the indoors. Low indoor air quality can lead to an array of health issues, most of them respiratory, and it is particularly harmful for people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Duct cleaning removes a major reservoir for air contaminants from inside a home, helping to keep it a healthier and more comfortable place.
  • To lower your heating and cooling bills: Even the thin layer of dust that can start to accumulate in ducts after only a year is enough to create friction against the airflow from an air conditioner or forced-air heater. The harder an AC or heater has to work to overcome friction, the more power it will drain, and you will see this reflected on your bills. Heavy congestion in the ventilation ducts can mean a comfort system that costs a 33% more to run. Keeping the “lungs” of your HVAC system clean will keep away unnecessary utility bills spikes.
  • To keep your home clean: Here’s a startling fact: a six-room home on average circulates 40 lbs. of dust through its ventilation system every year. Try to imagine that much dust spread over your furnishings! If your home is filled with dust no matter how much effort you put in to keep it clean, a clogged ductwork system is probably contributing to the problem. Cleaner ducts mean a cleaner home.

At Advantage Airtech, we offer full service for ductwork. We not only provide duct cleaning in Prince Albert, ON, but also duct repairs to keep them seamless and efficient.

Call the ductwork experts at Advantage Airtech today to arrange for your duct cleaning appointment in the greater Toronto, ON area.

Some of Your Choices for Air Conditioning Replacement

August 4th, 2014

Air conditioning replacement in the middle of summer isn’t ideal as far as timing goes, but sometimes it may be necessary. There are a number of choices available for homeowners needing air conditioning replacement in Toronto, and one of the first steps in choosing a replacement air conditioner is to understand what the different types of ACs there are and what they can offer you. A trained professional, like the ones at Advantage Airtech, can help you with sizing and installation.

Types of ACs to Consider

Traditional split-system – a traditional split-system AC is one of the most common types of air conditioners, particularly for residential use. These air conditioners have two units, an indoor one that houses the evaporator and blower, and an outdoor one that houses the compressor, condenser and condenser fan. The cool air is delivered via ductwork. Today’s split-system ACs are energy efficient and far greener than ones from just a decade ago.

Ductless mini-split system – a ductless mini-split system has an outdoor unit very similar to a traditional split-system, but instead of a single indoor unit, blowers are used to deliver and disperse the cool air. The blowers are connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit through an exterior wall and up to 4 blowers can be supported by one outdoor unit. A ductless system is very energy efficient and automatically provides zone control cooling because of the blowers.

Packaged system – a packaged air conditioner is one in which the entire system is housed in a single cabinet. These systems come in a variety of sizes, but are typically used for larger homes. Packaged units work like traditional split-systems and need ductwork to deliver the cool air. Today’s packaged systems are very energy efficient and can be placed on the ground or on your roof.

Which Type Is Best for Me?

Choosing an air conditioner takes into account multiple factors, including whether or not you have ductwork, the size of your home and the amount of heat your home gains throughout the day. One of the best ways to ensure you install an AC that best fits your home is to work with an expert.

Since 1987, Advantage Airtech has helped Toronto customers with air conditioning replacements. If it’s time for you to replace your air conditioner, call us today.

Why Scraping Ice from Your Air Conditioning Won’t Work

July 29th, 2014

When your air conditioning system will not cool your home, you usually hope that it’s a simple fix that doesn’t require professional air conditioning repair. Upon discovering you don’t have air conditioning, you may check your air conditioner for any visible problems. If you see ice anywhere on your system or along the refrigerant line, you may be tempted to scrape it off and assume the problem is solved. However, this usually isn’t the case, and the problem may simply reappear the following day. An air conditioner should never freeze up, so when this is the case, you should call a technician immediately for air conditioning repair.

When you see ice on your air conditioner, scraping it off immediately will not solve the problem, and can actually worsen the state of your system. Ice usually indicates a problem with the indoor evaporator coil, so if you scrape off the ice and continue to run the AC, you may cause your unit to overwork and break down. Furthermore, attempting to scrape anything from coils can cause permanent damage, so this should never be your first response.

Ice often indicates that there is not enough airflow to the indoor coil. This may simply mean your air filter is too dirty, restricting the proper amount of airflow across the indoor coil. You should clean or replace air filters about once a month to prevent such issues.

However, if airflow is not the problem, you may have a dirty or blocked coil or low refrigerant. The evaporator coil removes heat and moisture from your home. Low refrigerant causes the temperature to drop, so the water that forms outside of the evaporator coil freezes, and ice begins to build up on your system. This is most likely due a refrigerant leak, which may cause further damage to your system, so you should contact a specialist for repairs immediately.

When you notice ice on your system and you need air conditioning repair in Toronto, turn off your system and call the experts at Advantage Airtech.

Our years of experience have prepared us to identify the problem and get your air conditioner running as soon as possible. Give us a call today!

 

You’ve Decided on New Air Conditioning Installation: Now What?

July 22nd, 2014

If you’ve decided on new air conditioning installation in Hampton, you’re one step closer to a home that is cooler and less humid in the warm summer months. The steps you take from now on will help you to make sure your new system is installed properly, cools your home efficiently, and lasts for years to come. Choosing air conditioning installation is only the first step, so what’s next?

Decide What Type of System is Right for Your Home

The first step is to decide which system is right for you. Central air conditioners have an indoor and outdoor unit that work together to pull heat from the air in your home and release the heat outdoors. Cool air is supplied through the ducts of your home. If you are replacing a split-system central AC, the best option is often to purchase a similar system.

Another option is a ductless mini split. Ductless mini splits work like central air conditioners but they don’t require any ducts. Instead, a technician installs indoor air handlers throughout your home, each of which is usually controlled with its own thermostat. These systems are perfect for cooling small spaces such as new room additions or homes without any ductwork.

Find a Reliable HVAC Contractor

You don’t have to make this decision on your own. An air conditioning technician is the best person to help you choose which system is right for your home. Furthermore, an air conditioning expert can tell you which systems will save you money every month on your bills.

Determining the size of your air conditioner is another important step best left to a technician. Even if you are replacing an older system, the size may not have been entirely correct in the first place. Sizing is based not just on the size of your home and number of rooms, but also the number of people, locations of windows, type of insulation and many other factors.

For a professional air conditioning technician you can trust, call Advantage Airtech to discuss air conditioning installation in Hampton today!

 

How Do Gravity Vents Work?

July 14th, 2014

One of the basic scientific principles of heat is that it rises. You experience this inside your home during the winter when your heater comes on; the hot air that comes from the vents into rooms will first gather around the ceiling and then filter down to the rest of the space. If you stand up on a chair, you will notice a much higher temperature in the upper levels of the room.

The rising of heat can work as a low-cost and energy-saving way to cool a home during the summer. Gravity vents, also known as gravity relief ventilators, are devices that can help you keep your home cool without needing to resort as much to your air conditioner.

At Advantage Airtech, we handle performing installation work on gravity vents in Toronto, ON. Call us to find out how we can put them to work inexpensively cooling down your home.

The basics of gravity vents

Gravity relief ventilators are, at their core, very simple devices. They are usually installed in the attics of homes, where the most heat gathers during the summer from the combination of heat rising in the rest of the home and from the radiant energy of the sun. Extreme temperatures in the attic will leak down into the rest of the house and make it hotter.

A gravity ventilator consists of a fan built into a hole through a roof in a house. The fan helps draw the rising hot air up and out of the living spaces. This also results in the cooler air getting pushed down toward ground level, creating a circulation that you won’t get from a normal ceiling fan, which doesn’t actually remove any heat from a space. Because a gravity vent operates mostly through the natural buoyancy of hot air, it requires little power to operate—much less than running an air conditioner.

There’s another advantage of gravity vents aside from pulling hot air out of a house. A gravity vent allows fresh air into your home without impeding the air conditioning. This will help you increase your home’s indoor air quality and remove stale air. During the winter, you can close off the vents to prevent vital heat loss.

A gravity vent will only do a proper job if it is installed correctly: poor placement and workmanship will make it inefficient. Make sure that you only count on professionals with experience working with gravity vents in Toronto, ON to install them for your home. Call Advantage Airtech today to schedule an appointment to see how we can best place gravity relief ventilators in your home to make your summer easier and your air healthier.